John Collins has accused Rangers of “playing the system” to try and secure an advantage over Celtic at Ibrox this weekend.

Rangers will host the Hoops this Sunday in their Scottish Cup fourth-round clash in Govan. The game was rearranged yesterday after initially being scheduled to take place on Saturday, with the game being moved due to it clashing with Prince Philip’s funeral.

The build-up, however, has been dominated with talk of Nathan Patterson being eligible to play. He’s one of five Ibrox players who have been handed six-game bans for breaching Covid restrictions. Rangers have decided to appeal of course, with the date for their hearing bizzarely set for April 20th – two days after this weekend’s cup clash.

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With Rangers’ James Tavernier likely to be out, Collins isn’t having any of it. He believes that deep down Rangers know they’re simply using an underhanded tactic to try and ensure they’re not left short on Sunday.

Speaking on BBC Sportsound yesterday, Collins said: “In my opinion, they’ve used the system. Tavernier is out, injured, their only real right-back is the young lad, so they’ve played the system.

“They’ve tried to delay the process, well they have delayed the process, which meant they had a right-back available for the last Old Firm game. They’re going to have a right-back available on Sunday. So it’s worked.

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“The SFA, once again, their system is flawed. The process should have been much quicker and the question should have been asked straight away, ‘why are you appealing something that you’re not going to win? He’s broken the rules, they’ve broken the rules.”

 

John Collins bang on; even the excuses coming out of Ibrox was cringeworthy

Gerrard was asked about the potential appeal of Patterson and the rest of the Covid 5’s bans earlier this month. He outrageously claimed that the six-game ban could damage the youngster’s career. He then claimed that it was harsh considering what actually went on at the party [BBC].

So the Rangers manager is now deciding which Covid guidelines are important and which ones aren’t. In case he wasn’t aware, meeting up in big groups for house parties have long been banned.

And please spare us the idea that he’s young and he’ll mature. Patterson is 19-years of age. He’s not 12. He’s old enough to understand the seriousness of the situation. This idea that because he’s 19 he doesn’t have any common sense is desperate stuff.

Steven Gerrard's Nathan Patterson excuse was cringeworthy

Steven Gerrard’s Nathan Patterson excuse was cringeworthy / (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

Listen, nobody at Celtic Park fears the prospect of Nathan Patterson playing at Ibrox. He’ll likely be up against the team of Diego Laxalt and Mohamed Elyounoussi. I don’t know about you, but I certainly fancy our chances down that flank.

But it’s the principle in place here. There was such a rush to deal with the Boli Bolingoli situation and the Aberdeen Eight. Yet when it comes to the five Rangers players breaching restrictions it’s dragged on and on.

Only the SFA can explain why. But don’t expect any sort of satisfying answer from them.

In other news, we take a look at the two Kennedy errors that cost Celtic against Rangers back in March – these can’t be repeated.

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