European Spots (2013/14)

 

As the season approaches its climax, it’s time to have a look at the qualification situation for next season’s European competitions.  Like last season, Scotland will have four spots in Europe.  However, due to the extremely high scoring 2007/08 season having dropped off the coefficient list, some of these teams will enter earlier than they did last season.  The main damage to the coefficient was done by the very poor score in 2008/09, which thankfully will drop off after this season is complete.

Champions League

Premiership champions Celtic will be the only Scottish side to enter next season’s Champions League, and will enter in the 2nd Qualifying Round – the same stage as this season.  That means they will have to progress through three qualifying rounds in order to make the group stage.  However, just like this season, they will only face champions of smaller countries, avoiding the 3rd and 4th placed sides from bigger nations.  As I discussed here, that should give them an easier route to the group stage.  Their good performances over the last two Champions League campaigns mean that it is almost certain that they will be seeded in each of their three qualifying rounds.

Europa League

There are 3 Europa League places available for Scottish clubs.  These spots will be allocated to the Scottish Cup winners and the sides finishing 2nd and 3rd in the Premiership.  If the Scottish Cup winners also qualify for the Europa League via their league position, then the additional place will go to the 4th placed side in the Premiership.

There is always confusion about whether the runners-up in the Scottish Cup would qualify for Europe if the Scottish Cup winners qualify via their league place.  UEFA’s rules state that if the cup winners qualify for the Champions League, then the runners-up take the Europa League spot, but if the cup winners qualify for the Europa League then the extra spot goes to the league.  So last season, Hibs qualified for Europe after finishing as Scottish Cup runners-up, because Celtic qualified for the Champions League.  But the previous season, Hibs did not qualify for Europe as Scottish Cup runners-up, because Hearts only qualified for the Europa League via their league position.

This season, Celtic will take the Champions League spot, and they are already eliminated from the Scottish Cup.  Therefore there will be no spot available for the Scottish Cup runners-up.  If the Scottish Cup winners have already qualified for Europe via their league position, then the extra spot will go to the side who finish in 4th.

To sum all that up:

  • Scottish Cup winners will qualify.
  • 2nd and 3rd in the Premiership will definitely qualify.
  • 4th in the Premiership will only qualify if the Scottish Cup winners also qualify for Europe via the league.

The Scottish Cup winners and the 2nd placed side in the Premiership will enter at the 2nd Qualifying Round, while the 3rd placed side in the Premiership will have to enter in the 1st Qualifying Round (which kicks off on 3rd July, 10 days before the World Cup is finished!).  If the Scottish Cup winners also finish 2nd, then the 3rd placed side would enter in QR2 and the 4th placed side would enter in QR1.

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About SPLstats
Providing statistics and trivia about Scottish football. Main focus is the SPL, but all Scottish football will be covered. Not affiliated to the SPL.

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