Rangers investment must be ‘top notch’ to halt Celtic domination

Dan Butterfield

Archie Knox believes Rangers’ summer recruitment has to be “top notch” if they are to prevent dominant Celtic making it nine in a row.

Knox was assistant to former Gers boss Walter Smith for the bulk of the Ibrox club’s nine successive Premiership title wins which culminated in 1997, with the run ended by the Hoops the following year.

The Parkhead club clinched their eighth successive title earlier in the month and ultimately finished nine points ahead of their local rivals before clinching the unprecedented triple treble with a 2-1 William Hill Scottish Cup final win over Hearts at Hampden Park on Saturday.

Knox, 72, knows next season will bring a type of Old Firm tension not witnessed in two decades and speaking at the national stadium to help promote Children 1st and Tartan Army Children’s charity fundraising match, he said: “Celtic were in the doldrums really when we won the nine and they have picked themselves up whereas Rangers have had a dip.

“They have a long way to come back but they have to come back because if you have 52,000 fans there every home game and a travelling support that demands that you win, somehow their recruitment has got to be really top notch this season so that right from the off, no matter when the first Old Firm game is, they have to be winning games.

Rangers fell down against some of the lower teams this season so they have got to make sure that they have a team that is going to compete with Celtic all through the season and not be in a catch-up situation as they have been for a few seasons now.

“It is as important to one as it is to the other.

“Rangers have to stop Celtic getting nine in a row and Celtic have to try to get to the bit where they can go for the 10.

“In the close season you will see comings and goings from both sides.

“The recruitment will decide because there will be a number of players leaving both clubs and then what type of player, or quality of player they both bring in will be vital to what they are able to achieve next season.”

Knox, who was assistant at Aberdeen and Manchester United among many other clubs, as well as with Scotland, admits he could “never have imagined” another nine in a row scenario when the Ibrox side were top dogs in the city.

However, he knows what it will mean to the Parkhead club, who first achieved the feat from 1966 to 1974.

“It will be a phenomenal achievement (for Celtic), no doubt, and I think it was for Rangers at that time,” said Knox

“That will live for them forevermore, their kids, their grandkids.

“The stories will go on and on.”


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