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Here’s Hoping Scottish Teams Can Do Better In Europe

Date: 28th June 2018

 

Scottish football has got so much going for it at the moment.

More clubs are embracing social media and listening to their fanbase. We had an interesting run-in that involved both sides of the table in our top flight last season, our under-21 national side did extremely well in the Toulon Tournament, our senior team is boasting more numbers from our domestic leagues and some of our best prospects are winning very good deals at very strong teams all over the continent.

One thing I hope to see improving in the upcoming campaign is Scottish sides performing better in the European competitions.

For too long, the rest have underperformed and watched as Celtic carry the flag when it comes to competing in Europe.

The champions have been drawn against Alashkert of Armenia. If they get through the first qualifying round then they’ll be up against Scandinavian opposition in the form of Norwegian champs Rosenborg or Icelandic side Valur.

Celtic have qualified for the Champions League groups in the last two seasons under Brendan Rodgers and the Hoops will be determined to get another treble under their belt and reach that glamorous stage once again.

Hopefully the feel good factor that seems to be surrounding our game can see the other sides giving a better account of themselves this term too.

It’ll obviously be tough for Aberdeen, as last season’s runners-up have been drawn against English Premier League side Burnley.

The Dons have actually tasted European footballing nights on more occasions than their English counterparts, they will be further down the road in terms of preparation and they can hope that the underdog spirit can help them against their rivals.

Derek McInnes and his men should also look at Lincoln City for inspiration. Just last year, then non-league side Lincoln went to Turf Moor (home of Burnley) and knocked the Premier League outfit out of the FA Cup with a 1-0 win.

Aberdeen will hope they can cause an upset in July.

Rangers were absolutely embarrassed when they were knocked out of the Europa League qualifiers by Progres Niederkorn of Luxembourg. It was a shambolic showing that was the beginning of the end for former Gers boss Pedro Caixinha.

New gaffer Steven Gerrard will hope his side can hit the ground running when they take on Macedonian side FK Shkupi. Rangers have been drawn at home first and it will be vital that they get a victory at Ibrox that they can protect in Macedonia. This will be their opponent’s first entry into European competition.

If they see off Shkupi, then the Glasgow side will then face either Moldovan’s CS Petrocub or Croatian outfit NK Osijeck in the second qualifying round. That’s not the toughest of draws and the Ibrox club could be better equipped by then. Although they need to deal with FK Shkupi first.

We’ve then got Hibs. A club that keeps improving under Neil Lennon, a manager that conquered Barcelona whilst he was the Celtic boss.

Up first for Hibernian are NSI Runavik of the Faroe Islands. The Edinburgh team couldn’t have asked for an easier tie but they still have to be wary of letting complacency set in, too many Scottish sides have lost to minnows in our recent history.

If the Hibees do manage to stay clear of an upset, they’ll then take on Asteras Tripolis.

The Greek Superleague isn’t as strong as it once was and Asteras aren’t one of the footballing powerhouses in Greece. That being said they did finish in third place in 2015 and in fifth spot last season. They’ve also made the Europa League group stages twice in the last five years!

I hope the Scottish teams give a good account of themselves, don’t suffer from stage fright or crumble under the pressure.

We look like we are getting our act together but ultimately the proof will be in the pudding and we need to show that our sides can handle themselves on the European stage.

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