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Last Updated: Friday, 22 February 2008, 16:55 GMT
SPL praises Euro performances
McDonald celebrates winner against Milan
Scott McDonald wheels away after his last-minute winner over Milan
The Scottish Premier League has praised its European representatives following their best performance in 25 years.

Celtic, Rangers and Aberdeen have all been competing beyond Christmas in the Champions League and Uefa Cup.

SPL chairman Lex Gold said: "As a football nation, we punch above our weight on and off the field.

"When the SPL was set up in 1998, we were 26th in UEFA's country ranking. We now stand in 10th place for European competitions for 2008-2009."

The Old Firm and Aberdeen's European runs have guaranteed the highest points tally since the 1982/83 season when the Dons lifted the Uefa Cup-Winners Cup.

Only six nations have gained more ranking points than Scotland so far this season - England, Spain, Germany, Turkey, Italy and Russia.

Rangers last night progressed to the last 16 of the Uefa Cup thanks to an away goals victory over Greek side Panathinaikos.

Nacho Novo and Jamie Smith
Nacho Novo and Jamie Smith have scored crucial European goals

It was not such a good story for Jimmy Calderwood's men who bowed out of the same competition thanks to a 7-3 aggregate defeat by tournament favourites Bayern Munich.

And on Wednesday, SPL champions Celtic went down 3-2 to Barcelona at Parkhead and now likely need to win by two clear goals in the Nou Camp return.

And despite Dunfermline's early Uefa Cup exit, hopes are now high that further European places may become available to Scottish clubs.

The UEFA rankings are calculated over a five-year period.



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