Gillingham boss Steve Evans bigs up Celtic's "wonderful opportunity"

By David Walton

March 31, 2020

Gillingham manager Steve Evans has stated his belief that Celtic have a “wonderful opportunity” to be a real leader of the Scottish game.

The current health pandemic has clubs in Scotland gripped. Plenty face financial uncertainty, with clubs set to go for months without receiving money from gate receipts, season tickets, or hospitality events.

Celtic don’t seem to have any problem at the moment as the current crisis continues to worsen. Staff continue to be paid as the club reaps the benefits of being financially secure.

Gillingham manager Steve Evans (James Baylis – AMA/Getty Images)

But Scotsman Evans believes Celtic and Rangers can both help out other clubs when the football returns again – by playing money-spinning pre-season friendlies. Speaking in the Scottish Sun, here’s what he had to say:

“Let’s face it, virtually all of those fans who don’t support either Celtic or Rangers can’t stand them. They hate everything that goes with them and the fact they dominate everything in Scottish football, from finance to media coverage.

“But when the leagues resume, whether it’s to play out this season or start the next, they’re going to need friendlies to get sharpness back. So why don’t Celtic go to Morton, or Rangers visit Ayr United? You’d get full houses and they could waive any expenses.

“Celtic and Rangers can take a real lead here. I think it’s a wonderful opportunity for them to act for the best of the Scottish game. And not just them, Aberdeen could play one of the teams up north. Hibs could play Stirling Albion, Motherwell visit Albion Rovers. Everyone would be a winner.”

Friendlies could see bigger crowds than normal

This actually isn’t the worst idea from Evans. It would give Celtic and Rangers the chance to go and help other clubs in Scotland who are in most in need. All the while, we would be getting our own players ready for (hopefully) the return of the season.

Going to visit a Brechin City, Stenhousemuir etc would help them reel in cash from gate money. Whenever that is, it will be much needed.

Clubs could also benefit from a general bounce in ticket sales due to the football returning in any form. Come any potential pre-season friendly matches we play, fans will be flocking to see us. And not just Celtic either. Supporters will be snapping up tickets all over the country to see their team play.

The outside of Celtic Park (Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

There will be sheer euphoria that the football is back on after some months in the wilderness. It’s a good time to strike and help other clubs.

Of course, Celtic could always put their hands in their pocket and help other clubs by just providing them with cash. There would have to be a process for this of course. We can’t go handing out thousands to whoever asks for it.

But there has to be a way we can use our own financial might for the greater good of Scottish football. Evans’ idea is a fine one, but we could probably do more.