Celtic draw Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio in Champions League

The Premiership champions return to the top competition under Brendan Rodgers.

Celtic have been drawn to face Feyenoord, Atletico Madrid and Lazio in the Champions League group stage.

The Premiership champions learned the identity of their opponents at UEFA’s draw ceremony in Monaco on Thursday.

Celtic were in the fourth seeding pot, meaning that they were guaranteed to face three higher-ranked sides at this stage in the competition.

Dutch champions Feyenoord were the lowest ranked of the top seeds, and have had a difficult start to their Eredivisie defence, sitting sixth in the table with five points from three games.

The Rotterdam side has history with Celtic, the two teams meeting in competition only once before, when Feyenoord were 2-1 winners in the 1970 European Cup final.

Atletico Madrid, managed by Diego Simeone, are in the competition after finishing third in La Liga last season. behind Barcelona and Real Madrid. The teams met in the group stage of the Europa League in 2011, with Atletico winning both games, but haven’t met in the premier competition since a semi-final clash in 1974.

Lazio finished second in Serie A last season behind runaway winners Napoli. Managed by former Chelsea boss Maurizio Sarri, they count Ciro Immobile and Felipe Anderson among their players.

Celtic met Lazio in competition recently, beating the Italian side 2-1 home and away in the 2019-20 Europa League group stages. A repeat of those results would boost the Scottish champions’ hopes of progressing from the section.

The top two sides in the group will progress to the knockout stage of the tournament, with the third-placed team dropping into the Europa League after Christmas.

Celtic returned to the competition proper last season after a four-year absence but found themselves in a tough group and only only took two points from six games against Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and Shakhtar Donetsk.

Full details of Celtic’s fixtures have yet to be confirmed but UEFA have outlined the schedule for group stage games. The calendar will be finalised by Saturday morning at the latest.

Matchday one is on September 19/20, while there are two game weeks in October (3/4 and 24/25).

The competition continues in November with gameweek four on the 7/8 and gameweek five on November 28/29.

December sees the final group games take place with matches on 12/13 of the month.

Celtic star Gustaf Lagerbielke reacted to draw with excitement and said appearing at that stage is the stuff dreams are made of.

He said: “It’s three good teams and will six difficult games but we look forward to it.

“My teammates have told me all about the European nights at Celtic Park, I’m looking forward to it, it’s going to be really fun. They said that no arena matches Celtic Park on European nights so it’s going to be a good experience.

“Every boy and girl when they start playing dreams of playing in the Champions League on these nights so I’m really happy to be here and to get the opportunity to play in these games.”

The Swedish defender is also looking forward to his first taste of the Old Firm game when his side travel across the city to play Rangers this weekend.

He said: “The confidence is good, we had a good training week so far and we are all very excited to play at Ibrox and get a good result there.”

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