Managers call for calm after visit from police
Players reminded of their responsibilities
BOTH Old Firm managers have laid down the law ahead of the League Cup semi-final at Hampden on Sunday.
Police visited both clubs this week and Ronny Deila, the Celtic manager, said last night: “The police made it clear to us that if we do things that cause trouble it will always have consequences.” He has also banned his players from Twitter.
Kenny McDowall, the Rangers caretaker manager, said of the police visit: “We get the warning.’’
McDowall, who has been on the sidelines of Old Firm derbies for five years under Walter and Smith and Ally McCoist, said: “I just hope the football comes out on top and there’s nothing on the outside that tarnishes it. It’s been a long time coming and we need to make sure football is the winner.
“It’s important that everyone keeps a lid on it and remembers football is the important bit.’’
He said the police had told players “the job they have to do and what they aren’t allowed to do. We get the warning. I was in the meeting.”
Deila, who will be experiencing his first Old Firm match as manager, pointed out that Dundee United and Aberdeen, who contest the other semifinal on Saturday, had also been visited by police. However, he confirmed he had spoken to his players about discipline.
“We have talked about that and it is important – discipline is always important. They get tested more in these games and that is why it is even more important to be disciplined and focused and concentrate on the right things,” he said. He added: “I have said in the past we want to have a peaceful game and it’s important that we behave respectfully and in a good manner. Then everybody can go to the game in peace.”
The Norwegian said the club would do everything to keep the situation as calm as possible.
He added that it was not just about what happens on the pitch but also “what you do on the internet, Twitter, whatever. Those are things we don’t want to be a part of this week.”
Of the febrile atmosphere of a Glasgow derby, he said: “Winners don’t only play with their heart, they play also with their heads. We have to do both. That’s the most important thing.”
Deila is “very confident” that his players will stay focused. “Something like 60 per cent of them have played in this derby before,” he said. “They have played very important matches.”
He added: “And they have experienced this. I have a captain [Scott Brown] who knows what this is all about so I am quite confident that we are going to play with good discipline. We have not had any problems with that this season.”
Delia, who has watched Old Firm matches on YouTube to prepare him for the atmosphere, added that John Collins and John Kennedy, his assistants and both former Celtic players, had told him about Old Firm matches, adding: “I think it is going to be much louder than I am used to but that is why I am managing.”
BRING IT ON: Ronny Deila, left and Kenny McDowall at Hampden yesterday