Murdo MacLeod: No title challenge to Celtic now

Murdo MacLeod at the opening of Torrance Park Golf Club's new clubhouse. Picture: SNS

Murdo MacLeod at the opening of Torrance Park Golf Club's new clubhouse. Picture: SNS

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Comparisons can be made between the current Scottish top flight and the set-up in the first half of the 1980s.

Then, as now, Celtic did not have a title threat from a Rangers side preoccupied with simply finishing respectably. Murdo MacLeod was a Celtic stalwart in a period they were top performers in the championship. He sees an obvious issue with attempting to draw strong parallels between the two eras.

“I don’t think it’s like our day because I don’t think there is a challenge now,” he said. “Rangers were still there in the early 1980s even although they didn’t win the league. Aberdeen were our main rivals and Dundee United won it once, but just now I just think Celtic are miles ahead.

“Money is going to talk all the time in football now. The quality is going to be decided by what you can afford to bring in and with Celtic being the wealthiest club just now they are the ones who can assemble the best squad.

“Celtic are still going to be stronger next year and if they get in the Champions League again that’s another £15 million to boost their bank. Then if you’re selling a guy like [Moussa] Dembele for a similar sum then it’s going to only get harder for other clubs to get nearer Celtic. You look at Aberdeen, who have always been strong and a hard side to beat but the level of players they are able to bring in is always going to be different to what Celtic can just now.”

MacLeod, pictured, recognises that Brendan Rodgers “has lifted the whole club” and succeeded in the over-arching target of making Celtic a Champions League team again. As a result the pundit believes Rodgers should be able to guide his team to a treble, last achieved by the club 15 years ago, and only three times.

Yet even if Celtic appear to have every possible advantage in the pursuit of a clean sweep MacLeod slaps down the notion that would diminish the achievement.

“It would not be diminished simply because Celtic are so strong,” he said. “Winning a treble is special – it doesn’t matter who is in the league.

“It would have been the same in the last two or three seasons as well because Rangers were still in the cup competitions. It’s special because you just have to look at the amount of cup upsets in recent years. Just look at last year. How did Ross County and Hibs get to the League Cup final? Where were Celtic, Aberdeen or Hearts and even Rangers?

“You would like to think they will win the treble 
this year. Obviously, it will be a tough game against Aberdeen a week on 
Sunday because they have been a strong side for the past two years and the main 
challengers.

“But I just think a cup final at Hampden with Brendan Rodgers looking for his first trophy, Celtic will be up for the game.”

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