The Rangers draw with Young Boys at Ibrox last night to seal second place in the Europa League meant that they would join the Scottish Champions Celtic in the Last 32 draw in Nyon on Monday. It is a great result for Celtic in a number of ways that Rangers have also qualified for the next round of the Europa League both short team and long term.
The Rangers result against the Swiss side means that they will play one more fixture than Celtic after New Year meaning that in terms of the Premiership Title Race, the amount of games could bog down Steven Gerrard’s side. Games come thick and fast after the Winter shutdown and it is in this time that points are likely to be dropped.
With the added, unknown factor of European knockout football at Ibrox, will Steven Gerrard be able to balance his commitments to the domestic chase of Celtic and delivering a place in the Last 16? Questions will surely be asked as to whether they have the depth or the bottle to go to battle across a two-legged tie, especially against a seeded team.
The fact that the Rangers result this evening means that they have finished second means that they are more likely to draw one of the better teams in the draw, including some of those that have dropped out of the Champions League. A potential heavy defeat against premium opposition could damage the moral around Ibrox could also boost Neil Lennon’s side as they look to make it 9-in-a-row.
Another positive factor for Celtic is the Scottish coefficient, which has been damaged as a result of only Celtic’s involvement in European football for the last 8 years.
Had they held on to their lead last night rather than surrendering that to a late own goal, the Rangers would have been considerably richer and would have been seeded in the round of 32.
“Rangers through but losing that goal has cost them €880,000, it could’ve been €570k for the win (now €190k) and €1m for winning the group (now €500k for finishing second) .Rangers are now also not seeded for the last 32.’ Inside The SPFL tweeted last night. That’s a big financial set-back for the cash-strapped Ibrox club which was founded in 2012.
The results this season have taken Scotland from 26th to 15th in the coefficient rankings meaning that if Scotland remain or improve on this, they will receive two Champions League places in the season after next. However, wins in the next round for either teams could result in Scotland moving towards 13th place which would give Celtic a place in the Champions League playoffs should they win the league this year.
Rangers through but losing that goal has cost them €880,000, it could’ve been €570k for the win (now €190k) and €1m for winning the group (now €500k for finishing second)
Rangers are now also not seeded for the last 32.
They join group winners and seeded Celtic.
— Inside The SPFL (@AgentScotland) December 12, 2019
If Celtic and Rangers can get a win in the next round then it would give Celtic players a chance to be well rested, whilst giving the club the privilege of being able to prepare for the play-off game.
Both of these reasons highlight why Rangers qualifying, along with Celtic, is a good thing for Celtic. What is important is that Celtic do not dwell upon what their city rivals are doing, however. Instead, Neil Lennon and his team must focus upon completing across the final three fronts having already won the League Cup.
ALSO ON THE CELTIC STAR…
Gordon Set for January Move in Search for First Team Football…see HERE.
Lennon Praises ‘Unbelievable’ Ntcham and Robertson’s Debut Stats…see HERE.
Sandman’s Definitive Rantings – Celtic Return to Castle Dracula, ‘Once bitten, twice shy’…see HERE.