Celtic won’t be defined by Rangers, insists Brendan Rodgers

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and captain Scott Brown promote season tickets for next season. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers and captain Scott Brown promote season tickets for next season. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS
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Whatever one may think of Rangers chairman Dave King, the South Africa-based businessman certainly knows how to grab a headline with a statement which will appeal to his demographic.

On Monday he claimed that Celtic would fold like a pack of cards should Rangers ever win a Premiership title, thus denying their city rivals the Champions League revenue (north of £70 million in the last two seasons alone) which he claims has fuelled their success. Without access to those riches, King argued, Celtic would be in the same boat as Rangers.

However, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers begs to differ, stressing that his club are on a sound financial footing whether or not they continue to compete in club football’s most lucrative tournament.

“Before I came here the club hadn’t been in the Champions League for two years and, obviously, that’s a way of generating finances which can’t be matched in any other way,” said the Irishman.

“But what we have here is a very good board of directors and a major shareholder who have a very clear strategy and vision for the club. I’ve been able to come in and add a football vision to that and, ultimately, it’s about what happens on the field.

“Celtic are not going to win the league every year, but there is a great base here. There are no guarantees that Celtic will get through four rounds of qualification [for the Champions League] but there is a strategy here – one for the Champions League and one for the Europa League.

“The money that is generated from the last few years put the club on a wonderful footing and allows us to grow on and off the pitch and that’s my only concern. I’ve always said we are not defined by Rangers or anyone else and that continues.

“I’m a football guy – the business strategy is for [chief executive] Peter Lawwell and Dermot Desmond to talk about. What I do know is that the club is a really healthy position from these last few seasons; you see the fans in a good moment, the development around the ground. The club’s plan for today and tomorrow is very healthy and it’s constantly evolving and improving.

“You look after your own house, get that the best you can. Of course, you know the different markets and what competitors are doing but we are defined and measured by ourselves, not by anyone else.”

Celtic face Kilmarnock at Parkhead tonight and goalkeeper Scott Bain will again deputise for Craig Gordon.

Club captain Scott Brown, meanwhile, played down the stamp on him by Hearts midfielder Steven Naismith at Tynecastle on Sunday.

“I get on brilliantly with Naisy and still will,” he said. “It’s one tackle; I’ve had a lot worse from a lot of other people and still speak to them.

“We both want to win. He was playing in a kind of 
No 10 role and I was sitting in front of the back four so something was going to happen.

“He wants to win. He’s played in the English Premier League so he knows what top standard is and he’s maybe not getting it where he is.”