It has been a thrilling week of football with the result that both big European finals will be contested by teams from the English Premiership, writes Brian Wilson.
The biggest winner is the Premiership itself. Already fabulously wealthy, its status around the world will be further enhanced by this unprecedented advertisement for its superiority.
The juxtaposition with memories generated by the recent deaths of two Lisbon Lions is extreme. Each team in these finals will be drawn from a League of Nations, confirming the power of money to attract the world’s best players.
Scottish clubs have long watched the financial gap with big European leagues grow to the point at which “level playing-field” competition became impossible.
These leagues showed little interest in the fact that clubs from smaller countries with great traditions and support were being sidelined by the sheer power of money, mostly from television rights.
Now the boot is moving towards the other foot. In boardrooms from Madrid to Milan, the thought must dawn that maybe there is something in this financial fair play thing after all – because the English Premiership is racing so far ahead of the pack.
Six of the ten wealthiest clubs in Europe are in England. The two richest clubs in the Europa League will contest the final. The Premiership’s global TV rights will soar even further on the back of this week’s events.
The logic of all that points to a greater spread of wealth through restructuring of European football with less regard for the straitjacket of national leagues. The more clubs feel a vested interest in promoting such an approach, the better.
Therein may lie the opportunity for Scotland’s leading clubs to aspire once more to achieving their potential and fulfilling European dreams.