Kris Boyd believes the problems at Celtic are so deep rooted that even a victory over Rangers in next month’s Scottish Cup semi-final will not prevent a major overhaul of management and players in the summer. The former Ibrox striker has criticised the Scottish champions’ signing policy, accusing them of stockpiling players.
He also thinks Rangers will go into the last-four clash at Hampden in a far better position than their rivals, despite being in the division below.
Just 13 months ago Boyd watched from the bench as Kenny McDowall’s Rangers were dismantled by Celtic in the League Cup semi-finals.
Boyd admits that the gulf between the sides back then was a chasm. However, while Mark Warburton and David Weir have rebuilt Rangers into a far more formidable force, he argues that Celtic have gone backwards. “Celtic wiped the floor with us last season and everyone said the gap was still massive, but I don’t think it is,” the Kilmarnock forward said.
“Now that Rangers have the belief back they can win games at that level and they have the fans behind them, they’ll be looking forward to it more than the Celtic supporters. If it doesn’t start well for Celtic, their fans will be on their case from the word go.”
Whatever the result at Hampden, Boyd believes that the end is nigh for Ronny Deila, claiming that not even a second successive Premiership title and victory over Rangers will see him survive.
“I think there will be an overhaul at Celtic Park in the summer due to the amount of players they have and the fact that their manager is taking stick,” he said.
“With only 14,000-15,000 fans at the Morton game, the hierarchy at Celtic won’t be thinking positive things about that.
“I don’t really think a game against Rangers will change much for Celtic.
“Whether it is management staff or players, there is going to be a major overhaul one way or another.
“With the crowds the way they are at Celtic Park, I can’t see one game changing the whole picture there. It might paper over the cracks for a couple of weeks, but the same problems are still going to be there. The hierarchy will still have made up their mind about what is going to happen and I think, right now, Rangers for all their troubles in the past, are in a far-better position going into the game than Celtic.”
Boyd struggles to make sense of Celtic’s signing policy, particularly the apparent panic-buying of midfielders.
Deila, who is unlikely to have been solely responsible for identifying every new arrival, has used 36 players thus far this season, with 17 of them having been deployed in the middle of the park.
From his own experience at Ibrox last season, when he started 29 of Rangers’ 54 matches, Boyd knows how corrosive an effect possessing too many fringe players can have on a club.
“Celtic must have about 100 players sitting in there,” he said. “For a long time now, it seems like they’ve been saving them up. They’ve signed so many players and then not used them, for [whatever] reason. For me, that brings problems in itself because you have a number of players not really doing anything apart from training.
“Most of the Rangers players are going to training now, knowing whether or not they are playing at the weekend whereas a lot of the Celtic boys know they aren’t going to play, which isn’t easy.
“I’ve been there myself, when you know you aren’t getting a game at the end of the week and it festers away at you. You can become a negative influence in the whole group. If you have X amount of them not playing, it can harm you.”
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