Neil Warnock has leaped to the defence of Celtic and claimed that both the Hoops and Rangers would be top six clubs down in England.
It’s been a constant debate since time began as to whether Celtic can hold their own in England. Many down south have always had the view that the Parkhead side couldn’t hack it in England’s top flight.
However, Celtic have been known to give English sides a bloody nose in European competition. Manchester City failed to beat Brendan Rodgers’ Bhoys on two occasions back in 2017. Gordon Strachan’s battle-hardened side of 2006 beat Sir Alex Ferguson’s red-hot Manchester United. Martin O’Neill, meanwhile, managed to see off both Liverpool and Blackburn Rovers en route to the UEFA Cup final in 2003.
Celtic have proven over many years that they’ve always had the ability to mix it with England’s big boys. And Middlesbrough boss Warnock, who has managed as many as 16 different clubs down south, backed the Glasgow clubs. Speaking on the BBC’s Scottish Football podcast, here’s what Warnock had to say:
“If you put Celtic and Rangers down in England, you’re talking about the top six. Those two clubs, if they got the money that the English clubs have coming in, they would spend it.
“They’d spend it on good players and they would then compete. “I look at Celtic and Rangers – I don’t think about Man City or Liverpool, I think they’re way ahead – but I think the rest below that, Man United, Chelsea, I think Rangers and Celtic would more than cope with that.
“The money that the Premier League [clubs] get, it wouldn’t take long (for Celtic and Rangers to compete) – within 18 months, two years.”
Too many aren’t interested in the full argument
There’s always been a misconception from some in England that Celtic fans believe they can compete for honours down south with our current side. Then again, saying it’s a misconception may be generous – for some it’s just ignorance and a failure to bother listening to the full argument.
Celtic fans, and even Rangers fans in fairness, feel their clubs could compete comfortably with the finances of the Premier League clubs. For example, during the 2018/19 campaign, Huddersfield Town banked £93m for finishing bottom of the table (Planet Football). The 2019/20 figures have yet to be released, but goodness knows what those will be.
Imagine the damage Celtic could do with cash like that? When you take into account the club’s ridiculously loyal fan base, Parkhead would be packed every second week. English clubs also wouldn’t know what hit them if Celtic took traveling supports down also.
Of course, the idea of Celtic and Rangers moving down to England has come up regularly in the past. In 2009, the Premier League clubs rejected the idea of bringing both clubs down (The Guardian). It certainly makes you wonder why.
It’s always nice to hear opinions from English football figures that differ to the all too frequent snobby narrative. Warnock can be like marmite for everyone, but he certainly holds Celtic and Rangers in high regard. Irrespective of what you think of him as a manager or personality, it’s a refreshing view to see.