Rangers will no doubt be even more pleased about their progression to the Europa League last 16 phase after seeing Celtic knocked out of the tournament, but their impressive run may have inadvertently helped their bitter rivals. Rangers had already made sure of their place in this afternoon’s draw for the Europa League last 16 after beating Braga on Wednesday night.
The pressure was then on Celtic to follow suit in their second leg against Copenhagen at Parkhead.
Neil Lennon’s side were in a strong position after coming back from the first leg with a crucial away goal in a 1-1 draw.
But Celtic wasted a number of opportunities before being made to pay late on as the Danish Superliga side finished 3-1 winners to advance to the next round.
Lennon was bitterly disappointed after the final whistle, criticising his side for failing to take advantage of their strong position.
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They’ve now got to watch on with Rangers the sole Scottish representatives in the Europa League last-16 draw.
The defeat though also had some ramifications for Scotland’s UEFA coefficient, costing Scotland a guaranteed second Champions League qualifying spot from 2021/22.
The Scottish Premiership are still in a good position as securing a place in the top 15 drawing Champions League rewards.
Scotland currently sit 14th in the UEFA coefficient rankings with only Switzerland and Greece below them with active teams still competing in Europe.
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That poses a little bit of a threat to Scotland’s position, but only slightly with Olympiakos and Basel both needing to go far in the competition to oust Scotland from the top 15.
Olympiakos must reach the semi-final at best while Basel have to go as far as the final in order for Scotland to drop down to 16th.
Rangers though can make sure of Scotland’s position if they’re able to reach the quarter-finals.
If Scotland do hold on to their place inside the top 15, the top two sides in the Scottish Premiership will be drawn into the Champions League qualifying phase from 2021/22.
Scotland have traditionally had just one team qualifying for the Champions League qualifying phase, entering the competition in the first round of qualifying.
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But their current position could see things drastically change with Rangers’ run meaning the Scottish Premiership champions could enter the competition in the third qualifying round.
The Scottish Premiership runners-up meanwhile will enter at the second qualifying round.
While the changes aren’t going to take place until the start of the 2021 season, Celtic are currently in prime position to take full advantage of the Rangers’ success.
This will be determined on next season’s results in the Scottish Premiership though, with Steven Gerrard desperate to end Celtic’s dominance.
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