Celts reject claim they 'need' Rangers to stay solvent
CELTIC have claimed they do not need Rangers in order to thrive after Scotland's First Minister warned the Old Firm's fortunes were interlinked.
Responding to the Ibrox club's descent into administration, Alex Salmond claimed "the most die-hard Celtic supporter understands that Celtic can't prosper unless Rangers are there".
But the official viewpoint of Celtic, who went 14 points clear in the Scottish Premier League on Tuesday after Rangers were deducted 10 points, is somewhat different.
A club statement said: "We are very disappointed with the First Minister's claims that Celtic 'need' Rangers and that Celtic 'can't prosper unless Rangers are there'.
"This is simply not true. In a series of interviews given just three days ago, we made it abundantly clear that Celtic has a well-defined strategy and a business plan independent of the fortunes of any other club.
"That remains absolutely the case.
"The predicament of Rangers is clearly a serious and complex matter with a whole range of possible outcomes.
"However, we are extremely well qualified to make our own position clear and have no wish to see that being misrepresented for political reasons."
Like Salmond, St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas believes a strong Rangers is good for Scottish football.
"All I will say is I don't think anybody should take any pleasure out of the situation," Lomas said.
"Scotland needs a strong Old Firm and so it gives me no pleasure to see Glasgow Rangers in the position they're in. Hopefully Rangers will sort their problems."
Kilmarnock will be the first team to face Rangers since they went into administration, and manager Kenny Shiels anticipates a defiant response on and off the park tomorrow.
He said: "I'm trying to focus on other things like how we prepare and what we are about.
"But with regards the Rangers situation, I feel there will be a galvanising of energy from the stands and pitch.
"It definitely will foster a siege mentality and they will definitely be fighting to try to get a result."