Scottish coefficient takes a heavy blow for Celtic and Rangers, but Premiership clings to top 10
It was not an unforgettable night for Scottish football on the European stage as our two clubs crashed to win.
Celtic and Rangers are SPFL’s representatives again in the Europa League group stage, but they have never reached the heights that everyone knows they can.
Celtic looked like they were causing a shock when they took a 2-0 lead over Real Betis, only to suffer the kind of defensive issues that have plagued them over the past 12 months only to end up losing 4- 3.
For Rangers there was a feeling they hadn’t done enough against Lyon but in the end they were beaten by a much better team.
The French giants scored a superb first game before a bit of defensive calamity in the second half sealed the defeat via a goal against his side of James Tavernier.
Scotland have the opportunity to reach seventh place – although they are unlikely to catch up with the Netherlands.
Austria, Russia and Ukraine are the contenders for a top 10 spot which guarantees Champions League group stage football.
In reality, Scottish football was unlikely to win any points on opening day and it would have been a bonus if they had.
The good news is that neither Austria nor Russia gained enough points to make a huge difference either.
The Austrian Bundesliga progressed slightly with LASK – who knocked out St Johnstone – winning their Europa League match against HJK.
Better news from Austria came in the form of defeats for Sturm Graz and Rapid Vienna against Monaco and Genk respectively.
That means they only gained 0.4 points while Russia’s results meant they gained 0.2 points to catch up a bit of the deficit.
As a result, Steven Gerrard and Ange Postecoglou have a bit of work to do in the weeks and months to come to continue Scottish football’s European recovery.
At present, however, they occupy 31,300 points in ninth place, with Russia just behind at 30,882 and Ukraine even further behind at 30,400.
The fact that Scottish football has had five participants in European competition this season is a bit of a problem with three already eliminated, as it means that any points earned by the Old Firm are then divided by five.
Right now, a Celtic or Rangers win would result in an increase of just 0.4 points, while last season it was 0.5 points as there were only four teams involved.