We ‘moved Celtic and Rangers to the Premier League’ to see what would happen

How Celtic and Rangers would perform in the Premier League has been a persistent question discussed among football fans for years.

The Scottish giants have been tipped by many to easily challenge for the top four, whilst others think the polar opposite, placing both Celtic and Rangers in a relegation battle. Following both of their dismal UEFA Champions League campaigns, that question is now being asked again.

Rangers officially became the worst side in Champions League group stage history on Tuesday, with the Gers' 3-1 loss to Ajax making it six losses from six whilst scoring just two and conceding a whopping 22. It wasn't much better for Celtic as the Hoops finished bottom of their group, picking up two points in their six games whilst scoring four and conceding 15.

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It was a poor display for the two sides representing Scotland on Europe's biggest stage, once again prompting fans to debate how they could perform in England. So, to find out, we put it to the test and simulated the next five seasons with Rangers and Celtic in the Premier League to find out.

Will they both compete for the European spots, or could it be a relegation battle each season for the Scottish sides? Let's take a look.

Rangers and Celtic in the Premier League simulated

To set up the simulation, we used the Football Manager 2022 editor to place Celtic and Rangers in the Premier League from the beginning of the 2022/23 season. Here are the results.

2022/23 season

In their first Premier League season, both clubs did terribly, with Rangers finishing rock bottom of the table whilst Celtic finished one place off the relegation zone in 17th. Much worse than a lot of people would've thought, the Gers managed just 29 points throughout the season, with all three relegated sides on the same point tally.

Celtic weren't much better, but the Hoops ended the season on 33 points with two wins and a draw in their last three games keeping them up. Rangers had the worst the second-worst goalscoring record and the worst defensive record in the league, ending the season with a goal difference of -39.

Celtic were poor going forward but not as bad as Rangers defensively, ending the season with a GD of -22. A far from ideal start to life in England for Celtic, whilst the Light Blues were going to be playing in the Championship for the 2023/24 season.

2023/24 season

After just about surviving last season, Celtic were unable to keep their spot in the Premier League in this campaign, finishing bottom of the table and joining Rangers in the Championship. The Hoops scored just 26 goals and won six games all season, only tallying 24 points in total.

Along with Watford, Celtic had the worst defence in the league, conceding 71 goals and ending the season with a -46 goal difference. One of their victories came at home against Manchester United, but they were beaten 6-0 in the reverse fixture.

After dropping to the Championship, Rangers were unable to bounce back to the Premier League on their first attempt, finishing fifth and losing in the playoffs. The Gers were in a title race for most of the season, but just three wins in their final 11 games saw them drop to fifth.

Rangers faced West Brom in the first round of the playoffs, but a 4-2 defeat over the two legs saw the Gers remain in the second division. Their defensive issues also remained, with the Light Blues conceding 66 goals, one of the worst defensive records in the league.

2024/25 season

After Celtic's relegation and Rangers' failure to return to the Premier League, both sides were in the Championship for the 2024/25 season. Both sides were much better in their third season in England, with the Scots both gaining promotion.

Celtic lost just five games all season as they won the league, ending the season on 92 points. Rangers finished in third on 78 points, but the Light Blues beat Stoke City and Millwall in the playoffs to clinch the third promotion spot to the Premier League.

Celtic ended the season as the league's top scorers, and the Hoops did the double over Rangers, winning both of the Old Firm derbies 2-0. The Hoops signed Eddie Nketiah in the summer prior to the 2024/25 season, and the English striker scored 26 league goals, winning the Championship golden boot.

2025/26 season

The return to the Premier League was tough for the two sides, with both Celtic and Rangers being relegated back down to the Championship, despite both clubs spending over £65m each in the transfer window. Rangers ended the season on 26 points and finished 19th in the table, their same point tally as the 2022/23 season.

Celtic's survival hopes went down to the final day when the Hoops faced fellow relegation battlers Sheffield United. But, the Blades beat Celtic 3-0 as they overtook the Hoops to secure safety and relegate the Scottish side.

Rangers won both Old Firm derbies during the 2025/26 season, including a shock 4-0 win over the Hoops at Celtic Park. Of Celtic's eight league wins, four of them came in the first seven games of the season.

2026/27 season

After being relegated in the prior season, Celtic and Rangers gained promotion back to the Premier League the season after, with both teams becoming the yo-yo clubs of England. For the first time in the simulation, Rangers finished higher than Celtic, earning 95 points in total and finishing in second.

Celtic finished 11 points behind Rangers in third, earning their promotion through the playoff route as they beat Bristol City in the playoff final 4-2. At the end of the 2026/27 season, FM22 created a best Celtic XI based on statistics and other metrics.

Here's the Celtic best XI from the 2026/27 season (4-4-2): Junior; Atal, Fry, Kilman, Ait Nouri; Wilson, McGregor, Praet, Alvarado; Paulinho, Nketiah.

Five years on from their first season in England, the Hoops had a new-look squad, with Callum McGregor the only player to remain in the best XI. Nketiah and Sporting Lisbon's Paulinho led the line, Fulham's Harry Wilson, Leicester City's Denis Praet and Wolves duo Max Kilman and Rayan Ait Nouri all made the best XI after joining from their respective sides. Middlesborough defender Dael Fry along with Luiz Junior and Roberto Alvarado made up the rest of the XI.

At the end of the 2026/27 season, FM22 created a best Rangers XI based on statistics and other metrics. Here's the Celtic best XI from the 2026/27 season.

Rangers best XI (5-2-1-2): Gunn; Roerslev, Goldson, Aguerd, Souttar, McCallum; Wind, Chalobah; Billing; Campana, Dervisoglu.

Conor Goldson and John Souttar remained the only current squad members in the best XI from the 2026/27 season, with Wolves and Brentford strikers Leonardo Campana and Halil Dervisoglu leading the line. Bournemouth's Phillip Billing sat ahead of Wolfsburg's Jonas Wind and Fulham's Nathaniel Chalobah, whilst West Ham's Naif Aguerd, Brentford's Mads Roerslev and Norwich dup Sam McCallum and Angus Gunn made up the rest of the squad.

Overall, the Football Manager simulation predicts that Celtic and Rangers could both struggle massively in the Premier League, with both sides being relegated twice to the Championship in five seasons in England.

Celtic's 17th place finish in the 2022/23 season was the highest either side ever got, showing how out of their depth both teams would potentially be if they were to join the Premier League.


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