The Week In Scotland – The Old Firm Game Edition
Rangers 3 – 2 Celtic
The last Old Firm game of the season was also the best game of the season. After a few quiet Glasgow derbies, normal service was resumed with five goals,three red cards, Neil Lennon sent to the stands, and I made a few quid by putting on over 2.5 goals and for a red card to be shown. Awwwwwwwwwwww yeah.
Rangers were playing for nothing but pride on Sunday, while Celtic travelled to Ibrox knowing a victory meant they would be crowned the SPL champions at Ibrox, something that hasn’t happened since 1967. As per usual in the Old Firm games, the form book goes out the window but Celtic were heavy favourites to win the game.
Rangers started brightly and took a deserved lead after 10 minutes, when Sone Aluko nutmegged Thomas Rogne and took another two players out of the game while doing so, turned Charlie Mulgrew inside out, and trundled the ball past Fraser Forster in the Celtic goals to make it 1-0. After the goal, Celtic put the pressure on with Stokes and Samaras both bringing Allan McGregor into action.
The first red card was in the 29th minute when Celtic right-back Cha Du-Ri was dismissed for bringing down Lee Wallace on the edge of the box. A deserved red card, Wallace was clear through on goal and the Korean had to go.Neil Lennon, the shrinking violet himself, had words with referee Calum Murray at the interval and was sent to the stands as a result.
Celtic’s second red was harsh as Victor Wanyama was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Steven Whittaker. The tackle was hard but fair and his studs were facing down, it wasn’t dangerous and it was a terrible decision by Murray. Rangers then went to school on the Celtic goal with Forster in fantastic form, pulling off several saves. He was eventually beaten again in the 72th minute when sub Andy Little scored with his first touch, and again in the 77th minute when Wallace.
Rangers went down to 10 men when Carlos Boganegra was sent off for bringing down Samaras in the box with a minute to go, and Celtic captain Scott Brown put the penalty in the bottom corner. Thomas Rogne headered in a goal in injury time to make the game interesting, but Rangers held off for the three points and ended both Celtic’s 21 game unbeaten run and their title party hopes. At least for another week.
Interested Parties in Rangers
Five bidders are believed to be looking to take over the troubled Ibrox club after adminstrators Duff and Phelps’ deadline for offers passed on the 16th, but only now has the full number of parties involved come to light.
Duff and Phelps seem to favour the Blue Knights consortium led by ex-director Paul Murray, but Sale Sharks owner Brian Kennedy has also been in deep discussions with them, and met manager Ally McCoist during the week to outline his plans for the club. The other parties are believed to be an American group known as Club 9 Sports, a consortium based in Singapore, and another Far Eastern based party.
Paul Clark, Rangers’ joint administrator was quoted as saying;
“What we want to do is analyse the bids and I would suggest we will be moving to a shortlist that might be two or three bidders at some point next week. Our preference would be for somebody else to be in control of the football club other than us by the end of the season so they have got the whole close season, the whole transfer window, they have got proper preparation for the new season.”
Sandaza Spits The Dummy
St.Johnstone striker Francisco Sandaza scored the winner in their 2-1 victory over Hearts at the weekend, but accused his opponents of being disrespectful during his preparation for his penalty which won the match;
“It was not fair play and I didn’t like it. The Hearts players dug up the spot and tried to annoy me by saying I would miss.It was a clear penalty so they should let me get on with it but they tried to disrupt my concentration. I didn’t let them.During the delay I was just trying to be calm and looking at the goal. I knew from the start I wanted to shoot up the middle and had to focus. Penalties are easy to miss but it is my responsibility to take them and I am happy to win the three points.”
Man up, you big gimp! You scored, your team won, what’s the problem? If he thinks that sort of behaviour is disrespectful, I’d love to see him last 90 minutes in a Sunday League game.
SPL Voting Changes
The 10 non Old Firm SPL clubs stated at the start of the month they intended to hold a meeting to discuss possible voting changes in the SPL, the main change being they want to change the 11-1 majority required for major Scottish Premier League changes to what is believed to be a 9-3 majority. Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell previously suggested that the 10 clubs were being disrespectful to his own club and Rangers by discussing the matter in the Old Firm’s absence, but Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston disputes this.
Johnston compared the situation to the Arab pro-democracy movements;
“The Arab Spring has reached Scotland so hopefully we can be as successful as some of the pro-democracy movements elsewhere…Principally, this is about a measure of democracy that’s been lacking in the SPL in its decision-making processes,” said the Kilmarnock chairman, pointing out that the Old Firm clubs have themselves met in private.
So this is the pro-democracy movement. It’s not a gang of 10 or anything subversive. It’s all up front and it’s perfectly open what we’ve been talking about, so there’s nothing hidden or disrespectful about it. If 10 clubs meeting together to discuss common interests is disrespectful, I would have thought that constantly talking about moving to England or some place in the North Atlantic is even more disrespectful.”
While it’s a bit crass to compare this to any Arab movements, he makes some very valid points, particularly in the last sentence. The Old Firm have been bitching for years about moving out of Scotland and have made efforts to do so in the past, disrespecting the Scottish game in the process.
When all 12 clubs meet on the 12th April, the atmosphere may be rather interesting in the meeting room.
Leigh Griffiths Headbutts Pat Fenlon…Or Not
The Daily Mail reported early last week that after heavy criticism from his manager Pat Fenlon, Hibs striker Leigh Griffiths went batshit mental and headbutted him as well as attacking assistant manager Billy Brown before proceeding to empty his training locker and speeding away in his car.
Disgusting behaviour, and not for the first time either! Leigh has previous for acting like a dick and…what? It wasn’t true?
Yes, it never actually happened. As his team-mate David Wetherspoon Tweeted, the on-loan Wolves striker can’t drive for one thing! The rumours kept flying about until the club were forced into making a statement to clarify the situation;
“Contrary to reports in today’s Daily Mail, Leigh Griffiths did not head butt manager Pat Fenlon nor punch assistant manager Billy Brown. The striker will be in the squad for Saturday’s crucial SPL fixture v Dundee United.”
Now I wouldn’t lie to you, dear reader. When I heard the story, I believed it to be the case. For one thing, why would the Daily Mail lie? Also, he has a well known attitude problem. Despite this, it’s poor from the Daily Mail not to do their research for one thing, and slander Leigh into the bargain.
If you look on the Daily Mail site now, the article is gone…
Craig Beattie/Danny Lennon
St Mirren manager Danny Lennon has criticised Hearts for signing Craig Beattie while delaying the payment of wages to players. Hearts escaped punishment from the SPL despite their players complaining about numerous delays in receiving their wages from the club and released Calum Elliot from his contract to save money. They also sent out striker John Sutton on loan to Central Coast Mariners in Australia, and Ryan Stevenson moved to Ipswich to free up wages and get some much-needed funds into the club.
Despite this, they were allowed to sign Beattie on a free transfer. St Mirren were also interested in signing the former Celtic, West Brom and Swansea striker, but Craig chose the Tynecastle outfit. Danny Lennon was quoted in an interview as saying;
“It is a wee bit frustrating that Hearts are a club that can pay three or four times what we are paying and yet they can’t afford to pay their players’ wages at this minute in time. It is no disrespect to the Hearts management team or the playing staff, but they must get their house in order. It just doesn’t seem fair.”
As a St Mirren fan, I might be biased but I agree with Danny. Why should Hearts be able to sign players when they can’t afford to pay their current staff? Teams like St Mirren are effectively punished by sticking to the rules. It really doesn’t seem fair to me.
A small stat to end the article. Carlos Boganegra was the 17th player to be sent off in the past 23 Old Firm games. Dirty.
***Did I miss anything? Got something for me to add in next week? Any comments to either please me or destroy my soul? Post below or find me on Twitter @Manky365***