Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Hearts boss Laszlo urges Old Firm to stay in Scotland

Scottish Premier League bosses last night gave a mixed response to the latest talk about the Old Firm quitting Scottish football.

Hearts boss Csaba Laszlo was the fiercest opponent to the prospect of Celtic and Rangers jumping ship to the English Premier League or even an Atlantic league, the concept for which has been resurrected this week.

Hibernian's John Hughes, Kilmarnock's Jim Jefferies and St Mirren's Gus MacPherson could all appreciate the Old Firm's desire to move to pastures new.

Laszlo believes Celtic and Rangers would be “running away” from Scottish football and urged them to stay and help solve the problems in the national game.

Although they might lose out on vital revenue, Hearts could be one club to benefit from the Old Firm's departure in a competitive sense as they would have more chance of winning the SPL, but Laszlo was unequivocal in his opposition to the move

“I think, at the moment, we must make the league bigger and not smaller and weaker,” he said.

“The problems in Scottish football are deeper. Maybe to run away from the problems is not the best solution.”

Dundee United and Aberdeen have also criticised the Old Firm for publicly courting a switch, with the latter saying they would like to move to England, but know they would never been accepted.

Hibs boss Hughes would also love to join Celtic and Rangers down south, saying: “I understand why the Old Firm want to go to pastures new.

“Football is becoming global. The revenue that they can make elsewhere would be tenfold to what it is in Scotland.

“Does Scottish football need the Old Firm? Yes — I think we do. I think they're our showcase two teams; they carry the banner for Scottish football.

“If they did move, I think everybody else in Scotland would say, 'We fancy our chances to win this SPL'.”

St Mirren boss MacPherson said: “You can see that Rangers and Celtic are exploring all the possibilities.

“It is money-driven, but world football is financially driven.”

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