Would it be beneficial for Celtic to join the Premier League?
CELTIC moving to the Premier League has been a talking point for a while now, especially since Rangers went into liquidation and had to start again in the old Third Division of Scottish football. They wouldn’t be the first non-English team to do so, with six Welsh teams participating through the various divisions, but they were inducted because there wasn’t a Welsh league when the clubs were founded. Celtic is a completely different situation; they’re the Scottish Champions and have been a dominant force for a very long time. So, would the club benefit from moving to the Premier League?
It used to be that the Glaswegian giants, Celtic and Rangers, would battle it out for the Scottish Premier League each season as well as the cups, but then Celtic’s arch rivals saw the liquidation of their club at the end of the 2011/12 season, thus ending the so called Old Firm rivalry from the Scottish game.
The Hoops are now on a sis-year title winning streak, with an seventh firmly in their sights. Despite the Scottish Premier League being rated lower than the Premier League to the south, Celtic have managed to lure in some fantastic footballers over the years, such as Shunsuke Nakamura – who was and still is a sensational footballer (as explained in a previous article) – John Collins, Alan Thompson, and many more due to their winning ways.
Coming to the Premier League
As you would expect from a manager who has just achieved an undefeated domestic season, Brendan Rodgers told Sky Sports that he thinks that Celtic would excel in the Premier League, saying: “Celtic would be one of the minimum top four, top six clubs in the English Premier League.”
However, looking at the squad and spending power moving over from Scotland to England, you would have to assume that, at least in their first few seasons, Celtic could break the top half, but not reach any of the European places.
Loss of Champions League football
This is one of the major hiccups for Celtic. Even though they dominate the top flight of Scottish football, they would possibly struggle at the start of their English football career and lose out on their almost guaranteed a Champions League place each season. It seems as though the club would have to choose between the top European competition and the big money of the Premier League.
In 2016, the Daily Record announced that Celtic would receive around £2.8 million for finishing first in the Scottish Premier League. Including TV rights, playing in the Premier League and avoiding relegation – which Celtic looks to be more than capable of doing – would pull in upwards of £100 million, per the Independent. The monetary gap is huge, but can you put a price on Champions League football?
As expressed by former Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster when discussing if Moussa Dembele should stay: “When you are at Celtic, you get an opportunity to play Champions League and very few players get to do that.”
However, Celtic haven’t surpassed the round of 16 since the UEFA Champions League began, and are, as of 8th August, a long 250/1 to win it this season, while they are a comfy 6/5 to win the Scottish Cup and 1/16 to win the Scottish Premier League according to betting site Betway. So the real question is, is it worth giving up almost guaranteed silverware and their place in an elite competition that they’ve struggled in for a more competitive league and more money?
Against the English
Considering that Celtic have only met English clubs in major competitions – thus matching them up against some of the best that the top English division has to offer – they have a pretty good record. Through 21 games against English clubs, Celtic have won eight, drawn seven, and lost six, which includes a positive record from six games against Liverpool as well as a win and a draw in four games against Manchester United. However, they are yet to claim a win against Manchester City or Arsenal, drawing twice and losing twice, respectively. So, at least in these head-to-head matchups, Celtic have been able to hold their own. However, playing in the incredibly competitive Premier League each week is very different to playing the top teams in one or two matches a year. The grind would weigh down any new team coming into the league.
Tough choice for Celtic
Celtic have the name and the current squad to be able to at the very least be competitive in the Premier League. However, it seems somewhat unlikely that the club would be able to mount a challenge on the top four for a few seasons at least, thus losing out on Champions League football.
To make the Scottish Premier League more competitive, Celtic should move, but it wouldn’t be an easy ride.
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HOLDERS Celtic will travel to Dundee next month for their Betfred League Cup quarter-final confrontation.
Brendan Rodgers’ men, 5-0 victors over Kilmarnock on Tuesday, face a tricky tie at Dens Park against Neil McCann’s outfit who just edged city rivals Dundee United 2-1 last night.
Former Hoops prospect Paul McGowan, who fired in a spectacular winner against the Tannadice side, was asked immediately afterwards which team he wanted to avoid in the draw.
“Celtic!” he answered immediately.
Unfortunately, his wish wasn’t granted and ‘The Invincibles’ now have the Tayside line-up in their sights.
Neil Lennon’s Hibs were handed a home tie against the only team outwith the top flight still left in the competition.
Livingston will be the visitors to Easter Road in the last eight encounter.
Amazingly, Sevco Rangers, who beat part-time Dunfermline 6-0 at Ibrox, didn’t get a home draw, but they got the next best thing – a tie in Glasgow.
They will play at Firhill against Partick Thistle, who walloped St Johnstone 3-0 in Perth on Tuesday.
In the remaining match, Aberdeen will travel to Motherwell following the Fir Parkers’ dramatic 3-2 extra-time triumph over Ross County.
Dundee v CELTIC
Hibs v Livingston
Motherwell v Aberdeen
Partick Thistle v Sevco Rangers
Ties due on September 19, 20 or 21.