Le Guen keeps faith after Letizi blunder

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The Independent Online

The Rangers manager Paul Le Guen has refused to explain his reasons for favouring Lionel Letizi over Allan McGregor in goal even after a blunder from the Frenchman gifted Inverness Caledonian Thistle a win on Saturday.

McGregor was drafted in for the last seven games after Letizi suffered a thigh injury against Hearts in August, and some impressive displays made him September's Player of the Month. But the Scot was told he would be dropped for the visit of Inverness.

The move backfired when Letizi spilled a Craig Dargo shot and Graham Bayne was able to grab the only goal of the game from the rebound.

Asked if he regretted his decision to play the former Paris St Germain goalkeeper, Le Guen said: "No, I am totally aware of the situation but Lionel played because I think it was the right decision.

"I am respectful to the fans. Even if I am respectful, it's up to me to choose the team. I am not a newcomer in football. I expect respect, too. I do my job and I try my best but the situation is a little bit strange."

Some fans chanted McGregor's name after the goal, while others simply chose to jeer Letizi whenever he touched the ball.

However, Le Guen added: "That is not my main preoccupation. I'm disappointed with the result and the performance."

Better news, as far as the club's medium to long-term future is concerned, was that Italy's World Cup winner Gennaro Gattuso has promised Rangers chairman David Murray he will return to Ibrox one day.

Gattuso was 19 when then manager Walter Smith brought him over from Perugia for a season and the midfielder quickly became a cult hero because of his never-say-die spirit.

"I don't know when it will happen but it will happen," he said yesterday. "I just have to go back - and it's a promise I have made to myself and David Murray. I spoke to David in August in Edinburgh and he told me the door was always open. There won't be any problems with money. I know they are going through a bad time financially, and I won't go there to take a pension either. I won't go at 35 or 36, I'll go when I've still got something to offer them."

While Celtic warmed up for tomorrow's Champions' League meeting with Benfica with a 4-1 win at Dundee United, the Portuguese side won 4-0 at Uniao Leiria but lost winger Paulo Jorge, who will be out for up to two weeks with a right knee problem. He joins midfielder Giorgios Karagounis (calf) and playmaker Rui Costa (thigh) on the injured list.