Back in the day - in The Irish News on January 13, 1998: War of words continues over Gazza flute-playing antics

Celtic hit back over Rangers chairman David Murray’s criticism of his opposite number Fergus McCann regarding England star Paul Gascoigne’s flute-playing antics
Neil Loughran

THE Old Firm war of words over Paul Gascoigne’s flute-playing antics continued last night when Celtic hit back over Rangers chairman David Murray’s criticism of his opposite number Fergus McCann.

Murray was furious with the Parkhead managing director after he sent a letter of complaint to the Scottish Football Association over the England midfielder’s controversial gesture while warming up during the match on January 2.

Gascoigne issued a public apology after Rangers’ 2-0 win against Aberdeen at Ibrox on Saturday, expressing his regret at his actions and disclosing he has been fined £20,000 which will go to charity.

Murray reacted angrily when he discovered McCann had sent a letter to Park Gardens demanding action against the player. And in a tersely worded statement yesterday, Celtic responded to Murray’s own complaints as the row simmered on.

It said: “David Murray is aware of why Celtic sent a letter to the Scottish Football Association regarding wider issues than solely Paul Gascoigne’s recent actions at Celtic Park.

“Although he has made public remarks through one newspaper, he has chosen not to comment on all the issues raised in the letter.

“Celtic has not made this a public matter and has no wish to at this stage. Celtic will now await the Scottish Football Association’s response.”


AN emotional Bryan Hamilton yesterday admitted pangs of guilt after his 11th hour rejection of the post of technical director with the Football Association of Ireland.

Hamilton, who was sacked by Irish Football Association (IFA) in October, accepted the FAI job last week but changed his mind on Saturday evening after discussing the appointment with his wife Colette.

The former Northern Ireland boss’ appointment was due to be unveiled at a press conference in Dublin yesterday morning where Republic manager Mick McCarthy would also have been present.

“Bryan applied for the job, submitted a full CV and accepted the job after it was offered to him. Everything had been agreed but over the weekend, he contacted us and told us that for personal reasons, he couldn’t take it,” said FAI press officer Brendan McKenna yesterday.

Hamilton’s described his decision as “close to one of the toughest I’ve ever had to make”.

“I never slept on Saturday evening but spent the whole night going over and over the pros and cons with my wife. It was so special to be considered for a job of this magnitude.”

The east Belfast man insisted he made the U-turn solely for purely football and family reasons.


Glenn Ferguson ended up joining Linfield after years of banging in goals at Glenavon. Picture by Pacemaker

GLENN Ferguson, the most sought after striker in the Irish League, is still unsure whether Windsor Park or the Oval will be his final destination after Linfield’s transfer bid hit a snag last night.

Despite prolonged negotiations at Windsor Park, there was no white smoke as directors failed to thrash out the finer details of the £60,000 move, but manager David Jeffrey is still hopeful the deal can be sorted out as soon as possible.

“All I can say is that negotiations are still ongoing and that we are working very, very hard to secure the deal,” he said.

Ferguson, a Northern Ireland B international who scored well over 200 goals in seven years with Glenavon, has made it clear Linfield is his first choice and last night ruled out the possibility of a move to Coleraine, who made a cheeky £30,000 bid over the weekend.

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