Smith shoulders blame for Old Firm dust-up

Rangers boss Walter Smith has taken responsibility for the poor discipline shown by his players in Wednesday’s 1-0 Scottish Cup loss to Celtic.

But the veteran boss insists the sides have moved on from the fracas, and anticipates more cordial relations with their arch-rivals when the sides clash again in the League Cup final at Hampden Park on March 20.

Wednesday’s match saw three Rangers players – Steven Whittaker, Madjid Bougherra and El-Hadji Diouf – ordered off, and then an ugly spat between Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist and Celtic boss Neil Lennon after the final whistle.

The scenes sparked criticism from police and the Scottish Football Association has launched an investigation into the match.

Smith admitted he was disappointed with the actions of his players, and said he would try to rectify the problem.

“I was a little disappointed with the reaction of some of the players to decisions later in the game,” Smith said.

“They did get a little frustrated. 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.”

“I’ve got to take responsibility for that and will try to do so.”

“From a Rangers point of view I was disappointed with the reaction which was mainly out of frustration towards the end.”

Smith feels the match at Celtic Park was a one-off, after the four previous meetings this season had been played without incident.

“I don’t think we should start saying that every Old Firm game will finish up like that one,” he said.

“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.”

The manager revealed that McCoist and Lennon had spoken since the game, and did not anticipate any lingering ill-feeling between the pair when McCoist takes over as Rangers boss at the end of the season.

“Alistair and Neil were on talking terms after the game,” he said.

“It’s something that won’t carry on after the game.”