London Hearts Supporters Club

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<-Srce <-Type Herald ------ Report Type-> Srce->
Joe Jordan <-auth James Traynor auth-> Donald McVicar
[A McCall 30] ;[A McCoist 59]
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Football again takes a back seat


21 Sep 1992

IT would be better if we forgot all about the first half of Saturday's match at Ibrox, which was disgraced by some loutish behaviour, and concentrated on the second period, during which Rangers and Hearts attempted to play the ball around a bit more.

However, ignoring the opening 45 minutes would be the same as turning a blind eye to the problems which are dragging the Scottish game down.

Rangers and Hearts had gone into the match as joint leaders of the premier division and some of us went along expecting much in the way of exciting, flowing football.

Some of us never learn.

The game was not too old before it became apparent that many of the players had no intention of allowing good football, or at least attempts at good football, to become part of the show.

They were intent on diving into tackles, nudging and growling at one another.

It was primitive and depressing.

Ally Mauchlen was first to have his name taken by referee Don McVicar, who did not appear sure of how best to cope with the increasing roughness of the play.

Mauchlen was booked for a crude challenge on David Robertson and, perhaps incensed by the decision, the Hearts player started to run around like someone possessed.

It was inevitable that he would become involved with someone else.

The sight of Stuart McCall scoring the first of Rangers' two goals probably did not help Mauchlen's mood either and a couple of minutes after his team had fallen behind he and Pieter Huistra tussled.

A linesman was close by but saw nothing and both players were fortunate to escape punishment.

Before the half was over Mauchlen had launched himself at Ally McCoist and it was pretty obvious the player's composure had deserted him.

It did not surprise anyone when Hearts re-appeared after the break without Mauchlen, whose place had been taken by Glyn Snodin, although Hearts manager Joe Jordan said afterwards that the player had been kept indoors because he had damaged a hamstring.

It should be pointed out that Mauchlen was not alone in misbehaving.

Even McCoist put in a bad tackle on Graeme Hogg and he, too, was booked.

Huistra, who would probably protest that he had been provoked, also was booked after he had taken Craig Levein out of the play, and Levein himself had his name taken earlier in the afternoon when he went in a fraction late and caught Andy Goram's right knee.

Perhaps the most depressing aspect of all of this was that the fans were on their feet and caught up in what was certainly not football.

Instead of getting excited about it, in the first half in particular, they should have been out of their seats demanding their money back.

The pace was too much for Trevor Steven, who never seemed to catch up, but he is still playing his way back into the Rangers team after injury, and once he is fully fit he might be able to bring a degree of sanity to those around him.

Alexei Mickhailichenko, another who knows how to use the ball, was on the bench and probably grateful to be there, because his ambling style of play would have made him a sitting target.

Ridiculous, isn't it? Here we are considering a football match in which it was necessary to protect the real players from harm.

There is something far wrong.

There was nothing wrong, though, with Rangers' second goal, which was scored in 59 minutes.

Ian Ferguson played the ball to Ian Durrant and he supplied McCoist.

The striker scored and the game was over.

Hearts, whose play had improved dramatically in the second half, then seemed to become subdued, although it might have been a much different story had Ian Baird not been denied a goal by the bar.

The Tynecastle side took off Gary Mackay and sent on that seasoned camapigner Eamonn Bannon in an attempt to inject guile into their play, but they had left themselves with too much to do.

Rangers lost McCall, whose goal in 29 minutes was his second in successive league games, after he and Tosh McKinaly had collided accidentally.

Both required treatment, but McCall had to go off and have eight stitches inserted in a head wound.

Rangers continue to collect the points which keep them at the top of the table, and if they are in that position when they do start putting their game together, there might be no catching them.

Taken from the Herald

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