Hibs UEFA Youth League draw: AZ Alkmaar, Molde and Shamrock Rovers among potential opponents
AZ Alkmaar, Molde, Coleraine and Shamrock Rovers are among the seven teams Hibs could potentially face when the Under-19s UEFA Youth League draw takes place at noon on Wednesday.
Competing for the first tine since the competition began in 2013, Hibs are one of 64 teams who will compete for Europe’s top under-19 age group prize.
The first round is a two-leg tie and will be played on September 14 and October 5. Hibs are in the domestic champions path for teams who won their under-18 domestic league but don’t have a first-team in the Champions League group stage.
It is straight knockout qualifying route, involves two rounds before a play-off with a runner-up from each UEFA Champions League Groups, which mirrors the senior competition and therefore includes Celtic and Rangers.
The UEFA Youth League is an under-19 competition, meaning players born in the year 2004 or later will be eligible for selection.
That means Jacob Blaney, Josh McCulloch, Oscar MacIntyre, Murray Aiken, Robbie Hamilton, Josh O’Connor, Malik Zaid, Kanayo Megwa and Murray Johnson, who were all part of Gareth Evans’ under-18 league-winning side last year and have since graduated from under-18 football, will be eligible for selection.
UEFA determine the fixtures of the opening round of the competition by ‘sporting and geographical criteria’. That means Hibs will be drawn against one of the following teams: AZ Alkmaar (Ned), Molde (Nor), AIK (Swe), Racing Union (Lux), Shamrock Rovers (Rep Ire), Pobeda (Macedonia), Coleraine (N Ire).
If Hibs get through, the second round takes place on October 26 and November 2.