Stephen McManus: Scotland need Rangers in SPL

Stephen McManus in action for Middlesbrough. Picture: Getty
Stephen McManus in action for Middlesbrough. Picture: Getty
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STEPHEN McManus has spoken of his anguish at the Scottish game being “battered” by his England-based team-mates as he admitted he was still passionate about Scottish football.

The former Celtic defender, who now plays for Middlesbrough, also that Scottish football is at its lowest ebb now that Rangers are playing in the Third Division as he struggles to defend the state of the game to his colleagues down south.

“Scottish football gets battered constantly down south,” McManus said, “but I try to defend it because I am passionate about my country. It has given me the opportunity to do what I have done in my career.

“Without Scottish football, I would have nothing. So it hurts when you see the state of the game.

McManus added that Old Firm games were the lifeblood of Scottish football, and suggested that pride in the Scottish game has fallen as negative coverage continues to affect its image.

“Rangers have never been in the bottom tier. No matter what anyone says it has been the most difficult point for Scottish football.

“You need your big two fighting it out, having Old Firm games on TV and the two of them in Europe.

“We have to make people proud of our game. Whenever anything to do with the game in Scotland does flash up on TV, it’s always negative.”

McManus, who left Celtic in 2010 for England, has found opportunities limited at Middlesbrough since Tony Mowbray’s arrival, who forced him out of Celtic after Gordon Strachan’s departure, has been loaned out to Bristol City in recent months.