Soccer Digest

 

A round-up of the day's other soccer stories.

Thorny Thistle clipped

Celtic exorcised the ghost of their most infamous cup performance with a comfortable, but never particularly impressive, 4-2 victory over Inverness Caledonian Thistle last night.

This Scottish League Cup win went some way to erasing memories of Inverness Caley's stunning Scottish Cup success in Glasgow two-and-a-half years ago that resulted in a famous headline and, soon afterwards, the sacking of the hapless John Barnes as Celtic manager.

CELTIC: Douglas, Boyd (Miller 77), Balde (Kennedy 62), Crainey, Agathe (Wallace 68), Healy, Thompson, Maloney, Smith, Fernandez, Hartson. Subs Not Used: Sylla, Gould. Booked: Boyd, Kennedy. Goals: Maloney 4, Hartson 20, Thompson 44, Hartson 61.

INVERNESS CT: Brown, Tokely (Keogh 73), Mann, Munro, Golabek, Duncan, McBain, Hart, Robson (Christie 72), Wyness, Ritchie (Low 79). Subs Not Used: McCaffray, Ridgers. Booked: McBain. Goals: Ritchie 10, Wyness 72.

Referee: M McCurry (Scotland).

Ireland drop one place

The Republic of Ireland's recent run of defeats in the Euro 2004 Qualifying campaign has resulted in them falling one place in the latest FIFA World Rankings.

Three-time world champions Italy have dropped out of the top 10 as Brazil remain top.

The 1998 world champions France hold down second place outright. Italy saw their prestigious reputation take another battering as their home draw with Yugoslavia and a 2-1 defeat at Wales forced Giovanni Trapattoni's men to slump to number 11.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

1 Brazil, 2 France, 3 Spain (-1), 4 Germany, 5 Argentina, 6 England (+3), Mexico, 8 Turkey (-1), 9 Holland (+3), 10 United States (-2), 11 Italy (-1), Portugal 13 Denmark, 14 Republic of Ireland (-1), 15 Czech Republic (+2). Selected: 55 Scotland (+8), 61 Wales (+15), 98 Northern Ireland.

Under-17s beaten

The Republic of Ireland's European Under-17 Championship hopes are over after Brian Kerr's men lost 1-0 to France at Turner's Cross last night.

Over 3,500 fans were in attendance, but even the home crowd couldn't tip the balance in Ireland's favour against a classy French side with Lens Jonathan Lacourt grabbing the only goal of the game midway through the first half.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: Darren Quigley (St Joseph's Boys); Damien Kelly (Cherry Orchard), Shane McFaul (Notts County), Paul McShane (Manchester United), Ciaran Lyng (Wexford Celtic); Gerry Gill (Derry City), Stephen O'Donnell (Arsenal), Patrick Cregg (Arsenal), Stephen Foley (Aston Villa); Leon Best (Notts County), Aiden McGeady (Celtic). Subs: David Elebert (Prestone North End) for McFaul (half-time); Andrew Keogh (Leeds United) for Best (58 mins); Niall Flynn (Sunderland) for Gill (69). Booking: Elebert, Foley.

Souness banned

Blackburn Rovers manager Graeme Souness has been handed a three-match touchline ban by the English FA. The Rovers boss has also been fined £15,000 after being sent off by referee Steve Bennett during Rovers' 2-2 draw with Liverpool at Ewood Park on August 28th.

Souness protested over a hefty aerial challenge from Emile Heskey on Nils-Eric Johansson, and said at the time: "I was sent off for the first time in a long time. My sending-off was probably the only thing the ref got right."

Meanwhile, Crystal Palace manager Trevor Francis has been charged by the FA after he appeared to strike substitute goalkeeper Alex Kolinko during the 1-1 draw with Bradford on August 13th.

Friends of Leicester

Gary Lineker's consortium has given itself a fortnight to raise the £5 million it needs to buy Leicester City. Lineker and 10 fellow investors, including the other members of the consortium, the football agent Jon Holmes, the Leicester club chairman Martin George, the Carphone Warehouse chief operating officer David Ross and Greg Clarke, chairman of Leicester City plc, each invested in the region of £150,000 to bring the total so far to £1.7 million.

Teachers Bank, the main creditors who are owed £28 million for the stadium, are likely to rent the ground to the club but Dennis Wise, Leicester's former midfielder who is suing the club for £2.36 million after having his contract terminated, is likely to end up with nothing.

"I think it is dreadful what happened with Dennis Wise and that it is quite extraordinary that he is trying to sue the club," said Lineker.

Day of judgement

Patrick Viera will make a personal appearance at FA headquarters today to defend himself against a misconduct charge that could bring a two-match ban and fine.

Arsenal's captain was charged with using foul and abusive language towards referee Andy D'Urso after being sent off at Chelsea on September 1st.

Vieira received the eighth red card of his Arsenal career for fouls on Gianfranco Zola and Jesper Gronkjaer and hoped D'Urso would rescind at least one of the yellow cards after reviewing video evidence. Both he and his club were shocked at the subsequent charge, which Arsenal said they will defend "vigorously".