Celtic defender Charlie Mulgrew has sparked a massive debate in Scottish football circles by admitting he would like to see Rangers re-admitted to the Scottish Premier League next season.

Mulgrew will pick up another Scottish title this season with Celtic currently 15 points clear at the top of the table despite Saturday’s dismal 3-2 defeat away to Ross County.

Rangers have been banished to the Third Division for financial irregularities, but Mulgrew would love to see them invited back into the top flight next season.

When asked by reporters at a press conference on Monday if he would have Rangers back in the SPL, the Celtic defender said: “If it was my choice? Probably, yes.

“I don’t want to get involved in what is going on that side of things.  I am just concentrating on things at Celtic and hopefully things will work out for the best.”

Asked if Celtic have let their guard down at times this season in the absence of their Old Firm rivals, Mulgrew added, “It is hard to say. There is not as much pressure on you but I am not using that as an excuse.

“The players know we weren’t good enough against Ross County on Saturday and the performance was not acceptable. We should have gone on and won that game after being 2-0 up, so we have to look at that and hopefully will be ready when the next game comes.

“We just know we have to do better. At a team like Celtic there should never be a lack of motivation. The fans demand and the club demands that we win every match.

“So it’s not a lack of motivation, it’s just that we have to do better.  It has been a good season for us, we got to the last-16 of the Champions League when nobody gave us a chance.

“We have had a couple of disappointing results but the main thing is we win the league. It doesn’t matter how much we win it by, as long as we win it and we are also in the Scottish Cup so we will look to do as best we can in that as well.”

Celtic boss Neil Lennon was none too pleased with his players after the shock 3-2 defeat by Ross County when they threw away a two goal lead to suffer their second consecutive league defeat.

Lennon made five changes following the 2-0 defeat by Juventus and said, “These players owe me. I have pulled them out of places that no one had heard of and put them in the shop window.

“And I want payback now. That is simply not good enough.  If they want to go they only have to knock on my door and say, ‘I want to go’ then I will leave them out and play someone else who wants to be here.”

Victor Wanyama, Adam Matthews, Emilio Izaguirre and Georgios Samaras were all absent because of injury, while Lennon excluded goal scorers Gary Hooper and Charlie Mulgrew from blame.

“It has become a problem because we have lost the last two away games to really poor performances in some aspects of the game,” said Lennon.

“I’m not happy with the attitude of some of the players. Some of them look like their minds are elsewhere at other clubs.

“I don’t know if they have been tapped up, I don’t know where they are mentally, but you can tell by their body language they are not with us at the minute and I’ll have to sort that out.”

Lennon has also quelled speculation about his future as Celtic manager and insisted he pays no attention to stories linking him with other clubs.

“I am the manager of Celtic and I am one of the privileged few who have been lucky enough to do this job. I enjoy it, I love what I do,” he said.

“I can’t stop speculation about players or myself, but at this current period I am Celtic manager and I don’t see any reason for that to change in the future.

“Does it flatter you? It just means that you might be doing a decent job along the way.”

Charlie Mulgrew of Celtic.Google Images