Celtic earn highest number of UEFA ranking points in Europe
CELTIC have earned more co-efficient points than any other club competing in continental competition this season.
Seven wins from their ten Champions League ties has allowed them to harvest a haul of 20 – out of Scotland’s 21.5 total – and ensure that this country’s combined figure will be higher than any such return from the previous four years. The timing could not be more welcome.
Mightily impressive as these statistics are in the context of Scotland’s seemingly terminal decline in cross-border competition, they won’t transform the country’s position in UEFA’s rankings. Celtic’s run to the last 16 of the Champions League will, however, prevent Scotland falling off the cliff edge.
Points gained from the past five seasons make up the total. Next year, the 2007-8 campaign will drop off from Scotland’s aggregate figure; a huge loss since Rangers reached the final of the UEFA Cup that season and Celtic made it to the last 16. Scotland’s points total exceeded ten as a result. The efforts of Neil Lennon’s men ensure that the figure from the current campaign will be at least 4.3. In part, that mitigates the downward trend caused by the average return across the past four years amounting to just over three. Such lowly totals explains why Scotland has dropped to a level where next year only its champions will have the opportunity to qualify for the Champions League, and require to negotiate three rounds to reach the group stages. Only three other Scottish teams will gain entry to continental competition. This season Scotland had two teams in the Champions League qualifying rounds and three in the Europa League qualifiers.
As it stands, Scotland will drop a further six places to 24th in the UEFA rankings for the access list of 2013-14. If Celtic had not bagged the bonus points for both reaching the Champions League group stages and them emerging from them, the country would have plunged to 28th position. Yet, were Celtic able to replicate their feats of the current campaign next year, a long road back to the top 15 could begin in earnest. Even a little help from other clubs could make a sizeable difference. And, in potentially facing less daunting opening opponents through requiring to enter at ever-earlier qualifying rounds in the Europa League, there must be hope of that possibility. Scotland’s slippage may not be perpetual.
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Tuesday 21 May 2013
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