The Hoops are in their second Scottish Premiership season without their Glasgow foes following their demotion down the grades for falling into liquidation.
As they chase a third league title in 2014, Everton winger McGeady believes the fans of the famous green and white hoops do miss the competition that their blue adversaries provide.
“There were probably a lot of Celtic fans happy at the time when Rangers were demoted to the bottom league but over the last couple of years they’ve probably realised it would be beneficial to have them there,” the Republic of Ireland international said on Wednesday night at the launch of the PFA Scotland Player of the Year Awards.
“It’s not the same scenario as when I was there but you’re still expected to win every game. It’s the same now. But there probably is something missing to motivate them because they’re miles ahead of the rest.
“If you look at it now, Celtic could lose five or six games on the bounce and still win the league. It would definitely help if Rangers were there. That’s why the lure of Champions League football is crucial but that’s becoming more difficult every year.
“Without Rangers in the Premiership, the past two seasons have been a virtual procession for Neil Lennon’s men, with the gulf in finance and class meaning no-one else has been capable of pushing them over the course of the league campaign.
“The fans and players have also missed out on the intensity of Old Firm derbies. The Celtic players will have missed it. I’m not being disrespectful to the teams in the league – the likes of Motherwell and Ross County – but the other matches just aren’t the same as playing against Rangers and they never will be.”
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