January 2002

A glimpse into the future. If you think Scottish football is scary now, wait until you read this!



Extracts from the sporting press of January 1st 2012 looking forward to the New Year.

Barry Ferguson's return to Rangers as Player-Manager has lifted spirits at the Glasgow club. Denying that signing for his first senior club represented an easy winding-down of his illustrious career, Ferguson insisted that the Rangers job was his biggest challenge yet. "I was part of the glory days at Rangers," said the new boss. " I can recall the full houses and the great European nights. Today's fans might find it hard to believe that little over a decade ago Rangers were capable of reaching the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. This club was once ranked in the top 100 in Europe and that's the level I want to see Rangers competing at."

Of course Fergie has a big job on his hands, starting with today's home clash with Stockport County. It may seem a long way from the middle of the Phoenix League Division Two (North) to the foothills of Europe but a manager has to start somewhere. Ferguson's return should boost the gate for the Ne'erday fixture to around the 12,000 mark - easily Rangers best since 14,000 saw them lose Phoenix League One status at home to Brighton last season.

It will be interesting to see whether Ferguson maintains his predecessor's faith in big-money foreign signings or whether he is prepared to give some of the promising youngsters a start. Many think that Rangers can't afford to go on paying in excess of a million euros a week to their Albanian and Slovenian players but David Murray insists that the club is on a sound financial footing. "Selling Ibrox to property developers has brought us criticism from the press, but those in the know are aware that Rangers are in a healthier financial position than ever before" was the Gers owner's retort to the media.

Today's Hampden match will of course be shown live on Sky's JockTV channel right after Pro-Celebrity Tag Wrestling. Estimated kick-off time is 6pm but supporters intending to travel are advised to constantly check their smartcards as the actual kick-off time may vary by up to two hours either way.


The big game in the SPL is at Meadowbank Stadium where 5,000 are expected to be there for Edinburgh United's game against surprise leaders Lanarkshire.

Elsewhere, there will be a pitch inspection at Meadow Park to determine if the Ayrshire - Fife match can go ahead. If it gets the nod the expected 2,000 crowd will provided a welcome boost to the cash-strapped Ayrshiremen.


The second part of the Hampden Park double header sees Celtic take on traditional Ne'erday opponents Barnsley and a victory will lift Paul Lambert's team off the bottom of the table. " I know that there are some cynics out there who think we actually WANT to be relegated so that we can resume our regular fixtures against Rangers" said the Celtic manager, "but nothing could be further from the truth."

Lambert also lashed out at those who claim that his signings of Jonathan Woodgate and Lee Bowyer represented panic buying by Celts. "It's true that these two players have eaten up most of the profits from the sale of Parkhead and they may be regarded as veterans, but both Woodgate and Bowyer have been nothing but model professionals throughout their careers" said Lambert who is celebrating his first year in charge of Celtic.

"Suggestions that they have only agreed to come here because of the 25 million euros signing-on fees and guaranteed two million euros per week salary couldn't be wider of the mark", claimed Lambo. "These lads are as Celtic-minded as they come and are determined to play for the jersey."

The Celtic boss went on to explain that the new signings have already bonded with their new team mates at the club's annual Xmas party. "Both Jonathan and Lee were at O'Shaughnessy's Oirish Stew Bar the other night and clicked with the rest of the squad at once", beamed Lambert. " The only thing that might take them a little time to get accustomed to is our dietary requirements. They both said they could murder an Indian but they'll soon get used to O'Shaughnessy's. They are the club sponsor after all."

Club Chairman Gerry Adams has refused to comment on the controversial signings. The match will start two hours after the end of the Rangers game and supporters are advised to get there early as Celtic expect their first five-figure crowd of the season to watch the new boys in action.


Craig Brown said yesterday that he was impressed with Scotland's 0-0 draw at home to Kazakhstan in his first match back in charge. "It was a great result and gives us every opportunity of finishing second bottom of our World Cup qualifying group", said the national team boss. "We've got to remember we're a small country and we can't be expected to beat anybody. We're just not producing the superstars the way we used to. There are no David Weirs or Jackie McNamaras around these days", lamented Brown.



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