Scottish clubs have averaged the smallest amount of co-efficient points since the 2015/16 season, which won’t be enough to hold on to 8th place in the live UEFA rankings table.
The country’s five European entrants have contributed a total of 17.5 points this season - an average of just 3.500 - with one round of fixtures remaining. Both Celtic and Rangers have failed to win a single Champions League match, meaning Scotland have already been leapfrogged by Belgium.
While it hasn’t been a vintage campaign, crucially, Scotland only needs to maintain a top 10 spot to maintain a direct entry Champions League spot with a qualifying spot for the second placed team in the SPFL. They remain on course to achieve that objective, despite Austria (33.600pts) staying hot on their heels.
Overall, Scottish clubs have made great progress in improving the country’s European standing in recent seasons, with Rangers advancing to the knockout stage of the Europa League three years in a row and reaching the final against Eintracht Frankfurt last season.
However, that hasn’t been the case on this occasion, with Motherwell unable to chip in any further points after suffering home and away Europa Conference League qualifying defeats to League of Ireland side Sligo Rovers.
Dundee United contributed a solitary point to the tally courtesy of their memorable first-leg triumph over Dutch outfit AZ Alkmaar, before a humiliating 7-0 defeat in the second leg saw them exit the competition.
Hearts now have four points on the board thanks to their two group stage wins over Latvian champions RFS, while Rangers have remarkably contributed the MOST co-efficient points thus far (6.5pts), despite being at risk of posting the WORST EVER total in Champions League history.
That’s largely because the Ibrox side generated 4.0pts for qualifying for the group stages and secured two wins and a draw throughout the qualifying process against Royale Union Saint-Gilloise and PSV Eindhoven.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men, who currently have a -18 goal difference - entertain Ajax at Ibrox in their final matchday next Tuesday - hoping for an unlikely 5-0 win over the Eredivisie champions which would extend their stay in Europe beyond Christmas. Failure to do so would see them exit Europe, but any sort of win or draw would add to the points tally in any case.
Celtic remain 0.5pts behind their rivals with 6.0pts this season - courtesy of their automatic 4.0pts Champions League group stage bonus and the two draws they have achieved against Shakhtar Donetsk so far. They face a difficult trip to the Santiago Bernabeu to face European champions Real Madrid next Wednesday.
It means the total combined amount of 3.500 is just 0.500 points more than what was achieved eight years ago. Beligum currently sit on 9.200pts after Club Brugge booked their place in the Champions League last-16 on Wednesday and Union Saint-Gilloise followed suit by advancing from their Europa League group last night. Anderlecht and KAA Gent are also still in with a chance of progressing from their respective Conference League sections.
Tenth-placed Austria are counting on RB Salzburg to finish at least third in their Champions League group, which would ensure they progress in one competition or other. Sturm Graz are also still locked in a four-way battle with Feyenoord, Lazio and FC Midjytlland in their Europa League group.