Premiership managers welcome Rangers’ top flight promotion

Neilson always relishes a trip to Ibrox. Picture: SNS
Neilson always relishes a trip to Ibrox. Picture: SNS
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Several Ladbrokes Premiership managers have welcomed the addition of Rangers to the top flight despite the added competition.

Motherwell boss Mark McGhee feels it is “fantastic” for Scottish football that Rangers clinched promotion on Tuesday with victory over Dumbarton, while Dundee boss Paul Hartley believes the Ibrox club will make the league stronger.

And Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson welcomed the prospect of more big games for his team.

READ MORE - 7 games that defined Rangers’ title-winning campaign

Scotland assistant coach McGhee said: “I think it is fantastic. It makes us more difficult for the rest of us to stay in it because it is one more team likely to compete at the top end rather than the bottom.

“I think they are back where they belong and I think Scottish football will be the better for it.”

Former Celtic midfielder Hartley said: “I think it will mean another good team in the top flight. We need as many good teams in it as possible.

“We know what Rangers can bring to the league in terms of their crowds, their fanbase, the away support and their quality.

“They are a team that could be challenging next year because of the demands and the size of that club.

“It’s good for the league. We want to have as strong a league as possible. I think it’s been good this year. Everybody has something to play for. It’s been exciting and we’re going to have an exciting end to the season.

“So to have another good team next year will make it even better - but tougher also.”

Neilson’s side comfortably won the Championship ahead of Hibernian and Rangers last season and he is relishing the chance to go up against Mark Warbuton’s team next term.

“When you go to Ibrox and win it’s a great lift for the whole club, and it will be the same next year,” Neilson said. “We will expect to win the game there, as we do every game. We expected to go to Parkhead on Saturday and win.

“It’s great to get the bigger teams back in because it means we will be involved in big games.”

Neilson is not sure whether Rangers will challenge for the title.

“They will want to compete,” he said. “They will get judged against Celtic, they will not be judged against us or Aberdeen. The onus is on them to come up and prove themselves.

“It depends what Rangers do, it’s not really anything to do with us.

“We will have our budget, whether Rangers are up or not doesn’t make any difference. Thankfully this season and hopefully next season, we have sold out just about every game. There will be teams that will get two full houses if Rangers come up but we do anyway so it makes no difference to us.”

McGhee added: “I expect them to be certainly up there among the European places.

“Whether they can rise enough to actually take Celtic on... because no doubt that Celtic will also rise to the challenge and you do have Aberdeen and Hearts getting better all the time.

“It won’t be easy for them to come straight back in and win the title, but they will be putting pressure on Celtic that’s for sure.”

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