Old Firm derby is 'car crash TV' says Richard Gough

Former Rangers captain Richard Gough has likened the modern Old Firm spectacle to "car crash TV" as the clubs prepare for talks with the police and Scottish Government over the social problems surrounding the fixture.

Rangers chief executive Martin Bain and Celtic counterpart Peter Lawwell have been summoned to a meeting with First Minister Alex Salmond and the two most senior Strathclyde Police officers today.

The invitation came after last Wednesday's volatile Scottish Cup clash at Celtic Park, which is the subject of investigations from the police and Scottish Football Association.

Much of the debate will centre on ways to reduce tension outside the ground - Strathclyde Police reported that arrests for violent and anti-social behaviour and drunkenness were up 77% on a similar Wednesday night.

But the behaviour of the players and coaching teams has prompted more publicity. Three Rangers players were sent off and Celtic manager Neil Lennon was involved in an angry exchange with Rangers assistant Ally McCoist, along with Ibrox midfielder El-Hadji Diouf.

Gough said: "I've read articles that people are quite happy that everyone is talking about the Old Firm.

"It has filled the broadsheets for a week and it looks like it will carry on for another two weeks.

"It's a bit like reality TV or car crash TV. It's like watching Big Brother, the product is not great at the minute but you know there is going to be an accident happening."

Gough had never seen former team-mate McCoist as animated as he was during his team's 1-0 cup loss.

"I'm surprised but that just shows you the emotions running through," said Gough, who was launching the search for the latest inductees to the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

"I think that was a carry-over from previous games.

"I don't know what was said, everyone is guessing, only those two people know what was said and what was said in previous games that led to Alistair's reaction.

"I have known Alistair, he is a very good friend of mine and professional colleague, and I have never seen him as angry as he was the other night.

"He is a happy-go-lucky chap and he was an angry man the other night. Something must have happened, he was very upset.

"It's difficult to keep your emotions under control. Unless you have been in that position, coaching at the Old Firm, and I never have, it's very difficult to say."

The chief executives of the SFA, Scottish Premier League and Scottish Football League will also attend the summit. Both Lawwell and Bain were at the governing bodies' Hampden offices yesterday to discuss their approach to the meeting.

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