|When Glasgow Rangers
disappeared into the financial abyss, everyone across the world of
football punditry agreed Celtic would suffer greatly as a result.
Everyone, that is, except most of the Celtic supporters who welcomed the
idea of their rivals serving the maximum sentence for their
crimes. But would the loss of television cash, along with all the
rest of the revenue generated from the Old Firm, prove crushing for
Celtic as well?|
Last week, The Bhoys took their first and most important step in
stemming any financial tsunami by qualifying for the group stages of the
UEFA Champions League. By successfully navigating the qualifying
rounds, Celtic now find themselves poised for a cash rich autumn of
european football, and from the reaction of the crowd at Celtic Park
last week, everyone knows what it means for the club and its future.
Personally, I never bought into the doom and gloom prophesy that
accompanied Rangers demise. Without knowing too much about the
finances of the SPL, I am fairly certain any shrinking of the revenue
caused by the loss of Rangers in the top flight would pale in comparison
to the funds generated for Celtic by inclusion the Champions League
proper. And then there is the untold financial relief soon to be
felt after the removal of the strain placed on Celtic and the other SPL
clubs by the artificially inflated transfer and wage prices created by
Rangers over the past few seasons.
Celtic now enters Group G of the Champions League, where they will face
Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow. No group is easy for a club
with limited funds compared to the rest of Europe’s Giants, and Group G
is likely a bridge too far for Celtic. But stranger things have
happened in Glasgow on a European match night, and should they sneak a
win against Benfica at Celtic Park all bets are off. Either way,
the Celtic hierarchy will be counting the cash, win or lose.
So after months of hearing about financial armageddon coming to
Parkhead, the Hoops earned themselves something of a redemption.
Can Neil Lennon turn some heads in Europe this year? In truth, it
doesn’t really matter how the team performs. The most important
thing is that Celtic can end the month’s long speculation that they
couldn’t survive without their crosstown rivals. A few consecutive
years of European competition can be the club’s reward for riding out
the storm of the century.