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  1. THE case is compelling. The evidence impossible to ignore. Kyle Lafferty desperately wants new Rangers boss Ally McCoist to stick with him and Nikica Jelavic as the main hitmen for next season's four-in-a-row push - and with very good reason. Their partnership in last term's league run-in was sensational. Lafferty struck seven goals in the final six games of the season, Jelavic five in the same blistering period as the Gers powered to title glory. The big Northern Irishman loves playing alongside the �£4million Croat who missed three months of the season through injury - but still plundered 19 goals in 27 games. Jelavic has brought the best out of Lafferty who, for the third successive campaign, delivered when it really mattered, finishing on a career best 15 for the season. The 23-year-old's well aware that McCoist is trawling the transfer market for a new frontman - with Maccabi Haifa frontman Tomer Hemed, available on a Bosman, high on the list. He insists he welcomes the prospect of stronger competition. Lafferty is also convinced he and Jelavic can carry on from where they left off. More often than not, when Walter Smith selected both they scored, including a hat-trick for Lafferty and a double for Jelavic the first time in a 7-2 romp over Dunfermline last September. Laff told SunSport: "Nikica is the IDEAL partner for me. He's the dream striker to play alongside. "He's got everything that Boydy and Kenny Miller have rolled into one player. "He can be a second striker, he can be a target man. He's the striker that Rangers needed. "With the starts he had and the goals he got, well, it's just unbelievable really. "I think Nikica is brilliant and Rangers will have a fight on their hands to keep him, if not this summer then definitely in January. I love being his strike partner. "I don't know what it is that particularly makes us a good partnership. Every time we see each other we're high-fiving and I think we have a good bond off the field, although we don't speak that much away from games. "Nikica's English is good. He always talks to me before games, during and after. I take whatever he says on board. "If I'm on the bench I watch what he does but after just his first game for Rangers I knew right away he was a quality striker. "I knew I could learn a lot from him. "In fact, I've probably learned more this year playing alongside him than I have in my whole career. I really hope we can stay together. "I appreciate the fact that the manager will be looking at other strikers and a big club like Rangers will always be linked with signing quality performers. "Nikica and I linked up really well in the final months of the season. "Realistically, if our partnership is broken up then it will be because I've been dropped. Nikica will NEVER be dropped. I'll be the one who gets the chop. "I think the manager should give us a go at the start of the season. "I do still think we need another striker, whether that will be good for me or not, because I know I thrive on competition." Lafferty's at a loss to provide a reason why he truly hits top form at the end of a season. He said: "I train the same way from start to finish, I do all the same things. "Yet for some reason I really come on to my game in the closing stages. "It's in the last six weeks that I get most of my goals and my performances pick up. "I just wish I could score as regularly in the months BEFORE. "I don't want to be a player who is seen to be only turning up for the last couple of games to win the title. "Walter said to me at Kilmarnock after my hat-trick on the final day: 'We wouldn't have needed this if you had started scoring in the middle of the season!' We had a little bit of a joke about it. "Now I hope I can continue my form into Ally McCoist's first season as manager." Lafferty's never slow to confess when he's been foolish. The dive to get Charlie Mulgrew sent off two years ago, the red card against Hibs at the start of last season, the prank that led to a broken finger and cost him Champions League action against Manchester United and the Tweet which riled Celtic gaffer Neil Lennon after the Old Firm game in January are all right up there. His life with new partner and former Miss Scotland Nicola Mimnagh and impending fatherhood is helping to mature Lafferty. He also can't thank Gers No 2 Kenny McDowall and coach Ian Durrant enough. The �£3.25m former Burnley ace said: "I've met the right people on and off the field. They are looking after me. "I have no worries whatsoever. I've never felt happier with my life and my football. "I feel stress-free at the minute and I have been for a long time. "I'm playing my football with a smile on my face. "In football terms the people who have kept me going the most are Kenny McDowall and Durranty. "They can see when I'm down. They'll pull me over for a chat. "They will ask about myself and my game. "Kenny and Durranty stopped me from leaving Rangers. "I have always had a strong connection with Kenny. He's been like a second dad for me. He's been brilliant with me. "Every time I've scored I've gestured to him and he's responded. What I've achieved at Rangers is mainly down to Kenny. "I'm really delighted for him that he's become assistant manager. He deserves that. "So, too, does Coisty in being given the manager's job. "It's going to be a big ask in following Walter Smith. "There's no better man, however, because of his personality, his football brain, his attitude and heart." Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3619903/All-I-want-is-a-chance-from-Coisty-to-show-IM-the-best-partner-hes-got-for-Jela.html#ixzz1OTpa9mI0
  2. By AIDAN SMITH There's a sector of journalism which is hugely under-rated and yet endlessly inventive. I'm talking about those campaigns dreamed up on slow Tuesday afternoons, usually by more excitable journals, almost always involving Rangers. Remember "Flecky for Scotland"? That was the campaign to get John Fleck into the national squad. The lad had made only a handful of first-team appearances but such was the slowness of that Tuesday, and such was the player's resemblance to Wayne Rooney, that few were surprised by the headlines, close to "War is Declared" dimensions. The small funnies could justify their stance like this: it's a feel-good story, a heartwarming one about a kid, our very own assassin-faced baby - what's the problem? Then there was "Nacho for Scotland", the campaign to put Nacho Novo in the dark blue, which could be justified thus: the Scottish Parly, no less, are always banging on about "inclusiveness" so what better way to demonstrate the policy than by recognising the plucky Spaniard as one of our ain folk - and we'll even pop a square sausage in his international cap? And so we come, as we inevitably must, to "Arise Sir Wattie". The campaign to get Walter Smith a knighthood hasn't ended with the click of regulation brown-loafer heels at the foot of the marble steps, before the manager exited Ibrox. A few days ago, an esteemed member of the hack-pack began his column: "Sir Walter Smith of Carmyle sounds just fine to me . . ." The journo's paper is a famous title once celebrated by punk poet John Cooper Clarke for being "Where William Hickey meets Michael Caine/Again and again and again and again", so clearly it likes to hammer a point. Maybe this scribe is staffing the knighthood lobby by himself over the close season, but the calls will build again in time for the New Year's Honours List - just you wait. So, should he get one? Walter Smith: The Football Years, STV's two-part retrospective beginning on Tuesday, can help us decide. It goes all the way back to Smith's own playing days and unearths grainy footage of a rare goal, netted from five inches in a Dundee derby, followed by a weird kiss-the-boot celebration. And it concludes that, as a boss, he's right up there with Scotland's greats: Matt Busby, Bill Shankly, Jock Stein and Alex Ferguson. This is the key area of debate. Those who think he is, point to his ten titles and 21 trophies; those who think he isn't, not quite, mention his lack of success in Europe, the arena which brought knighthoods for Ferguson and Busby and should have done for Stein, too, being the trailblazer. In the documentary Smith regrets those Champions' League wimp-outs. We're reminded of a 1997 boast by Sir David Murray, that Rangers could win the trophy within three years. The chairman gave Smith some great players, at least in his first spell at Ibrox but, while Brian Laudrup and Paul Gascoigne could be casually brilliant in the SPL, they often didn't turn up on European nights. Ironically, Smith had lesser talents second time around but made it to a Euro final. Those hesitating over the knighthood talk about the lack of style ("Anti-football," said Lionel Messi) and Ally McCoist insists that, even against Zenit St Petersburg, they had to go defensive although, in a one-off game, many would have wished the club of Jim Baxter and Willie Henderson to have attacked more. There are no great revelations, save for the fact that, on Fridays, Smith was partial to an Empire biscuit. Lots of people say lots of nice things: "honest, genuine, a real football man". No one quite hails him as a "brilliant tactician", although it has been almost brilliant how he's papered over the cracks these past two seasons. Football, he argues, isn't about "the manager standing up there, accepting the plaudits" - it's about the players. There are a couple, the Stevens Whittaker and Naismith, who are probably running for him still. But "Sir" Wattie? I'm afraid not, and here's why: he's coasted like a Gazza on a reputation, never challenged, as the SPL's biggest muso, a rock 'n' roll fan with impeccable credentials, but the terrible truth emerges at the end of this portrait. Given the chance last year to see Crosby, Stills & Nash in Las Vegas, he opted instead for Barry Manilow. http://scotlandonsunday.scotsman.com/sport/Aidan-Smith-Walter-Smith-.6779822.jp?articlepage=2
  3. Motion in Parliament by Gregory Campbell MP - http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-11/1823 :spl::spl::spl::spl::spl::spl::spl::spl::spl::spl:
  4. By Ronnie Esplin IT IS only now, more than two weeks after vacating the post, that Walter Smith can look back with pride at his achievements as manager of Rangers. Smith stood down at the end of the season to be replaced by assistant Ally McCoist after clinching the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title to add to the Co-operative Insurance Cup won earlier in the campaign. Those two triumphs took the former Scotland manager's trophy tally to 21 during his two spells in charge of the Govan club, which included ten league titles and a Uefa Cup final appearance in 2008. Smith, speaking in STV's two-part documentary, Walter Smith: The Football Years, to be screened on 7 and 14 June, insists he was too busy trying to achieve success during his career to dwell on it. "You obviously take a pride in your job and a pride in winning and helping the team win, but the one thing that drives you on is to continue winning," he said. "I think pride comes now, looking back over a career as a whole. "At that stage you just said to yourself: 'Oh, that's great, thank goodness we've got that one out the way and on we go.' In the end, it's not all about managers anyway, it's about the team. "And I keep preaching that to all the teams that I've had - it's about the team, it's about us winning. "It's not about a manager standing up there accepting plaudits. They only last until the first game of the next season anyway and then you've got to go and do it again." Many believed Smith had cut his ties with Rangers when he left at the end of the 1997-1998 season. He was happily ensconced at Hampden as national team manager when, in January 2007, he was asked by then Rangers owner, Sir David Murray, to return to Ibrox and fix the mess left by outgoing manager Paul Le Guen. The former Dundee United player admits it was a call which he found impossible to turn down. "I was just going about my job as Scotland manager and I got a call from Sir David Murray asking if I would be interested in coming back to Rangers again," said Smith. "It was right out the blue. "I would certainly not have left the national team job for any other job, but to come back to Rangers again was something I felt that I couldn't turn down." Smith, who began his Ibrox career as assistant to Graeme Souness before becoming manager in 1991, regrets that his grandfather, who first took him to see the Light Blues as a boy, was not alive to see him at Rangers. "I can always remember kicking a ball about in his house as a youngster and early memories of Don Kitchenbrand and Johnny Hubbard and others, but it was my grandfather who was the one who started me on the trail of supporting Rangers." he said. "My family then were delighted (on Smith first going to Rangers]. "I was just disappointed that my grandfather had died and he wouldn't have seen that. "But my mum and dad were obviously elated that the oldest son had got an opportunity to work (at a club] where he had stood on the terracing." http://sport.scotsman.com/sport/Walter-Smith-finally-able-to.6777639.jp?articlepage=1
  5. Brian Laudrup was part of a dream Rangers midfield that included Paul Gascoigne BRIAN LAUDRUP has admitted he snubbed a switch to Barcelona weeks after joining Rangers - a decision that left even Ibrox boss Walter Smith in a state of shock. The Dane had fallen in love with football again in Govan but revealed gaffer Smith was stunned to hear he would rather face Falkirk than head for the Spanish top flight. The man who won three Scottish titles at Ibrox insists Johan Cruyff's bid to lure him to the Nou Camp was always doomed - because he had watched older brother Michael fall out of love with life and boss Cruyff at Barca. Michael Laudrup was a celebrated member of Barcelona's 'Dream Team' that won the European Cup against Sampdoria at Wembley in 1992 and four La Liga titles in a row. But it all turned sour when Michael fell out with Cruyff two years later. The Dane sat in the stand of Athens' Olympic Stadium for the 1994 Champions League Final against Brian's AC Milan - as did his brother - and that triggered Michael's dramatic defection to Real Madrid. Brian penned a deal with the Light Blues that summer and having instantly warmed to Smith's style of management, he was in no mood to jump ship to the Catalan cracks. He said: "I could have signed for Barcelona after five months at Rangers. I told Walter that I did not want to go. He looked at me and said, 'Brian, you've turned down Barcelona?' I said I would prefer to play against Falkirk. "My years at Rangers were the happiest of my career. Finally, I had a manager who told me to go and play with freedom. Compare that to Milan, where boss Fabio Capello told me to stick to the right flank and just run up and down in straight lines. "Capello was tough and unapproachable but you'd go out on to the pitch at Rangers thinking you owed Walter a result." Another key reason in saying no to the Nou Camp was Laudrup's fear he would become a victim of the UEFA rule in the 1990s that teams could only have three foreign players on the pitch at any one time. Cruyff's addition of Romario after lifting the European Cup in '92 meant Michael Laudrup was the regular member of the Dream Team's foreign trio to be axed, instead of Ronald Koeman or Hristo Stoichkov. Brian said: "My loan move to AC Milan from Fiorentina in 1993 was never right. "It was the time of the three-foreigner rule and Milan already had five, so I never really felt part of things. "I played for Milan in the 1994 Champions League semi-final against Monaco but I was dropped for the Final against Barcelona. "My brother Michael was at Barca at the same time and a victim of the rule, too. We sat in the stadium, 200 yards apart, laughing at the situation." Laudrup won a Serie A title in his one year on loan at Milan, but only started nine games. In contrast, his four years at Ibrox delivered three titles on the spin, a Scottish Cup and a League Cup triumph - as well as eternal admiration from the Ibrox fans who fell in love with the gifted Dane's skills. And he admits quitting in 1998 to join Chelsea was a huge mistake. He said: "I had been in talks with Ruud Gullit but when I flew to London to meet him for the first time I was introduced to Gianluca Vialli instead. "I was amazed to learn he was my new manager. Looking back, I should never have made the move. I tried to get out of it but Chelsea would not hear of it." Brian has fought back from a recent cancer scare. Last September he discovered he had lymphoma but after three months of treatment he was told the disease had gone. Now he works for Danish TV and will be in the studio for tonight's clash between Man United and Barca in the Champions League Final. He said: "The football in the Champions League is incredible, better than the World Cup. I love to watch Barcelona in action." http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/football/spl/2011/05/28/rangers-legend-brian-laudrup-i-turned-down-switch-to-barcelona-five-months-after-arriving-at-ibrox-86908-23162435/
  6. STEVEN DAVIS has pledged his future to Ally McCoist's new-look Rangers. Several players could be following old gaffer Walter Smith out of the door at Ibrox - but Davis doesn't want to be one of them. While Anthony Stokes moaned about being too tired to play for his country, Northern Ireland star Davis played his 58th game of an incredible season in the 5-0 hammering by the Republic of Ireland. Davis is every inch a model pro and the good news for McCoist is his heart is firmly with the Three in a Row champions. Now entering the final year of his Ibrox deal, the key midfielder said: "In the end it was a fantastic season, but at times things were a bit doom and gloom. "Rangers had a lot of bad press, but on the pitch we kept it together and then went on to win the title. "I don't know why I kicked on nearer the end of the season, I seemed to get fresher as the league wore on. "Maybe European football had taken its toll on me and when that stopped it helped me get a new lease of life. "Obviously, the League Cup Final gave me and everyone at Rangers a huge boost. "We seemed to take it on from there and won the title too. We played some good stuff towards the end of the season and scored a lot of good goals. "Overall it was probably the sweetest title to win. Everyone enjoys their football at the end of a season when you are playing well and winning things. "That's the time when you have to enjoy your football. "I'm happy at Rangers and hopefully something can get sorted. "There are a number of players with contractual issues to be looked at, but hopefully all of then can extend their stay. "I've said all along I'd like to stay at Rangers. But right now it's out of my hands until they offer me something. "Ally McCoist coming in offers a new challenge for everyone although losing Walter Smith is a big blow. "Everyone wanted Walter to stay, but Coisty is coming in with our full respect. "Hopefully we can bring in a few new faces and can start afresh again in July. "Things are going well at Rangers and when that's the case you definitely enjoy it." Davis saw pal Kenny Miller quit Ibrox for incredible wages with Turkish outfit Bursaspor, but still fail to settle. Davis added: "I've played for a couple of Premiership clubs in Aston Villa and Fulham and the grass isn't always greener on the other side. If you are happy somewhere and enjoying your football what is the reason to leave?" Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3601045/Im-with-you-Ally.html#ixzz1NQGG2K1k
  7. BITTER acrimony broke out at Rangers yesterday as the new regime dismantled the old board with the removal of the chairman and a director, and the suspension of the chief executive and another director. Alastair Johnston, who has openly questioned new owner Craig Whyte's plans for the club, was ousted after delaying his departure, and last night he responded by warning Whyte he will watch the venture capitalist's every step from now on, and challenged the new owner to "walk the walk and not just talk the talk". On a day of major ructions at Ibrox, it has emerged that chief executive Martin Bain and finance director Donald McIntyre have been suspended from their posts, pending an internal inquiry. The nature of the inquiry is not yet known. Another director, Paul Murray, was unsurprisingly removed just weeks after launching a counter-bid for Rangers at a late stage in the takeover. Johnston had been asked to tender his resignation by Whyte during a board meeting on Monday. When Johnston refused he was removed. "It was anticipated that I would be stepping down, in fact I thought I would be stepping down earlier but the board felt I should stay on until the takeover process had settled down," he said last night. "I was asked to resign but I said no as a matter of principle. I can't walk away from an assignment which I was asked to undertake." Johnston has clearly been riled by photographs of Whyte holding the Scottish Premier League trophy, won by the club just nine days into the new owner's reign. The deposed chairman said: "I'm not going to make any comment with respect to the current circumstances at the current time, except that I will say - as a lifelong Rangers fan and a real one - that the 26,000 other shareholders in Rangers, as well as the hundreds of thousands of other supporters need to remain vigilant and continue to exert pressure on Mr Whyte to support the club financially as he has publicly committed to do. "As far as I'm concerned, the next time we see a photograph of him holding up the SPL trophy, let us all hope - especially me - that he has earned the right to do it." Johnston had expressed doubts about Whyte during the protracted takeover of Sir David Murray's majority shareholding and put his name to a statement from the independent board committee, publicly revealing a shared scepticism over the new owner's ability to fund his pledges for Rangers. Johnston had indicated previously that he would step down at the end of the season. This was later delayed with the agreement of Whyte, pending the disclosure of more details about the buy-out to shareholders. This information is due on or before 6 June but Whyte has nevertheless acted to sever Johnston's ties to the club prior to the submittal of this circular. "I think the biggest force for change at Rangers is for Mr Whyte to appreciate that there are thousands of fans who are going to police his activities," added Johnston. "Not what he says, but what he does." Some fans will not shed a tear over the new board's actions in regard to Bain, whose relationship with the Ibrox support has often been strained. His suspension, pending an internal inquiry, could bring to an end the Ibrox career of one of the club's most high-profile officials of recent years. Both Bain and McIntyre were told to stay away from Ibrox during a board meeting on Monday. They remain on the board at this stage but have been suspended on full pay. Bain is currently in the United States on a charity white-water rafting expedition with Walter Smith and Ally McCoist, between whom the managerial reins have recently passed. Reports published online yesterday speculated on the reasons behind Bain's sudden suspension, but lawyers acting on the chief executive's behalf contacted newsdesks in the afternoon to alert them that the claims were being treated as "grossly defamatory". Yesterday's events will heighten speculation linking Ali Russell to the club. The former deputy managing director of Queens Park Rangers, who was commercial director at Hearts and head of marketing at the Scottish Rugby Union, was present in the Ibrox directors' box for Whyte's first game in charge, against Hearts, and is said to be close to the new owner. Whyte has already made one new appointment at the club, immediately bringing on board his business partner Phil Betts when the takeover was completed. Further appointments to strengthen the board are expected to be made in the next two to three weeks. Directors John Greig, John McClelland and Dave King will remain on the board for the time being. Club legend Greig and former chairman McClelland, the vice-chairman of the influential European Club Association, were present in the room to hear Johnston and Murray being instructed to resign via a conference call. The news of Johnston and Murray's departure was confirmed in a statement to the stock exchange yesterday morning. "The board announces that on 23 May 2011 Alastair Johnston and Paul Murray were removed as directors of the Rangers Football Club PLC," read the statement. "The directors of the Rangers Football Club PLC accept responsibility for this announcement." Rangers also announced yesterday that Cairn Financial Advisers LLP PLUS has been appointed as corporate adviser to the company with immediate effect. Asked to expand on the reasons for the departures and suspensions, a source close to Whyte said: "Craig Whyte has no comment to make on what is an internal matter." http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/sport/Ructions-at-Rangers-as-old.6773931.jp?articlepage=2
  8. I know the season has just finished,seems a long time to wait for it all to kick off again,but I would be interested in what gersnet are expecting with our new owner and new manager. I am really looking forward to next season with CW our new owner now and super Ally as manager,yet it is a whole new ball game for both of them. Ally is in his first managerial position after serving his apprenticeship under sir Walter Smith,he is a true bear and a was a hero as a player but ultimately he will be treated the same as any other Rangers manager ie:results. I don't expect too much of a change from WS side too early in his honeymoon period but having said that he witnessed how lethal we have been playing for the last 6-7 games of our 3 in a row season and is trying his hardest to retain 99% of the playing staff and also looking to bring in new players to enhance his team. I think he will be a good and successful manager at Rangers,although time will tell obviously,but I am looking forward to next season under Ally. As for CW I am also excited to see what he will bring to the Rangers,maybe it's just the fact we have got rid of SDM but my gut feeling is we have a guy here who will give his all for the Rangers,again time will tell,but he does look really excited about his take over,and I'm also expecting a bit more vocal defence of our club from him and believe he will stamp his authority regarding the mHedia. Anyway,enough of my ramblings I would be interested in finding out how gersnet feel things will pan out. Maybe a poll would be good before the season starts. Onwards and upwards,WATP.
  9. KRIS COMMONS last night stood by his claim that Celtic are younger and fitter than Rangers - despite his words driving on the Ibrox men to the SPL title. The Scotland star's comments were used as motivation in the Gers dressing room in the vital final weeks of the campaign. But after yesterday's Scottish Cup triumph, Commons claimed again the Hoops are younger and fitter - and insisted they are now older and wiser too. Commons reckons the bitter experience of a last-day defeat in the title race by their city rivals has been a valuable lesson for Celts and will drive them on when the league kicks off again. The former Derby County man played a key role in Celtic's 3-0 Hampden win against Motherwell to secure the club's first silverware since March 2009. The scenes of jubilation by the Hoops players and fans were a stark contrast with their emotions last week when Rangers clinched the SPL crown on the final day. Kris' first taunt came on the eve of a crucial Old Firm clash at Parkhead - and canny Gers boss Walter Smith pinned his words on the Ibrox dressing-room wall. The rest is history. And the claims were thrown back in the midfielder's face by some Gers stars last week as they celebrated their three-in-a-row titles. Commons stuck to his guns and said yesterday: "It's my opinion and I stand by my words. Celtic are the younger, fitter, better side. "Rangers beat us by one point - and credit to them, they have quality throughout their team. "But they didn't beat us because they were fitter. "We can improve. Next year we won't be concentrating on matters outside of football, we'll be concentrating on Celtic and our own performances. "We are a good side that can score good goals. "Guys like Beram Kayal, Ki Sung-Yueng, Gary Hooper and Emilio Izaguirre are all in their early 20s and are still to peak. "They are outstanding prospects. I think we're going to be a force. "In the space of a week we have experienced losing and have now enjoyed winning. "The heartache and loss we felt last weekend will make us more determined next time. "You can't buy experience - look at Rangers skipper Davie Weir. "He's an outstanding leader and it was a pleasure to play with him when I was with Scotland. "Yes, Rangers winning the league was a great achievement. "But from the disappointment we'll get experience. "And you get experience from winning as well. Walking around the pitch with the trophy at the end, with the fans saluting you and throwing scarves and stuff, was magic and I want to sample that on a regular basis. "It's our driving force next year - we don't want to lose anything. We want to win big. "We're on a high after winning the cup and it has given us a hunger to kick on now." Commons admits he never had any self-doubt after Celtic stumbled in the closing stages of the league race to let their Old Firm rivals squeeze past. He said: "I wouldn't say there were question marks about our ability to get over the finish line. "Going into the last four or five games we felt like favourites - but in football nothing is certain. "So it felt great to win yesterday at Hampden to repay the fans for their constant support. "We've believed all season we've a good enough squad to win some silverware - and now we've shown that we can. "Hopefully next year we'll win a few more. If the team stick together we can achieve a lot. "We have a really good squad and when everyone's fit and fighting for places it's a healthy position to be in. Beram will be back after his injury and I hope we get off to a good start and carry on from where we left off." Commons - who had a hand in Celtic's first two goals - celebrated success on a big scale for the first time since winning promotion with Nottingham Forest He said: "I was promoted with Forest but we finished second - so there was no trophy. "This is a similar feeling - the champagne's out, the boys are buzzing." Commons praised gaffer Neil Lennon and said the players would be delighted if his future could be sorted out as soon as possible. The midfielder said: "If we can tie down Neil for another couple of years the lads would be delighted. "This has been a good way to end a long, hard season. "There's not much of a break in the summer before we're back in the swing of things. "I hope everyone comes back from their break for pre-season feeling fit and healthy." Commons is now due to team up with Scotland for the Carling Nations Cup double header in Dublin but said: "I'll be speaking to Craig Levein and seeing what the situation is." http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/2011/05/22/celtic-have-the-edge-over-rangers-despite-spl-title-loss-says-kris-commons-86908-23148440/
  10. NEIL LENNON has hit back at Walter Smith for refusing to criticise Celtic to his face. Smith accused the Hoops of kicking off Scotland's season of shame by questioning the integrity of referees. But Parkhead gaffer Lennon insists Smith is wrong and last night stormed: "I didn't think a lot of what was said by him. I was disappointed by it. "He could've spoken to me about it first, he had plenty of opportunities to do that. "I didn't think there was any real need for it either. I think he's wrong, he's totally wrong. "Mark Wilson hit the nail on the head earlier this week. I went into a referee's room and the guy didn't tell me the truth. Then his assistant came out two days later and blew the whistle on him. I didn't, our club didn't. They did. "Then there were cover-ups and non-truths. It led me to think: 'Well, I'm not the first Celtic manager not to be told the truth'. "You know, I wasn't even going to go into the room that day. It was the SPL match delegate who told me to go in and get a clarification on it. "If another manager had gone in, and the whole thing got exposed, would they be pleased about it? We were just looking for transparency. I don't think that's a lot to ask for. I mean, you are being lied to. "It's not even a major lie, but it just grew and grew into something they created themselves." Lennon revealed he was also unhappy SFA president George Peat, right, was present during a disciplinary hearing. Lennon added: "I went to a disciplinary hearing for the first time and got a six-game ban. The president was there and was in and out of the meeting. Is that right or wrong? Should he be there? He's got a right to be there, but was he at other disciplinary meetings? "So we got legal advice to say it was fundamentally wrong, what they did in the disciplinary meeting." Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3593331/Say-it-to-my-face-Walter.html#ixzz1MwDBvdxY
  11. ian1964

    Happiness

    JAMIE NESS made great strides for Rangers last season. That's literally the long and short of it. Exciting midfield prospect Ness really shone for Walter Smith's champions without knowing one leg was longer than the other. It's now why he believes his breakthrough campaign was dogged by injury frustration. Ness stamped his ability over a debut season, which included two stunning displays against Celtic. Agonisingly, though, his season ended on April 16 - and since then he's visited German specialist Hans Muller Wohlfahrt. What Ness was told shocked him, but also filled him with HOPE. The 20-year-old fans' favourite - whose efforts earned him a bumper new deal until 2015 - said: "I'm just back from seeing Dr Wohlfahrt in Munich. "I've got some things to do and things to work on. Hopefully that will be me over the problems. "They think I've got one leg longer than the other but I've got an insole now and hopefully that will take care of the problem. "I've also got exercises to do. It's created general muscle problems for me, including my back and hamstring. Everything's been a bit out of balance. I think that's why I was getting so many muscle injuries. "It's taken quite a while to be detected, also because I've still been growing. I'm just happy that it's hopefully been resolved and I'll be able to push on and not worry about the injuries. "It was more kind of injection treatment that Dr Wohlfahrt did with my back. I also saw a chiropractor there. "Inter Milan centre-back Lucio was there at the same time as me while I think Michael Owen has also visited him in the past. "The fact I've been able to see him has been great, I've appreciated Rangers being able to arrange that." Ness confessed it was torture having to sit out Gers' phenomenal title run-in when they clinched three-in-a-row. He said: "I think when you're not playing you just turn into a fan. It was great to be at the games when we had that run going and kept the momentum up to win the title." Ness has no fears about his ability to break into the side next term - even if new boss Ally McCoist has �£10million to spend. He also reckons that fellow Ibrox babes Kyle Hutton and Gregg Wylde can remain involved. Ness said: "Danny Wilson was able to come in when we still had a big squad, John Fleck too. "It shows the young boys that if they're good enough they are going to get their chance, no matter how big the squad is or however much money there is to spend. "Hopefully that's the case. That will be up to Ally McCoist to decide but I think I've shown enough when I came into the team that it wasn't too much for me and I handled it well." Meanwhile, Gers youth chief Jimmy Sinclair reckons Ness would've been in the Scotland squad for the upcoming Carling Nations Cup if he'd been fit. He said: "The manager said to me in the course of the season that he fully expected Jamie Ness to be playing for Scotland before the end of the year. I honestly believe if Jamie had been free of injury that would have been the case. His performances were very mature." Sinclair's thrilled with the success of the Murray Park production line. He added: "I'm very hopeful that the seasons ahead will be a combination of acquisitions by the manager and support from the youth department. "I think we are past the point where Murray Park is being dubbed a red herring which is not functioning properly." Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3590781/Happiness.html#ixzz1MqVJJaan
  12. 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
  13. Guest

    Walter Smith tribute book

    Can I recommend this new book? Picked it up the other day and is a great celebration of our life under Sir Walter. Big interviews with Super Ally, Mark Hateley, Jorg Albertz, Brian Laudrup, Andy Goram, Davie Weir, Ian Durrant, Madjid Bougherra, Stevie Naismith, Pedro Mendes and Lee McCulloch, amongst others. Some good bust-up stories and a real behind the scenes look at life under Walter. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Walter-Smith-Gaffer-Tribute-Rangers/dp/1845023439/ref=pd_sxp_f_pt
  14. Mark Wilson has hit back at Walter Smith's comments suggesting Celtic were the catalysts for a controversy-filled season in Scotland. Smith's final game in charge as Rangers boss was Sunday's 5-1 win over Kilmarnock which secured the Scottish Premier League title by one point from Old Firm rivals Celtic. The 63-year-old then said he was pleased to be leaving Scottish football, believing Celtic's contentious relationships with both match officials and the Scottish Football Association overshadowed the whole season. Wilson disputed Smith's claims, defending Celtic's stance, and was sad the Rangers boss felt it necessary to make the comments after taking his 10th SPL title. Wilson said: "If I won the league I'd just be delighted my team had won the league instead of having a parting shot. "It's disappointing now looking back at the end of the season that the Rangers manager, who has been hugely successful at Ibrox, ending on the final day winning the championship, still feels he has to point the finger at something instead of just enjoying the success he's had. "It was the referees' problem. It's just unfortunate that it was our club at the centre of it. "We were right to defend ourselves in the way we did." Wilson referred back to the October 17 clash at Dundee United, when Celtic had a penalty controversially rescinded in their 2-1 win and the subsequent fallout led to referee Dougie McDonald admitting to lying to Bhoys boss Neil Lennon. After forensic analysis of the events at Tannadice, claim and counter-claim, McDonald accepted responsibility and resigned. Scottish officials were subject to heightened scrutiny and in November they opted to strike, upset at questions over their honesty and integrity. Wilson felt it was unfair for Celtic, who later successfully challenged a touchline ban on Lennon, to be deemed culpable for the events. Wilson added: "When you look back to it - I think Walter Smith will agree, everybody will agree - a referee lost his job for lying to the manager at Tannadice. "That's what kicked it off and it went on from there with the referees' strike. "It was a poor part of the season, no doubt. "We didn't like it, as much as any other team in the league didn't like it. "Every club and manager is critical of referees when they feel they've got a point. "I just feel the evidence has come out now that we were in the right at that time. "I don't think we set the tone for it, no." Wilson agreed with Smith's assertion that the focus went away from football, but he denied Celtic were at fault. "I don't see how that can be blamed on our club," he added. "He has got a point - the focus did go away from football - but I don't think he should be pointing the finger at any club. "It's kind of disappointing that he's left saying things like that." http://www.football365.com/story/0,17033,8670_6937340,00.html?
  15. I really hope it's not for us. It is time for someone else.
  16. Now before I start don't be laughing lol, just heard on the radio that Walter smith will be conducting his last ever interview on Clyde 1 fm, I thought great I'll be listening to that then the music started playing, Bon Jovi's hit never say goodbye' I started filling up, I'm an emotional wreck the best of times but fuck me that hit me like a train the guy has been a god send and an inspiration and turned our club round and like all bears this guy deserves a knighthood, these players stood tall and gave their all in times of need and sent Walter on his way with a championship medal in his final match and that alone is remarkable these players should be proud of themselves and everyone associated with rangers football club. Thanks for the memories Walter
  17. in tomorrow's times, might pick this up unless other papers have his story as well Mr Speirs of course lol
  18. THEY say the SPL title is priceless - but it's not. Rangers sold it for �£400,000. A measly amount of money and God knows why they thought it was worth it. But the second they accepted the cash for Kenny Miller their championship chances went spinning down the stank. When Celtic lift the trophy, and they WILL, the grasping money-men at Ibrox will only have themselves to blame. Manager Walter Smith - a picture of frustration so often in his farewell season - will have had his hands tied on that deal, I'm pretty sure. If it had been down to him he'd have kept the on-form striker. Kenny boarded that flight to Turkey three months ago and is STILL the SPL's top scorer! Yet Miller was allowed to go - and when he flew out for Bursaspor on that cold January morning Rangers' league chances went with him. I tipped Smith's side at the start of the season. But not any more. There's now nothing to stop my wee pal Neil Lennon winning his first title. Sure, it'll be a close run-in. But it's in my old club's hands now and I firmly believe they will NOT let it slip away. This week I've had a studied look at the games ahead for both sides and I do expect a few nervy ones between now and Sunday, May 15. But Celtic have more than enough in the tank to get them across the finishing line. Dundee United at home this weekend won't be a problem in my eyes. Peter Houston has a decent side there but nothing to worry anyone at Parkhead. No, for me Inverness Caley Thistle away is the tricky one. That's a tough place to go at the best of times. At this stage in the season, on a midweek when you really need to win, it's hellish. It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if Terry Butcher puts out a side good enough to get something. He'll love that too. That's why I fancy a 1-1 draw. Then it's away games against Kilmarnock and Hearts. From what I saw the last time at Rugby Park, Celtic have absolutely nothing to worry about. There's no way on God's earth Killie will take anything. Hearts at Tynecastle will require a lot more graft because their fans will be desperate to put a spanner in the works. They'd see that as a major achievement but for me that's when one of Celtic's big hitters will stand up and be counted. I expect someone like Gary Hooper or Kris Commons to nick a goal with a moment of magic. I say 1-0 Celtic. Pivotal. The final game is Motherwell at home and a chance to exorcise some of the ghosts that have haunted me since 2005. I played the day Scott McDonald scored twice to hand the title to Rangers and it was my worst day in football. It won't happen again. So Celtic will end up with 93 points by my calculations. Rangers will beat Well at Fir Park today - Stuart McCall's side will now have one eye on the Scottish Cup Final against the Hoops on May 21. This time 2-1 Rangers is my prediction. Hearts at home is where Smith's side will fall down. I can see Jim Jefferies' Jambos leaving with a point at least - Rangers' title chances GONE with two games to go. I don't think there's anything stopping them from beating Dundee United and Kilmarnock. But 91 points is the best they can hope for. And you know what? No one at Rangers could argue. Celtic, for me, have been the best side in the country for most of the season and deserve to be crowned champs. I think they realised they were better than Rangers when they played them at Ibrox in the Scottish Cup. They went down to ten men but still dominated the second half in the 2-2 draw. Celtic must have come away thinking: 'We have nothing to fear with this lot. They're not the force we thought they were'. And the truth is that's the way it's turned out. Rangers had their chances and they've been unlucky for a lot of the season. Losing Lee McCulloch through injury was a massive blow because he held them together in the middle. Selling Miller? MADNESS. Look, truly big clubs don't sell their big players when they're battling for silverware and I said at the time the decision staggered me. It's not like they raked in a fortune. They got less than half a million for a player who was virtually priceless. Now they will pay the biggest toll of all for their folly. Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3556261/Rangers-threw-away-title-the-day-Kenny-flew-to-Turkey.html#ixzz1KzlxNOdU
  19. From STV New Rangers owner Craig Whyte has promised to build on the success of departing manager Walter Smith. Whyte, who completed his protracted takeover of the Scottish champions last week, said: "It is a great privilege to be part of Rangers and while we celebrate this title and our success in the League Cup our thoughts will turn quickly to building on this success." Whyte paid tribute to Smith and assistant Ally McCoist, who will take over from his mentor next season. "Today's title win is a truly great achievement by a club whose hallmark has been success throughout its proud history," he said. "I would like to congratulate Walter Smith, Ally McCoist and Kenny McDowall for their brilliant leadership. "I also pay the highest possible tribute to the players who have shown great skill and determination in turning their desire for success into the club's 54th league title - the highest number attained by any club. "The supporters want to see success and they deserve that success for the way in which they have stuck with the team." Rangers chief executive Martin Bain, who presided over the takeover after a three-year spell in which the club have struggled financially, praised the work of Smith and also backed the fans as "the lifeblood of the club". He said: "Like all Rangers fans, I know how much this win means to every member of the Rangers family. "The achievement of Walter, Ally, Kenny and the players over recent seasons has been nothing short of miraculous, given the challenges the club has had to meet. "They responded in the true Rangers way by standing up to be counted when the odds were stacked against them. "I would also pay tribute to the staff at the club who have supported the team in every possible way, always believing the success of the club is the most important thing. "Finally, I would also like to thank our fans who have backed the club through thick and thin in recent years. "They are the lifeblood of the club and their tremendous commitment to Rangers and Scottish football deserves to be recognised."
  20. Just thinking aloud here (as per usual). The reason I gave up my season ticket back in the summer of 2007 was because I didn't fancy Walter Smith coming back to Rangers to manage us. I knew we'd go onto win a fair amount of trophies under his management and leadership but that aside, I felt the performances wouldn't be value for money. You could say I'm not his biggest fan. I don't miss going to Ibrox but watching the lap of honour last night at Ibrox made me want to be there. That all said, and having just watched the highlights on Sky of last nights match and his send off from the fans, I have nothing but admiration and appreciation for the job he has done in his 2nd term in charge. I dread to think the state we'd be in right now if someone else had followed in PLGs footsteps. SDM must be congratualted for that decision! I don't think anyone else could've come in and done half the job Walter has done. His tactics are sometimes dull and tiresome and often we stumble across the finish line to win matches but at the end of the day that' what football is all about. I'm sure we'd all love to play flowing football and win 3/4/5-0 every game. It just doesn't happen like that though. He's won us a further 7 trophies since January 2007 and we're in pole position to win an 8th trophy - a 3rd SPL title in a row since he returned. He also brought a lot of Rangers fans, including me, something we thought we'd never see - Rangers playing in the final of a european competition. I used to sit at home watching European Cup Finals, UEFA Cup Finals, Cup Winner Cup Finals and Champions League Finals and wish that Rangers would some day be playing in one of them. Walter made that possible! OK, we never won it but what a feeling it was when wee Nacho scored the penalty in Florence to take us through. A feeling I'll never forget! Walter Smith is a living legend amongst Rangers fans and quite rightly so. If Ally can do half as good a job as Walter then we're onto good things. Thank you Walter for the memories. You absolutely deserved that send off last night. Let's hope the players can win the SPL title for you on Sunday.
  21. DAVIE WEIR insists Rangers won't suffer hell on Helicopter Sunday. Six years after Celtic came a chopper at Fir Park, Gers head to Rugby Park with their title destiny in their own hands. Beat Kilmarnock and secure the championship. It's as straightforward as that. With the engine purring and the rotors spinning in anticipation of more nerve-shredding last-day drama, Weir is taking nothing for granted. The Gers skipper said: "It has happened in the past where teams have slipped up when they thought it was all wrapped up and they ended up with egg on their face. "It is important we don't allow that to happen to us. "We have the opportunity in our own hands now and that is all you can ask for, but there is still one game to go. "We just have to concentrate on the job, prepare properly and give Kilmarnock the respect they deserve. "We just have to go out and try to play as well as we can play. "You have to put yourself under pressure, that is the nature of the game. "I don't think there are any written rules for this situation. There are no guarantees. "There is nothing that can prepare you for it. Everyone is different. "The thing is when people don't expect something there is always a chance of a shock. "It is important we don't allow that to happen at the weekend." Weir could potentially be skipper of Rangers for the final time tomorrow. The veteran Gers captain turned 41 in midweek and is out of contract next month. He insists he has made NO decision on his future. Weir added: "I don't know if it will be my last game. I don't think about it like that. "If it is then so be it. I am not going to spend any time worrying about it. "I am sure the result will have an impact on my decision. "If you are successful then you will want to carry on. "If you aren't you will question yourself. I will just have to wait and see." What is for certain is Gers can secure three-in-a-row in gaffer Walter Smith's last game in charge. A win over Killie will bag the title and bring a historic campaign for Gers to a glorious end. Weir knows exactly what's at stake at Rugby Park and he insists the players are desperate to ensure their boss bows out on a high. Weir stressed: "I don't think you can put into words what Walter has done. "We have all been speaking about it for long enough now. "I think that there has been so much significance on this game that things won't actually hit home until after he has left Rangers. "Then people can take into context what Walter has done over various periods of time and during different circumstances at the club. During the nine-in-a-row era he was bringing in top players, winning trophies and battling on the European front. "He came back for a second time when Rangers were in a certain amount of disarray, had hardly won trophies and had to fight it out to finish second. "He turned Rangers around very quickly and got them winning trophies again, competing in Europe, reaching a European final and winning the league. "When you sit down and look at what he has done you can put his record up against anyone." Indeed, Weir reckons Smith is up there with the true managerial greats. He added: "Walter will go down as one of the all-time Rangers greats. There is no doubt about that. "The manager plays down his own influence on things. That is the nature of the man. "It is no coincidence what he has done in his time here and the part he has played. "He is the driving force behind the whole club and the team. "I am sure he has the same influence over other aspects of the club. "If you asked any player or member of staff they would admit he is the man who dictates what happens. Through the course of the season Walter is very straightforward and tells you like it is. "He tells you what he expects from you and the demands of the club and the support. "He has seen it all before and the players hang on his every word. "We trust what he says and we try to follow it as best we can. "He is a really great presence to have at the club and he is somebody we have been lucky to have as manager." Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3580191/Rhythm-n-blues.html#ixzz1MHMr2wr4
  22. HE scored the goals but wants no part of any glory. Kenny Miller would be entitled to enjoy a Rangers' SPL title win as much as any Ibrox star. As he watches his former team-mates try to seal the championship from 2,000 miles away in Turkey, the Scotland striker has revealed that he virtually feels like an outsider looking in. Miller netted an incredible 22 goals in the first half of the season to send Walter Smith's side on their way. He's still the top flight's top scorer and will have more than earned his winner's medal if Gers clinch the league at Rugby Park tomorrow. Miller revealed: "Seeing the boys win the league would be absolutely phenomenal. I'd be thrilled for every single one of them because they'd totally deserve it. "I know I'd maybe be entitled to a medal because I played the required number of games. "For me it wouldn't feel the same as last season's title win. "I'm just being honest, I know I played a part but it's about the boys who are at the club now. "I scored goals in the first half of the season, sure, but it's winning games now that counts. This is the stage of the season when the pressure is really on. "If you lose your fifth or sixth game in the season you've got time to claw it back. "It's different in April and May - that's when it's vital. "That's why it's a strange feeling for me. I know I played a part and I'm proud of it - but I don't feel part of the squad." Rangers could clinch the championship on Helicopter Sunday as Celtic host Motherwell on the last day of SPL action. Miller insists he has NEVER doubted that his former team-mates could prove too strong for Neil Lennon's side. Delighted Miller added: "When I left in January I said that the boys would see it out and I still firmly believe that. "We're talking about a group of players who refuse to give in. "I've been in some great dressing rooms but nothing compares to what the lads have at Murray Park. It's just the best. "I had the most enjoyable two and a half years of my career there, that's for sure. "It obviously helps when you're winning leagues and cups. That makes it a whole lot easier. "The lads know what it takes to be successful, they stick together and refuse to give in to anyone. You can't buy that. "Thing went against us at times, especially with everything the club's been through in the last few years, but the spirit on the pitch was never in question." Miller is in no doubt why that is - the man he still calls gaffer. He added: "It's down to the manager, definitely. "The gaffer just seems to get the best out of people. "I have been in squads where players aren't playing and are unhappy because of that. "You would hear them mump and moan about the manager and that's never good for the team spirit but that never happens at Rangers. "It was the same when Walter was in charge of Scotland, he had the knack of keeping everybody happy even if you weren't one of the boys playing. "I don't know how he does it but he gets everyone pulling in the same direction and that's absolutely priceless when you're going for titles and trophies. If you could bottle what he has it would be worth a fortune. "Take it from me, it was genuinely a pleasure to go into work every day at Murray Park. "That's the way I felt about it and I know that's the way every other player at the club feels about it too. "For me it's been a massive driving force this season that the gaffer was stepping down because it means there was a group of players who are all absolutely desperate to make sure he leaves a winner." Miller has been glued to his TV in his Turkish apartment, watching Rangers as they try to clinch Three in a Row. He had seen Celtic move into pole position but Miller insists he knew there was still life in Rangers' title fight when the Hoops failed to beat them at Ibrox last month. Allan McGregor saved a late Georgios Samaras penalty, and Miller added: "For me that could turn out to be one of the key moments of the season. "You can talk about goals scored and games won but that save from Allan could be MASSIVE. "If that penalty goes in, the league's over. "Had Celtic won that game it would have been very difficult for the boys to come back. "The goalie stepped up and produced it when it counted and I just think it could be a save worth its weight in gold. "It could be such a defining moment in the season. "Celtic would probably have kicked on after that game had they got all three points." Read more: http://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/scotsol/homepage/sport/spl/3580014/Bond-of-brothers.html#ixzz1MHHEjYcO
  23. WALTER SMITH has been asked the same old question time and time again. How far can he take this Rangers team? Only one answer matters now. He has to take them only 21 miles down the M77 to Kilmarnock on Sunday, where an invading army of supporters will follow having readied themselves for an almighty celebration. The Old Firm rivalry is too intense to allow for much in the way of grace or magnanimity. Since they lost to Inverness Caledonian Thistle last week Celtic supporters have confessed to finding it especially hard to accept that defeat surrendered the initiative to such a ââ?¬Å?poorââ?¬Â Rangers team. Thatââ?¬â?¢s been the label attached to Walter Smithââ?¬â?¢s side from the start. This is no vintage Rangers side, that much is obvious. Itââ?¬â?¢s not a team that strikes fear into opponents like many of its predecessors could. Itââ?¬â?¢s short on players who can really entertain, as opposed to being admirable and effective. But Rangers arenââ?¬â?¢t gearing up for a coronation by accident. Hereââ?¬â?¢s where it sounds as though theyââ?¬â?¢re being damned with faint praise: Rangers are resolute. Theyââ?¬â?¢re disciplined and committed. They grind out results. Detractors go as far as to accuse them of anti-football when they go 4-5-1 in the more difficult games. Smith has lived with that since returning to the club in 2007. But what does ââ?¬Ë?grinding out resultsââ?¬â?¢ mean, if not that they tend to prove week after week that they are better than whatever is put in front of them? They have been consistent. If they win at Kilmarnock they will finish the season on 93 points. The last team to do better than that was a Celtic one under Martin Oââ?¬â?¢Neill which included Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton, John Hartson and a high-calibre supporting cast. Only one Rangers side ââ?¬â?? the Alex McLeish side which won the title on goal difference in 2003 ââ?¬â?? has ever finished on more than 93 since the Scottish Premier League was formed. They won their first nine league games including an Old Firm derby, not tasting defeat until the end of October. In the first half of the season they dropped points in only four games and the same statistic applies to the second half of their campaign, so far. Celtic might privately turn their noses up at this Rangers side and reproach themselves for not having put them away, but the fact remains that Rangers have made few mistakes. They were often behind Celtic, but they had games in hand and always showed the nerve to win them. Before a ball was kicked Smith lost his top goalscorer. Midway through the campaign it happened to him again. Coping without Kris Boyd was manageable because of Smithââ?¬â?¢s last big transfer, the purchase of Nikica Jelavic, but when Kenny Miller fled to Bursaspor in January it seemed that the writing was on the wall. By then Jelavic had been lost to an injury which robbed him of 17 games in his first season in Scotland. Where would the goals come from? Smith has recently felt free to admit that in January he suspected that Rangersââ?¬â?¢ number was up, that they didnââ?¬â?¢t have the resources necessary to sustain a league challenge all the way to the end. Celtic, remember, were maintaining a decent pace themselves and took all six points from the first two Old Firm league games in 2011. His players responded. Rangersââ?¬â?¢ season has been a tale of a dependable back four, a midfield of enormous industry, and one striker whose goals propelled them through the first half of the season and another who got them through the second. ââ?¬Å?Weââ?¬â?¢re a team that defends from the front,ââ?¬Â said goalkeeper Allan McGregor yesterday. ââ?¬Å?Our strikers always work hard to close the ball down, our midfielders work back just as much as they get forward and the lads at the back have been great.ââ?¬Â The defence has kept 18 clean sheets in the league. They havenââ?¬â?¢t conceded an away goal in the championship since a 3-0 defeat at Parkhead almost three months ago. They havenââ?¬â?¢t let one in at all in their last five matches. Itââ?¬â?¢s a unit built on familiarity and trust. Inevitably there have been moments when David Weir has looked his age ââ?¬â?? he turned 41 on Tuesday ââ?¬â?? but his intelligence, awareness and experience has seen him through another fine season. The degree of understanding and unity through the back four is also evident in the team as a whole. No wonder, considering how few changes have been made. Weir, Steven Whittaker and Steven Davis have all appeared in over 50 matches and McGregor, Madjid Bougherra and Sasa Papac are not far behind. The midfield has usually included four from Davis, Steven Naismith, Maurice Edu, Kyle Lafferty and Lee McCulloch. The loss of the latter was one of two grievous injuries which caused Rangers real grief. The other was to Jelavic. The first half of the season belonged to Miller, who had scored 22 times ââ?¬â?? including two at Parkhead as they won the seasonââ?¬â?¢s first derby 3-1 in October ââ?¬â?? before a startling move to Bursaspor. Jelavicââ?¬â?¢s return came just in time for Smith. He was hurt at Tynecastle on October 22 and didnââ?¬â?¢t make it back until being named as an unused substitute on January 15 against Hamilton Academical, the very game in which Miller made what turned out to be his final appearance. Smith needed him to deliver. Rangers had wobbled without their Ã?£4m man. Since returning the Croat grew into the player they hoped they would get for that fee. He has scored 14 times in 20 appearances since returning from an ankle operation, including goals which proved to be the winner in three games. McGregor, Whittaker, Weir, Naismith, Miller and Jelavic have been the cornerstones of a campaign in which they have won more league games than Celtic and scored more goals than them. They have had their setbacks: they lost 3-0 to Hibs at Ibrox, they failed in two out of three attempts to beat Inverness, and they managed only one league win in four Old Firm games. But theyââ?¬â?¢ve been there or thereabouts since day one. How far can Smith take this Rangers team? To within touching distance of one last trophy presentation. http://www.heraldscotland.com/sport/spl/rangers/how-far-can-rangers-go-it-looks-like-all-the-way-1.1100979
  24. Maybe if your own players had tried a bit harder against Caley you may not be in the position you are in Lenny
  25. CRAIG WHYTE has revealed his joy at finally taking over at Rangers and insists the key is to bring more trophies to Ibrox. Whyte finally took his seat in the Ibrox stand as the club's new owner for yesterday's 4-0 win over Hearts. And he was delighted at the reception he received from the fans as Gers took a massive stride towards Three-in-a-Row. He said: "It was absolutely fantastic and a really enjoyable day. I received a good reception from the supporters. Sir David Murray"It has been a long time coming as it has taken more than six months to conclude this deal. So it was a good moment for me. "It was a fantastic performance from the team - better than I could have hoped for. Now we just need to make sure we win the next two games to retain the league. "Rangers are a fantastic club and we can achieve a lot. "We can expand the commercial activities and the branding but it all comes down to doing well on the field. That's the most important thing. We need to keep winning trophies. "I'm a passionate Rangers supporter and that's a big part of the reason I bought the club. "At various points, to be fair to Sir David Murray as well, I think both of us kind of said: 'Let's forget about this and walk away.' But I persevered and I'm glad I did." Whyte paid tribute to Murray and outgoing gaffer Walter Smith as he prepared to launch a new era under manager-in-waiting Ally McCoist. He said: "What David has achieved has been tremendous. He was involved with the club at a unique period when it was possible to buy the best players in England and bring them here. "Unfortunately that's more difficult to do these days. So what David has managed to do for this club shouldn't be underestimated. "Walter is a legendary manager and Ally knows he has a hard act to follow. Let's hope he can do just as well." Whyte brought his father Tom to Ibrox yesterday and recalled how they attended games 30 years ago. He said: "My dad used to bring me here when I was nine or 10. We sat in the Copland Road stand. "So it was nice to be back here today, only this time as owner of the club. "I always enjoyed coming to the games. It was great beside the fans. "You can't sing songs when you're in the directors' box so in some ways it's more fun to sit in the stands. "Watching the football is nice but this is also a business. I plan to get under the covers of the business and there will be a lot to look at. I still have to meet the management team and speak about their plans. "But the focus in the next week or so is to win the league. I don't want to do anything to jeopardise that." Whyte has inherited McCoist as the club's next manager but has no problem with that. He said: "Ally is a Rangers man through and through. I'm sure he'll do a great job. "I had a very brief meeting with him a few months ago but I expect to sit down with him in the next few days. "I think we might need four or five players. I'll do what I can to help." So far i like what i hear. No over the top statements.
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