Thu, May 22, 2008 - Page 19 News List

Darcheville's title boast angers Dons

SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE Aberdeen did not take kindly to speculation by the Rangers forward that his side could score 'five or six goals' at Pittodie today

AFP , GLASGOW, SCOTLAND

Rangers' French forward Jean-Claude Darcheville, left, fights for the ball with Zenit St Petersburg's Croatian defender Ivica Krizanac during their UEFA Cup final match at Manchester City stadium on Wednesday last week.

PHOTO: AFP

Jean Claude Darcheville says Rangers can win the Scottish Premier League today by blasting in six goals at Aberdeen — to the fury of the Dons.

The French forward scored twice to help the Ibrox side beat St Mirren 3-0 on Monday night to join Celtic on 86 points.

However, the Parkhead side still have a four-goal advantage ahead of their final game away to Dundee United. It would appear that Rangers’ only chance of being crowned SPL champions would be to beat Aberdeen and for United to secure at least a draw against Celtic.

Darcheville, though, has not ruled out pipping Celtic to the title on goal difference by dismantling the Dons.

“Anything is possible in football. Maybe we can score five or six goals — or maybe we will only score one,” he said. “Everyone is looking forward to the game on Thursday night. Drawing at Motherwell on Saturday handed the advantage to Celtic. Now we have to beat Aberdeen and see how Dundee United do against Celtic.”

“When we played United at Tannadice we drew 3-3, so maybe they could produce another performance like that,” Darcheville said. “Maybe if they do we’ll win the title. I believe in miracles but we’ll have to wait and see.”

Darcheville’s comments did not go down well at Pittodrie.

“I’m really surprised to hear those kind of comments,” Aberdeen manager Jimmy Calderwood said. “I would be extremely surprised if we would concede as many as that at Pittodrie. We’ve only lost four games at home this season and historically Rangers have always found it hard here. I’m amazed at suggestions we would lose six goals. We’ll be looking to end our season on a high by winning the game and trying to finish fourth in the table.”

Gordon Strachan, meanwhile, is bidding to become the first Celtic manager since the legendary Jock Stein to win three SPL titles in a row. In his first two seasons his side have strolled to the title, with the championship as good as concluded months before the final game.

Strachan’s predecessor Martin O’Neill was also used to wrapping up the SPL title early — winning three SPL crowns in his five years at the club. However, no one at Celtic will need reminding that when Rangers were crowned champions in 2003 and 2005 they did so on the final day of the season. The Celtic fans and players will be hoping it is third time lucky on a final-day showdown.

Whatever the final result, today will be an emotionally charged day for everyone involved with Celtic after first team coach Tommy Burns lost his battle with cancer on Friday.

Dundee United manager Craig Levein, meanwhile, has revealed he will not play first choice defender Lee Wilkie today. However, he stressed it was to save Wilkie from suspension for the start of next season and not any ploy to help Celtic.

“It’s a bit of a headache for us because Lee is on 15 points and another booking would mean he’d miss the first three games of next season,” Levein said. “I’m in a no-win situation as Rangers fans will accuse us of helping Celtic and, if he plays, Celtic fans will say the opposite. I’d just rather get it out there now so people can discuss their own conspiracy theories.”

“We want to finish fourth because there’s a £250,000 [US$491,600] difference between that and sixth place,” he said.

In the other game today, fifth-placed Hibernian will aim to move up a place in the table by beating Motherwell — who qualified for next season’s UEFA Cup by finishing third.

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