Having won the home tie 1-0 last week at Ibrox, Pedro Caixinha’s squad of new recruits travelled to Luxembourg to wrap things up. Progrès Niederkorn had other ideas though.
Despite being founded in 1919, Niederkorn had only played in a total of twelve European matches before last week. That turned out to be a dozen more European matches than The Rangers had in their locker.
It also turned out to be enough for the Luxembourg club, who won the tie 2-1 on aggregate, to seal their first ever European victory. This was their VE Day.
Most of the Scottish media have praised The Rangers for the abundance of players recruited this summer. After failing at their first ever European hurdle it’s clear that quantity doesn’t equate to quality.
As much as this defeat amused me, it is not a good advert for Scottish football. When Luxembourg’s 4th placed side knock out Scotland’s 3rd placed side it kind of shows you where we are over all in the football food chain.
Before I wrote this, I was checking the Progrés Niederkorn Wiki page. That was when I stumbled across the entry at the top of said page.
Celtic weren’t even playing in this match yet someone still found the time to let their anger and frustration descend into hatred. This is the goto slur for many who have supported either of the Ibrox clubs.
The remark has since been removed and replaced by something less offensive, most likely by one of our own. The response centering on The Rangers’ latest humiliation.
It’s a reality check for the five year old club. They were beaten by a small club from a small country but with European experience.
This will be a hard one to take I’m sure and you can bet you’re bottom dollar what the response will be:
“At least we can concentrate on the league and cups whilst Celtic are occupied in Europe.”
Oh, you mean like you did last season?
Caixinha’s wheels are just like the foundations of Ibrox. Wobbly.
Too often this incarnation have tried to get ahead of themselves and other Scottish clubs. Like they have some birth right to be out in front.
Well they’ve got more to think about next season than the last. Being out of Europe might just be what they need because third place won’t be easy to come by let alone second.
Also confirmed tonight was that Celtic will face Linfield in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. The Belfast side drew 0-0 in San Marino earning them a 1-0 aggregate victory.
There was a lot of certainty that Celtic would play Linfield before a first round ball had even been kicked. Linfield were indeed the favourites, but this was no sure thing.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned as a Celtic fan it’s that in Europe anything can happen. And for any number of reasons, especially this early in the summer.
After playing Shamrock Rovers this Saturday, Celtic will next appear in Belfast on the Friday 14th July for the Linfield tie. No allocation of away tickets have been taken by Celtic as previously acknowledged by the club.
I’ve mixed views on this. Not something I’m going to debate right now. Celtic will just need to to focus their attention on the game.
It isn’t the tie we would have liked, but it is the tie that we’ve got. You can bet there’ll be sufficient support coming from across the city.