By Danny Wright

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig has surprisingly admitted that Rangers’ return to the Scottish Premiership has benefited the Bhoys as it sparked them into spending more money on better players and a better manager.

The Light Blues were sent to the bottom of the Scottish football pyramid in 2012 after suffering a financial meltdown and had only returned last season under the charge of Mark Warburton.

The Hoops have had no problem breezing to league titles in Rangers’ absence and have continued that trend since they were promoted by avoiding defeat in every single domestic game since.

Now, Celtic right-back Lustig has admitted he believes that the Gers’ presence in the top-flight has urged the Parkhead club to really push on in improving the team – something that the average Bhoys fan might not want to concede to their bitter rivals.

“Rangers being back is good for us. When they left, we did not spend a lot of money on players,” he said, as quoted by the Daily Record.

“We knew we did not have to invest a great deal of money because we would win the league anyway.

“But immediately, when they came up, we invested many millions on player purchases and appointed a class manager and bought good players.

“We started paying better wages too to show that we would be number one.”

Celtic have stayed several steps ahead of their bitter Old Firm rivals since their return to the top-flight where Rangers have been unable to really show any signs of closing down the gap between them.

Last season the Ibrox club finished third in the Premiership behind Aberdeen and it seems that this season may take a similar route if they do not sort of their managerial problem as soon as possible.

Caretaker boss Graeme Murty oversaw a humiliating 2-0 home loss to Hamilton on Saturday as the search for Pedro Caixinha’s successor nears on entering its fourth week.

In other Rangers news, the odds have been slashed on a new favourite for the Gers job as Derek McInnes drifts.

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