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Reply with quote  #61 
8 January 2007
Pressley eyes historic win hat-rick...

THE road to potential immortality in the Scottish Cup began for Steven Pressley in a game he could have negotiated in blue suede shoes without being in any danger of scuffing them.

The routine dismissal of Dumbarton moved Elvis one step closer to a place in the history books as the first man to win three Scottish Cups with three different clubs and only the second to win it in successive seasons with two different clubs.

Neil McCann did it with Rangers and Hearts and now Pressley is looking forward to taking advantage of fate and joining him in history's footnotes - if he can.

Atwo-minute appearance as a substitute for Rangers against Aberdeen in 1993 opened Pressley's medal account and last season he led Hearts to the winners' rostrum after a penalty shoot-out win over Gretna.

Pressley describes the first achievement as stealing a medal and eye witnesses would say the second one bordered on theft as well.

Now he wants to go straight and earn the right to a place in posterity.


But Dumbarton hardly gave him cause to open his sweat glands, far less shed blood for his new cause.

That will come next weekend when Pressley is required to go back to Tynecastle in Celtic's colours for his first confrontation with an illustrious past at the club that sacked him for alleged insubordination.

He said: "I never imagined going there with another club and I have to admit it will be a strange experience. But I'm looking forward to the game and will be going there to help win it for Celtic if I can."

Hostility towards a former hero is guaranteed, of course, as the fans' warped logic comes into play. Man defends the club he loves and becomes a martyr in the eyes of the supporters. Man joins another club and becomes an instant pariah. That's the way it works.

There was no malice on Saturday because nobody but the Dumbarton fans could get themselves up for a low-key spectacle.

The Third Division club's supporters were in the big time for the day and they showed off their new status by booing Neil Lennon every time he touched the ball because that's what you do, even if he has never played against you before and therefore has no "previous".

But Pressley defended his captain and denied he had any difficulty with a return to the other ranks following his move from Tynecastle.

He said: "Neil has been a terrific captain for this club. His influence isn't just there on a Saturday because he demands high standards from everyone every day of the week. Not being captain myself isn't an issue for me."

But the taunting of the Irishman was as close as we got to normality. You knew it wasn't a league game, for example, because two Celtic strikers scored.

Maciej Zurawski got his first goal since December 10 by lobbing the ball over the goalkeeper after being put one on one by a pass from Shunsuke Nakamura.

When the same players combined to put Celtic two up with only nine minutes gone, everybody in the ground knew the tie was prematurely over and done with. Those who bothered to turn up, that is.

If Gordon Strachan thought the ground was eerily quiet a week earlier for the visit of Kilmarnock he must have had a fright when he saw the place less than one-third full.

But there was a dogged professionalism about his players, even if their display was less than dazzling.

Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink was given cause to remember what goal scoring was like when he had a two-yard tap-in to extend Celtic's lead.

And Derek Riordan scored for the second Saturday in a row, which is nearly as much of a record as the one Pressley is going for in the Cup. But the Scotland star refuses to tempt fate by assuming a third medal is as good as in the bag.

Pressley said: "It is far too early for predictions. When Hearts won the Cup last season the hardest match on the road to Hampden wasn't against the Premier League sides we faced - it was the home tie against Partick Thistle, who were then in the Second Division.

"It's all about getting your job done in a professional manner.

"On a personal level, I feel as if I'm getting physically stronger every day and the games over the festive period were a help to me. I'm not fully match fit but I'm getting there. I'm also at a club where you are expected to win every game and that's a huge pressure."

Dumbarton were more a minor irritation than a major problem. They missed a good chance to score in the first minute and were basically burned out after that.

The bulk of their energies went into getting Celtic shirts from the rich and famous for souvenirs, with Nakamura's strip being the most sought after.

"Footballers rate him," said Strachan, who regarded four goals as being within the bounds of decency where Dumbarton's self-esteem was concerned.

"It's not right to rattle in six, seven or eight goals against a part-time team. We put out a strong side and they did enough to satisfy me. And it was a relief to see the strikers being congratulated for scoring once again."

If that was the effect the bid for Anthony Stokes had on Zurawski and Vennegoor of Hesselink then the news of his decision to go to Charlton instead shouldn't mean a return to the barren days.

Celtic are obviously looking for a new goalscorer and now's the time to maintain form instead of thinking you're safely back in the comfort zone.

MAN OF THE MATCH Maciej Zurawski(Celtic)

Moment that changed the match A Dumbarton miss at one end and a Zurawski goal at the other seconds later settled the issue.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #62 
12 January 2007

WALTER SMITH has tarnished his image by walking out on the SFA to take over as Rangers manager for the second time in his career.

It is not easy to criticise a friend, and Walter won't be happy with me, but I will never be accused of hypocrisy by sitting on the fence or trying to defend the indefensible.

Everyone knows my stance on contracts and I don't like players or managers breaking agreements they have previously been happy to sign.

Call me old-fashioned, but as someone who honoured every contract he signed I truly believe they cannot be ripped up or ignored when it suits one party or the other.

I've given Kevin Thomson and Scott Brown stick this season for the stance they have taken in their bid to renegotiate their deals at Easter Road.

No one is forced to sign a contract and once pen is put to paper there is a moral obligation to start and finish work on the dates specified within the agreement.

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If it's good for the goose it's good for the gander and that applies as much to Walter as it does anyone in football, including the Hibs pair.

Walter is, far and away, the best man for the rebuilding job at Ibrox as he takes over at a club that has never been in a worse state. Even Rangers fans who phoned the Record Hotline last week to criticise me for giving my honest assessment of their team might agree with me on that.

Nevertheless, it was wrong for Walter to leave the Scotland job when he still had 18 months of his contract to run.

Then, having decided to quit, it was also 100 per cent wrong of him to begin work at Rangers before a compensation package had even been hammered out with the SFA.

The whole thing has left a sour taste - from negotiations over pay-offs to phone calls made to Kenny McDowall beforeWalter had even been confirmed in the job. It is a ridiculous and ludicrous state of affairs.Walter has tarnished his image, in part to save Rangers owner Sir David Murray a couple of hundred grand in compensation as he continues to haggle with the SFA.

In the grand scheme, what the hell is £100,000, £200,000 or so to Murray? He is used to getting what he wants but Rangers pay millions for players and Walter is worth at least that to the club, so the club owner should have put his hand in his pocket and paid up.

Unusually, perhaps, my sympathies lie with the SFA, although that doesn't mean to say chief executive David Taylor and his office bearers should escape without their role in all this being examined.

I told them last year to get Walter fixed up on an extended deal but, instead, they pussy-footed about and allowed this situation to develop.

Walter should have been sat down after the France game because if there were any doubts within the SFA about his ability to do the job - and there shouldn't have been - they were dispelled by our 1-0 win at Hampden.

Even if Scotland do not qualify for Euro 2008 - and that remains a big doubt - Walter would still have been the best man to lead us into the World Cup qualifiers and an extension until 2010 should have been tabled and short, sharp negotiations concluded.

Now we're back to square one and although they won't thank me at Dundee United for mentioning his name, and I'mscared to bring it up, I reckon Craig Levein fits the bill as his successor, while Gary McAllister is also a decent shout. Walter says whoever takes over the job does so in a better position than when he arrived but that is utter rubbish.

There was no better time to take over Scotland than in the immediate aftermath of the Berti Vogts shambles because the only way was up for the national team.

I also wonder if Walter is jumping ship at just the right time because, in my opinion, Scotland are as high up the FIFA rankings at the moment as we're likely to be for some time.

Walter is a shrewd man and I honestly believe he understood he would never be in a stronger position as national boss than he is at present, when everything is at its rosiest.We beat France but we've still got to play them in Paris and there is also a double header against the world champions to anticipate in Italy and Glasgow, so who knows how the national team would have been viewed in a few months?

I don't think there was any chance of Walter losing his job when his contract expired next summer anyway but he is right to suggest a lack of appreciation of his efforts with the national squad as negotiations had not been seriously discussed before Rangers came calling.

Now he has gone back to his former club in a situation that parallels his position with Scotland when he succeeded Vogts as he is inheriting another mess at mistake, it would have been more difficult for Walter to return when memories of regular trophy successes were still fresh in the mind for fans, for example in the immediate aftermath of Dick Advocat's departure.

Walter certainly took over a better and stronger group of players when he replaced Graeme Souness during his first spell in charge in 1991 but, like Scotland, he is taking over at the best time possible as there is only one way Rangers can go and that's back up.

I've no doubt Walter will achieve more success at the club he led to nine in a row but, even for Rangers fans, it doesn't make the manner of his return acceptable.

It's vital in football that good examples are set and I'm in no doubt Rangers got the right man for the position they needed filled. In saying that, I'm also in no doubt Walter was wrong to accept the job in the manner he did and that his reputation has suffered as a result.


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Reply with quote  #63 

UK: Scotland

Song row QC considered suicide

Donald Findlay said the affair took a "tremendous toll" on him

Donald Findlay - the controversial former deputy chairman of Rangers - considered committing suicide after being filmed singing sectarian songs, BBC Scotland can reveal.

The QC said the affair had taken a "tremendous toll" on him and that he was probably depressive by nature.

Donald Findlay: "Is enough not enough, can I just not get on with my life?"
"I worry about the job, the people I represent, and I'm aware of slipping into a depression, of having less and less interest in life, in pleasurable things," he said.

"I really don't care any more about doing for myself and to actually, at one point in time, to find yourself seriously contemplating ending your life is a remarkable experience to go through."

Mr Findlay quit his position at Glasgow Rangers in May after a video of him singing The Sash - a song viewed as being sectarian and anti-Catholic - was made public.

[ image: Donald Findlay: no comment]
Donald Findlay: no comment
In the wake of that incident he was snubbed by St Andrews University with plans to award him an honorary degree being dropped.

Speaking on BBC One Scotland's Kirsty Wark Show he said he had considered taking his own life after being asked whether the affair had had an impact on him mentally.

Asked if this happened recently, and how he got through it, he said: "No, it was not long after the whole thing really got going.

'I won't ever be free of it'

"I sat for a very long time, but what that would have done to the people that I cared about and who cared about me was a price I was not prepared to pay just to get away from the pain."

He said he had talked about his mental state to no-one "other than a few people very close to me."

Mr Findlay claimed he would never feel free of the fall-out from the episode.

"I'll never be free of it because the one thing that I know is that come the day when somebody writes my obituary, it will be there somewhere, large or small, and that is an appalling thought - knowing that I won't ever be free of it."

[ image: Mr Findlay said he got carried away]
Mr Findlay said he got carried away
He said that at the private party in May which followed his club's 1-0 victory over Celtic in the Scottish Cup final, he took to the microphone in "the exuberance of the occasion".

"There was just a tremendous sense of euphoria and the crowd are going and songs are sung and you join in ... because you want people to know that as the vice-chairman of Rangers you're not a suit," he said.

"You are from first to last what I am and always will be ... I'm a bluenose and I make no secret of it."

But Mr Findlay said songs like The Sash were "a very different thing" to the uglier side of sectarianism - which he equated with an attack on another person because of the colour of a football scarf.

But he accepted there were "aspects of the songs" which were "clearly hostile", were not acceptable, and should not be sung in public.

"I wouldn't sing them in public and people shouldn't sing them in public," he said.

But he also said few Rangers fans would put their hands on their hearts to say they had never sung The Sash.


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Reply with quote  #64 
30 January 2007

CELTIC hero Henrik Larsson has finally been honoured by his country, six months after Britain awarded him an MBE.

The former Parkhead star is to receive the King's Medal, Sweden's highest honour - the equivalent of a knighthood.

He is one of 32 Swedes who will be decorated today by King Carl Gustav during a ceremony at the Royal Palace in Stockholm.

However, Larsson's footballing commitments with Premiership front-runners Manchester United, to whom he is on loan from Swedish side Helsingborg, mean he'll have to wait until later in the year to pick up his medal.

Larsson said: "I'm very proud to be given this award by my home country. I'm very lucky to have had such an exciting career and feel very honoured to receive the King's Medal."

The honour dates back to the 18th century and the medals are awarded in different sizes and with chains or ribbons representing different orders.

Larsson was awarded the "size 8 medal with royal blue ribbon".

Other recipients included politicians, industrialists, sports stars, artists, entertainers and military and palace officials.

Larsson, 35, collected his MBE from the Queen last May after Hoops fans nominated him.

The striker spent seven years at Parkhead before leaving for Barcelona three years ago.

Last summer, he returned to his home-town team Helsingborg to end his career, as he had always promised he would.


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Reply with quote  #65 

 It is conceivable that by the end of the current transfer window there could be four players in the SPL who have played for both sides of the Old Firm.
This is quite a turnaround when you consider that before this season, it had been 17 years since Maurice Johnston, the last player to cross the Old Firm divide, signed for Rangers barely days after agreeing to rejoin Celtic where he had left for Nantes in 1986.
Celtic boss Gordon Strachan bucked that trend with the Bosman capture of Kenny Miller, who played for Rangers between 2000 and 2001, and the ex-Rangers contingent at Parkhead grew with the signings of Steven Pressley and Mark Brown, who both came through the youth ranks at Ibrox and made a handful of appearances in the first team.
On the other side of Glasgow, Rangers have taken Mark Fotheringham on trial and the midfielder is hopeful of tying up a deal before 31 January.
Fotheringham played for Celtic during Martin O’Neill’s reign as manager and was attracted to Rangers by the presence of first team coach Kenny McDowall – another who has crossed the Old Firm divide albeit as a coach.
Though Strachan was the first manager to successfully negotiate a transfer akin to Graeme Souness’ swoop for Johnston in the late 1980s, he probably was not the first to try.
Former Celtic striker Pierre Van Hooijdonk admitted to being the subject of interest of Dick Advocaat when the Dutch manager was Rangers boss and ex-Ger Giovanni Van Bronckhorst was linked with a move to Celtic a couple of years after leaving Govan.
Perhaps both clubs’ recent attempts to tackle sectarianism has encouraged the managers to be less ‘discriminatory’ when eyeing up transfer targets.
However, in this respect Glasgow is still miles behind both its British and European counterparts.
Throughout the UK, players have played for two teams within the same city which share a derby rivalry.
Andrei Kancelskis played for both Manchester clubs, Nicky Barmby played for both Liverpool clubs and Sol Campbell played for Tottenham and Arsenal to name just a few.
In Italy, there are a growing number of players who have played for both Milan clubs including Clarence Seedorf, Christian Vieri and Hernan Crespo.
Recent AC Milan capture Ronaldo is also part of that list and can go one better than his contemporaries having played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Luis Figo was another high-profile player to grace both the Nou Camp and the Bernabeau, but he had the gall to go direct from Barca to Real.
It’s maybe a little soon for that to happen in Glasgow, although recent rumours of a Rangers move for Celtic’s Shaun Maloney would suggest otherwise.
Regardless, the Old Firm are at last moving forward and so long as good players become available, all clubs of the size of Rangers and Celtic should be interested in signing them no matter where they have previously played.
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Reply with quote  #66

Hey that shark has pretty teeth dear and he shows 'em pearly white.
Just a jackknife has Macheath dear And he keeps it way out of site.

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Reply with quote  #67 

roll on sunday where my feet will be marching up the gallowgate,on the road to paradise.All roads lead to paradise '  


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Reply with quote  #68

One of these days.....

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Reply with quote  #69 
10 March 2007
[ image: Donald Findlay: no comment]
Donald Findlay: no comment

RANGERS bosses yesterday begged fans not to sing sectarian songs at the Old Firm derby game at Parkhead tomorrow.

Assistant manager Ally McCoist said they had no place at football matches.

He said: "Our fans need to put on a show that makes them the pride of football.

"There is a great will at Rangers and among the vast majority of fans to shake off the cloak of sectarianism.

"This is a real opportunity for fans to show they have left this baggage behind."

Ibrox bosses will deploy plain-clothes stewards tomorrow at Celtic Park to monitor the fans' behaviour.

Rangers security chief Laurence Macintyre said the situation had improved at Ibrox but an element of the away support continued to let the club down.

He said: "Behaviour at recent away matches has been disappointing.

"Sectarian singing, such as the Billy Boys and chants about the Pope, has no place at football matches.

"The club has taken strong action against those who have indulged in sectarian behaviour - individuals and supporters' clubs - and will continue to do so."

Jim Templeton, president of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, said: "The minority of fans who do not take the message on board are damaging the club.

"From next season, sanctions will be in place which could see clubs playing behind closed doors as a result of sectarian or other inappropriate behaviour. It's time to move on."

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell and Rangers counterpart Martin Bain are involved in an SPL action plan to tackle bigotry.

The TRUTH is out there...........

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Reply with quote  #70 

As a Rangers fan I have to confess we were lucky to have won.


We have been lucky of late thanks to Coisty sorting out the dressing room and Walter with his managerial skills.


Then again its all about putting the ball in the back of the net!


Our season is lost and good luck for next year as we will be READY!

One of these days.....

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Reply with quote  #71 

As Donald Findlay would say Max:

[ image: Donald Findlay: no comment]

Donald Findlay:

No comment..........


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Reply with quote  #72 
15 March 2007
OSASUNA..1 RANGERS..0 (Osasuna win 2-1 on aggregate)

BATON-WIELDING cops waded into Rangers fans during last night's UEFA Cup clash in Spain.

Terrified women cowered as Spanish riot police ploughed in, clubbing many innocent fans.

Gers officials left Pamplona after the Osasuna defeat claiming supporters had been intimidated by heavy-handed policing.

However Martin Bain, chief executive at Ibrox, hit out at a small minority of troublemakers who had infiltrated the travelling support. He said: "There was an element who I wouldn't even call Rangers fans. They were intent on causing trouble.

"But because of lack of segregation in the ground, the majority of Rangers fans have been intimidated by heavy-handed policing.

"As a club, we are bitterly disappointed and we will digest what has happened here when we get back to Glasgow.

"Anything we do will be done through UEFA," he added.

"It's incredible - almost like there are double standards.

"Judge us by what we do at Ibrox and the comparison is non-existent."

Rangers security chief Laurence McIntyre said: "We did a lot of preparation and reported our anxieties to UEFA and the relevant authorities.

"UEFA appointed a special security officer to this game, which had a high-risk category, and we also sent a special letter to Osasuna which highlighted our concerns.

"It reminded them that, as the home club, it is their responsibility to look after visiting supporters and provide appropriate segregation.

"There was a distinct lack of segregation and we have already expressed our strong concerns to the UEFA delegate and security officer."

Despite the warning, Osasuna sold spare tickets indiscriminately, meaning Spanish and Scots fans were together.

UEFA head of stadiums security Marc Timmer was at the game and has already written to Osasuna.

McIntyre added: "It all kicked off when they herded the fans, perhaps trying to get them into the game safely.

"When people at the back started pushing, the people at the front were batoned at random.

"I was in the police force for 30 years and you used your baton as a last resort. Even then it was with minimum force. But the culture here is to use it early and with force."

TV cameras showed cops with riot shields and batons cutting a swathe through hemmed-in fans.

The charge left many nursing bruised heads, bodies and arms but there were no reports of serious injuries.

Rangers fans said the Pamplona cops' hardline attitude nearly caused a riot.

One supporter, from Hamilton, said: "The police were totally out of order and steaming into fans with batons.

"They were hitting anyone they came into contact with, no matter who they were or how they were behaving."

Another Rangers supporter said: "A few skirmishes broke out, which was partly down to Spanish fans and partly down to Rangers fans, who probably should have turned the other cheek.

"But the police treated it like a full-scale riot.

"They should have sent officers in to establish some proper segragation but instead they just went clubbing people.

"There were virtually no stewards in sight, so the police were left with a big rabble to contend with and they got out of hand. I saw one young officer grinning as he lashed out at fans."

Gers fans were held in the ground for 20 minutes after the match to allow the Spanish supporters to disperse.

And despite a high profile anti-bigotry campaign at home, many of the away support sang sectarian songs.

Last night, on the Rangers website, Martin Bain said: "We witnessed a letter from UEFA to Osasuna demanding that they put segregation in the ground.

"We have spoken with the UEFA delegate at the game and he agrees with us that things were not right in the ground and the British ambassador has also made representations to UEFA."


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Reply with quote  #73 
20 March 2007

UEFA last night confirmed they are studying internet footage of Rangers fans' sectarian chanting in Spain last week.

And European football's governing body ordered a full-scale investigation into last week's stormy events in Pamplona, with the Ibrox club and Osasuna both set to be hammered.

Rangers believe UEFA are determined to make an example of them by shutting Ibrox for European ties next season. But Rangers are insisting the side who dumped them out of the UEFA Cup are not let off the hook for putting supporters' lives at risk.

Chief executive Martin Bain has demanded Osasuna be carpeted for failing to properly segregate fans and for the savage baton charges launched against travelling fans by riot cops.

But it seems likely the Scottish club will be inthe dock for these condtime in 12 months over the discriminatory anthems of its supporters.

Privately, Bain fears the worst. UEFA's case will be built around video clips of Rangers fans inside the stadium posted on the YouTube website.

UEFA made the decision to hold a top-level probe into the tie yesterday after receiving a report from the security officer at last week's clash in Spain.

It is believed the report backs up Rangers' complaints over lack of segregation and heavyhanded policing.

However, after being fined and warned about the future conduct of their supporters following last season's Champions League showdown in Villarreal, the Ibrox club are bracing themselves for hardhitting sanctions.

AUEFA spokesman said: "All the reports have now been made available to us and the case will be dealt with by the control and disciplinary body at the end of the month or beginning of April.

"The disciplinary unit will now start an investigation that will take around two weeks.

"They have already seen the footage on YouTube. That is the only source they had for that. Depending on how they interpret the footage then, yes, sectarian chanting may be one of the issues under investigation.

"Rangers were given a warning about the future conduct of their supporters after the match against Villarreal last season. If they are found guilty of the same offence then it is very likely they will receive an even heavier punishment.

"It's too soon to talk about what that might be. First, the investigation needs to bring together all possible information about the different events that happened during the game.

"Then they will be able to advise the control and disciplinary body on what should be done."


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Reply with quote  #74 

well am kilmarnock bound on the 22nd April as celtic play kilmarnock were we could win the leauge ' then it's party time.


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Reply with quote  #75 

It was all over before Xmas mate

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