Celtic, Rangers and Hearts handed ‘reality check’ in Europe, says Kris Boyd | Football News

Sky Sports pundit Kris Boyd believes Scottish football has been served a “reality check” in Europe this season.

Both Celtic and Rangers finished bottom of their respective Champions League groups without a victory while Hearts only managed wins against RFS, the lowest-ranked team in their Europa Conference League group.

It means there will be no Scottish sides involved in the knockout stages of European football, in contrast to last season when Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s team reached the final of the Europa League.

“I think we’ve learned we’re absolutely miles off the level of the elite,” said Boyd.

Shakhtar Donetsk's Mykhaylo Mudryk scores vs Celtic
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Celtic have not won a Champions League match since 2017

“Sometimes we look at our players in Scotland, especially Rangers and Celtic because they dominate games and they’re far superior to other teams, and we propel them into believing they are a lot better than what they actually are.

“It’s a reality check for Scottish football.

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Rangers lost 7-1 to Liverpool at Ibrox

“Yes we have our two giants back at the top table of European competition and they both should be there, but they are not at that level yet.

“If they did it consistently for five or six years it would generate funds to allow them to get better players but, ultimately, because of what happens when you have a successful season you lose your top players.

“You look at Rangers last season after their Europa League campaign and Celtic have dominated Scottish football for a long period of time in terms of lifting trophies and they lose their best players.

“That’s just what we are as a country, we sell our best players.”

‘Celtic’s strikers failed to impress’

Matt O'Riley during a UEFA Champions League match between Real Madrid and Celtic
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Celtic lost 5-1 at Real Madrid in their final Champions League group game

“Some people have said it has been a positive campaign for Celtic, in terms of performances, but it doesn’t matter how you dress it up, they are bottom of the group.

“People say they have created chances, but does that mean Celtic’s strikers are not at the level everybody thinks they’re at because they didn’t take those chances at that level?

“The only thing is the players’ confidence hasn’t taken a dent from Europe, unlike Rangers who were thrashed week in and week out.

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Ange Postecoglou says Celtic lacked experience and will make more of an impact in the Champions League in the future

“We thought at the start of the campaign, with the number of games coming up, there was the potential for Celtic to drop points in the Scottish Premiership.

“I think Ange Postecoglou has learned from their one defeat at St Mirren that there are some players he can leave out and some he can’t.”

‘Rangers suffered a crisis of confidence’

Rangers recorded the worst group campaign in Champions League history
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Rangers recorded the worst group campaign in Champions League history

“The biggest disappointment for Rangers is that they have suffered domestically.

“I think the performances recently have not been great, but the only time they have dropped points off the back of a midweek game was after the League Cup and not Europe.

“Rangers’ confidence has taken an absolute drumming.

“When you look at the confidence they got from winning games in Europe last season to it being at a low this time round.

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Giovanni van Bronckhorst is hoping Rangers can return to the Champions League next season and make an impact

“I think the big thing it shows you is when Scottish teams get some success in Europe it’s very difficult to repeat it again because you lose your best players. That’s just the way it is.”

‘Hearts will recover domestically’

Hearts'  reached the group stages of European football for the first time in over decade
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Hearts’ reached the group stages of European football for the first time in over decade

“It’s fantastic that Hearts were able to get there.

“They went into the group at the third pot team and beat the fourth pot team home and away, I don’t think you can really ask much more of Hearts when you look at the opposition they were up against.

“I think the biggest disappointment for their European run would be that they seemed to pick up more injuries with every game they played and that’s why they’re in the situation they’re in domestically.

“I still feel Hearts are the best of the rest and I would fully expect them to start climbing the Scottish Premiership once they get some players back.”

LiveSPFL


Celtic fixtures before the World Cup

Celtic vs Dundee United, Scottish Premiership – Saturday 5 November; kick-off 3pm

Motherwell vs Celtic, Scottish Premiership – Wednesday 9 November; kick-off 7.45pm

Celtic vs Ross County, Scottish Premiership – Saturday 12 November; kick-off 3pm

Rangers fixtures before the World Cup

St Johnstone vs Rangers, Scottish Premiership – Sunday 6 November; kick-off 12pm, live on Sky Sports

Rangers vs Hearts, Scottish Premiership – Wednesday 9 November; kick-off 7.45pm

St Mirren vs Rangers, Scottish Premiership – Saturday 12 November; kick-off 12.30pm, live on Sky Sports

Hearts fixtures before the World Cup

Hearts vs Motherwell, Scottish Premiership – Sunday 6 November; kick-off 3pm

Rangers vs Hearts, Scottish Premiership – Wednesday 9 November; kick-off 7.45pm

Hearts vs Livingston, Scottish Premiership – Saturday 12 November; kick-off 3pm

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