Socrates MacSporran

Socrates MacSporran
No I am not Chick Young, but I can remember when Scottish football was good

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

And Today's Rangers' Crisis Is

ANOTHER day, another Rangers crisis. But, not that serious a crisis – the cracked logo template wasn't called-up for back age application by either the Recor or Sun sports subs. Or is it just that, Rangers 2017-18 is one of those Russian dolls, in a football kit – no sooner is one crisis removed, than another is revealed.

Today's Rangers Crisis, featuring Kenny and Lee

A wee word here to the celebrating Celtic Family, enjoying extreme schadenfreude at the ongoing clusterfuck which is life at Ibrox; your turn is coming. Since 1888, the story has been a period of Celtic dominance, followed by a period when the other lot are cocks of the walk, before the pendulum of power swings back the other way. You would think the fans of a club whose theme song includes the line: “if you know their history” would guard against over-confidence and gloating.

The GASL will not always be there, messing-up Rangers, they will be back. That's a statement of the obvious, I would far-rather see a couple of other Scottish clubs, as Abrdeen and Dundee United managed under Alex Ferguson and Jim McLean, rising to offer a genuine challenge, only, this time one which lasts longer than the half decade or so the New Firm managed. I may have a long wait or this, however.

But, to return to that unfolding horror that is Rangers this season. When the Club Captain and the Senior Professional are in open conflict with the caretaker manager, not only does it virtually guarantee, that caretaker, in this case Graeme Murty, will not inherit the throne. Mind you, that will be no bad thing for Murty, being Rangers manager is more poisoned chalice than throne these days. But, we all know this.

I am actually glad I am no longer “on the tools” full-time. It must be Hell being a football writer on a Scottish title today. Trying to sell the shite we are subjected to on a Saturday is bad enough, but, how much worse is it trying to find something new to say about events around Rangers, while avoiding the elephant in the room – the fact their Chairman's level of incompetence and failure to accept reality is making President Trump and Prime Minister May appear competent in comparison.

Mustn't speak the truth, less it forces the lieges to rise in revolt. That's the problem with Rangers' fans – they haven't revolted. Celtic, back in the 1990s, were on the verge of collapse, but, at the 11th hour, the wee man in the bunnet from Croy emerged to save the Hoops.

The Wee Messiah in the bunnet - how Rangers could do with someone like him

In 2012, nobody came forward to save the jerseys and Rangers went under; unless the GASL is removed, it could happen a second time at Ibrox; and that is not scare-mongering.

So, operating with one hand tied behind their backs, the churnalists and stenographers have to write something, anything. Mind you, whatever they do write will be read. In this morning's list of most-read stories on The Herald's website, the stories ranked 1st, 3rd,th, 8th, 12th, 17th and 19th were all Rangers stories. Is nothing else happening in Scottish football?

Nothing is surer than, for the rest of this week, the football agenda will be driven by the Miller-Murty-Wallace menage a trois, which aint no happy three-in-a-bed romp. The stenographers will be thumbing through their contacts book, trying to decide which of the usual suspects can say the most-outlandish thing about the whole sorry mess, to prop-up their paper's slipping circulation.

BACK in 2010, during the World Cup in South Africa, Frank Lampard fired in a shot which came down off the German crossbar and, as TV pictures demonstrated only too clearly, hit the ground over the line. The ball then spun backwards and was clutched and cleared by a grateful Manuel Neuer.

Lampard hit the shot at 37 minutes, 14 seconds into the game, but, at 38.06, at the opposite end of the park – play having continued from Neur's throw-out, Lukas Podolski fired a shot a foot wide. Now, supposing that Podolski shot had gone in – cue uproar.

Any way, it has taken a number of years, but, the furore over the Lampard no-goal has eventually led to the introduction of the VAR review system. However, this has not been welcomed with universal approval, and, the doubters got another reason to be upset yesterday, in the Bundesliga.

The referee in the Mainz v Freiburg match, Guido Winkmann, missed a cross from Mainz's Daniel Brosinski striking the hand of Marc-Olivr Kempf of Freiburg. He then blew for half-time and off the players trotted, only for the VAR official to bring the handball to Winkmann's attention and suggest he award a penalty.

 For you zer is no argument, ze penalty has been given

Some five minutes after they left the park, Winkmann recalled both teams and, nearly seven minutes after the original incident, Pablo di Blasis fired home from the spot. The players then trotted back off to resume the half-time interval.

I have seen rugby matches restarted with a penalty from half-way after a bit of silliness, maybe Winkmann should have let the interval run, then had the penalty taken before the second-half kicked-off.

I remember saying, at the time of the Lampard ghost goal, the fact football is such a free-flowing and fast-moving game would make video refereeing decisions difficult to bring in. Football is not stop-start like rugby.

Aside from the fact, the Mainz penalty looked, to me, to be ball to hand, the delay in calling the penalty, then having it taken, demonstrates the difficulty of adapting video technology to the game.

The fans' view - a shite decision and here's the paper to clean it up

Never mind, if Question of Sport lasts another 40 years, it will come up again as a What Happened Next question.

It is maybe just as well the SFA and the SPFL cannot afford VAR, just imagine what might have happened had that been an Old Firm game, or another of our little local clan battles passing for football.

If VAR ever reaches the juniors, it will bring a whole new level of intensity to such local friendlies as Auchinleck Talbot v Cumnock.

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