It wasn’t a surprise this morning to get up and find that The Daily Record was banging on about the coefficient. Not even a little bit surprising. The coefficient haunts us. So does the idea that the flag is carried by only one club. I know a lot of people believe this.
But it’s not true, and even if it was, I could care less. Celtic’s fate lies in Celtic’s hands. If, as Scottish champions, we have to play qualifiers to get to the Group Stages of the Champions League then so be it. That’s down to us to be good enough to win them, and when you look at who forms the Champions qualifying section, well those are games we should be winning.
Our record in qualifiers is a disgrace. You can count on one hand how many of them we’ve lost to sides where you’d be like “yeah, well they are a good side.” I’ve lost count of how many of our managers have complained about being sent into them under-resourced. This is down to You Know Who. If we got our act together none of this would matter.
What are we supposed to get from these stories which seek to convince us that we owe it all to Ibrox? It’s garbage.
We won our domestic title; we deserve to be in the Groups of the top tournament. It’s UEFA’s seedy practices which deny us that. Having the fourth placed team from a country in the “Champions League” is a mockery of the whole concept.
The coefficient works in favour of the same small number of clubs so it’s corrupted anyway.
Just so there’s no misunderstanding; I want them to get done tomorrow night, and I could not care what that does to the points.
We should have enough coefficient points to get into the Groups next season regardless; at worst, as Champions, we would be guaranteed Europa League Group Stage football with the same number of games.
But of course, we want the big competition because there are more opportunities in it than ever before. There are two extra places in the Groups next year, so either way I think we should be good enough to reach it. Ibrox has nothing to do with this.
Their co-efficient points are basically down to one season, and when that comes off the Scottish score – soon – we’re going to have play qualifiers anyway, there’s no escaping that fact. So again, I’m at a loss to know who is supposed to be impressed by the fact that their game at Ibrox tomorrow might go a way towards the Czech’s overtaking us.
Hey, if they overtake us, it’s because their clubs have outperformed ours.
At the top end of the thing, the co-efficient is clearly designed to benefit a handful of teams but below that it genuinely does come down to which countries are doing better than the rest.
All of our clubs have to do better.
All of them need to be getting points in these games, and I know a lot of Celtic fans were cheering on the likes of Hearts and Aberdeen and Hibs in their campaigns.
But you know what else? I also know that Ibrox fans were not. Their continuing bitterness towards every other club in the game is an established fact.
They were ecstatic when Aberdeen conceded two late goals against PAOK. Think they were sitting last night and mourning the collapse of the coefficient score? No, they were thrilled. That was an early Christmas for them.
Which is why I will cheer on the Czechs.
So, The Record’s attempt either to convince us to get behind Ibrox or to in some way shame us into feeling bad when we don’t … they can wipe their backsides with it as far as I’m concerned. Coefficient or not, if we win the league, I would fancy us to get to the Groups on the Champions path, because it’s made for teams like us.
This whole idea of Ibrox as having built the co-efficient is a lie anyway, although its one that the hacks are never going to call out. They like to perpetuate this myth and they can do it as they like without believing that it matters a damn to the rest of us.
Celtic’s problem has ever been a board which doesn’t take European football as seriously as it should and which has, over and over again, woefully underprepared us for it.
I look at the way they treated Rodgers in that final season he was at Parkhead the first time, that ghastly summer where he presented his target list to them and they gave him Youssouf Mulumbu on a free. He had three goes at getting there through qualifiers and that was his one failure.
Back the guy properly, listen to what he needs and wants, make sure his team is in place early and that the players are familiar with each other in time for those games and what do we have to worry about?
As I said at the start, this is down to us, nobody else. This is in our hands, nobody else’s. So when that game kicks off tomorrow I will not be thinking about the coefficient at all, I’ll be hoping that the Clement bubble is burst.
I don’t know a single Celtic fan who doesn’t feel the same way.