Barry Ferguson has today said the fact Rangers were up against Ajax, Liverpool and Napoli means we’re not the worst side ever to have played in the Champions League.
Now, there’s a big caveat in the UCL this season – Victoria Plzen.
The Czech pot four side drew a theoretically ridiculous group – Bayern, Inter and Barca. Of those three, only Inter are now a bit below their usual selves, with the other two second in their league tables.
And yet it was Barca who were smashed in this group, missing out on the KO stage by a clear three points. Plzen, infamously, finished bottom, no wins, and on the receiving end of massive drubbings – 24 goals conceded.
Worse, WORSE than Rangers. But they scored 5 so that’s obviously better than Rangers’ 2 hence Rangers get classed as the worst.
So who had the harder group?
Going by current form? Rangers had the much harder Italian team, but Plzen had the best of Germany and Spain to contend with. Rangers didn’t have the best of England, and Holland is by far the weakest league of all 5. So it’s 6 of one and half a dozen of the other but we’d overall argue Plzen’s group was significantly tougher.
Ajax without Ten Haag are a UEL team – that’s proven because, well, they are one now. Napoli are a class team and we hold our hands up there. But Liverpool? They’re rotten, absolutely rotten.
So are Rangers the worst-ever? Statistically without any doubt, and we can’t use the excuse of the group. We have to argue when it was drawn, few made any comments about us being given an absolute group of death. Indeed, response was very positive about our chances from a few quarters.
We can’t just very well turn round now and claim the group was brutally hard just because we were terrible. It doesn’t work that way.
If you wanted the hardest possible group it was Pot 1 Real, Pot 2 Chelsea, and Pot 3 Napoli.
Rangers got one of them, not three. While Liverpool had the highest coefficient in Pot 2, they’re a shadow of themselves this season, albeit hindsight is 20/20. And Ajax were one of the weakest of Pot 1.
What are we drivelling on about?
Ferguson is, like many, trying to make the numbers look better, make Rangers’ dire campaign a bit softer to take. But it’s not possible. In a good group but not a group of death, we were horrendous.
Just like Plzen. But at least they scored 5.