How would Celtic fare in the Premier League?

by Simon Lillicrap / 11 January 2017, 14:46

Following Brendan Rodgers’ comments about how English clubs see Celtic as a threat and that they would be a top 4/6 side in the Premier League (see video below), we analyse how they would get on in the English football system.

Celtic are completely dominant in the Scottish Premier League. The Hoops currently lie 19 points clear of 2nd place Rangers, having won 19 and drawn one of their 20 games, meaning they are well on course for their sixth consecutive title.

But how would they fare against some of England’s finest?

Celtic's record against English teams in the Champions League is P20 W7 D7 L6 which is not too bad against England’s top sides.

Celtic's recent form is not as good however. They held Man City to two draws in this season’s Champions League but did not register a win in the competition. In 2009/10 they lost both games against Arsenal and in 08/09 they failed to beat Man United in either group game.

Their last win against an English side in the Champions League came over a decade ago, beating Fergie’s United at Celtic Park - a Shansuke Nakamura free kick giving them a 1-0 win.

Brendan Rodgers argues that a club of Celtic's size would be successful in the Premier League due to their high attendances and the financial rewards of being in the Premier League.

However, as Newcastle United have shown, a large dedicated crowd does not always equal success on the pitch. They averaged 49,754 fans as they were relegated last season, meanwhile in the SPL Celtic averaged 44,965 as they romped to another title.

Leeds have averaged high attendances since they were relegated from the Premier League but still have not won promotion back. Having said both Newcastle and Leeds have been mismanaged and not had the investment their support deserves.

Celtic would be a huge attraction to the Premier League, make no doubt about that. The thought of an away day at Celtic Park in front of 60,000 fans is an exciting prospect, however the only way it would appear fair to the lower league clubs is to expand the top flight to 22 or 24 teams, rather than denying one of the lower league sides promotion.

Even then, some would argue that they should be made to start at the bottom of the league system and work their way up, as many of them have done.

With their current squad, Celtic would not pull up any trees in the Premier League. Kolo Toure, Christian Gamboa and Scott Sinclair have all had Premier league experience but by no means were top performers in that division. However, the argument being put forward by the Celtic manager is the potential for attracting top players and progressing up the table.

A club with the history and fan base of Celtic certainly would be an attractive prospect if they could match the wages offered by some of England’s top clubs. However, as Man City found out, it takes a few years of battling at the top of the table before you earn worldwide credibility as a top club.

With the history of the club, the crowds the achieve and the revenue they generate Celtic should be able to challenge the top clubs in England once they have established themselves in the division, however as mouth-watering a prospect as it may be, it is unlikely to ever materialise.


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