Football: Celtic shock for the elite

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The Independent Online
CELTIC'S decision to vote against their fellow Super League members at next week's Scottish League meeting stirred up a hornet's nest of activity yesterday and brought about emergency discussions among the remaining nine top teams.

They reiterated their desire for change in the Scottish game initiated by themselves and confirmed that Celtic's decision would not weaken their resolve stating 'the Scottish Super League remains determined to secure lasting change in the direction of the game in Scotland'. Their statement also referred to Celtic as 'fair-weather friends'.

Viewed from the sidelines it would seem Celtic have put themselves in a difficult position where their support for the Scottish League's proposal of a 14-12-12 league structure would require the support of at least one of the other Super League teams if the proposal is to be adopted on Thursday. Their decision supported by comments by Kevin Kelly, the club chairman, are tantamount to a game of bluff. 'It is inconceivable that any top league could be formed without Celtic,' Kelly said.

'The Scottish League proposal encompasses most of the criteria we were looking for and importantly it would be in place for the start of next season.'

Such is the Celtic confidence there remains a possibility that they have sounded out at least one other club to support their stand although they are also working on the assumption that the rest of the Scottish clubs will also vote in favour of the Scottish League.

Kelly pointed to altruistic reasons behind Celtic's decision. 'The majority of clubs in Scotland look to Celtic to do the decent thing for the good of the game,' he said.

Celtic's decision has angered the other Super League chairman. Ian Donald, of Aberdeen, said: 'Celtic have lost all credibility. If this is how they conduct business then they deserve all the criticism they get. I couldn't trust them again.'