Scottish Football: Rest for Rangers

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The Independent Online
RANGERS have been handed a respite from the rigours of domestic action, after a broken drain at Ibrox caused the postponement of today's Premier Division encounter with Dundee United, writes Rupert Metcalf. The Scottish champions, with some relief, can now turn their attention to Wednesday's European Champions' League match with CSKA Moscow in Bochum, Germany.

Walter Smith, the Rangers manager, can offer a proper rest to four of his walking wounded: Ally McCoist, Stuart McCall, Dave McPherson and Gary Stevens, who had all been named in the squad for today despite lacking full fitness.

The day's most interesting Premier Division fixture is now Celtic's Glasgow derby at Partick Thistle. The Parkhead men will have a makeshift defence, as Dariusz Wdowczyk, Mike Galloway and Tony Mowbray are definitely out, while Gary Gillespie and Brian O'Neil are very doubtful.

'It will be a case of improvisation,' Liam Brady, the Celtic manager, said. 'I'm going to have to juggle with my players and the bottom line is that a couple will be playing out of position.'

This weekend also sees the first round of the Tennents Scottish Cup, which features four clubs from the Press and Journal Highland League and two from the East of Scotland League: Spartans, who head south to Queen of the South; and Civil Service Strollers, who make the long journey north to Inverness Thistle.

Stranraer have the most taxing travelling to do: a round trip of almost 600 miles to Huntly and back. Their hosts, of the Highland League, are managed by Steve Paterson, once of Manchester United, and will include Doug Rougvie, the 36-year-old former Aberdeen, Chelsea and Scotland centre-half, in their defence.