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Celtic 'not really' missing Old Firm rivalry - Lawwell

CELTIC chief Peter Lawwell signed a three-year shirt sponsorship with Magners then revealed that the club doesn't miss Old Firm matches.

The liquidation and reincarnation of Rangers as a Third Division club has left Scottish football without it's outstanding fixture with no guarantee that the Glasgow clubs will ever meet again.

With the two-horse race a thing of the past Celtic are cruising towards the title with none of the other sides able to mount a sustained challenge.

Celtic have taken a big hit at the turnstyles with SPL attendances down close to 10,000 per match but with the visit of Juventus on Champions League duty next month, Lawwell is able to enjoy life without the constant edge that comes with the Old Firm tag.

Asked if he was missing the Rangers fixture Lawwell said: "Not really. There are pluses and there are minuses clearly. You miss the pluses and you don't miss the minuses.

"You miss the pros and not the cons, so it balances itself out but you wouldn't swap it for the Champions League."

The Magners deal kicks in next season and is the first time since 1999 that Celtic haven't had the same shirt sponsor as Rangers.

That move has delighted Celtic supporters with Lawwell claiming it has always been the clubs' intention to have separate sponsors.

"In the past we did have shared sponsors but these were down to circumstances rather than the plan, certainly in my time here," he said. "With Martin Bain (former CE of Rangers) we set off on our own but circumstances took us to joint sponsors.

Traditions

"We are not defined by any other club. We are Celtic and that is witnessed here today. We have our own brand, story, traditions and a powerful offering to any sponsor. Here we've got Magners who fit with Celtic in terms of its global aspirations.

"This is a great testament to Scottish football that we can attract such a prestigious sponsor. I think there is great optimism we can take from that."

Tom McCusker, managing director of Magners said: "Magners is a premium brand with huge ambition both at home and abroad, available in over 40 markets worldwide including key cider growth territories like the US, Australia, Canada and Asia.

"There is, therefore, a great fit with Celtic Football Club who also enjoy great success and popularity domestically and internationally. Everyone at Magners is looking forward to working with Celtic and its fans over the coming years in what promises to be an exciting time for the club and our brand."