Rangers and Celtic are through to the Group Stages in Europa League and both groups are now set.
Scotland is off to a mostly successful start to European play as far as the coefficient goes. Heading into group-stage play they have the highest coefficient score of any country and should be able to top any season in the last four (as many as count towards their next rating) other than possibly last. Other than Kilmarnock’s embarrassment things went fairly well.
Now Rangers and Celtic are set in their groups.
Rangers have been grouped up with Feyenoord, Porto, and Young boys. We wrote a piece on that group already since this is a Rangers blog so go read that.
Celtic were paired with FC Rennes of French Ligue 1, Italian giants Lazio, and hilariously the same CFR Cluj side that knocked Celtic out of Champions League competition just a few weeks ago.
It won’t be easy for either club, but both should have ample opportunity to gain points for the coefficient and advance from their groups. FC Porto almost has to be the favorite in Rangers group but they should hypothetically be on par with Young Boys and Feyenoord.
For Celtic, the favorites are likely Rennes. Rennes finished just 10th in Ligue 1 last season but already have a victory over French Giants Paris Saint-Germain under their belts this season in an impressive start to their domestic campaign after qualifying for Europa League by beating the same PSG squad in the Coupe De France at the end of last season.
After Rennes it should be anyone’s to take and even Rennes is hardly that clear-cut as a favorite. Lazio is the biggest name in the group as a traditional power in Italy, but they finished 8th last season and, like Rennes, are only in the competition due to winning a Cup last season, unlike Rennes they don’t have a red-hot start to the season to prop them up and it’s been several seasons since they finished better than 5th in Serie A.
Cluj is the least recognizable brand here but Celtic know full well that they are not someone to take lightly.
Even if they don’t advance, Scottish fans should hope for both clubs to at least limit outright losses and take away some results as even a tie adds onto the coefficient.