Huge Celtic and Rangers Champions League blow as Czech Republic leapfrog Scotland to take top-10 coefficient spot

Celtic's Cameron Carter-Vickers grabs Rangers' Todd Cantwell by the shirt at full time.Celtic's Cameron Carter-Vickers grabs Rangers' Todd Cantwell by the shirt at full time.
Celtic's Cameron Carter-Vickers grabs Rangers' Todd Cantwell by the shirt at full time.
Scotland earned only 6.4 UEFA coefficient points this season and have had Czech Republic breathing down our necks

Celtic and Rangers have been dealt a major blow, with the Scottish Premiership champions no longer receiving automatic qualification for the Champions League group stages for the 2025/26 season.

Scotland were occupying the final spot in UEFA’s top-10 coefficient rankings but have been leapfrogged by the Czech Republic following a result in the Europa Conference League quarter-finals on Thursday.

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With Rangers being knocked out the Europa League at the last 16 stage and Celtic suffering an early Champions League group stage elimination, Scotland were unable to earny any more than 6.4 points from this campaign.

And with Czech’s hot on our heels, a goalless draw earned by Viktoria Plzen away to Fiorentina has lifted them up into 10th place, banishing the guaranteed prize that the Scottish top-flight winners have enjoyed over the past three seasons.

Champions League group stage football does remain on offer for next season season with either Celtic or Rangers set to automatically compete in the newly-revamped competition. However, thereafter that will not be the case, who will then have to negotiate a play-off round against another 2024/25 league champion from outside the top 10 divisions in order to compete in the group stages.

That is almost certain to be the case for Celtic, but Rangers have an outside chance of sneaking in the 2025/26 Champions League group stages through the back door due to their better individual club coefficient standing after their European exploits in recent years.

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Providing Philippe Clement’s side are crowned champions with the highest individual coefficient in the qualifying rounds, and the Champions League winners have already qualified via their own domestic league, then the Ibrox side would be granted a place in the group stages.

The rankings - which are calculated over a five-year average with clubs awarded two points for a win and one point for a draw - determine what the country’s coefficient is based on the collective number of teams playing in continental competition at the start of the campaign.

Scotland are now poised to slide further down the rankings next season as the 2019/20 campaign when both Rangers and Celtic made it through to the Europa League knockout stages and helped the Premiership to earn 9.75 points drops off the calculations. The pressure will be on the five Scottish clubs who qualify for Europe this season to perform well next term in order to maintain Scotland’s current ranking.

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