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ANDY DUNN: Celtic Invincibles’ Treble was met with shrugs down south, but one day the Premier League may need them

Date Posted,May 27, 2017

As we lauded Manchester United’s triumph – their first in the second tier of European competition – a 50th anniversary went relatively unnoticed in England.

On May 25, it was half a century since a Celtic team drawn entirely from a 30-mile Glasgow catchment area won the European Cup.

It is the greatest single achievement in the history of British club football.

That it is a feat never to be repeated goes without saying.

That – in the age of the Champions League and ­Premier League who seem to have started history from scratch – it is a feat which will fade in football’s ­chronicles also goes ­without saying.

The Scottish game will always celebrate it, just as it will ­celebrate the fantastic achievements of the current team.

No British club will ever repeat what Celtic did against Inter Milan in 1967 (Photo: Daily Record)

Beyond Scotland’s borders, Celtic’s ­ invincible, Treble-winning season is ­commonly acknowledged with a shrug.

The architect of that ­season, Brendan Rodgers, believes Celtic would be a top-six club if they were in the Premier League.

Not with their current team, you suspect, but if they had the financial boost the Premier League brings and the recruitment power it enables, it would be likely.

It is strictly hypothetical, of course. It is not going to ­happen any time soon.

The Premier League simply does not need Celtic.

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Not right now, not when TV deals go from one ­stratospheric level to another, not when Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and the like can sell their grounds out for games against, with the greatest of respect, ­Bournemouth and Burnley.

Though it might not be any time soon, maybe there will come a moment when these super-clubs cannot fill their vast arenas for mundane matches.

Cut through the hype and there have been some ­monumentally dull games this season. There might be a time when the Premier League needs a Celtic. Or, ­indeed, a Rangers.

Not as much as Celtic, or Rangers, might need the ­Premier League.

What this unblemished title win has done for Celtic has made the glass ceiling ­immovable.

Manchester City's Bacary Sagna in action with Celtic's Moussa Dembele
Brendan Rodgers’ men drew with megabucks Man City twice in the Champions League this season (Photo: Reuters)

Celtic are odds of 1-7 for next year’s Premiership. If you could get your life savings on, it is still worth a bet.

Few expect anything other than another cakewalk.

Long-term, somehow, they must surely try to find a way to the Premier League.

In a couple of weeks’ time, the English Football League have their annual general meeting in Portugal.

Not on the agenda is the Whole Game Solution, an idea that might have passed you by, but was scrapped ­anyway back in November.

Essentially, the idea was to have five divisions of 20 teams in English football.

With the creation of a “new” division, a League Three, that might have opened the door to Celtic.

If interest in the Premier League starts to fade, adding Scotland’s bests could give it a spark (Photo: PA Wire)

The Whole Game Solution never got past first base after the Football Association ­insisted they would not alter their FA Cup schedule, but that should not stop the ­Football League discussing ways of expanding.

Celtic, in the imaginary ­scenario of taking up a position in the Football League, would be a fantastic addition, their inevitable climb up the ladder would be compelling.

Yes, the notion of Celtic and Rangers competing down south is an old chestnut that has been kicked into touch many times.

But it is a debate that should not go away and, you never know, one day the Premier League might need Celtic.

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