YOUR club needs you ...

that is the message from Fergus McCann, the saviour of Celtic, who has urged fans to rally round the flag.

The former chairman of the club - who will be unfurling the championship flag at the first home game in August - has written to all lapsed season ticket holders urging them to renew their commitment to the club.

The businessman, who saved Celtic from bankruptcy 20 years ago, approached the club asking for permission to make the appeal "in this very important time".

He said from his home in Massachusetts: "It is important for people to stand up and show their support by buying season tickets. That is my simple message.

He added: "The league is important going forward. Filling the seats makes a huge difference to the club's chances of getting the players it wants, paying the salaries and getting into Europe."

McCann presided over an era when a new stadium was built and there was a waiting list for season tickets and he says in his letter: "The rebuilt Celtic Park has 60,000 seats for a purpose. It was built on my belief that 60,000 at every home game would give the club a key advantage. And it has."

Mr McCann, who will renew his four season tickets, also tells supporters that "unwavering, consistent, massive, real support is what sets Celtic apart" and points out the financial implications of season ticket sales.

"Money is important," he says. "Season ticket cash is essential for Celtic to buy players while TV income is a small fraction of that of the bottom club in the Enlish Premier League. But not all-important. Personal attendance at every game - through and through - is a key part of our culture. It shows how important Celtic is in our lives."

McCann has been a long-time Celtic supporter and his letter recalls his first game in 1954 when he was 13 and watched the Hoops take on East Fife in 1954. He left Scotland to make his fortune in Canada and admits that he the first time he saw his favourites win a league title was in the club's centenary year of 1988.

Celtic have now won three consecutive championships and are heavy favourites to lift the title next season, with the consequent belief among many fans that the destination of the SPFL Premiership is a foregone conclusion.

He says in his letter: "We both know that you don't stop being a committed supporter of Celtic because the league doesn't include Rangers, or because you feel you could pick the few big games you want to attend. For years I went to 'unimportant games'. In fact, I was at every Celtic game, home and away, in the year before I emigrated to Canada."

McCann, who was a regular traveller on the Croy Celtic Supporters' Club bus, told SportTimes he believed the hard work of the board had given the club a stable present with the foundation for an exciting future.

"I am fully supportive of the way they are operating correctly in the very difficult environment that is Scottish football," he said.

In his letter, he says: "You will be aware that clubs who overspend to buy success have paid a heavy price. Mistakes and bad management can lead to disaster. But the partnership of good management with committed supporters, not armchair 'fans', will pay off over time."

McCann added: "Now, I know that many supporters are under financial pressures, and you can say that it is easy for me to tell you that I have renewed my four seats in the Investors' Club in the North Stand - I can afford it. That is true. But if your current position is such that you just cannot do it, I completely understand."

But he urged everyone who can to support the club and its new manager, Ronny Deila, who was appointed on Friday.