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Rangers reaction disappoints manager Walter Smith

Walter Smith talks to El Hadji Diouf at Celtic Park
Smith's side had three players red carded, including El Hadji Diouf

Walter Smith admits he was disappointed by some of his players' reactions to certain decisions during Wednesday's stormy Old Firm derby at Celtic Park.

And he says he takes responsibility for their behaviour during their 1-0 Scottish Cup fifth-round defeat.

"I was a little disappointed with the reaction of some of the players to decisions later in the game," said the Rangers manager.

"I've got to take responsibility for that and will try to do so."

Smith's words fell short of an apology for a match during which Rangers had three players sent off at the home of their Glasgow rivals.

Steven Whittaker was dismissed in the first half, Madjid Bougherra was sent off in injury-time after he too received a second yellow card and El-Hadji Diouf was shown a red card following the final whistle.

I don't think we should start saying that every Old Firm game will finish up like that one

Rangers manager Walter Smith

Celtic manager Neil Lennon reacted angrily as he shook hands with Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist after the final whistle.

And the scenes led the Scottish Football Association to launch an investigation, criticism from the police and to Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, summoning both clubs to talks about their conduct.

"They did get a little frustrated," said Smith, who will be looking to ensure player discipline improves ahead of the Co-operative Insurance Cup final between the two clubs on 20 March.

"You can argue about the right or wrong decisions of the referee, but our reaction towards the end was a wrong one.

"That's something I have a responsibility to try to rectify. I don't hide away from that - that's part of management."

Smith to rectify Gers players' misbehaviour

Smith also stressed that McCoist and Lennon had patched up their differences after the match.

"Alistair and Neil were on talking terms after the game," said the manager. "It's something that won't carry on after the game."

Rangers and Celtic will contest the first silverware of the season at Hampden before meeting for a seventh time this season at Ibrox in the Scottish Premier League.

However, despite the political intervention and widespread media analysis around Britain, Smith says there is no reason to fear a repeat of the events from the Scottish Cup replay.

"From a Rangers point of view, I was disappointed with the reaction, which was mainly out of frustration towards the end," he said.

"But I don't think we should start saying that every Old Firm game will finish up like that one.

"It doesn't mean the two remaining fixtures will be like the one the other night.

"They might be like the other four this season, which didn't throw up any great problems at all."

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see also
Lennon apologises to Celtic board
05 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Managers 'should set an example'
04 Mar 11 |  Scottish Premier
Sheriff sets Old Firm bail rules
04 Mar 11 |  Glasgow and West Scotland
Celtic boss faces eight-game ban
04 Mar 11 |  Celtic
SFA cuts Lennon ban to four games
03 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Abuse led to tension - Gers chief
03 Mar 11 |  Rangers
Chick Young's view
03 Mar 11 |  Scottish Premier
Lennon defuses spat with McCoist
03 Mar 11 |  Celtic
Game was good viewing - Jefferies
03 Mar 11 |  Hearts
SFA chief slams Old Firm clashes
03 Mar 11 |  Scottish Cups
Rangers fume after fiery Cup tie
02 Mar 11 |  Rangers
Celtic 1-0 Rangers
02 Mar 11 |  Scottish Cups

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