Monday, August 20, 2018

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2018/9 Playoff-Round Preview

They're up to 23rd! That's the good news. The bad news is that Celtic dropped out of the Champions League. That is not bad news for the coefficient per se (since they drop down to the Europa League), but it is bad news for the club's budget, will which affect their competitiveness in future years.

Third-Round Review

So it was a mixed bag. Celtic only picked up 0.125 in being bounced from the Champions League. Rangers picked up 0.375 in advancing. And Hibs managed 0.125 on their way out. Blame was being thrown around, but I think they just weren't good enough to make it any further. Anyway, the 3.25 so far is more than Scotland earned in their terrible year three years ago. And they still have two clubs alive! The goal of 5-6 points per year is achievable (if not necessarily likely) this year.

Playoff-Round Preview

Rangers (Elo 1421) faces the Russian club FC Ufa (Elo 1575). gives Rangers only a 25.6% chance of advancing. Of course, they were underdogs in the last two rounds as well, so the Elo may not tell the whole story.

Celtic (Elo 1534) takes on Lithuanian Club Suduva (Elo 1278). Clubelo gives Celtic a 85.4% of advancing to the group stage. One would hope it would be higher, but this Celtic club does not seem as strong as the ones from the last two years. After only two league matches, they are sitting in sixth place.

The only thing that seems at stake here is Rangers advancing to the group stages, however many points they pick up. Having both Old Firm sides in the group stage of the same competition would be delicious.

So a good result is having both sides advancing. That's a minimum of 0.5 more points, but more likely at least 0.75.

A bad result would see Rangers out, but Celtic advancing. Rangers wouldn't pick up anything on their way out, and Celtic would drop some points. Say 0.25-0.375 total.

A disastrous result would have both sides out. Even picking up 0.5 on the way out, it would be a disaster.

Where We Stand

They're in 23rd now. Looking above them, Belarus' BATE Borisov is still in the Champions League (thus guaranteed a group stage of some sort). Serbia is also going to be tough to catch, being the only other nation with two teams alive, and one of those is in the Champions League. So I'm going to set 21st as a realistic upside for this year. We won't think about the downside until the group stages are set.

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