Celtic, Rangers

By Danny Wright

Johan Mjallby believes that Celtic will fail to improve in the Champions League unless a team like Rangers can offer them more challenge in the league.

The Hoops have had to make do without any serious competition from Rangers for some time now and in their return to the Scottish Premiership Rangers failed to apply any pressure at the top of the table.

The Light Blues finished the season a huge 39 points behind their Glasgow rivals while Aberdeen came closest in the runners-up spot, but were still 30 points off the pace.

And now, Mjallby, a former Hoops defender, has said that Celtic’s easy Premiership life has led to them being too consistent with their tactics and do not have a relied-upon back-up plan for the harder teams.

“With the talent they have available, Celtic are not far from being a European force,” said the ex-Sweden international, as quoted by the Scottish Sun.

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“But domestic competition is very important. When I was at Celtic, Rangers were always a problem.

“Occasionally we would have to adapt our style of play and try new formations against them. This is the problem Celtic have now.

“Domestically, they are always on top. They play with lots of possession, a dominant brand of football. Then when you go to Europe, you are inexperienced in playing with a Plan B.”

Celtic crashed out of the Champions League at the group stages this season but were handed a very tough group with Barcelona, Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach.

Brendan Rodgers managed to earn impressive draws both home and away to Pep Guardiola’s City but they still finished bottom of the group.

The Bhoys had a bit of a struggle to actually reach the first proper round of the competition too and endured defeats to Gibraltarian minnows Lincoln Red Imps and Israel’s Hapoel Be’er Sheva.

In other Celtic news, Martin O’Neill has offered his thoughts on this reported Hoops target.

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