Skip to main content

Dave King backs Rangers to extend dominance as Celtic reach for ‘lifeboat’

Soccer – Rangers EGM Arrivals – Ibrox
(Image credit: Danny Lawson)

Dave King has accused Celtic of reaching for a lifeboat after seeing their 10-in-a-row dreams sink.

The former Rangers chairman famously predicted Celtic’s grip on the Scottish game would “collapse like a deck of cards” if Steven Gerrard’s Ibrox side could win just one title.

And the jubilant Rangers supporters are lapping things up as his forecast seems to be coming true.

While Gerrard’s newly crowned champions are eyeing up their first Champions League campaign in a decade, a complete overhaul is taking place at Parkhead.

New chief executive Dominic McKay has been hired to replace Peter Lawwell, who has decided to step down following furious supporter protests.

His first job once he finally takes up his new role on July 1 will be to secure a replacement for Neil Lennon, who finally resigned last month only after clinging on for months when it was clear his team were heading for a dismal campaign.

On top of that, former Scottish Rugby Union chief operating officer McKay will have to fill a new director of football role.

And King believes all that upheaval offers scope for Rangers to extend their dominance into a second season.

“I actually think that we can,” he said. “If I look at what is happening on the other side of the city, clearly they are not taking this as being a one-off.

“They could say it was a one-off, they had a bad season and that happens and they would regroup and go again.

“But they haven’t done that. It has been kind of lifeboat stuff.

“I have been through that and see what it is like when you go through managerial changes and executive changes. It is not easy.

“There will be player changes, there will be pressure on their financial resources that hasn’t been there before, they won’t have access to Champions League money that they had previously.

“So I see this as being a very, very challenging season for Celtic because they will want to stop us defending the title.

“I think it is going to be very interesting to see how they respond to the challenge because there is no merit in looking at Rangers’ performance this season and saying it is a one-off.

“It is not as if Rangers have sneaked through.

“The level of points that Celtic could reasonably get at the end of the season, that would win the title in three of the last five seasons.

“Rangers are so far ahead of that and they have decisions to make on their side. Irrespective of the decisions, there is a level of uncertainty on the other side that I think can only benefit Rangers.”

While King is buoyant about what the future holds for Rangers domestically, he has concerns about what lies ahead in Europe if the continent’s super-powers succeed in their wish to make the Champions League a closed shop.

“The idea of the Champions League continuing to just entrench the rich clubs, well for the guys who are interested in the money, that might make sense for them, but it just cannot be good for football and it certainly can’t be good for Scottish football,” he said.

King revealed he has previously taken part in discussions that could have seen the Old Firm join an Atlantic League with big clubs from Scandinavia, Holland and Belgium.

Celtic pulled out of the talks last year and King admits he does not see the project getting off the ground any time soon.

The Castlemilk-born tycoon said: “I did have involvement in the Atlantic League but it’s something that really is very much a forward position. It’s not going to happen in the next five years.

“Our planning is one, two, maximum three years ahead. Will it happen eventually? Yeah, probably, because money will move it in a certain direction.

“But in the meantime, if we are looking at what Rangers need to do over the next two or three years, I think it’s going to be very much domestic football and doing the best we can in Europe.”