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  1. Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon is the latest big name in football who could face a hefty bill for investing in a tax avoidance scheme. According to STV News, Lennon (who now manages Bolton Wanderers) alongside Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne, St Mirren caretaker boss Gary Teale and former Scotland captain Gary McAllister, are being probe for investment investing in schemes operated by Ingenious Media Holdings. HMRC is questioning the legitimacy of three schemes operated by Ingenious – Inside Track Productions, Ingenious Film Partners 2 and Ingenious Games LLP. According to Companies House, former Aberdeen players Stephen Glass and Eion Jess, ex-Rangers striker Billy Dodds and former Scotland internationals Colin Hendry and Dominic Matteo also invested in the scheme. Other former footballers being probed include Match of the Day pundits Martin Keown and Danny Murphy. http://citywire.co.uk/wealth-manager/news/former-celtic-boss-lennon-faces-big-bill-over-tax-scheme/a795765
  2. ByPAUL THORNTON The Sun Published: 18 minutes ago CHEEKY Celtic fans are planning to light the blue-touch paper on next week’s long-awaited Old Firm clash - with a full page ad explaining why Rangers are a new club. Sections of the Hoops support have clubbed together to take out the message in a Sunday newspaper one week before the tie. The lengthy message sets out why some Celts reckon the Gers are a different outfit from their historic rivals following the oldco’s liquidation in 2012. After organising through forums and supporter sites a group of dozens of fans have clubbed together a four-figure sum to place the statement. The message states: “As Celtic supporters, we regrettably recognise that our club had an association with Rangers (1872) through the collective descriptive term, The Old Firm. We believe this term is now redundant following the liquidation of Rangers (1872). “On 1st February Celtic supporters will support our team in the semifinal against a new club, which came into being in 2012. “This will be the first ever meeting between the two clubs and the purpose of this statement is to place our position on record so that Celtic supporters can enjoy the occasion for what it is and without playing any part in what we see as the Rangers ‘club continuation’ fiction.” The stunt is sure to wind-up Bears who were buoyed by Lord Nimmo Smith’s report which saw Rangers retain their titles in 2013. At the end of December SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster firmed-up that view when he insisted the team were “absolutely” the same club. He said: “It’s the same club, absolutely. “The member club is the entity that participates in our league and we have 42 member clubs. “Those clubs may be owned by a company, sometimes it’s a Private Limited Company, sometimes it’s a PLC, but ultimately, the company is a legal entity in its own right, which owns a member club that participates in the league. “It was put to bed by the Lord Nimmo Smith commission some while ago – it’s the same club.” Bosses at the paper where the ad is due to run contacted Police Scotland to make sure it would not spark trouble between the supports. Last night the force said: “We are aware of the advert.” Rangers declined to comment. But Union of Fans spokesman Chris Graham said: “We’ve been over this time and time again. The football authorities have said it’s the same club and Lord Nimmo Smith has said it’s the same club. “I don’t think Rangers fans are paying any special attention to the online crackpots among the Celtic support who continue to put forward this notion. I’d have thought they’d have better things to spend their money on.”
  3. ...in Glasgow bars over fears of violence. PUB giants Wetherspoons will black out the League Cup old firm clash and employ extra security staff in all nine of their Glasgow bars on February 1st in a bid to reduce the risk of match day violence. BRITAIN'S biggest pub chain will black out next month’s Old Firm game over fears of violence. Wetherspoon’s say the League Cup semi-final – live on BBC Scotland two weeks today – will not be shown in their pubs in Glasgow . And despite the blackout, all nine of the bars will have extra security staff on duty when Celtic and Rangers meet for the first time since April 2012. Police are visiting pubs across the country to gather intelligence so they can have officers in the right places if violence breaks out. Senior officers want to know how many pubs are showing the game, what type of customers they attract and if they have ever had trouble before. Wetherspoon’s spokesman Eddie Gershon said yesterday: “Wetherspoon’s will not be showing the match in any of its Glasgow pubs. “The decision was taken about a week back.” “The police have been to the pubs to advise that the game is on and ask what measures the pubs are taking. On the day of the match, door staff will be in place where required.” Wetherspoon’s, who have more than 75 pubs in Scotland, say area managers will decide if their bars outside Glasgow will show the game. Police fear the 1.30pm kick-off time for the February 1 game will give fans time to drink before the match and possibly fuel trouble. They confirmed officers are visiting pubs to interview staff but insisted it was normal practice before a big game. One area police are targeting is Ayrshire, where there are large numbers of pubs used by both Celtic and Rangers fans. Superintendent Neil Kerr of Police Scotland’s Ayrshire Division said: “Officers are visiting licensed premises to establish where the game is being shown. We do this for any high-profile events, including past Old Firm matches.” Pubs have been magnets for violence on previous Old Firm match days. Nine police were attacked and injured at the Rowallan bar in Thornliebank, Glasgow, after Celtic beat Rangers 3-0 in February 2011, and a female officer suffered life-threatening injuries. Convicted drug smuggler John Healy, 56, and son Jason, 24, were among six men charged over the violence but the case was dropped after police evidence was lost. There were 280 arrests after the game as trouble flared across Glasgow. Suspects were taken to stations up to 50 miles away because cells in Glasgow were full. One of the most notorious Old Firm encounters was the “Shame Game” of March 2, 2011. Three Rangers players were sent off in the Scottish Cup replay, 12 yellow cards were shown and Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant boss Ally McCoist squared up to each other at the end. Strathclyde Police detained 187 people throughout the day, including 34 at the game, and 40 more suspects were held for domestic abuse offences. First Minister Alex Salmond held a summit with Rangers and Celtic bosses days later. And in 2012, as a direct result of the Shame Game, MSPs passed the controversial Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act. Police then dealt with a record 119 domestic violence cases after an Old Firm game in March 2012. Donald MacLeod, chairman of the Glasgow Licensing forum, said most Glasgow bars will show the February 1 game despite the Wetherspoon’s decision. He added: “Pubs are already required to put strict safety measures in place on match days as a condition of their licence. “This includes providing properly trained and badged stewards “The vast majority of fans watching Old Firm games in pubs do so peacefully. Only a small minority cause trouble. Crime in pubs and clubs is down and most incidents take place in the street. “I’d be more concerned about the easy availability of cheap alcohol in off sales before the game, or even the night before.” Craig Houston of Rangers fans’ group Sons of Struth said the Wetherspoon’s move was “strange” and “could backfire”. He added: “Normally, when you get trouble after an Old Firm game, it’s late at night – not when the game is being shown in a pub. If they’re really that worried about customers’ safety they would shut the pubs at night, but I don’t see Wetherspoon’s doing that. “It seems strange they are penalising fans who can’t get a ticket and want to have a pint and enjoy their game. “If Wetherspoon’s don’t want football in their pubs, fans can decide where they go in future for a drink. It could backfire on them.” http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/pub-chain-pull-plug-showing-4998413
  4. http://www.cfclatest.com/2012/12/28/richard-gough-are-gers-trying-to-force-others-out-of-the-door/
  5. From Mail online. Ally McCoist may have managed Rangers for the final time as Mike Ashley prepares to move to replace him Rangers set to prepare moves aimed at dispensing with Ally McCoist Club to make an announcement after Monday's annual general meeting McCoist steered his side to a 2-0 victory over Livingston on Saturday Rangers are set to make moves aimed at dispensing with Ally McCoist as manager after Monday’s annual general meeting at Ibrox. An announcement is expected to be made of Mike Ashley’s intent to underwrite the new £8million share issue, approval for which must be granted by shareholders in order to keep the club operating beyond the end of next month. With that availability of fresh funding and newly-appointed chief executive Derek Llambias at the controls, Ashley and his lieutenant can begin to impress their stamp on Rangers. VIDEO Scroll down to see Ally McCoist in a tough Rangers press conference Ally McCoist could have manager Rangers for the final time against Livingston on Saturday +2 Ally McCoist could have manager Rangers for the final time against Livingston on Saturday It’s understood the Ibrox board could be prepared to stave off the wave of unrest at the potentially stormy meeting with a solid declaration of Ashley’s commitment and financial way forward. And the Newcastle United owner could be painted as the stricken club’s saviour if loans of up to £3m already handed to Rangers by him were to be written off. All of which could mean yesterday’s 2-0 victory over Livingston becoming one of McCoist’s last, if not his final game, in charge of Rangers. Following a midweek meeting with football board chairman Sandy Easdale and Llambias, McCoist remained as manager for the Championship game at Ibrox. But, if bolstered by a guarantee of cash, Rangers can tackle negotiations over the terms of McCoist’s notice period within the next fortnight in a bid to reach a settlement. Attention would then turn to his backroom staff, including assistant manager Kenny McDowall, first-team coach Ian Durrant and goalkeeping coach Jim Stewart, as work begins on establishing a new football structure. That would be preferable to the new men in charge than prolonging the agony of McCoist remaining in control of the squad until as long as next December. Billy Davies remains a prominent contender to replace McCoist in the hotseat. Ally McCoist gives a status update in tough Rangers press... Mike Ashley is keen to impress his stamp upon Rangers as soon as possible +2 Mike Ashley is keen to impress his stamp upon Rangers as soon as possible Those manoeuvres will raise the stakes in Rangers’ imminent disciplinary clash with the SFA. Last Monday, the governing body issued Ashley and the club notices of complaint for allegedly breaching rules related to his increasing influence in Rangers’ day-to-day running. Ashley steered clear three months ago when then chief executive Graham Wallace went to the market and raised an emergency £3million. Instead, the Newcastle supremo struck a deal with Hargreave Hale for their investment in order to strengthen his shareholding to 8.92 per cent. However, he will ensure his shareholding is no more than 29.9 per cent following any flotation, otherwise he would be legally-bound to make a bid to buy the entire company. Meanwhile, it has emerged Mark Hateley was advised by formerteam-mates to be careful about courting a relationship with the Easdale brothers, Sandy and James — he sat beside them at the recent games at Alloa and Palmerston — months before this week’s revelation of his fall-out with McCoist. Hateley had phoned Nacho Novo and tried to speak to one current player in a bid to extract information about McCoist’s coaching methods. The Rangers manager blanked attempts by Hateley in midweek to mend the broken relationship, furious that his old team-mate appears to have joined the boardroom camp of those who are opponents of the McCoist tenure.
  6. ALLY McCOIST activated his 12-month notice period last week and SCOTT believes that Mike Ashley needs to do the right thing by paying him off now and hiring Billy Davies as his replacement. IT’S been the question on every Rangers supporter’s lips for weeks now. Will Mike Ashley – and his sidekick Derek Llambias - be good or bad for their club? Despite the ‘Union of Fans’ staunch opposition to Ashley’s involvement at Ibrox , ordinary punters can’t decide whether the Newcastle United owner wants a successful Rangers or not. But after the shambolic handling of Ally McCoist’s resignation , this is Ashley’s chance to nail it once and for all. If he’s serious about rebuilding Rangers - on and off the park - and getting them back to Scotland’s top flight and the Champions League, he should prove it. By paying up McCoist what he’s due and appointing Billy Davies as their new gaffer with immediate effect. If he doesn’t and this is allowed to fester into the New Year – all the while McCoist’s team potentially fall further behind Hearts in the Championship – fans will have every right to believe that Ashley has no genuine interest in Rangers’ well-being after all. Whether you think McCoist has played a blinder by calling the board’s bluff, or that his stance is causing more harm then good, is irrelevant. He’s owed cash that his contract entitles him to. People have said he should sacrifice it and walk with nothing, which is ludicrous, or give it to charity. Who’s to say he won’t? Some even think he should put it back into the club. But given the current board’s record in financial management, why would he do that? The money’s certainly safer in McCoist’s hands, that’s for sure. That opinion was backed by a UoF statement last week. He should be allowed to go with his dignity – and legendary status at Ibrox – intact. His pay-off is a drop in the ocean to Ashley, which could quickly be recouped IF his intentions for Rangers are honourable. If they are, he’d do well to get Davies in ASAP. It would certainly get attendance figures – which have fallen like snow off a dyke recently – moving in the right direction again. Former club legends like Terry Butcher and Stuart McCall will also be in the frame when McCoist eventually goes. But, no matter what you might think of him, a firecracker like the Davies is exactly the type Ashley and Rangers need. Speak to any player who has worked under him and chances are they’ll tell you he’s the best coach they’ve ever had. Kris Boyd for one says Davies opened his eyes to a whole new side of the game during four months with him at Nottingham Forest. Davies is the reason Boyd is now coaching kids two nights a week. The Rangers striker talks openly about how his old gaffer would pre-empt situations in games before watching in amazement as they panned out exactly as he’d predicted. Davies is a football obsessive, a 24/7 manager, who is meticulous when it comes to planning and preparation. He doesn’t have an in-built editing suite at home – where he watches re-runs of training sessions – for nothing. Tactically, he’s already proved to be one of the best in British football. His record at Preston North End, Derby County and Forest in the English Championship is nothing short of phenomenal, especially given the resources he had to work with at Deepdale and Pride Park. Davies likes to blend youth with experience. He prides himself on finding bargain buys and ensuring their value increases under his tutelage. The likes of David Nugent is a prime example of that, a guy he plucked from relative obscurity when he was Preston boss who eventually became a £6 million man. For good reason, a malaise has set in at Murray Park. That’s hardly McCoist’s fault after everything that’s gone on at Rangers in the last three years. But when he exits, a clear-out is needed. And Davies will turn the place upside down if Ashley and Llambias allow him to do it properly. Of course, the diminutive Glaswegian has his faults. Davies’ relations with the local press had deteriorated beyond repair in Nottingham towards the end of his time at the City Ground and he had dis-engaged with Forest supporters. On that score, after almost nine months out of the game, you’d like to think Davies will have learnt from it and won’t make the same mistake again. Former Old Firm managers like Walter Smith and Neil Lennon will gladly tell him that when you’re in charge of either Rangers or Celtic, it’s wise to have the media on your side. At Forest, Davies felt certain people at the club were working against him. But that shouldn’t be a problem at Rangers if he’s Ashley’s man. Look at the relationship he has with Alan Pardew at St James’ Park. Like McCoist, Davies has Rangers in his blood. After being reared on the streets of Pollok, he knows what the club means to those supporters. He’s ready and willing to step into McCoist’s shoes when the time comes. Having moved back up to Scotland permanently, Davies has already taken in several Rangers’ matches. He’s even been seen at other Championship games involving the likes of Hearts and Hibs. It looks like that meticulous planning and preparation that he’s become renowned for – has already started. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/scott-mcdermott-mike-ashley-can-4847969?
  7. I remember seeing Ally playing for Kilmarnock at the end of his career. He broke his leg trying to get on the end of a cross into the box somehow - I don't really remember all the details. What I do remember is Ally trying to get onto the end of the cross despite his leg hanging off. It was instinctive, deep rooted, a refusal to give up. Today's announcement was a surprise with this in mind. I don't take Ally for a quitter, still don't. I think Ally was doing the equivalent of 'going all in' at poker, despite not having the best hand, in the hope of facing down his critics. It is surely true that Ally still believes himself to still be the man to take Rangers back to the top flight. But is he? Let's go through some criticisms of him; Criticism 1- He has a vastly expensive squad, and should be doing better with them. The squad is expensive for a reason - Good players would not be willing to drop down three divisions into a football wilderness. To even sign average players, Rangers had to fork out multiples above true market value to attain them. Cue resentment. Criticism 2- He hasn't brought through young players. He could have done better, but currently 30% of the squad are from the youth set up, and do contain some potential in McLeod and Aird. This is a better performance and ratio than celtic, who only have McGregor and Forrest from their youth set up, and Forrest has been on the scene for a few years now. Criticism 3- He is only in it for the money. I just don't buy this. This has been used constantly to smear him. I'm sure Ally could pick up his £20,000 per episode buy out for Question of Sport if he desired again. He is unquestionably the highest paid manager in Scotland, which in the current financial climate is madness. However, this is a matter for the ranger's financial controller to decide. Ally to his credit has already offered to take a wage cut, even if temporary. To put it into perspective, peter lawwel is reputed to be on close to 50% more at celtic. Criticism 4- 'We won't get promoted with Ally in charge I think the collective bottle of the support has gone rather than Ally's bottle. You are half way through December. Hearts are no great shakes and I fully expect them to start dropping points. Once they do, they may find it difficult to push forward again. In the two games v Rangers (and against Hibs), Hearts rode their luck. Is Craig Levein suddenly a football genius? The wheels will come off soon. Also, as proven against a few SPFL teams, Ally can set up his teams to beat them. The play offs if needed, will be negotiated by Ally. St Mirren / Ross County?? Come on. Hibs are your worry. Criticism 5- Players are regressing Yes, and this is to be expected. If barca had spent two and a half years playing garbage week in week out, we'd be saying how Messi was going backwards.. Two years of non competitive action blunts the sword. However, some evidence suggests he is improving young players like Mcleod, and whipping boy Aird. Criticism 6- He has been a lackey for Green, Whyte etc. Let's be clear - rangers would have had titles unfairly stripped off them if it wasn't for Ally. Ally is one of the most important people in your history - he was the one who kept going when the Goughs, Smiths, Fergusons of the world had written rangers off as dead. Ally kept pumping the heart until the pulse appeared again. Yet it is derided as a selfish act for financial gain. Jesus wept. Green hates him. This is 'a good sign'. Criticism 7- He plays hoof ball. True, and it looks very 20th century. However Ally will see it as a percentage tactic on poor pitches. Jury out on it's effectiveness. We can't expect tiki taka from any Scottish team let alone championship teams. And tbh, the SPFL looks absolutely garbage. John Greig's teams would be running riot in it I suspect. Criticism 8- He looks clueless / I hate his face etc Personal abuse helps no one, and rangers fans are particularly vociferous I'm sure a lot of you will agree. It's like keying your own car. We all know support will produce better results than personal abuse. Criticism 9- His cup performances. Could be better (ask neil Lennon /any Hibs manager /Davie Smith), but seriously, getting outraged by losing in the Petrofac cup or whatever it's called- you should be thankful your name isn't on that embarrassment of a cup. Cup football is unforgiving, but the league is all that really matters. Plus, he has done a couple of top flight teams IIRC. I'd say the Rangers support has to give Ally the benefit of the doubt and allow him to get on with his very specific goal - getting Rangers back into the SPFL. He has earned this. You may be slightly off- course at the moment, but with 4 months left, Ally should have the full support of the fans. He is the last 'Rangers man' in the building - do you really want to chase him?
  8. The emergence of Mike Ashley as the key shareholder in Rangers has raised many questions on what his exact intentions are. Some are of the opinion that billionaire Ashley will invest millions into Rangers which sees us dominate Scottish Football and participate in the Champions League. The conflicting aspect of Ashley investing in Rangers is the fact he has complete control of the income generated by the sale of club merchandise and the £1 stadium naming rights, although denied in certain quarters as scaremongering, was only just revoked after pressure to comply with possible fiduciary duties. Why invest millions when he’s taking money out of the business?........... http://www.therst.co.uk/mike-ashley-what-are-his-intentions/
  9. NEIL Lennon has revealed how sectarian “chaos and madness” left him exhausted and influenced his decision to quit Celtic. The former Parkhead boss said he was worn down by a *series of high-profile off-field incidents during his 11 years as player and manager at the *Glasgow club. During his time in Scotland, he was attacked by a Hearts fan at a game at Tynecastle and assaulted while out in the West End of Glasgow. Lennon, 43, was also sent bullets in the post and suffered a number of death threats. He stood down in the summer and has taken up a new role as manager of English Championship side Bolton Wanderers. In an interview, he said: “I don’t want to paint a bad picture because it’s fantastic up there from a football point of view. But it does wear you down in the end. “Maybe it was the chaos and the madness catching up with me, but I just felt desperately tired. When I was younger, I was able to have the energy and courage to get through it. “When I was getting bullets through the post and all that, I had good people of intelligence in the background who were looking after me. But in the end I was exhausted emotionally. “It all caught up with me. I needed a change of scenery. Did it change me as a person? Not really, no. “Did it have an effect on me? I think at times it did. Now I’m out of it, do I miss the intensity? Sometimes, yes. We live off that. “But I am loving what I am doing now. I can concentrate on the management and the football rather than the other stuff.” Lennon replaced Tony Mowbray at Parkhead in 2010 and as well as leading the club to three successive Scottish Premiership successes, he has also helped Celtic claim two Scottish Cup wins and masterminded their run to the last 16 of last season’s Champions League. In his new role at Bolton, he has won four of his first six games and admits it’s a “whole new challenge” for him. The former midfielder accepts he was “no angel” at Celtic but insisted he didn’t deserve the vitriol and has told of his anger that people in Scotland refuse to accept the abuse he was getting was sectarian in nature. He said: “At times I didn’t do myself any favours. But did I get a fair crack of the whip? No. “Some of what was said about the difficulties I had was irresponsible. I found it personal. People wouldn’t come out and say my treatment was sectarian. “They said I brought it on myself. They hid behind that *because they didn’t want to admit it. But it was sectarian in the stadiums. “People say, ‘He brings it on himself… he is an aggressive manager’. But so are some other managers. So are some players. I was high-profile, I came for a lot of money as a player. For me, my job was being part of Martin O’Neill’s team and to break the Rangers monopoly. We did that. “Nobody else had to go through situations and circumstances like I have been through. I wouldn’t want anyone else to go through it. You would hope that all the nonsense that *happened to me would serve as a watershed. “The anticipation and the *rivalry in Glasgow will probably never tire. There is part of me that misses it but a bigger part of me that doesn’t.” http://www.scotsman.com/news/scotland/top-stories/neil-lennon-sectarian-abuse-triggered-celtic-exit-1-3611120
  10. Gribz

    Ally's CV

    A super legend as a player but why is he allowed to still be manager....1 or 2 results could be swept under the carpet but the following shows he isn't the man. Peterhead 2-2 Rangers Berwick 1-1 Rangers Annan 0-0 Rangers Stirling 1-0 Rangers Rangers 1-1 Elgin Rangers 1-1 Montrose Stirling 1-1 Rangers Rangers 1-2 Annan Rangers 0-0 Stirling Montrose 0-0 Rangers Rangers 1-2 Peterhead Rangers 1-1 Stranraer Rangers 3-3 Stenhousemuir Raith 1-0 Rangers (cup final) Forfar 2-1 Rangers Rangers 1-1 Albion Rangers 1-3 Dundee Utd Brora Rangers 1-1 Rangers Ventura Fusion County (no laughing at the back please) 3-1 Rangers Rangers 1-2 Hearts Alloa 1-1 Rangers Rangers 1-3 Hibs Rangers 1-1 Alloa
  11. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/rangers-investors-sandy-james-easdale-4597710
  12. Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon has been named as the manager of Championship bottom side Bolton Wanderers. Lennon, 43, out of work since leaving Celtic in May after four years in charge, succeeds Dougie Freedman, who left the Trotters earlier this month. Bolton have won only one league game in 11 so far this season. Neil Lennon's managerial career at Celtic The Northern Irishman officially takes over at Bolton on Monday, with his first match in charge being Saturday's trip to Birmingham City. Lennon led Celtic to three league titles and two Scottish Cups and took them to the Champions League last 16. Victory over Barcelona in the group stage of Europe's elite club competition in November 2012 was Lennon's highest-profile achievement at the Glasgow club. Johan Mjallby, Lennon's number two in Glasgow, also joins the Trotters as assistant manager with Garry Parker, another who served at Celtic Park, arriving as first-team coach. Lennon had last month expressed interest in vacant posts at Bolton's Championship rivals Cardiff City and Fulham http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/29589068
  13. Not that we're interested or anything.
  14. BBC Scotland are reporting : Salmonella cases linked to Celtic Park. A salmonella outbreak in Glasgow, Lanarkshire, and Highland areas has been linked to hospitality at Celtic Park. NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde(GGC) said 11 people who had eaten at the stadium on 21 September, the day Celtic had played Motherwell, had fallen ill. The Health Board said all 11 cases were recovering in the community. Glasgow City Council's Environmental Health Department are content with food production within Celtic Park kitchens and the investigation is focusing on external sources. Glasgow City Council's continuing loyalty is impressive and I hope Peter rewards them with tables of free hospitality for their up coming Christmas lunch. Talking of external sources, I note the Evening Times is reporting 17 arrests last evening, both inside and outside ground at the Europa Cup group match. Sounds like a riot? Keith Jackson will not have the opportunity to report one way or other, ra Sellik have banned him today. You are what you read!
  15. ....we won title by 21 points one season and lost it by 15 the next. BARRY says the next meeting between Rangers and Celtic can't come quickly enough and reckons, should they meet in a cup this season, his beloved Gers will prove they are closer to matching their rivals than people think. THEY might have been kept apart in the League Cup quarter-final draw but there is definitely a feeling an Old Firm collision is getting closer. A clash of the Glasgow giants could yet come in that tournament this season or even in the Scottish Cup with Rangers now getting deeper into knockout competitions. If it doesn’t then few would bet against Rangers winning promotion from the Championship which means we’ll have to wait only until next season for one. Personally, it can’t come quickly enough because it’s been badly missed and that has been the feeling of many Celtic fans in the past two years. But I’m not so sure they’re as eager for a crack at Rangers now. I’ve heard so much talk in the past couple of years about how Celtic are 10 years ahead of my old club. It’s a phrase that seems to have been trotted out whenever Celtic were at their highest or Rangers at their lowest. But there is no doubt the gap is closing. In fact I believe the squads are pretty evenly matched in terms of quality. But regardless of that I don’t think you can ever say one is 10 years ahead of the other. The thing about the Old Firm is that superiority goes in cycles. That’s always been the case and it probably always will be. They simply don’t get so far ahead that the other one can’t quickly catch up. And one of the best examples of that comes from a period when I was playing at Ibrox. Under Dick Advocaat we won the league title by a massive 21 points in his second season charge. It came on the back of a treble in Advocaat’s first season and, having won the final Old Firm game of that season 4-0, many believed the gulf had never been so great. Celtic were seen as being in disarray with Kenny Dalglish in temporary charge after John Barnes had left the club but Martin O’Neill was brought in that summer and things quickly changed. And what happened the following season? Celtic won the league by 15 points. So that was a 36-point swing in the space of just 12 months. If that doesn’t prove how much and how quickly things can change, nothing will. Nothing much at Rangers had changed and Celtic made only two signings, Chris Sutton and Joos Valgaeren, before the opening league game of that campaign (Alan Thompson and Didier Agathe followed in September, Rab Douglas in October and Neil Lennon in December). People have their opinions on the state of Rangers and Celtic just now but for me talk of being 10 years between them is exaggerated. It’s nothing like that. And it would be great to see them going at it for the first time since Celtic won 3-0 at Parkhead in April 2012. For a lot of people the Old Firm fixture is the only thing they associate with Scottish football and it’s been a difficult couple of years for our game without them. That’s a bit disrespectful to the other clubs but it’s the truth. I know Celtic fans would have loved a crack at Rangers at their lowest ebb in the last couple of seasons but it’s changed now. I don’t think Celtic have gone backwards because they still have a very strong squad. The personnel is pretty much the same but they have lost a manager in Neil Lennon who knew the Old Firm derby inside out while Ronny Deila is still learning aspects of our game. But I just feel Ally McCoist, right, has improved his Rangers squad greatly. He’s had a lot of younger boys in the past couple of seasons but now he has guys with Premiership and Old Firm experience. Plus it’s the old cliche of form going out of the window in an Old Firm game. Even those who do feel Celtic are 10 years ahead of Rangers would probably agree that in a one-off game anything can happen in that fixture. Again I can go back to that 2000-01 season for proof of that. Celtic beat us 6-2 at Parkhead in the first Old Firm derby of the season and we went out and beat them 5-1 in the next. Another big swing – this time all in the space of just three months. I feel Kenny Miller, although he’s been injured, and Kris Boyd are two huge signings and their experience is vital. I’m sure any Premiership manager would snap your hand off for those two. I know Boydie has yet to score in the league but it will come. It might just take one to go in off his backside and he’ll be on fire again. A lot of my friends are asking me if there’s anything different or wrong given the fact he hasn’t scored as many as some might have expected. But nothing has changed, apart from the fact he’s a much better all-round player than in his first spell at Ibrox. I don’t have any concerns about him. He’s a confident guy who believes in his own ability. That’s the kind of player you want in there and he’ll soon stick one in the top corner. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/barry-ferguson-you-cant-say-4326012?
  16. Reading twitter and lots of bears are hoping or expecting the filth in the next round. So, what about Gersnetters? Timmy or a home draw to a so called lesser side to the tims? I'd love a spot of 'battle fever' but I'm not sure we'd get lucky and be drawn at home. Other big concern is some of our players being able to handle the atmosphere against them. Thoughts?
  17. I didn’t think it was possible for the Rangers support to be more fractured and lacking consensus than we were in the first half of this year but rather depressingly we’ve managed it. In the maelstrom of a referendum on Scottish Independence the boardroom turmoil that has dominated the forums, social media and old fashioned conversations took a back seat to Loyalism, Unionism and the bogey man topic of Nationalism. Such is the ineptitude of our board, they missed the opportunity to bury some negative news in amongst the fog of the ideological war that raged throughout the month of September but I digress. Being a pro-Independence Rangers supporter these last few months has been a real challenge. I’ve been confronted by many fellow fans on social media and called everything from a “timpathiser”, (whatever that is) to a Nazi and Quisling. One particularly poorly adjusted and misinformed fellow told me I was a “traitor to Rangers Loyalist Unionist roots…” The idea that a Rangers supporter could support Independence just would not compute for many and my follower count on Twitter tumbled dramatically, I won’t lose any sleep over that however I must admit to now facing somewhat of a crossroads. Do I plod on attending matches listening to chants about where people like me can “stick your Independence” and the Loyalist songbook which was given an airing in George Square on Friday night amidst scenes of thuggery and hatred? Do I carry on turning a blind eye to the continual linking of Rangers Football Club to Loyalism and The Orange Order just as I have done for many years? The thought of turning my back on the club I’ve supported since I was five years old and which has provided myself and my (now deceased) Father so many happy memories makes me physically ill. The thought of a future devoid of one of the precious few constants in my life so far is unthinkable and so that is not a road I’m willing to go down just yet. So what are my options? I could become the archetypal armchair fan and refrain from discussing football matters on social media but we are in an age where it’s almost impossible to avoid. I could fool myself into thinking that it’s not so bad and the majority of my fellow fans are reasonable, open minded individuals but I’m not capable of cognitive dissonance on that scale. It seems that the core of our support are labouring under the misconceptions that being a “real” Rangers man means that you must also be many other things. I’ll use this juncture to clarify what I mean by “core of our support”. There are probably thousands of Rangers supporters (I don’t like term “fan”) who are feeling similarly disillusioned at the moment and those are probably a large percentage of the several thousand fans who’ve been missing for the last few home games joined by those who are boycotting, suffering from boardroom related malaise or simply disillusioned with how we are playing. What’s left are a core (match attending group) and of those I’d estimate that 75% fall into the category as described previously in this article. There’s also a large group of fans who, for one reason or another don’t regularly attend matches and again I’d estimate that a large percentage of those are politically and ideologically aligned with their brethren sitting in the stands. I’m conscious that I’m in danger of pigeon holing large swathes of people here and would only offer the fact that this is how I see things in basic terms. I’m sure there are reasonable folks in amongst the core who do not fall into any of my hastily preconceived notions and that I do not think the situation has reached the point of no return just yet and this leads me to the only other option I feel I have left. I’d urge everyone who considers themselves to be a Rangers supporter to distance the club from toxic and divisive affiliations. To seriously consider for a moment that we are in real danger of losing thousands of people like me who feel marginalised by their fellow bears and more importantly that we are in danger of losing the next generation of season ticket holder who have shown throughout the referendum run up and beyond, that they are increasingly well informed and turned off by Northern Irish politics, by far right-wing rhetoric and the kind of vulgar displays of aggression that we’ve seen both online and in the streets of Glasgow from both Unionists and Nationalist factions. Next time you’re attending an Orange parade maybe leave the Rangers merchandise at home, remove the Loyalist symbolism from Rangers flags and banners, try not to marginalise your fellow supporters who don’t care about that kind of stuff really, that’s all. Is that too much to ask? For some, what I’ve asked is probably tantamount to singing rebel songs in a tri-colour but to me it’s just common decency, something that has been eroding away for many years and something that the gallant pioneers probably had in abundance. Try to be a bit more like a Moses McNeil or a Tom Vallance and live the values which built the very thing that we all hold so dear. If we want a positive future for our club we all have to sow the seeds of that starting from now after all, we share much more in common than we do which divides us. I’ll remain a supporter and will try to live by my own code, respecting others right to support the club any way they choose but speaking out against intolerance, negative affiliations and polarizing attitudes. Let’s see if we can build a stronger and more together support from the rubble. The alternative I’m afraid would be a very dark period in Rangers history. It’s only a matter of time before we will be back attempting to compete with Celtic. It may be only a matter of time before we see major boardroom change. Do we really want to be facing these challenges with a support that can’t agree on what colour the sky is? The answer is obvious to me.
  18. By Alan Brazil, 21 September 2014 9.00am. It’s one of the biggest mysteries in football. Why on earth aren’t clubs beating a path to Neil Lennon’s door? Since the Irishman left Celtic in the summer, the likes of Norwich City, Southampton, Huddersfield, Crystal Palace, Cardiff City and now Fulham have all ditched their manager. Lennon has been linked with all those clubs – and has expressed an interest in the other two – but he’s still out of a job. For me, that’s bonkers. This is a man who has masterminded a Celtic victory over Barcelona in the Champions League, and taken the Hoops to the last 16 of the same tournament. He’s a man who has won three League titles and two Scottish Cups as a manager. He’s also a guy who, for my money, has one of the best football brains around. But still nobody seems particularly interested. It’s mind-boggling. It would be easy to argue that the reason for English clubs’ reluctance to back Lenny is the lack of credibility Scottish football has south of the border. It’s very sad, but it’s a fact that people in England look down their noses at the game in Scotland. But if that is the main reason for Neil Lennon STILL being a passenger on the managerial merry-go-round four months after leaving Celtic, then why on earth was Paul Hartley coveted by Cardiff City? No disrespect to Paul, who I think is a very good, up-and-coming manager. But his CV isn’t as impressive as Neil’s at this point in time. Yet it was the Dundee manager’s name at the top of Vincent Tan’s list of potential replacements for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, not Neil Lennon’s. After Hartley knocked back the Bluebirds, Lenny emerged amongst the front-runners, but I can’t believe he wasn’t leading the pack from the very beginning – especially given his relatively high profile in the media these days. There was a time where you probably could have said Neil had a bit of an image problem. Touchline altercations, being sent to the stands, touchline bans. All of those things were fairly regular occurrences, particularly early in his managerial career. But in his increasingly regular media appearances, I think Neil has gone a huge way towards proving he’s not THAT person. He’s on TV on a near-weekly basis, and I’ve had him on my radio programme plenty of times. He has always represented himself brilliantly. By managing his profile the way he has, he has positioned himself as a thoughtful, articulate student of the game, rather than a touchline-prowling firebrand. That transformation, taken in tandem with his achievements as Celtic boss, ought to make him a prime candidate for plenty of Premier League clubs – and EVERY Championship side. It really shocks me that it hasn’t turned out that way yet. But I believe that eventually, the tide will turn in Neil’s favour. All it will take is one club to take a chance and appoint him as manager and I think the folly of all the clubs who ignored him this summer will be exposed. Whether we’ll be able to add Cardiff and Fulham to that list or not, we’ll find out soon enough. http://www.sundaypost.com/sport/columnists/alan-brazil/the-lack-of-interest-in-neil-lennon-is-mind-boggling-1.586211
  19. I`m sure some on here will have an interest in this announcement ... http://www.heraldscotland.com/politics/referendum-news/orange-order-may-stage-pro-union-march-on-eve-of-scottish-referendum.24188536 Orange Order may stage pro-Union march on eve of Scottish referendum Tom Gordon Scottish Political Editor . Sunday 11 May 2014 THE Orange Order is planning a massive parade in support of a No vote days before the independence referendum. The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland hopes to attract up to 15,000 members to Edinburgh on the Saturday before the historic vote. Although most of those taking part will be from Scotland, the fiercely pro-Union Protestant movement also expects some Orange bands from Northern Ireland "to show support". The pro-Union Better Together group last night distanced itself from the Order, insisting it would "never" be part of its campaign. Robert McLean, executive officer of the Grand Orange Lodge, said the organisation was already in positive talks with City of Edinburgh Council about the September 13 gathering. He said: "It's basically an Orange parade. It's not just a parade for anyone. You would expect the Orange organisations to come out for a No. "We are looking for between 10,000 and 15,000 members in the parade. The majority will be from Scotland but we would expect some of our lodges from Northern Ireland and England to show support." The Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland has its own pro-Union campaign group, British Together. On its website, Grand Master Henry Dunbar says the Orange Order in Scotland is "fervently opposed" to the break-up of the UK. "Ever since the first Orange lodges were constituted in Scotland in 1797, we have been committed to a United Kingdom, headed by a constitutional monarchy. "We are primarily a Christian and charitable fraternal organisation - we rarely step in to the political arena. However, the Union ... is a matter that unites us all. "I remain convinced that with your help, the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland can help ensure that we remain 'British Together'." After the debacle of the CBI registering and then de-registering as an official campaigner in the referendum, McLean said the Grand Lodge had considered whether it should become a "permitted participant", but decided against this, as it would not spend beyond the £10,000 threshold. "It's an educational programme we are trying to run here," he said. "We feel quite clearly that we are better together. As far as we are concerned, [the Union] is not broken so it does not need fixed. We are quite happy to stay within the UK." Despite the increasingly heated nature of the independence debate, McLean said he did not expect the Edinburgh parade to be a flashpoint for disorder. "We never get a counter protest at an Orange parade. We accept that for this one we could. But I'm sure the police will deal with that." The parade promises to be one of the few large gatherings before voters go to the ballot. In 2012 and 2013, supporters of independence staged marches and rallies in Edinburgh, first in Princes Street Gardens and then on Calton Hill, which attracted thousands. However, plans for a third and final rally this year have been ditched, with organisers urging people to focus on local events instead. Regarding the Orange order parade, a Better Together spokesman said: "This organisation isn't part of our campaign and never will be. The best way for people who believe that we are stronger and better together as part of the UK to get involved is by speaking to undecided voters, not marching in the streets." Yes Scotland said: "We fully respect that others have a different view and support their democratic right to express it in any legitimate and peaceful way they wish."
  20. by Andrew Smith BY THE end of the current campaign, Celtic will have a record of four competitive victories in the Champions League group stages across the past seven years. They had a fifth win in 2008-9, but that came in their final game when they were already condemned to prop up the section. The club, then, are hardly heavyweights in the most glamorous European domain. They aren’t even light middleweights. The furore engendered by the 1-0 home defeat against Maribor in midweek that meant Celtic will have contested the Champions League only three times in seven years was, as the club’s chief executive Peter Lawwell said the other day, not “rational” but “reactive to a bad, bad result”. Yet, Celtic themselves are partly responsible for the fact the fans will flog them for failure in the qualifying stages of the Champions League since they continually set themselves up as “one of the best-run clubs” in the universe. A club so spectacularly well-run would not flop against (in Legia Warsaw and Maribor) not one but two clubs boasting a fraction of Celtic’s budget, it is legitimate to contend. Even with a new manager, as Celtic have in the yet-to-convince Ronny Deila. Not so, Lawwell contended. “It happened to Gordon [strachan], 5-0 [away to Artmedia Bratislava], happened to Lenny [Neil Lennon], with Utrecht, Braga and Sion, and it happened to Martin [O’Neill] , in Basel, and we never threw the towel in. We said ‘these things happen’; it is transition. It is happening to [Louis] van Gaal [at Manchester United], it happened to David Moyes. It is transition. In big clubs, it takes time. So that is wrong what you are saying.” Celtic’s strategy isn’t wrong. It doesn’t require a complete rethink. But they must do the right things correctly, and that is where questions are entitled to be asked. Overall, they have signed a bad crop of players in the past two years, and been too sluggish to replace the players they have cashed in handsomely on. It is not a matter of being done in by downsizing, however easy that line is to trot out. If Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic succeeds in filling the No.9 hole that has existed since the departure of Gary Hooper last season, then Celtic will have made £2.2 million work for them better than the near £6m they forked out in the previous two windows on Teemu Pukki, Amido Balde and Leigh Griffiths, three forwards Deila patently doesn’t trust. Celtic require to show a little more humility about the element of luck that determines whether their policies end up appearing visionary or vacuous. Lawwell at least offered up that the other day. “I hope you don’t think we are being immodest but when you are the target of the criticism [we have had], you have to defend yourself. And it’s not just us that are saying we are one of the best-run clubs in Britain and Europe… are we not that? “It is difficult. With the uncertainties, the risk. We don’t think we are God’s gift, we don’t think the strategy is flawless. Of course it is flawed, because it is football, and it is chance. Karagandy last year, they hit the bar. Callum [McGregor’s shot the other night] might have not hit the bar. In football you have to prepare for that and not think you are fallible, and prepare for being fallible. Which I think we have done. “Economically, we are far stronger than Elfsborg, Helsingborg, Karagandy, far stronger than Legia, far stronger than Reykjavik and Maribor. Far stronger. But these things happen. Far stronger than Inverness. But these things happen. If it was done on economics purely, then we should be in the Champions League every year. But there is a football element, a sporting element If we are in it three years out of five, we are doing well. We should be beating Maribor.” There is a tedious attempt to put Celtic’s recent struggles down to the absence of a Rangers in the top flight. Yet, Celtic now have a £10m reserve when, with the Ibrox club as top-flight rivals, they are in debt. Lawwell, though, doesn’t downplay the squeeze on finances caused by the disappearance of the rivalry, offset by nearly £30m player sales inside the past 15 months. “When Rangers went down, we took £100 off the season tickets. So that is £4m [down] for two years. The Rangers games bring in at least another £3m. The fact that there is a perception among our supporters that there is no competition and you are going to win anyway, and so you don’t go to the game, means you could have lost £10m a year, quite easily, on the back of Rangers going down. How we have coped is seeing that ahead and the strategy over that ten, 11-year period, has seen us successful on the park and stable off it, as Hearts and Rangers have gone bust. And yet we are still getting it [in the neck].” Deila might consider himself fortunate that he is not getting it more, with grumbles over his failure to convert a 1-1 draw away to Maribor into a home result that took his team through to the group stages. The Norwegian was willing to defend his tactics, which seemed higgelty-piggelty, for the fact he opened up in the second half when Celtic only needed to contain. “We were too passive in the first half and would have lost if we had kept going that way,” Deila said. “We need more offensive power and controlled the game and looked more of a threat with Kris [Commons]. And then they scored.” Deila has not seen new signing Scepovic in the flesh and said he has no reason to do so because of the trust he has in John Park’s scouting department, which has been “pretty successful” over four or five years. The manager is placing great store in the Serbian being the target man required, and the signing must work for him as Celtic go into a Europa League campaign against Salzburg, Dinamo Zagreb and Astra. Against the Austrians, Croatians and Romanians, none of who can match Celtic’s £32m football wage bill, he must show the team is progressing. Deila admits it is not acceptable for Celtic to lose in Champions League qualifiers to far more modestly financed opponents, but appealed for judgments on him to be reserved for now. If he wants a crumb of comfort, no new Celtic manager since Billy McNeill in 1979 has made any impact in their first tilt at European competition with the club. And, not coincidentally, McNeill had been in the job for a season when his first campaign arrived, after Celtic missed out on Europe in predecessor Jock Stein’s final campaign. “If we meet those teams [Legia and Maribor] next year and we lose like we did against Legia then I have to take the criticism. But it’s very unfair right now because a lot of things have happened, it’s coming straight into something and we’ve been losing players. “It has been tough, a tough ten weeks. I can assure you of that. It has been much tougher than I thought it would be. You can’t ever know what you are going into this job – you have to experience it. But I am enjoying it. I am in pain also sometimes. But you always have to have in your mind that you have to bounce back, that you have to find a way out of it. “We need time to get the squad back into the same order that it’s been in before. Consistency – you can see Van Gaal is buying the whole of Europe and isn’t winning so many games either. It takes time. Previous managers have come in here as well and not been the best in the first year but they have been allowed time to build his ideas and structure. Next year when I sit here – judge me and harshly if I haven’t done the things. This year the most important thing is to win the league and we want to do well in the cups too. To get the triple would be fantastic. “I want to use all the matches in Europe to see how good we are and develop through that. I hope we go through. Next year I hope we can go into the Champions League group stages and go into the qualifiers thinking: We look stronger, this is going to happen.” And if it doesn’t happen next year, the name calling won’t just be against Lawwell from the small cluster of malcontents that will gather at the front door. http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/spfl/andrew-smith-celtic-need-to-show-more-humility-1-3526234
  21. http://sport.stv.tv/football/video/3755311980001/? I have to say, i may not be his biggest fan but i support him here completely. The press in this country are an absolute disgrace. Ally gives them all the sound bites they want, all the time and interviews and when he asks for a little bit back they can't afford him it. Well played Ally, well played.
  22. http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/22037966 Hopefully this will herald a bigger sportlight on the shady goings on in the east of the city by CFC, GCC et all...
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