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Mark Wilson: Celtic have proved they don't need Rangers for financial success

Celtic V Rangers Reserves

The former Bhoys defender feels his former side have coped well with their rival's absence from the Scottish Premiership.

One time Scotland cap and ex-Celtic defender Mark Wilson has said that the Scottish champions have impressed him after proving they don't need Rangers to be in the Premiership in order to be financially secure, in an interview on STV.

The defender, who is without a club after leaving Dumbarton this summer, revealed that he was initially concerned the Hoops would struggle to get by without the Old Firm matches and competition between the two Glasgow clubs.

"I think when it all happened, it all kicked-off and Rangers went down to the bottom, I thought that was trouble for Celtic," the former Bhoys skipper told STV.

"I thought they did need a strong Rangers team, but the way they've conducted themselves, with their finances and their Champions League progress, has proved that wrong.

"The Old Firm games are obviously great, and you get them at least four times a season which generates huge income but Celtic have managed to do it in the last three or four years without them so I don't think it's as worrying as it was a few years ago."

Wilson played for Celtic for six years, with his last season at Celtic Park the season that Rangers were demoted to the fourth tier of Scottish football, after the previous incarnation of the club went bust.

And though the Gers quickly ascended the divisions to the Scottish Championship, they were unable to step back into the top flight this season, as Premiership strugglers Motherwell defeated them in the playoff final.

Rangers chairman Dave King has recently said that the goal is for the club to be back challenging Celtic for the Premiership title in the next three years, but 31-year-old Wilson sees that as being an optimistic target.

"If I was on a Rangers' side I would say in three years I'd want to see my club up there challenging Celtic at the top end of the league," said the fullback. "But realistically looking at it just now, when they've just failed to reach the Premiership, you'd think it's a long way off.

"It's a big job to get players in, win the Championship and go another two seasons to end up challenging Celtic. I think it's a bit optimistic but who knows, it could happen."

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