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Gareth McAuley: Battling Old Firm are not quite Premier League class

Gareth McAuley in action for Rangers (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Gareth McAuley in action for Rangers (Jeff Holmes/PA)
Gareth McAuley

By Gareth McAuley

It's a debate which has raged for many a year and it is completely hypothetical, but the Old Firm wouldn't currently make it into my 20-team Premier League.

Having played in England's top flight, the Championship and Scottish Premiership, I would say the level of Celtic and Rangers are at the top end of the Championship, battling for promotion.

In England, the standard of the Old Firm is often knocked, and I feel that is unfair. Maybe that is down to the fact most of the rest of the Scottish Premiership, apart from Hibs and Hearts, are League One level.

You only have to look at the results during Thursday night's Europa League games when Rangers drew in Porto and Celtic beat Lazio in Glasgow to show that they can be competitive on the big stage and against powerful European outfits.

They are just maybe missing a couple of quality players for the level of consistency needed to thrive in the Premier League.

I certainly believe Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos could play in the Premier League and that's not something I would have said last year when I was playing with him due to his shocking disciplinary record. I would have said, no chance.

The way he played the game last year, he wouldn't have lasted five seconds in the Premier League and with the number of yellow and red cards he picked up, would he have even been available for selection? He would have been suspended for the entire season in England. Thankfully this year, he seems to have greatly improved his discipline and is a great goalscorer.

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He's still only a baby at 23, has all the raw ingredients needed for the top flight in England and provided his fitness is top notch, he could be an animal in the Premier League. If you are not on your game then the Premier League would eat you up.

Connor Goldson had a little taste of the top flight with Brighton, and I would argue the Rangers centre back has improved greatly at Ibrox and deserves another crack in England.

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