THE rivalry between Rangers and Celtic has captured the imagination of football fans across the world – but the Hoops insist their Old Firm foes had to leave the Scottish Premier League.
Celtic acknowledge that the financial ramifications of losing their main rivals will be “significant” but they also felt the “integrity” of the Scottish game was on the line.
In a bold move, which reflects the Hoops’ belief that they can survive and flourish without their old enemy, Celtic voted against Rangers entering the Premier League.
After five hours of talks at Hampden, Rangers’ fate was sealed, leaving fans predicting another title win for Neil Lennon’s men next season.
The Hoops statement read: “Celtic Football Club confirmed that it opposed readmission to the Scottish Premier League by Rangers. The decision to refuse access into the SPL was an overwhelming one and demonstrates the depth of feeling amongst everyone involved in Scottish football.
“Fundamentally, the Celtic Board has also been very mindful of the need to take what it believes to be the correct course of action in protecting the integrity of the game in Scotland. Throughout the whole sequence of events leading up to this decision the Celtic Board has been of the singular view that the integrity of the game in Scotland is of paramount importance.
“Our only other consideration has been to protect the interests and right of the club and our supporters.”
Celtic’s board maintained throughout the Rangers fiasco they are not financially reliant on the Old Firm clashes.
The statement continued: “Whilst the financial implications of the vote for Celtic and for the Scottish game as a whole will be very significant, we have already stated that Celtic has a business plan and strategy independent of any other club. Our supporters can rest assured that we will continue to fight to protect Celtic’s best interests within the Scottish game.
“In addition, we will be working with our other fellow SPL clubs to take all possible steps to maximise commercial returns, which remain crucial in these economically-challenging circumstances. We will also play an active role in mapping the future of Scottish football.”
A rallying call to Celtic fans was also on the agenda. “We will be working with our other fellow SPL clubs to take all possible steps to maximise commercial returns, which remain crucial in these economically-challenging circumstances,” the statement added.
“We know our own supporters will be acutely aware of the significant challenges that lie ahead. We enter next season as champions of Scotland and look ahead to retaining our title and to making an impact in a European context.
“We know how difficult this will be and we call on our supporters to join us in tackling these challenges, to take their place at Celtic Park and to give us the support for which they are renowned.” – Belfast Telegraph