Rangers have been handed a huge Champions League qualifying boost – and Celtic have played a big part in it.
That is according to finance expert and Football Insider columnist Kieran Maguire, speaking exclusively ahead of the Glasgow derby on Sunday.
The match at Celtic Park is likely to be an emotionally charged affair after Rangers stopped Celtic’s 10-in-a-row dream by sealing their first title in a decade.
In 2018, ex-Rangers chairman Dave King claimed that one title triumph would see Celtic’s stranglehold on Scottish football “fold like a pack of cards.”
Maguire chalked King’s comments up to bravado and insists that the two clubs’ financial fortunes are in fact inextricably linked.
He cited the fact Scottish clubs will get two Champions League spots next season.
“There’s no love lost between the two clubs and I think some things are said to get a reaction,” he told Football Insider correspondent Adam Williams.
“I think the basis of the prediction is that Rangers by winning will have addressed the competitive advantage that Celtic have had for a number of years.
“I don’t think the prediction will actually come to fruition. The reason I say that is that the two clubs need each other.
“Rangers have benefited from Celtic getting into the Champions League and Celtic have benefited from Rangers doing well in the Europa League.
“That’s because when it comes to allocated Champions League preliminary spots, Scotland are now in the top 15 UEFA countries. That means they get two spots next season and Celtic would join at the second qualifying round and Rangers the third.
“But if Celtic get to the group stages of the Champions League and Rangers don’t, then they have a massive competitive advantage and vice versa. The value of the Scottish Premiership TV deal is peanuts compared to the Champions League.”
Rangers go into the derby with a 20 point lead over Celtic in the Scottish Premiership.
Steven Gerrard’s side are still going strong in the Europa League and take a 1-1 draw with Slavia Prague into the round-of-16 second-leg tomorrow night.