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Rangers boss Smith blasts Hinkel

Rangers manager Walter Smith launched an astonishing attack on Celtic last night, branding them "poor professionals" after losing the final Old Firm derby of the season.

Goals from Lee Naylor and Marc-Antoine Fortune sealed a 2-1 win for the Hoops, with Kenny Miller failing to add to the goal he pulled back late in the first half.

Smith admits he was disappointed to the lose the match but it was quotes from Andreas Hinkel, where he claimed Celtic were a better team than Rangers, that clearly stoked Smith's ire tonight.

The Ibrox boss was keen to point out his side's superior trophy haul in the three seasons he has been back at the helm, including back-to-back Clydesdale Bank Premier League titles.

And he claimed only the appointment of Neil Lennon as interim manager has brought out the proper attitude in Celtic's players, as he advised Hinkel to "take a good look at himself."

Smith said: "Andreas Hinkel said in the paper the other day that Celtic are the better team.

"If he sits down and he analyses what he said then you've got to say why does he think they are a better team than Rangers when Rangers have won six trophies over a three-year period and reached a European final and Celtic have won two.

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"He must feel then, that if they are the better team, something is wrong. It might be if they had shown the same attitude as they showed in the first half of the game tonight, they might have been in a far better position.

"He has got to ask himself that question. If he sits down and says that Celtic are a better team than Rangers, he should ask himself if he's proud of the way they have played over the last few seasons because I'm certainly proud of the way my team has played and my team has something tangible to show for it at the end.

"I can't understand why any professional doesn't take a good look at himself first before saying Celtic are a better team than Rangers because it's patently obvious that they are not and haven't been.

"Maybe it's simply because of their approach and their attitude to the game, that Neil Lennon is now bringing out in them. But if it takes a manager to bring it out in you, then you are looking at a poor set of professionals."

With Rangers having already wrapped up the championship and set to be presented with the trophy at Ibrox this weekend, there was little more than pride at stake for the Scottish champions at Parkhead.

But it proved to be a fiery affair, with Lee McCulloch seeing red in the final minute, as Celtic held on to claim their first derby triumph of the campaign.

Asked what the most disappointing aspect of the evening was, Smith replied: " Losing - I don't like losing games and my team doesn't like losing games. We were disappointed with the way we started the game in the first half of the match especially.


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