It’s always going to be difficult for Scottish clubs to be able to afford players that are going to dominate proceedings in European ties, and the Champions League in particular.
That can take tens and tens of millions of pounds.
And even then, some of the really top clubs across Europe have spent £30-40 million on a single player and still struggled.
So while the results for the Old Firm this season have been disappointing, we just need to be mindful that the standard in the Champions League is unforgiving, and there are world-class players all over the tournament.
However, we must never believe that our teams can’t compete.
To be fair to Celtic, they’ve given it a good go, and Ange Postecoglou has every right to be proud of his players for their bravery and desire in all games.
They just came up short at vital moments, and we have all seen that you don’t get away with much at that level.
But I do believe that the Hoops and Rangers will be better for the experience of the past three months.
Yes, at times, it’s been cruel and painful. But it’s better to be in the Champions League than not to be.
They all just need to make sure that they have taken things on board, and will put them all to good use for next year.
Despite some very good performances, Celtic crashed out of Europe on Tuesday night after the 1-1 draw at home to Shakhtar Donetsk.
The Celtic fans are disappointed about that, but they’ve been happy enough with the team’s performances.
They’ve been on the front foot in many games, and created several clear-cut chances against Real Madrid, RB Leipzig and the Ukrainian outfit.
It was just unfortunate that they weren’t clinical enough and they did waste several opportunities.
Ange’s team now head to Real Madrid in midweek, with nothing but pride to play for.
They have two points from five games, and it will take an almighty effort to add to that tally during their 90 minutes against the Champions League holders.
Rangers lost 3-0 in Naples, and they are bottom of their section with zero points and just one goal scored.
However, technically, they are still in with a chance of finishing third and getting a crack at the Europa League.
All they need to do is defeat Ajax by five goals on Tuesday night at Ibrox.
Yes, that’s highly unlikely.
The Rangers supporters have been critical of Giovanni van Bronckhorst and the players in recent weeks.
They found the 4-0 defeat away to Ajax on the opening night and the 7-1 home defeat to Liverpool totally unacceptable.
This has led to some fans calling for Giovanni to be replaced.
It’s even been suggested that some Bluenoses would like to see Steven Gerrard back in charge after he and Aston Villa parted company.
That scenario is completely hypothetical, and only Steven would know what he would do if he was ever offered another chance on Glasgow’s south side.
My personal view is that he wouldn’t go back to Ibrox.
The full focus of all Rangers supporters should be on getting behind their manager and the squad. Giovanni deserves to be in the job.
I’ve always said there is a better chance of being successful if there is unity. If you don’t have a togetherness on and off the park, then you will struggle.
What is going to be interesting – and will have a significant outcome on the rest of the season – is what Rangers do in the January transfer window.
Whether it’s Giovanni, or someone else in charge, they will need to find some better quality to improve the squad.
Because of Champions League qualification, and the sale of Joe Aribo, Nathan Patterson and Calvin Bassey, significant funds have arrived into the Light Blues’ bank account in recent months.
New players have arrived, but too many haven’t managed to hit the required standards.
This needs to be addressed, and it will be interesting to see what funds are made available during the next window.
After the disappointing campaign for our clubs, there has been a suggestion that the SPFL should cancel all weekend domestic fixtures to give our teams eight or nine days preparation time ahead of their European ties.
On paper, it’s a very credible idea and, in an ideal world, we could do that. But it would only lead to fixture chaos later on in the season.
So, I can’t see it happening.
However, let’s hope all of our teams – Celtic, Rangers and Hearts – can get positive results this week and finish off on a high.
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