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Champions League: European travel guide to cheer on Celtic and Rangers

The rush for Old Firm fans to find a way across the continent is set to begin once fixtures have been finalised.

Champions League: How to travel smart as Celtic and Rangers make their way to Europe iStock

With both sides of the Old Firm set to battle Europe’s best in the UEFA Champions League, football fans will be looking to travel across the continent to cheer on their teams.

Thursday’s group stage draw threw up some big names to battle the Scottish teams, with Celtic facing Real Madrid, Shahktar-Donetsk and Leipzig, while Rangers go up against Liverpool, Ajax and Napoli.

Bookings saw an immediate jump following the draw, with Skyscanner reporting a 31% increase in bookings to Italy and 27% more bookings to Netherlands.

There was also a 19% jump in flights booked outward from Glasgow International Airport.

Outside the Johan Cruijff Arena soccer stadium, home of the Ajax team who will go up against Rangers.iStock

Building up to the rush to jet off, Skyscanner’s travel expert – and self-described football fanatic – Laura Lindsay has shared some top strategies for getting a good deal.

Matches will run throughout autumn over two-day periods – September 6, 7, 13 and 14; October 4, 5, 11, 12, 25 and 26; and November 1 and 2.

Book ‘early doors’

Acting quickly can mean the difference between scoring a bargain and losing your chance.

Thousands of Rangers fans expressed their regret at not planning ahead when their team booked their spot in the Europa League final earlier this year, with many taking on the “journey of a lifetime” in unorthodox ways.

Setting up price alerts can help to make sure you’re first in line when prices to your destination change.

Some locations may be more popular than others for the big-ticket matches, so booking “early doors” can mean avoiding disappointment as interest grows.

Go wide!

Days immediately before and after any fixture are certain to be more expensive and will get cheaper the further out you go.

The Santiago Bernabéu football stadium in Madrid is home to Real Madrid, who will go up against Celtic. iStock

Because some dates are more popular than others, prices will vary.

Consider flying out a few days earlier or stay at your destination just a little bit longer to save.

Skyscanner offers a month-view option, which shows the prices of all dates throughout the month and helps customise trips for big savings.

Think outside the box

Searching by multiple airports can also help save big bucks, as different airports have varied routes.

Making your way a little bit further to a different airport could mean a more direct flight, or better prices – or both!

The same can be said for the destination airport – flying to an airport a little bit further from the game and then traveling to it via public transport or a hired car could help reduce travel time as well as save some money.

Mixing and matching the airlines you choose is also a way to seriously cut costs.

Anfield Stadium is home to Liverpool FC, slated to take on Rangers this autumn. iStock

Fares don’t always have to be booked as returns – look at flying out with one airline and back with another to save money.

Final whistle

Airline prices are largely determined by algorithms, and getting online and booking quickly following the draw could result in a bargain.

However, any sudden surge in interest on one flight, or specific route can mean a sharp rise in prices in the days, or even hours, that follow.

If you’re unable to book quickly, setting up price alerts will ensure you’re the first to know as prices drop with any additional discounts or added supply.

If you mark a flight or flights that you’re interested in, Skyscanner will email you whenever the price goes up or down.