Football: Paton out to upset Rangers

BERT PATON, the Dunfermline Athletic manager, admits to a feeling of frustration ahead of his side's home match with the Premier League leaders, Rangers today.

The Pars, who are one of the favourites to be relegated, have become draw specialists in the early part of the season. They have taken a point from five of their seven matches - with their only League defeat coming at the hands of Celtic on the opening day.

"We could be top of the League by now," Paton said. "But we have had too many draws when we had a chance to win games. I'm just a bit fed-up because we deserve a better reward for playing so much good football. But if we keep creating chances we will get the goals, of that I am certain.

"We made some good signings in the summer and now have a strong squad. The average age of our defenders is 22, and that is unique at this level," Paton added. "It is an exciting era for the club. Our new stand is open on Saturday, and the place is looking good."

Paton is again without the defender Andy Tod, who has an ankle problem, but Rangers are ready to welcome back Colin Hendry. The former Blackburn defender is recovering from a foot injury that forced him to miss the 1-1 draw at Aberdeen in midweek.

Rangers squandered a hatful of opportunities in that match - and that is something the club is anxious to remedy. Their captain, Lorenzo Amoruso, said: "We again created so many opportunities against Aberdeen that it was disappointing not to win. It is not easy at the moment but we must work hard to try and improve our performance."

Celtic are hoping Marc Rieper will be available to face Hearts in the top game of the day at Parkhead. The Danish international was forced to miss the 1-0 midweek defeat by St Johnstone after picking up a groin injury in training.

Celtic's coach, Dr Jozef Venglos, may be tempted to freshen up the team and give a debut to the Norwegian midfielder, Vidar Riseth. The pounds 1.5m signing from Austria's LASK Linz spent 90 minutes on the bench against the Saints.

The Hearts manager, Jim Jefferies, will make a late decision about the fitness of his injured pair, the goalkeeper Gilles Rousset (back) and the former Celtic midfielder Stevie Fulton (hamstring).

The Dundee United manager, Paul Sturrock, has been landed with several injury worries as he prepares to take his team back to his former club, St Johnstone. The defender Neil Duffy and the midfielder Tonny Mols picked up knocks in the 1-1 midweek draw with Dunfermline at Tannadice - a result which keeps United at the bottom of the table.

The former Bristol Rovers midfielder Lee Maddison, who was ruled out of the 2-1 midweek defeat at Kilmarnock, looks likely to return to the Dundee squad for the home game against Motherwell.

Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, for whom Ally McCoist is likely to start, meet at Pittodrie in tomorrow's televised fixture.