As Rangers celebrate yet another big night in Europe, it’s not just the Ibrox side who stand to benefit from yet more Euro glory.
Scotland’s coefficient has been put through the wringer over the last decade or so as Scottish football cut off its nose to spite its face in the wake of Rangers’ financial collapse in 2012.
As Scottish football revelled in the Ibrox club’s apparent demise, desperate and convinced that Rangers would never return, European football was an afterthought.
Indeed, at the home of our biggest rivals Celtic, it has been for nearly two decades with the club’s embarrassing exploits on the European stage highlighted by the fact they haven’t won a knockout European tie since 2004.
Rangers’ resurgence in Europe – largely down to the early groundwork of Steven Gerrard and his team – has led to a resurgence in Scottish football’s standing on the continent.
Scotland were 26th when Stevie G first came through the door in 2018; the country now sits 9th [UEFA]. van Bronckhorst’s tactical ingenuity has Rangers fans dreaming of even more too.
As a result, it would be both tragic and unjust if Rangers let an underperforming Celtic team capitalise on all their hard work and pip them to an automatic Champions League spot and the reported £40m jackpot that surely lies in wait for the Scottish Premiership winner.
Rangers owe it to themselves to prevent Celtic capitalising on success in Europe
Don’t let them or anyone else convince you otherwise; the recent upturn in Scottish football’s European footballing fortunes is down to Rangers with Celtic serially underperforming.
The other sides too have struggled to make their mark on European competition, Aberdeen the last non-Old Firm side to qualify for the group stages of the then UEFA Cup in 2007/8.
But it’s not just Rangers and Celtic who will benefit from the Ibrox side’s exploits, this season’s third-placed side or Scottish Cup winners guaranteed a Europa League playoff place and subsequent Europa Conference League group stage spot when the playoff – inevitably – fails.
Clubs should not only be thanking Rangers for their exploits over the last few seasons but cheering the club on as they hope to go deep into Europa League competition.
Holding a 3-0 lead over Red Star Belgrade heading into next week’s Last 16 second leg it bodes well for the quarters and hopes are building regarding a trip to Seville in May.
If this happens – and whisper it quietly – Rangers win the whole thing, then Champions League football will be guaranteed for both Old Firm clubs no matter who wins the title.
But whilst this remains a distant dream for now, Rangers must ensure that they get the reward of all their hard work and Champions League qualification through the Premiership before any of our underperforming rivals do.
The situation between Russia and Ukraine has had sizeable knock-on effects already for Rangers that stretch into European competition and the Champions League.
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