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Potential is there for them to become a European super club- former skipper tips Ange to take Celtic out of reach domestically

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Paul Lambert has delivered an early warning over the stakes at play for next season’s SPFL winners.

A new expanded Champions League is expected to get the go ahead but the qualification process has still to be clarified.

This season and next the winners of the SPFL Premiership go straight into the group stage which guarantees finance and provides some assurance during the summer transfer window.

Celtic are in pole position to take advantage of that by winning this season’s title with Ange Postecoglou’s plans stretching beyond the current campaign as he builds and reinforces his squad.

The hoops already have a number of key advantages over their city rivals with Lambert telling the Daily Record about the future rewards on offer:

Celtic are much stronger than Rangers commercially and that’s important. The structure is sound, they have better merchandising and sponsorship deals so they’re flying on and off the field.

That financial gap will only increase if Celtic get into the new-look Champions League next season – with four guaranteed home games and all the extra TV and UEFA revenue which comes with it – and Rangers miss out.

Michael Beale has a big rebuild to do at Ibrox and, with Rangers on a UEFA watchlist over Financial Sustainability regulations, they’ll be limited as to how much they can spend.

So he needs to get every new signing spot on just to try and keep up with them. Rangers outspent Celtic for many years but now it’s the other way round. For Celtic, though, the potential is there for them to become a European super club. They could be a real monster if they get things going and the manager keeps on doing what he’s doing.

If they could put on another tier and increase the capacity of Celtic Park to 80,000 they would still fill it every week. It would be like my old club Borussia Dortmund – one end of the Westfalion Stadium holds more fans than most grounds.

Celtic are a world-wide institution and, if they were ever invited to join the Premier League in England. I’ve no doubt that, after taking a couple of years to find their feet, they would be challenging for the title with the increased cash their member clubs receive.

Postecoglou will be aware of the rewards around the corner but his full focus will be on beating Hibs tomorrow to take at least a nine point lead into the international break.

When Celtic return to action away to Ross County on April 2 the run in to the season will be clearly defined with a manager firmly in control to deliver the prizes that the hoops are in line for.

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