Jardine: Derby ties are quieter now

15 March 2011 08:00

Rangers legend Sandy Jardine believes the Old Firm fixture has quietened down significantly since the days when he kept away from the touchline to avoid flying bottles.

The Glasgow giants meet in Sunday's Co-operative Insurance Cup final at Hampden on Sunday with their most recent meeting still fresh in the mind.

Jardine told Press Association Sport: "Generally, Rangers versus Celtic games are quieter and there is less trouble at them."

However, Celtic's 1-0 win in the Scottish Cup fifth-round replay at Parkhead on March 2 saw Rangers players Steven Whittaker, Madjid Bougherra and El-Hadji Diouf shown red cards in a game that featured 13 cautions.

Light Blues assistant manager Ally McCoist and Hoops boss Neil Lennon had to be separated at the final whistle and were consequently handed two-match and four-match touchline bans respectively.

The game sparked such an outcry that, at the request of Strathclyde Police chief constable Stephen House, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond invited Rangers chairman Martin Bain and his Celtic counterpart Peter Lawwell, to a summit meeting to help seek a resolution to the problem of sectarianism and bad behaviour both on and off the field.

But Jardine, who played for Rangers in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, said the Old Firm environment is much less volatile these days.

"In many ways it was a lot worse in my early years than what it is now," he said.

"When I first started my career in 1964, alcohol was allowed into the stadiums and you could see the bottles raining down. You didn't go too near the touchline, particularly at Parkhead when we were playing, you didn't take the chance of going to get the ball at 'The Jungle'.

"The games these days are far better policed and they are a lot quieter. They blow up because there is so much passion and tension in the game and then they go quiet for four of five years. But when they do blow up, a lot of people go over the top."

Source: PA