Rangers are "closing the gap" on Celtic when it comes to paying wages, according to a salary report.
Sporting Intelligence have revealed the average salary each side in the Scottish Premiership pay their squad through their annual Global Sports Salaries Survey.
The Old Firm are way out in front with Celtic paying an average of £895,564 per player, nearly £250,000 more than rivals Rangers.
Their respective wage bills are mammoth compared to league rivals with Hamilton Accies, Livingston and St Mirren all paying, on average, less than £50,000 to squad members.
Sporting Intelligence note: "The ratio between the highest payers (Celtic) and the lowest payers (Livingston) is 21.76 to 1, an enormous figure that shows the league, despite having just 12 teams, has clubs with budgets ranging from low EPL level to England’s sixth tier - all in the same ‘competition’.
"The top 10 per cent of earners this season make 53 per cent of all basic pay and they’re mostly Celtic and Rangers players. Only three other leagues in this study are more ‘top heavy’ in this regard: Ligue 1, La Liga and the CSL."
Rangers make inroads
The organisation's big takeaway from the survey was that "Rangers are closing the gap on Celtic".
In the past year, Sporting Intelligence reckon the Ibrox side, fresh off beating their rivals 2-1 at Parkhead, have closed the gap on the Scottish champions by around 16 per cent when it comes to wage bills.
"In last year’s GSSS, published in November, we calculated the average basic first-team pay at Ibrox to be £466,556, against a figure of £865,614 at Celtic," the organisation said. "That meant Rangers were spending around 54 per cent of the Celtic figure. But that was on a squad after the 2018 summer transfer window. By the time the season was over, with ins and outs in the January transfer window, not least Jermain Defe and Steven Davis arriving at Ibrox, we reckoned the differential was something closer to 60 per cent, and perhaps a bit more.
"Now we have the official financial statements for both clubs for the 2018-19 season, it seems that was pretty much right. Rangers’ club wage bill of £34.5m was 61.5 per cent of Celtic’s wage bill of £59m.
"So to this season, where we calculate Rangers wages have climbed a significant 39 per cent from September last season to September this season, up to £649,771 average first-team basic. Celtic’s have grown but not by much to £895,564 average first-team basic. We reckon the ratio of Rangers’ salaries to Celtic’s is now above 70 per cent, and depending what happens in the winter window, might yet be higher.
"Rangers are closing the gap on Celtic. Aberdeen, Hearts and Hibs are a long way behind the big two in pay, each having average basic pay between £140,000 and £120,000 per year.
"The full range of salaries in the Scottish top division is just remarkable. Celtic pay more per man, basic, than Sheffield United of the English Premier League, while the seven lowest Scottish Premiership spenders pay less than quite a few teams in the fifth tier of English football."