FOOTBALL: Kanchelskis stakes his claim

SCOTTISH ROUND-UP
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The Independent Online
ANDREI KANCHELSKIS used a rare outing for Rangers on Saturday to stake his claim for a permanent place in the starting line-up before he discusses his future with the coach, Dick Advocaat. However, it may not be his two goals against Motherwell that keep him at Ibrox, but more his bloated wages.

Kanchelskis has recently complained about his lack of first-team football at Rangers but on Saturday the former Manchester United winger scored twice and set up one of Billy Dodds' two goals in the 5-1 win. However, Advocaat said yesterday that Kanchelsksis - without naming the Russian international - is one of several players who has spent a long time at Ibrox but has played so little that it may be difficult to sell him.

Kanchelskis, who cost Rangers pounds 5.5m from Fiorentina 18 months ago, made only his eighth start of the season on Saturday.

"We have to pay higher salaries than other countries to get people to come here," said Advocaat, "which means it is difficult to sell them on again." Whether Kanchelskis stays or goes will be determined by a meeting between the two when Rangers go to Florida next month during the Scottish Premier League's winter break. However, the player delivered a timely bargaining tactic at Motherwell.

It was Kanchelskis who began and ended the goals, to take his season's tally to three, with Billy Dodds (two) and Lorenzo Amoruso scoring in between, but the frustrated winger says he needs an extended run to do himself justice. "You need five or six games to give your best, not 10 or 15 minutes," said Kanchelskis. "I don't like sitting on the bench and I will meet the manager to discuss the situation, then I will need to see if I am staying or looking for another job."

John Barnes, the Celtic coach, confirmed after Saturday's 4-1 defeat of Dundee United that he had signed the 23-year-old Brazilian international, Rafael Felipe Scheidt, from Gremio Porto Alegre for pounds 5m. The central defender, who has two caps, needs a work permit but Celtic hope to obtain that this week.

On the field Barnes' current players mounted an impressive comeback against third-placed United after they had gone behind to Joaquim Ferraz's header. "The second half was the best we have played since I came here," Barnes said. "Unlike the other two good wins, against Hibernian and Aberdeen, this was done when we were under pressure after going a goal down."

Three goals in 16 minutes at the start of the second half, from Regi Blinker, Mark Viduka and Lubomir Moravcik, turned the game around before substitute Mark Burchill added the fourth to boost the team's confidence ahead of next Monday's Old Firm match.

Kilmarnock sank deeper into trouble when they lost 2-1 at home to St Johnstone, for whom John McBride and John O'Neil scored. It is now eleven games since they last won.

Hearts expect to complete the signings of two internationals within the next few days. Robert Tomaschek, the 27-year-old captain of Slovakia, has agreed to join the Edinburgh club from Slovan Bratislava after a week on trial at Tynecastle.

Antti Niemi, the 26-year-old Finland goalkeeper, has concluded his move from Rangers and made his debut against Hibernian last night.

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