Dave King: Rangers have 'no intention' of reversing Celtic ticket allocation at Ibrox

Celtic and Rangers fans at Celtic Park
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard said he hoped both sets of fans will be at the Old Firm match

Rangers chairman Dave King has "no intention" of reversing a decision to cut Celtic's ticket allocation for their meeting at Ibrox on 29 December.

Rangers have given their rivals just 800 seats for the Old Firm league game.

Celtic responded in kind for their Parkhead match in September, with chief executive Peter Lawwell saying Rangers' stance damaged the fixture.

King told Rangers' AGM: "I can give you absolute certainty this board has no intention of reversing this decision."

Lawwell has already said Celtic may refuse tickets for the game for security reasons, after five people were injured trying to get into their 1-0 win over Rangers in this season's first Old Firm fixture on 2 September.

King also said the signing policy of former Rangers boss Pedro Caixinha, who was sacked in October 2017, was "not fit for purpose".

"We started last season with a new manager, a new coaching staff, and a raft of new players including the flagship signing of a European Championship-winning centre-back [Bruno Alves]," King said.

"The great disappointment is that our investment at the start of last season proved to be not fit for purpose. We embarrassingly lost our Europa League first-round qualifier to a team with an extremely modest European pedigree (Luxembourg outfit Progres Niederkorn).

"Unfortunately, domestic performances continued to be poor during the first half of the season and reached a point where the board considered that the resources we had available to us would not be able to turn things around. We reluctantly parted ways with a manager who had worked tirelessly on behalf of the club."

Murty 'a true Rangers hero'

King paid tribute to Under-20s coach Graeme Murty, who stepped in as caretaker boss until the end of last season, but was himself removed on 1 May after a 5-0 hammering by Celtic.

Murty has since returned to his old position at Ibrox, with Steven Gerrard taking over the managerial reins.

"I want to thank a man who to my mind is a true Rangers hero," said King.

"For the second time - and at great personal anguish much of the time - Graeme Murty put the club ahead of himself by taking on the extremely difficult role of interim manager for a prolonged period and under challenging circumstances.

"Graeme, I am extremely grateful for your sacrifice and for your decision to continue to help the youngsters at the Academy despite your disappointment. You are my man of the year."

Gerrard 'has better options than Wallace'

Steven Gerrard prepares to send Lee Wallace on as a substitute at Motherwell
Lee Wallace's one appearance this season came as a late substitute at Motherwell

Meanwhile, Gerrard defended the club's handling of former skipper Lee Wallace, who was stripped of the captaincy following a bust-up with Murty after a 4-0 defeat by Celtic in last season's Scottish Cup semi-final.

Wallace has made just one substitute appearance this term, with his treatment branded "disgusting" by one angry shareholder.

But Gerrard said: "I came into (a situation with) Lee Wallace. He was out injured and had missed 12 months of football.

"I have to pay my respects to Lee in terms of his professionalism while he's been injured and the hard work he's put in trying to get match fit.

"But at the moment, to be really candid, he's still part of the plans while he's here but I have better options in that position.

"My relationship with Lee is fine. He trains with us every day and he is working very hard to regain his place in the team. That's where that situation is."

Former Liverpool defender Jon Flanagan has largely been Gerrard's first-choice left-back this season with 19 appearances, while Borna Barisic - signed from Europa League opponents Osijek in August - offers another option, but the injured Croat has not played since the end of September.

Gerrard paid tribute to the support he has received from King, managing director Stewart Robertson and director of football Mark Allen since his arrival.

"I feel I'm in such a blessed position to be here as manager," he added. "I hope I stay here for a very long time and we share some really good times together."

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