Champions League progress '˜could secure Celtic's ten in a row'
Consequently, they will avoid being paired with clubs such as NK Maribor, Legia Warsaw, Red Bull Salzburg and Malmo, all of whom have beaten them in recent seasons.
Should Brendan Rodgers’ side emulate last season’s achievement and progress to the competition proper, then every other Premiership club will receive a financial bonus from Uefa. In reality, though, Scotland’s wealthiest club reaching the group phase of club football’s most profitable tournament would be bad news for all of them.
Indeed, former Celtic captain Tom Boyd believes that if his old club, which have already won six successive championships, can earn the right to take centre stage in the European theatre (and collect the £30 million which goes with it) then it will not be possible for Aberdeen, Rangers, Hearts or anyone else to prevent them extending their dominance of the domestic game and claiming a record ten titles in a row.
“That’s fairly obvious,” he said. “I think we’ve seen the impact of investing in a very good manager and him getting backed to bring in players of quality. We’ve all seen the results of that on the park. Whether the team can go through another season unbeaten is another question. It’s so tough but it’s going to take a lot to stop Celtic.
“Celtic are in a very strong position right now. It’s been a long, hard slog to get there but where the club is just now is great. There’s a very attractive brand of football. It would be nice if we could get a lot more teams able to match that but it’s difficult.
“Qualifying for the group phase could secure ten in a row. It’s very possible, especially if Brendan can improve the team again and bring in quality players.
“The impact Brendan has made has been incredible. There were players who looked like they were out of the picture before he came in and they’re now automatic starters. That’s the impact with Brendan and he is only just starting.
“He wants the team to compete in the Champions League. We got better with each game in the competition last season and learned a lot along the way.”
Rodgers has rejuvenated Celtic and also revived his own career but Boyd, pictured, believes the Irishman will be in Glasgow for the long haul.
“I would like to see that – I would like him to sign for another ten years after that and see where he takes us,” he said. “If he gets to ten in a row then why would he want to go anywhere else?
“He’s transformed the club and the level of performances as well. He has his own challenges here. There are demands to win every game and he’s been doing that. He’s brought back the feelgood factor.
“Brendan is bringing boys in who have shown what they can do on the park and he’s also improved the ones who are already here. Everything he’s touched is turning to gold but you want to set records that can never be broken.”