Rangers game off ahead of Champs showdown

December 3, 2007

The Scottish Premier League have agreed to postpone Rangers' game against Gretna to help Walter Smith's squad prepare for their Champions League decider against Lyon.

The Gers asked for Sunday's game, which had been due to kick-off at 4pm, to be rearranged as they face the French champions next Wednesday at Ibrox.

Rangers will now visit Fir Park to play the Premier League bottom club on Wednesday, January 16.

The SPL agreed to the request after consulting Gretna and Setanta Sports, who were planning live coverage of the game.

An Ibrox spokesman said: 'Rangers Football Club would like to thank Gretna Football Club, the SPL and Setanta for their co-operation.

'Gretna were more than happy to accommodate our request when initially contacted last week and we are delighted the SPL have now agreed to postpone Sunday's game at Fir Park.

'The decision not only benefits Rangers but Scottish football as a whole and we can now concentrate fully on our crucial Champions League tie with Lyon at Ibrox on December 12.'

Rangers need a point against the French side to progress to the last 16 of the Champions League and Walter Smith revealed at the weekend that he wanted to avoid the possibility of picking up injuries against Gretna.

Celtic also need a point from their final group game - against AC Milan in Italy tomorrow - but did not ask for Saturday's SPL clash at Hearts to be moved.

The SPL set a precedent for the postponement when they agreed to a request from then Scotland boss Alex McLeish to reschedule the Old Firm's games from the weekend before last month's Euro 2008 decider against Italy.

Gretna head coach Davie Irons had also backed the plan.

He said: 'We have to look at the bigger picture - it isn't just about Rangers, it's about the knock-on effect for the whole of Scottish football, the co-efficient and the positive effects it can have on our game.'

Meanwhile, Rangers reserve striker Steven Lennon has signed a two-year extension to his contract, which ties him to the club until 2010.

The 19-year-old has set himself a target of becoming a first-team regular before the contract ends.

'You can't be too impatient when you are at a massive club like Rangers,' he told the club's official website. 'I could probably go out and play for another club in the SPL but it's Rangers I want to be at.

'I'm willing to wait for my chance and I'm sure it will come.

'I have had the chance to play in a few matches, sit on the bench and also train with the first team, which is fantastic.

'Simply working with guys like Davie Weir, Lee McCulloch and Barry Ferguson is terrific and you learn so much. Their experience rubs off.'

Lennon made three substitute appearances for the first team last season but the arrival of Daniel Cousin and Jean-Claude Darcheville has pushed him down the pecking order.

He added: 'The manager is always looking to strengthen up front but hopefully he can give me a few chances to come off the bench in the coming months and I can start scoring goals for the first team.'