GARY Hooper reportedly tells Celtic he wants to leave, another defender is linked with Neil Lennon’s side, and Hearts prepare for administration. All those stories, plus the latest from Rangers, Motherwell and Kilmarnock in Tuesday’s Rumour Mill.
Gary Hooper ‘wants to leave Celtic this summer’
Gary Hooper is keen to leave Celtic in the transfer window as he pursues an international call-up, according to the Daily Express.
The Express report that Hooper’s agents have told Celtic that the 25-year-old would like to leave the club in the summer window, and at any rate the striker will not sign a new deal at Celtic Park.
Hooper has been linked with Tottenham, Reading, Hull and Southampton in recent weeks, and reported offers for the striker have ranged from £3m to £6m. (Express)
Hearts: Administration looms as Bomber cries foul
Reaction continues to the news that Hearts are to declare their intention to go into administration later today. We will have all the latest at scotsman.com/sport throughout the day, as well as on Twitter @TheScotsman
• Foundation of Hearts chairman Ian Murray MP called the news “the darkest day in the history of Heart of Midlothian Football Club, a club with a history as rich and proud as any in the world.”
He added: “The decline of Hearts into administration is not as a result of those people who are tonight suffering – the staff, who have long worked under great pressure, and the supporters, who have put in millions to keep the club alive are not to blame.”
• Hearts may find themselves unable to appoint their choice of administrator at court today. Reports suggest that Ukio Bankas, the bank run by Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov, will attempt to block the appointment of KPMG at the Court of Session today in order to bring in Lithuanian accountants UAB. (Record)
• Dundee boss John Brown has accused Hearts of manipulating rules on administration to avoid relegation from the SPL. Entering administration today will cost the club a 15-point penalty - but if they had done so last year the punishment would have been 17 points, and the Tynecastle side would have been relegated instead of Brown’s team.
Brown raged: “What really annoys me is that they have totally used and abused the system by leaving it until now to avoid relegation - and it’s been allowed to happen.” (Sun)
Mongogu could make Celtic move as van Dijk’s price rises
Celtic have been linked with another central defender, Congolese international Cedric Mongogu. The 6’2’’ stopper plays for Evian in France’s Ligue 1, and has ten caps for his country. The 23-year-old can play in defence and central midfield, and his price tag is thought to be below £2 million.
Meanwhile Groningen defender Virgil van Dijk could cost Celtic over £3m, as the Dutch club look to avoid losing their young star on the cheap. Groningen’s chairman has said that the unnamed ‘foreign club’ which bid for the centre-back failed to meet the team’s valuation, while former Rangers winger and Dutch second division manager Pieter Huistra has said that “no Dutch club would pay the kind of money Groningen are looking for.” (Various)
No news from Higdon is bad news for Motherwell
Michael Higdon looks set to ply his trade in England next season, as Motherwell assistant manager Kenny Black admitted that the Fir Park side has heard nothing from the SPL’s top scorer.
Higdon is out of contract, but has been offered a major new deal. However, Black said that Motherwell have resigned themselves to losing the Player of the Year.
“We’ve not heard anything from him,” said Black. “We’ve not been given any indication that he will sign the deal with Motherwell.”
Motherwell could bring back Hearts’ John Sutton to replace Higdon. (Sun/Express)
Rangers fans back Friday night games
Rangers fans’ groups have given a tentative welcome to plans for Friday night games at Ibrox. The SPFL’s broadcast partner BT Sport is keen for Rangers to play in a Friday night slot to help spread out its programming, and Police Scotland have softened their view on games in the time slot involving Rangers and Celtic.
Drew Roberton of the Rangers Supporters’ Association said: ““I can’t say I’m overly enthusiastic about Rangers playing games on a Friday night. I am a traditionalist.
“But I suppose that, at the end of the day, if the clubs and the football authorities accept television cash there is not very much fans can do about it.” (Evening Times)
IN OTHER NEWS:
• Scottish fans WILL be allowed to take their bagpipes to Wembley. Reports had suggested that the Tartan Army would be stopped from doing so at August’s clash with England, but stadium chiefs have eased Scots’ fears of a ban.
• Derek McInnes believes that his midfield trio - Ryan Jack, Willo Flood, and Barry Robson - will be the best in the SPL next season.
• American investor Tim Keyes is ready to pull out of a £650,000 deal to invest in Dundee.
• A host of Ayrshire businesses have signed an open letter calling for Kilmarnock supremo Michael Johnston to resign.