FIRST it was James McFadden’s return to Motherwell, now it is Kris Boyd heading back to Kilmarnock, as it was confirmed last night that the former Rangers striker will sign a short-term deal until the end of the season with Kenny Shiels’ side.
Boyd, who has become a free agent following his release from Portland Timbers, is the Scottish Premier League’s record goalscorer with 164 goals and has 18 Scotland caps. The forward, who also had spells with Middlesbrough, Nottingham Forest on loan and Turkish team Eskisehirspor, is set to undergo a medical and, provided he passes, will rejoin his first club, where he spent five years before his 2005 move to Ibrox.
“Personal terms have been agreed and we don’t expect the medical to throw up any problems,” Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston told BBC Scotland last night.
Meanwhile, Celtic manager Neil Lennon is still seeking to resolve contract issues ahead of next season. Thomas Rogne, it emerged yesterday, has already turned down the offer of a new contract from the club and could leave at the end of the season, when his current deal expires. It is not clear yet whether Celtic could claim “training compensation” for the Norwegian centre-half, who turns 23 at the end of June. Fifa rules state a club can claim money if a player moves before the end of the season in which his 23rd birthday falls.
Gary Hooper continues to keep his own counsel about his future movements, although Lennon hopes that the striker’s decision to switch agents might bring matters to a head soon. The saga has been on-going since the end of last year, when Celtic put a new a contract offer to the player.
Hooper’s current deal expires in the summer of 2014 and Celtic have turned down bids from Norwich City for the player, who has yet to intimate to Lennon whether he is interested in accepting the new deal or not.
The manager again cautioned Hooper against delaying this decision for too long. “Eventually, we will decide to pull it if we are not going to get any encouragement that he is going to sign it,” said Lennon. “The ball is entirely in their court.”
Hooper has recruited a new agent following the expiry of the deal signed with his previous advisor, Simon Dent. Lennon surmised that this might be why there was a surge in transfer speculation in January, with Hooper also linked with Tottenham Hotspur.
Lennon hopes the switch in agent might bring a new dynamism to the situation, since he cannot make promises about how long the current deal on offer will remain on the table. “You’d need to ask Peter [Lawwell] that,” he said, with reference to the Celtic chief executive. “There is a new contract on the table. I don’t know how long it is going to be there.”
Lennon, meanwhile, expressed the hope that skipper Scott Brown has not had his season prematurely ended by an abductor problem unrelated to his long-standing hip problem. “He might need surgery but we’ll see what the surgeon says,” he said. “An operation like that is normally four to six weeks [out]. We are expecting the results back on Monday or Tuesday.”