Celtic, Rangers back on duty after bust-up

Celtic and Rangers are back on league duty this weekend with the dust not even settled on yet another explosive Old Firm clash.

Updated: March 04, 2011 13:14 IST
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Glasgow: Celtic and Rangers are back on league duty this weekend with the dust not even settled on yet another explosive Old Firm clash.

Three players were sent off, ten were booked and there were touchline bust-ups between the management teams on Wednesday as Celtic defeated their rivals 1-0 in the Scottish Cup tie.

The fractious encounter generated so much interest even the Scottish Government has felt a need to have its say.

However despite having three players red-carded at Parkhead it is injuries not suspensions that are worrying Rangers manager Walter Smith as he prepares for his side's match with St Mirren on Sunday.

Rangers were missing seven first-team stars for the Old Firm cup defeat with Kirk Broadfoot, Lee McCulloch, Steven Naismith, Jamie Ness and Vladimir Weiss all ruled out before the Scottish Cup replay due to injury.

Nikica Jelavic then strained a hamstring in training on Tuesday, and Kyle Lafferty was struck down with tonsillitis.

Now Sasa Papac now joined the Ibrox club's casualty list after being stretchered off in the second half of the 1-0 defeat.

Papac bravely headed a ferocious Mark Wilson shot off his own goal line before the Scotland international netted the only goal of an explosive 90 minutes.

The Bosnian missed matches earlier in the season due to concussion after suffering a head injury in a defeat to Hibs in November, and the problem is exacerbated by the ongoing legacy of a car accident a few years ago.

Boss Smith said: "He suffered concussion earlier this season, so we have to be careful. He was up and about, there is no problem, but I don't know how the doctors will view it.

"Nikica hurt a hamstring in training on Tuesday which is not serious, but will keep him out of Sunday's game at St Mirren. And Kyle is still having trouble with tonsillitis."

However the Gers could find themselves eight points behind in the race for the title by the time they take to the pitch in Paisley if Celtic pick up all three points in their match against bottom of the table Hamilton at Parkhead on Saturday.

The sides are separated by 11 places and 49 points but the Hoops will be wary of their lowly opponents after they only managed to collect a point against them in a 1-1 draw the last time they met in January.

Neil Lennon's side have dropped points three times on the back of Old Firm victories and will be without Shaun Maloney, Glenn Loovens and Thomas Rogne to injury.

At Tynecastle it is third versus fourth as high-flying Hearts take on Kilmarnock at Tynecastle.

The Jambos are undefeated at home since October 31 when Killie last visited and came away with a 3-0 win. However a great run in the league since has seen Jim Jefferies side open up a 16 point gap over Kilmarnock in the race for a European spot.

Motherwell could leapfrog Killie into fourth spot if they can pick up an away win at Inverness Caledonian Thistle.

St Johnstone, without a win in four SPL outings, welcome a rejuvinated Hibernian side to McDiarmid Park on the back on five straight victories.

On Monday Dundee United host Aberdeen at Tannadice with both sides looking to pick up points to secure a place in the top six.

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