There is a huge reward for the Scottish Cup winner this season as he will be awarded a guaranteed European place the following campaign.
Scotland are currently in tenth place in the UEFA coefficients table, which means they will be guaranteed two places in the Champions League if it stays that way until the end of the season.
If the nation drops to eleventh place, it’s still in the pipeline – it just depends on who wins the Champions League.
If the winner of Europe’s biggest prize has already qualified for next season’s tournament, that would mean the extra place goes back in the pecking order and to the 11th nation.
However, there is a massive incentive for the Scottish Cup winner if the nation remains tenth as he would be guaranteed European football next season – a potentially decisive boost for SPFL clubs.
The Scottish Cup winner would enter the Europa League play-off phase.
Even if the club lose that tie, they will advance to the Conference League group stage, which means European football is guaranteed next season.
St Johnstone are the current starters and they were hoping for a similar scenario this season, but the country fell short and placed 11th at the start of this season.
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The Saints achieved a historic double in the Cup and had the misfortune of missing out on European action this season after some extremely difficult draws in qualifying.
They fought a fierce battle against Galatasaray in the Europa League third qualifying round – holding them to a draw in Turkey before failing in Perth a week later with an aggregate score of 5-3.
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If they had granted their wish and it was the same structure it could be next season, Callum Davidson’s side would have fallen into the Conference League group stage.
They had to face the Austrian team LASK in the play-offs of the third tier competition, but they lost 3-1 on aggregate, again preventing their opponents from drawing away a draw.
If they manage to emulate their success this season and keep their trophy, they will get the European football they have been waiting for.
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If the Scottish Cup winner has already qualified for Europe, he would go to the third-placed team in the Scottish Premiership.
Robbie Nielson’s Hearts are the team that currently hold that position, so it could be a huge blow to them or anyone who takes third place if Celtic or Rangers manage to get their hands on the oldest and illustrious trophy in the world. ‘Scotland.
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