November 6, 2009
While life is largely constructed of a series of unpredictable events, we all need our certainties. We need to know, for example, that Monday is always preceded by Sunday and that the TV on Saturday night will be crap. Another one of life’s necessary certainties is that the Scottish clubs will perform dismally in Europe.
Rangers are currently propping up Group G, behind such Euro-powerhouses like Unirea Urziceni (no, me neither) and Celtic are languishing at the wrong end of Group C of the Europa League, let’s be honest, results are what matter, not performances.
Elsewhere in this rather fantastic blog, Mike McKenna eloquently discusses Hamburg and their investment of £12 million on the young forward Marcus Berg, for the apparent purpose of warming their bench. Mike then bemoans the lack of comparative investment in Celtic’s own squad, to a degree, Mike is absolutely correct in this. According to American money magazine, Forbes, Celtics’ revenue for 2009, so far, stands at $145 million (£87 million). Not a small amount of money, but Hamburg’s revenue currently stands at $202 million (£122 Million).
However, to point the finger at a lack of investment is slightly avoiding the real reason why Scottish clubs fail to perform at the highest levels. The real reason that Scottish clubs bomb in Europe is because of the lack of competition in their domestic league. Maybe it’s the case that us Sassenachs were spoiled down here with a “Big Four”, at least it’s twice as good as a “Big Two”, and with the mega-bucks of Manchester City, we may even see a “Big Five” down here, great stuff.
Of course, there’s none of that kind of drama up in Haggis-land. Our Scottish friends happily watch the likes of Georgios Samaras and Kenny Miller (12 Premiership goals between them) and they tolerate the bizarre Glasgow “cartel” that has seen the Scottish title dominated by the Glasgow clubs for the last 23 years. Sadly, as they play in Europe and get smashed most seasons, they’ll fail to attract the best players and they’ll continue to get beaten. It’s a vicious circle that’ll see the “Old Firm” clubs move down to the Premiership eventually.
It’s the best thing for them, they can compete on a genuine world stage in a genuinely competitive league. And who knows, maybe Celtic fans might be able to stop dining out on 1967 and Rangers fans might be able to celebrate winning something other than another Mickey Mouse league title.
But don’t count on that happening soon