'Too early' to plan Gers fixtures

26 February 2011 02:46
Scottish Premier League secretary Iain Blair says there are too many variables at this stage of the season to plan some of Rangers' games in hand."The number of total games Rangers could have between now and the end of the season varies by, from memory, about seven," Blair told BBC Scotland. [LNB]"On the one extreme, it's seven more than on the other extreme. [LNB]"So, to actually deal with that without knowing some of the outcomes of some of the variables, it's very difficult." [LNB]Rangers manager Walter Smith, whose side this week progressed to the last 16 of the Europa League, feels the SPL could do more to help Scottish clubs who have extended European runs. [LNB]"We are obviously looking at the contingencies. But, if they go through all of the competitions, it's obviously going to be a situation where Rangers do have more games to play than everyone else," said Blair. [LNB]"That's the reality, it can't actually change. The other reality is that all of the games have to be played and it's our job to try to do that as effectively and as fairly as we possibly can and that's certainly what we'll do." [LNB]The situation Rangers face is similar to season 2007/08, when they competed in four competitions until late on in the campaign, losing the Uefa Cup final and the league championship but triumphing in the League and Scottish Cup finals.[LNB] Last time we were sympathetic. We actually did on that occasion extend the season, albeit relatively slightly, it was extended and that was a recognition of the fixture congestion that Rangers were experiencing at that time Iain Blair "I noticed in one or two of the papers, Walter looking for sympathy to the situation that Rangers are in," said Blair. [LNB]"I certainly hope that, when we're dealing with fixtures, we have a sympathy for the plight of any of our clubs and obviously we have got a wish to support those clubs who are flying the flag for Scotland in Europe. [LNB]"Sympathy in my book means an understanding of and I think we do certainly have an understanding of the challenges that are presented by the fixture backlog that Rangers face and we're working to try and resolve those issues. [LNB]"I'm not sure how it could've been avoided and most of it was snow-related. Some of it's related to replays in cup competitions, which we don't actually control. [LNB]"To be honest, I haven't actually seen anyone suggest that there is anything that we could've done in terms of the fixture congestion. We simply have to deal with circumstances that we find ourselves in. [LNB]"Last time, we were sympathetic. We actually did on that occasion extend the season, albeit relatively slightly, it was extended and that was a recognition of the fixture congestion that Rangers were experiencing at that time, again flying the flag for Scotland in European competition. But there are so many different consequences. [LNB]"He is not asking for any special treatment for Rangers or any preference for Rangers. He's simply saying, 'look, these are the circumstances we're in, I hope everybody understands what those circumstances are and that we work to find the best solution' and that's exactly what we'll be trying to do." [LNB]Meanwhile, Blair is hoping to publish details of a start date for next season within in the next few days. [LNB]An earlier start to the campaign has been mooted but may clash with Celtic's participation in the Dublin Cup. [LNB]"We're hoping we'll be in a position during the early part of next week to let folk know what's going on," added Blair. [LNB]"We do understand that clubs are making plans and need to know what they're doing during the close season, whether that's matches played, whether that's pitch repairs that they want to do or whatever."

Source: BBC_Sport