Talks could lead to Old Firm ties in Glasgow Cup

STAGING full-scale Old Firm games in this season's Glasgow Cup will be discussed at a meeting of the Glasgow Football Association next week.

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The historic tournament has already been scheduled to continue as an Under-17s event for the coming campaign, but that has yet to be ratified by the SFA.

When the Glasgow FA hold a scheduled meeting next week there will be talks on whether to seek a change to the competition in order to guarantee Celtic versus Rangers games at senior level in the coming months: assuming newco Rangers are granted SFA membership to play football at all.

The SFA and newco Rangers' representatives held a second day of discussions over the membership application yesterday, but have still to reach a resolution. The SFA want the newco club to accept sanctions relating to the oldco, and the govering body also wants more information on who is in the consortium fronted by Charles Green. Talks will continue today.

Unless the clubs are drawn in the Scottish Cup or Scottish League Cup, Celtic and the newco Rangers are not scheduled to play each other until 2015 at the earliest, and only then if the newco gains three consecutive promotions through the Scottish Football League divisions. That could give the Glasgow FA a unique platform to stage the derby and potentially generate lucrative television rights to one or more derbies.

"We have had the competition in different formats over the years, it is constantly under review," said Glasgow FA secretary John Taylor. "We live in ever-changing times.

"The reason for going to Under-19s and then Under-17s level for the past few years was simply that it was harder for the Old Firm to get dates into their schedules.

"So we've had a commitment to promote youth football in the city instead and it's been a great tournament for the youth teams recently. The coaches are still enthusiastic about that."

The Glasgow Cup has not been held as a genuine first team event since the mid-1980s, notably when more than 40,000 watched the Old Firm final of 1986 which gave Graeme Souness his first trophy as Rangers' player-manager. Subsequently it became an event for reserve teams, Under-19s and then Under-17s, slipping way down the two clubs' priorities.

Both Celtic and Rangers' representatives will have their say at next week's meeting, though, and the absence of four league derbies each season – each of which guarantees a capacity crowd – could lead to a move to resurrect the Glasgow Cup as a senior event given the inevitable appeal there would be for meetings.

Partick Thistle, Clyde and Queen's Park are the other Glasgow FA member clubs.

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Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

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