Rangers are back in the big time - but not as we know them

The Rangers players celebrate their promotion to the SPL on Tuesday night  
Neil Loughran

RANGERS are back in the big time after rising from the ashes of financial meltdown and starting all over again - but not everybody is glad to see them back in the Scottish Premiership.

The fallen Glasgow giants, or a resurrected version thereof, beat Dumbarton on Tuesday night to secure promotion back to the top flight. This came four years after being sent like scolded schoolchildren to the back of the class or, in their case, the fourth tier of Scottish football.

With a Scottish Cup semi-final date against Celtic just 10 days away, talk has already turned to the renewal of the Old Firm rivalry next season but, like many Bhoys supporters, ‘KPMG 1888’ is having none of it.

“As a Celtic supporter of many years, along with my family, we have made a conscious decision to refrain from spending another penny which may promote the well-being of Scottish football. For the first time in 25 years, we are not renewing our season tickets at Celtic Park,” said ‘KPMG 1888’.

“Many, within the north of Ireland especially, are unaware of the conduct of the SFA, the SPFL, TRIFC [The Rangers International Football Club] (‘Rangers’/Sevco) alongside the mainstream Scottish media. Suffice to say, the peddling of the ‘continuation myth’ by these aforementioned institutions would remind one of a bygone era within the six counties.

“Had this scenario been played out within a Liverpool/Man Utd regard one could only surmise that a full judicial review of the FA would have, by now, been implemented by the government itself.

“The fact that no other club/support/board has questioned TRIFC being granted a licence to play in Uefa competitions means that the focus of any failure to question it has been lumbered upon the Celtic FC board. The CFC board deserve every criticism they get.

“Their inaction may well see next season’s ticket sales plummet, according to recent estimates, to around the 20,000 mark. For those ‘not in the know’, Celtic’s Peter Lawwell and majority shareholder Dermot Desmond have stated that not having ‘Rangers’ in the SPFL was detrimental to Scottish football. We have not applied for tickets for the upcoming Celtic-TRIFC cup semi-final. 

"I have contacted BT and informed them that I shall be leaving as soon as my contract is up. Fortunately, we gave up Sky TV quite a number of years ago. I believe that those who attend/watch the SFA Cup game are complicit in accepting TRIFC as described by the SFA/SPFL.”

I’m going to leave that one right… there 


MOVING on to another team who play in blue and were once referred to by another name, ‘The Artist Formerly Known As The Black Death’ (TAFKATBD), Cavan have caused a bit of a stir this week.

Terry Hyland’s young side recovered from a slow start to their Division Two campaign to blaze through their  final five games and end their 14-year exile from Gaelic football’s top division.

Two emails in quick succession from the dubiously named ‘Tomas Breffni’ captured the mood at Kingspan Breffni Park after last Sunday’s promotion-clinching win over Galway.

“Come on Breffni blues for no. 40 Ulster,” read the first, before Mr Breffni turned his attention to a certain pundit who may have directed a bit of criticism Cavan’s way in recent years.

“Let Joe Bolly Go Hell.”

Take that, 'Joe Bolly'. 


ANOTHER reader felt moved to pick up her phone and contact the Off The Fence hotline after taking in the scenes at Tomas Breffni Park – and sent out a chilling warning to the rest of Ulster.

“There’s no reason why Cavan can’t win the Ulster title this year,” said our unnamed caller. Let’s call her ‘Mrs Breffni’.

“I grew up listening to my father singing the praises of Cavan in the ’50s and what a final it would be if they were facing Monaghan.”

That would be quite a final indeed, Mrs B, especially when you consider how close Cavan came to sending the Farney men packing at the quarter-final stage last year. Cavan have made significant strides since then and, with prodigal son Seanie Johnston back in tandem, they offer a much greater attacking threat than in past years.
In Gearoid McKiernan they have one of the finest talents operating in Ulster football today, but reaching the provincial final is easier said than done. First they must get past Armagh, with Derry or Tyrone waiting in the semi-final. Maybe Breffni fans should just enjoy the moment rather than looking too far ahead. 


FOLLOWING in the footsteps of ‘Tomas Breffni’, although offering slightly more depth to his insight, ‘Derry Spollen, Portadown’ chanelled his inner Eric Idle by looking on the bright side of life following’s Armagh’s descent into Division Three.

“I want to thank Kieran McGeeney (left) and his brave footballers who took the field on Sunday,” said ‘Dermot’.

“It was an excellent performance and well deserved being clapped off the field. We in Armagh are all fully behind you. Armagh have been very unlucky this League – you have the one-point loss to Laois when we totally outplayed them, and draw against Galway when eight minutes were added on despite four being shown. Keep the faith, boys.”

Armagh can count themselves unlucky in some respects, but that hiding at the hands of Cavan killed them. A few lessons were learned that night, as seen by how they finished the campaign, and they’ll be focused on getting revenge on the Breffni men on May 29. 


THERE’S been some heavy stuff this week, but it’s always good to finish on a positive note as a delighted west Belfast punter rang up last Thursday morning to sing the praises of Irish News racing columnist Neville Ring.

“Great tipping by Neville Ring yesterday at Downpatrick. He picked five out of six winners across the card and, better still, I was on four of them,” said Clonard man ‘Dermy McKenna’.

“I got talking to Neville too and he’s a real gentleman, he certainly knows the racing game. Thanks to him I won a right few quid on the day – to tip five out of six winners at one meeting is some going. Top man Neville, many thanks.”

Set them up there, ‘Dermy’, that round’s not going to buy itself.

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