Tag: Celtic

Which Way Now For Celtic & Rangers?

The fact that Rangers and Celtic believe themselves to be too big for Scottish football is one of the oldest stories around but, as Gavin Saxton writes, their biggest problem is that the English don’t really want them and “The Atlantic League” remains a non-starter.

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Rangers & Celtic: The Decline Of The Northern Empire?

Rangers & Celtic played out the first Old Firm match of the Scottish league season yesterday. Recent results in Europe have led some to believe that there is a slim possibility that their hegemony may be broken in Scotland but, as Gavin Saxton notes, they still remain too strong for the rest of the SPL.

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John Hartson

That retirement comes at such a young age is one of the curious contradictions of football. No sooner has a professional player reached his prime than he is sliding down the other side of his career arc. The overwhelming majority vanish quietly into the distance to retrain as sports scientists, run pubs, or do any one of a myriad of other jobs out of necessity after the end of their playing careers. Thirtysomething men are suddenly cast as rookies again as they start their managerial careers in earnest. Relatively young men, thanks to the over-exposure of the media, seem older than they are. All of which brings us, albeit in a slightly roundabout way, to the terrible diagnosis that has befallen John Hartson. Hartson had what could be described as a typical top flight career. He started at Luton Town, before a big money move to Arsenal that never quite worked out. West Ham United, Wimbledon and Coventry City all followed, but it was a move to Celtic that finally allowed him to find himself as a player and eighty-nine goals in less than one hundred and fifty matches followed over a five year period. A brief return to England followed, with his playing career closing after short spells at West Bromwich Albion and Norwich City before retiring as a player last summer at the age of thirty-three. In...

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Five Great European Cup Finals

If you open this morning’s newspapers, you’ll see that, in the opinion of the hacks, it’s already a foregone conclusion that this year’s European Cup final will be the greatest football match of all time. This may or may not come to pass, but it has some stiff opposition to overcome if it is to join as much as the greatest European Cup finals of all time. Although there were nine consecutive years during the 1970s and 1980s when no-one could manage more than a single goal in a European Cup final (and English teams were the worst for this – the halcyon days of English clubs in Europe featured five successive 1-0 wins for Liverpool, Nottingham Forest and Aston Villa between them), there have been many European Cup finals that have been breathtaking events. Here, in no particular order apart from chronological, are five of the best: 1960: Real Madrid 7-3 Eintracht Frankfurt – Real Madrid, of course, owned the European cup in its early years. They had already won the first four competitions by the time of the 1960 final, played at Hampden Park in Glasgow. The signs of greatness were already there. Real had thrashed Barcelona 6-2 over two legs in one semi-final, while Eintracht had beaten Rangers 12-4 in the other. A few weeks prior to this match England and Scotland had played out a...

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Phil Gartside, The Old Firm & The Premier League

Summer is coming, the evenings are getting longer and some football chairmen are giving every impression of having too much time on their hands already. This week’s insane plan comes from a repeat offender – the Bolton Wanderers chairman Phil Gartside. Gartside, you may remember, was shot down in flames last year over his brilliant idea to introduce a second division to the Premier League with – you guessed it none of that irritating promotion and relegation business, to save him from having to deal with the hoi polloi. This plan came to nothing, but Phil has evidently spent the last month with an abacus, a colouring book and some felt tip pens, and now he has come up with an even more awesome plan. His new plan involves, wait for it, a second division to the Premier League. So far, so much like the idea that he had last year. This time, though, he’s got another trick up his sleeve. Brace yourselves, because it’s a big idea. He wants to invite Celtic and Rangers to join as well. Nothing has been said yet about promotion and relegation from Premier League 2, but it’s difficult to imagine that it would be much of a priority in the bum rush to make even more money. If this plan (or a modified version of it) were to come to fruition, it...

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