PAUL McStay played through a dark period in Celtic’s history in the 1990s when off-field turmoil and financial problems enabled Rangers to enjoy a period of extended success.

But the Parkhead midfielder never had any issues acknowledging that the Ibrox club deserved to be the dominant force in the Scottish game during that difficult time.

So the former midfielder believes it is wrong to detract from the achievements of his old club – they have won eight titles in a row and are on the verge of a treble treble – in recent years.

Dave King, the Rangers chairman and major shareholder, suggested the leagues the East End club won when their Govan rivals weren’t in the top flight didn’t count a few years ago.

“Celtic deserve everything they’ve got no matter who’s in the league,” said McStay as he looked ahead of the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Hampden today.

“They are worthy winners, it doesn’t matter who’s there. To me the players adapted to the environment they are in and the teams they are playing against.

“They gave their all from a professional point of view, mentally and from a technique point of view. They deserve to be where they are nobody can say or do anything to take that away from them.”

He added: “It’s a remarkable achievement and great days to be a Celtic fan, a player or a manager. There is just a great feeling about the place and I was at Celtic Park at the weekend. Everyone was in good form and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be.

“It’s a big occasion with Celtic going for something which is very unique, the treble treble. It’s a final and a one off game where anything can happen. If Celtic play to their capabilities then hopefully they’ll win it.

“I could never have thought any team could win a treble treble. It says everything about that group of boys that they can sustain that throughout all of that time. It’s the mentality, the ability and the technique. But the mental strength is more important than anything at times such as this.”

McStay enjoyed some memorable league and cup triumphs during the 16 years that he spent at Celtic, but also had to endure Rangers winning Nine-In-A-Row.

The 54-year-old confessed that had made the hot streak of form the Glasgow club are currently on all the sweeter for him and admitted he doesn’t want it to end with victory this afternoon.

“Rangers were a rather special team with some outstanding players throughout hat period,” he said. “The won nine titles as well. The games were major challenges as you were up against top players from England and around Europe as well. But I loved the challenge.

“I have kids growing up with Celtic success and that’s all they know. Long may that continue. Hopefully next season is another treble as well. Just keep it going.”

McStay played under some great Celtic managers, including Billy McNeill and Davie Hay, during his time at Parkhead and feels Neil Lennon deserves the chance to continue in the role. “He’s done a great job getting the team over the line,” he said.

Paul McStay was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.