European elimination the tip of the iceberg for Celtic

Celtic’s Champions League exit at the hands of Juventus this week could well be the least of the Scottish champion’s worries.

As a result of the reduction in FIFA coefficient of Scotland as a nation, Celtic will have to enter next season’s Champions League at the first qualifying round after their inevitable 44th league title.  This will mean the hoops will have to go through three rounds of qualifying matches just to reach the group stages and will have to successfully negotiate 12 matches just to get to the same stage that they managed to reach this season.

With a greater risk of Neil Lennon’s men not reaching the group stages and the reduced television revenue that comes to boot, it will further highlight the shortcomings in revenue brought about by their nearest, fiercest rivals in Glasgow Rangers.  At a time when money in the Scottish game is at a premium, Celtic will further feel the pinch of not having the gate receipts that come hand in hand with at least 4 old firm clashes per season.  These money spinning matches are on hold for at least another two seasons following Rangers demotion to Scottish football’s bottom league.  This period could even be extended with the proposed re-structuring of the league system in Scotland.

In short, Celtic’s elimination from the Champions League was more a matter of ‘when’ rather than ‘if’ but things are set to continue to decline from the men from Parkhead as a result of Scottish football being in a long tunnel, with very little light at the end of it.

Aaron Sharp