Neil Lennon in Rangers ‘small minded’ claim after Celtic Sydney friendly bites the dust

Former Celtic manager Neil Lennon reckons some of the reasons behind Rangers deciding to pull out of the Sydney Super Cup are “small-minded”.

And he believes both sides of the Glasgow divide have missed out on a lucrative overseas opportunity.

On Thursday the Ibrox club revealed they were pulling out of the controversial November tournament, claiming organizers were “unwilling to fulfill their commitments” to the club in a statement that prompted a rebuttal from the joint promoters who believe the real motive was an angry fan reaction .

It comes after weeks of protests from the stands with the game at Dundee interrupted three times by objects thrown from the away end.

Lennon, who managed Celtic in two separate spells before leaving last year, reckons it’s sad that the clubs couldn’t generate the added income, believed to be around £4million.

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He told talkSPORT: “Financially and commercially it’s a missed opportunity in terms of what it would have meant to both clubs in terms of revenue and obviously seeking the profile of both clubs worldwide.

“They will have their reasons behind that and there was a lot of disenchantment from both sets of fans about the game going ahead.

“It’s a shame because there isn’t a lot of money coming into the Scottish game compared to the top leagues and this was an opportunity to sell the game abroad.

The Accor Stadium in Sydney

“Unfortunately for many reasons – a lot of it may be small minded – then it’s not going to happen and it’s a shame.”

Former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan, co-hosting with Rangers fan Jim White, said: “There’s zero benefit to the Scottish league for this particular game – the only benefit was to Celtic and Rangers – so the other teams can be relieved they won’ t get another £4 million each.

“Which fans are the most valued? Ones around the world who watch games remotely or ones who watch on a regular basis?

“You can’t say the fans point of view is something you’re desperate to have and then ignore it.

“If you’re Rangers and being billed as the ‘B’ side of this particular game – what’s Ange Postecoglou’s homecoming got to do with Rangers? – as it was being billed.

“If Rangers think they can throw away £4 million then it’s their business. If it’s going to be a devaluation of the Old Firm fixture because scarcity sells in every industry and if you take around the world in every guise and shape then it does lose that resonance.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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