Football: Positive news after bad year for Rozental

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The Independent Online
Rangers' Chilean striker Sebastian Rozental pronounced himself well satisfied after coming through his first competitive 90 minutes for a year.

Rozental had been ruled out for the past 12 months with a persistent knee problem but returned for Rangers reserves at Ibrox in a 3-0 win over their St Johnstone counterparts on Tuesday. He said: "I felt very comfortable although my body was sore at the end. My knee felt fine and it will get better. I just have to be patient.

"I want to start playing for Rangers regularly as I aim to be in France for this World Cup this summer - I'm hoping for a much better year than last."

The Rangers manager, Walter Smith, added: "The main thing is he got through unscathed and now he must keep building his sharpness and confidence."

Rozental is part of the Chilean squad which will face England in the Wembley friendly next Wednesday. Also in the squad is the River Plate striker Marcelo Salas, a recent transfer target for Manchester United, who is negotiating a move to Lazio of Italy. However, the Internazionale forward Ivan Zamorano is unlikely to play, even though he has been named in the squad. He suffered a muscle injury in a Serie A fixture against Brescia last Sunday and may be out for at least a fortnight.

Hibernian's director of development, Billy McNeill, yesterday warned the players who cost Jim Duffy his job as manager that time is running out to prove their value.

McNeill, the former Celtic captain and manager, has taken temporary charge at Easter Road and is ready to select the side for Saturday's trip to Aberdeen if required. That will depend on whether the chairman, Lex Gold, can attract one of his targets to the club this week, but the newcomer faces an unenviable challenge.

McNeill is firmly out of the running and whether he remains in the position he took up just last month after seven years out of the game will be decided by Duffy's successor.

McNeill hopes the vacancy can be filled swiftly as he knows, with Hibernian four points adrift at the bottom of the Scottish Premier Division table and a mere 13 games remaining, there is a need for a mood of greater urgency.

Gold's shortlist is understood to include the Newcastle coach Tommy Burns, another former Celtic manager, and the St Johnstone manager, Paul Sturrock.