Rangers bemoan pile-up of road trips

Rangers have added to the protests over the post-split Clydesdale Bank Premier League fixtures by hitting out at the decision to hand them three consecutive away games.

Despite having a double-figures lead at the top of the table, Rangers chief executive, Martin Bain, argued that his club had been placed at a "competitive disadvantage" by being given trips to Hibernian, Dundee United and Celtic in succession.

Bain has also criticised the decision to give Celtic a third home match against Motherwell, whose pitch suffered badly in the harsh winter.

The Ibrox director called for an end to the split and a debate on the structure of the SPL. Bain said: "We find it disappointing and surprising that we have been asked to play three consecutive away matches in the space of 10 days at such a crucial stage of the season. We know we have work to do in our efforts to win the championship but it is maybe just as well we have a good lead given the schedule we are faced with. It is certainly our understanding that clubs are never forced to play three away games in a row before the split so we don't know why we are being asked to do so now."

Bain's criticism follows disquiet from St Mirren over their third trip to relegation rivals Falkirk and strong unhappiness from Motherwell over their fixtures, which see them play two more away games than home matches. Bain has called for an extended debate over the league's structure to avoid more disparity.

"Having played Dundee United twice at Tannadice, for example, in order to balance home and away fixtures we are having to travel to Tannadice for a third time," Bain said.

"There are a number of anomalies that the post split fixtures have thrown up this season and this highlights the unsatisfactory situation that currently exists with a 12-team league and a split after 33 games, and outside influences seem to becoming major factors in determining these.

"The SPL have said that the police did not want the final Old Firm game of the season to be decisive and therefore did not want it scheduled for fixture 34 or 35.

"They have also said that they did not want the game on the weekend of May 1 and May 2 as this is a bank holiday weekend, but what difference does it make when the match is invariably played at 12.30pm? The other aspect is that Celtic are not being asked to go and play on the difficult surface at Fir Park when they have only played there once this season. Does that equate to sporting integrity?"

Bain added: "I think the time has come for a more considered debate on a better structure that removes the split completely."

Rangers are boosted by the return of Madjid Bougherra and Kirk Broadfoot for their Clydesdale Bank Premier League ga me against Dundee United. Both players have been sidelined for several weeks with hamstring problems but are added to the squad for the trip to Tannadice. No fresh injuries or suspensions means Walter Smith has a full squad to choose from.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee
World War Z author Max Brooks honours WW1's Harlem Hellfighters in new graphic novel

Max Brooks honours Harlem Hellfighters

The author talks about race, legacy and his Will Smith film option to Tim Walker
Why the league system no longer measures up

League system no longer measures up

Jon Coles, former head of standards at the Department of Education, used to be in charge of school performance rankings. He explains how he would reform the system
Valentine's Day cards: 5 best online card shops

Don't leave it to the petrol station: The best online card shops for Valentine's Day

Can't find a card you like on the high street? Try one of these sites for individual, personalised options, whatever your taste
Diego Costa: Devil in blue who upsets defences is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

Devil in blue Costa is a reminder of what Liverpool have lost

The Reds are desperately missing Luis Suarez, says Ian Herbert