Earlier we talked about the fact Joe Aribo has a big chance to shine in the Champions League next season, qualifiers notwithstanding.
But there’s something more, not just about Aribo, that fans may not be quite aware of with regards Europe’s premier club competition.
And that is the sheer upgrade Rangers are going to face in this competition.
As impressive as our talent and results were in the UEL, the quality of that tournament compared with the UCL is night and day, and one only has to look at the qualifiers to understand the gulf.
Teams like Praha, ourselves, Shakhtar Young Boys, Dinamo Zagreb come merely into UCL qualifying, in some cases as early as round two, and these are teams who got to the last 16 of the UEL. In Zagreb’s, they got to the quarters.
True, these qualifiers are based on country coefficients and CL slots per nation etc, but getting to the group stage alone means beating sides who normally get to the last 16 or even further of the UEL.
This is quite the chasm of upgrade.
We’re not talking about UEL group teams level here in the qualifiers, we’re talking about teams who got to the latter stages.
That is what Rangers have to get past to make their way into the CL group stage.
And that is why Steven Gerrard is very serious about summer recruitment.
As things stand, Rangers have a slim to decent chance of getting to the group stage with our current squad – this is no attack on the quality of our players, but of the levelling up the CL is going to be.
Look at how much better Praha were to us, on a football level – they were plainly superior.
Steven Gerrard will be aware how much of a step up the CL is, and will preparing accordingly.
You don’t earn £30M getting to the group stage easily unless you already have a group stage slot.
And Scotland only ever had that for two seasons, both it being Rangers in 2009 and 2010.
Times have certainly changed…