Former Hearts and Livingston keeper Roddy McKenzie recently claimed that the disparity between Celtic, Rangers and the rest of the league could increase.
Roddy McKenzie, who had a lengthy career with Hearts before shuffling around other Scottish clubs such as Livingston and Dunfermline Athletic, spoke at length of how the already large gap between Celtic and Rangers may widen as smaller clubs take financial hits from the COVID-19 crisis.
The Hoops, as well as Rangers have a global following and represent the clubs with the best chance to make it through this pandemic which has caused a financial crisis across all of European football. Celtic is far more prepared for such a crisis, but the smaller clubs in Scotland are struggling.
Roddy McKenzie is understanding of such a financial crisis and as such has made his voice well heard among the crowd.
In an interview with MailSport, as transcribed by the Daily Record, McKenzie said,
“The gap between the Old Firm and the rest is going to be massive next season and without doubt bigger than the 34 points in 2003. In a 38-game season they could easily get at least 30 wins each. Both sides could even finish with more than 100 points while the rest fight it out with each other. Someone said to me recently that in times of crisis, the cream rises to the top. The big businesses will always be there while the smaller ones will struggle and the same applies to football. I would say about eight or nine teams in the Premiership next season will say ‘as long as we’re not bottom then we’re happy’.”
As previously reported by Edinburgh Live, clubs like Hibernian are already set to enact drastic cuts to wages, even going so far as to cut their youth programs after financial fallout from the pandemic’s hiatus continues.
As many smaller clubs are feeling the impact much more heavily financially, it could potentially lead to much more well off clubs snatching up players from those struggling to afford wages.
With the League set to return to play next season behind closed doors, the lack of ticket sales means less income for these clubs to afford wages. While the SPFL has enacted the virtual season ticket program and their new Sky Sports deal ensuring it lessens the impact of this, it’s not quite clear yet how much this will actually help clubs financially.
With the potential financial gap between the top two and the rest of the league expanding massively, could we see another season similar to 2003?