To further process yesterday’s sensational news from UEFA we need to look at exactly what this entails, and even if it’s fair.
The blunt news is it probably isn’t.
Banning Russian clubs from UEFA competitions next season is cancel culture at its finest, exactly the same as banning Russian players from Wimbledon, including those who have publicly condemned the war.
But Ibrox Noise isn’t a politics site, we’re all about the Rangers, and while the decision is another bad one, it benefits our club infinitely.
Having lost out to a relentless Celtic in the league, our major opening to the CL group spot WE earned was now looking like a hard trudge through the qualifiers next season, or the possibility of winning the UEL this season.
Both are hard, very hard, and it would take a monumental achievement to earn it.
But UEFA’s announcement changes everything.
Celtic still get their giftwrapped group spot, one that Rangers worked to earn and that will never sit right. Nothing has changed there.
But for Rangers, finishing second this season, as now seems inevitable, is not the CL cost it was before last night.
Previously, we had to graft through three rounds as an unseeded sides, facing opponents like Dynamo Kiev, Benfica, Donetsk and Trabzonspor. These are, as far as we know, at present, some of the seeds.
It’s only two rounds, and we are now placed ALONGSIDE those teams, and we now face the unseeded ones, the weaker sides, and that is colossally more achieveable.
We’re no hypocrites – we condemned UEFA for their new CL format given it could ‘gift’ clubs a CL spot that hadn’t earned one, based on historical achievement.
This really isn’t much different, but as Rangers fans we will take it because we want the best for our club.
One gent said this was no gift, because we’d earned that slot ourselves and should be entitled to it. He’s morally right, but factually wrong, because for whatever reason, we weren’t good enough the second half of the season to match Celtic on the pitch, which is no disgrace because unfortunately Stavros’ side has been incredibly consistent in the second half of the season, dropping just 6 points since November.
So that SPL CL slot slipped through our hands.
But we can still get it back.
Be it from the UEL (an incredible achievement) or from these rejigged qualifiers, the CL is there for Rangers’ taking.
We can grab it with both hands now.