Coyle: Celtic will pull clear

Owen Coyle expects Celtic to stride clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League when their Champions League group campaign ends.

Last Updated: 30/11/12 at 08:58 Post Comment

Owen Coyle: Expects Celtic to pull clear at the top

Owen Coyle: Expects Celtic to pull clear at the top

Celtic moved a point ahead on Wednesday night with a 4-0 victory over Hearts at Tynecastle, but they have only taken one point from a possible nine at Parkhead.

Neil Lennon's team have dropped points after five of their 10 European games this season and will be involved in Europe after Christmas after some impressive Champions League wins, including their shock triumph over Barcelona.

They will qualify for the last 16 against Spartak Moscow on Tuesday if they better Benfica's result against Barcelona, and Coyle feels they will consolidate their position as SPL leaders when the European campaign breaks off for a couple of months.

With Rangers exiting the top flight this summer, the challenge to Celtic has been spread out with just three points separating the five teams below Lennon's men.

Former Bolton manager Coyle, who rejected the chance to manage Celtic in 2009, said: "It's looking very competitive. You have to balance that and recognise the biggest single player in that would be the distraction Celtic have in the CL. There is no getting away from that.

"I would expect in the coming weeks when the Spartak game is taken care of by Celtic, then for those couple of months before it comes around again I think we will see Celtic opening a gap up in the league.

"But it has brought a real competitive edge. I think we all accept Celtic will win the league but there are now six, seven or eight teams that feel they can finish second."

Coyle also expects Celtic, who host Arbroath in the William Hill Scottish Cup on Saturday, to finish the job against the Russians.

"I've been to Celtic's last three Champions League games and they have been outstanding performances," the former Dundee United and Motherwell striker said. "They are well set now to go, as we all hope and expect them to do, to beat Spartak and qualify for the last 16.

"That gives Scottish football a tremendous boost."

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sn'tthis strange. Last season we were worried that we were stuck with a Dinosaur in Moyes while Liverpool and Everton were disappearing into the distance with their young, spritely managerts, playing football from heaven. Progressive managers, they said. Managers who understand the modern game.........

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eing consistently and unrelentingly dog turd really takes it out of you. Try shadow boxing. That's what it's like watching Liverpool, punching thin air.

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ood list, some crackers in there. For me, I'd have had Steve McManaman for Liverpool away at Celtic in the UEFA cup in 1997. I was in the ground that night and everyone kept screaming at him to make a pass, but he just kept going and going and going...brilliant, and in the dying minutes too.

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