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Goram critical of Scots gathering

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Media conference: Former Rangers goalkeeper Andy Goram

Former Scotland keeper Andy Goram does not think national manager George Burley should have planned a squad gathering before a key Old Firm clash.

With no friendly arranged for this week's international date, Burley has assembled a 26-player party at St Andrews for a two-day training camp.

But Goram believes Celtic and Rangers stars would rather be concentrating on Sunday's league match at Celtic Park.

"I wouldn't go," said Goram. "I find the timing ridiculous."

Goram's old club Rangers trail Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic by just two points and each team has enjoyed a win on their rivals' turf this season.

"The way the league's going, this game could possibly have a big effect on the title," the 44-year-old added.

"To make it (the Scotland squad gathering) before the Old Firm game is a bit of a strange one.

"I can understand why managers are frustrated at having to let players go.

"And, if I was a manager at Rangers or Celtic, I'd be disappointed if I had to let my players go there.

"When we played against Celtic, we set up our stall on the Monday and you gear your week to building up to the game at the weekend.

"To lose players for vital days at training must be sickening for Walter Smith and Gordon Strachan."

Looking ahead to Sunday's lunchtime kick off, Goram, capped 43 times for Scotland, thinks cool heads will be important in what can often be a fiery contest.

"The secret for both teams is keeping eleven men on the pitch," he said.

Andy Goram in action for Scotland
Goram was capped 43 times for Scotland

"But you can't predict the game. It's just on the day, mistakes or a bit of genius can win it.

"It's one of the most unpredictable games in the world; a really special day.

"If someone had said to me that we (Rangers) would win the first Old Firm game at Parkhead 4-2, I'd have been sceptical.

"And then if you said that we'd get beaten 1-0 at Ibrox and there's not a tackle in the game, I wouldn't have believed that either."

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that referee Calum Murray will take charge of his first Old Firm fixture at the weekend.



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see also
Burley hopeful on SPL fixture row
09 Feb 09 |  Internationals


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