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  1. Regarding the centre-back positions: I think we have a potentially perfect partnership with Faure & Mohsni and I'll be extremely disappointed in the manager if he doesn't give that partnership a proper chance. Both players are French born with French being their first language, so there is no issue with a language or communication barrier between them. They are clearly both very good players, so I see absolutely no reason for not trying to develop a strong partnership between them. The opportunity is so perfect that it would almost be a crime to NOT give that partnership a proper chance. Faure came from a great youth system background, having spent his whole youth career at Lyon and he was being honed into a future French international, having played well over 40 games for the French international youth teams between 2007 & 2011. If we keep him with us and give him the games and experience on our journey back to the top flight, then when we're back up there he could potentially start to get French call-ups and caps which would leave us with a very valuable asset. If it was up to me, the lad would get a new 4 year deal and be getting a regular game at centre-back for us instead of Jig. Mohsni doesn't have the same youth pedigree as Faure, but I've been impressed with most of what I've seen from him and it's easy to see why he was plucked from the depths of part-time lower French leagues 3 years ago to move to Southend and play for Paul Sturrock. Over the past year or so, there's been some quite big clubs sniffing around him and taking him on trial, including West Ham and Birmingham. West Ham even made Southend and offer for him which was rejected! So there we have it... two French gems who could be our perfect 1st choice centre-back partnership and have great potential sell-on value if we need cash when we're back in the top flight. If Ally doesn't see that golden opportunity and nurture their partnership, he and I are falling out!
  2. Following on from a thread in Footie chat about Morton knocking Celtic out the league cup, I thought had we still been in the competition then the trophy would be there for the taken. But my comment was Id still be happy to settle for a League One and Ramsden's Cup double. It got me thinking about the Scottish Cup. Oh yes I'd love to win that but are we ready to compete with the SPL sides? On paper we are. I wouldn't be swapping our squad for any in the SPL right now including Celtics as I think we have the basis of a good squad to compete. Add in a few quality signings when we are back to the SPL then Id say we will be top 2 for sure. It boils again down to our style of play and management ability as to how good we can be, as last season we were easily beaten by Inverness and Dundee Utd. But we are probably far more prepared this season. As we are more prepared with a stronger squad that have had a full pre-season: What is our realistic expectations in the Scottish Cup? Of course the luck of the draw will always come into it. Are some fans still wanting to boycott it in protest towards the SFA and anti-Rangers SPL clubs? I know I could understand that point of view. Does anyone want to avoid playing an SPL side yet in case a) we get turned over and b) assist in financing them? The jury is still out for me. I don't want to return to Tannadice nor head for Pittodrie to satisfy the vile hatred from elements of those places. But if we were to draw Ross County or Kilmarnock I'd take that right now as a) it would be a good test and b) I think we could beat those. I do think the sticky balls will be in play this season and we will get Celtic.
  3. BARRY FERGUSON vents his anger at the sentence passed down to Gunning for flicking a boot at Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk, and says it is a common occurrence during matches. 20 Sep 2013 07:22 Vincent Lunny.Vincent Lunny. I DON’T care much for the SFA. I’m unlikely to get a job offer from them any time soon, that’s for sure. And this column won’t help my relationship with them either because I find it impossible to discuss the people in charge of our game without working myself into an angry rant. Here’s the problem. This should be a positive period for the Scottish game. The national team is on the way back under Gordon Strachan and Celtic were a credit to the country in the San Siro. As much as it might stick in my throat as a Rangers man, Neil Lennon and his side were excellent against AC Milan. They were the better team for 75 minutes and didn’t deserve to lose. So that’s all good. We should be feeling better about ourselves again. I should be able to look guys in the eye in the dressing room at Blackpool again and say: “You see, I told you Scottish football isn’t as bad as you lot make out.” But then the SFA go and do something stupid and you’re left to wonder why you bother. The people who run the game in this country seem hellbent on turning us all into a bad joke. And I’m sick of it. For the last week I’ve had guys down here laughing at the Ian Black betting case and asking me: “What the hell is going on up there? Can you guys not get anything right?” And there’s nothing I can say in Scotland’s defence. Down here it’s a different story. The game is run with total transparency, clear rules and disciplinary procedures that are set in stone. Everyone knows where they stand. Cameron Jerome? He broke the rules on betting and got a 50 grand fine. It was all done and dusted in a matter of days. But how long was the Black saga allowed to rumble on for? It dragged from one week to the next, one meeting to another. Even when he was finally hauled to Hampden the SFA kept everyone waiting for the decision. They hummed and hawed but said nothing for hours. And when they did, they refused to give out the details. Would it have been so difficult for chief executive Stewart Regan to come out and explain exactly what had gone on? To give details of the games in which Black had bet against his team and the reasons behind his punishment? Why would he NOT want to get the facts out there? I just don’t get it. I’ve had my say on Black. If he was in my dressing room I wouldn’t be happy with him. But I’ve also been in trouble so many times at Rangers that I know the club’s disciplinary procedures inside out. They get you in, it’s done and dusted within an hour or two then they make a statement. Why do the SFA find it so hard to act as decisively? There’s another thing that annoys me. Can anyone tell me what Vincent Lunny does? Does anyone know his remit or on what basis he decides which player he’s going to ban next? Does he sit in his house with his feet up and glass of red wine on a Sunday night watching the highlights on the BBC? And if he sees some incident replayed in slow motion, is that when he takes it upon himself to act? Because that would be a disgrace. I’ve been playing top-team football for going on 18 years. In that time there must have been about 10 incidents in every game which could have led to a player being slapped on the wrists or fined. It happens all the time. If Vincent wants to apply the rules fairly and across the board he should be watching every minute of every game or, if that’s too much, employ people to watch them for him. There are plenty of ex-pros out there looking for work. But all the games should be reviewed by someone. Anything less is just not right. Look at Gavin Gunning at Dundee United, who was banned for three matches for flicking a boot at Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk. I must flick out a leg three or four times in every game I play. Now Lunny is giving three-game bans for it? Is that what Scottish football has become? On my Rangers debut at Tynecastle, Neil Pointon nearly took my head off 10 minutes in. He smashed me in the face with his shoulder, elbow and fist all in one go. And I thought to myself: “Welcome to first-team football.” I was so dazed I hardly knew where I was. But it was a great lesson for a young player. I knew I was in a man’s game. And that’s the way football should be. Look, if there’s some bampot running around charging into tackles that can break legs or end careers, Lunny should throw the book at him. But three games for flicking out a leg? Come on. I like to see a wee ding-dong out there. Players who are fired up and getting in a few faces. That’s what it’s about in the heat of battle. But I guess Lunny wouldn’t know that. So let me give him some advice, from the front line straight to office desk. The fans love to see these flashpoints too. It’s called passion, Vinny. It’s what this game is built on – and the more you stamp it out the less people will turn up to watch. They don’t want some faceless guy at Hampden making decisions on a random basis that can harm their team. It’s the same for the players. How do you think Gunning would feel if he was sitting suspended and saw a player doing the exact same thing as he did ... and then finds out Lunny hasn’t spotted it on TV? Would that be fair? Look, I get that the whole idea about this compliance officer was to try to modernise the Scottish game. But please, make it fair. It’s the same for Black. He’ll know plenty of players who have been betting on football matches. And yet he’s the only one who gets done for it. I can’t help feel if you’re at Rangers or even Celtic the chances are they will be all over you like a rash. That’s the way I felt when the SFA were dealing with me. And the treatment Black has received shows that, despite their talk of modernising the game, nothing much has changed.
  4. CELTIC will have to play the home legs of next season’s Champions League qualifiers away from Parkhead, with Murrayfield emerging as a possible alternative venue. Celtic Park is hosting the opening ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth Games on 23 July and the likelihood is that the pitch will have to be relaid before it can be used again for football. Glasgow 2014 staff reckon it will take “weeks” before the playing surface is ready for Celtic, and the Scottish champions will be forced to look for another ground. Hampden and Ibrox are also out of the running because they, too, are Commonwealth Games venues, so the home of Scottish rugby is being considered. Celtic played their first home game this season on 23 July when they met Cliftonville in the second qualifying round of the Champions League. Eight days later they played host to Elfsborg in the third qualifying round. If the Parkhead side are to participate in next season’s competition, it is likely they will enter at the same stage as this season. Celtic have accepted they will have to play the second and probably the third qualifying rounds (Q2 and Q3) away from Celtic Park but are hopeful their home pitch will be ready if they progress to the play-off stage. A Celtic spokesman said: “In the event of Celtic’s qualification, Q2 and possibly Q3 would be played away from Celtic Park. We are presently considering possible venues for these matches. “We would of course plan to be back at Celtic Park for the European Play-Off rounds, if successful, and the start of the season.” Manager Neil Lennon stressed last week how important qualifying for the Champions League is to Celtic, both financially and in terms of prestige. Around 58,000 were at Celtic Park for the Play-Off round match against Shakhter Karagandy and helped create a raucous atmosphere as Lennon’s side overturned a 2-0 deficit, winning 3-0 to qualify for the lucrative group stage. Lennon later described the result and reaching the Champions League proper for the second successive season as “the greatest thing I’ve ever done in football”. Last season’s run to the last 16 of the elite competition earned the club £22 million in television and prize money. This season, they will receive £14m for reaching the group stage to go with the £1.8m for participating in the Play-Off round. By contrast, if they’d lost to Karagandy and dropped into the Europa League they would have been guaranteed just £1.87m. The stakes are incredibly high and Celtic will be mindful to avoid anything that threatens their qualifying prospects. Murrayfield is the biggest stadium in Scotland with a capacity of more than 67,000. Celtic are unlikely to need a stadium that size for the early qualifying rounds. However, there appear to be precious few alternatives. Celtic attracted crowds of 30,000 and 40,000 for the matches against Cliftonville and Elfsborg and no other available Scottish football ground could accommodate such numbers. The biggest club grounds are Easter Road (20,000) and Pittodrie (22,000). Kilmarnock’s Rugby Park would be a handier venue for the Celtic support but its capacity is just 18,000. The opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games will feature the athletes’ parade, with up to 4,500 participants from the 71 competing nations taking part. A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said: “Glasgow 2014 is committed to returning Celtic Park to its pre-Games state as part of the Venue Use Agreement. “Glasgow 2014 is developing contingency provision for an alternative venue for the fulfilment of the club’s competitive 2014 fixtures that are scheduled to be played at Celtic Park during the period of the organising committee’s use of the venue should that be required.” The east end of Glasgow is undergoing major redevelopment and regeneration as a result of the Games. Celtic Park is situated at the heart of the action, with the athletes’ village currently being constructed nearby. A stone’s throw from the ground are the new Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome and the Emirates Arena which will host the cycling and badminton events in 2014. Murrayfield has hosted football before, with Hearts playing a number of Uefa Cup and Champions League qualifying matches at the ground between 2004 and 2006. The Edinburgh side first played there against Braga in a Uefa Cup qualifying round match in season 2004-05 after it was claimed the pitch at Tynecastle was too small for European matches. Murrayfield was also the venue for Hearts’ and Hibernian’s friendly matches against Barcelona in 2007 and 2008 respectively. Almost 58,000 watched the Hearts v Barca match, the largest crowd to attend a football game in Edinburgh for 51 years. Celtic playing home games away from Parkhead is not without precedent. They made Hampden their base for the duration of the 1994-95 season while Celtic Park was rebuilt. However, taking their games to Edinburgh presents a new set of challenges. While Murrayfield’s capacity more than meets Celtic’s needs and its proximity to Haymarket station is a bonus, playing in Edinburgh would mean an 80-mile round trip for the majority of the club’s supporters. The Games will also mean Hampden becoming a football-free zone for the best part of a year. The national stadium is the athletics venue for 2014 and will close to football in November. The playing surface will be raised and an athletics track constructed, reducing the capacity to 44,000. It means this season’s domestic cup finals and semi-finals will be played at alternative venues. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl/champions-league-celtic-to-play-at-murrayfield-1-3074428
  5. http://sport.stv.tv/football/238344-celtic-chief-executive-peter-lawwell-appointed-to-board-of-scottish-fa/ Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell has been appointed to the board of the Scottish Football Association. The 54-year-old has been nominated as the representative of the Professional Game Board, which contributes to the running of football in Scotland. Lawwell joins the Scottish FA's chief Executive Stewart Regan, president Campbell Ogilvie, Alan McRae, Rod Petrie and Barrie Jackson on the board.
  6. Behind closed doors match earlier today: RANGERS: Simonsen; Foster, Mohsni, Cribari (Gasparotto 70), S Smith; McKay (Crawford 63), Law, Kelly (McAusland 70), Templeton (Walsh 63); Shiels, Daly (Clark 46). SUBS NOT USED: Gallacher, Faure. http://rangers.co.uk/news/headlines/item/4973-rangers-1-3-hibernian
  7. They are saying over on FF this years final is to be played at the Peadodump!, anybody confirm this?. I know we are not in the final yet but this will be just so wrong
  8. Noticed this in a Terry Butcher article: When Butcher first arrived in Scotland in 1986 to play for Rangers it was at the grasping height of Thatcherism and an accompanying wave of anti-Englishness – four years later even Scotland's middle classes folded up the tartan travelling rugs to stand up and boo the National Anthem at Murrayfield. Butcher played for Rangers, the "loyalist" club, a club that outside its support is disliked more strongly within its national locality than any in Britain. He ticked the boxes of reasons to be detested (in that, as Donald Rumsfeld might put it, rational irrationality of the football fan). http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/news-and-comment/the-last-word-terry-butcher-the-archetypal-englishman-is-making-waves-by-the-tip-of-loch-ness-8792453.html
  9. I see TLB's poop troop got beat 2-0 by Shakhter Karagandy over in Kazakhstan earlier.
  10. http://www.scottishfa.co.uk/scottish_fa_news.cfm?page=2565&newsCategoryID=1&newsID=12361 As if we haven't got enough going on.
  11. P23 W20 D3 L0 F53 A7 05 Apr: St Johnstone (a) 0-2 10 Apr: Hamilton (a) 0-1 13 Apr: Aberdeen (a) 0-1 16 Apr: St Mirren (h) 2-1 19 Apr: Dundee Utd (a) 0-4 24 Apr: Celtic (h) 0-0 30 Apr: Motherwell (a) 0-5 07 May: Hearts (h) 4-0 10 May: Dundee Utd (h) 2-0 15 May: Kilmarnock (a) 1-5 23 Jul: Hearts (h) 1-1 30 Jul: St Johnstone (a) 0-2 13 Aug: Inverness CT (a) 0-2 21 Aug: Motherwell (a) 0-3 28 Aug: Aberdeen (h) 2-0 10 Sep: Dundee Utd (a) 0-1 18 Sep: Celtic (h) 4-2 24 Sep: Dunfermline (a) 0-4 27 Sep: Kilmarnock (h) 2-0 01 Oct: Hibernian (h) 1-0 15 Oct: St Mirren (h) 1-1 23 Oct: Hearts (a) 0-2 29 Oct: Aberdeen (a) 1-2
  12. Lifted from FF: Celtic have struggled for results but their disciplinary record so far is remarkable. Below is the number of fouls committed per yellow card received in the SPL so far this season. On average a yellow card is recieved every 6.79 fouls, however one club is getting penalised much less than all the others. 1 - Celtic - 13.00 fouls per booking 2 - Dundee Utd - 7.94 fouls per booking 3 - Rangers - 7.28 fouls per booking 4 - Aberdeen - 6.54 fouls per booking 5 - Motherwell - 6.44 fouls per booking 6 - Inverness CT - 6.21 fouls per booking 7 - Dunfermline - 6.05 fouls per booking 8 - Kilmarnock - 5.95 fouls per booking 9 - Hibs - 5.86 fouls per booking 10 - Hearts - 5.70 fouls per booking 11 - St Mirren - 5.29 fouls per booking 12 - St Johnstone - 5.17 fouls per booking If we now look at the average booking per fouls in home games only, one club's average is again significantly more favourable than any other team in the league. 1 - Celtic - 15.67 fouls per booking 2 - Dundee Utd - 8.90 fouls per booking 3 - Rangers - 8.67 fouls per booking 4 - Aberdeen - 7.89 fouls per booking 5 - Kilmarnock - 7.80 fouls per booking 6 - Inverness CT - 6.46 fouls per booking 7 - St Johnstone - 6.45 fouls per booking 8 - Hearts - 6.29 fouls per booking 9 - Hibs - 6.18 fouls per booking 10 - Motherwell - 6.00 fouls per booking 11 - Dunfermline - 5.69 fouls per booking 12 - St Mirren - 5.00 fouls per booking And finally, looking at away games, and again one club's average is much more favourable than anyone elses: 1 - Celtic - 11.86 fouls per booking 2 - Motherwell - 6.89 fouls per booking 3 - Dunfermline - 6.83 fouls per booking 4 - Rangers - 6.58 fouls per booking 5 - Dundee Utd - 6.57 fouls per booking 6 - Inverness CT - 5.91 fouls per booking 7 - Aberdeen - 5.82 fouls per booking 8 - Hibs - 5.65 fouls per booking 9 - St Mirren - 5.54 fouls per booking 10 - Kilmarnock - 5.41 fouls per booking 11 - Hearts - 5.08 fouls per booking 12 - St Johnstone - 4.08 fouls per booking It's silly to draw conclusions at this stage of the season - and also difficult in a general sense as multiple tackles will go unpunished as harmless but one bad foul will lead to a caution - but when one considers that both Glasgow sides finished last season with an average FPB (fouls per booking) of between 6.5 and 6.9 the huge difference so far this term is worthy of comment. Let's see how it develops.
  13. Mowbray W 3-1 Aberdeen (A) W 5-2 St Johnstone (H) W 1-0 Hibs (A) D 1-1 Dundee Utd (H) W 2-1 Hearts (H) W 2-0 St Mirren (A) L 1-2 Rangers (A) D 0-0 Motherwell (H) W 2-1 Hamilton (A) W 3-0 Kilmarnock (H) D 3-3 Falkirk (A) L 1-2 Dundee United (A) P 24/36 GF 24 GA 13 W 7 D 3 L 2 Lennon W 2-0 Hibs (A) W 1-0 Aberdeen (A) W 5-1 Dundee United (H) L 0-1 St Johnstone (H) W 2-0 St Mirren (A) W 4-0 Motherwell (H) L 2-4 Rangers (A) W 2-0 Inverness (H) L 0-2 Hearts (A) D 3-3 Kilmarnock (A) W 2-1 Aberdeen (H) D 0-0 Hibs (H) P 23/36 GF 23 GA 12 W 7 D 2 L 3 Very interesting and even moreso if they drop points against Motherwell as Mowbray won his next game....
  14. The guys at Vanguard Bears are organising a peaceful protest against BBC Scotland on the afternoon of Saturday 5th of November from 12.30-2.30pm (before our home game against Dundee Utd). I appreciate not everyone will agree with such strong action and understand some may not even feel the BBC have done anything wrong. That is fine - we welcome all opinions here. Personally, I'm strongly of the opinion that the media per se are not anti-Rangers but simply incompetent vultures looking for the next story which they can exaggerate to make money. However, I also feel that does not apply to BBC Scotland - as the following valid questions from the last 6-12months point out: Why are 'neutral' sectarianism stories presented outside Ibrox? Why are stories about 'letter bombs sent to the Celtic manager' presented outside Ibrox? Why was our manager made to look like a fool with regard to sectarianism? Why, in the same report, do the organisation show our fans singing sectarian songs while showing Celtic fans carrying anti-racism banners? Why do the organisation choose to cover some sectarianism stories and not others? Why do they have 'karaoke' lyrics for offensive RFC songs and not others? Why are radio/TV debates not presented properly and in a balanced fashion (see Graham Spiers radio documentary)? Why does Stuart Cosgrove suggest problems of bias? Why have Rangers had three examples of editorial problems this season alone? To that end, I'll be protesting in two weeks time. I hope hope you can join us.
  15. Due to recent media speculation, Chairman Stephen Thompson has issued the following statement: "We have had no contact with Rangers FC since Monday 20th June and have not received a bid from them for David Goodwillie". http://www.dundeeunitedfc.co.uk/index.asp?tm=2&nid=3935&cd=2011 Very odd statement to come out with.
  16. So another Scottish Premier League campaign has come to an end. It is a time for jubilant celebration for the victors, quiet introspection for the runners-up and a sigh of relief from the police and emergency services the length and breadth of Scotland. This year, though, only one of those things has happened. On Sunday afternoon, Celtic Park was anything but quiet, as 60,000 green-clad fans roared their support for their embattled manager, Neil Lennon. There is a noisy defiance coming from Celtic right now, the club refusing to be bowed by the hate campaign directed against it this season, culminating in live bombs being sent through the post to Lennon, and an assault on the Irishman by a Heart of Midlothian fan in front of a live TV audience of millions last Wednesday. Across the Clyde at Ibrox, departing Rangers manager Walter Smith, the Wise Old Man of Scottish football (if the Scottish sporting press are to be believed), sounds like anything but a soccer coach celebrating a third successive title triumph. In a broadside against Celtic, Smith told The Scotsman: After the season we have had here, I am more than ready to get out of here, out of Scotland. It has been a fraught year for everybody, I don't think there has been any doubt about that. The season got off to a bad start, in that respect, when Celtic put up a challenge to referees and to everybody else. That got the season off to a bad start and it went downhill after that. So there you have it. Instead of celebrating his team's championship success, Walter Smith felt the need to have a final parting shot at Celtic, blaming them for what Edinburgh broadsheet The Scotsman has labeled Scottish soccer's annus horribilis. It is worthwhile to take a short diversion at this point, to consider the headline of an article in yesterday's (16th May) Scotsman: "The day that Scottish football redeemed itself. But only just." So just how had Scottish football "redeemed" itself in the eyes of The Scotsman? Why, there had only been "a handful of arrests" at matches over the weekend. That's right�in a season where the Celtic manager has been sent bullets and live bombs in the post, and assaulted inside a stadium, the game in Scotland redeemed itself by virtue of the fact there weren't many arrests on the weekend. Oh, and there had been an "exciting" conclusion to the season. How exciting the conclusion to the season was can be gauged by the crackling tension inside Celtic Park and Rugby Park, Kilmarnock, as the destination of the Championship hung in the balance for a full 47 seconds on Sunday afternoon. That's how long it took Rangers to take the lead, which became a three-goal advantage before seven minutes had passed away from home against a frankly woeful Kilmarnock. The excitement must have been unbearable for the neutrals. But I digress. Just what was it that prompted Walter Smith's rather classless dig at Celtic? Surely, as Celtic defender Mark Wilson says, he should be too busy celebrating to be thinking about Celtic. Well, I think not. Walter Smith has inadvertently betrayed his true emotions surrounding Rangers' title win, and it is not one of jubilation. This season has indeed been an annus horribilis for Scottish soccer. Indeed, this was the season that exposed Scottish soccer for the rotten, corrupt, sectarian cesspit it has always been. And Walter Smith knows it. Rangers won the league by a single point. When you consider the intolerable pressure heaped upon Celtic this season, from all quarters, it is a hollow victory. Of course there have been the usual bizarre refereeing decisions, which always seem to benefit Rangers and/or hinder Celtic, such as the clearly offside Hamilton goal in Celtic's 1-1 draw in January. Had that goal been disallowed, as it should have been, Celtic would have won the title by a point. The referee in charge, Mr. Willie Collum, was also in charge of the first Celtic-Rangers match of the season, where he awarded Rangers an extremely dubious penalty, which (unless he has eyes in the back of his head) he couldn't even see. There is also anger directed at the SFA over their handling of disciplinary matters involving Celtic and Rangers this season. They handed Neil Lennon an unprecedented six-match ban for his first offense (being sent to the stand in a match away to Heart of Midlothian in November), later reduced to four on appeal. Following an angry exchange with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist at the end of Celtic's Scottish Cup victory on March 2nd, prompted by an inflammatory remark made by McCoist, Neil Lennon was handed another four-match ban, which the SFA attempted to make him serve consecutively with the first, rather than concurrently in accordance with their own rules. McCoist, meanwhile, appealed and had the charge against him dropped. At the same hearing, Rangers players El Hadji Diouf and Madjid Bougherra, who had both manhandled referee Callum Murray, attempting to physically prevent him showing red cards to Rangers players, were given derisory fines. Previously, players guilty of laying hands on referees have been handed bans running to several matches. Most sinister of all, though, was the sending of live ammunition and live parcel bombs through the post to Neil Lennon. Bombs were also sent to two prominent Celtic supporters, and live bullets sent to N. Irish Celtic players Paddy McCourt and Niall McGinn. The bullets were sent to the players in January, and subsequently, appearances by both players became a rarity. Following the match against Rangers at Ibrox in April, Neil Lennon found that while the bombs were said to be the work of an individual or a tiny group of maniacs, their actions met with the approval of a large number of Rangers supporters, as many fans in the full house taunted him with chants of "What's it like to live in fear?" The assault on Neil Lennon at Tynecastle last week followed about 45 seconds of Heart of Midlothian fans chanting, "You're getting shot in the morning." As Lennon's assailant was led away by Lothian and Borders police officers, a large number of Hearts fans applauded him up the tunnel. What Celtic has faced this season has been an intolerable campaign of hate, intimidation and attempted murder. Many a Celtic fan has been guilty of intolerance as well. Against that backdrop, how can any reasonable person think that it even matters who wins the title? Walter Smith is fully aware of the depths of depravity to which Scottish football, and the fans of his club in particular, have sunk this season. He knows that they have no real cause for celebration. Celtic were never allowed to compete this season due to the efforts of the refereeing fraternity, the governing body and Rangers fans. Add to that the ridiculously easy ride Rangers were allowed in the closing weeks of the season. Let's have a look at Rangers' record against their top six opponents, before and after the league split: Against Kilmarnock this season, Rangers recorded two 2-1 victories at home and scraped a 3-2 win at Rugby Park. Yet after struggling to three one-goal victories, they somehow were able to thump them 5-1 away from home in the final match. Away to Hearts, Rangers won 2-1 with a last-minute winner and lost the other 0-1, while at Ibrox they laboured to a 1-0 win in February. Yet this month, they cantered to a 4-0 win with several key Hearts players dropped from the team, though, immediately re-instated for their next match against Celtic. Against Motherwell it was a different story. In their first home match, they defeated their manager-less opponents 4-1. They repeated this scoreline in the return match against a Motherwell now managed by ex-Rangers midfielder Stuart McCall, who told the press before the match that he still refers to Walter Smith as "Gaffer" (a British slang word for "Boss"). In February, McCall led his Motherwell side to a 6-0 defeat at Ibrox and the final fixture saw Rangers record another comfortable 5-0 victory. Total scoring in four league matches: Rangers 19, Motherwell 2. Their fixtures against Dundee Utd demonstrate the iniquity of the SPL league split, with Rangers being handed a third home match out of a series of four. They won 4-0, 2-0 and lost 2-3 at home; they won 4-0 away�a match in which that man Willie Collum awarded Rangers three penalty kicks and sent off a Dundee Utd player with each award, one of which was for a foul outside the box. Their record against Celtic was not so glorious, winning the first match 3-1, then losing 0-2 and 0-3 before tying the final fixture 0-0. In the months leading up to the SPL split, Rangers scraped several single goal victories before embarking on an improbable run of thumping wins against what are supposedly the best teams in the league. Very strange. Especially when you consider the affinity three of those teams (Kilmarnock, Hearts and Motherwell) feel with Rangers. It was like a gamer playing Master League Mode in PES, switching the game to its easiest level for the last few games to ensure the win. Walter Smith knows that not only was there no level playing field in Scottish football this season, he knows that the bombs, bullets and intimidation took Scottish football into the gutter and rendered his final league triumph irrelevant. His final win is a hollow one. He knows it and has lashed out at the victim. Blaming Celtic for ruining his enjoyment of his Ibrox farewell. It is only to be hoped that with Rangers taken over by new owners, and if the hype is to be believed the threat of liquidation removed, the game in Scotland can become a fair competition again next season, with no need to protect Rangers from the vagaries of non-Champions League qualification. Well, as fair a competition as competition in Scotland can be... http://bleacherreport.com/articles/704168-scottish-premier-league-smith-reveals-more-than-intended-about-tainted-title
  17. Its the only thing he'll win!! http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/13344486.stm Really thought WS should have got this, our form has been superb. How many goals and wins of late!! I hope McGregor or Jelavic get Player of the month. McGregor has about 8 clean sheets out of 9 (Hamilton, St Johnstone, Aberdeen, Celtic, Dundee utd (a), Motherwell, Hearts, Dundee Utd (h))
  18. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/scot_prem/9480346.stm :boogie:
  19. Rangers take all three points with authoritative home win over dangerous Dundee Utd side so are now just one away win from a record 54th league title. http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/2010/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=413:rangers-2-0-dundee-utd-player-ratings-and-mom-poll&catid=35:analysis&Itemid=67 So fitting that our club captain was man of the match on his 41st birthday. By and large Weir has had another fine season and his performance last night typified the quality he has brought to the club over the last 4.5 years. Nods to Naismith, Davis, Lafferty and Edu who were all superb last night again. No coincidence that our midfield functioning properly again has resulted in more comfortable results. One more game lads - one more game! :spl:
  20. Rangers go four points clear with easy victory away in Dundee including three penalties! http://www.gersnetonline.co.uk/2010/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=402:dundee-utd-0-4-rangers-player-ratings-and-mom-poll&catid=1:articles&Itemid=67 :sd: The wee man looked sharp, hungry and confident for the first time in a while last night. He has to take this form into Sunday's game and, if he does, we will win. Also thought Lafferty had a fine, fine match last night. :spl:
  21. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/scotland/13138370.stm :spl:
  22. Didnt see this anywhere else. Latest is Broadfoot out for the season with hairline fracture of the heel and Weiss has returned to Man City with a broken foot. All the best to Weiss and really hope he is back in the summer for another season. McCulloch and Bougherra back in the squad for the weekend which is massive although McCullouch might be best left for the Dundee utd game. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/13073020.stm
  23. As Scotland's number one goalkeeper again helped deliver a crucial three points in Rangers' quest for a third SPL in a row, I turned to my mates and remarked just how important the lad is to our club. Surely the outstanding candidate for our player of the year this season? McGregor's time at Rangers has been a fascinating one for a 'keeper that is still a year short of his 30th birthday - a milestone that usually sees goalies mature on the field with their advancing years. Just over 9 years since he made his competitive d�©but for the club as an enforced sub for Stefan Klos in a League Cup tie away to Forfar, the Scotsman has been on a roller-coaster of a career so far. Considered surplus to requirements by both Dick Advocaat and Alex McLeish, McGregor was one Murray Park product that seemed to be destined for mediocrity in the early part of this century. Respective loans to St Johnstone (04/05) and Dunfermline (05/06) suggested he was going to be just another promising youngster without a future at Ibrox. The arrival of Paul Le Guen (and to a lesser extent Lionel Letizi) changed that. While both of these Frenchmen had had impressive careers before arriving at Rangers, both struggled on arrival in Glasgow but if Le Guen can lay claim to one positive upon leaving 'by mutual consent' he can point to installing McGregor as the club's number 1 goalkeeper - even if Letizi's poor form and injury contributed to this decision. McGregor went on to be voted the club's Players' Player of the Year for that season (2006/07). Since then he appeared to take confidence in his own ability and has improved year on year also making his Scotland international d�©but that season. A genuine natural shot-stopper it says a lot for him that he can keep guys like Neil Alexander and Craig Gordon behind him. Unfortunately, with this rise to prominence the lad has had his fair share of controversy. From being made a joint scapegoat for a Scotland team 'bonding' session to stormy personal relationships that seem him on the front pages as much as the back, McGregor's well known nickname and chant are certainly apt. Conversely crude songs about erroneous assault charges are less funny and it is to the lad's credit that he's never reacted to them - unlike other players and managers who do use such excuses for poor behaviour. Fortunately, current Scotland manager Craig Levein is another person who realises that McGregor has perhaps been hard done by in the past so, despite a disgraceful sine die SFA ban, the former Dundee Utd and Hearts manager recalled McGregor back to the international fold at the start of this season and he has since made the Scotland No1 position his own with some fine displays for his country. In the meantime McGregor has maintained his form at club level and as Rangers once again became the sole Scottish club to challenge on domestic and European fronts, he has been one player that has shown a high level of consistency and quality throughout. He may not have scored the goals of Kenny Miller or provided the graft of Steven Naismith but McGregor's plethora of vital saves is as invaluable as anything else this season. To that end, it is a huge surprise he's not even mentioned on the official Rangers Player of the Year list - despite the inclusion of players that, with respect, have failed to deliver this season. During a difficult period for the club in financial terms, McGregor is arguably the most expensive asset we have at the club. Out of contract in 2013 and with a variety of clubs always interested in his availability McGregor has come a long way from unglamorous loan spells and unsavoury international incidents. He truly has matured as a player and as a person. Next term will be McGregor's testimonial year given February 2012 will have been 10 years since his first team d�©but and this summer 10 years since he signed professionally in 2001. In a sport that now sees players more motivated by money rather than loyalty it is quite amazing that a player of McGregor's quality is still at Rangers. More so when you consider the variety of external factors that never seemed to impinge on his own self-belief. Of course without a club takeover the lad may not see this exceptional milestone but if he does decide to move on McGregor will leave Rangers with our thanks and as Scotland's number one. Thus, if he continues to court consistency instead of controversy there's no reason why he can't have another ten years as Scotland's number one!
  24. By the time the split comes we will have held a slight disadvantage to Celtic as we would have played 1 less home game. So far both have played 15 at home and 13 away. We have 5 games left before the split, 4 of which are away (St Johnstone, Hamilton, Aberdeen, Dundee Utd) which will give us a split total of P33 Home 16 Away 17. Celtic have 5 games left with only 3 away (Inverness, Kilmarnock, St Johnstone) which will give them a split total of P33 Home 17 Away 16. Obviously the final OF game will be at Ibrox to even things up but then there is no guarantee the remaining 4 games will be divided to 2 at home and 2 away....thus showing that the split can cause a terrible disadvantage. So assuming both with remaining games before the split then going into the final fixtures 2 points behind isnt that bad and keeps the title in our hands if we win all our games.
  25. Darrell King The SPL today face another fixture nightmare after Rangers made it through to the last 16 of the Europa League. As similarities with 2008 begin to emerge, league chief Iain Blair has massive headaches to address in terms of the championsââ?¬â?¢ outstanding fixtures. The Ibrox side still have FOUR SPL games to be placed ââ?¬â?? a home match against St Mirren and trips to Dundee United, Aberdeen and St Johnstone. The midweeks of March 10 and 17 will now be handed over to Europa League action against PSV Eindhoven. With international commitments gobbling up March 24 and 27, next month is gone completely for Blair to schedule any Gers games. Even if they get knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Celtic at Parkhead next week they would be unable to play any of their games on cup quarter-final weekend ââ?¬â?? March 12 ââ?¬â?? as their four outstanding league opponents all have ties in the cup. It will now be into April before they can get dates for these matches and, if Rangers get past PSV and head into the last eight, it would appear impossible for their fixtures to be played unless they have the dreaded four-games-in-eight-days scenario. Blair conceded last week that the SPL are looking at playing games on the Friday and Monday of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend. RANGERS FIXTURES... Feb 27: St Johntone (h) SPL March 2: Celtic (a) Scottish Cup last 16 replay March 6: St Mirren (a) SPL March 10: PSV Eindhoven (a) Europa League last 16 March 13: Inverness (a) Scottish Cup last 8 or free weekend. March 17: PSV Eindhoven (h) Europa League last 16 March 20: Celtic (n) Co-op Cup Final March 24: International March 27: International April 2: Dundee Utd (h) SPL April 7: Possible Europa League last 8 April 9/10: Hamilton (a) SPL April 14: Possible Europa League last 8 April 16: Kilmarnock (h) SPL April 20: Free midweek SPL SPLITS INTO TWO http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/mobile/sport/editor-s-picks/fixtures-fear-now-true-for-the-spl-1.1087313
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