Rumour Mill: Celtic eye Ciftci | van Dijk | SPFL

Nadir Ciftci is thought to be a target for Celtic, much to the chagrin of Dundee United. Picture: John Devlin
Nadir Ciftci is thought to be a target for Celtic, much to the chagrin of Dundee United. Picture: John Devlin
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Celtic stoke up Dundee United tension by eyeing Nadir Ciftci; Southampton, Sunderland, Everton and Arsenal chasing Virgil van Dijk and Hibernian season ticket sales up 10%

Celtic eye swoop for Ciftci

CELTIC are set to raid Dundee United for a third time this year after being linked with Turkish striker Nadir Ciftci.

The Hoops, who plucked Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven from Tannadice in January, have been linked with the former Portsmouth forward as they seek to bolster their attacking options this summer.

There has been talk of a £1.5 million bid for Ciftci from Celtic, which would fall far below United’s £3 million-valuation of the 23-year-old.

United assistant manager Simon Donnelly stressed he was unaware of any official approach but admitted the speculation was far from welcome.

Following the furore and fall-out from the January sale of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven, which he described as unhelpful, he acknowledged the club would come under intense pressure to reject any bid. (The Scotsman)

Hoops could nab Souttar

CELTIC are also interested in Dundee United youngster John Souttar.

The 18-year-old has been earmarked as potential cover for Scott Brown and Nir Bitton in the holding midfield role, and has impressed at Tannadice despite his tender years.

Formerly a centre half, Souttar has thrived since being pushed forward into midfield. (Daily Mail)

Premier League clubs fight for van Dijk

EVERTON, Arsenal, Southampton and Sunderland are all chasing Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk as the summer transfer window draws nearer.

The Dutch stopper has been in fine form for the Hoops, scoring ten goals from the centre of defence and striking up a good partnership with on-loan Manchester City defender Jason Denayer.

And Southampton reportedly had the 23-year-old watched recently, while Sunderland and the Toffees had bids knocked back in January.

Celtic value the Dutch defender at around £8 million. (Mail Online)

Wee Hoops retain Glasgow Cup

TWO mistakes by Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie handed Celtic the Glasgow Cup as they clinched the trophy for the fourth time in eight seasons at Hampden.

Josh Kerr took advantage when the Scotland under-17 player came for a corner and missed it to put Celtic in front before McCrorie dropped a Mark Hill free-kick over the line.

With Old Firm managers Ronny Deila and Stuart McCall looking on, it was the former who left happiest after seeing Tommy McIntyre’s side record a deserved victory. (The Scotsman)

SPFL hopeful of Betfred sponsorship

THE SPFL are in talks with betting firm Betfred over a potential multi-million pound sponsorship deal.

The SPFL has reportedly been discussing the deal with the firm for a number of months, according to The Sun.

And with no sponsor deal in place since Clydesdale Bank ended its involvement in 2013, the SPFL has been under pressure to land a new agreement.

The body was close to tying up a deal but it fell through at the last moment before the start of the season.

And ironically Betfred are the sponsors of Barry Hearn’s World Snooker Championships - the same individual who slaughtered the SPFL over their failure to pump much-needed cash to Scotland’s clubs. (The Sun)

Dons set to offer McInnes new deal

ABERDEEN are set to reward Derek McInnes for guiding the Dons to their first top 2 finish in over 20 years with a new deal keeping him at Pittodrie for at least the next three years.

The Express is reporting that the Pittodrie board is to push on with talks aimed at tying McInnes to the club until 2018 or longer.

His current contract, signed on the eve of last season’s League Cup final victory, keeps McInnes at the Dons until summer 2017.

But Aberdeen are expecting interest in the 43-year-old from down south. (Express)

Hibs enjoy season ticket boost

SALES of Hibernian season tickets are already up 10 per cent year-on-year, the club has confirmed.

With Hibs still to take on Falkirk in the final game of the Scottish Championship season as well as negotiate the play-offs in their bid to return to Scottish football’s top flight, more than 5,000 season tickets have already been snapped up by Easter Road fans.

Leeann Dempster, Hibernian’s chief executive, said: “We are really pleased with the response of the fans.

“Sales are up 10 per cent year on year and we are seeing hundreds of lapsed season ticket holders returning for next year.

“We would like to thank those supporters who have committed for next season and would urge those who haven’t signed up yet to do so and help us plan our player budgets.” (The Scotsman)

News in brief

• Scotland star Shaun Maloney has said he would be glad to end his career in the USA with Chicago Fire

• Alex McLeish has revealed he wants another crack at managing in England, and is set to leave Belgian side Gent this summer

• Rangers are set to allow their 25,000 season ticket holders free entry to the play-offs

• Norwich City boss Alex Neil is exploring the possibility of sending his young Canaries north to Hamilton to gain experience

• The SFA’s newest board appointment, investment firm executive Gary Hughes, revealed in an interview in 2004 that one of his ambitions was for his son Gavin to play for Celtic

• Ryan Fraser believes that Bournemouth’s promotion to the EPL has vindicated his switch from Aberdeen

• Falkirk have been offered matches against English top flight clubs’ development squads as Peter Houston looks to keep his players sharp between the end of the Championship season and the Scottish Cup final

• Colchester United have offered a pre-contract to Motherwell’s Josh Law, but the 25-year-old is also holding talks with the Fir Park club over a new deal