Hibs have been drawn against either Mons Calpe Sports Club or FC Santa Coloma in the second qualifying round of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League.
The eagerly-anticipated draw took place at the House of European Football in Nyon, Switzerland, earlier this afternoon, and Jack Ross’s men have been handed a first leg at home on Thursday, July 22, before the return leg the following week on Thursday, July 29.
Mons Calpe, from Gibraltar, and FC Santa Coloma, from Andorra, will play their first qualifying round tie over two legs on July 8 and 15, to decide who comes to Easter Road.
It’s the Hibs first taste of European football since 2018/19, when they saw off NSI Runavik and Greek side Asteras Tripolis in Europa League qualifiers before going out to Norwegian outfit Molde.
Mons Calpe were founded eight years ago after Gibraltar was admitted into UEFA, and earned promotion into the Gibraltar National League Premier Division back in 2015.
They play at the 2,000-capacity Victoria Stadium and are managed by former Uruguay international defender Cesar Vega.
As such, their team is substantially made up of players from the likes of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay, as well as home grown talent from Gibraltar itself.
FC Santa Coloma qualified for the Europa Conference League after finishing second in Andorra’s top tier last year, although it remains the country’s most successful club side having won the title 13 times.
As such, they have Champions League qualifying round experience – albeit they have never made it beyond the second qualifying round.
Having said that, they have competed well against European regulars over the years and have come up against the likes of Maccabi Tel Aviv, Alashkert, Valur and Astana in recent times.
A penalty shootout loss in the Europa League preliminary round at the hands of Iskra Danilovgrad ended their European adventure last year, but they will fancy their chances of making history at Mons Calpe’s expense in the first qualifying round of this year’s Europa Conference League.
The idea behind the Europa Conference League is to give more clubs a taste of European football, particularly sides from countries that struggle to qualify for the other two UEFA competitions – the Champions League and the Europa League.
To qualify for the Europa Conference League group stages, which guarantees European football until the start of December at least, Hibs will have to come through the second qualifying round on July 22 and 29, the third qualifying round on August 5 and 12, and then a play-off on August 19 and 26.