Celtic slammed, vile banners, Rangers message, Scottish Cup picks, ex-SPFL stars in crazy goal, Maloney v Johnson - Scottish football wrap
We take a look at some of the main stories in Scottish football this Wednesday morning:
Former Celtic striker Chris Sutton has criticised Celtic for their limp Champions League exit. The Scottish champions lost 2-0 to Lazio in Rome and are eliminated from all European competition, with just one point from five matches in a pool containing the Italians, Atletico Madrid and Feyenoord. Sutton wrote on social media: “A predictably disappointing night, can’t get away from it that as Champions League groups go this was a gentle one and one point from five games in this group is not good enough. The team tonight really lacked physicality as well as real belief against a bang average Lazio.”
Crowd trouble at Stadio Olimpico
The match between Lazio and Celtic was marred by crowd trouble. Pyrotechnic devices were thrown into the away end by home fans, with some Celtic supporters chucking the lit flares back, while Lazio ultras goaded their visitors with racist and sectarian banners, while one mocked the Irish Potato Famine. UEFA are likely to take a dim view of proceedings in the Italian capital and fines for both clubs could be forthcoming.
Tavernier braced for massive month
Rangers captain James Tavernier has urged the players to stand up and be counted in a massive month for the club. The Gers can seal Europa League qualification on Thursday by beating Aris Limassol at Ibrox and also have the Viaplay Cup final against Aberdeen to come. "We know how disappointing a performance it was we put in in Cyprus,” said Tavernier. “But a lot has changed since then. The gaffer has came in. We are really listening to the gaffer and taking his ideas onto the pitch. Whatever plan he puts forward for us on Thursday we will be doing that. First of all, we are looking at a clean sheet. There's a lot of clarity in the team and everyone knows their role and what they are doing. Everyone is getting fitter and stronger. We are all trying to push each other and we have got a real momentum going. It's a massive month and a half and we know how big Thursday night is. We have got to take full advantage of playing at Ibrox and try and get the three points.”
Scottish Cup TV picks imminent
The TV selections for the Scottish Cup fourth round on the weekend of January 20 are due to be announced imminently. Viaplay and BBC Scotland can each select two ties, with some of the more glamourous fixtures including an Edinburgh derby between Spartans and Hearts, Dumbarton v Rangers, Celtic v Buckie Thistle, Clyde v Aberdeen and Forfar v Hibs. The Hearts match cannot be played on a Sunday as the Jambos play Dundee on Tuesday, January 23.
Adams: County good value for win
Ross County manager Derek Adams felt his side were good value for three points against St Mirren due to the number of chances they created. The Staggies won 1-0 thanks to a late Jordan White goal, heading in from close range at a corner kick. “We’ve created three or four big opportunities in the game, and we could have been two or three-nil up,” Adams explained. “St Mirren had their first chance in the 80th minute, and I think that overall we were the team in the ascendancy. We created some really good opportunities and started well – just like we did on Saturday against Kilmarnock. We didn’t get the fortune on Saturday, but our balls into the box caused St Mirren trouble and that’s how we got the winning goal.”
Ex-SPFL stars involved in bizarre goal
Two former SPFL players were part of one of the most crazy goals witnessed in recent times in game between Barnsley and Wycombe in England’s League One. Former Aberdeen striker Sam Cosgrove capitalised on a costly mistake from Wycombe goalkeeper Max Stryjek – once of Livingston – to net his first goal for the Barnsley. Wycombe player Harry Boyes was shown a second yellow for dissent amidst protests following the goal. Tykes manager Neill Collins said: “I’ve just watched it (the incident) back there. Make of it what you want; for me the contact is nowhere near enough to go down. The keeper drops the ball, if he holds onto the ball we’re not even talking about it. He certainly doesn’t drop the ball because of Sam (Cosgrove)’s contact. He drops the ball because he falls to the floor and Sam finishes it off like a good striker should. I don’t want the bizarre circumstances of the goal to take away from the fact that we deservedly won three points. We did everything but put the ball in the net in the second half and eventually got the reward.”
Maloney wins battle of former Hibs bosses
Shaun Maloney came out on top against Lee Johnson on Tuesday night as Hibs’ two former bosses locked horns for the first time. Wigan overcame Fleetwood 3-0 at the DW Stadium, with ex-Hearts man Sean Clare among the scorers and the Cod Army reduced to ten men just before half time. “I thought the first half was very good and the contest changed in the second half after the sending off,” said Maloney. “We had some brilliant individual performances, which always helps.” Fleetwood boss Johnson said: “It was a tough watch for sure. This team has a lot to do, we knew that when we came in, the position we picked the club up in.”