Could Celtic Compete In The Premier League?
I have always been impressed by Celtic.
They won the Scottish Premier League for the 6th consecutive season this weekend and it was party time for the green half of Glasgow. If there’s one jersey that I see everywhere in the world then it’s the famous green and white hoops of Celtic. It’s a club with great history and a great following.
But the Scottish League faces a fair amount of criticism and difficulty because it has been a two-horse race for so long. The last time either Celtic or Rangers didn’t win the league was 1985 and some people might argue that the same is true in Spain, but Barca and Real keep winning the Champions League so that sets them apart from a lot of leagues.
On a number of occasions I had interest from the Scottish League, where Rangers and Celtic called my agent, but I wanted to stay in England. Looking back I don’t regret my choices but sometimes I wonder what it would be like to watch one of the coolest derbies in the world. I would have loved to play in the Old Firm Derby – who doesn’t want to play the games where everything is at stake.
After Celtic confirmed their title win with a 5-0 win against Hearts at the weekend, Brendan Rodgers said Celtic would be a top six or maybe top four team in the English Premier League. I totally understand his reaction. He has learned a lot in his spells at Liverpool and Chelsea and he and his team were on a high of lifting the trophy, still undefeated with three games to play.
They are buzzing with confidence off of the back of that, but I think the only way to justify his claim is for Celtic to do well in Europe. If Brendan Rodgers can take Celtic further than the group stage in the Champions League, or further in the Europa League he will be able to silence the doubters. But until that happens the Scottish League will not get the respect they are looking for.
Without the financial support the Premier League has Celtic will always struggle to compete with the top teams in England. But the windfall they will make from European football might be the first steps if they can get further in the competition. If Celtic did play in the Premier League, perhaps after a few seasons they would have strengthened enough to compete with the top six, if they invested in adding more quality to their squad.
For now they will have to hope they draw an English team in a European competition and show the world they can walk the walk.