Scotland crash to dismal 14th despite Rangers’ heroics

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Scotland crash to dismal 14th despite Rangers’ heroics
GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 14: A general view inside the stadium as an LED screen displays a 'Welcome to Ibrox' message prior to the UEFA Champions League group A match between Rangers FC and SSC Napoli at Ibrox Stadium on September 14, 2022 in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Remember the upper echalons of Scottish football where Rangers’ staggering European achievements secured the country not only two Champions League spots, but one automatic group spot?

Gone. Not just gone, but smashed into smithereens as Scotland dropped from a staggering 9th in Europe, so, just a few spots behind the Hollands, Frances, Germanys and Englands (yes really) to an abysmal 14th.

We are now behind football backwaters Norway, Israel and Czechia as Celtic’s abysmal no-show in Europe and absurdly poor lack of points the past decade has FINALLY caught up with us and Scotland will next season have both the champions and the runners’ up in the qualifying rounds of Europe’s premier cup competition, having lost that automatic spot.

It wasn’t just Celtic, in fairness, it was Hearts and Aberdeen as well, whose abysmal showings in continental football embarrassed the country as badly as the champions did, and only Rangers salvaged any level of pride by getting to the last 16 of the Europa League.

And all of this has now cost us badly, and with Celtic’s historic record of being atrocious in the UCL (a far cry from the days Parkhead being a fortress at that level) Scotland will fall further in the coefficient as they are unlikely to pick up many if any points.

Especially as it is unlikely that Rangers themselves will be able to negotiate two rounds of the qualifiers at that level this summer.

Rangers of course were painful two years ago in the Champions League, ill-prepared and fans overly arrogant about the club’s chances based on the run to Sevilla, and that atrocious year earned just 3.5 points along with Celtic’s barely-any-better campaign. This season just gone was a fraction of improvement, 6.4, thanks to Rangers’ last 16 and Celtic at least getting a win in the Champions League.

But it isn’t good enough, and Scotland is likely to fall further, and we can’t imagine it will be that long before Scotland has just one spot for the Champions League again, and that being the qualifiers of course.

Rangers have kept carrying the country alone, but Celtic, Aberdeen and Hearts’ dismal showings in European football had to come home to roost sometime, and that is now, and given that we’re presently 14th in Europe, it will only slide further.

Welcome back to Scotland being a complete no-hoper backwater of European football. As if we were ever much else otherwise…

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