Scotland ‘relying on Celtic’

Date published: Wednesday 29th July 2015 3:46

The champions missed out on the group stage last season and must come through three qualifying rounds this summer to avoid the same fate.

Ronny Deila’s side have already negotiated one of those rounds, and it is not just the green half of Glasgow keeping a close eye on their next tie with Qarabag of Azerbaijan.

The long-term aim, according to Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Doncaster, is to bump up Scotland’s UEFA coefficient and end the need for clubs to begin their seasons in July.

Doncaster told Sky Sports News HQ: “We need all our teams to be doing well in Europe – every point they gain helps our coefficient.

“It seems many years ago we had two teams in the group stage of the Champions League. We absolutely have to get winning in Europe, get the coefficient back up and have a later season start.

“It’s really vital we get teams performing and Celtic get into the Champions League group stages.”

Aberdeen kept pace with Celtic for most of last year’s Scottish Premiership campaign only to fall away and finish 17 points adrift, and Doncaster is anticipating a competitive season at all levels when the curtain goes up this weekend.

He said: “Last year we had talking points not just at the top, but at the bottom the introduction of the play-offs created more drama and excitement, and of course in the Championship you had Rangers, Hibs and Hearts vying for promotion and the play-offs.

“You’ve got Rangers and Hibs going head-to-head again this season. There’s drama at every level of the SPFL, and we’re looking forward to it.”

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