Ex-Rangers boss McLeish hits out at empty spaces in Celtic crowds


Former Rangers boss insists Celtic need Rangers.

Rangers and Celtic are bracing to resume hostilities as their upcoming cup semi-final clash looms.

The pair have been kept apart since 2011/12, with Rangers having been demoted and still sit one division below the top flight.

Celtic fans have stoked the rivalry ahead of the match, taking out a newspaper advert, report Yahoo Eurosport, insisting the Old Firm rivalry no longer exists as Rangers were made insolvent, with a new club having taken their place.

A former boss of their old rivals, Alex McLeish, has since hit out at Celtic fans, arguing the club need Rangers to be able to flourish themselves.

McLeish, currently managing in Belgium, told The Daily Record: "For me, Celtic are missing Rangers. You see empty spaces at Celtic Park.

"Back in the day when Martin O’Neill was there and they had a superb team, we did too. Stadiums were full every week."

Figures from the last few seasons do show a gradual decrease in attendances at Celtic, referenced by Fitba Stats.

Data for the 2011/12 season show Celtic home games averaging a 50,904 attendance. This season so far, there is an average of 43,177 - more than 10 per cent down since Rangers were last in the top flight.

The fact the rivalry is attracting so much media attention shows how much it has been missed to an extent, but with Rangers 13 points behind leaders Hearts in the Scottish Championship, it looks unlikely the pair will be reunited in the top flight next season.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch