Football: Scottish round-up: Old Firm pair fall flat

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The Independent Online
Having sent a warning shot over the bows of those concerned with league reconstruction, Celtic were sunk by a member of the league they would have us believe they want no more part of.

Their posturing last week about a possible takeover of Wimbledon was a timely reminder to the merchants of change that the demands of the Old Firm cannot be neglected when the 40 Scottish League clubs met on Thursday.

Rangers too have been linked with Premiership ambitions and a link-up with Coventry but, while such moves will inevitably become entangled in red tape, the last few years have demonstrated that in football the established order can be changed: the threat therefore remains for the future that Celtic and Rangers could break away.

The likelihood is that a European league would satisfy the ambitions of Scotland's big two in the meantime at least, yet on Saturday those who do not back the Old Firm, and there are many, will have been delighted that neither could secure a win.

Celtic went down to a late Dundee United goal scored by Gary McSwegan, the former Rangers and Notts County striker, while Rangers could do no more than draw 0-0 at home to Hearts in the absence of the injured Paul Gascoigne.

Hearts announced plans hours before the game to float themselves on the Stock Exchange, a move they hope will realise around pounds 6m, money which would be spent in completing the upgrading of Tynecastle. Unfortunately for Jim Jefferies, none of the money raised is likely to be put towards the team.

Aberdeen ended their worst run in 44 years with a 2-1 victory over Kilmarnock, while Dunfermline secured themselves in sixth position with a 3-1 win over Motherwell. The two bottom clubs, Hibernian and Raith Rovers, fought out a 1-1 draw.

Craig Brown, the Scotland manager, is likely to include Neil Sullivan, the Wimbledon goalkeeper, when he names his squad today for the forthcoming World Cup re-run against Estonia in Monaco.

Ian Ferguson, the Rangers midfielder, is set for an international recall while Duncan Ferguson is also expected to be named.

However John Collins, the former Celtic midfielder who currently plays for Monaco, is likely to miss out on the chance of playing on his home ground because of a hamstring injury. The match is a re-run of last year's Tallinn game which lasted just three seconds, as Scotland kicked off when Estonia failed to appear.

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