Celtic heroics could land second Champions League place but we could be better off without it

Neil Lennon wakes up this morning safe in the knowledge that Celtic has topped Group E in the Champions League.

The win means Celtic will be seeded in the last 32, which could help produce a more favourable draw.

The result, along with Rangers’ draw in Rotterdam, has helped boost Scotland’s coefficient from the 2021-22 season.

The coefficient is worked out by the performances of a nation’s clubs over a period of five-years. As things stand, Scotland is in 15th place which would mean an extra shot at the Champions League.

That would be a benefit if Celtic were to lose a league title. We’re talking about the 10 in a row one here, so logic dictates that the club will be doing everything to win this year and next and secure that slice of history.

All of which means, Rangers would stand to be the beneficiaries. Whether they remain a going concern by that point is anyone’s guess (not withstanding the £20m £30m £40m £50m for Alfredo Morelos that would magically change their fortunes… not that they would sell their hyperinflation-hit talisman-child for any amount of dosh, of course).

However, after all the carnage in Scottish football caused by the downright cheating and financial recklessness of the first Rangers, lessons don’t seem to have been learned.

Certainly, off the pitch, they never are, as last night in Rotterdam showed again.

Heading to the airport with a huge banner emblazoned with ‘Fenian bastards’, fighting and apparently glassing each other in Dam Square, proudly presenting a pair of slack-jawed yokels to Dutch TV to belch out bile about the Lisbon Lions and “petrol bombing a Fenian’s house”, they followed all of that up with yet more sectarian chanting at the game.

Despite having already had a stand closed by UEFA this season for racism, they carried on regardless, belting out FTP add ons to ‘Sweet Caroline’.

When it was pointed out by journalist Jordan Campbell from the Athletic, below, the general reaction was that nothing had happened and it had all been made up.

The journalist was a “grass” who was intent on drawing it to the attention of FARE and getting their club into trouble, according to the raging responses.

As if the anti-discrimination body’s match delegates wouldn’t have heard and reported it.

There’s always going to be whataboutery. But if the political chanting from both sets of fans about the IRA, UDA and UFA was stripped out, we’d still be left with a poisonous songbook and innate hatred from the slopes of Ibrox as mentioned above.

Peter Lawwell has got a lot to answer for, an opinion that might upset some of his acolytes.

However, he got it spot on at the AGM when he spoke of giving”enemies the opportunity to class us the same as other clubs and portray us as two side of the one coin, which we are not. We are different.”

They are the cloud that haunts our silver lining.

There will always be idiots in any support, in any group of people. And it’s fair to say that there are people among the Rangers support who have no truck with the kind of bile spouted, the sort that targets Scott Brown through the tragic death of his sister, or the Lisbon Lions as those heroes sadly fall, or the Pope, or the ‘Fenians’ that they want to ‘go home’.

When their songs are belted out, the usual defence of the ‘small minority’ can be turned on its head when it comes to Rangers. The ‘small minority’ seems to be the ones who aren’t racist or bigoted.

If they get a full stadium ban after already having had a partial stadium closure, they’d only have themselves to blame. And if that loss of income helped in hurtling the new incarnation towards the abyss, it would be a sweet irony.

Having watched them do zilch to prevent their previous beloved club from dying, they may be the ones to put a pillow over this one’s head.

Outside of the beancounters, no one missed a “Rangers” in the top flight before and, should a similar fate befall the current outfit, there will be a run on jelly and ice cream that will make pre-Brexit panic buying look rather orderly.

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