When Scottish clubs – all but one – play in Europe I always want them to do well and it has nothing to do with the national co-efficient. I want them to do well because they are Scottish clubs, and I want to see the reputation of the game here grow.
But I am a realist, and fairies do not exist at the bottom of the garden, and hoping that Scottish clubs will one day stop humiliating this country in Europe is like hoping that the SFA finally gets serious about its own role in the epic failures of yesteryear with the national team.
There are things that could happen and things that never will.
Last night, Kilmarnock took another spot on the Scottish football roll of dishonour with an absolutely disgraceful result that you got a huge bonus on sportskokladenje24 vs the Welsh minnows Connahs Quay Nomads. It is inconceivable that a Steve Clarke team would ever have suffered such a reversal, so that club has quite plainly got dramatically backwards. It is a year zero result for them and one that should already have alarm bells ringing for the coming campaign.
Some in the media are describing it as the worst result by a Scottish team in European football history; how relieved they must be to have that to write, but it’s not true of course because the Ibrox club’s failure to Progres under Caixinha, with ten times the spending power of the Rugby Park club, will most probably hold that record forevermore, and no “revenge match” victory over the same club in the next round is going to erase that night from the books.
But those who have described last night’s result as a catastrophe aren’t joking. It was exactly that, and not just for the Rugby Park club. It was a stunning blow against the co-efficient as well, coming on top of Scotland’s disastrous Alex McLeish tenure.
Things have to change at UEFA, our club side has to be cut adrift of these sorts of lamentable results.
Whilst we’re chained to this we’ve got no hope of progressing to a place where we’re even playing less qualifying games.
Results like last night are how we got here, having to navigate our way through four separate rounds.
This can’t go on. Disasters like last night will continue to pull us down no matter how well we’re able to climb.
There’s nothing we can do except sit on the side-lines and watch as the co-efficient tanks, and we pay the penalty for it, and why? Because other clubs here can’t get their own act together. Connahs finished third in Wales last year. This isn’t tenable.
Officials at Ajax have pointed out the absurdity of this, and they are correct to, and whilst I will be sniggering away – laughing, in fact – if the Ibrox NewCo crashes out of Europe for the second time at the hands of the Luxembourg club Progres, I will wince too because I will be more than aware of what that result ultimately means.
The best reform Celtic can push for in Europe is to end this national co-efficient nonsense.
Let our club stand and fall based on what it accomplishes on its own, instead of having our score pulled into the toilet by other clubs and a national team that can’t get its act together.