Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: Knockout Round Review

What's that, you say? The knockout round isn't over? Well, it is if you aren't one of the top 13 countries in Europe. (Hats off, Czech Republic.)
As you can see, Scotland's 2018 ranking ended up 26th (or tied for 26th -- it doesn't matter). That includes the five-year period ending in 2018. Their 4.0 points for the year put them in a three-way tie for 23rd.

Celtic contributed 3.125 of those 4 points. That's the best Celtic performance over the five-year span, so blame the other clubs.

Celtic picked up 0.5 for the coefficient by winning the first leg of their Round-of-32 matchup, and got knocked out by losing the return leg by a bigger margin. That pushed them into a tie with Belarus.

The access list for 2018/19 is out. As expected, nations ranked 17-24 are treated the same, as well as those ranked 25-51 (that are not Liechtenstein).  So 16 to 17 and 24 to 25 are the only transitions that Scotland needs to keep an eye on.

Good news, 2018/19 uses the previous year's ranking, so at #23, Scotland won't have their cup winner enter until the second round of Europa League qualifying. For 2019/20, that'll be the first round, however. I will have more on who is likely to represent Scotland in Europe once the Scottish Cup semi-finals are set. Suffice it to say, however, that for the first time in a long time, the five biggest Scottish clubs are the top five in the league table, promising some well-funded European squads. (If that holds up, it will be the first time in 13 years that those five have held the top five slots).

Scotland starts out the 2019 rankings in 25th place. I include the rankings up to 16th to show how out of reach that is for next year. But a good showing by multiple clubs could bring them up a few rankings and position them to make a move in future years.

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