By CRAIG ANDERSON
FORMER Celtic winger Gary Mackay-Steven is backing Neil Lennon’s side to win a record-breaking TENTH successive championship.
The twice-capped Scotland international, now with Ronny Deila’s MLS side New York City, can’t see anyone derailing the Hoops juggernaut in the forthcoming campaign.
Mackay-Steven, who coincidentally had been brought to Parkhead by the Norwegian in a £2million double deal along with Stuart Armstrong from Dundee United in January 2015, admitted he will be delighted for his old team if they make history.
The tricky forward, 29, said: “It’s a massive season coming up for Celtic and Neil has done brilliantly taking over from where Brendan Rodgers left off . Now it’s all about doing 10 in a row, which is massive.
“Of course, it has never been done before, but the way they’ve been playing and how they’ve performed, I can see them completing the ten. It’s a great team and the boys have taken to Neil’s ideas.
“I can’t really see anyone challenging them. I’d be delighted for them to pull it off and it would show the level of consistency they’ve had in all the years to keep it going through the years, plus in Europe, as well.
“I’ll have a keen eye on them next season, but it’s great to see them play for so long at a high level.”
Mackay-Steven, who left the Hoops for Aberdeen in 2017, will return to action with NYCFC in the MLS Is Back tournament, a World Cup-style competition featuring all 26 teams in the North American league.
Deila’s side start their campaign against Philadelphia Union today, but it’s not been without its problems in the build-up.
All teams are based in and around Florida at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney Resort, where the games will also be played.
Two matches have already been postponed while there have been reports of players testing positive for coronavirus.
IN THE FRAME…Gary Mackay-Steven (front row, extreme right) lines up with his Celtic team-mates in 2016.
Mackay-Steven insisted everything will be alright on the night and he’s excited to get going after the MLS season had been scrapped after only three games in March.
He added: “We’re getting tested every couple of days and we’re in good hands. They’re taking care of us as best they can and we have to trust in the process and the protocols in place.
“It’s important to look out for each other, as well, by wearing masks and socially distance when we’re not on the training ground. We’re just concentrating on the football and so far, there have been no issues from our point of view.
“It feels like we’ve been training for a while and it’s nice to have a game to look forward to. Hopefully, all the hard work will be worth it.
“It’s been like another pre-season for us after the programme was stopped early because of the pandemic.
“For our first game against Philadelphia, we want to put down a marker for the tournament, find a rhythm and, hopefully, achieve the first win to get off and running.
“After that, the games are coming thick and fast, so it’s a big one for us and we’re excited and raring to go.”