Dalglish praises dominant Celtic

Norwich City v Liverpool - Premier League...NORWICH, ENGLAND - APRIL 28: Kenny Dalglish the Liverpool manager looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Norwich City and Liverpool at Carrow Road on April 28, 2012 in Norwich, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)...S

Gavin McCafferty

Kenny Dalglish believes Celtic's greatest achievement this season is Champions League qualification - even if they go on to win the treble.

The runaway Ladbrokes Premiership leaders are effectively 180 minutes away from a domestic clean sweep with Rangers to come in the William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals.

They finished bottom of their Champions League group 50 years on from winning the trophy but Dalglish feels they need the European recognition.

The former Celtic player and manager (right) said: "They've only dropped two points in the league, they have already won the League Cup but I think the greatest success, even if they win the Scottish Cup, is qualification for the Champions League.

"People might say, that's a bit strange. But people keep saying how weak the league is and the teams in the league are. And I don't think one of the teams got through the qualification for the Europa League.

"So it is not Celtic's fault the league is a disappointing standard. They can only go and beat what is in front of them. By the way, they've done it in some style.

"It is hard to win three things. But I still say the Champions League qualification is the best one.

"It is enjoyable for the players to go and play against Manchester City - that was a fantastic game at Celtic Park. They got to play Barcelona and got off to a horrendous start when they got beaten by seven over there, but they pulled it back a bit and got themselves a wee bit of pride and then Borussia Monchengladbach, who by the way are not too bad either. It was a really difficult section.


"When you put them all together, the treble is important. But to elevate the standard and status of Celtic, they have to be recognised in Europe."

Celtic's greatest success has been in the forefront of people's minds a half-century on, especially since the death last week of Tommy Gemmell, who scored the equaliser against Inter Milan in Lisbon.

Dalglish, who signed provisional forms for Celtic in 1967, said: "He had a wicked sense of humour, he was a fantastic player. It was maybe a bit strange at the time to have a right-footed left-back. But then when he started playing it looked like he was left-footed.

"It's a sad end but people and everyone will look back and say Tommy Gemmell is up there with the greatest Celtic players."

Dalglish feels the Lisbon Lions were special on and off the park.

"They were all helpful, but they were helpful with their humility," he said. "We were 17, Danny McGrain and I, well he might have been 18, he's a bit older than me. And they were brilliant with us."