Football: Boyd furious with referee for enforced break from Celtic campaign

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The Independent Online
Tom Boyd, the Celtic captain, yesterday blamed the referee Hugh Dallas for a three-match ban.

The Scotland international defender revelled in a more attacking role during last Friday's 2-0 Old Firm win against Rangers at Parkhead. But a late booking for what Dallas adjudged to be a foul on Paul Gascoigne took Boyd past the 16-point barrier.

That means that although he can play at Motherwell on Saturday, from the following Friday he begins a three-game ban which takes in League meetings with Dundee United and Aberdeen as well as a Scottish Cup third- round match against Morton.

"There is not much I can do about the suspension. If referees decide to book you for perfectly fair challenges, there is not much you can do," he said. "It is a disappointing factor, but maybe gives me a bit of a rest and a chance to recharge my batteries which I never really got in the summer."

Brian Laudrup, the Rangers striker, offered a damning assessment of how he and his team slumped to their first Old Firm league defeat for almost three years. The Danish international was stunned at the way Rangers offered so little resistance to a resurgent Celtic.

Only goalkeeper Andy Goram was exempt from Laudrup's outspoken verdict on a match which could yet have a major bearing on whether Rangers achieve a record 10th consecutive title.

Now Laudrup hopes his side can react positively to their derby setback and return to winning ways at home to Aberdeen on Saturday.

He said: "Celtic were by far the hungrier side last Friday and showed more desire than us to win the match. Derby matches are normally very competitive and there is not often a great deal of good football played, but that was no excuse for our performance last week.

"In the whole of the second half we failed to string three passes together and that is not acceptable. We had terrible problems in getting the ball forward and if you are not getting any service it's impossible to create chances.

"People say the Celtic defence was terrific, and they did play well, but we made it easy for them because our ball control and passing were so poor. It is vital that we address the problems which hindered us at Parkhead and contributed to our own downfall."

Laudrup admitted it was not the first occasion Celtic have got the better of their Glasgow rivals in recent times. The 28-year-old conceded he sensed it was only a matter of time before the Bhoys would prove themselves men again and end a run of 10 games without a win in the fixture.

He added: "In the last couple of years we have not played well at Parkhead at times, but we have still come away with the points. However this time we did not get away with it. We played badly and certainly deserved to get beaten.

"Records have to be broken some time and I would definitely rather lose to Celtic now than in our last meeting in April. Hopefully we can stay in there until the end of the season. It will be tough but we have done it in the past."

But Laudrup's openness did not extend to putting to a close the speculation about his plans at the end of the season when his present deal expires.

"I have a very difficult decision to make and I will decide where my future rests sometime in March or April," he said. "I will see out my current contract with Rangers and hopefully help them to win 10 in a row - after that who knows what might happen."