CELTIC shareholder Brian Dempsey is to discuss forming a ''potent

force'' of so-called rebel groups after Scots-Canadian businessman

Fergus McCann's announcement of plans to redevelop Celtic Park, as

revealed in yesterday's Herald.

Declaring his broad support for the plans -- which would include a

#36m all-seated stadium for 60,000 spectators -- Mr Dempsey said

yesterday he would consider meeting Mr McCann and Mr Gerald Weisfield,

another wealthy businessman, with a view to forming a powerful alliance

which Celtic might find difficult to ignore.

Previous attempts to join forces have failed because of differences of


He said: ''I am impressed with Fergus McCann's plans. There is a

pragmatism about them which is appealing and it would be good to see if

the various 'rebel' groups could come together.

''That hasn't seemed likely in the past but I would like to think that

we could now. If people have Celtic's interests at heart and are

prepared to make compromises, we could make a potent force, and the more

money we can put together the better.''

Mr Dempsey added that, although Celtic still had considerable assets,

the club might not be able to resist such moves much longer.

''The only thing that can force an unwilling seller is that they run

out of money and can no longer service outstanding debts.

''But someone is going to have to say, for the good of the club, that

changes have to be made before then. I don't think we are that close

yet, but they (Celtic directors) are very quickly running out of

opportunities because their debts are mounting constantly.''

Celtic's annual accounts due out in October are expected to reveal

total debts of more than #10m and an operating loss of almost #2m last

season, pushing the overdraft to about #6.5m.

Mr McCann has said that, while Celtic's financial situation had

weakened, he could raise an initial capital sum of #12.5m and would seek

a 50% stake and the right to run the club for five years in return for

his investment.

Celtic director Michael Kelly declined yesterday to comment on the

move, Celtic's financial situation, or a report that the Bank of

Scotland had said money raised from the sale of players had to be shared

with them to reduce the club's overdraft.

A spokeswoman for the bank said customer confidentiality prevented her

from discussing the matter.