Rumour Mill: Arsenal eye Nir Bitton | Fans back Strachan | Steven Fletcher

Nir Bitton challenges Cyprus midfielder Constantinos Makridis in Israel's 2-1 loss in Jerusalem. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Nir Bitton challenges Cyprus midfielder Constantinos Makridis in Israel's 2-1 loss in Jerusalem. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Arsenal set to step up interest in Celtic’s Israeli midfielder Nir Bitton; nearly 12,000 Scotland fans back Strachan to lead World Cup charge and Steven Fletcher bags hat-trick and pays tribute to Strachan

Gibraltar 0 Scotland 6: Fletcher hat-trick ensures Scots finish on high

A hat-trick from Steven Fletcher and goals from Shaun Maloney, Chris Martin and Steven Naismith helped Scotland to their biggest away win for over 60 years in Faro on Sunday night.

Arsenal ‘to make January move for Bitton’

ARSENAL could swoop for Celtic’s midfield enforcer Nir Bitton in January, after scouting the Israeli star in recent weeks.

Arsene Wenger is reportedly keen to bolster his midfield options, despite the rapid rise of Francis Coquelin, with Mathieu Flamini and Mikel Arteta struggling for first team opportunities.

Bitton, who signed from Ashdod two years ago, has become a key player in Celtic’s first team. (Metro)

Tartan Army back Strachan

NEARLY 12,000 Scotland fans packed into the Estádio Algarve to see Scotland put six past Gibraltar - as Gordon Strachan was urged to stay on by the travelling support.

The away fans chanted ‘One Gordon Strachan’ throughout the match, with the former Celtic boss showing his appreciation in the first half, and at the final whistle. (Various)

Fletcher pays tribute to Strachan

HAT-TRICK hero Steven Fletcher paid tribute to Gordon Strachan for sticking by him when plenty were calling for him to be dropped.

Fletcher last night admitted he was ‘delighted’ at being able to repay Strachan’s faith by bagging his second hat-trick against Gibraltar this year.

The ex-Hibs forward said: “Gordon brought me back to the fold when I wasn’t involved and I have a lot to thank him for. He has stuck by me and hopefully I have repaid him with a few of the goals I scored recently.” (Herald)

Ref McKendrick sparks controversy - again

FALKIRK row ref John McKendrick has been targeted by yet another manager - as Morton boss Jim Duffy slammed the official for denying his side a stonewall penalty.

Morton’s Stefan McCluskey went down in the box under a challenge from Queen of the South’s Lewis Kidd, but McKendrick - blasted by Falkirk gaffer Peter Houston after the Bairns lost to Rangers at Ibrox - instead booked McCluskey for diving.

And Duffy raged: “I think it was a definite penalty. I think their player thought it was a penalty – I think everybody thought it was a penalty except the referee.” (Various)

Ireland edged out by Poland

IRELAND failed to edge out Poland last night, losing 2-1 and facing a play-off battle to reach Euro 2016.

Grzegorz Krychowiak gave the Poles the lead on 13 minutes before a Jon Walters penalty three minutes later restored parity.

Robert Lewandowski then scored on 42 minutes, before Ireland’s John O’Shea saw red late on.

Martin O’Neill’s men could face the likes of the Ukraine, Turkey or Sweden in the play-offs. (Various)