Rangers will be flying the flag for Scotland in Europe after Celtic, Motherwell and Dundee United all crashed out of the Europa League last night.
Celtic were humbled as Utrecht ran riot to seal their own place in the group stages after staging a remarkable comeback. A 2-0 advantage from the first leg at Parkhead was wiped out in a devastating seven-minute spell which saw Ricky van Wolfswinkel net twice from the penalty spot before completing his hat-trick early in the second half.
Barry Maguire then completed the 4-0 rout on the night as Celtic's dismal away record in Europe continued, with just one win in 28 games on the road now.
Craig Brown's Motherwell were also eliminated at the play-off stage last night after nine-man Odense completed a 1-0 victory at Fir Park, the Danes going through 3-1 on aggregate.
The Scottish Cup winners, Dundee United, joined the casualty list as a late Jon Daly goal was not enough against AEK in Athens. AEK's Papa Bouba Diop scored a first-half header which seemed to kill off the tie. Daly came up with a close-range equaliser to give the United fans hope, but the visitors could not find a second goal, going out 2-1 on aggregate.
Welsh minnows TNS fought valiantly to secure a 2-2 draw in the second leg of their play-off but failed to progress to the tournament proper. TNS had suffered a comprehensive 3-0 defeat in the first leg in Bulgaria and had little realistic hope of overturning the deficit.
However, they did lead at one point at Wrexham's Racecourse Ground. Giuseppe Aquaro gave CSKA a 10th-minute advantage but forward Matthew Williams levelled three minutes later.
Captain Steve Evans then put TNS in front to get the home fans dreaming, but Christian Tiboni scored 11 minutes from time to end their hopes.
Juventus head the Italian challenge after their 1-0 win at home to SK Sturm Graz, an Alessandro Del Piero goal sealing a 3-1 aggregate triumph. Napoli won 2-0 at Elfsborg (3-0 on aggregate) and Palermo completed a 5-3 aggregate win despite a 3-2 defeat at NK Maribor.Reuse content