Stuart McCall: ‘Common sense’ to avoid Old Firm title decider powder-keg

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Former Rangers boss Stuart McCall hopes common sense will prevail as he cautioned against making the final Old Firm fixture of the season a title decider.

Celtic need just one more win to claim their seventh straight league title.

Stuart McCall believes it would be 'common sense' to avoid an Old Firm title decider. Picture: SNS Group

Stuart McCall believes it would be 'common sense' to avoid an Old Firm title decider. Picture: SNS Group

Hoops manager Brendan Rodgers believes league chiefs should give the Scottish game a high-profile boost by arranging for the Glasgow giants to face-off in the first game after the split.

The Scottish Professional Football League are expected to confirm the final five rounds of league action at some point over the next 48 hours but are keen to avoid the title being up for grabs when the two Glasgow giants meet for the final time this term at Parkhead.

READ MORE - Dave King hails Graeme Murty but no hints over Rangers manager’s future

That long-held stance has been in place ever since violence marred Gers’ 3-0 win at Celtic Park back in 1999 as Dick Advocaat’s side reclaimed the crown.

McCall in action against Andreas Thom of Celtic in an Old Firm match in April 1996. Picture: SNS Group

McCall in action against Andreas Thom of Celtic in an Old Firm match in April 1996. Picture: SNS Group

As well as the league’s broadcast partners, Police Scotland will have to sign off on the post-split games but McCall reckons sending Rangers to the home of their bitter rivals ahead of a potential title party is asking for trouble.

“I saw Brendan’s comments and I get what he’s saying,” said McCall, back in Glasgow ahead of this weekend’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-finals. “But if you look at the bigger picture, there is no doubt it would be a powder-keg.

READ MORE - ‘We should have an Old Firm decider’ says Brendan Rodgers

“We all saw what happened the last time Rangers won it at Celtic Park and if they could avoid it, I think it’d be common sense to do so.

“Everyone knows up here the massive divide and aggravation that comes between Rangers and Celtic.

“It’s something that has been worked at over the years and I think is getting better.

“But will it ever get to where everyone wants it to be? That’ll be a long time coming if we’re honest.

“There’s going to come a stage when Celtic will win it and obviously Celtic would love to do that against Rangers so it’s a big decision, but I can understand the arguments against it without a doubt.”

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McCall was part of the Rangers squad which claimed its ninth straight league title in 1997.

Celtic will look to go one better in the coming years and McCall says finding a manager who can halt that run should be his old side’s number-one priority.

Graeme Murty is currently the man in the Ibrox hot-seat but like McCall when he replaced Ally McCoist back in 2015, he has only been given the reins until the summer.

He said: “The bigger picture for Rangers is that over the next two seasons they win a league title. They need to get someone in there they believe can do it.

“Whether Graeme is the one to do it, that’s to be decided but obviously winning Sunday’s semi-final with Celtic would help his case.

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“Any Rangers-minded person will know deep down that stopping 10 is the aim - and every Celtic-minded person will know what their aim is.

“With the finances involved, I’d imagine Rangers would be the only side who could stop Celtic now - and for Rangers supporters, they have got to.”

• McCall was speaking at a William Hill media event. William Hill is the proud sponsor of the Scottish Cup.