Daily Record

How far do Old Firm pander to a fan base after all?


RANGERS were in Prague last night with Philippe Clement at the helm.

But if Graeme Souness had been given final say on the appointmen­t, Frank Lampard would have been in the dugout.

The former Ibrox boss was asked to advise the board on who should replace Michael Beale and sat in on interviews.

And yet he told talk SPORT: “There were two outstandin­g candidates – Frank and Philippe. The final say wasn’t with me.

“For me, Frank had the edge because of this – Frank has still got a great deal to offer. Taking the Chelsea job when he did was always going to be very difficult. The Everton job is a basket case and have they improved since Frank left? Not a bit.

“So, I wouldn’t be too harsh in judging Frank. The thing that encouraged me about Frank is that he wanted to do it. He doesn’t need the money, he wants to be a successful manager.

“And he fancied the Rangers job.”

That chairman John Bennett and chief exec James Bisgrove chose Clement may well turn out to be the right call in the fullness of time.

But what fascinates me is why they went for the Belgian when they brought in Souness specifical­ly because he had football knowledge and experience that they don’t possess.

It’s smart leadership. If you aren’t an expert in a facet of your business, lean on someone who is.

To then ignore his advice seems pretty odd.

Could it be that fan reaction to the possibilit­y of Lampard landing the gig made them veer away from the Englishman?

One glance at Twitter would have told the hierarchy his arrival would’ve thrown petrol on flames of discontent already burning so fiercely in the wake of the failed Beale era. Which brings this into the equation – how far do you pander to a fanbase?

The question is equally relevant across the city, where a superb display from Celtic on the pitch against Atletico Madrid should have been the story. Yet the Green Brigade somehow made themselves the centre of attention and not for the first time.

So what now Celtic? You told them not to do it... they did it anyway.

With their Palestine tifo – set up in front of watching stewards – and flags waved in a brazen fashion, it looked like a gauntlet being thrown down to Dermot Desmond and Peter Lawwell, pushing the power brokers to decide whether the Green Brigade can still be allowed into Celtic

Park. Any individual or group are entitled to their views on Palestine or anything else.

But when you tell people you don’t want to see it in your house, yet they pitch up in your living room and do what they like, it’s a different matter. That’s what will be occupying the minds of the Celtic board.

It’s all about a group of fans challengin­g the authority of the owners of the club they support and it will be interestin­g to see who wins.

Just as over at Ibrox, it will be fascinatin­g to see how the call to appoint Clement pans out. We’ll never know how Lampard would have done and that, in the eyes of the support, will go down as a win for fan power.

Could it be fan reaction led Ibrox hierarchy away from Lampard as Gers boss?

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