Football: Stark return for Gascoigne

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The Independent Online
After a week when, despite not playing against Ajax in the Champions' League, Paul Gascoigne has remained the focus of media attention, the England midfielder returns to the Rangers line-up today in the humble surroundings of Stark's Park, Kirkcaldy, writes Rupert Metcalf.

Gascoigne will play against Raith Rovers after his midweek suspension as Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, also welcomes back Richard Gough, Alex Cleland and Craig Moore. Brian Laudrup is doubtful, however, with both flu and a groin strain.

Smith has dismissed as "pure speculation" media reports that Kenny Dalglish is considering an offer to join Rangers as the head of their scouting network, and that his left-back, David Robertson, is about to move to Middlesbrough.

Celtic entertain Aberdeen in front of a 50,000 sell-out crowd at Parkhead. Tommy Burns, the Celtic manager, has an injury crisis to cope with. Pierre van Hooijdonk, Andreas Thom, Paul McStay, Phil O'Donnell, Jorge Cadete, Stuart Gray and Marc Anthony are all out, so Chris Hay, 22, and John Paul McBride, 17, may taste first-team action. The English defender Alan Stubbs will captain Celtic for the first time.

Stranraer will play in the final of a major tournament for the first time in their 126-year history when they face St Johnstone tomorrow at Clyde's Broadwood Stadium to decide the destiny of the Scottish League Challenge Cup.