NEIL Lennon denies talk of rift with Peter Lawwell, Austrian striker Marc Janko tells Celtic ‘come and get me’, Rangers appoint financial guru plus the latest Scottish football transfer talk
No rift with Lawwell, insists Lennon
CELTIC boss Neil Lennon has denied reports of tension between himself and chief executive Peter Lawwell over January transfer funds.
Lennon told the Daily Record that he didn’t want it to seem as though he was ‘putting pressure on the board’ to spend millions during the month-long transfer window, adding that his relationship with the Hoops chief was ‘healthy’ and that it was a ‘united front’ in the search for new players.
The Celtic boss revealed last week that funds up to and including £6 million would be available for a top striker if required, and admitted that he did want to enhance his squad, with reports of up to 12 transfer targets on his January shopping list. (Daily Record)
Austria striker Janko in Celtic plea
AUSTRIA captain Marc Janko has issued a ‘come and get me’ plea to Celtic, and wants to make it third time lucky with the Hoops.
The 30-year-old arrived at Lennoxtown four years ago to hold talks with the club, and was given a guided tour by Neil Lennon - but his £5 million transfer from Red Bull Salzburg fell through. Two years after, Lennon made further inquiries, only for Portuguese outfit Porto to make Janko an offer he couldn’t refuse.
But the Trabzonspor forward believes he is the answer to Celtic’s striker dilemma, having scored 104 career goals in 204 games, and 16 in 37 for his country. And with the Turkish club sniffing around wantaway striker Georgios Samaras, Janko has admitted he would love to travel in the opposite direction, adding: “If Celtic are looking for a striker to score goals then tell them I would honestly walk to Glasgow from Turkey to join.” (Daily Mail)
Balde and Pukki will come good in time - Scott Brown
CELTIC skipper Scott Brown has backed underfire forward Teemu Pukki and Amido Balde to show the Celtic support why Neil Lennon signed them as he admitted: “It took me three years to settle in here’.
Brown, who arrived in Glasgow on a £4.4 million move from Hibernian, has been at the club for over six years now, but revealed he had taken a while to really bed in at the Hoops.
The Celtic captain added: “I’m still settling in now.
“But especially for foreign boys to come in and understand the club and the game in Scotland, it’s not always easy.
“We all knew in the dressing room these two boys [Pukki and Balde] have something to offer us. They show it in training. Both expressed themselves against Trabzonspor and did well.” (Daily Record)
Rangers appoint financial guru Philip Nash
FORMER Liverpool and Arsenal finance chief Philip Nash has been employed by Rangers to oversee cuts at the Ibrox club.
Nash has been recruited in a ‘consultancy’ role, according to the Daily Record, and will help to streamline the club’s sizeable spending habits.
The financial guru is the third highly-paid chartered accountant in the club’s hierarchy, joining Brian Stockbridge and chief executive Graham Wallace.
Nash’s main aim will be to assist the club in reversing losses of around £1 million a month, with Stockbridge revealing fears that Rangers could be down to their last million in two months. But Ally McCoist has said that Wallace accepts cutting the playing budget will impact on Rangers’ progress through the divisions, and is hoping not to have to sell any players this month. (Daily Record)
McCoist agrees pay cut at Ibrox
McCOIST has also agreed a pay cut of around 50 per cent, according to reports. The Rangers gaffer, who was earning around £825,000 a year, had stated his willingness to re-negotiate his contract, and met with chief executive Graham Wallace earlier this week.
McCoist added: “It’s all done and agreed with Graham, so it’s sorted.”
Wallace is attempting to address the £14.4 million loss in their annual accounts last year, and told the club’s AGM in December that the club’s current operating structure was too high for a Scottish Premiership side, let alone a League 1 club. (The Scotsman)
Barcelona ‘keeper: Ibrox has best atmosphere
BARCELONA goalkeeper Victor Valdes has revealed that the Catalan giants’ 0-0 draw with Rangers in 2007 is the best atmosphere he’s ever played in. While a number of his team-mates have praised Celtic for the atmosphere at Parkhead on European nights, Valdes told a club interview that the stalemate in Glasgow - after which Lionel Messi criticised Rangers for playing ‘anti-football’ - sticks out in his mind as the most intimidating stadium he’s ever played in. (Daily Record)
Hearts youngster Adam King close to £200k Swansea deal
HEARTS midfielder Adam King is close to signing a pre-contract agreement with Swansea that will earn the Tynecastle club a much-needed £200,000 in the summer.
The 18-year-old made his competitive debut for Hearts last month and was the subject of an offer from Swansea last summer, but Hearts rejected it as too small. When Michael Laudrup’s club came back with a much-improved offer, however, they felt unable to turn it down, especially as their hoped-for exit from administration has yet to happen. (The Scotsman)
Tributes pour in for former Rangers and Dundee United midfielder Redford
Tributes have been paid to former Rangers and Dundee United player Ian Redford, whose body was found in woodland near his home yesterday.
Despite being Scotland’s most expensive player when he joined Rangers from Dundee for £210,000 in 1980, then later illuminating Europe with some exceptional performances for United, Redford never played senior international football. He published his autobiography, in which he wrote about his struggles with deafness in one ear, last year. (The Scotsman)
• Aberdeen could still land Reading defender Michael Hector on a further loan deal. The stopper returned south after a loan spell with the Dons but Reading boss Nigel Adkins will let him return north if he fails to force his way into the first team squad
• Dons defender Andy Considine has resumed training after a calf injury sidelined him early last month
• St Johnstone have snapped up midfielder Wade Joyce after he was released by Barnsley
• Hibernian duo Ross Caldwell and David Gold have joined Alloa Athletic and Cowdenbeath on short term loan deals, while defender Fraser Mullen has joined Raith Rovers after leaving the Easter Road side by mutual consent. Young goalie Paul Grant returns after a loan spell with Berwick Rangers
• Dundee United loan signing Farid El Alagui is eager to replicate the form that won him a move down south. The French hitman scored 28 goals in one season for Falkirk and is eager to start scoring goals for the Terrors
• Former Motherwell defender Tom Hateley is training with Polish side Slask Wroclaw with a view to signing a permanent deal, after being released by Tranmere Rovers
• Filip Kiss has revealed that Malky MacKay’s sacking held up his loan move from Cardiff to Ross County. The 23-year-old Slovakian is in line to make his debut against Partick Thistle today
• St Mirren have ordered midfielder Paul McGowan to avoid night clubs following his avoidance of a custodial sentence for assaulting two police officers. McGowan will also receive counselling relating to his alcohol intake