Scottish Football: Harrison heads for home

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STEVE HARRISON, the former England coach, should have been travelling to Rangers on Saturday with St Johnstone, but instead he was heading back to London to return to his coaching job with Crystal Palace.

Brought to McDiarmid Park on Friday as No 2 to John McClelland, Harrison resigned the following day after adverse publicity in the media about the circumstances behind his departure from his previous club, Millwall. 'He did not want to embarrass the club,' Geoff Brown, the St Johnstone chairman, said after his side's 2-0 defeat at Ibrox.

While Rangers - and Aberdeen - took care of business in their usual calm efficient manner, others below them were desperately trying to thrash out some Christmas cheer for themselves.

Celtic gift-wrapped a goal for the Hearts striker, Ian Ferguson, inside the first minute at Tynecastle, a goal which ended a run of 55 weeks and 24 Premier Division games unbeaten away from home for Liam Brady's men.

Further down the league, Partick Thistle won a point against Airdrie to bring to an end their run of five defeats, while a goal two minutes from time by Simon Stainrod, Dundee's player-manager, earned the points against Falkirk. Aberdeen's 2-0 win over Hibernian gave them a total of 20 points out of the last 22.

In the second round of the Scottish Cup, Frank McGarvey helped Clyde to a 3-1 win over Brechin which earned a home tie against Celtic - one of McGarvey's former clubs. Cove Rangers, of the Highland League, progressed with a 2-0 win over Montrose. Ray Stephen, the former Dundee and Nancy striker, was one of the scorers.

Frank McAvennie, the former Celtic, West Ham and Aston Villa forward, is due to return to the Scottish game within the next two weeks. The 33-year-old, who was released by West Ham at the end of last season, has been negotiating with John Lambie, the Partick Thistle manager, and will be offered an initial two-month contract.