Football: Snelders returns from Tunisia to face showdown against Rangers: Rob McLean on today's Scottish programme

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The Independent Online
THEO SNELDERS, the Dutch international goalkeeper, is back for Aberdeen's crucial top of the table match with Rangers today.

Snelders missed the midweek 2-2 draw with Celtic because of international duty in Tunisia, but normal service is resumed when he faces the leaders at Pittodrie.

Willie Miller, the Aberdeen manager, has been stressing that Snelders' return does not reflect on the way the young goalkeeper, Michael Watt, played at Parkhead.

'It has not been easy for him as understudy to Snelders,' Miller said. 'But he is young and has got many years ahead of him and I believe he will eventually become our No 1.' Aberdeen will give a late fitness test to the midfield player, Robert Connor.

Celtic have stressed that their striker, Gerry Creaney, will not be available on loan. Creaney has spent this week training with Everton and waiting for their new manager, Mike Walker, to decide whether he should make a pounds 600,000 bid for him. 'He will either be sold or start playing again for Celtic.' Lou Macari, the Celtic manager said. Tottenham and Portsmouth have also shown interest.

Scottish clubs will play their first European matches next season before they have played a competitive domestic game.

The Scottish League management committee has decided that their season will not start until Saturday 13 August, three days after the first-round ties in the European competitions.

Peter Donald, the League secretary, said: 'Premier League representatives on the committee have agreed with the decision.'

The Dundee defenders, Dusan Vrto and Steve Pittman, are both doubtful for the relegation clash with Raith Rovers while Patrick Thistle will be without thier midfield players, Chick Charnley and Alex Taylor, for the match with Motherwell.

Pat McGinlay, the Celtic midfield player, has decided to make his international career with Scotland, after rejecting the chance to play for the World Cup qualifiers, Republic of Ireland. McGinlay, who was also qualified to play for Ireland, is expected to be named on Monday by the national manager, Craig Brown, in the squad for the B international against Wales at Wrexham on 2 February.