CIS semi-finals draw avoids blunder – and Old Firm clash

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By Karrie Gillett

BUNGLING politician Alex Fergusson was handed a second chance at the draw for the CIS cup semi-finals today after last year’s gaffe.

The Scottish Parliament’s Presiding Officer joked before the draw that he was grateful to be invited back after mixing up the numbers in 2007.

This season’s semi-finals will see Celtic playing Dundee United and Rangers facing Falkirk.

First Minister Alex Salmond drew out the numbers at the event in the parliament building while Mr Fergusson spoke of his relief at having the chance to redeem himself.

The blunder in 2007 saw Mr Fergusson matching the wrong balls with the wrong clubs during a televised draw.

But after today’s event, the First Minister said: “No action replay required today as we managed it fine.

“I know a lot of folk will be looking at the draw and the Old Firm being kept apart again but I can tell you it was both a bona-fide draw and an accurate draw.

“I think relief is what myself and the presiding officer are feeling now.”

Celtic midfielder Marc Crosas – who played against Dundee United twice while with Barcelona – said their semi-final opponents could prove difficult to overcome.

He said: “I hope that we can win the semi-final but I think that Dundee United are a very good team.

“A semi-final cup game is always difficult.

“I played against them two times with Barcelona and because of that I know they are a very hard team.”

Alex Salmond also slammed comments today from Scots Secretary Jim Murphy that a British football team in the 2012 Olympics would have no impact on the Scotland team.

Mr Salmond said: “This is daft stuff.

“We know from meetings last year with Sepp Blatter and Scots at the very top of international football that if we open the door to this then it will be used by other countries to jeaopordise the position of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the home countries in international football.

“We know that will happen and no amount of paper guarantees or smooth assurances from any official at any time will ever remove that danger.

“This is a Pandora’s box and we will open it at our peril.

“Jim Murphy and Gordon Brown are only  interested in the politics and not football. They should back off and think again.”

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