Old Firm are not a lower level than England, says Kenny Dalglish

McDonald's Fun Football ambassador Kenny Dalglish paid a surprise visit to children at  Allander Leisure Centre in Bearsden.
McDonald's Fun Football ambassador Kenny Dalglish paid a surprise visit to children at Allander Leisure Centre in Bearsden.
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Kenny Dalglish has insisted that talented young Scots don’t need to go to England to have fulfilling careers and refuted the suggestion that Celtic and Rangers play at a “lower level”.

Asked whether the likes of Parkead stars Callum McGregor, James Forrest and Ryan Christie would succeed in England, he turned the question on its head. Dalglish said: “Celtic don’t play at a lower level, Rangers play at a high level.

“I don’t know why, whenever anyone does well at those clubs, that the media wants to sell them.

“It’s not the club who want to sell them and, if you’re with either of them and doing well and there are teams in England or Europe who don’t know about you, then that’s their problem.

“Other clubs wouldn’t be doing their homework if they weren’t looking at these players but not everyone has the aspiration to go and play in England.

“Some are happy to play in Scotland and, if you’re not happy, then you don’t play at your best.

“Billy Gilmour is pretty close at Chelsea so there are a few kids floating about [but] they have as good a chance of doing well at either Celtic or Rangers as they would down south.”

Dalglish himself had already won nine major honours with Celtic when, at the age of 26, he left for Liverpool, going on to win 15 trophies at home and abroad in the nine seasons which followed.

As well as left-back Andy Roberston at his old club, there are several Scots flourisning in England’s top flight and former Celtic and Liverpool boss Dalglish believes that will help Scotland manager Steve Clarke.

Speaking in his role as a McDonald’s Fun Football ambassador, he added: “The better the Scottish players do down south then the better chance we have of moving forward as a national team.

“The boys now are playing at a higher level [in England] than what they have been for a few years.”

“We have more Scots in England again, like John Fleck, who’s been doing well for Sheffield United. Unfortunately, two of the best players – Andy Robertson and Kieran Tierney – play in the same position.

“However, our players are improving and playing at a higher level and the higher level they are at then the better chance we have of getting a decent side together.”