Rangers play FC Midtjylland in the second leg of the Europa League 3rd Round qualifiers on Thursday night, and they take a 4-2 lead to Ibrox.
However, one of the first questions that Steven Gerrard was asked in his pre-match press conference today was about bitter rivals Celtic.
They crashed out of the Champions League to Romanian champions Cluj when they lost their second leg match 4-3 at home on Tuesday night.
Gerrard gave a very diplomatic answer saying, “All Scottish teams do their best to help the coefficient so to that aspect it is disappointing. But it shows you can’t take a first-leg result for granted.
“My players need to take note of that going into tomorrow night. Tomorrow is a good test to see where we are at from a mental point of view.”
SG: All Scottish teams do their best to help the coefficient so to to that aspect it is disappointing. But it shows you can’t take a first leg result for granted.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) August 14, 2019
What cost to the coefficient?
If you asked most Rangers fans what they made of the result last night the coefficient would probably have been the furthest thing from their minds.
UEFA’s coefficients are statistics used to rank and seed teams in the European competitions, and are based on teams competing over the past five seasons.
Put simply, the better Scottish teams do, the more chance teams have of getting byes through to later qualifying rounds.
So, Celtic progressing in the Champions League could help Rangers in the future.
Not progressing through to the group stages of the Champions League has had an immediate financial consequence on Celtic, who would have received £14.13m instead of the £2.71m they’ll get if they qualify for the group stages of the Europa League.
By losing last night Celtic also missed out on the coefficient points for Champions League qualification and also the points for getting a draw on the night.
However, good campaigns for Scottish teams in the Europa League group stages would minimise this damage.
So far, Celtic, Rangers, Kilmarnock and Aberdeen have won 12 of their 18 games.
It could all come down to Rangers and Celtic again though, this season, with Kilmarnock out and Aberdeen going into their second leg trailing 2-0 to Rijeka.
Despite being 4-2 up, Gerrard isn’t taking anything for granted. However, it would take a disaster bigger than the one suffered by Celtic for his side not to progress through to the next round.
Here is the updated coefficient – tough night for Scotland, not only does Celtic bow out of UCL but they also fail to earn any points because of the CFR Cluj late goal. Crvena Zvezda advances in one of the sloppiest penalty shootouts I've seen (thanks to an awful pitch). pic.twitter.com/asgaEz0auw
— UEFA Calculator (@UEFACalculator) August 13, 2019