Although Europa League betting favours English clubs Manchester United and Arsenal to win the title, some teams will be more than happy with understated glory. Celtic and Rangers will be proud of their efforts thus far, which have put them in good stead to continue their campaign to the knockout stages.
As a national football league, the Scottish Premiership is often overlooked on the European stage. A league positioned next door to the best football league in the world, will no doubt struggle to reach the spotlight. Many players are more than happy to travel across the border to play for English clubs.
But just because a lot of the talent moves country, it doesn’t mean that Scottish clubs are empty-handed. Something they have proved in this year’s Europa League competition.
It would be fair to say that in recent years, Rangers haven’t had the easiest of times. After going through what was one of the most shocking financial controversies in modern-day football, the club managed to work its way up from the depths of the Scottish Third Division to the Premiership in four seasons. Now the club once again contests the title, alongside rivals Celtic.
Rangers were drawn in Europa League Group G this year, alongside Young Boys, Feyenoord and Porto. Nothing separates the Young Boys and Rangers, but both teams sit in qualifying positions on seven points, with two wins and a draw to their names.
Porto and Feyenoord sit point for point at the bottom of the table, unlikely to catch up with Rangers due to the games they have left in the group. It may be too early to predict the teams that will advance, but after their stellar performance against Porto, for Rangers it looks promising.
Celtic sit at the top of Group E, undefeated and have already qualified for the knockout stages. After ending their first game with Rennes 1-1 with both teams conceding penalties, their European campaign didn’t get off to the best of starts. Rennes was a match that the Scottish side should have won as the French side have already been eliminated from the tournament. The Celts will be sure to not let the game slip through their fingers once more during their second meeting at the end of the month.
CFR Cluj sits in the second qualifying position, with their only defeat so far coming at the hands of Celtic. The Bhoys managed to deliver a 2-0 defeat to the Romanian side, the win was monumental for Celtic, and it puts them in good stead to move forward to the knockout stages.
Although the side’s campaign so far hasn’t been full of sunshine and rainbows. Their last meeting against Lazio ended with a sour taste after both clubs were fined for illicit chants, and the Scottish club received further punishment for “illicit banners”. Although the club were fined over £10,000 last month for letting off flares at the game against Cluj, it seems the fans haven’t learnt how to behave on away days just yet.
After the Old Firm’s recent success, the UEFA coefficient ranking table has seen Scotland climb another two places to 16th position. If Scotland can move back into the top 15, it would mean the top two clubs in the Premiership would go into the Champions League qualifiers in 2021, and a third representative would go into the Europa League.