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Barry Ferguson: There may be little left to play for.........


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...........but an Old Firm cup clash could save the season for Scottish football

 

BARRY believes Scottish Cup clash between Celtic and Rangers would give our game a much-needed shot in the arm.

 

LET’S face it, the season is over. It ended on Tuesday night when AC Milan stuck three past Celtic.

 

If we’re being honest, Scottish football is just killing time now until the summer holidays – and we’re not even in December yet.

 

Celtic’s European campaign is over but they already have the Premiership in the bag.

 

Hearts need a miracle to avoid relegation. Again, we knew they were goners before a ball was even kicked.

 

The rest of the world might have one eye on Brazil next summer, with players bursting a gut to win a place at the World Cup. But not Scotland.

 

We’ll be coming? Nope, we’ll be going nowhere.

 

The truth is, on the pitch, Scottish football is done for the season. Unless something crazy happens and Rangers and Celtic come up against each other in the Scottish Cup.

 

Now wouldn’t that give our game a massive shot in the arm?

 

OK, I accept, I’m biased. The Old Firm derby was always my favourite fixture.

 

I miss playing in it and I miss going to watch it. Most of all, I miss the fact that it was the game which captured the imagination of everyone in British football.

 

And I do mean everyone.

 

I’ve played in the Birmingham derby against Villa and I’ve heard others bang on about Real Madrid and Barcelona, AC Milan versus Inter and United-City in Manchester.

 

Listen, I don’t care what anybody says, none of them beats the Old Firm game.

 

The guys down here can’t get enough of it and I know that for a fact because since I’ve been at Birmingham and Blackpool I’ve been running busloads of them up and down to Glasgow every time there has been a derby at Ibrox or Parkhead. That’s all I’d hear: “Haw Fergie, when’s the next Old Firm game? Can you take us to it?”

 

Some of them would have tickets for the Celtic end. Some of us would have tickets for the proper part of the stadium. And at the end we’d get back on the bus and rip each other to shreds all the way back down the M6.

 

But I’m telling you, these guys were still raving about it weeks later. They’d say to me: “Man, I’ve never experienced anything like that in my life.” And I’d say: “There you go, that’s a real football game.”

 

These same people always liked to look down their noses at the game in our country. I looked upon it as missionary work.

 

Once they’ve been to one, they understand why it’s such a special game and they can’t get enough of it.

 

So what everyone has to understand is that, to the rest of the world, Rangers and Celtic are Scottish football. End of story.

 

And the quicker they are back battling it out on the park again, the better it will be for everyone.

 

Listen, I might be playing a couple of hundred miles down the road these days but I can smell the poison in the air from down here.

 

There’s a lot of bitterness and bad blood because of everything that has happened over the last couple of years.

 

For the record, Rangers didn’t die. They are not a zombie, they are the same club they always were but I can understand why Celtic are scared of them.

 

It’s because they always have been – and vice versa. It is just part of the DNA in this part of the world. It’s a way of life when you grow up on one side of the divide or the other. It’s why when you’re a youngster it’s the game you dream of playing in.

 

I remember scoring my first goal against Celtic at Ibrox. You just needed to look at my face as I ran away celebrating to see what that meant to me.

 

As someone who prides himself on being a moaning faced git, I never realised my smile could be as big as that. But no other game brings out such levels of emotion. That moment right there was what dreams are made of.

 

If I was still at Rangers and Celtic were down the leagues, I would be distraught. I’d be desperate for them to come back to get those games back four times a season.

 

And I’ll bet you it’s the same for Celtic’s players right now. Their season is all but over, it’s all about going through the motions now and getting themselves over the line in the league.

 

But can you imagine the lift they’d get if they knew there was a derby game just a couple of weeks away? That would more than make up for the disappointment of going out of Europe. Believe me, I’ve been there.

 

You get addicted to them. I remember my big brother telling me about his Old Firm debut, how he was a nervous wreck and how he heard this voice behind him saying: “Calm down son, keep it simple and you’ll get through it.”

 

When he looked over his shoulder, he couldn’t believe it was Tommy Burns who was trying to talk him through it.

 

Well that never happened to me when faced Celtic. All I heard was: “Ferguson, you wee b******, you’re getting it.” And that wasn’t just from the players – it was every time I went over to take a throw or a corner in front of their fans.

 

But that suited me fine. That’s the way these games are meant to be and there’s nothing wrong in being a fierce competitor.

 

I lost count of the number of times myself and Neil Lennon would be at each other’s throats but I’d worry if it was any other way.

 

Yes, it can go too far at times, as I learned the hard way after I was sent off in a 6-2 defeat at Parkhead.

 

You may remember it as the Battle of Bothwell Bridge because I ended up scrapping with Celtic fans after going out for a couple of drinks.

 

It was obviously a huge controversy but the only thing I regret about that night was being stupid enough to go out in the first place.

 

Lesson learned. I never went out after another Old Firm game. If I wanted a beer or a glass of wine, I’d shut the curtains and have it in my house.

 

The feelings around that match were just too explosive to take the risk of going out.

 

So yes, it’s a volatile fixture and yes, emotions will be running high the next time the two of them meet.

 

But it’s going to happen one of these days so the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned. An Old Firm Scottish Cup tie? It just might save the season.

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Still have a soft spot for Fergie, I would like to see him lead us from the Chanpionship to the Premier League next year.

 

I agree but it wont go down well with some on here! He could certainly still do a job

 

I dont agree with Barry about us playing Celtic though that can wait for at least another season as far as I'm concerned. I would really fear for us at Parkhead. Ibrox may be a different story but I'm not so sure

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I agree but it wont go down well with some on here! He could certainly still do a job

 

I dont agree with Barry about us playing Celtic though that can wait for at least another season as far as I'm concerned. I would really fear for us at Parkhead. Ibrox may be a different story but I'm not so sure

 

You are right I personally hope he never pulls on a Rangers shirt ever again.

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I agree but it wont go down well with some on here! He could certainly still do a job

 

I dont agree with Barry about us playing Celtic though that can wait for at least another season as far as I'm concerned. I would really fear for us at Parkhead. Ibrox may be a different story but I'm not so sure

 

Based on what?

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I agree but it wont go down well with some on here! He could certainly still do a job

 

I dont agree with Barry about us playing Celtic though that can wait for at least another season as far as I'm concerned. I would really fear for us at Parkhead. Ibrox may be a different story but I'm not so sure

 

Agree RE playing Celtic, I personally don't want to play any SPL side until 2015-16 when we are a top flight club.

 

No thanks to Barry coming back, it would push a midfield player out the team who doesn't deserve it.

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