Kenny Dalglish tips Celtic to win Scottish Premiership yet again

Celtic great Kenny Dalglish has backed his old club to do the business again this season and claim two titles on the bounce after Ange Postecoglou won a League and League Cup double in his initial season in charge. Last summer the Hoops were in a shambolic state, as the end of an era came to pass when our domestic dominance ended after the best part of a decade in Scottish football.

Photo: Jeff Holmes

Celtic recovered remarkably well however, thanks to the big Greek-Aussie Postecoglou. He managed to overcome a turbulent and precarious start to life as manager of the Parkhead club and snared his first silverware in December – winning a League Cup against Hibernian 2-1. Managing to get to January with a depleted and wearisome squad of charges, he then recruited astutely during the winter transfer window to help aid the push for his first Scottish Premiership trophy.

With the additions of Daizen Maeda, Reo Hatate and Yosuke Ideguchi from Japan, alongside Matt O’Riley from MK Dons, we catapulted ourselves into first place with a debating victory over our rivals at Celtic Park and set the tone for the title run-in. Another victory at Ibrox would just about seal our spot as top of the pile again, thanks to goals from the now departed Tom Rogic and USA international, Cameron Carter-Vickers.

After a whirlwind debut season in Scotland for Ange, he will now be looking to push on and scale heights bigger, better and stronger than before. The recruitment drive this summer has been neat and tidy again, if not spectacular. With the permanent signing of both Jota and Cameron Carter-Vickers, the big man has added more depth in the form of Benji Seigrist, Alexandro Bernabei, Moritz Jenz and Aaron Mooy most recently. All this whilst trimming the fat from a squad that was in need of a refreshment cull.

One man that has put his money where his mouth is when it comes to the destination of the cinch Premiership league title this year is Kenny Dalglish. Despite the Ibrox side bringing in some new faces and selling some star asserts during the process, Dalglish believes it is the green and white half of Glasgow that still holds the edge. Writing in his Sunday Post column, he said: “Calvin Bassey’s £20-million departure from theRangers to Ajax has been the main headline to date from the summer transfer window in Scotland.

: Photo by Luke Nickerson  Leon Balogun dejected at the end of the match Rangers v Celtic, Cinch Scottish Premiership, Football, Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow, UK – 03 Apr 2022 

“From a financial point of view, it was great business for the Ibrox club. To help fill the void, they spent a chunk of that cash to bring Ben Davies north from Liverpool. He arrived at Anfield during last year’s January window, but didn’t feature in Jurgen Klopp’s first-team so it’s hard to properly assess him. But I know he is a good type, and has had a good career to date, so I’m sure he will do well at Rangers.

“It’s not all about him, however. Champions League qualification, or winning back the title from Celtic, will not rest on Ben’s shoulders. It would be unfair to leave that at his door. It will need to be a collective effort from everyone connected to the Ibrox club. Any success will be about what everybody does together, from the manager to his staff, the players and the supporters.

“Ben will also have to prove his worth. Remember, Rangers already have good central defenders in John Souttar and Connor Goldson. While they have strength in depth in that area, it’s up front that is more of a problem. With Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe out injured, it leaves Giovanni van Bronckhorst short of options for the next few weeks.

“They play Union Saint-Gilloise from Belgium in their first Champions League qualifier. That will be a tough test, and Giovanni would have preferred to have a full squad to choose from. He would have been encouraged with the result and performance against West Ham in midweek, and it would have been pleasing to see Tom Lawrence and Rabbi Matondo both scoring in the 3-1 victory.

“Lawrence stole the show, and also had two assists. The former Derby County man must have been delighted to hit the ground running. It will need all of the players to be in top form in the next few weeks to get through the qualifiers and into the Champions League. Being successful will bring prestige to the players, and financial rewards for the hierarchy.

“It will swell the coffers by about £35m. Take that, plus the money for Bassey and Joe Aribo in this window, and it’s a very healthy revenue stream. If it does go to plan next month, then Giovanni will be looking for a chunk of that money to improve the squad even further. He has lost two players that he would rather have kept. But he can’t control the situation when big bids come in.

“All he can do is look to bring in the best quality available as replacements. The guys who arrive are more important than the ones who have left – they have gone. They are no longer part of the conversation. The departures of Aribo and Bassey may have helped the balance sheet, but football is not all about money. It’s about winning and being successful. That’s why I said last week that Giovanni will feel as though he’s been punished for improving Calvin in a short space of time, but then watching him leave.

“However, theRangers’ manager will not be sulking. He knows it’s part and parcel of football. You have to deal with the blow of losing an outstanding player and quickly move on. It’s all about how you recover from it, and the calibre of player that you bring in to fill the void. Giovanni will also be looking at the situation over at Celtic, and seeing that Ange Postecoglou has improved his squad.

“They have been active in the transfer market, and in the past few days added Aaron Mooy and Moritz Jenz. Added to the squad which won back the Premiership last season, for me it makes Celtic the team to beat this season. Sure, the transfer window is open for another six weeks or so, and Rangers might yet do more business. But the Parkhead club looks very strong.

“Right now, they are favourites for the Premiership. Rangers will really need to produce something very special to stop them.But league titles are never won on paper. It’s what you do out on the park. It’s about ability, mentality and desire from the players, and it’s about organisation and man-management in the dugout. The Old Firm (sic) games last season were very tight, and I don’t think that will change. So it has the makings of a rollercoaster campaign, and the ride starts next weekend. I’m so looking forward to it. Let’s all have a great season.”

Paul Gillespie

About Author

I'm a Garngad Bhoy through and through. My first ever Celtic game was a friendly against Italian side Parma at Celtic Park, in 2002. Currently a student of English Literature and Education at the University of Strathclyde for my sins. Favourite game would be a toss up between beating Manchester United with that Naka freekick, or the game against the Oldco when Hesselink scored in the dying seconds. I'm still convinced Cal Mac is wasted playing that far back.

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