Celtic’s first win of the UEFA Europa League last night was a crucial contribution to Scotland’s UEFA coefficient as the country vies to claim a direct spot in the 2022/23 Champions League group stages, Dale Johnson of ESPN reports.

Despite Rangers performing well and finishing top of Group D, the Scottish coefficient still needed a Celtic win to pull ahead of Ukraine in the standings.

David Turnbull’s winner, combined with the Ibrox side’s victory away to Lech Poznan, has fired Scotland into 11th place prior to upcoming European knockout ties.

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That, as it stands, would almost guarantee an automatic group stage place in the Champions League for the 2021/22 Scottish Premiership title winners.

However, there’s still a bit of work to be done for that to be confirmed.

 

Johnson reports that Rangers will likely have to reach the last 16 of the Europa League at least to clinch that spot ahead of Ukraine, who have Shakhtar Donetsk and Dynamo Kyiv dropping into the competition.

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A lot clearly depends on who the three teams face in the round of 32, the draw for which is on Monday.

Scotland has two entrants to the Champions League qualification process already, with the top two Premiership teams this season entering that gauntlet next summer.

However, if the country can somehow pick up a guaranteed group stage berth for the following season, it’d be a significant boost and provide even more incentive to win the league title in 21/22.

The riches available to teams in the Champions League are increasing all the time, and Celtic can’t afford rivals to cash in at our expense.

In other news, Packie Bonner has delivered his goalkeeping verdict on Conor Hazard’s debut for the club.

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