LEGENDARY Rangers star Ally McCoist has expressed SYMPATHY for old rivals Celtic after the Hoops collected their ninth successive crown.
The former Ibrox striker and manager insists Neil Lennon’s side would have much preferred to have claimed the title on the pitch rather than have it handed to them by the SPFL bosses yesterday.
The champions were, of course, leading the league by 13 points with eight games to play when football went into cold storage in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Parkhead side had dropped only two points from a possible 30 after the resumption of the Premiership following the mid-winter break and there looked no stopping them as they headed for a record-equalling achievement, equalling the previous feats by Jock Stein’s Celtic and the Rangers side with McCoist in it for many years.
Steven Gerrard’s side put the pressure on their city rivals, especially after winning 2-1 in the east end of Glasgow for the first time in nine years. Going into the at three-week shutdown, the Gers were two points adrift with a match in hand.
Disastrously, though, they lost to Hearts, Kilmarnock and Hamilton Accies and drew with Aberdeen and St Johnstone to shed 13 crucial points.
McCoist, speaking on talkSPORT, said: “I think you have to have a degree – as well as offering congratulations to Celtic – you have to have a degree of sympathy, as well.
“I’ve gone on record as saying, and I stand by it, if you’re a Celtic player or a Celtic supporter, anyone involved with Celtic, you’d have wanted to see the season finished. As did everybody else.
“That’s the only fair way to do it. It’s through no fault of their own, absolutely through no fault of their own, that the season’s finished early and they’ve been awarded the title in this manner.
“Listen, you’ve got to say: Celtic have been the best team in the league this season by a considerable margin. That’s the facts of the matter.
“They’re 13 points clear, Rangers have a game in hand. Could Rangers have caught them? Absolutely. Was it likely? No, not at all.
“It was probably highly unlikely that Rangers caught them. The fact of the matter is they still could have caught them.
“The unfortunate thing for all the teams is the league campaign hasn’t been given the opportunity to finish.”