Norwich City boss saddened by great divide
Paul Lambert believes the north/south footballing divide is wider than it has ever been.
The man who won multiple honours with St Mirren and later Celtic as a player believes Tottenham's Anglo-Scottish Europa League 5-0 romp at Hearts on Thursday is a sign of the times.
'I think it's hard,' he said. 'I heard Harry's (Redknapp) interview and the gulf is big, maybe to what it used to be. You've got to remember the finance in England is severe compared to what it is in Scotland – that's a major problem and a big part of it. The Scottish clubs don't get the amount of money that is everywhere else and they have to compete with what they have got. If you take Celtic and Rangers, these clubs are mammoth. If they had the same finance as Premiership teams then I bet you any money that they would be powerful.
'If somebody is getting x amount of money then I'm pretty sure they're going to take that than go somewhere else for less amount. That's normal – it's a shame that the game in Scotland is not as strong as what it used to be. Finance dictates a lot.'
Lambert feels the player drain which saw the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen carve out major careers in England once upon a time has now slowed to a trickle.
'I'm not sure if it will improve,' he said. 'A few years ago it was strong especially Celtic and Rangers – it was really powerful. Whether the finances pick up or they have some sort of reconstruction up the road I don't know. That's for the powers that be to make the decision.
'If you buy better players then you will get a better product – that's my own view on it. At one point England was littered with Dalglish, Souness, Hansen and people like that so it was really strong at that time. There has always been an influx of Scottish players in English teams. I think it will come back – the national team is doing fine so I hope that it does.'
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Lambert's sole priority is making sure the Canaries can compete against the established Premier League order. City's hard-fought point at Wigan on the opening day was in stark contrast to fellow newly-promoted teams QPR and Swansea who both endured tough top flight baptisms.
'It's really hard, that's for sure,' said Lambert. 'We were under pressure for spells of the game at Wigan but we did really fine to come back from a goal down. QPR were unlucky towards the tail end of the half and Manchester City against Swansea - City were fantastic. To be fair to Swansea they were up against one of the favourites to win it in Manchester City. When they play like that then it's really hard to stop them.
'Swansea did really fine for a spell in the game but sometimes you have to hold your hand up and say that you got turned over. QPR were neck and neck with them just before the break but goals change games – that's normal but a point for ourselves was a really good point. It's unforgiving that's for sure. You get punished severely but that's the nature of the game. We have to do everything we can to stay in it.'
Lambert has led the way among the former Championship trio with the volume of his transfer business over the close season. Dani Ayala's arrival make it eight new faces – and the Scot confirmed the search goes on with the current window due to close in ten days before re-opening again in the New Year.
'I don't think you ever stop looking – whether you get them in is another matter,' he said. 'I'm delighted with the group we've got at the minute.'