Rangers assistant coach Craig McPherson is set to be investigated by the Scottish Football Association (SFA) after appearing to headbutt Celtic manager Fran Alonso in an extraordinary conclusion to a women’s match between the bitter rivals.
In footage shown by Sky Sports after the finish of Monday’s Scottish Women’s Premier League fixture, McPherson seemed to aim a headbutt at the back of Alonso’s head as the players were shaking hands.
The SFA will await the referee’s report but given the high-profile nature of the game - this was the first Scottish women’s game televised live by Sky Sports - an investigation now looks inevitable.
Rangers was on the brink of victory at Broadwood, the women’s team’s home ground, until Caitlin Hayes’s stoppage-time equaliser ensured the Glasgow clubs would share the points.
Alonso, who has previously worked under Ronald Koeman and Mauricio Pochettino at Everton and Southampton respectively, told Sky Sports he was called a “little rat” as the footage was shown to him after the match.
“I don’t know. You can see there, somebody pushed me from behind,” said the 46-year-old Spaniard.
“I never talked to (McPherson) the whole game. It’s obviously disappointing to concede a goal in the last minute, I totally get it. I was called a ‘little rat’, I don’t know why.”
Rangers women’s head coach Malky Thomson, asked about the incident after the match, said: “Without me seeing it at all, I don’t know that I can comment on it.
“If that’s the case, then there will be an investigation and we’ll obviously look at it.”
Celtic and Rangers have dominated Scottish men’s football for decades, the Glasgow giants monopolising the domestic title for the best part of 40 years.
Yet, it is the independent Glasgow City which leads the SWPL table by six points from Celtic, with third-placed Rangers, the reigning champion a further point behind.
The men’s Old Firm fixture has witnessed numerous violent clashes between rival fans fuelled by religious bigotry, with Rangers a predominately Protestant club and Celtic drawing the bulk of its support from Glasgow’s Catholic community.
But flare-ups between opposing coaching staffs have been rare.
Back in 2011, Celtic manager Neil Lennon and Rangers assistant Ally McCoist were involved in a furious touchline row after a Scottish Cup replay won by Celtic, with staff members from both sides trying to pull them apart.
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