SPL set to extend season

RAB - P

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UNDER-FIRE SPL bosses were last night on the verge of a dramatic cave-in to help Rangers in their bid for UEFA Cup glory.

the astonishing U-turn, which will see the season extended by a full week, should be completed today when executive chairman Lex Gold tables an eleventh hour plan to postpone the Scottish Cup Final.

Gold's climbdown, which came about at the end of a day of frantic phone calls and furious rows, will allow the Ibrox club to pull the plug on this Saturday's Ibrox showdown with Dundee United - and give Walter Smith and his players a free week to prepare to play against Zenit St Petersburg for the UEFA Cup in Manchester on May 14.

But it will also enrage Celtic who fear their title defence could be wrecked by giving Rangers more breathing space.

The dramatic new twist came at teatime last night when Gold and secretary Ian Blair found themselves under pressure from SFA president George Peat as well as Rangers chief executive Martin Bain.

Peat was all set to march into the SPL's offices first thing this morning and insist the league be extended to help Rangers get ready for their date with destiny against Dick Advocaat's side.

Both Peat and SFA chief exceutive Gordon Smith believe it would be grossly unfair to force Rangers into playing a crucial league match just four days before they attempt to make history at the City of Manchester Stadium.

Peat told Record Sport: "We should be doing everything in our power to help a Scottish club win in Europe."

Now Peat will have to agree to put back his organisation's own end-of-season showpiece, Rangers v Queen of the South at Hampden.

But sources close to the talks are sure a deal can be struck and expect Gold to make an announcement this afternoon.

It seemed far off yesterday at lunchtime when, Record Sport can reveal, Rangers had a request to postpone Saturday's game turned down flat.

This sparked fury from Bain who demanded Gold think again. Then, when it became clear the SFA were about to wade into the argument and take Rangers' side, it emerged Gold and Blair were beginning to wobble on their previous hard-line stance.

Rangers had been hoping the SPL would follow the lead set by the Russian authorities who have bent over backwards to assist Advcocaat in his quest to land a European prize.

But the the SPL stood firm, demanding Smith's team face United as planned - four days before the game in Manchester.

SPL spokesman Greg Mailer said: "The SPL has decided that we will be pressing on with the fixture model which was announced on April 22, with the season to finish on May 22.

"We can confirm we have received a request from Rangers to postpone their fixture with Dundee United on Saturday. We are unable to do that for a number of different factors one of which is the need for the final round of league matches to be played with simultaneous kick-off times.

"This is necessary to ensure that no one club can gain an advantage over another club in terms of winning the championship or qualification for Europe through the UEFA Cup."

But just hours later, as the pressure mounted, league bosses cracked and informed Rangers they were examining a compromise.

That plan will see Gold ask the SFA to reschedule the Cup Final for May 31.

However, this is guaranteed to spark further controversy as by then First Division minnows Queen of the South would have been idle for five weeks.

Celtic are sure to be spitting feathers also over yet another delay to the season.

Parkhead chief executive Peter Lawwell was furious at the initial extension of just four days, which was made to assist Rangers' Euro run.

Celtic might even consider a legal challenge to this latest act of goodwill towards their rivals.

Gordon Strachan's side are seven points clear at the top of the table but Rangers have three games in hand.

Understandably, Celtic had been hoping for Rangers to trip up amid the fixture congestion.

However, the SFA are adamant everything possible should be done to assist Smith's men in their bid to become only the fourth Scottish team to win a European trophy.

Peat said: "It's not important that it's Rangers. What matters is that this country has to help one of its own clubs succeed in such a big arena.

"The SPL should be turning somersaults because a Scottish club are in a European final and must reconsider the decision not to postpone Saturday's match."

Ex-Rangers boss Advocaat even expressed his amazemant that the Scottish authorities wouldn't help own of their own clubs but the SFA are out to put that right.

Peat added: "The Dundee United match can be moved and should be moved.

"We should all be doing our utmost to ensure the Scottish club's chances of winning in Europe are enhanced.

"I don't understand why it should be any other way. I really don't see why they can't move this game.

"The SPL have to tell the SFA when they will finish their season and we agree to that so we can then agree to a further extension.

"We have to accept these are exceptional circumstances.

"We have a Scottish club in a European final and if we can't help them there is something wrong.

"It would be exactly the same if it were Celtic, Aberdeen, Hibs, Motherwell, Dundee United, any of the others.

"There is an opportunity here to improve the Scottish profile.

"Everything possible should be done and that's what we'll be telling the SPL in the morning."

Rangers were staying tight lipped last night, although Bain is hopeful the saga will finally be resolved today.
 

Paul-K

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Looks like squeaky bums all round then..
 

McMav

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Least the SFA have a pair of Balls unlike the SPL who allowed Celtic a week to prepare for their Final in 2003

Nice double standards there SPL.
 

Paul-K

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What aer you still greetin about, it looks like rangers will get what they want and no matter who wins what this season all people will remember is what a joke the Scottish game is...
 

countryboy

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The king is dead long live the village idiot
tell you what if the spl just award you all the points . make smiths birthday a public hoilday give rangers fans all free tickets to a world cruise and relegate celtic to the highland league would you all be happy then .
 

McMav

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Will settle for Sir Walter thank you very much.
 

RAB - P

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What aer you still greetin about, it looks like rangers will get what they want and no matter who wins what this season all people will remember is what a joke the Scottish game is...

None of this is RANGERS fault but they are getting punished for being to successful they moved a game when CELTIC got to the final ok it was easier to do as CELTIC never won anything else that season and did not have a scottish cup final to play after. the Blame lies with officials who never prepared for things turning out the way they did. but then again how could they so is it not about time they did something to help a SCOTTISH TEAM instead of punishing one for doing well

tell you what if the spl just award you all the points . make smiths birthday a public hoilday give rangers fans all free tickets to a world cruise and relegate celtic to the highland league would you all be happy then .

couse it won't till they take off the 6 points the match officials gave to Celtic in the last 3 games
Against ABERDEEN blow the whistle stopping player scoring

Against RANGERS allow an offside goal

Against MOTHERWELL give a corner when Celtic player touches it last and allows Skippy the Bush to obstruct keeper like he's been doing all season
:roflmao:
 
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jaffa

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The SFA and any FA should always allow for things happening but they never do, the Scotish league has been extended on 25 ocassions in the past so whats the big deal.

1946/47
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McMav

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The SFA and any FA should always allow for things happening but they never do, the Scotish league has been extended on 25 ocassions in the past so whats the big deal.

1946/47
1947/48
1948/49
1949/50
1950/51
1951/52
1952/53
1955/56
1956/57
1957/58
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1975/76
1976/77
1978/79
1989/90

Dont suit Celtc
 

jaffa

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Celtic actually won the title on 9 occassions with the extension and Rangers won it 10 times with an extension, thats not to say it wasnt already won before the extension was announced though.

Take the politics out of it and think of it as a neutral...that may be hard for some though but this year will be tainted no matter what happens, if Rangers win the 4 with no extension then it certainly will not be forgotten and if they dont win the SFA will be blamed...no win situation for a bumbling SFA. I personally dont give a flying fek whether it is extended or not but I thinks wrong no matter what team is involved.
 

jaffa

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sounds like you are all getting your excuses ready . com on Motherwell and Zenit St. Petersburg

Excuses for what exactly....best team wins as far as I am concerned. When history looks back it doesn't see excuses.

Take your Celtic googles off now and again, would you really feel the same if roles were reserved...not a cats chance in hell.
 

countryboy

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aint glued i was one of the lucky ones i was born with them attached .. jaffa do you honestly think that me or 99% of the celtic support want you lot to win anything .i would rather walk up the shankill with Artur Boruc than watch you lot win
 
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