Scottish Football: Smith dismayed by Rangers' ragged show

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The Independent Online
A BRUISING of reputations took place on Saturday leaving Rangers and Aberdeen licking their largely self-inflicted wounds after their first defeats of the season, allowing Celtic the chance to take over at the top of the league thanks to their 2-0 win over Dundee United.

The dark blues of Dundee produced a memorable performance against the light blues of Ibrox. On a day when Simon Stainrod, the Dundee manager, had instructed his players to ask questions of the Rangers defence, Ivo Den Bieman, Ian Gilzean and Billy Dodds found the right answers to give their side a 4-3 win. Walter Smith lamented: 'That was the worst Rangers display since I took over as manager'.

He will have to find answers of his own in time for the Skol Cup tie at Stranraer and then the visit of Celtic to Ibrox on Saturday.

Aberdeen also felt the sting of defeat, their problems at Motherwell being compounded by the fact that they had taken an early lead through Eoin Jess before losing their way and the points to a Davie Cooper-inspired home team.

Celtic introduced their new signing, Andy Payton, at Celtic Park but fellow striker Gerry Creaney took the plaudits for both goals against United and generally Celtic caught the eye with some excellent passing football. Their display, and that of Dundee, favourably whets the appetite for their Skol Cup tie in Glasgow on Wednesday when Celtic will introduce another new face, the former West Ham striker, Stuart Slater.

Airdrie are in danger of becoming detached at the bottom of the league. Even this early into the season they are two points adrift and more worryingly for them they have still to score a league goal. Against St Johnstone they conceded three, each one of genuine class, while losing their central defender, Gus Caesar, to a red card.