Football: Gascoigne flute row grows louder

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The Independent Online
The Old Firm war of words over Paul Gascoigne's flute-playing antics continued last night when Celtic hit back over criticism by the Rangers chairman, David Murray, of his opposite number, Fergus McCann.

Murray was furious with the Parkhead managing director after he sent a letter of complaint to the Scottish Football Association over the England midfielder's controversial gesture while warming up on the touchline during the Scottish Premier Division match at Parkhead on 2 January.

Gascoigne issued a public apology after Rangers' 2-0 win against Aberdeen at Ibrox on Saturday, expressing his regret at his actions and disclosing he has been fined pounds 20,000, which will go to charity.

Murray reacted angrily when he discovered McCann had sent a letter to the SFA demanding action against the player. In a tersely worded statement yesterday, Celtic responded to Murray's own complaints as the row simmered on.

The Celtic statement read: "David Murray is aware of why Celtic sent a letter to the Scottish Football Association regarding wider issues than solely Paul Gascoigne's recent actions at Celtic Park. Although he has made public remarks through one newspaper, he has chosen not to comment on all the issues raised in the letter. Celtic has not made this a public matter and has no wish to at this stage. Celtic will now await the Scottish Football Association's response."

Earlier, Murray had questioned why McCann had felt the need to write a letter of complaint to the SFA. He said: "Just as it is not for me to tell Celtic how to conduct their affairs, it isn't for them to tell me how to conduct mine. I am disappointed that, rather than write to the SFA, Celtic couldn't call me if they felt strongly about what Paul Gascoigne did. We have sorted things out in the past and I think Fergus [McCann] has set a dangerous precedent."

- Bryn Palmer