The overall standard of Scottish football has seemingly declined this season.
Rangers’ absence from the Scottish Premier League has been mainly to blame for this but the clubs themselves voted for the decision for Rangers to be demoted to the third division.
In essence it was similar to turkeys voting for Christmas and this has been proven this season.
Yes the absence of Rangers from the Premier League has given opportunities for other clubs to challenge Celtic for the title and also try and gain a lucrative European place but the adverse effect on the league has been more noticeable.
I understand the need to punish Rangers but the outcome has been catastrophic for the top flight of Scottish football.
Celtic themselves have suffered a slip in their standards domestically. They would not have been allowed to lose so many points with Rangers breathing down their neck in previous seasons.
Celtic will not reach the points total they achieved last season, they have already conceded more goals than last season and lost more games and will achieve less victories. However, they will still go on and defend their title.
The SPL has felt the loss of Rangers in a financial sense as well. Rangers, alongside Celtic, are the best-supported club in Scotland.
Their faithful following bring much valued income to opposing teams when they visit and often guarantee the largest attendances of the season.
Added to the loss of attendance has been the loss of revenue from television broadcasting. I am sure that sponsorship will also become affected if companies are not seeing their brand constantly on television or exposed to European markets.
Clubs in today’s climate cannot afford any loss of income. Unfortunately the loss of Rangers means that their is much less demand for televised Scottish football - the impact of which we may see over the next two or three years.
The Old Firm clashes are often a highlight of any season attracting audiences from all over the world. These are no more and consequently the attraction to the Scottish Premier League has been desiccated.
Players are also less inclined to sign for Celtic as they are playing in a league that is less competitive than before and will not be attracted by the lack of opportunity to play in the famous Old Firm derbies.
The only positives I can see from Rangers being absent from the top flight of Scottish football is the fact that they are now providing the third division with much more exposure than it could have expected before and also increasing the income of all the clubs in that division.
If Rangers, as predicted, gain successive promotions then they will also promote the other divisions and clubs for the good of the game at these levels.
Maybe now is the time for Celtic to consider trying to enter the English leagues if they are to progress any further as a club?
The more they remain in a non-competitive league the more it will affect their chances of remaining competitive and further progressing in competitions such as the Champions League.
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