Sunday, February 17, 2019
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Bilel Mohsni leaves unwanted legacy in Scottish football

Rangers FC (by Archibald99 via Wikipedia)For all that the stakes were undeniably high, the scenes immediately following a tense Premiership play-off between Motherwell and Rangers were disgraceful and damaging to the reputation of the beautiful game in Scotland.

 

 

As players brawled on the pitch, and mounted police had to be brought in to coax fans back to the stands, it was easy to forget that a football match had just taken place.

 

Not, it must be said, that the match in question had been much of a contest as such, given Motherwell’s 6-1 aggregate win. A result that means Rangers’ attempt to take the final step back to the top flight had been thwarted.

 

Inevitably, of course, much of the post-match focus will fall on Rangers (as opposed to Motherwell’s achievement). Much regarding the behaviour of their players, and where this leaves the club in the immediate future, particularly given they are awaiting a substantial cash injection from new owner Dave King.

 

On Saturday, we had all enjoyed watching Inverness Caley Thistle making history by lifting the Scottish Cup, meaning the famous old trophy will reside in the Highlands for the first time ever. 

However, the back (and front) pages were splashed with images more befitting a bad gangland movie brawl than the aftermath of a football match.

 

Rangers defender Bilel Mohsni, no stranger to violent conduct during his stint at Ibrox, sparked the fracas by kicking and punching Motherwell striker Lee Erwin after the final whistle. This was his third offence of the season, after the previous two earned him suspensions totalling five matches.

 

It took the intervention of various members of both clubs’ backroom teams to diffuse the melee, and for all many attempted to concentrate on the game itself, there was no disguising the bitter taste left by the undignified end to the season.

 

Mohsni, whose contract is now at an end in Glasgow, will not be returning to Rangers.  Given the paucity of his performances since his arrival – the Moroccan has been an unmitigated disaster of a signing – the feeling persists that Rangers will be the better for his seeking pastures new.  Rangers, after all, have enough on their plate without having to concern themselves over such delinquent behaviour within their own ranks.

 

Unless some rapid restructuring takes place over the coming weeks, Rangers will be playing in the second tier of Scottish football for more than just another season. 

 

Meanwhile, the Championship can bask in the limelight for another year, safe in the knowledge that the broadcasters will slavishly indulge in another tour of the smaller grounds around the country. And so ensuring they manage saturated coverage for Rangers.

 

A disaster they may still be, but Rangers clearly still sell Sky and BT Sport subscriptions.

 

The suspicion is that many clubs would have been budgeting for Rangers’ return to the Premiership after the summer, but their failure to get there will now cause various spending plans having to be frantically re-drafted.

 

Celtic, meanwhile, can continue to look forward to a lengthy domination of the football scene, safe in the knowledge that their old rivals remain some way short of rekindling their former relationship.

 

Following a season in which there were positives aplenty in Scottish football – Celtic’s form over the second half of the campaign, Aberdeen’s re-emergence as a credible force, the rise from the ashes of Hearts, Inverness’ fairytale cup win, and of course the continued good form of the national aide – it’s a real shame that the headlines in the end made for such shameful and depressing reading.

 

 

It falls to the national side to restore our faith in the upcoming clash against the Republic of Ireland.

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