Martin O’Neill has insisted that Celtic’s European campaign would benefit from a strong Rangers breathing down their necks domestically – but has insisted that it isn’t the Parkhead side's headache that they have swept all before them in Scotland.

The Parkhead side have claimed all trophies on offer over the course of the last three seasons, prompting suggestions that the league is weaker for their stranglehold.

“The main thing is that it really isn’t Celtic’s problem,” said O’Neill. “You can only beat who is put in front of you and it is not their responsibility to do anything other than go out and be as successful as they possibly can be.

“But over the last season I did get a sense that Rangers were maybe getting a little bit stronger. And that’s no bad thing. If they get a better presence then I actually think that it helps Celtic because it pushes you, it makes you look over your shoulder and keeps you on your toes.

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“I’ll say again that Celtic being the dominant force is not their fault. They have been a club that has been exceptionally well run. They have had a solid business plan that has been in place and it has clearly stood the club in good stead but I do think a stronger Rangers pushes them on that extra bit. And that really helps if you are wanting to go in and compete in European football and play Champions League football.

“Having that edge can be the difference sometimes because it is very difficult to turn that on and off.”

O’Neill also rebuffed the suggestion that Rangers will take heart from their 2-0 win over Celtic at Ibrox in the final weeks of the season, a result that came the weekend after the Parkhead side had won the league at Pittodrie.

“Whatever you say, it is very difficult not to lose a psychological edge when that happens,” he said. “That’s not say that anyone would have wanted a defeat to Rangers and it was a disappointing performance but personally speaking, I have to say that if you are Rangers’ shoes getting a result that afternoon was the be all and end all.”