IT might not be considered a great European campaign for Scottish clubs this season with only Rangers and Celtic left from our five initial qualifiers. This wasn’t a major surprise considering the difficulty the smaller clubs in Scotland have in competing at such a high level. With the poor results that Rangers and Celtic had at the start of their group matches, their was a level of negativity regarding their chances of progressing onto the knockout stages.

This has turned around now with the results that Rangers and Celtic have achieved in the last two matches. They both kicked off their campaigns with 2 defeats out of two matches and they certainly needed to avoid defeat to have any chance of challenging for a qualification spot. With a win and draw against Broendby this has now been achieved with Rangers now sitting in 2nd spot on goal difference. The performances were good in both matches and it has to be said that Rangers were unlucky not to pick up 6 points. Broendby were fortunate to get in front through an own goal from Balogun but fought back very well to get the vital equaliser. It was certainly an outstanding finish from Hagi from great play involving Tavernier, Aribo and Kent. This was also certainly down to the positive changes that Steven Gerrard had made after half-time when he brought on a new front three in Hagi, Roofe and Kent. This was a clever change to make as Broendby then had to deal with 3 different types of attacking players which proved to be really difficult for them in the last 25 minutes of the game. They were lucky to come away with the draw but Rangers are now in a challenging position for 2nd spot because Sparta Prague lost again to Lyon and Rangers now have the chance of extending their lead for 2nd spot by beating Sparta when they meet later this month in Glasgow.

Celtic now have gained more points than Rangers but due to how the group results have gone, they are not in the top two yet. It’s not too negative as the performance against Ferencvaros on Thursday night was outstanding. Considering Celtic were playing away from home you wouldn’t have known that at all if you were a neutral football fan who had suddenly started watching this match on TV. From the start to finish Celtic played a very attacking style of football that created numerous openings for them and the creativity they demonstrated was as good as I’ve watched in any Europa League matches this season. There’s no doubt that Kyogo and Jota deserve massive credit for what they bring to the attacking style, but I also feel that Ralston, Juranovic, Turnbull and McGregor also offer a great deal of attacking flair to the lineup. The goals were outstanding, and there’s no doubt that Celtic could have had quite a few more on the night. The fact that they lost two goals makes it look like it was a tight game and they scraped a win but that certainly wasn’t the case.

HeraldScotland: Kyogo and Jota have been on fire in EuropeKyogo and Jota have been on fire in Europe

In terms of qualification out of the group into the last 32, the crucial element for Celtic is based on the results from the next group matches on 25th November. Even if they were to lose to top of the group Bayer Leverkusen in their away match, as long as Real Betis don’t beat Ferencvaros then Celtic will have a crucial final home match against Betis where a victory would mean qualification. It would be a big night at Celtic park if they were in a position to achieve qualification with a victory. As I’ve said before, Postecoglou has brought a new attacking dimension to Celtic and although there are still some doubters out there, his signings and tactics have brought a fresh outlook to Celtic and Scottish football in general.

It’s an interesting time coming up as we have matches involving the Scottish International team and our two biggest club sides where results are required to achieve qualification from the groups stages of the competitions they are involved in. The best scenario is still involving the national team as a win in next weeks game against Moldova will mean qualification to the playoffs.

It’s been a sad week considering we have had to endure the loss of one of Scottish football’s legendary figures in Walter Smith. It has been offset in some ways by the fitting tributes that have been paid to him from the many people who came into contact with him over the years. These came from people who knew him from his football background but also from others who had the privilege of meeting him under normal circumstances. The organisation of his funeral was outstanding with the cortège going past Ibrox to be honoured by the turnout of thousands of fans and then the cremation itself being solely attended by family and friends.

The media were asked to respect this part of Walter’s Remembrance Day and I must give them great credit for doing so and allowing the proceedings to remain as a private event.