Saturday, August 27, 2016

Well, That Was a Short Season

Rangers' draw at Kilmarnock last night puts Celtic in an odd position.

On the one hand, there's no doubt that Celtic will win the league, and quite handsomely - Rangers are clearly in no position to mount a significant challenge, and having three clubs serving as nearly-men (Rangers, Hearts, Aberdeen) actually means less of a challenge than just one (as they're more likely to take points off one another than any of them are to take them off Celtic).

But, equally, Celtic have essentially no chance of doing anything in the Champions' League - Barcelona and Manchester City will be the two qualifiers from the group, and Borussia Mönchengladbach will take third place (and the Europa League spot). That's not the worst thing, as Celtic have done extremely well to get where they are, and get to enjoy some great European nights, but that's all. The bookies are giving better odds of Celtic ending with 0 points than they are for them qualifying.

So, here's the tricky question: if Celtic are basically nailed on for the league and also near-certain to go out of Europe, why bother spending money strengthening the squad? That's a really poor investment of resources.

Of course, there's potentially an argument for investing so that qualification for the Champions' League group stages next year, and that does make some sense. And it's especially important as next year is probably the last year a Scottish team even has a chance of qualifying. (The rules have changed, such that out of 32 qualifying teams, 4 each will come from England, Spain, Italy, and Germany. This leaves only 16 for everyone else, almost certainly meaning at least one more round of qualifiers, with the last against yet-harder teams. And Celtic just barely scraped through this time. But that's another rant... short version is that the sooner we get a proper European League, the better.)

The other unfortunate consequence of all this is that there's now virtually no interest in this season's football - the Premiership is all wrapped up, Falkirk don't seem to have even started in the Championship (shame, that), and so that just leaves two cup competitions to care about. And, sad to say, I don't, not really - cup competitions come down more to who has a bad day than they do to who is the best.

Still, it was nice while it lasted. Ish.

#46: "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency", by Douglas Adams

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