Former Celtic striker John Hartson claims that the only hope Rangers have of preventing their derby rivals from winning a record ten successive titles is if Brendan Rodgers chooses to resign as manager, takes the club’s biggest names with him and Celtic elect to replace him with Pedro Caixinha.
Rodgers currently claims to be content in Glasgow and is on the verge of claiming a first back-to-back treble with his boyhood heroes while Caixinha, who flopped as badly as most of his highly-paid signings during his seven months in charge of Rangers last year, is currently struggling in Mexico with Cruz Azul.
Consequently, Hartson believes that any punter who has placed a wager on Celtic reaching double figures should consider it as money in the bank.
“Ten-in-a-row is going to happen; that’s a stonewaller,” said the Welshman. “The only way that doesn’t happen is if Brendan decides to leave Celtic, some of the players go with him and they bring in a manager that’s not as good as him.
“If you brought in a Pedro Caixinha or if you bring in a Ronny Delia then Rangers could stop it. But Celtic are riding the crest of a wave, they are in the ascendancy on and off the pitch they are levels above.
“They have secured £60 million in the last two years through their Champions League campaigns, they have assets at the club, they get full houses every week and they’re accustomed to winning.
“All right, they’ve drawn a few and lost a few this season but that was always going to happen. The expectation just went through the roof last year with the ‘Invincibles’.
“Listen, I played in a great team and we lost games – we had Henrik Larsson and Chris Sutton playing up front and we still lost sometimes. Celtic have got Leigh Griffiths, a 25-goals-per-season striker, to come on if you don’t go with Moussa Dembele. That’s how strong they are.”
Rodgers has been included on a shortlist of potential successors for Arsene Wenger at Arsenal and has also been linked with the job at Chelsea, with Antonio Conte expected to leave Stamford Bridge this summer but Hartson believes that he will wish to establish Celtic as a force to be reckoned with on the continent before he departs. That, though, will come at a cost.
“He says he’s living the dream, he’s a God, he can do no wrong, he’s successful,” he said. “I think Europe is the big question, isn’t it? He’ll want to take Celtic a bit further in Europe and, to do that, he’ll need funds.”