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  1. A police officer has been found guilty of breaching the peace after he was heard singing pro-IRA songs and challenged by an off-duty colleague. But a sheriff ruled that Christopher Halaka had not committed a sectarian offence because he had not wanted to cause "ill-will" to a particular group. Halaka, 31, was drunk on a night out in Perth with his uncle when they were heard singing the songs. Both Halaka and his uncle Laurence Winters, 43, were fined Ã?£250. Halaka also faces an internal inquiry by Strathclyde Police where he works as a Pc. Perth Sheriff Court heard that the pair left one woman in tears as they aggressively confronted people waiting in a taxi queue and had to be tackled by an off-duty detective from Strathclyde Police. Det Con Ian Cameron told the three-day trial he stepped in to try and stop Halaka and Winters from singing pro-terrorist songs. He said: "I can remember bits of the song - 'wearing a black beret' - and there was a phrase, either to 'join up' or 'up the' IRA. 'Pride stung' "There was also a mention of Bobby Sands. I took it to be an IRA song because I believe Bobby Sands was a member of the IRA in the 1980s." Halaka's solicitor David McKie claimed Det Con Ian Cameron had called in Tayside Police because he felt the pair had "taken the Mickey" when he told them to stop singing because people were offended. He told the court that Det Con Cameron had admitted being a Rangers supporter who attended football matches at Ibrox, and had "his pride stung" when the men mocked him. Continue reading the main story ââ?¬Å?Start Quote It was a breach of the peace in a public street and caused offence to members of the public who had been enjoying the night outââ?¬Â End Quote Sheriff Mark Stewart But the detective said he had phoned police when another group of men came forward to confront the duo as he was afraid "it was going to kick off". And he said Winters, who was formerly in the Territorial Army, threatened to "find out where he lived". Both accused had been charged with committing a breach of the peace aggravated by religious prejudice in central Perth on 28 December 2009. Sheriff Mark Stewart deleted the reference to religious aggravation before finding them guilty of breaching the peace. He said: "It is the verdict of the court that a breach of the peace has been proved against both of you. You conducted yourself in a disorderly manner and shouted and swore. "It was a breach of the peace in a public street and caused offence to members of the public who had been enjoying the night out." He accepted the offence was out of character. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-tayside-central-12853156
  2. Published Date: 13 March 2011 By ANDREW SMITH BEYOND the issue of how long Neil Lennon can possibly put up with a daily existence in which his freedom and safety, and those of his family, are being challenged lie deeply uncomfortable questions. How have we tolerated the fomenting of such hatred for so long to have brought us to this point? And what does it say about our society? The bullets in the post in January that were followed by a fake nail bomb this month have taken the death threats and intimidation against Lennon to unprecedented levels for any public figure in this country. Safe-houses and 24-hour surveillance have become necessities for the security of the Celtic manager, his partner and their five-year-old son. But such grotesque developments are in keeping with the disfiguring of ordinary life Lennon has had to contend with during his 11 years in Scotland. It has escalated now because his position has been elevated. It has always been there, though, and manifested itself in street assaults that have brought convictions for the culprits, sectarian slogans being daubed on roads, his retirement from playing for Northern Ireland after a paramilitary death threat received by the BBC and constant vile, viral hate crimes. The internet, indeed, as pinpointed by both his lawyer Paul McBride and First Minister Alex Salmond this week, is now recognised as the cesspit in which too much verbal savagery has been allowed to stew for too long. Yet, what truly disturbs is not the evidence of Facebook groups such as Hunt Down Neil Lennon And Shoot Him, Let's Hang Neil Lennon but what masquerades as acceptable comment on the 39-year-old in various forums. An "ah, but" element creeps in to justify the treatment of Lennon: "Ah, but, even though no-one should have to deal with death threats, he brings it on himself". Expanded, the haters would venture that it is his snarling, his loss of control on the touchline and, having been reared in Lurgan, his embrace of what Celtic stands for and rejection of all things Rangers that make him an accomplice in any wrong-doing perpetrated against him or his family. This is baloney that deliberately fuses and confuses two separate issues. Anyone is entitled to have no time whatsoever for Lennon. This, though, offers no legitimacy to those who believe that it extends to creating a climate wherein, it is believed, some serious criminals in Northern Ireland have felt sufficiently emboldened by a public mood in Scotland to embark on a campaign of horrific harassment. A campaign in which Lennon has been sent bullets and suspect packages, had distress caused to his parents in his homeland and been forced to have a panic button installed in his family home - a home which he and his partner and child have had to be moved from three times in the past month as a result of police receiving what they deemed "credible" threats. Ultimately, the targeting of Lennon doesn't come down to his personality. His bolshiness and bad-mouthing in the heat of battle are, away from games, underpinned - and so undercut - by an impressive intelligence and articulacy. It is a consequence, pure and simple, of his being an unapologetic, successful Northern Irish Catholic in a country where there is a virulent anti-Catholic strain among a section of the Rangers support. The apparent unwillingness to confront this issue head-on is one of the reasons the pressures on Lennon have continued to grow, and proved a primary motivation in McBride and Lennon's agent Martin Reilly putting firmly into the public domain the intolerable nature of what he is living under in a supposedly-civilised society. The same week Lennon received bullets, so to did fellow Northern Irish Catholics Niall McGinn and Paddy McCourt. Two more unassuming and affable blokes you could not meet. All three were then fresh from Celtic's first league success in a derby in two years. The hatred of Lennon has been hiked up in the ten weeks since, as Celtic have attained a hitherto long-surrendered supremacy in encounters with their bitterest rivals. Just as fans of the Ibrox club, for the first season in many years - appearing to take their lead from the Papal visit - have started giving lusty renditions of their No Pope of Rome ditty. It has barely been the subject of media comment, far less opprobrium, even if it patently comes under the charge of "incitement to religious hatred". There is hardly another football club in the world that could find themselves in the dock over that but still people are unable or unwilling to join the dots between the acceptance of such illegality and hate crimes directed at Lennon online, which must now be tackled as would internet fraud, terrorist threats and paedophilia. Lennon's ability, and willingness, to stay in his post, may come down to the seriousness with which attempts are made to take the heat out of a situation that is impacting on both his personal and professional life. He has not appeared before the media since the fake nail bomb addressed to him was intercepted in Saltcoats ten days ago. Assistant Johan Mjallby performed such duties ahead of Celtic's trip to Inverness today for their sixth-round Scottish Cup tie, which the host club have had to make special security arrangements for in order to accommodate the banned Lennon in the stand of the Caledonian Stadium. "He's been in the limelight for reasons that are not to do with football and that's why he has decided to sit this one out," the Swede said at Lennoxtown on Friday. "At the end of the day it's about Celtic Football Club and the players. That's what we want to discuss." Mjallby, who last weekend rejected the suggestion floated by first-team coach Alan Thompson that Lennon could step away in the summer, insisted the Celtic manager's demeanour had not been affected by the invidious circumstances forced on him. "He's going great," he said. "He's a strong character. You've even more admiration for the way the guy works so well with the team, supports the players and thinks about tactics (in the face of what's happening off-field]." Those in Lennon's circle and who have encountered him professionally have rejected the notion that he will quit, East Fife manager John Robertson describing him eloquently as "a warrior who would not walk". Yet despite offering similar sentiments, his agent also conceded that Glasgow was closing in on his client. "If we go out on a Saturday night then we go to places where people won't give him any hassle - but we're running out of places," Reilly said. "It seems to be wherever we go there's always problems for him." For a man who, it must be remembered, has been open about his battles with depression, it has to be questioned how sustainable it is to live in a city where, in recent months, walking down the street with partner and child has at times become a trial and a gauntlet for the three; quite apart from all the other desperate difficulties he has been forced to endure. Yet Lennon is doing a job he covets - perhaps feels as if he was born for - and, as the most decorated Celtic player to belong entirely to the post-Jock Stein era, has a keen sense of the club's history and his potential place within it. There is only so much it is worth going through to make a managerial mark anywhere, however beloved. That has long been passed with Lennon. Now he needs the will of government and football authorities to reset the boundaries of acceptable public behaviour. He deserves that; we must demand it. http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/sport/Andrew-Smith-Scotland-must-ask.6733176.jp?articlepage=3
  3. Like countless other Canadian-born kids with parents who hail from Europe, Fraser Aird inherited his favourite sports team. Rangers FC was the choice in Airdââ?¬â?¢s Scarborough home, the inevitable byproduct of having both a father and a maternal grandpa who were longtime season ticket holders at Ibrox Stadium, the clubââ?¬â?¢s Glasgow ground. Growing up, it meant regular, early-morning outings to see Scottish Premier League games on satellite. There were live looks too, when the team made pre-season tours to Toronto. Annual conventions were also part of the mix, as his parents belonged to the North American Rangers Supporters Association. But in addition to becoming a diehard Rangers fan, Fraser Aird also developed into a talented soccer player. So good, in fact, that the 16-year-old is off to Scotland Sunday after signing a professional contract with the club. ââ?¬Å?Itââ?¬â?¢s a childhood dream,ââ?¬Â Aird says. ââ?¬Å?Iââ?¬â?¢ve always wanted to do this.ââ?¬Â An attacking midfielder with speed and an eye for goal, Aird will initially join Rangersââ?¬â?¢ Under-17 side. But club officials expect him to move quickly to the Under-19s, which is the third squad behind the first team and reserves. ââ?¬Å?Heââ?¬â?¢s a talented footballer with good technical ability,ââ?¬Â says Jim Sinclair, who as director of the Rangersââ?¬â?¢ Murray Park Academy oversees all club sides but the first team. ââ?¬Å?He has a wee bit of the Scot in him. Heââ?¬â?¢s gritty. Heââ?¬â?¢s direct.ââ?¬Â But in addition to liking Airdââ?¬â?¢s playing style, Sinclair said by phone from Glasgow that the Rangers staff also feels heââ?¬â?¢s the type of person who will ââ?¬Å?relish the challenge and hard work aheadââ?¬Â in adjusting to life as a young pro. ââ?¬Å?Thereââ?¬â?¢s no point in bringing him across such a distance and being unsure how resilient heââ?¬â?¢ll be,ââ?¬Â Sinclair says. Aird, a Grade 10 student at Albert Campbell Collegiate Institute in Scarborough, has already shown a fair measure of resiliency in pursuing an overseas soccer career. Rangers is the third club heââ?¬â?¢s been on trial with. Thanks in part to the connections of Sanford Carabin, his agent and one-time coach, Aird had a trial in 2008 with Celtic FC, whoââ?¬â?¢ve engaged Rangers in a century-old, cross-town rivalry that has sometimes blurred sports with religion (Celtic is known as a Catholic club, while Rangers has Protestant roots). The trial at Celtic, and a first with Rangers last October, were funded by the Aird family. A 2009 trial with second-tier English side Burnley FC and a second trip to Rangers prior to the contract offer were paid for by the clubs. ââ?¬Å?Heââ?¬â?¢s got a chance that a million other kids would love,ââ?¬Â says Bill Aird, 59, a transportation engineer with the City of Toronto. ââ?¬Å?Now, itââ?¬â?¢s up to him to make the most of it.ââ?¬Â Before immigrating to Canada in 1987, Bill Aird spent a half-dozen years attending every Rangers game, home and away, including European competitions. He says the prospect of his son playing for the club is ââ?¬Å?unbelievable, really.ââ?¬Â The elder Aird, a Protestant, insists he would have been thrilled if Fraser signed with any club, including Celtic, as this has always been about sports, not religion. The key is the young man gets to pursue his dream. ââ?¬Å?Iââ?¬â?¢m very proud of what heââ?¬â?¢s achieved,ââ?¬Â says Bill Aird, who rarely misses one of Fraserââ?¬â?¢s games or practices. ââ?¬Å?The fact heââ?¬â?¢s going to Rangers is doubly good for me but as a family, we feel itââ?¬â?¢s an opportunity that he needs to take right now. ââ?¬Å?We donââ?¬â?¢t want to look back a few years from now and say: ââ?¬Ë?What if?ââ?¬â?¢Ã¢â?¬Â After two training stints with Rangers, Fraser Aird knows thatââ?¬â?¢s where he wants to be. In addition to billeting with a family and continuing his high school education, heââ?¬â?¢ll train each day at the same facility as the clubââ?¬â?¢s stars. ââ?¬Å?It pushes you more because thatââ?¬â?¢s what you want to achieve,ââ?¬Â he says of watching the first team train, or lifting weights alongside its players. Aird began playing at age 3 at North Scarborough Soccer Club, suiting up with older brother Cameron and other five-year-olds. He continued to play against older kids until joining the Markham Lightning in the 2008 season. ââ?¬Å?Heââ?¬â?¢s just clearly one step ahead of everybody at all times,ââ?¬Â says Dino Cramarossa, who coached Aird for three seasons from 2008 to 2010, including 2009 when the Lightning won the league, playoff and Ontario Cup Under-14 titles before losing the national final in Nova Scotia on penalties. ââ?¬Å?For most guys, the game speeds up when they get around the 18-yard box. For him, it slows down and thatââ?¬â?¢s a gift.ââ?¬Â Cramarossa says Aird, who is 5-foot-8 and 145 pounds, is tremendously quick with the ball, and thrives on running at opponents and beating them one-on-one. He adds that Aird can not only score with both feet but is also mentally tough, very independent and ââ?¬Å?just hates to loseââ?¬Â. ââ?¬Å?Heââ?¬â?¢s got everything it takes,ââ?¬Â Cramarossa says. Fraser Aird knows thereââ?¬â?¢s still a long way to go ââ?¬â? and a lot of hard work to do ââ?¬â? before heââ?¬â?¢s ready to trot out with the first team at Ibrox. But, in addition to being anxious to get his Rangers career started, heââ?¬â?¢s also looking forward to being a regular at the stadium, indulging his passion for the club as a fan. ââ?¬Å?Itââ?¬â?¢ll be fun. Iââ?¬â?¢ll sit there and watch and think: ââ?¬Ë?One day, that could be me.ââ?¬â?¢Ã¢â?¬Â http://www.thestar.com/sports/soccer/article/936640--scarborough-teen-signed-by-scottish-giant-rangers-fc
  4. Somewhere to stick the latest headlines for the latest installment of the silly season. I'll kick things off: Rangers line up Bosman for Killie Goalkeeper Cammy Bell http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/jan/04/rangers-bosman-kilmarnock-cammy-bell
  5. http://www.extratime.ie/newsdesk/articles/4795/ Cork youngster making his name at Rangers 0 commentsby Alan Smith Thu, Jan 20 2011 When Alan Smith first stepped in between the posts for Springfield Ramblers as a fresh-faced schoolboy at nine years of age, nobody would have imagined that shortly after his 17th birthday Rangers would hand him a professional contract. An Irish player signing for the club on the blue side of Glasgow might be very much a rarity in the footballing world, but itââ?¬â?¢s not the only unusual story in Smithââ?¬â?¢s rapid rise to prominence. Having originally made his name playing for Springfield and the CSL inter-league side, the Cobh-born stopper earned a deserved call-up to the Irish underage setup. Although there was nothing unusual about that, as a host of local players find themselves representing their country at various age groups every year, what soon followed was the first surprising turn in the burgeoning career of one of the most promising Irish goalkeepers around. After other teams around the country took notice of his authority in the area and terrific shot-stopping ability, Smith was approached by Dublin side Crumlin United to become their goalkeeper, not too long before a new rule was implemented by the SFAI blocking such moves. Nowadays, it is impossible for a player to sign for a club so far from his home, meaning long distance commuting to play football at underage level is now banned. Smithââ?¬â?¢s move, though, came before the ruling was introduced and he has reaped the rewards since he was spotted by the Dublin side. Firstly, the transfer meant he established an even bigger role in the international setup under the guidance of Sean McCaffrey, with arguably more emphasis placed on Irish scouts watching players plying their trade nearer the capital, before finally he was spotted by the Scottish club while starring for Crumlin. ââ?¬Å?I started with Springfield when I was six or seven,ââ?¬Â he says of his beginnings at the seaport town. ââ?¬Å?Originally, I was playing outfield but I finally moved into goal when I was playing at under-9 but then once I was about 11 everything started to happen for me. ââ?¬Å?I played in the Kennedy Cup then for the Cork inter-league team and an Ireland call-up came for a tournament called the Hibernian Cup. That call-up came just after I played in the Kennedy Cup, so for my first full international I was still playing at Springfield. ââ?¬Å?From the Irish games I played that year, the Crumlin manager spotted me and invited me to the Milk Cup in Northern Ireland to play and be involved for the week. That went well and it just kind of happened from there. I was then spotted by Rangers playing for Crumlin by a scout called Paul Hammond, and that would have been at around under-16 level.ââ?¬Â Moving to a big club cross-channel is always a daunting prospect, with droves of players failing to settle down due to homesickness every year, but Smith believes he has fitted in well despite the big change in scenery from the playing fields of Cobh and Crumlin to Rangersââ?¬â?¢ state of the art Murray Park base. ââ?¬Å?I was at some other clubs on trial, but there werenââ?¬â?¢t any other serious offers at the time. Just things like offering me another trial. To be honest, I settled in at Rangers fairly quickly,ââ?¬Â he says with an air of coolness. ââ?¬Å?I had been away from home a lot for the past few years so it wasnââ?¬â?¢t a major change. I had been on trial at other clubs since I was 13 and my first trial was at Nottingham Forest, so I havenââ?¬â?¢t found it hard settling in at all.ââ?¬Â That initial bedding in period was helped, of course, by making a solid debut for the under-19s in a pre-season game against Wolves just a short few weeks after signing. The result was a positive one too as Rangers ran out 3-1 winners. Since then, however, he has very much been an understudy to Belfast-born Wayne Drummond who was also signed last summer from Millwall ââ?¬â?? but with two years of a gap between them both, itââ?¬â?¢s not like thereââ?¬â?¢s any rush and Smith is quite happy with how things have gone so far. ââ?¬Å?Yeah, it was good to get that 90 minutes in pre-season and I think I have settled in well,ââ?¬Â he adds. ââ?¬Å?Iââ?¬â?¢m happy with my progress so far. I signed last summer, around July, and I have a two year contract here and Iââ?¬â?¢m happy with how Iââ?¬â?¢m progressing. All the players are brilliant as well, it was great to settle in so early after that game in pre-season.ââ?¬Â Despite the aforementioned attention from other clubs such as Notts Forest, after impressing in a couple of trial games in Glasgow, the youngster was offered a full-time deal and he accepted, becoming the first Republic international at any level since American-born Joe Lapira to sign a deal at Ibrox. Even New Yorkââ?¬â?¢s Lapira, who was handed one cap by Steve Staunton in 2007 and failed to make any impact in Glasgow because of injury, canââ?¬â?¢t be counted as Irish born so it places Smith in a unique list of players from the Republic to play in blue. Alex Stephenson, Alex Craig, James Lowry McAuley and Reuben Evans are the only other Irish-born players on record to have played for the club, making him only the fifth player south of the border ever to play for Rangers. Being part of such an exclusive group makes the move abroad even more special but Smith is, perhaps understandably, keen to play down the rareness of it all. He has a certain air of confidence in his ability though; you can hear it in his voice. He is entirely focused on just getting as far as he possibly can in the cut throat world of professional football and being in such a unique position at Rangers doesnââ?¬â?¢t seem to have any affect. ââ?¬Å?My ambition is to just go as far as I can and make the most of this opportunity that Iââ?¬â?¢ve been given,ââ?¬Â he concludes. And on the evidence so far, that could be very far indeed.
  6. Rangers take Forest youth striker on trial Striker Thomas Mullen will train with Rangers next week. Rangers will run the rule over Scotland under-19ââ?¬â?¢s striker Thomas Mullen next week as Walter Smith looks to bolster his attacking options for the future. The young forward is available on a free transfer from Nottingham Forest after being told he is surplus to requirements by Billy Davies. Mullen was a standout performer last season for the Nottingham Forest youth team, scoring 17 goals, making him the academyââ?¬â?¢s top scorer. Interests ensued from Everton and Blackburn, but at the time Forest were keen to hold on to the player. Heââ?¬â?¢s now been released as part of a clearout with another six youth players and could make the move to Glasgow if the trial goes well. Mullen has made several appearances for the Scottish youth squads, most notably against Norway and Estonia. The youth player would be unlikely to see any first team football this season if the deal to Ibrox is made, as heââ?¬â?¢s considered to be ââ?¬Ë?one for the futureââ?¬â?¢. Rangers will be keen to source a more immediate solution to the imminent departure of Kenny Miller. David Goodwillie has been touted for a move to Ibrox if Miller completes a likely switch to Birmingham. http://sport.stv.tv/football/219078-rangers-take-forest-youth-striker-on-trial/?
  7. No, he's not a Cuban pimp but a Canadian professional footballer who plays for Toronto who Celtic are linked with. Infact, I think he's on trial the now over at Porkheed. According to my cousin who lives in Canada, de Rosario isn't the best player at Toronto. Keep them coming please Neil.
  8. Roddy Forsyth: soap opera surrounding Hugh Dallas episode reeks of nasty opportunism So the conspiracy theorists were correct all along. The truth, at last, is out there and Scottish football is in turmoil, although it took disruption to the fixture card to bring the whole sorry mess into the open. This goes back to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, of course. The oil has gummed up the ocean bed and switched off the North Atlantic Current, which keeps Europe from freezing. We are at the start of a new Ice Age. You donââ?¬â?¢t believe it? OK, what game are you going to watch this weekend? In lieu of a match programme, you might want to read the findings of Dr Gianluigi Zangari, theoretical physicist at the National Institute of Nuclear Physics in Italy who says that the Earthââ?¬â?¢s central heating system has broken down because of the oil spill. When the archaeologists of the future dig down through the tundra around Hampden Park they are bound to ask how the planet could have been plunged into deep cold just after a Krakatoa of hot air erupted over the subject of Scottish referees ââ?¬â?? and why there were so many unresolved issues even when the volcanic row became dormant. A couple of facts could be established, mind you. Hugh Dallas was not sacked as the Scottish Football Associationââ?¬â?¢s head of referee development for being satirical or sectarian in forwarding a widely circulated email about the Pope. His forced departure was because he had breached the SFAââ?¬â?¢s rules about IT, which prohibit the dissemination of potentially sensitive or offensive emails. Dallas was dismissed, plus four more employees, because of that infraction. Other SFA staff members were warned about their conduct in the same regard. It appears that the five who were sacked had forwarded the email beyond the confines of the SFA offices, while those who were warned did not. At which point the unanswered questions begin. Why did the SFA begin its disciplinary process all of six weeks after the circulation of the emails had been discovered? Were the sackings disproportionate? Was the nature and outcome of the disciplinary procedure in any way influenced by the much publicised intervention of Peter Kearney, director of the Scottish Catholic Media Office? It would be a surprise if mââ?¬â?¢learned friends were not examining this very point on behalf of the sacked quintet. Indeed, I believe that is exactly what they are doing. Kearneyââ?¬â?¢s role also warrants scrutiny. He was rejected as a SNP candidate for both Westminster and Holyrood by the voters of Coatbridge and Chryston but he retains sufficient political nous to be certain that his pronouncements about the email in question would generate enormous publicity. So, on whose authority did Kearney act? Did he have the prior approval of Cardinal Oââ?¬â?¢Brien or did the Scottish Catholic Church press officer go freelance on this issue? Of the email depicting the Pope, Kearney said: ââ?¬Å?We will not tolerate it. We will not laugh it off or see the funny side ââ?¬â?? because there is no funny side.ââ?¬Â Does that, then, apply to the edition of Have I Got News For You? which employed the same image as the Hampden email when the BBCââ?¬â?¢s irreverent news review programme was transmitted in the week of the Papal visit to the UK in September? And, if so, where was the implacable protest, the declaration that such a display indicated that ââ?¬â?? to use Kearneyââ?¬â?¢s words ââ?¬â?? hostility to Roman Catholics that is ââ?¬Å?deep, wide and viciousââ?¬Â. If Kearney did have the approval of Cardinal Oââ?¬â?¢Brien for his insistence that Dallas be sacked if found to have forwarded the email, is His Eminence satisfied that justice was done by extending the same sanction to a practicing adherent of his own faith and a man of 60 who, having recently lost his wife, has now been deprived of his livelihood at the SFA ââ?¬â?? and if so, what does that say for the application of Christian charity? In Kearneyââ?¬â?¢s denunciation of the Hampden email and others like it he declared that priests in West Lothian and Renfrewshire had been attacked by ââ?¬Ë?thugsââ?¬â?¢. Given that a childcare specialist in Wales was forced to leave her home by a self-styled vigilante mob who could not distinguish between a paediatrician and a paedophile, one could certainly believe that innocent Roman Catholic clergy might be at risk from similarly ignorant or bigoted buffoons. Yet where were the reports or police investigations into these incidents? I ask because, within five minutes of three complaints being received by Strathclyde Police about Dallas, a tabloid newspaper reported in its online edition that the Hate Crimes Unit was investigating him. Strathclyde Police do not have a Hate Crimes Unit and they are not ââ?¬â?? and never were ââ?¬â?? investigating Dallas. And we may ask why Kearney did not denounce the knuckle draggers who phoned death threats to a religious education teacher at a Roman Catholic High School in Lanarkshire ââ?¬â?? who just happened to have awarded Rangers a debatable penalty kick when Celtic lost 3-1 in the Old Firm derby on Oct 24. Whatever may be the rights and wrongs of the Dallas episode ââ?¬â?? and I think that he was stupid to have forwarded the email even if he thought it was a harmless joke ââ?¬â?? the outcome reeks of nasty opportunism. Speaking of which, the forced departure of Dougie McDonald was a declared aim of the Celtic directors ââ?¬â?? stated with considerable force by the Parkhead chairman at the clubââ?¬â?¢s chairman at the annual general meeting three weeks ago. Why, then, was it left to Paul McBride QC ââ?¬â?? in a rare distraction from his duties at the Tommy Sheridan perjury trial at the High Court in Glasgow ââ?¬â?? to speak as someone ââ?¬Å?close to the clubââ?¬â?¢s boardââ?¬Â and say that they had experienced ââ?¬Å?a sense of quiet vindicationââ?¬Â at the refereeââ?¬â?¢s decision to resign, McDonald having lied to their manager about a penalty kick decision at Tannadice in October. There was nothing quiet when John Reid was whipping up the gallery at the AGM, but the former so-called ââ?¬Ë?big beast of the Labour Partyââ?¬â?¢ has gone all coy now. Nor is there a squeak from anyone else at the club whose commitment to transparency is flexible enough to include threats of non-cooperation to broadcast outlets who transmitted Gary Hooperââ?¬â?¢s dopey remarks about Scottish referees. Anyway, as I say, itââ?¬â?¢ll all be academic once the permafrost kicks in. And itââ?¬â?¢s precisely because Russia knows how to cope with the coming freeze that Fifa awarded them the 2018 World Cup. Think Iââ?¬â?¢m kidding? Is the Pope a Catholic? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/scottish-premier/8177228/Roddy-Forsyth-soap-opera-surrounding-Hugh-Dallas-episode-reeks-of-nasty-opportunism.html
  9. http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3231766/Ill-be-Walts-Oscar-winner.html Honduran guy on FM forum that I use suggests the guy is a fine player and that the interest is genuine. Can't so I know anything about him but hopefully we are interested in adding players to the squad.
  10. An OFF-DUTY cop faced up to a colleague who was singing IRA songs on a night out, a court heard yesterday. Ian Cameron said he stepped in when Christopher Halaka sparked an angry reaction by singing sectarian songs as he approached a taxi rank. He said he was trying to calm down Halaka, 31, and his uncle Laurence Winters, 43. Perth Sheriff Court heard that Mr Cameron, who was at a football team reunion in the city, told the men to stop singing. The Paisley CID officer added that a woman in the taxi queue also told them to stop. He added: "Both were shouting at the same time. It was words to the effect of, 'What's it got to do with you?' and, 'We'll sing what we want, mind your own business'." The court was told that Mr Cameron told them he was a police officer and, when he produced his warrant card, one of them tried to grab it. He said he phoned Tayside Police when another group of men came forward to confront the men. Halaka, who is also a cop with Strathclyde, and Winters both deny religiously provoked breach of the peace. The trial will continue next month. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/2010/11/09/off-duty-cop-sang-ira-songs-at-taxi-rank-court-hears-86908-22703241/
  11. I've been thinking about some of the players from the past we've been close to signing, ones you might not remember. Does anyone remember the Italian player we gave a trial to around the time we signed Gattuso?
  12. Gers striker's uncle in Mafia link 'The Boxer' rumoured to be Godfather of Balkan mob By Stephen Houston and Kathleen Nutt, 03/10/2010 THE uncle of new Rangers hitman Nikica Jelavic is a feared figure in the Croatian underworld with links to the Mafia, the News of the World can today reveal. The �£4 million striker's shady relation - also called Nikica Jelavic but known as "Boxer" - is rumoured to be a Godfather in the Balkan mob operating from the Croatian capital Zagreb. But the 42-year-old former nightclub bouncer has managed to walk free from a string of court cases - including a horrific street murder using a rocket launcher. Boxer, below, is widely described as the "uncrowned king" of the city's Mafia, although two years ago he was cleared of charges connecting him to a criminal organisation involved in extortion. Last night a source in Croatia told us: "Jelavic's uncle has been linked to some high-profile organised crime groups and court cases in recent years. "There have also been suggestions he has been involved with his nephew's footballing career. "But that is something Jelavic has claimed doesn't happen." Jelavic, 25, is already a Rangers favourite, scoring five goals in his first three games and playing in the Ibrox side's 2-1 win over Hearts yesterday. But he has been forced to deny his uncle interferes personally when football decisions go against him. In March 2006, Jelavic's coach at Croatian side Hajduk Split was battered by two thugs in the stairwell of his home. Police investigated the attack on 40-year-old Luka Bonacic but no arrests were made. Answering claims that his uncle was behind the beating, Jelavic said: "I score goals, not my uncle. He is not my agent. "He has helped me a lot through my career, but he was not my agent, nor he scores instead of me." Jelavic signed for Rangers on August 20. The �£4 million deal made it the most expensive summer transfer in eight years at the club. The move had been agreed a month earlier but was delayed because of a pay battle with Jelavic's previous club Rapid Vienna. Just last month he gave an interview to Croatian newspaper Vrime where he hit out over media coverage of his uncle. He insisted: "I have a plain, familiar relation with my uncle. He helped me on a volunteer basis because he loves me. "I always concentrate on a game only. If I was listening to the stories about my uncle I would never achieve anything. My uncle has helped me a lot, but he does not score." Last November, Jelavic's uncle was cleared after standing trial for the third time on the same murder charge and three attempted murders. Zagreb County Court ruled there was no evidence that he tried to kill rival Vjeko Slisko and associates Juraj Dodic and Ivica Bertic on two occasions in 1995 and 1999. In the second attempt on their lives, a rocket fired from a hand-held launcher bounced on Slisko's bullet-proof Jeep and hit passing dog walker Zoran Domini. He was blasted in the stomach and died instantly. But the striker's uncle was released after Croatian police fumbled evidence procedures. In March this year, the Zagreb County Prosecutor's Office launched an appeal against Boxer's latest acquittal last November. But the bid failed, and in July the Croatian Supreme Court upheld the verdict. Jelavic had stood trial over the charges twice before - first in 2000 and then again in 2007. The first case lasted for two years and involved 12 suspects. In 1998, Jelavic was injured outside a cafe bar when his friend, the reigning mob boss Zlatko Bagaric - known as "The King of Dice" - was shot dead. Later, in a criminal case, authorities began investigating his activities after he was able to put up a �£262,000 bail bond when his three companies had never made a profit. Last night it emerged a little girl was hit by his car in Zagreb last week and is fighting for her life in a city hospital. And Jelavic has also fallen foul of the law in Germany as well as in his homeland. He was extradited to face attempted fraud charges in January last year and was given a two-year suspended sentence and fined �£85,000. Jelavic had been charged with attempting to swindle the German state out of �£462,000 - the sum he had demanded as compensation for time he spent on remand in the country's Kempten nick in 2004 while accused of robbing a jewellery store. He was cleared of the charges and brought the damages case over claims he had lost earnings while he was behind bars. But he was convicted of producing forged documents to back up his allegations that he had lost out on lucrative business deals. The Croatian Mafia is composed of ethnic Croats and Bosnians whose underworld activities include contract killing, car theft, smuggling and the illicit trade in blood diamonds and arms. They have strong ties with Mafia gangs in Bulgaria, Albania and ruthless gypsy gangs and are made up of the Zagreb clan, allegedly including Jelavic, and the Split drug cartel. Before playing with Rapid Vienna, Jelavic's star nephew played in the Belgian league with Zulte Waregem. He started his career with Croatian top-flight club Hajduk Split, where he scored 15 goals in 31 games. But one Croatian fan, writing an online response to a Celtic supporter who was trying to find out more about Jelavic, warned: "If they have signed his uncle Nikica Jelavic you should be worried." Rangers were last night unavailable for comment. Jelavic refused to discuss his uncle as he boarded the Rangers team bus after the game at Tynecastle yesterday.
  13. Mentioned on elfideldos site. http://rfcyouths.wordpress.com/2010/10/01/youths-win-again/ Was on trial during the summer along with several other youngsters. One for the future.
  14. ALGERIAN winger should sign in next couple of days More...
  15. Rangers boss Walter Smith is hoping to sign Salim Kerkar after the winger impressed on trial. More...
  16. A court in Manchester has heard details of the violence which marred the Ibrox sideâ��s Uefa Cup final in 2008. A court has heard how a "celebration of football" ended in mayhem and violence as Rangers hooligans went on the rampage. Manchester Crown Court heard how riot police fought hand-to-hand running battles with hundreds of drunken fans of the Glasgow club, who showered officers with bottles and other missiles. The violence was captured on CCTV footage and shown to the court on Thursday as 12 men sat in the dock awaiting sentence for their part in the trouble in the city as it hosted the Uefa Cup Final in May 2008. A number of defendants had brought bags and suitcases, piled up at the back of the dock, expecting to be going to jail. All will now be sentenced tomorrow. They were arrested after police publicised CCTV footage of the hours of violence during and after the Scottish club's 2-0 defeat to Zenit St Petersburg at the City of Manchester Stadium. An estimated 150,000 Rangers fans, most without tickets, descended on the city - drinking pubs and supermarkets dry. The court heard that trouble erupted at a fan zone after a giant screen in Piccadilly Gardens in the city centre failed close to kick-off time. Ricky Holland, prosecuting, said the game was prestigious and intended to be a "celebration of football". He said: "The vast majority were well behaved, there are numerous instances, discernable from the footage and statements from police officers of other Glasgow Rangers supporters trying to curb the disorderly behaviour of other people, caught up in this. So by no means was everyone who came to Manchester that day intent on committing mayhem, but that was ultimately what the city was subjected to." Mr Holland said three fan zones with giant screens were set up by Manchester City Council to accommodate ticketless fans who swamped the city from early in the morning of the match. He added: "There was copious amounts of drink already taken, large amounts, a number of public houses simply ran out of alcohol, supermarkets and the like managed to sell all their wares." But when the big screen in Piccadilly Gardens failed trouble erupted among the 8000 fans assembled there. Engineers attempting to fix the problem were pelted with bottles, causing �£300,000 damage to the screen. Mr Holland added: "Various disgruntled supporters began to vent their frustration on property and police." He told the court riot police had never encountered scenes of such "ferocity and intensity", adding: "It is difficult to recall anything on the scale of what took place here." Police later trawled through hours of CCTV footage to identify the culprits, leading to the arrest of the 12 in the dock. In the dock The court then dealt with individual defendants, starting with Englishman Michael Hindle, showing film clips of each one's involvement in the trouble. Hindle, 22, from Westmorland Close, Leyland, Lancashire, was seen throwing a bottle at police. A Blackburn Rovers fan, he was classed as a "risk supporter" by local police and has served a ban for shouting abuse at rival fans while following the Lancashire team. Other fans in the dock included Gordon Forrest, 36, from Ledi Drive, Bearsden. He was seen taking part in running battles with police, kicking and pushing the riot shield of one officer and inciting others as hooligans swarmed around a police van to attack the vehicle. Forrest already has a number of previous convictions including two assaults, one on a police officer and breach of the peace. He has pleaded guilty to violent disorder and told police after arrest he had "no recollection" of the entire day as he had drunk 24 bottles of lager at the time. Thomas Murphy, 28, of Flatterton Road, Greenock, was seen on three separate occasions hurling bottles at police. Murphy, who admitted violent disorder, has a string of convictions including for assaulting police officers, assault, carrying an offensive weapon, breach of the peace and an unspecified football-related conviction. Seven days after the trouble in Manchester he was sentenced in Scotland for breach of the peace and assault on an unrelated matter. John Saunders, 32, from Fullarton Road, Cumbernauld was seen draped in the Union flag attacking a police van and throwing a bottle at heavily outnumbered officers surrounded by hooligans. He has admitted violent disorder. He has previous convictions for domestic abuse and is currently serving a five-month jail term for possession of an offensive weapon. All the other defendants face charges of either violent disorder or assaulting a police officer. The other defendants also to be dealt with are: Mark Stoddart, 26, of Westmuir Street, Glasgow, who pleaded guilty to section 47 assault and two offences of violent disorder. The assault charge related to an assault on Pc Mick Regan. David McCullough, 21, of Moorcroft Drive, Burnage, Manchester, has pleaded guilty to violent disorder. David Annette, 35, of Yarrow Road, Chorley, Lancashire, has pleaded guilty to violent disorder. Scott McSeveney, 22, of Hunter Avenue, Shotts, Lanarkshire, was convicted after trial of a section 47 assault and violent disorder, the assault relates to an attack on Pc John Goodwin. Brian McVicar, 23, of Falkland Drive, East Kilbride, and Greg McKenna, 23, of Falkland Drive, East Kilbride, Lanarkshire, are also both for sentence for violent disorder along with William McSporran, 18, of Craighouse Street, Glasgow and James Bell, 43, of Corrie View, Cumbernauld. http://news.stv.tv/scotland/west-central/195389-rangers-violence-celebration-of-football-turned-into-city-of-mayhem/
  17. Anyone know anything about this? I haven't seen or read anything about him. I done a search on the main Rangers sight and came up with nothing.
  18. http://sport.stv.tv/football/scottish-premier/rangers/192239-rangers-give-trial-to-second-dutchman/ [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT8DRjZQvC0]YouTube- Etienne Esajas Stunning Freekick Against Sheffield United[/ame] [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X06WnqhRWH4]YouTube- Etienne Esajas Freekick VS Birmingham[/ame] [ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3lUOg8sdCM&p=BBA70FAC2437666C&playnext=1&index=33]YouTube- esajas goals vs rotherham[/ame]
  19. Can safely say I've not heard of him but this is the second LB we've been linked to in recent weeks.
  20. Walter Smith hopes to conclude the signings of James Beattie and Tommy Smith before Saturdayââ?¬â?¢s SPL opener with Kilmarnock at Ibrox. The Rangers manager says he has not totally given up on his pursuit of Rapid Vienna striker Nikica Jelavic ââ?¬â?? but that deal appears to be all but dead unless the player lowers his financial demands. Beattie is set to cost around Ã?£1.5million from Stoke City and was on his way to Glasgow for contract talks with chief executive Martin Bain. Rangers are believed to have offered Ã?£900,000 to Portsmouth for Smith and were waiting on an answer from the Championship side before entering into wage talks. The Rangers manager confirmed today: ââ?¬Å?We are in negotiations with Stoke and Portsmouth for the signings of James Beattie and Tommy Smith respectively. ââ?¬Å?It is difficult to say just how long it will take to conclude these signings ââ?¬â?? but we hope to complete both deals in time for the weekend.ââ?¬Â Beattie would look the more likely deal to be pushed through, with Pompey boss Steve Cotterrill insisting of Smith: ââ?¬Å?He isnââ?¬â?¢t a players weââ?¬â?¢d be looking to lose. ââ?¬Å?Heââ?¬â?¢s a good player, and whatââ?¬â?¢s been offered wouldnââ?¬â?¢t be the figure weââ?¬â?¢d put on him if we did want to sell.ââ?¬Â Jelavicââ?¬â?¢s protracted transfer from Rapid Vienna has rumbled on for the best part of two weeks. Rangers have tabled a transfer package of close to Ã?£4million for the 24-year-old, with a Ã?£16,000 a week wage offer, but he is sue a slice of any sale and senior sources at Ibrox, privately, have all but given up hope of his arrival unless there is a change in stance on his behalf. Smith explained: ââ?¬Å?As for Jelavic, I admit that one is looking more doubtful as there are complications there that we had not foreseen. ââ?¬Å?Things have not gone smoothly ââ?¬â?? but we have by no means given up on bringing him to the club.ââ?¬Â Smith will also arrange a closed-door game for Honduran international Georgie Welcome early next week in order to make a final decision on whetherââ?¬â?¢s heââ?¬â?¢s worth a deal. He was denied a work permit to play in a second-string game against Glentoran this week and could face red-tape issues. Arsenal kid Nacer Barazite also remains on trial. Smith said: ââ?¬Å?Welcome has been unfortunate in that he is not allowed to play in any public games and so we are in the process of arranging a closed-door game and we will make a decision on him after that. As for Nacer, we will continue to look at him.ââ?¬Â Smith also confirmed that he will continue to work right up to the closure of the transfer window on August 31 as he bids to beef up his squad. ââ?¬Å?We have only 14 experienced players in our squad right now and it is obvious that we need to add more in terms of quality and experience,ââ?¬Â he added. ââ?¬Å?We have been working on a number of other deals, but these players are in demand elsewhere and that has made it difficult. ââ?¬Å?But we will keep working on things until the closure of the transfer window ââ?¬â?? and we hope to be able to bring in another couple of new faces above the players I have discussed.ââ?¬Â Meanwhile, Kenny Miller should be fit for Killie despite suffering from shin splints. Smith said: ââ?¬Å?Kenny has been struggling, but the fact he has not played midweek for Scotland should allow him to be OK for Saturday. ââ?¬Å?It is not a chronic condition with him so that bit of rest should have sorted things.ââ?¬Â But the Rangers manager confirmed that Lee McCulloch, who is in any case suspended for the SPL opener, will need up to a fortnight to recover from the virus he is suffering from. Smith said: ââ?¬Å?Lee picked up the virus coming back from Australia and we expect him to take another couple of weeks to make a full recovery.ââ?¬Â http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/sport/editor-s-picks/walter-smith-confirms-beattie-and-smith-deals-1.1047824
  21. Rangers to trial Arsenal youngster on ex-Celtic bossââ?¬â?¢ recommendation Tue, 10 Aug 2010 09:14:03 GMT Rangers will give a trial to Arsenal youngster Nacer Barazite in their friendly with Glentoran on Tuesday night. The 20-year-old, who has made three appearances for the Gunners, was recommended to the SPL champions by former Celtic manager Liam Brady. Brady, who is now involved with the London clubââ?¬â?¢s youth academy, made it possible for Ian Durrant to include the Dutch forward in his squad for the game, which will see a youthful Rangers line-up take to the field. The performance of Barazite on the evening will be of particular interest to Gers boss Walter Smith, who has previously spoken of his desire to sign wide players to bolster his squad ahead of the new season. ââ?¬Å?The squad will be mostly made up of reserve players but it is still very strong and there are players here who have already, or will this season, play in the first team,ââ?¬Â Durrant told the Belfast Telegraph ahead of the game against Glentoran. ââ?¬Å?We will have a young lad on trial for us called Nacer Barazite who comes to us from Arsenal and was highly recommended by Liam Brady and that will be a good opportunity for us and the Rangers fans in Belfast to have a look at him.ââ?¬Â Barazite, who was born in Nijmegen in Holland to Moroccan parents, is a current Under-21 international with Oranje. He has also represented his country at Under-17, Under-19 and Under-20 levels, featuring in the Under-17 European Championship in 2007. A versatile attacking player, 6ft 2in Barazite spent the 2008/09 season on loan at Derby County, playing 36 times for the Rams as they reached the semi-finals of the Carling Cup. It was in the same competition the player made his three appearances under Arsene Wenger, last playing in the game with West Bromwich Albion in September 2009. Barazite is capable of playing in any position going forward, having been deployed all across the midfield and up front for Arsenal as he has worked his way through the ranks. During his time at Derby, he featured mainly on the right wing.
  22. Ally McCoist has flown to America to run the rule over a batch of summer signing targets. The Rangers No.2 jetted out to New York yesterday along with midfielder Maurice Edu and will watch the USA friendly against Brazil at the New Meadowlands Stadium tomorrow night. There was also an MLS game between Chicago and New York Red Bulls last night which McCoist was set to take in as the Light Blues assess the qualities of several players being offered to them. Itââ?¬â?¢s understood boss Walter Smith has been tipped off about some of the up-and-coming talents beginning to make their impact at international level ââ?¬â?? and dispatched McCoist to watch them in the flesh. Maurice Edu has also passed on information on some of his countrymen and itââ?¬â?¢s thought players such as Alejandro Bedoya and Benny Feilhaber could be on the radar providing they impress. Bedoya is one of the most promising players within the American set-up and currently plays for Swedish side Orebro. The 23-year-old is a left-sided midfield player with plenty of pace which is exactly what Smith is targeting this summer. Feilhaber, 25, is operating for Danish outfit AGF Aarhus but it is thought his time there is coming to an end. Smith hopes to secure his No.1 summer target after chief executive Martin Bain flew back to Austria on Saturday for a second round of talks with Rapid Vienna over Nikica Jelavic. Bain has made a final pitch to the Austrian club with the transfer fee now around the Ã?£4million mark, while a Ã?£15,000-a-week wage offer. Rangers now want an answer after two weeks of talks ââ?¬â?? or else they will look at other options. The 24-year-old Croatian has said he wants to move to Ibrox, but a decision will have to be made soon. Honduras striker Georgie Welcome remains on trial, but insiders say a deal for him is no better than 50-50 as, although he has looked decent in training, he is behind the other players in terms of fitness and unable to be judged in games due to work permit rules. SportTimes also understands Rangers wonââ?¬â?¢t be making moves for any young players at Manchester United such as Danny Wellbeck. http://www.eveningtimes.co.uk/sport/editor-s-picks/ally-mccoist-jets-out-on-us-spy-mission-1.1047031
  23. Eidur Gudjohnsen could be set to join Rangers from French club Monaco. Reports in France on Saturday morning claim representatives from the SPL champions are currently in the principality holding talks with the Ligue 1 club. Gudjohnsen spent the second half of the 2009/10 season on loan at Tottenham Hotspur, after struggling to make an impact with the Rouge et Blanc. The Icelandic forward only moved to the French league from Barcelona one year ago. Radio station RMC, which broadcasts in Monte Carlo, say the out-of-favour player is close to agreeing a move to Scotland, becoming Walter Smith's first signing ahead of the new season. Whether the SPL side would take the 31-year-old on loan or on a permanent basis remains to be seen. Following the purchase of Standard Liege striker Dieumerci Mbokani last week, Monaco boss Guy Lacombe is believed to be keen to move Gudjohnsen on. His availability appears to have alerted Rangers, who are currently pursuing a number of options to bolster their thin squad. Highly regarded in world football, Gudjohnsen began his career with Valur Reykjavik, before a two-year spell at Dutch club PSV. He returned to Iceland at the age of 19 for a short time with KR, before Bolton Wanderers came calling in 1998. Impressive after a slow start with the Trotters, Gianluca Vialli came calling in 2000 to take the player to Chelsea, where he made over 200 appearances and scored 80 times. His form alerted Barcelona in 2006, who spent over 12 million Euros on the player to replace Henrik Larsson. His Barca career had looked like being short lived, with then-boss Frank Rijkaard coming close to selling him back to England after one season. But a number of polished displays, in which he also showed his ability as a midfielder and as a wide player, prolonged his career at Camp Nou well into the Pep Guardiola era. The purchase of Gudjohnsen would be seen as something of a coup for the Scottish club, who have failed to replace any of six departing players this summer to date. Kris Boyd and Nacho Novo left a gap in Smith's forward line, which the Gers boss has been working to plug in recent weeks. Negotiations are continuing with Rapid Vienna over the purchase of striker Nikica Jelavic, after Martin Bain returned home from a trip to Austria on Thursady having failed to convince the club to accept a �£3.5 million offer. Honduran striker Georgie Welcome is currently on trial at Murray Park, trying to win a move from Motagua. http://sport.stv.tv/football/scottish-premier/rangers/190535-rangers-in-talks-with-eidur-gudjohnsen/
  24. http://sport.stv.tv/football/scottish-premier/rangers/189229-georgie-welcome-poised-for-rangers-trial/
  25. SPL champions Rangers have taken 18-year-old Norwegian defender Krister Wemberg on trial. More...
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