Neil Lennon has rejected the suggestion that Celtic need a strong Rangers team in order to thrive.
The issue of the relationship between the Old Firm clubs is on the agenda at the moment due to the financial restraints the cash-strapped Ibrox club is working under while they wait on the verdict of a tax tribunal which could land them with a bill of £49million and which would almost certainly ensure administration.
A more financially sound Celtic are one point clear of the champions at the top of the SPL with a game in hand as they look forward to Saturday's trip to Inverness in the cup.
The Hoops boss claims their position of strength is down to hard work at the club and not reliant on strong opposition from across the city.
"I'm not in the camp who believe the SPL, or Celtic, need a strong Rangers," Lennon told Sky Sports.
"I'd be quite happy if we were a lot stronger than Rangers. A lot of people think Celtic and Rangers need each other, well at the minute we don't.
"We're in a strong position financially with good young players coming through. But we've had to work hard and be patient for that.
"We are talking hypothetically as we don't know what the outcome is going to be.
"But the people who suffer the most as always are the supporters and I have a lot of sympathy for the Rangers fans with the situation being the way it is at the moment."
Lennon acknowledged the boost that Nikica Jelavic's move from Rangers to Everton on deadline day has given his side in their bid to wrest the title back to Parkhead.
However, Lennon was at pains to make clear that the departure of the Ibrox club's top scorer does not mean that the SPL title is now, as one reporter put it, Celtic's to lose.
"It will certainly weaken Rangers' squad because he is a superb player," he said.
"For the time he was here he scored very important goals for them at crucial times in games.
"But it is not our title. Rangers are the champions, we are trying to win it back.
"I see this week that people are trying to crank it up. But the remit is the same for us as it has been from day one.
"We've got to win the league, whether Jelavic is here or not here.
"Whether it weakens Rangers remains to be seen. It might galvanise them I don't know.
"But our boys are totally focused on what we have to do."
Lennon declared himself pleased that the transfer window had closed without any of his top players leaving the club.
The former Celtic skipper is also happy to have recruited Polish striker Pawel Brozek, Nigeria midfielder Rabiu Ibrahim and Swedish right-back Mikael Lustig but he confirmed that he had failed to tempt striker Leon Best from Newcastle.
"I am absolutely delighted," he said.
"We didn't want to break the squad up. We have bought some players in and thankfully we were able to keep all the players who were subject to speculation.
"That's it, the squad is settled and we can look forward to the next three or four months now.
"We did try to get Leon in and the deal was agreed with Newcastle but Leon felt that, with a young family, it might have been disruptive to come up here but we wish him well."