Rangers have suffered a blow in their hopes of guiding the country to an automatic Champions League place for season 22/23 after Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk beat Spanish giants Real Madrid.

Scotland – for which Rangers and Celtic are currently the only competitors in European competition – is in direct competition with Ukraine for that hallowed 11th spot which guarantees the £30m prize of qualification to the Scottish Premiership winner.

FBL-EUR-C1-REAL MADRID-SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Rangers’ Champions League dream suffered a blow as Zidane’s side were dumped in Ukraine. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP) (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images)

With automatic qualification spots handed out to the top 10 leagues in the UEFA Coefficient, a place is reserved for Champions League and Europa League winners.

As these are generally won by clubs who have already earned a qualification spot, the automatic place shuffles down the coefficient table meaning the 11th placed country is likely to benefit.

 

A total of 26 teams will qualify automatically for the 32 team competition, including the runners-up from the nations between 1st-6th, and the 3rd and 4th teams for the top four leagues.

Prior to this week’s round of European ties Scotland sat 0.325 points ahead of Ukraine but Shakthar’s win will see the country earn 0.400, leapfrogging the Scots [Daily Record].

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Real Madrid v Shakhtar - UEFA Champions League

Shakhtar celebrate a famous victory against the European giants. (Photo by Anatolii Stepanov/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Rangers can help haul Scotland back in front by defeating Standard Liege at Ibrox, whilst Celtic face a tall order to make an impression against AC Milan.

Here’s how we think Rangers might line up for the visit of the Belgian side as they hope to make a lasting impression on this year’s Europa League.

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