Different Views On Perhaps Last Ever Old Firm Meeting
Depending on how Rangers administrators manage to cope with the penalties imposed on the club, today's game could be more significant than winning bragging rights
Alan Thompson does not believe there is such a thing as a meaningless Old Firm game. The first team coach knows that Celtic securing the SPL title three weeks ago means there is little riding on the visit of administration-hit Rangers, whose battle at the moment is for their survival, rather than points.However, the former Hoops midfielder, while looking back to his experiences in the fixture as a player, insists there will be the usual excitement when the two Glasgow sides meet.He said: "It is a big game for us. It is an Old Firm game. After that we have three league games left, two at home, one away, and one in which we look forward to picking up the trophy and we look forward to that. But this is probably the biggest game out of the four we have left by some way. The atmosphere and winning in that atmosphere (is what I liked). It's horrible when you lose them, you want to bury your head in the sand and go missing until your next game but they are great days if you can win them.''Ally McCoist is looking beyond the game as he worries over the future of his club. The Rangers manager believes British football without the Old Firm derby would be "tragic''. The financial problems at the administration-hit Ibrox side mean they are not yet able to rule out the possibility of liquidation and applying for re-entry to the SPL as a 'newco'. McCoist has also spoken of dropping down to the Irn-Bru Third Division as maybe being "morally'' correct, albeit to the detriment of the rest of the SPL, and such a scenario would mean the end of the famous Glasgow derby for several seasons. The Ibrox manager was also asked to consider the extreme prospect of this fourth and final meeting with the Hoops this term being the last Old Firm encounter ever.
He said: "How tragic would that be? I am, of course, totally biased and make no apology for that but it's certainly one of the greatest products Scottish football has, maybe even British football actually. I've been fortunate enough to be at derby games all over the UK and Europe and there is nothing quite like it. It's a fantastic product, it really is. You could argue sometimes about the quality of football but in terms of the atmosphere that both sets of fans generate, it's second to none. It is definitely a spectacle that we should be proud of.''
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