Celtic miss out on automatic Champions League spot, but Rangers have alternative route

The chances of Celtic’s automatic qualification for the Champions League group stage in 2025/26 have been impacted by Scotland falling out of UEFA’s top 10 co-efficient rankings. Despite finishing at the bottom of their Champions League group, Celtic managed to secure some points through a draw with Atletico Madrid and a final day victory over Feyenoord at Celtic Park.

However, Scotland’s European hopes relied on Rangers, who had an impressive 3-2 away win against Real Betis, topping their Europa League group and securing a place in the last 16. On the other hand, a 1-0 defeat at Ibrox saw Rangers crash out, leaving them hoping for a favor from Fiorentina against Plzen.

Unfortunately, the Serie A side was held to a draw away from home, meaning the entry ticket to Europe’s elite competition for both Celtic and Rangers for the season after next is no longer valid. However, Rangers still have a chance to automatically secure a spot in the Champions League next season if they win the league and Scotland ranks 11th, due to their individual club coefficient ranking and the new Champions League format that will be implemented next season.

This scenario is dependent on the 2024 Champions League winners qualifying for the following season’s competition through their league position, which is considered highly probable. In recent years, Rangers have had some strong seasons in Europe, including reaching the Europa League final in 2022, while Celtic have largely struggled over the past decade.

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