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Rangers manager Smith unhappy with referee decisions

Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist (left) and Celtic manager Neil Lennon

Tempers fray in Old Firm Cup tie

Walter Smith questioned referee Calum Murray's decision-making after three Rangers players were sent off in the 1-0 Scottish Cup replay loss to Celtic.

Rangers had Steven Whittaker and Madjid Bougherra sent off for second bookings during the game and El Hadji Diouf got his second caution after full-time.

Gers Boss Smith said of the red cards to Whittaker and Bougherra: "I didn't think these warranted orderings off.

"I didn't think the referee handled that aspect of it very well."

And of Diouf's dismissal, Smith said: "I don't know what happened there. I think that was after the game. I was up the tunnel obviously and didn't see that.

"He's an easy target for everybody, isn't he, so to be honest I don't know what happened so I can't really comment on that one."

Whittaker's foul on Emilio Izaguirre incurred a second booking and reduced Rangers to 10 men in the first half and Bougherra's foul on Kris Commons produced a second yellow, his first being for a crude challenge from behind on Gary Hooper.

"I felt you couldn't argue with a yellow card for his [Whittaker's] second foul but for his first foul he was fouled prior to that and I felt the referee missed that and was quick to book him," Smith commented. "I didn't think it was a necessary one.

"I felt Madjid Bougherra's [second booking] was a complete overreaction by the referee. He slid in, you can see that he clearly gets the ball, makes no contact with the player whatsoever and the Celtic player's momentum just takes him over the top of him."

As well as drama on the field, there were controversial moments on the touchline at half-time and full-time with Smith's assistant Ally McCoist and Celtic boss Neil Lennon having to be held apart just after the full-time whistle.

"These are things that happen in the games," said Smith. "I don't know what happened, I go up the tunnel and keep myself away from those things."

Of the game itself, Smith said: "We did a bit better than we did in the game here a few weeks ago.

"We never really got started in terms of our overall possession of the ball but that's always difficult you're coming away from home to a place like this and consequently we never really had much in the attacking sense, in the first half especially, but I felt we looked reasonably comfortable in terms of our defending.

"Overall, we're a little bit disappointed to lose on chances created by either side."

As well as the red-carded players, Rangers lost Sasa Papac with a knock to the head, the defender injured in the act of clearing the ball off the line during the attack that eventually led to Celtic's winning goal, which was scored by Mark Wilson.

"Earlier this season he [Papac] took a nasty head knock and he was unconscious there for a little bit of time there, so we just have to wait and see how he is," added Smith.

Scottish Cup highlights - Celtic 1-0 Rangers

Scottish Cup Highlights - Celtic 1-0 Rangers

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see also
Lennon-McCoist rift 'will heal'
03 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Celtic 1-0 Rangers
02 Mar 11 |  Scottish Cups

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