Football: Dutch in critical mood

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The Independent Online
Louis Van Gaal shook his head at the madness going on in front of him at Easter Road as Rangers and Hibernian abandoned all pretence at tactics or pre-match plans in ever-more frantic efforts to claim victory.

Leading 2-1, Hibs were defending furiously when Rangers were awarded a penalty with five minutes remaining. Brian Laudrup sent his first effort against the crossbar and when given another opportunity because of encroachment by a Hibs player, the Dane saw his second spot-kick saved by Jim Leighton thereby bringing to a close the visitors' 100 per cent League record.

Van Gaal, the Ajax coach, who was checking on his Champions' League opponents before Wednesday's match against Rangers in Amsterdam, commented: "The game was not of a high standard. Rangers were the better team but the soul of Hibs was very great." Interestingly, he added: "Laudrup and Gascoigne weren't playing for the team, but were individuals."

Neither was able to exert an influence on proceedings although the Englishman was fouled in the ninth minute to give Jorg Albertz the opportunity to shoot Rangers ahead with a powerful free-kick. Hibs responded through Darren Jackson from the penalty spot and Graeme Donald.

On this form, the Edinburgh side appeared to be in good heart as they await a new manager following the departure of Alex Miller. Alex McLeish, of Motherwell, is the man they want, and although they have been refused permission to speak to McLeish, Hibs will make a further attempt this week.

The man in question watched his Motherwell side lose to a last-minute goal at Celtic Park, scored by Pierre van Hooijdonk. The Dutch striker, who has returned to the side following a well-publicised dispute with Tommy Burns, headed the only goal of the game deep into injury time to reduce Rangers' lead at the top by two points.

Billy Dodds continued his big start to the season with two of Aberdeen's three goals against Dunfermline. Dodds, who was denied the pleasure of making his first international start by the non-appearance of Estonia in last Wednesday's World Cup qualifier, took his season's total to 16 goals. It sounded a warning to Brondby that they can expect an uncomfortable ride tomorrow night when the Dons visit Denmark on Uefa Cup business.

Raith Rovers remain bottom of the Premier Division after they could only draw 1-1 with Hearts while fellow strugglers Dundee United and Kilmarnock played out a goalless draw.