Celtic still keeping tabs on Dutch defender Mitchell Dijks; Robbie Muirhead reveals reason move to Celtic broke down last year and Rangers hopeful of wrapping up title win before Celtic clash
Celtic still hopeful of Dijks move
CELTIC haven’t given up hope of signing long-time target Mitchell Dijks, according to reports.
The Dutch left-back was on Celtic’s radar when he was with Willem II, but joined Ajax in June last year on a deal until June 2018.
But despite interest from the likes of Leicester City and Newcastle - who had a bid for Dijks rejected during the last transfer window - Celtic are still monitoring the situation with Honduran left back Emilio Izaguirre rumoured to be leaving in the summer. (Various)
Muirhead opens up over failed Celtic switch
DUNDEE United striker Robbie Muirhead has revealed a planned move to Celtic broke down - after the Hoops decided to sign Gary Mackay-Steven instead.
Muirhead, who was then with Kilmarnock, said: “On deadline day I was sitting in the house all day up until about 9pm thinking I was going to Celtic.
“It was only then that the deal was called off because Celtic had to spend an extra £250,000 on Gary Mackay-Steven. They said they’d leave it until the summer.”
Muirhead eventually signed for Dundee United moments before the window slammed shut. (Scottish Sun)
Koeman reveals worry over van Dijk signing
SOUTHAMPTON boss Ronald Koeman has admitted he was worried about signing Virgil van Dijk from Celtic.
The ex-Dutch international told Monday Night Football: “My only worry with Virgil was that we signed him from Celtic in the Scottish league.
“It’s different from the Premier League. It makes it a little more tricky but he had experience of playing against Barcelona in the Champions League, so in the end there was no doubt about it.” (MNF)
Rangers keen to secure title before Celtic clash
VETERAN striker Kenny Miller insists that Rangers are looking to win every game in pursuit of promotion to the Premiership.
Should Rangers win at Falkirk on Friday night, they will only need nine points to be champions and will hold an advantage of 20 points over Hibernian.
Miller said: “The gaffer won’t allow us to be distracted. He’s said all along, and it’s no cliché, that when the game is done then all the focus goes on to the next game, whether it be Celtic or Falkirk.” (The Scotsman)
McGregor: Final defeat ‘my lowest moment’
HIBS centre-back Darren McGregor is looking forward to the Scottish Cup quarter-final replay against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, after the 2-1 League Cup final loss to Ross County on Sunday.
The lifelong Hibs fan said: “It’s probably the worst low I’ve experienced, and that includes two cruciate ligament injuries. I could have sent half of Edinburgh home happy so it weighs heavily on my shoulders.
“We’ll need to get over it because we’ve got another tough game at Inverness. We’ve got an opportunity to win a trophy we haven’t won in over 100 years, so that has to be the immediate focus.” (The Scotsman)
Ross County offer Schalk new deal
ROSS County boss Jim McIntyre has offered Cup Final goal hero Alex Schalk a deal to keep him with the club until 2018, amid interest from other clubs.
The Dutchman is a free agent in June, and has scored six goals in 22 appearances for the Staggies.
Schalk’s father and representative said: “It is true, there is interest in Alex within Scotland and also in England. It is a bigger club in the Premiership that would like to sign him.” (Scottish Sun)
Celtic concern for injured new signing Ajer
NEW Celtic signing Kristoffer Ajer limped off the field with a knee injury while playing for current club IK Start in a 1-1 draw with Lillestrom.
The 17-year-old Norwegian starlet will move to Glasgow in the summer after being signed for £750,000. (Daily Record)
Irvine pays for family’s final trip
ROSS County midfielder Jackson Irvine has revealed he paid for his family to fly over from Australia for the Staggies’ League Cup Final victory over Hibs.
The 23-year-old, whose gesture was a present for his father’s birthday, said: “[My dad] is from Aberdeen and moved out to Australia in 1977 – that is my Scottish connection and I really wanted to share this with them.
“Plus I had aunties, uncles, cousins, friends and family friends. I think I had about 22 people there watching me.” (Press and Journal)
Willie Miller: Aberdeen can win at Parkhead
ABERDEEN legend Willie Miller believes money is no object and that his old club can win on Celtic’s own turf.
The last captain of a non-Old Firm team to win the title said: “The transfer window is shut, so they [Celtic] don’t have the option of bolstering their squad in a final effort to beat off Aberdeen’s challenge.
“Celtic were huge favourites back then, too, but we refused to give up the chase.
“We finally broke them when we beat them twice in Glasgow in the final few weeks of the campaign. The current Dons will only have to do that just once if they want to win the league and they already know they can beat this Celtic side.” (Daily Mail)
Deila insists in-demand Bitton will stay
RONNY Deila is certain that midfielder Nir Bitton will stay with the club, having signed a new contract set to keep him there until 2020.
The Israeli ace has reportedly been watched by Arsenal, and recently played his 100th game for the Hoops in a 2-1 win against Partick Thistle. (Inside Futbol)
Hearts won’t take risks over Rossi
IGOR Rossi remains a doubt for Hearts’ league encounter with St Johnstone at Tynecastle this weekend due to an ongoing groin problem.
The Brazilian sat out Saturday’s win at Dens Park over Dundee and is unlikely to train until tomorrow at the earliest, with medical staff and head coach Robbie Neilson concerned about exacerbating the injury. (Edinburgh Evening News)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Billy Stark, who served as assistant to Celtic manager Tommy Burns between 1994 and 1997, believes that the current incumbent, Ronny Deila, was ill-advised to repeat last season’s public declaration of his treble ambitions
• The BBC have defended their boycott of Rangers after supporters claims of “bias” over the Corporation’s refusal to send reporters to cover games
• Former Don Andy Watson has urged the SPFL to arrange a title-deciding match between Aberdeen and Celtic on the final day of the season, with post-split fixtures beginning in late April
• St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright is eyeing an end-of-season move for St Mirren ace Stevie Mallan
• Former Rangers forward Kyle Lafferty has hinted that he would be open to an Ibrox return
• The SPFL are to launch a probe into alleged offensive singing at last month’s Hamilton-Celtic match