Scottish Football: Comforting welcome for Macari

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THERE were two demonstrations at Celtic Park on Saturday. The first was an orchestrated campaign against the board, complete with banners and boos for those who run the club.

Estimates suggested that about 1,000 people vented their anger in the rain, while inside the stadium a crowd of just over 21,500 were treated to a second demonstration of a different nature as Celtic over-ran Partick Thistle to give Lou Macari, their new manager, a winning return on his first game back at the ground where his football career started.

Macari has presided over two League victories and it seems that, having witnessed victory at Ibrox last week, the supporters are less disposed towards anarchy.

Certainly, the appointment of Macari has deflected some of the flak from the board although they still face a serious challenge at the forthcoming EGM on 26 November.

On the field, however, Paul Byrne and Pat McGinlay inspired Celtic to their biggest home win of the season with McGinlay scoring twice and Charlie Nicholas adding the other. There was a commendable sense of purpose about the way Celtic conducted their business, but Macari refused to be fooled by the result, saying: 'I didn't expect to be entirely happy and I wasn't' His search for new players has been hampered by a cash problem.

Rangers, who beat Kilmarnock 2-0 at Rugby Park to move within two points of the leaders, Aberdeen, have placed five players on the transfer list. Brian Reid, Chris Vinnicombe, Sandy Robertson, John Morrow and Stephen Watson will be allowed to leave if acceptable offers are received.