Scottish Football: Brady's pennant problem

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The Independent Online
TREVOR STEVEN'S 33rd-minute header at Ibrox brought about two conclusions. It proved to be the match-winner in the third Old Firm match of the season, stretching Rangers' lead over Celtic to 10 points, and it brought a serious admission from Liam Brady, the Celtic manager.

'I think as far as we are concerned the League championship is over,' he concluded, after watching his side dominate for much of the 90 minutes and fail to take several good chances. They were not helped by an early injury to Tony Mowbray, their central defender, who tore a thigh muscle. His absence was acutely obvious when Mark Hateley rose unchallenged to a John Brown free-kick and headed on to Steven, who in turn headed powerfully past Pat Bonner.

At best, Celtic can now only play a detached role in the destination of the league flag, and must now look to the Scottish Cup to save not only their season, but perhaps Brady's job as well.

The season of goodwill to Rangers continued at Pittodrie where their nearest challengers, Aberdeen, failed to break down Dundee, leaving Willie Miller, the home manager, to say: 'We are the victims of our own success. Teams are now coming here to defend.'

The Dons trail by five points, with Rangers having a game in hand. Dundee United visit Ibrox on Tuesday, but will have to improve dramatically on Saturday's performance if they are to dent Rangers' long-term plans.

United lacked conviction in a 2-1 home defeat by St Johnstone. They clearly missed the influence of Maurice Malpas, their injured captain. He should return on Tuesday, although Rangers will also welcome back their top scorer, Ally McCoist, who missed Saturday's game through injury.

Campbell Money, the St Mirren goalkeeper, broke his leg in final minutes of the game with Morton. The Stranraer central defender, Ian Spittal, suffered a similar injury against Queen of the South.

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