Uefa 'would not object' if the Old Firm joined Premiership

Gerhard Aigner, the general secrtary of Uefa, said yesterday that European football's governing body would not stand in the way if the Old Firm wanted to join the Premiership. Both Celtic and Rangers have both expressed their desire to join the English league while several Premiership chairmen have also backed the move.

Uefa now say they would sanction the move if the relevant football associations agreed to the move, although the Premier League and the world game's governing body, Fifa, have voiced their opposition to the idea.

"I don't think we would stand in anyone's way if everybody agreed but I think that is something which needs to be achieved," Aigner said. "Based upon what we have agreed with Wales, where Welsh clubs can qualify for the European cups, I think we could see that as a possibility. But we will have to look at it when the time comes and getting the views of the associations involved."

The Old Firm want the greater competition that meeting clubs like Manchester United would bring. Had they been in the Premiership this season, they might have fancied their chances against United at the moment as Alex Ferguson's side have not been at their best defensively.

Ferguson may not have to say much before they trot on to the Villa Park pitch today when the echo of rollickings past will be rumbling round the ground. Facing them in the opposing goal will be a man whose unparalleled talent for telling defenders the errors of their ways is all too familiar to many of them. Peter Schmeichel would not have stood for the unusual antics that have gone on in front of United's goal this August and a moment's quiet contemplation of what life was like playing in front of him may be enough to pull them together.

The Great Dane might have had his idiosyncrasies but it is difficult to imagine him indulging in the Grobbelaaresque circus tricks that his latest successor between the sticks, Fabien Barthez, has taken a fancy to. It has not helped that Jaap Stam has been hesitant, opening an unusually direct route to United's goal for anyone brave enough to be positive.

Ferguson referred to "carelessness" but a typically commanding performance from Schmeichel would give a few United defenders food for thought.

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