Glasgow Celtic could be crowned Scottish champions sooner rather than later after Rangers took the decision to go into administration.

The Old Firm club have been hit with tax demands totaling almost $100 million, and are potentially heading out of business.

Rangers look certain to be deducted points after going down the administration route, and that will aid Celtic.

But Bhoys chief executive Peter Lawwell has dismissed suggestions that Celtic’s future depends on its rivalry with Rangers.

“The way we would look at is we don’t need Rangers,” insisted Lawwell. “We have a strategy that we have embarked on, that’s independent of Rangers or any other club in Scotland.

“We have a vision, horizons and aspirations which are in Scotland and beyond that, in terms of European progression.

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“So that’s what we are focusing on. In terms of Rangers’ situation at the moment, nobody really knows what the facts are.

“I think it is inappropriate for us to comment on it. We are getting on with it, we are independent in terms of where we want to take the club and that’s what we will continue to do.

“Five years ago we said that we could no longer compete at the highest level, we could no longer attract the Premier League players that we had done, so we invested a lot of money in our recruitment and academy and creating, hopefully, a center of excellence with the tentacles going far and wide.”

When asked if Scottish football could survive and thrive without Rangers, Lawwell replied, “If people take some clues from what we are doing, then why not

“Again, I think it needs big thinkers. It needs people to think outside the box.”

Celtic were far from impressive on the field when they beat Inverness 1-0 on Saturday, thanks to a Joe Ledley goal, with manager Lennon set to appeal the red card dished out to defender Daniel Majstorovic.

Majstorovic was shown a straight red card by referee Steven McLean for a “last man” challenge on Caley’s Irish midfielder Jonny Hayes.

“I am going to speak to the club about it and see if there is grounds for appeal,” said Lennon. “I thought he got the ball. How the linesman could give it is beyond me and there were some very inconsistent decisions out there today.

“I think both sets of coaching staff were unhappy with the performance today. But I don’t think the referee got much help from either of his linesmen.

“We were told that the linesman gave it, whether I am wrong on that I don’t know. I have seen it on the television and it is pretty inconclusive but it looked to me that Daniel got the ball, you see the way the ball moves.

“It is very debatable decision that has gone against us.”

Celtic extended their domestic winning run to 17 games in Lennon’s 100th game in charge. He added, “I am thrilled for the players.

“We had to contend with a lot of things out there today, including the officials so I am delighted with the win and delighted with the clean sheet.”

Celtic will make a decision on teenage Portuguese striker Edinho Junior on Friday when his week long trial with the club comes to an end.

Dunne Surgery

Aston Villa defender Richard Dunne has handed Giovanni Trapattoni his latest Euro 2012 headache after undergoing a shoulder operation.

Dunne picked up the injury in Sunday’s home defeat to Manchester City and faces up to eight weeks on the sidelines.

Everton defender Shane Duffy has been called up to the Republic of Ireland squad for this month’s friendly against Czech Republic following an injury to Richard Dunne.

Teammate Ciaran Clark is out for a month with a knee injury sustained in training ahead of the game but Dunne is causing most concern.

“We’re gutted to be losing the big man,” said Villa boss Alex McLeish. “He was trying to get us back in the game when he made a tremendous leap but, unfortunately, he landed badly on his shoulder and fractured the collarbone.

“He is a stalwart defender and has been that for the past dozen years or so in the Premier League. It’s not good for us to be without such a top player and a defender of his massive experience.

“We wish Richard a speedy recovery and Ciaran, too, from his knee injury. We will look now for someone else to step up to the mark.”

Ireland boss Trapattoni has reacted to Dunne’s injury by calling Everton youngster Shane Duffy into the squad for the February 29 friendly against the Czech Republic in Dublin.

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McCarthy Fired

MICK McCarthy has vowed to return to management after a rapid end to his reign as Wolves boss on Monday.

The former Ireland manager was sacked less than 24 hours after his team’s humiliating 5-1 derby defeat at home to West Brom.

“I will be back and I will manage again,” McCarthy told Irish SunSport.  “Anyone who knows me knows I will return to management and I will do a good job again.”

Already McCarthy has been linked with the Leeds United vacancy, while his former Irish captain Roy Keane is competing with Steve Bruce to replace him at Wolves.

The Wolves board took action after fans turned on McCarthy in the wake of Sunday’s defeat.
A club statement on Monday said, “Wolves have today announced that manager, Mick McCarthy, has left the club with immediate effect.

“The board took the difficult decision to terminate Mick’s contract after a run of form which has seen Wolves pick up only 14 points in the last 22 League games, after a promising start to the season, culminating in yesterday’s 5-1 defeat at home to West Bromwich Albion.

“The board would like to place on record their sincere thanks and appreciation to Mick McCarthy and he leaves with the very best wishes of everyone connected to the club.”
Trap’s Squad

IRELAND boss Giovanni Trapattoni has all but named his squad for the European Championships – and Sunderland winger James McClean didn’t make the cut.

Trap has named 24 players for the February 29 friendly against the Czech Republic, one player more than he will bring to Poland in the summer.

McClean, cleared last week to switch allegiances from north to south, is not included while Stephen Ireland, Wes Hoolahan, Andy Keogh, Ciaran Clark and Paul McShane are also missing.
The Ireland squad to play the Czech Republic is -- goalkeepers: Shay Given (Aston Villa), Keiren Westwood (Sunderland), David Forde (Millwall).

Defenders: John O’Shea (Sunderland), Stephen Kelly (Fulham), Stephen Ward (Wolves), Sean St Ledger (Leicester City), Darren O’Dea (Leeds United), Shane Duffy (Everton).

Midfielders: Kevin Foley (Wolves), Glenn Whelan (Stoke City), James McCarthy (Wigan Athletic), Seamus Coleman (Everton), Keith Andrews (West Brom), Keith Fahey (Birmingham City), Darron Gibson (Everton), Damien Duff (Fulham), Aiden McGeady (Spartak Moscow), Stephen Hunt (Wolves).
Forwards: Robbie Keane (Aston Villa), Kevin Doyle (Wolves), Shane Long (West Brom), Simon Cox (West Brom), Jon Walters (Stoke City).

Soccer Shorts

SLIGO Rovers have lost manager Paul Cook to English side Accrington Stanley with Monaghan United boss Roddy Collins the favorite to replace him. “It’s with great sadness that I leave Sligo,” Cook told Accrington’s official website. “But all my thoughts now are on trying to maintain the success that Accrington Stanley have enjoyed since I was here as a player.” . . .

BOHEMIANS scored a 2-1 win over Portadown in the Setanta Cup on Monday night when Clintonville won 1-0 at home to St. Patrick’s Athletic. Derry City hammered Lisburn Distillery 4-0 and Bray went down 4-2 at home to Glentoran over the weekend . . .

LIMERICK have taken internationals Dawid Janczyk and Lubos Kalouda on loan from Russian side CSKA Moscow in an amazing coup by the Airtricity League side . . .

THE FAI have confirmed that Ireland will play Hungary in Budapest on June 4 in their final warm-up game before the European Championships . . .

VETERAN midfielder Alan Kirby has returned to Longford Town after a five year spell with St. Patrick’s Athletic . . .

FORMER Ireland, Aston Villa and Galway United defender Eamon Deacy has died suddenly at the age of 53 . . .

DUNDALK have signed midfielder Gareth Coughlan and winger Paul Walsh.

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