Jackie McNamara would sacrifice Celtic Treble on one condition as he predicts 'darkhorses' to push

Celtic hero Jackie McNamara
-Credit: (Image: SNS Group)

Jackie McNamara has confessed he'd sacrifice another Treble if it meant that Celtic would progress in Europe.

The Hoops have dominated Scottish football over the last decade and have motored to a staggering five clean sweeps since 2016/17. With millions in the bank, McNamara doesn't expect Celtic's success to be disrupted anytime soon but the former captain says Europe must also be a priority this season. Celts will make their debut in the new-look Champions League format this season and McNamara reckons Brendan Rodgers will be determined to make his mark on the biggest stage of all.

Asked if he'd give up a Treble for a better Euro campaign, McNamara told BBC Sportsound: "Yeah, 100 percent. I think we get used to Trebles over the years. To crack Europe, that's the only time they'll get real credit for doing very well.

"I think for Brendan as well, his European record hasn't been great, it'd be good for him to go and make his mark in that and take the club to the next level. I think that's when he'd get real recognition for what he's done."

Unsurprisingly, McNamara has tipped Celtic to make it four-in-a-row this season as the Hoops go for their 55th league title. But the Parkhead legend would like to see other clubs push the Double-winners and rivals Rangers even closer in the battle for the league crown.

He said: "I think Celtic will retain the title because I think they've got the best squad and a top manager that's been through it. The core of the players there have experienced it, they know how to win and get over the line. I think there will be a couple of darkhorses this year in terms of pushing, which I hope there is because I think it'd be good for the game.

"I'd like to see Hibs do a lot better, they should be a top six team. David Gray has been given the chance permanently this time which I think they had to do. He's been interim quite a few times and did well. At Hearts, I've been really impressed with how Naismith goes about his business and tries to play. He gives young ones a chance as well and they've strengthened. I think it's going to be a good season but it's hard to see past Celtic.."