As Celtic crashed out of the Champions League 5-4 on aggregate against CFR Cluj last night, Rangers fans can be forgiven for having a little titter at their expense.

OK, more like a loud guffaw.

But away from the fact our rivals miss out on the £20m+ for playing in Europe’s elite competition, it also undeniably helps our league campaign.

Dan Petrescu has gone some way to making up for hammering Rangers 4-1 as Unirea Urziceni boss in 2009. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Should Celtic now qualify for the Europa League – something which isn’t a given against AIK Stockholm of Sweden (who lead Sheriff Tiraspol of Moldova 2-1 from the first leg of QR3) – they’ll be playing Thursdays and Sundays on weeks when the competition is running.

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The same can be said for Rangers – should we qualify – and had Celtic reached the land of milk and honey that is the Champions League it would’ve put us at a disadvantage.

The frustrating schedule doesn’t just disrupt players who are used to playing on Saturdays, but also fans.



Trips to Ibrox or beyond on the day of rest don’t have the same buzz and atmosphere of a Saturday afternoon, no matter what way you swing it.

Playing on a Tuesday in the Champions League would guarantee you an extra day’s rest before a weekend match too.

Not only that, but the Europa League can be notorious for sending sides to far-flung locations with little chance to recover in between.

Steven Gerrard will know Celtic’s exit hands Rangers an advantage. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

So whilst the tears of our rivals are sweet and the fact they’ve missed out on a gargantuan sum of money helps bridge the gap between us and them, their upcoming fixtures won’t hand them a league advantage.

Oh, and it’s a pretty damning psychological blow for our Old Firm rivals too. The pressure has already began to mount.

Neil Lennon will be feeling it already.

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