Rankin red won’t be appealed

Gian Piero Gasperini has left Palermo for the second time in six

weeks as Serie A’s bottom club prepare to make a fifth managerial

appointment of the current season.

In what is fast becoming a farcical season at the Stadio Renzo

Barbera, Gasperini departs by mutual consent only 15 days and two

games after returning to the hotseat on February 24.

The 55-year-old was reinstated after Alberto Malesani’s brief

19-day reign, which started on February 5 and comprised only three

games, but a goalless draw at Torino and Sunday’s 2-1 home defeat

to relegation rivals Siena have persuaded former Inter Milan boss

Gasperini to move on.

A statement published on palermocalcio.it read: “After a meeting

between adminstrative director Giorgio Perinetti and Gian Piero

Gasperini, Palermo can announce it has reached an agreement for a

consensual termination of the coach’s contract.

“The owner has tasked the director with assessing who should

take control of the first-team squad.”

Reports in Italy suggest the Rosanero will now turn to

Napoli-born coach Giuseppe Sannino, who started the season in

charge of the Sicilian club only to be sacked after three


The Neapolitan tactician would return to the Renzo Barbera

almost six months after he became president Maurizio Zamparini’s

first casualty of the season on September 16.

Gasperini then claimed three wins from 20 games to leave the

Sicilians in 19th place upon his original departure, with UEFA

Cup-winning coach Malesani appointed the next day.

Malesani could not improve Palermo’s fortunes, however, with

three points from three draws leaving the Rosanero bottom of the

table and ushering in the fleeting return of Gasperini.

Zamparini told the Corriere dello Sport early on Monday: “We

won’t be able to save ourselves now, it’s folly to think we can do


“We would need a lot of luck and for our players to act as if

they’re men rather than baby food. I don’t know what they are made


“I’m not giving up but the maths reads otherwise. In my 30 years

in football I faced relegation twice with Venezia and on both

occasions we returned to Serie A.”

The first task for Gasperini’s replacement is a trip to face

third-placed AC Milan at the San Siro on Sunday.

Palermo are currently tied for last place with Pescara on 21

points and five points from safety.

The 19-year-old’s stay at Home Park from the Premier League side

has been hampered by a number of injury concerns.

“Reading feel that it would be better to have Gozie back at the

Madejski Stadium with the Royals’ Under 21 development squad so

that they can best monitor his progress,” a Pilgrims statement


A 2-1 home defeat to fellow strugglers Aston Villa on Saturday

was the club’s fourth in a row.

A statement from the club read: “Reading Football Club has

announced today the departure of Manager Brian McDermott.

“Owner Anton Zingarevich wishes to place on record his thanks to

Brian who had achieved great success with the club since taking

over as Manager in December 2009.

“Brian gained promotion to the Barclays Premier League last year

for only the second time in the club’s history thanks to a

remarkable run at the end of last season. However, in our current

situation, owner Anton Zingarevich felt that a change was


“The search for a successor will start immediately and it is

hoped that a new Manager will be in place as soon as possible to

lead the fight against potential relegation.

Full story to follow…

Despite losing 3-2 at Ross County on Saturday after taking a

two-goal lead, the Hoops are still 15 points clear of Motherwell at

the top of the table and cruising to their second successive


While Neil Lennon’s men were lavished with praise for reaching

the last 16 of the Champions League, many believe Celtic have been

affected in the league by the absence of their old Govan rivals who

languish in the Irn-Bru Third Division, where they re-emerged this

season after falling into administration and then liquidation.

Mulgrew was at Hampden on Monday to promote PFA Scotland’s

player-of-the-year awards event, yards from where talks about the

rule book for proposed league reconstruction were taking place

between SPL clubs.

Asked if was down to him, would he have Rangers back in the SPL,

the Celtic defender said: “If it was my choice? Probably, yes.

“I don’t want to get involved in what is going on that side of

things, I am just concentrating on things at Celtic and hopefully

things will work out for the best.”

The Scotland defender then addressed the notion that the Celtic

players have subconsciously, if intermittently, let their guard

down this season due to the loss of the Ibrox club from the top


“It is hard to say,” said Mulgrew, who was both PFA Scotland and

the Scottish Football Writers’ player of the year in 2012.

“There is not as much pressure on you but I am not using that as

an excuse.

“The players know we weren’t good enough against Ross County on

Saturday and the performance was not acceptable.

“We should have gone on and won that game after being 2-0 up but

we never so we have to look at that and hopefully will be ready

when the next game comes.

“We just know we have to do better.

“At a team like Celtic there should never be a lack of


“The fans demand and the club demands that we win every


“So it’s not a lack of motivation, it’s just that we have to do

better. It is simply that.

“It has been a good season for us, we got to the last-16 of the

Champions League when nobody gave us a chance.

“We have had a couple of disappointing results but the main

thing is we win the league.

“It doesn’t matter how much we win it by, as long as we win it

and we are also in the Scottish Cup so we will look to do as best

we can in that as well.”

After the Dingwall defeat Lennon said that some of his players

were perhaps looking at life away from Parkhead.

However, the former Aberdeen player said: “Everybody is focused

on the job ahead at Celtic, all the players are focused on what

they have to do.

“So I don’t think people’s heads are elsewhere. I just think it

was a bad performance and we have to look to rectify that in the

next match.”

The Chesterfield-born player, who has an Italian father, damaged

his knee while playing for the Italy Under-18s against Austria last

week and will have a scan to determine the full extent of the


De Girolamo, 17, had been in contention for his first start for

the Blades after making substitute appearances in recent home games

against Colchester and Leyton Orient.

“Diego will have scan on March 20 to confirm what we feel about

the problem,” manager Danny Wilson told a press conference ahead of

Tuesday night’s game at Crewe.

“He isn’t going to play for a while, but we don’t know how long

he will be out for at the moment and I’m not prepared to


“It isn’t fair on the lad without knowing all the facts, but he

will certainly be missing for the next few weeks, minimum.

“We’re all gutted for him, especially with him being a young


“He has got everything in front of him, but all that excitement

has been taken away from him now.

“He would have relished the opportunity to feature in the

run-in. But this injury is how football is and he will have the

support of the club throughout his recovery.”

The midfielder was shown a straight red by John Beaton for a

two-footed tackle on John McGinn towards the end of the goalless

SPL clash on Saturday.

Rankin appeared hopeful of having the card overturned when he

appeared on BBC Scotland’s Sportscene last night but United have

decided against launching an appeal.

The 29-year-old will now sit out Sunday’s SPL derby against

Dundee at Tannadice through suspension. Fellow midfielder Willo

Flood is also suspended.

Rankin had told Sportscene: “When you look at it again, I don’t

think it’s so bad.

“There’s no malice in the challenge whatsoever and hopefully

we’ll overcome the appeal later in the week.

“I’ve read it, but none of my two feet are off the ground. I’ve

tried to keep both of them on the ground and my studs aren’t


“The referee is right on top of it and he’s got to make a split

decision, but I think he’s a bit quick with the cards.”