Italian stopper open to Celtic move; Neil Lennon opens up over Tynecastle attack; Mark McGhee slams EBTs over lost bonus plus calls for a 16-team Scottish top flight
Motta open to Celtic move
ITALIAN defender Marco Motta has revealed he would be interested in joining Celtic.
The former Watford and Juventus stopper told Tutto Mercato that it would be a ‘fascinating project’ adding: “Celtic is a prestigious team.”
Motta, a right back, has failed to find a new club since leaving the Hornets but could return to football with the Hoops. (Tutto Mercato)
Lennon’s disappointment over Tynecastle attack
NEIL Lennon has once again expressed his dismay that more wasn’t done to punish the fan who attacked the former Celtic manager at Tynecastle in 2011.
The incident took place in a league game between the two sides. John Wilson, a Hearts supporter, jumped over the barrier and attacked Lennon, who was standing at the edge of the pitch beside the Celtic dugout.
A jury returned a verdict of not proven for assault despite Wilson’s admission of guilt and TV evidence.
Lennon said: “From what I was told, the prosecution made a boo-boo – they charged him with assault and charged him with a sectarian attack aggravated by racial and religious prejudice and the evidence was that there was no evidence of a sectarian attack.” (The Scotsman)
McGhee fumes at Rangers EBTs over lost bonus
MARK McGhee has claimed that both he and the first-team squad he supervised at Fir Park in season 2007-08 lost out on bonus money due to them as a direct result of Rangers’ use of Employee Benefit Trusts.
The Lanarkshire club finished third behind champions Celtic and Walter Smith’s Rangers that season but McGhee argues that the Ibrox side’s unauthorised use of EBTs means that the Steelmen should be considered as the runners-up.
McGhee is equally unforgiving. “When I was [at Motherwell] first time around we finished third – and we probably should have been second, given what we’ve learned since about Rangers and their methods,” he said. (Various)
Falkirk chief in calls for 16-team top flight
The chairman of Championship promotion-challengers Falkirk FC has today called for the restructure of the Scottish Premiership to return it to a 16 team competition.
Speaking at the club’s AGM held at the Falkirk Stadium, Doug Henderson warned that the slide of Scottish football, from falling attendances and poor performance of the national team, would continue unless steps are taken to address the current “out-dated” system.
He said: “Our league structure is out of kilter with the economics of football in Scotland and I believe that my counterpart chairmen recognise what we have currently is outdated.
“Playing other clubs four times a season is not attractive to most football supporters – as surveys show – and there is a slippage of attendance for many clubs in the Premier League.
“Reflecting economic reality and the need for Premier Division full-time football, I believe that we must put vested interest aside and reform our leagues bringing about a 16 league Premier Division.” (The Scotsman)
Stubbs says top flight needs Hibs and Rangers
Alan Stubbs insists Scottish football is crying out for both Hibs and Rangers to return to the Premiership.
The Championship title race between the two clubs is generating arguably the most excitement in the game north of the border, with Celtic once again expected to romp to the top-flight title.
Stubbs said: “What we’ve got now in the Championship is a huge club in Rangers, who are fighting their way back up the leagues and want to get back into the top flight – just as we do after relegation two seasons ago.
“We look upon ourselves the same as Rangers – a team that wants to be in the Premiership. I believe for a better league, the SPFL needs the likes of Rangers and ourselves in the mix.” (The Scotsman)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Aberdeen have agreed a deal to sign 17-year-old Congo defender Harlain Mbayo, who has spent time with Leyton Orient and Peterborough
• Arsenal have taken 15-year-old Dundee United goalie Josh Donaldson on trial but face competition from Manchester United, Manchester City and Leicester
• Kenny Miller has said he would like to win one more Premiership title before hanging up his boots