April 30, 2011
Sunday failed to deliver the decisive blow either team had hoped for. It was a good game spoiled only by the referee making a dreadful penalty decision in Celtic's favour for the second game in a row. Some might say that was inevitable after months of propaganda and spin from Baron Reid of Cardowan et al but I couldn't possibly comment. Rangers again rose above the injustice and Alan McGregor showed he is the only current Ranger who can lay claim to being amongst the game's elite. For a number of years now a big money bid has been anticipated and with Alexander more than capable of stepping up it would probably have been the only squad departure welcomed by our support. The indifference shown by the EPL to McGregor is purely down to his off the field issues. The gambling and the girls make him tabloid fodder but it was flicking the Vs with Scotland and the subsequent ban which mark him out as a risk. It's part of his character though and without the gallus streak he wouldn't be half the player he is. Sometime soon a top club will wake up to the fact our current financial situation means McGregor might just be the best £5 million they ever spend.
April 17, 2011
When I took on this blog I decided I would focus on writing about football. That probably seems self evident but when so many are determined to drag any discussion of Rangers off course at every opportunity it is not necessarily easily done. I have made my views on sectarianism clear by tackling the issue head on in my first blog "Sympathy for the devils" - link. I find the subject tiresome but felt this week it would be remiss of me not to address the issue again.
For some the prospect of a UEFA ban would be excruciating. If it forces some of the extreme elements to give consideration to how they behave then so be it. Sadly though there seems to be a growing sense of victimisation amongst our support. The news that the charges from UEFA are the result of submissions from an outside lobby group which appear to contradict the report of UEFA's official observers is understandably going to fuel this. Our Chief Executive Martin Bain, and yesterday of all people Neil Lennon, have both questioned what more the club can be expected to do. For a man who reportedly earns £633,000 I sometimes question what exactly Martin Bain does consider to be within his powers?
April 16, 2011
As the ruddy nosed Knight of Old Govan Town so eloquently observed, "squeaky bum time" has arrived for Scottish football. This is the last weekend before the split and every one goal win suddenly takes on enormous significance. Twice this week Jelavic has delivered a moment of pure magic and all three points. We should perhaps be grateful he was not eligible for Europe this season for even one goal of such quality on the big stage would surely have seen him join the likes of Carlos Cuellar as a one season wonder sold on for a short term profit. Hopefully he can be retained post takeover and will find himself with a little more quality round about him next season.
It seems a while now since Rangers showed any real form. That can't last for ever and I believe that having scraped through recent matches with the points we needed we can now kick on for the final weeks of the season. With the Old Firm match looming and the chance to go top of the league I had hoped totday would be the day but sadly not. Once more the vital thing is picking up another three points.
The post-split fixtures were announced this week and as ever caused controversy. I have sympathy with Hamilton who face the prospect of playing St Mirren away three times, after all a few years back we faced our second biggest rivals, and serial game raisers, Aberdeen three times at Pittodre. Nobody could ever pretend the split is perfect or that it doesn't create some inequities. There is though a tendency to look for false controversy. Can it be that Celtic fans (and some not a million miles from this blog) really feel the need to complain about having three away games post split? After all Rangers and Celtic will play the same number of home and away games over the season.
April 11, 2011
Back in the olden days before the Brit Pop Wars had been fought and when Margret Thatcher was an actual threat to Scotland, not a zombie sometimes trotted out on television to scare the kids, football on the telly was a relative rarity. A League Cup Final against Aberdeen at old Hampden under the flood lights in the midst of a bleak November really was a wee bit special. It wasn't just the quality of football on display that made it unmissable, this was what the Yanks now call "event television".
Back then the SFA, or any other FA come to that, were able to use a UEFA ruling that no football could be broadcast live if a game was being played elsewhere in the country at the same time. At the forefront of the fight was then SFA Chief Executive, and general figure of ridicule, Jim Farry. This created odd scenarios like Rangers beating English Champions Leeds United at Ibrox (Eric Cantona and all) with those not fortunate enough to have a ticket listening on the radio or watching the delayed "as live" coverage later that night. It also meant my Dad and I making occasional trips to visit my slightly confused Gran who lived in the Borders where she could get English league games live. Arsenal robbing Liverpool of the league in injury time watched on a 17 inch portable telly stands out as a particular highlight. There was never ever any danger back then of sleep watching your way through 20 mins of a "top class" game like Blackpool v Wigan before the burd wandered into the living room to exclaim "what are you watching"?