NEIL Lennon tears into his team after their Nou Camp defeat, Scotland turn down a game with Catalonia, and Hearts look set to avoid a January fire sale, plus all the latest Scottish football news in Thursday’s Rumour Mill
Barcelona 6 - 1 Celtic: Lennon slams ‘weak’ side
• NEIL Lennon branded his side “weak” and ‘characterless’ as their Champions League run ended in humiliating fashion last night.
Lennon said: “For some of the players, that was an unacceptable performance. It was nowhere near reminiscent of the performances we’ve put in previously against Barcelona and that’s very disappointing.”
• BARCELONA’S performance over Celtic was described by manager Gerardo Martino as the best since his arrival at the club.
Martino said: “It was the best we have been in these four months in terms of the level of our play, our effectiveness and how we managed to maintain that level for the majority of the game.
“Apart from the last five minutes, we were excellent.” (AFP)
THE SFA has rejected a request for an unofficial ‘international’ against the Spanish region of Catalonia.
Catalan FA president Andreu Subies said: “Scotland have said they will not play against nations who are unrecognised. Scotland will probably never play against Catalonia.”
The region, home to Barcelona, is one of several with vocal independence movements. (Herald/Sun)
Mike Ashley to back Rangers board at AGM
NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley is reportedly set to back the current board at the Rangers AGM next week.
Ashley is one of the largest individual shareholders in the club, after investing in the club during Charles Green’s tenure as chief executive.
SportsDirect owner Ashley is said to be worth over £2 billion. (Record)
Hearts ‘won’t have to sell in January’
HEARTS will not be forced to sell any players in the January transfer window, according to club administrator Bryan Jackson.
The Gorgie side are operating on a bare-bones squad, and have already knocked back bids for Jason Holt and Adam King.
The boost follows news that Ryan Stevenson will be out of action for six weeks after tearing his hamstring. (Various)
Celtic face wait on UEFA banner news
UEFA have postponed their hearing into the Green Brigade’s banner depicting Bobby Sands until tomorrow.
Celtic could face a fine or other sanction from the governing body over the banner, displayed by the ‘Ultras’ group during the club’s game with Milan at Celtic Park.
UEFA have a long-standing policy against political symbols or expressions being displayed in stadiums. (Various)
No new signings at Motherwell - McCall
STUART McCall will be unable to add any new players to his Motherwell squad in the January transfer window.
The Motherwell boss said: “Despite our drop in form recently…I wouldn’t have thought I will be in a position to bring anyone in next month to boost the squad.”
Motherwell were knocked out of the Scottish Cup by Albion Rovers, and lost 5-0 at home to Celtic last weekend. (Express)
• CELTIC cult hero Shunsuke Nakamura has won the J-League Player of the Year award for the second time. His Yokohama side lost out on the title on the final day of the season. (Sun)
• ANDREW Driver has been released by the Houston Dynamo. The former Hearts man played 26 games for the MLS side. (Scotsman)