Scottish Premiership heavyweights Celtic and Rangers both experienced stuttering starts to the new Champions League season.
While reigning holders Real Madrid dispatched the Hoops 3-0 at Celtic Park, the Gers were utterly outclassed by Ajax in Amsterdam, falling to an embarrassing 4-0 defeat.
It’s been a decade since a Scottish outfit last made it out of the Champions League group stages, courtesy of Celtic’s foray into the 2012/13 round of 16.
However, based on the Scottish representatives’ abysmal matchday one results, their decade-long wait for springtime Champions League fixtures is likely to go one.
There is enough time for both sides to improve, but things are not looking well from the Scottish’s point of view, especially if you are a Rangers fan.
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Despite eventually falling to a dismal 3-0 defeat, Celtic actually looked impressive against Madrid in the first half before completely falling apart after the break.
Ange Postecoglou’s men headed into proceedings inspired by an overwhelming 4-0 win over Rangers in last weekend’s Old Firm and maintained that momentum for most of the opening 45 minutes.
In fact, Celtic came inches away from breaking the deadlock midway through the first half as the woodwork denied Callum McGregor’s thunderous first-time attempt from the edge of the box.
Unfortunately for the Parkhead faithful, the Bhoys ran out of steam in the second half, allowing Carlo Ancelotti’s high-flyers to seal a comprehensive win.
But with second-favourites RB Leipzig slumping to a horrendous 4-1 defeat to a depleted Shakhtar Donetsk side in the other Group F fixture, there’s still a chance for Celtic to nail down a second-place finish.
With the Germans going through nightmarish times and the Ukrainians still picking up steam following a long-term hiatus from competitive football, Postecoglou’s lads remain firmly in the top-two frame.
In stark contrast to Celtic’s decent performance against one of the leading candidates to win the title, Rangers rolled over at the Johan Cruyff Arena.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side seemed clueless in both defence and attack, letting Ajax control the tempo and create countless goalscoring chances on either side of half-time.
The Gers lacked the pace, aggressiveness and a clear game plan in Amsterdam as the defending Eredivisie champions put four unanswered goals past Jon McLaughlin without breaking a sweat.
After fighting their way back into the Champions League group phase for the first time since 2010/11, there is no doubt that Rangers expected more on matchday one.
It is now up to under-fire van Bronckhorst to pick his team up following consecutive 4-0 defeats and rebuild their confidence ahead of Napoli’s visit to Ibrox Stadium.
With the Italians hammering Liverpool 4-1 in the opening round, not even the most die-hard Rangers supporters fancy their side to trouble Luciano Spalletti’s men.
On a more positive note, the Gers have proved they are no pushovers in Glasgow, with Ibrox witnessing numerous sensational European nights over the past couple of years.
However, it is hard to make a case for last season’s Scottish Premiership runners-up to stay in Europe past the autumn.
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