It seems that history is playing games with Walter Smith’s memory as he recalls the failed quadruple bid of 2008.
Despite having a squad packed full of players being paid through EBT’s in clear breach of SFA, SPL and UEFA rules Smith still believes that his side was hard done to.
For Smith’s benefit he may have forgotten that to accommodate his team the SPL put the final day of the season back to a THURSDAY night!
While Rangers (IL) picked and chose when they wanted to play all of the other clubs in the top half of the table had to wait 11 days between their second last and last fixtures.
Players at every club had to cancel holidays because the Ibrox club, with the help of the SPL, wanted to pick when they played their fixtures.
Bleating about the issue Smith told the Daily Record: “The thing that was disappointing was that we didn’t win the league. We equalled the European record for the number of fixtures we played that season.
“It still rankles a wee bit that, when we were getting to that final, Wee Dick’s team were getting a fortnight off to make sure they were fit for the final. We were told it was lack of sporting integrity to ask for that.
“We had to play somewhere in the region of four of five games in a 10-day period beforehand and then play in a final on the Saturday after Manchester. That rankled a bit and still does.”
Perhaps Smith has forgotten how he asked for a match with Gretna to be postponed in order to get 11 days to prepare to face Lyon in the Champions League. Unfortunately the French side won 3-0 at Ibrox on December 12.
During December Rangers (IL) played six matches, Celtic played eight, on December 1 Celtic drew 1-1 at Hearts in the middle of Champions League ties against Shakhtar Donetsk and AC Milan, there was more reason to call for a postponement of the Tynecastle game that Gretna v Rangers, now known as the liquidation derby.
On Sunday January 13 the five star Ibrox Stadium was waterlogged for a Scottish Cup tie with East Stirling giving Smith’s side another 11 day break between games
That postponement meant that the cup tie was played the following midweek, the date scheduled for a re-arranged game at Celtic Park.
With St Mirren safe from relegation, players released and with suitcases packed for their holidays Rangers (IL) played the bottom six Paisley side after the break and strolled to a comfortable 3-0 win.
As well as having the fixtures arranged to their liking the Ibrox side played Celtic twice at Ibrox before they made their first trip to the east end on Wednesday April 16.
In the fortnight between winning the semi final on penalties against Fiorentina and parking the bus in Manchester Rangers (IL) played three matches.
The next time Smith is a bit irked about sporting integrity he might spare a thought for the players and supporters who lost out on victories due to one club that played by different tax rules to attract better players than they could afford.
Maybe one day Smith might reveal if he got an EBT from his good friend Sir David, I’d be astonished if he didn’t, no side letter would be required for that special relationship.
Since 2008 the SPL and SPFL season has never been completed on a Thursday night.