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Celtic hope to make most of Europe chance

Celtic FC travel to Club Atlético de Madrid for their opening Group I fixture with renewed hope having been reinstated into the competition following the exclusion of Swiss side FC Sion.

Falcao will be hoping for a repeat of last season when he lifted the trophy with FC Porto
Falcao will be hoping for a repeat of last season when he lifted the trophy with FC Porto ©Getty Images

Club Atlético de Madrid were originally due to take on FC Sion in their opening Group I fixture, but the Swiss club were excluded from the competition for fielding ineligible players, giving the side that they beat in the play-offs – Celtic FC – a chance to play in the group stage.

Previous meetings
• Atlético and Celtic have met in two previous UEFA ties, with the Spanish side getting the better of both, eliminating the Bhoys from the 1973/74 European Champion Clubs' Cup semi-finals and the first round of the 1985/86 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup.

• The teams for their first contest in Madrid, in which Juan Carlos Lorenzo's Atlético beat Jock Stein's Hoops 2-0 on 24 April 1974, were:
Atlético: Reina, Benegas, Capón, Adelardo Rodríguez, Heredia, Eusebio Bejarano, José Ufarte, Aragonés (Cabrera 87), Gárate (Bermejo 85), Irureta, Becerra.
Celtic: Connaghan, McGrain, Brogan, Hay, McNeill, McCluskey, Johnstone, Murray, Dalglish, Hood, Lennox.

• Teams coached by Luis Aragonés and David Hay, both of whom played in the clubs' first meeting, drew 1-1 in the teams' last Madrid meeting on 18 September 1985. The teams were:
Atlético: Fillol, Julio Prieto (Balbino 68), Tomás, Arteche, Ruiz, Quique Setién, Cabrera (Rubio 78), Quique Ramos, Da Silva, Landaburu, Marina.
Celtic: Bonner, McGrain, Burns, Aitken, McGugan, Grant, Provan, McStay, Johnston, McLeod, McClair.

Match background
• Atlético's record in seven games against Scottish sides is W4 D2 L1 (W3 D1 L0 at home), with that lone defeat a 2-1 loss at Heart of Midlothian FC, in the first leg of a 1993/94 UEFA Cup first round tie. They have never lost to visitors from Scotland, with Celtic's Mo Johnston the only player to have scored for a Scottish side at Atlético.

• Celtic's record in 22 UEFA games against Spanish clubs is W6 D5 L11. They have yet to win in 11 UEFA games in Spain, registering three draws and eight defeats, and suffered two further losses in Spain in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, the non-UEFA affiliated precursor to the UEFA Cup and UEFA Europa League. They have scored just once in their last five away games against Liga opponents.

• Celtic endured more misery on Spanish soil in the 2002/03 UEFA Cup final, where they lost 3-2 to FC Porto in Seville.

• Atlético have lost only one of their last nine European games, 3-2 against Aris Thessaloniki FC in last season's UEFA Europa League group stage, with the other eight fixtures producing six wins and two draws.

• Prior to their play-off tie at Sion, awarded as a 3-0 default win, Celtic had not won in six European away games (two draws and four defeats) since beating FC Dinamo Moskva 2-0 in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League third qualifying round.

Team facts
• Celtic are the only Scottish side to have reached the group stage of a UEFA club competition this season.

• While together at FC Porto, Atlético's Paulo Assunção and Diego faced Celtic's rivals Rangers FC in a 1-1 UEFA Champions League group stage draw in Portugal on 23 November 2005.

• Diego featured in a 3-2 win for the Scottish side when the sides met at Ibrox two months previously.

• Despite scoring for SV Werder Bremen in a 2007/08 UEFA Cup round of 16 tie against Rangers, Diego's side still went out, losing 2-1 on aggregate.

• Atlético midfielder Gabi featured in the Spain Under-21 side that defeated Scotland 3-1 at home in a friendly international on 2 September 2004.

• A coach since his late 20s, Atlético boss Gregorio Manzano's most tangible achievement in football was leading RCD Mallorca to the 2002/03 Spanish Cup. He took over at Atlético for a second time in the summer after a spell at Sevilla FC, who gave him a belated first taste of UEFA competition last season.

• Celtic boss Neil Lennon was previously a 40-times capped Northern Ireland midfielder. Initially a trainee at Manchester City FC, he made his name with Leicester City FC before moving to Celtic FC along with his manager – and countryman – Martin O'Neill, and winning five league titles.

• Lennon took on Atlético as a player in his only games in Europe with Leicester in the first round of the 1997/98 UEFA Cup. The English side lost 2-1 in Madrid and then 2-0 back at home.

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