Lee Johnson reckons only the arrival of a ‘sheikh’ could break Celtic and Rangers’ stranglehold of the Scottish game after the Hibernian manager admitted he is ‘shocked’ by the gap to the Old Firm.

Johnson’s team lost to the Glasgow heavyweights by an aggregate scoreline of 7-2 in their last two games ahead of tomorrow’s visit of Motherwell.

The Leith club are some 33 points adrift of second place Rangers, while the Ibrox club are 28 better off than nearest challengers Hearts.

And with the Old Firm on course to rack up a record points lead over the rest, former Hearts and Kilmarnock midfielder Johnson admits even he has been blown away by gulf at the summit.

Asked if he was shocked at the gap on the big two, Johnson, who took on the Hibs reins last summer, said: “Yeah, I’ll be honest with you. I suppose that is probably due to my experience as a player where I didn’t feel the gap was that big. 

“But I do believe in any one game you have to give yourselves the best opportunity, that is why I was disappointed with the VAR calls at Celtic because it felt like the type of day that we were on point and they were maybe off it. I felt there was a genuine opportunity for a point at least.”

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Johnson cites Leicester City’s stunning Premier League title win in 2016 as an inspiring underdog story but he believes the only way teams can challenge the Old Firm is with the help of a wealthy owner.

“If some sheikh comes in and takes over one of the clubs, there is always that potential, isn’t there?," asked Johnson. 

“Historically the Old Firm have always whipped away the best players from the rest, which is always a clever tactic because not only are you enhancing yourself, you’re decreasing the quality of the opponents. 

“I suppose the dreamer in me says we can but the realist in me knows how difficult it will be to infiltrate that. 

“Certainly cups, individual games, the starting point is to make sure you're more competitive in those individual games.

“It’s been done in the past, all the leagues over the world there are shocks, a Leicester for example when they won the Premier League and it can happen. 

"We have to strive for better and challenge and not just expect that to happen year on year.”