FORMER Celtic skipper Tom Boyd believes it will take Rangers years before they are in a position to challenge for the Premiership title even if they manage to win promotion this season.
Boyd, who captained Celtic to their last domestic treble in 2001, claims that Celtic have too much financial muscle for the Championship leaders, arguing that it would take a massive investment of new cash to make Mark Warburton’s men genuine contenders.
Ibrox chairman Dave King has said he expects Rangers to have a chance of pipping their Old Firm rivals for a shot at Champions League qualification in 2017 but Boyd claims that is overly optimistic.
While bemoaning the lack of competition for Ronny Deila’s side, currently seven points and 22 goals ahead of second-placed Aberdeen and odds-on to win their fifth consecutive title, Boyd insists that Rangers are in no position to provide it.
Even if they beat Hibernian to automatic promotion, the former Scotland defender insists that Celtic will not be tested by them in 2016/17.
“For me, that’s a hypothetical,” he said. “I can’t see that happening with the players they have.
“They have five loan players just now so they’ll need to change them for next season. So it’ll take two or three years for them to get up and running to compete at the same level Celtic are at this moment.
“Yes, Rangers are a better team than they were last season. Look where Hearts are – eight points behind and Celtic are still a better team than them.
“I think that Rangers will still come up but they’ve got a challenge from Hibs so we’ll see how that develops.”
Asked when he believed Rangers might be in a position to break Celtic’s hegemony, Boyd replied: “It all depends on the circumstances and whether they can get their house in order financially, which is not there right now going by the last accounts, when they posted a loss of £7.5million.
“I know that might change if they do come up because they can then charge more for season tickets and you can add the extra money that comes with being in the top division but they’ll also have to pay more – you don’t know.
“Only time will tell. The lack of a challenge is a problem because we do need and want to get a competition going. Celtic are far too strong for the league.
“I don’t think they will be able to compete. It might happen if they [Rangers] find some decent players and I know Mark Waburton has made a start with the scouting side.
“That was certainly needed in this day and age. A process has begun but I think it will take a couple of years at least for Rangers to put in a serious challenge.”