Don’t fearthe Rieper
Celtic's Danish defender, MARC RIEPER is revelling in the battle at the top of the Premier League. He's also ready to put on his country's colours against Scotland later
this month. Words: Lorin McDougall Photograph: Craig Sanders
Marc Rieper is an intimidating figure. At 6ft 4in tall. the strapping Danish defender has the build of a rugby flank forward. You’d certainly want to have him on your side rather than line up against him. but several of his Celtic teammates will soon face that problem. This month at Ibrox. the 29-year-old will be in direct opposition to some of his Parkhead pals as Scotland play Denmark in a friendly international.
‘Wc‘ve been giving each other stick. but it’s all good fun.’ says Rieper. who helped defeat
will as well.’ Rieper suggests. ‘You won’t get a better chance against Brazil than in the opening game. which traditionally ends nil-nil. I wish Scotland the very best and hope we meet in the ﬁnal.‘
takes luck.’ he says with a shrug.
O2 TIIE UST 20 Mar-2 Apr 1998
Scotland in Copenhagen two years ago. ‘I didn’t know him then. but I remember playing against Darren Jackson and having him in my back pocket the whole game. This game will be interesting for both countries. As a warm-up for the World Cup. it’s very important and will be taken very seriously. Scotland is always difficult. especially at home. but we’re a good side now and we’re quite conlident.’ Both nations face tough opposition in the World Cup. with Scotland meeting Brazil and Denmark playing hosts France. "Two teams qualify from each group. so I fancy our chances. and I’m sure Scotland
‘You won’t get a better chance against Brazil than in the opening game. i WiSi‘t Scatiand the very best and hope we meet in the final.’ Mm iiit?;}ti’.t'
As amiable off the park as he is fearsome on it. Rieper wrll win his 50th cap this month. Typically. he 18 disarmineg modest about the achievement. ‘lt
He knows Ibrox well. having scored there for Celtic in November’s Coca Cola Cup Final. but if the fates had decreed otherwise. he might have been even more familiar with the place. In I994. Rieper seemed close to joining countryman Brian Laudrup at Rangers. ‘It never got to the stage where l was talking Scotland play Denmark at Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow on to them.’ he recalls. ‘My club. Brondby. couldn‘t agree a fee. but the way my career developed at West
Marc Rieper: the boy Dane well
Ham and now Celtic. things couldn’t have worked out better.’
Rieper‘s £l.5 million move from London last September surprised many neutrals. ‘Celtic is a far. far bigger club than West Ham.’ he counters. ‘Sometimes the opposition is better in England — that’s no secret — but this season. the Scottish Premier League has proved to be as interesting as ever. If we win the league. we’ll have a chance to compete in the Champions League. and that's what every player wants.‘
So will Celtic win the league and. indeed. the treble? ‘A club of this stature must set high standards. and I believe we have a very good chance of going all the way.’ he says. ‘The great thing is that we‘ve been chasing the game and trying to make our own luck. Even in the 92nd minute. we've been looking for an equaliser or the winner. and we‘ve been rewarded for it.’
As Rieper posed for the photographer’s lens. he joked about the modelling commitments of his fellow countrywoman. Helena Christiansen. For several reasons. Scots players and supporters would surely prefer to see her. rather titan Rieper. in a Danish shirt this month.
Wed 25 Mar at 8pm. The match will be broadcast by BBC Scotland.
Events are listed alphabetically by sport, then by day. Fixtures are correct at time of publication, but may be affected by weather. Sports listings compiled by Brian Donaldson.
Scottish Masters Sat Zl—Sun 22. Cockburn Centre. Glasgow. 9.30am. Three age categories determine the structure of the event. dividing up into men's and ladies‘ singles and doubles and mixed doubles tournaments. In all. I 13 players will be there with home representatives joined by English. Irish and Swiss stars.
SCOTTISH PREMIER LEAGUE Aberdeen v Celtic Pittodrie Stadium. Pittodrie Street. Aberdeen. 3pm. Dundee United v Hearts Tannadice Park. Tannadice Street. Dundee. 3pm. Hibs v Motherwell Easter Road Stadium. Albion Road. Edinburgh. 3pm.
Kilmarnock v Dunfermline Rugby Park. Rugby Road. Kilmarnock. 3pm. Rangers v St Johnstone Ibrox Park. Edmiston Drive. Glasgow. 3pm. SCOTTISH FIRST DIVISION
Airdrie v Stirling Albion Broadwood Stadium. Cumbernauld. 3pm. Hamilton Accies v Dundee Cliftonhill Stadium. Main Street. Coatbridge. 3pm. Morton v Partick Thistle Cappielow Park. Sinclair Street. Greenock. 3pm. Raith Rovers v Ayr United Starks Park. Pratt Street. Kirkcaldy. 3pm.
St Mirren v Falkirk St Mirren Park. Love Street, Paisley. 3pm.
Making a racquet in Glasgow