First Touch

Glasgow Derby A Tough Act to Follow… Literally

The latest installment of Celtic v. Rangers set new records for viewership for Sky Sports, with more than 1.44 million subscribers tuned in. But as thrilling as the 3-3 draw at Ibrox was—at least for neutrals (as if anyone can be a neutral watching this fixture)—the vagaries of football in the Scottish Premiership can’t be held at bay for long.

dens park

The Full Scottish

With Sunday’s result leaving the title race very much undecided, Wednesday’s already once-rescheduled fixture between Rangers and Dundee promised to be key. That is, until it couldn’t be played—again!—due to pitch conditions at Dens Park.  This time, at least, the decision was made more than three hours before kickoff. In March, the original fixture was called less than 90 minutes before the opening whistle.

And so, Rangers—rightly—have complained to the SPFL, calling for action against Dundee, accusing the latter club of being “negligent and unprofessional.”  To be fair, the Ibrox side have a point: Wednesday marked the second time they’ve prepared to play at Dens, only to have to, uh, scotch those plans.nWhere it gets sticky, though, is that ’Gers manager Philippe Clement has floated the idea—for a second time—of the match being moved to a neutral ground.

Only In Scotland

This, of course, would only raise Celtic’s ire, given the significance of the match. The Hoops currently hold a one-point lead at the top of the Premiership table, though Rangers have a match—the Dundee match—in hand. The Parkhead club would obviously prefer that match be played at Dens Park—and they are likely quietly hoping that conditions are less than ideal, which would favor the home side.

Truly, this is the kind of thing that only happens in Scotland, where the weather is unpredictable, the pitches often unplayable and the finances of the clubs (and budgets for grounds upkeep) frequently unmentionable. Could you imagine a match at Anfield or Etihad being called under similar circumstances? With the season winding down, the SPFL will struggle to fit this missing match into the schedule. All to the delight of Celtic, we’re sure.

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