Monday, August 19, 2019

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2019/20 Playoff-Round Preview

Could have gone better, but definitely could have gone worse.

Third-Round Review

Celtic picked up 0.125 for the coefficient in an away draw to Cluj and seemed poised to progress as late as the second half of the home tie, where they were leading 3-2. Then they dropped the match 4-3, meaning only 0.125 total and falling to the Europa League.

Rangers looked absolutely dominant, winning both legs against Midtjylland, 4-2 and 3-1. 0.5 for the coefficient, and they should have an easier time the next round.

Aberdeen lost both legs 2-0. Absolutely dreadful, and another third-round exit for Derek McInnes. They depart having contributed 0.875 to the coefficient.

That adds up to 0.625 points, staying in 19th place, and still having more points from this year than any other nation.

It's more points than they had last year at this time, and last year was spectacular. So it's hard to argue with success, though there are some "if only"s in there.

Fourth-Round Preview

Celtic (Elo 1568) is up against Swedish champions AIK (Elo 1525). Clubelo gives Celtic a 56.2% chance of advancing.

Rangers (Elo 1549) faces Legia Warsaw (Elo 1420). Clubelo gives Rangers a 69.8% chance of advancing.

I think there's a strong hope for two teams in the group stages again, and the bounty of points that is possible there, but there is a slight chance of crashing and burning and seeing nobody progress.

In particular, if you believe the odds (and Rangers in particular has a history of overperforming odds in the past year), there is about a 40% chance of having both progress, and a 13% chance of neither progressing.

Where We Stand

Not much changed in Scotland's neighborhood. Norway moved ahead of Switzerland. Everybody is down two teams, so there's no real advantage there (though having 3 of 5 left is a slight advantage, particularly if one is entering the Champions League now). Scotland could easily pass Serbia, and hypothetically Croatia. In turn, a bad round would see them drop below Norway, and there's a mathematical possibility of dropping below Switzerland.

But the most important thing is to get teams through to the group stage (and see their rivals not manage the same).

Monday, August 05, 2019

Scotland's UEFA Coefficient: 2019/20 Third-Round Preview

That went (mostly) well. All three remaining Scottish teams advanced, and they only dropped 0.25 total points based on two away draws. The road gets tougher from here, though.

Second Round Review

Celtic downed Nomme Kalju 5-0 and 2-0 to advance. They got an easy draw, and took advantage with full points.

Rangers built up a 2-0 lead on Progres Niederkorn before settling for a 0-0 away draw.

Aberdeen started with a 1-1 away draw to Chikhura Sachkhere before destroying them 5-0 at home.

That adds up to 1.25 points, and moving up to 19th place.

Third-Round Preview

Celtic (Elo 1566) faces Cluj (Elo 1572). Clubelo gives them a 49% chance of advancing.

Rangers (Elo 1508) faces FC Midtjylland (Elo 1539), so they should be slight underdogs.

Aberdeen (Elo 1399) is up against HNK Rijeka (Elo 1530), so they should be heavier underdogs.

Everybody's technically an underdog, so I'd say a good result is two wins, and more than 0.75 points. A bad result would be losing both Rangers and Aberdeen to European football before the playoff round. It would be reasonable to see Scotland anywhere from 17th to 21st after this round, although the low end would take a good bit of bad luck.

Playoff (Fourth) Round Sneak Peak

Celtic is up against Slavia Prague (Elo 1649) if they beat Cluj, so an even harder road the group stages of the Champions League. If they fall to Cluj, it's the winner of Sheriff Tiraspol (Elo 1304) and AIK (Elo 1539). So I expect them in the Europa League group stages one way or another, but it's not a pushover.

If Rangers upsets Midtjylland, they face the winner of Legia Warsaw (Elo 1403) or Atromitos (Elo 1468). They should be favored in either situation.

In the unlikely event Aberdeen progresses to the playoff round for the first time under the Europa League format, they have to take on Gent (Elo 1546) or Larnaca (Elo 1539). The draw never seems to be kind to Derek McInnes' club.