The Fall of the Scottish Premier League

If you haven’t heard already, Rangers just crashed out of Champions League Qualifying yet again. Swedish side Malmo FF knocked them out by a final score of 2-1 on aggregate. If you didn’t see it, here is the winning goal:

(Be forewarned, it’s a beauty)

 

The loss puts Rangers out of Champions League and into Europa League. Pretty shameful that no club from Scotland has made it to the Round of 16 in Champions League since Celtic did it during the 2007-08 campaign. That was also the last of a three-year run for a Scottish club in the knockouts.

Scotland's future relevance may be up to Ally McCoist.

Scottish football may not be dying, but it certainly is paralyzed. The national team hasn’t qualified for a major tournament since 1998, and that doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. The league, which always has been dominated by the Old Firm, hasn’t been able to compete in major competitions, other than one final appearance in the UEFA Cup during the 2007-08 season.

Ally McCoist and Neil Lennon are both good managers, and they have the possibility to be great one day. But a large part of their respective legacies will hinge on not only their own personal success in Europe, but Scotland’s as a whole. You can win all the Scottish Premier League titles that you want, and it is important. But it is more important to put Caledonia on the minds of supporters all over Europe, as well as the world.

The entire league was hurt by the global economic downturn, but that is over. Scotland needs to regroup and continue plugging away at European success. Celtic, Rangers and Hearts are still in Europa League at the time of publishing, and it is about time one of them took charge and made a run in Europe. The early season start didn’t seem to help Rangers or Dundee United. How many more breaks will have to happen for something positive to occur in Scottish football?

One thing is for sure, Scotland is running out of time.

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