Today, a curious article on Scotland’s plummeting co-efficient, hot on the heels of yesterday’s piece about how Celtic may lose out because Real Madrid are moaning about something that has absolutely sod all to do with us.
You know what? This one has sod all to do with us either, because the changes to European football which will be coming in next season will negate some of the dire influence of the national co-efficient on clubs.
In other words, we’ll stand or fall based on how well we do in Europe ourselves, so we won’t be dragged into the quagmire with other teams.
Oh we’ll still have to navigate three perilous qualification rounds … but removed from some of the national co-efficent drag-down we’ll be better off.
This news does have an impact on other Scottish sides, who will now have to play all the Europa League qualifier games.
The media is writing about this today, and I agree that it’s serious.
But I rather suspect they would be less concerned if it wasn’t for how this might impact one particular club. Scottish clubs have had to do it before, and I don’t remember anyone making too big a deal out of it. But once again we’re all supposed to sing a lament for poor Sevco.
If they get there, which is by no means certain either on football merit or with this pesky license issue in the way.
But the moaning has started in advance of that.
Warburton is already complaining that the winter break isn’t long enough to suit him. Or is he moaning that it’s too long? I can never tell with this guy and his convoluted logic. He needn’t worry too much, he won’t be at Ibrox by the time that club plays a European match, if it ever does.
Besides, I have to say this; if any Scottish club is genuinely worried about playing the one that finished fourth in Estonia then I have to question their bottle, and ambition. So the qualifiers have to be navigated a bit early … wow. How terrible.
Players will just had to graft a wee bit harder, like the rest of us do. This doesn’t bother most fans, I reckon.
Doubtless, Warburton and others will be ready to hide behind this if, by some miracle, he is still there and is able to lead Sevco into continental competition. An early exit is virtually guaranteed when you look at the dire state of their team; even a modestly talented team would be clear-cut favourites against that squad of his. “Oh we were made to play too early …” or “There were just too many games …” will be the refrain.
Funny, because didn’t they have additional games to play this season, in the revamped League Cup? And weren’t we told that beating some amateur teams was a good warm up for the season? It was one of their early reasons for all the hysterical optimism.
One report this morning suggested that the collapse in the co-efficient “coincided with Rangers absence”, which isn’t a very subtle way of sneering at the clubs who voted to send Sevco to Division 3 instead of giving them a berth in the SPL.
But it ignores a horrible historical reality they would perhaps rather forget; in Rangers last year of existence it was their abysmal performance on the European stage that hammered the nails into their coffin.
It’s fair to say too that their fans weren’t exactly saddened to see Scottish clubs fall in Europe over the years; they were delighted when Aberdeen and Hearts fell at the start of the season, in spite of people warning them those results would have this sort of impact.
They haven’t grasped it yet, so let me remind them what it means; even if Sevco gets the co-efficient points of Rangers (and if UEFA sticks to its guns that’s a non-starter) they are going to be low. So low that the club will get the Scottish national baseline co-efficient automatically as it’s likely to be higher than their own.
Their overall position will be lower than that of the teams who have been in Europe these past five years … and so they really ought to have been more supportive of those sides.
When Scottish clubs play in Europe I generally want to see them do well.
I make no bones about this, or that I’ll make an exception for Sevco.
Quite naturally I don’t want to see a team win who’s run by the kind of people they are and supported by worse.
But Aberdeen, Hearts and others will have my good wishes as always, because it’s important to the country.
But – and I cannot stress this enough – it will no longer hold back Celtic.
Other clubs are simply going to have to do better.
And I hope they do. All but one.