Scottish sport comment: The suggestion that Ibrox may soon be known by another name should not discomfort Rangers supporters too much.
After all they have been through far greater upheaval over the past nine months and many will remain grateful just to have a team to call their own.
Of course no traditionalist — and Rangers have plenty of those — would welcome a rebranding of one of the most famous grounds in world football, but it is impossible to run from the financial catastrophe wrought by former owner Craig Whyte.
Rangers need to bring in cash, lots of it, to get themselves back up and running for the medium and longer term. The current chief executive Charles Green knows this as does every man and his dog on the streets of Govan and beyond.
There’s nothing new under the sun, as the saying goes, and indeed a switch of titles has been tried elsewhere and always with money in mind.
Among others, Arsenal now play at the Emirates, Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium and Bolton at the Reebok. It has done them no harm whatsoever. Fans continue to turn up in their droves week in, week out.
Then there’s Newcastle, where supporters have expressed delight at “reclaiming” St James’ Park after a short spell when the ground was known as the Sports Direct Arena.
It never was though really, not by the punters. To those who matter in all of this it remained the same place it had been for generations.
Now it has been strongly mooted that Mike Ashley, the Magpies’ owner and boss of the sports goods firm, fancies stumping up a few million quid to hang a gigantic Sports Direct banner from the old red-brick façade on Edmiston Drive.
That’s the over-riding point. Renaming the place the Sports Direct Arena, or anything else for that matter, is only a title. It would still look, sound, feel and to all intents and purposes be Ibrox.
Indeed, this is a far less radical notion than, for instance, Celtic’s mooted flit, lock, stock and barrel, out of Glasgow to Cambuslang in the early 1990s.
Perhaps the best way forward for Rangers, as their manager Ally McCoist has suggested, is to retain the word Ibrox as part of any new title. Indeed this to some extent is what happened when Geordies kicked up a fuss over the commercialisation of their ground.
McCoist remains a totemic figure to the Gers support and the fact that he’s “reasonably open-minded” about the idea may provide some reassurance.
He has also called on Green to consult the masses on any new name. Don’t bother — it would sow nothing but division and discord. Green must lead, not ask to be taken in one direction or another.
Those Bears who not so long ago considered the spectre of footballing Armageddon as something very real should be willing to countenance some tinkering around the edges to benefit the balance sheet.
After all, what’s in a name? As long as they don’t find themselves playing at the Green and Whyte Ground, they can take it on the chin.
So Lionel Messi wants to play against Benfica in order to help Celtic progress to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
The little Argentinian genius thinks their fans have been “amazing” and “deserve to be in Europe” after witnessing Parkhead at full volume in the 2-1 defeat of Barcelona last month.
Had he turned up at Celtic Park on Saturday afternoon he may have had reconsidered. The ground hosted a mere 15,000 supporters, around 40,000 fewer than the number who’ll be there tomorrow night for the crucial clash against Spartak Moscow.
Messi would have been equally shocked that Neil Lennon’s side, so savvy against the Catalans, were unable to do better than a 1-1 draw with Arbroath on their own turf where they have been intermittently poor for some time.
While there is the intoxicating atmosphere of the Champions League on offer, amid dire economic circumstances and the coming splurge of Christmas it is hard to expect supporters to stump up for less glamorous occasions.
What might the effect be? Hard to say, but certainly it’s not always easy for players to up their game on demand. Footballers thrive on atmosphere — if nothing else the beating of Barca showed that.
Poor old Andy Robinson. One wonders if having seen the draw for the 2015 Rugby World Cup he entertained second thoughts a week after stepping down as Scotland coach.
When the tournament kicks off in England three years from now the Scots will know they could have done much worse than being pitted alongside South Africa and Samoa in Pool 2.
In due course they will be joined by a pair of qualifiers from Asia and the Americas. Those may well be Japan and Canada.
No mugs among that little lot of course, but there is every chance that with time on their side to get their house in order Scotland can yet go into the competition with some degree of confidence.
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