Playing Havoc; McLeish Hits out at SPL Youth Rules as Injuries Mount Up

Article excerpt

Byline: ROGER HANNAH

ALEX McLEISH has delivered a withering attack on the SPL Under-21 rules, claiming the strict regulations make 'a mockery' of team selection.

The Rangers boss takes his injury ravaged squad to Motherwell this afternoon for a top- versus- bottom encounter which will be beamed live across the nation.

He could be without 12 players for the match and is furious that he might be forced to pitch untried 16-year- olds into the title contest because of laws governing squad selection.

And McLeish admitted he could no longer maintain his silence over rules which could also leave highly-paid internationals kicking their heels in the Fir Park stand.

'We are running on empty in terms of first-team players,' he said. 'But with the Under-21 rule, we must still have two Under-21s - outwith a goalkeeper - in the 16.

'The powers-that-be seem to think it encourages youth football. Personally, I think it has made a mockery of things, not that we were asked. I don't think it promotes youth football at all. I have bitten my tongue on this issue in the past, but the timing is now right for me to say something.'

Rangers will miss Mikel Arteta, Maurice Ross and, possibly, Stephen Hughes - the players who normally fulfil the Under-21 criteria when fit. …