McCoist and Strachan: Police will decide fate of final Old Firm clash

Former Rangers boss Ally McCoist has given his backing to a potential Old Firm title clincher - but only if police chiefs give the powder-keg fixture their blessing.

McCoist and Strachan: Police will decide fate of final Old Firm clash

Former Rangers boss Ally McCoist has given his backing to a potential Old Firm title clincher - but only if police chiefs give the powder-keg fixture their blessing.

The Scottish Professional Football League are expected to release the post-split fixtures later on Tuesday but are understood to be keen to avoid pairing Celtic - who need just one more win to clinch their seventh-straight title - and Gers together with the championship up for grabs.

That stance has been in place ever since the Light Blues reclaimed the crown back in 1999 with a 3-0 Parkhead win over their bitter rivals - a match marred by violent scenes which included referee Hugh Dallas being struck with a coin.

Ibrox favourite McCoist wishes it was a different story but believes the authorities must have the final say on when the derby clash is played.

"There are people far more qualified than me that will make that decision," said McCoist as he spoke ahead of this weekend's William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final showdown between the Glasgow giants.

"As for me personally? I wouldn't have a problem with it as when it comes to Old Firm games, you could play it at 2am out in the back garden and it would still have the same appeal to me.

"The fact of the matter is that there are people far more qualified than me to talk about it and make decisions on it. Sadly that is the police.

"I don't see everything that goes on around Old Firm games so the correct people to make that decision would be the powers that be and if the police decide the game can get played, I'm happy with it.

"If not and they'd rather play it two weeks later, then I'm also happy with that."

Former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan was also at Hampden to preview this weekend's game but he fears the reputation of Scottish football - and the country as a whole - could be trashed if the Old Firm were to go head-to-head in the first post-split fixture.

He said: "I can see where everybody is coming from but we have to send the best image of Scotland out to the world.

"If the government and the police think there could be problems, then you have to take your advice from them.

"They might think it is damaging to Scotland as a whole to show something like that. You hope we're a lot better now but you never know.

"Just look last week at Manchester City going to Liverpool. It wasn't good seeing those scenes before the match. It wasn't good for Liverpool, it wasn't good for the English game.

"You're hoping you wouldn't see those kind of scenes (in Glasgow).

"If everything was great you'd love to see this fixture. We had the Man City-Man United game the other day and that was a great spectacle."

- McCoist and Strachan were both speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.

- PA

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