Rangers in dock over 'Palestinian' protester

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The Independent Online

Rangers' delight at beating Maccabi Haifa 2-0 on Thursday night was tempered yesterday when Uefa, the European governing body, confirmed they will face disciplinary action. A protester, draped in a Palestinian flag and wearing a Pope John Paul II T-shirt, ran the length of the pitch and handcuffed himself to a goalpost.

The club will be investigated not only for the security breach but because fans hurled missiles. A police spokesman said that 10 arrests were made at the match. Uefa said yesterday the incident was included in the referee's match report and that a disciplinary hearing will take place on 7 December. A fine is the most probable outcome, but because Rangers were fined £8,700 in April for crowd trouble, a tougher sanction is also possible.

The protester, 21-year-old Sean Gallagher, appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court yesterday accused of a breach of the peace aggravated by religious prejudice. Gallagher denied the charges and was released on bail on the condition that he does not attend football matches anywhere in the UK before his next court appearance in February.

Rangers travel to Dundee United tomorrow hoping that the fine European form can translate to the domestic stage. "We're still under pressure because we need a run of results in the League," said Rangers' manager, Paul Le Guen. "It's good to get a result in European games but the basis of the season is the championship."

Barry Ferguson will be available after a rib injury sustained against Maccabi was not as bad as feared. Allan McGregor will deputise in goal as Lionel Letizi is out with a back problem.

Dundee United's Craig Levein will be one of two managers in charge of a new club for the first time today, with Hibernian's John Collins the other. As Hibs host Kilmarnock, their city rivals Hearts travel to Celtic with an interim manager, Eduard Malofeev.

Valdas Ivanauskas, Hearts' on-leave manager who has been suffering from a stress-related illness, said he is not yet fit enough to return to work.

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