Football Round-Up: Rangers collect another trophy

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ON A DAY when concrete decisions about relegation and promotion issues were few and far between, the Rangers and the Rovers took charge.

Walter Smith's tired Rangers ground out one more victory to make certain of their 43rd Scottish title. Gary McSwegan's goal a minute into the second half was enough to beat Airdrieonians at Broomfield Park. South of the border, that enduring goalscorer John Aldridge struck a late winner against Watford, his second goal of the game, to book Tranmere's First Division play-off berth.

Last season, Brentford and Birmingham City won automatic promotion to the First Division. This season they're both fighting relegation. Two goals by Gary Blissett set the Bees on their way to a 3-1 win over Barnsley and Brum fought back to grab a point at doomed Bristol Rovers, while Southend were pulled back towards trouble by defeat at struggling Cambridge. Meanwhile, Notts County suffered a similar fate after taking only a point from Oxford.

Much low-scoring mid-table action of marginal import in the Premier League. But of course there's never anything end of season about Wimbledon and despite losing a 39th minute goal to Darren Anderton at Spurs and having Brian McAllister sent off in the second half, Robbie Earle supplied an equaliser. Elsewhere, Tony Cascarino struck a late winner for Chelsea against Coventry and David White's 18th goal of the season gave Manchester City victory at Southampton.

Despite the rugby league club's success at Wembley, some folk in Wigan will not be celebrating. The town's round-ball club lost 2-0 at home to Plymouth and booked their ticket for relegation from the Second Division along with Mansfield and Chester. Once proud Preston's 5-1 thrashing at home to Mansfield makes them look favourites for the final drop slot.

Cardiff are back in the driving seat in the race for the Third Division championship. Their 2-1 home win over Shrewsbury gives them a point lead over Barnet, who could only draw with Lincoln.

Strange results in the Scottish First Division: second-placed Dunfermline (P41 Pts51 before the match) hosted relegated Cowdenbeath (P41 Pts9) and, very remarkably, lost 2-0. Both goals came from the Dunfermline-born Willie Callaghan. Curiouser still, champions Raith Rovers also lost, 2-1 at lowly Stirling, the second match at the new Forthbank stadium.

Brian Clough isn't the only long-serving manager leaving his club on a mournful note. Ted Pearce, 23 years at Farnborough, says adieu this season, and after yesterday's 5-2 home defeat by Altrincham and Macclesfield's surprise 1-0 success at the champions, Wycombe Wanderers, Farnborough said ta-ta to the GM Vauxhall Conference.

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