Football: ON THE ROCKS Rangers' title hopes founder as Fergie escapes ice-throwing rap; RANGERS 0 CELTIC 2.
RANGERS 0 CELTIC 2
RANGERS captain Barry Ferguson is set to escape an SFA rap despite throwing two bags of ice at Celtic's backroom team as they celebrated their 2-0 Old Firm victory yesterday.
Ferguson, who had been replaced with a back injury near the end, snapped when Martin O'Neill and the Celtic bench rose to acclaim Alan Thompson's injury-time clincher.
O'Neill and Ferguson's own manager Dick Advocaat were sprayed with cubes as the bags containing the ice burst - but the Parkhead boss refused to make a complaint despite being spoken to by police at the final whistle.
Sports Record understands the incident was missed by all the match officials and that it will not be mentioned in referee Kenny Clark's report to the SFA, meaning that no action will be taken against Ferguson.
The young Ibrox skipper spoke on Friday of his need to calm down in Old Firm matches but seeing his side slump to their fourth successive defeat against their greatest rivals proved too much for him. The incident failed to put a dampener on O'Neill's day as his team stormed seven points clear at the top of the SPL following goals from Stilian Petrov and Thompson.
O'Neill opted to play it down and would only say: "I don't really know what happened. I thought maybe our doctor had thrown it!"
Celtic also had a Henrik Larsson penalty saved after Lorenzo Amoruso was sent off for a last-man tackle on the Swede but Rangers dominated much of the play without breaching the rock-solid Parkhead defence.
O'Neill and his opposite number Dick Advocaat were captured on TV warmly embracing in the tunnel afterwards and the Celtic boss later played down the ice throwing incident.
But he insisted Rangers defender Craig Moore should have been sent off for a shocking challenge that left Larsson in a heap against the advertising hoardings just 11 minutes into the second half.
The striker finished the match but has damaged his ankle and looks set to miss his country's World Cup qualifier next week.
O'Neill said: "It looked pretty ugly and we were concerned at the time. I would not have been surprised if it had been a red card.
"Henrik is not great - he is limping about a bit now the adrenaline has worn off. He will need treatment over the next couple of days."
O'Neill revealed he had offered words of comfort to Advocaat in the tunnel at full-time, saying: "We are managers and we know the pitfalls of the job.
"I think he is a top-class manager and he has proved that. One week he is under pressure and the next week it could be myself."
Advocaat believes his side were worth a draw. He said: "We had a lot of possession in the first half and they had one shot and it was a goal. After that it is quite difficult.
"Now we are seven points behind but there are 29 games to go and I think this was one of our best performances of the season so far.
"I think a draw would have been a fair result. But the way both teams played you need a little bit of luck and we didn't get it. Sometimes you get it, sometimes you don't."
The Rangers manager insisted he did not have a proper view of Amoruso's sending off but he added: "Lorenzo says he made the challenge with his shoulder, yet the referee said he had kicked Larsson.
"There is nothing we can do about it now."
Meanwhile, England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has not been swayed by O'Neill and has left Chris Sutton out of his squad for their World Cup clash with Greece.
He watched Sutton against Porto at Parkhead on Tuesday but has instead drafted Spurs striker Teddy Sheringham back in to replace injured Michael Owen.
Rangers last night turned down offers from Preston and Carlisle United to loan highly-rated defender Paul Reid.
Reid, who was signed last season from Carlisle, has not featured for Rangers yet but has been tipped for a big future.
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|Publication:||Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)|
|Date:||Oct 1, 2001|
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