Scottish Cup winners must enter Europa League at earliest round

Jason Cummings
Scottish Cup winners Hibs lost on penalties to Brondby in the second qualifying round of the Europa League

Scotland's three representatives in the Europa League next season will, for the first time, begin qualifying in the first round.

Scotland's Uefa coefficient has slipped from 23rd to 25th.

It means that the Scottish Cup winners as well as the league's second and third-placed clubs will kick off their European campaigns at the end of June.

The Scottish Premiership winners will still start in the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

Teams finishing second and third in the top tier have become accustomed to entering the Europa League at the earliest stage, but the national cup winners have in recent years played in the second qualifying round.

However, the Uefa rankings, which are based on results over a rolling five-year period, are such that whichever team lifts the Scottish Cup at Hampden on 27 May will have only one month to prepare for a European qualifier on 29 June.

Hibernian, who won last season's Scottish Cup, played the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round match against Brondby on 14 July.

Should Celtic retain their league title, and then also win the Scottish Cup, the team that finishes fourth in the Premiership will take the final Europa League spot.

Top Stories