Old Firm - Old Tricks

Celtic and Rangers are their usual selves - proclaiming their players innocence and reminding us how angelic their supporters are!



Staying with Easter Road, what incredible front from Celtic chief executive Ian McLeod to suggest that licenced thug, sorry, skilful defender Bobo Balde has been hard done by after receiving a one match ban for a vicious elbowing on Hibs defender Paul Fenwick during a recent league match. The TV cameras caught Balde bang to rights even if the referee didn't. By appealing against the ban, Celts will have Balde available for two of their most crucial games of the season - against Aberdeen in the cup and Rangers in the league. Thus, if his appeal fails, (and anyone who saw the incident must reckon that Balde is getting off lightly with a one match ban) the player will serve out his suspension in a far less important and possibly meaningless encounter.
There's only one way for the authorities to prevent this blatant abuse of the rules: Throw out the appeal, ban Balde for six matches and let the ban take effect from the start of next season.

Meanwhile McLeod is moaning about the way TV money from UEFA is distributed. Seems they give more to clubs from more populous countries than they give to the Old Firm. Quite right Ian. Let's share out the money equally. Starting with the SPL. What's that? The motormouth of Celtic Park has caught laryngitis? Shame.


Over at Ibrox, the "you couldn't make it up" statements are coming from security head Lawrence McIntyre. He says that violence at the recent UEFA Cup tie against Feyenoord was caused solely by the Dutch fans. Now we know that Dutch football has as many nutters per head of population as the UK (the only difference is that they usually speak far better English) but can't help noticing that of 34 arrests inside the ground, only eight were from Holland. We also can't help but notice that there have been two major outbreaks of crowd violence inside Scottish grounds this season - at Pittodrie and Ibrox. We also note the sole common denominating factor - Rangers were playing.

Now we're not suggesting that every sash-wearing, fenian-hating, brittannia-ruling, queen-loving son of William is responsible but we do suggest that Mr McIntyre pays a little more attention to what goes on around him at every match. Perhaps he could start by asking himself this question: Have Rangers done all that they can to eradicate bigotry, sectarianism and racism from Ibrox? When he can come back with a positive answer to that, we'll start taking his bleatings a bit more seriously.

Still with Rangers. Ronald De Boer is missing crucial league and cup games after picking up an injury in a meaningless (for Holland) friendly against England. I wonder what General Manager Dick Advocaat, a renowned critic of such games, will have to say about that to the Dutch team boss Richard Advocaat?



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