Former Rangers chairman Dave King stages hilarious U-turn on Celtic "pack of cards" comments

By Dave Flanigan

November 24, 2022

Former Rangers chairman Dave King has staged a hilarious climbdown from his famous “pack of cards” comments regarding the dynamic between Celtic and Rangers in Glasgow.

King famously said upon the appointment of Steven Gerrard in 2018 that all the Ibrox club would need to end Celtic’s dominance of Scottish football was a single league title, with a lone triumph enough to make Rangers the overarching force in Scottish football again.

However, despite Rangers winning the league during the COVID lockdown season in 2020-21, Celtic have roared back to life under Ange Postecoglou, eventually winning a league and cup double and look set to build on that success this season having established a commanding nine-point league whilst Rangers sacked manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst.

Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

King said in 2018: “We appoint a manager who can win games, with more resources, and we take one league away from Celtic.

“We only need one league. We don’t need two or three. We need one. Once we take one away, it’s a pack of cards.” [Sky Sports]

However, the long-time Rangers investor has walked back on these comments ahead of the club’s AGM in December.

As reported by The Scottish Daily Express, King said: “Gio (van Bronckhorst) probably ended up in a similar situation to the one Steven (Gerrard) was in. Steven was there, won 55, wanted to kick on. Steven was given certain commitments by the chairman as to what resources would be made available to him.

“It was very important for Steven to kick on, to win the title and to start our own run for 10 in a row. We are only talking a short period of time ago we were so far ahead of the competition in Scotland. We won the league by a country mile, our opposition were in turmoil throughout the summer and couldn’t get a manager. (Postecoglou) came in, with all respect to him, as an unknown coach that didn’t know Scottish football.

“The position Rangers were in at the beginning of last season was really one where I thought we would embark on a number of titles and would go on to win a number in a row. If it wasn’t for the fact, first of all, Steven was let down in terms of the money promised to him and then secondly, when his relationship with the chairman got to the point when he was effectively forced out.”

Despite Steven Gerrard jumping ship to Aston Villa, King maintains that both he and his successor van Bronckhorst were hamstrung by the current Rangers board.

He said: “To me, I don’t think the circumstances that forced Steven out of the club were any better when Gio came in. Therefore I’m kind of guarded in my comments about Gio and Ross Wilson. They’ve probably come up against some of the same obstacles with the board Steven encountered. That led effectively to Steven being forced out of the club at a time when he was top of the league and in the semi-final of the League Cup.”

Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Celtic’s excellence, not Rangers’ frugality at centre of Scottish football dominance

Of course, King is wrong on several counts. Celtic didn’t fold like a pack of cards after one title, but responded by appointing an excellent manager, who faced far greater challenges than either Rangers manager he’s stood opposite in his time in Glasgow.

Despite taking over a threadbare squad with several key players leaving in his opening months, Postecoglou recruited expertly in his first two windows, using his knowledge of the J-League to secure key players at bargain prices, and establishing a level of consistency that few Rangers sides in recent memory would be able to match.

Despite the constant noise around the backing Postecoglou has received as Celtic manager, the sales of Odsonne Edouard and Kristoffer Ajer amongst others left the Aussie with a negligible net spend in his first year in the job, whist Rangers rarely sold first-team players for notable fees until the departure of Nathan Patterson in January.

It’s Celtic’s excellence, not Rangers’ lack of spending, that has made Postecoglou’s side likely to remain the dominant one in Scottish football again.

In other news: Socceroos share footage as Celtic pairing are reunited at World Cup