Ex-Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink wants to see Rangers promoted

Ex-Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink wants to see Rangers promoted back to the Scottish Premiership.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink has told the Glasgow Evening Times that it is crucial for Scottish football that Rangers get promoted back to the Scottish Premiership.

The Dutchman explains that since Rangers were relegated and Old Firm games stopped, the interest in Scottish football in his native Holland has been virtually non-existent.

The striker – who spent three seasons in Scotland – thinks that everybody wants to see the biggest games in football and without both Old Firm teams in the same league that isn’t happening.

The rivalry between Rangers and Celtic is the narrative that gets most football fans outside of Scotland interested in the domestic game and speaking ahead of the play-off game against Motherwell, Venegoor of Hesselink explains that if the fixture returns then so will the interest.

He said: "If Rangers are in the Premiership the league becomes better, it attracts more investment and that is what you want. In Holland people don't look to the Scottish Premiership and they don't watch league games.

"However, the League Cup semi-final between Celtic and Rangers was broadcast, and that says enough about the attraction and pull of that fixture. I used to always watch the Old Firm games four times a season when I played in Holland.

"It wasn't just because of the football, but they watched it for the atmosphere and the tension.”

Despite the atmosphere and tension still remaining in the fixture, the competitive edge was missing from the League Cup match between the two with Celtic clear favourites going into the game.

If promoted it would take considerable investment or a few seasons of careful building before the rivalry could retake the shape that captivated football fans all over the world.

The Dutchman is certain that Rangers winning against Motherwell would be the best outcome for Scottish football despite his old striking partner Scott McDonald, Stephen McManus and Stephen Pearson facing relegation to the Scottish Championship.

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch