Football: Rangers left to hope Old Firm rivals blow last chance of title

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JONATHAN GOULD has kept a low profile all season, so the Celtic goalkeeper has to be listened to when he claims Rangers are dabbling in a flight of fancy.

The Scottish champions have tried to turn up the psychological pressure on the other half of the Old Firm by ensuring a helicopter is kept on stand-by today to whisk them back to Glasgow if they beat Dundee United and Celtic lose, a combination of results which which would present Rangers with a record 10th title in a row.

Ibrox is playing host to 32,000 fans watching events from Tannadice unfold on giant screens and one-upmanship has enticed them into their bold aerial gesture.

However, Gould, whose meagre total of just 24 goals conceded has played a crucial part in Celtic being in the brink of their first title since 1988, believes that a victory for the Premier Division leaders against St Johnstone at Parkhead will bring their eternal rivals crashing back to earth.

"You have to be very careful when you do things the way Rangers have this week," bristled Gould, leaving no doubt that it has supplied extra motivation, if any more were needed. "Put it this way. I would be pretty disappointed if I didn't have a championship medal by Saturday night."

More than 52,000 fans will pack Parkhead to see if Wim Jansen's team can protect their two-point advantage over Rangers. The Dutch coach remains unfazed by all the hype, saying: "We know what we have to do. We don't have to rely on anyone else, only ourselves."

Rangers believed their championship ambitions were dead after they lost to Kilmarnock last week until Dunfermline offered them a reprieve 24 hours later. Now they are desperate to take advantage.

Walter Smith has a string of injury problems for his final league match in charge of the club, including Jonas Thern and Andy Goram who have hamstring injuries. Smith said: "Celtic have the destiny of the title in their hands. But this has been a strange season. All we can hope for is a result and await the outcome of Celtic's game."

Kilmarnock will clinch the last remaining Uefa cup place if they defeat Hibernian at home and finish in fourth place. But St Johnstone, who are a point behind, have plenty of incentive to spoil the Parkhead party and replace it with one of their own. Hearts, already assured of a place in Europe, will rest some players ahead of next week's Scottish Cup final, for their home match with Dunfermline, while Motherwell will bring down the curtain at home to Aberdeen.