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Thursday, November 20, 1997 Published at 15:22 GMT


Five-match ban for Gascoigne
image: [ Alan Stubbs' last gasp equaliser saved the day for Celtic ]
Alan Stubbs' last gasp equaliser saved the day for Celtic

England midfielder Paul Gascoigne will miss Rangers' December matches after being handed a five-match ban by the Scottish Football Association.

He was sent off on Wednesday night for violent conduct in the Old Firm match against Celtic after clashing with Morten Wieghorst.

The offence cost him 12 points which, together with the nine points for accumulated bookings, takes his total to 21 and over the 16-point threshold.

Gascoigne serves an automatic one-match ban after his dismissal in the 58th minute which means he will miss the Fir Park match against Motherwell on Saturday.

He will return for the game against St Johnstone the following Saturday before beginning a four-match ban on December 3.

Celtic midfielder Morten Wieghorst offered his sympathy, saying he did not believe Gascoigne should have been sent off.

[ image: Gascoigne and Wieghorst clash]
Gascoigne and Wieghorst clash

Gascoigne was sent off, to a roar of delight from Celtic supporters, after lashing out at the Dane as he made a run into Celtic's half.

Referee John Rowbotham, who also booked eight players, awarded a red card for violent conduct and said Gascoigne had used his arms to fend off his opponent.

It was the first time the former Newcastle, Tottenham and Lazio star had been sent off in Scotland.

Dismissal 'was key'

Rangers manager Walter Smith refused to comment on Gascoigne's sending off but admitted his dismissal had changed the face of the match.

But despite the England star's dismissal, Rangers went ahead in the 70th minutes through Marco Negri and Celtic appeared down and out until defender Alan Stubbs headed home a last minute equaliser.

It was a huge blow for Rangers, who were already without injured pair Sergio Porrini and Brian Laudrup, but they rallied in the 71st minute.

Striker Gordon Durie, who worked tirelessly throughout the match, sent Negri scampering away and he tucked the ball beyond goalkeeper Jonathan Gould.

The Italian had failed to score in his previous two league matches but showed he had lost none of his sparkle in front of goal with the quality of his strike.

Rangers looked to be heading back to the top of the premier division until, with their last throw of the dice, Celtic surged forward as time was running out.

McNamara, one of the stars of the Celtic side, picked out Stubbs at the far post and he was able to get in a free header which went past goalkeeper Andy Goram and into the corner.

That goal salvaged something of Celtic's reputation but still stretched Rangers' unbeaten run in the meeting of the old Glasgow rivals to 10 league matches.

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