Levein says Scottish game would improve 'if Old Firm moved to England'

Levein takes his St Johnstone side to Ibrox to play Rangers on Wednesday.

St Johnstone manager Craig Levein disagrees with Derek Adams’ scathing assessment of Scottish football but thinks the game would improve if Rangers and Celtic moved to England.

Recently-appointed Ross County manager Adams branded the Premiership standard “rubbish” after his side lost a last-gasp goal to suffer a 1-0 defeat against Dundee on Saturday.

“I’ve been there,” said Levein, whose side face Rangers at Ibrox on Wednesday. “I’ve been upset after games and said things I have probably regretted.

“I’m not going to sit here and criticise other managers for what they say. I have said enough nonsense in my life to fill two books.

“I don’t know if he will regret it but…. I shouldn’t laugh, but I thought it was funny.”

The former Scotland manager added: “How do you gauge whether it’s in good health? That’s what I find difficult.

“Is the game in good health financially? Probably not. I think the TV deals we have got are terrible.

“We are sitting next to the biggest football nation in the world and they get hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of millions and we get a fraction of that. Maybe if we got a fraction more of that we would be able to improve things.

“I also think the way the prize money is split in Scotland, the top two get a massive amount compared to the rest and that keeps the rest down.

“There’s a lot of people trying extremely hard and I see Scotland as a place where people still want to come and play football.

“The game on the pitch is really competitive until you look at the money the Old Firm have got compared to everyone else. But the rest are really competitive.

“I have seen a lot of good games this season and St Johnstone have been involved in quite a few good games. I think it’s no worse than it was last season or the season before.

“I will come back to my base camp – I would love to see the Old Firm playing in the English Premier League.

“They would be able to afford to pay £50m each per season to the rest of Scottish football and then I would support Celtic and Rangers playing in the English Premier League. But will it ever happen? I don’t think so.”

Saints have only lost to Hearts and Celtic in seven games under Levein and he is in hopeful mood ahead of the trip to Ibrox.

“It’s going to be tough but I think we have shown enough to go there with a reasonable degree of confidence, to try and play a little bit and see if we can create opportunities,” he said.

“We need a number of things to go in our favour to come away with points: we need to defend excellently and take any chances that come our way.

“It will be difficult but I can only talk in a positive manner about the players. They have worked really hard and tried their best to support each other during games and I am beginning to see some encouraging signs.

“Results are the most important thing for confidence and playing well is helpful. We come off the last game against Hibs where we won the game but we also played well.

“I’m a little bit unsure of how we will perform but what I do know is, we will work our backsides off for sure and hopefully we can get something out of the game.”

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