BARCELONA’S routine win over Celtic in the men’s Champions League on Wednesday night came on the back of a discussion earlier in the day entitled “Barca. Sports, Values and Identity”, which proved enlightening.

Hosted by Glasgow University, the Catalonian club was represented by board member Xavier Vilajoana and other officials and among the revelations was the fact that Barcelona spend an incredible €55 million every year subsiding the various amateur sports which have an association with the club. They see this as their contribution to children’s growth – and it’s just one reason why Barca are not only a hugely successful football club, but a powerful force for good.

Vilajoana was also candid when asked if he would like to see Catalonia playing in the World Cup. “Of course,” he replied.

His response made me reflect how fortunate Scotland is (along with England, Wales and Northern Ireland) to be allowed to compete as a separate nation in men’s and women’s World Cups and Euros.

Also revealing was a remark made by another Barca official, who spoke in reproving tones of the atmosphere of “masculine aggression” which is often to be found as a backdrop to football. He made the point that just under 30 per cent of Barcelona’s membership is now made up of women.

Unsolicited, he later told me: “We see women’s sport as the future.”

In this regard, expect to see Barcelona becoming a huge force in women’s football just as, obviously, they are in the men’s game.

That seems inevitable given Barcelona have, as of this season, made their women’s team fully professional. They sit top of the Primera Division with 10 wins and a draw from their opening 11 league games. On Friday they were drawn against Swedish side Rosengard in the Women’s Champions League quarter-final.

In contrast, Celtic, who by a mile are Scotland’s most affluent club, have an amateur women’s team. They have never qualified for the Women’s Champions League despite two Scottish places being available this season.

Is it not time that Celtic, who pride themselves on being an open institution and promoting equal opportunities, took stock of how other big clubs in Europe are taking women’s football very seriously?

It’s not just Barcelona who were in Friday’s draw. Another club in Celtic’s men’s Champions League group, Manchester City, are also in the women’s quarter-finals.

Until Scottish clubs wake up to what is happening – and Celtic are best placed to take the lead – it will become harder and harder for future Scotland teams to qualify for major championships.