Football: Rangers fans turn on old boy

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The Independent Online
BOBBY WILLIAMSON has been away for long enough from Rangers now to know that justice is blind when provincial teams come to Ibrox. For Ian Durrant, though, the discovery was very alarming.

The only principle which applies to modern-day fans is "you're either with us, or against us". Durrant, born and brought up in the shadow of the stadium and an idol of the Rangers fans in his 14 years, probably could not believe his ears in the 57th minute of Saturday's 1-0 Premier League win for the home side.

The howls of derision which met the Kilmarnock playmaker's challenge on Tony Vidmar betrayed the short memories and short fuses that were operating. Yet it was also illuminating: Durrant had barely brushed against the Australian just outside the box - certainly the fall was theatrical - and it was a tackle he must have made unpunished countless times over the years for his beloved Rangers.

Referee John Rowbotham, though, disagreed, and awarded the free-kick - as Durrant looked in disbelief - from which which Claudio Reyna allowed Jorg Albertz to curl a sublime shot around the wall and beyond Colin Meldrum.

That pivotal moment was all that separated the league leaders from the second-bottom team, but, to borrow the analogy of boxers who used to travel to Italy, you need a knockout to get a draw at Ibrox.

"I thought the free-kick was doubtful," groaned Williamson. "Durrant said he never touched him, mind you Lorenzo Amoruso said he never did anything wrong either," added the Kilmarnock manager, unable to conceal a grin.

"I felt Rangers never really caused us too many problems but there is always a chance that Albertz will score from that distance." What about his own team's penalty claim when Amoruso blocked the impressive Christophe Cocard? "At Ibrox? Give us a break," Williamson laughed.

The other half of the Old Firm had a more comfortable afternoon. Celtic won 6-0 at Aberdeen to take their tally against the Pittodrie side to 18 goals in three league games.

"We are playing as well as we were at the start of the season," John Barnes, Celtic's head coach, said, "If we keep putting in performances like that we'll continue to collect points."

"I do feel sympathy for Ebbe Skovdahl [his Pittodrie counterpart] because I thought 6-0 slightly flattered us. Aberdeen were better organised and showed more spirit than in the previous games against us."