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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.”

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If it even goes to print, then whatever newspaper is printing it should be ashamed of themselves for supporting such a load of drivel from a bunch of obsessed crackpots.

 

With newspaper sales in such rapid decline year-on-year though, it's no real surprise that they're scrambling for any sensationalist crap they can get their hands on.

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