Scotland, Rangers for Champions League place

Scotland, Rangers for Champions League place

When John Beaton booed at Ibrox, it marked the start of the Scottish Premiership’s most important season in 12 years.

Because that was the last campaign in which the title winners were guaranteed Champions League group stage football.

This is a huge incentive given the financial reward of taking their seat at the top table in UEFA’s richest competition.

And it is thanks to progress made on the continent, with Rangers reaching the round of 16 of last season’s Europa League to help Scotland win a close battle with Ukraine for that spot.

Two seasons with the same golden ticket to the end, both 12 years apart. Yet there are many similarities between the two campaigns.

For starters, Rangers, as they have been this season, have a stable team and are the favorites to raise the scudetto.

Next it was Walter Smith who won his first scudetto since returning to the club for a second term in office.

And this time Steven Gerrard ends a ten-year wait for the return of the league flag to Ibrox with their first title.

Alterations were made throughout the city to try to win back the trophy. While it’s Ange Postecoglu this summer, it was Tony Mowbre then.

The two have stumbled in their quest to reach the Champions League group stage as Mobre’s side moved to Arsenal after Moscow’s win over Dynamo.

Postekoglu failed the first hurdle after moving to Midtzel, meaning he hasn’t even cracked a crack at PSV Eindhoven.

That Euro pain can be healed by winning the championship when an automatic Champions League seat is ready to hold.

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Mowbre, however, failed spectacularly when he was fired with the Rangers disappearing into the distance. It remains to be seen how Postecoglu performs, but he is three points behind after a game down to Hearts in the first game.

And with that Champions League incentive the pressure is greater than ever to get the hoops into shape quickly.

When asked about the importance of financial rewards, Postecoglu might say “I’m not an accountant friend, I’m a football manager”.

But it is important. Mowbre was within a month of his dismissal when then-President John Reed exposed the cost of the reduction.

Announcing the club’s financial results, Reid admitted: “Not playing in the Champions League clearly translates to a significant drop in revenue and we took a hit there.”

When your opponents reach the promised land of European football, in a league where only two teams can actually finish in first place, it’s a double whammy.

And Rangers still have a chance to reach this season’s Champions League group stage as they face Malmö and then Olympiakos or Ludogorets, then Celtic fixing a double double whammy.

This could see Ibrox earning up to 90 million dollars by qualifying for the group stage this season and then winning the championship to qualify for automatic qualification the following season.


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