Ange Postecoglou has praised the Europa League success of “formidable” Rangers and believes their semi-final win proves the high standard of the Scottish Premiership.
The Celtic manager could see his side win the league this weekend and with that comes a place in next season’s Champions League group stages.
The Hoops currently sit six points ahead of their city rivals with three games to go, however a superior goal difference means a win against Hearts on Saturday would all but clinch the Premiership title.
But it is Rangers getting all the plaudits for their performances in Europe this season after a win over RB Leipzig on Thursday earned them a place a final in Seville on May 18.
Postecoglou, who earned his fifth manager of the month award for the season on Friday, was full of praise for the achievement.
He said: “They have done awfully well, they deserved to go through last night, over the two games they were the better team and they have been really strong in Europe all season.
“It has been a hard week for them, with the passing of Jimmy Bell and obviously whenever you work inside a football club and you lose somebody who has been such an essential part of the club, it must have been a tough week for the players and the staff who have worked with him.
“I think they deserved to get through to the final, and I think that tells you they are a very good football team, which I think they proved last season by going unbeaten in the league and again this year with their performances across all competitions.”
The Australian, who was named Scotland’s manager of the year at the PFA Awards, agreed that the feat proves the high standard of the Premiership.
He said: “For us, I knew that was going to be our biggest challenge this year, apart from our own form and how we perform, that if we were going to be successful this season we would have to overcome a pretty formidable opponent.
“It would be good (for the league to have two teams in the Champions League group stage next season) and both teams would have earned it.”