Celtic and Rangers in the Premier League, will it happen, Dean Smith comments, Ange Postecoglou, Scottish Premiership

As he watched his side get utterly outplayed by Celtic in a pre-season friendly, Norwich City boss Dean Smith could not hide his admiration for Ange Postecoglou’s troops.

“They are probably a Premier League team in the making,” Smith said after the Canaries’ 2-0 loss.

Watch Celtic’s Scottish Premiership season opener against Aberdeen on Monday August 1 at 1:30am AEST! New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

It breathed new life into the age-old discussion that, even as recently as last year, could have seemed a legitimate possibility. should Celtic and Rangers break away from Scotland and join the Premier League?

Ok, so the chances of an answer to that question are about as slim as a team outside of Glasgow winning the Scottish Premiership.

But with Postecoglou working wonders to turn Celtic around in the manner that he did, and Rangers only a few converted penalties away from winning the Europa League, the argument for the bitter rivals to break off and move south of the border has never been stronger.

Blow the dust off the cover of a Scottish history book, turn the pages and you’ll see that the last time a team won the Scottish league that wasn’t Celtic or Rangers was back in 1985.

The winners of the 1984/85 season were Aberdeen, who also won the league in the preceding campaign.

And who was the manager of Aberdeen back then?

That would be Sir Alex Ferguson.

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It took the greatest manager in football history to wrestle control of Scotland from the vice-like grips of Celtic and Rangers.

From the 1985/86 season onwards, it was essentially business as usual. Celtic won 19 league titles, one more than Rangers.

No other team has managed to break the pattern between the two since.

In that time, there have been just eight seasons in which both clubs failed to finish in the top three; four of those came from 2012 to 2016 when Rangers were relegated to the fourth tier of Scottish football after going into administration.

Barring an absolute catastrophe from both clubs, it looks extremely unlikely that another team could squeak past and win a league title.

It’s an even more arduous task when you factor in the financial disparities putting further daylight between the Glasgow pair and the rest of the league.

By winning the Scottish Premiership, Celtic gained direct entry into the Champions League group stages for the first time since 2017.

Just for making the group stage, the Hoops will earn $AUS22 million.

For every game they win, Celtic secures a further $4 million with every win and $1.3 million per draw.

Based on the previous five campaigns, Celtic has secured at least nine points, equating to $11.7 million in prize money from Champions League group matches alone.

Quite simply, that kind of money puts daylight between Celtic and the rest of the league.

Ange Postecoglou has brought Celtic back to the Champions League group stages.  (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Ange Postecoglou has brought Celtic back to the Champions League group stages. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images:

It allows them to bring in players of Champions League quality, something that sides like Hibernian and Aberdeen simply cannot do unless they find a diamond in the rough.

With fans of other Scottish Premiership teams almost conceding the title race before it has even begun, they must be wondering if they’ll ever get lucky.

Well, in April last year, that stroke of luck could have happened.

As the big six in the Premier League declared they would break away from the English top flight to join the European Super League, before returning with their tail between their legs after vicious backlash, the teams remained steadfast in their belief that things needed to change.

According to: The Sunpart of those reforms would have brought Celtic and Rangers to the Premier League.

The report cited a club source who claimed “it is time we opened it up to Rangers and Celtic” because it “would make sense for everyone.”

When you factor in the already eye-watering sums of money generated by the Premier League through TV rights and sponsorships, the additions of the Glasgow giants would explode those figures into a new stratosphere.

Imagine the global audience that would tune in to watch the Old Firm derby if it took place in the Premier League?

The sums of money involved would be truly dizzying and both Celtic and Rangers would face a difficult decision to walk away from the finances if such an opportunity presents itself.

Rangers and Celtic are neck and shoulders above the rest of Scottish football. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images:

It’s clear as day that a potential move for the Glasgow pair to the league down south would be met with serious criticism and create significant debate.

But there seems to be a general consensus, even from those who have been within the respective clubs over the years, that having Celtic and Rangers in the Premier League would only make things better.

Martin O’Neill, who managed Celtic for five years and is a boyhood fan of the club, backed the idea.

“My personal thought is that Celtic and Rangers would enhance the Premier League,” O’Neill said in 2009.

“Glasgow is a phenomenal football city. Celtic house 60,000 fans and Rangers house 50,000 fans every game. I’m not sure about Rangers but I know Celtic’s capacity could go from 60,000 to 80,000 overnight, without a doubt.”

In 2016, when the English Football League’s (EFL) new proposal for the Glaswegian outfits to join a fifth tier was being discussed, Scottish Professional Football League chief executive Neil Doncaster admitted it was a debate that simply will never die down.

“I’ve clearly seen the reports on a possible fifth tier and we’ll see what emerges from the discussions with their clubs,” Doncaster said at the time.

“There will be a lot of changes in European football over the next two decades. We need to do what we can to ensure the interests of Scottish football are promoted and protected.

“I think we can expect there will be more focus in the years ahead throughout Europe on cross-border leagues.”

Former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill feels the Hoops would enhance the Premier League.Source: News Limited

Steven Gerrard, one of the greatest Premier League midfielders of all time, also spent time in the Scottish top flight as manager of Rangers and guided the side to a league title in the 2020/21 season.

Now at Aston Villa, Gerrard said in January 2020 that having the two clubs in the Premier League would be “unbelievable” and even went as far as saying all Scottish teams should be involved in a giant merger.

“I would love the Scottish league to filter into the English leagues,” Gerrard said.

“All of them. To save and help the Scottish game a lot. It would be unbelievable. Could you picture now, the Premier League with those two clubs in it?

“But even for their own clubs sake, let’s use Bournemouth as an example. Imagine Bournemouth going to Celtic Park twice a season, or once a season or in a cup game.

“The atmosphere at Celtic Park and Rangers is off the scale. It’s a unique experience for a fan, for a player, to go and coach there.”

Steven Gerrard believes Rangers and Celtic would make the Premier League more exciting. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Source: Getty Images:

As it stands and will likely be the case for several years to come, Celtic and Rangers will remain in Scotland.

But returning to Smith’s comment, it could and should place the debate further under the microscope.

Celtic didn’t look like a Championship team, but a Premier League team.

Home among football’s elite.

And as Postecoglou continues to mold the team, bring in the players he wants and has the Bhoys playing the way that they do, it’s only going to strengthen the argument for Celtic and Rangers to take their talents south of the border.

Watch Celtic’s Scottish Premiership season opener against Aberdeen on Monday August 1 at 1:30am AEST! New to Kayo? Try 14-Days Free Now >

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