What Aberdeen, Celtic, Kilmarnock and Rangers need to do help Scottish football get second Champions League spot

Scottish clubs will have to have a productive European campaign for Scotland to get a second Champions League entrant. Picture: SNS
Scottish clubs will have to have a productive European campaign for Scotland to get a second Champions League entrant. Picture: SNS
Share this article
Have your say

The 2007-2008 season were heady days for Scottish clubs in Europe.

Four teams represented the country with two entering the Champions League and two into the Uefa Cup.

Celtic and Rangers played a total of six qualifying matches between them to reach the group stages of Europe's Premier competition.

To provide context, Celtic will have to play eight fixtures alone to qualify for the group stages, as was the case last season and will remain the case for the 2020-2021 Champions League for whoever wins the Scottish Premiership.

As for the Europa League, Rangers played eight times to reach the Europa League stages last campaign. That remains the same this season for all three of Scotland's entrants in Europe's secondary competition.

Back in 2007, Aberdeen's third-place finish in the league ensured direct qualification to the Uefa Cup first round where they defeated Ukrainian's Dnipro to reach the group stage. Meanwhile, Dunfermline who qualified via the Scottish Cup were required to play just one qualifying round before the competition proper - they were defeated.

With the team allocation already set in stone for next season's European competition, attention can turn to the 2021-2022 Euro campaign.

It begins a new 'cycle' with the introduction of a third competition, the 'UEL2'. It will mean changes to the Europa League but "no changes will be made to the format and access list of the UEFA Champions League".

Therefore we can analyse what the four Scottish clubs will need to do for Scotland to get a second Champions League entrant.

The country are currently 20th in the Uefa country coefficient. To be awarded a second spot they will need to reach 15th, a position held by Croatia.

As stated by Uefa: "The association club coefficients are based on the results of each association's clubs in the five previous UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League seasons. The rankings determine the number of places allocated to an association (country) in forthcoming UEFA club competition."

Celtic have been flying the flag for Scotland in recent years, but they finally were given significant help last season with Rangers reaching the Europa League group stages. It not only seen the country record its highest coefficient score for a single campaign since 07-08 but jump six places from 26th.

The 6.750 score took Scotland to 22.125 points. Croatia in 15th have a total of 27.375.

Competition for the much-wanted 15th position will be fierce with Sweden and Belarus not far behind Scotland and Serbia, Cyprus, Switzerland and Denmark ahead.

The culmination of the play-off stages for both competitions will shine greater light on the state of play.

However, it shows that it is imperative for not only Celtic to reach the Champions League group stages, where they will earn Scotland bonus points, but also for at least one of the three Europa League entrants to make it all the way through the qualifying stages.

In addition, if all three of Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and Rangers can go deep in qualifying it would boost Scotland's score.

It will likely take a score nearing 10 points for the country to close the gap and have a realistic chance of making the top 15th.

That will likely mean Celtic qualifying from the groups stages of the Champions League and for Aberdeen, Kilmarnock and/or Rangers doing the same in the Europa League.

It is an uphill task but with Scottish football on the rise it is certainly not impossible.