Griffiths plays down talk of disharmony at Celtic as Deila admits Hoops are in a bad place but he’ll turn it around; Hearts to fight SFA over Neilson charge and Warburton wary of January signings disrupting squad unity
Dons stretch lead over Celtic to five points
ADAM Rooney’s first-half penalty gave Aberdeen a narrow victory over Hamilton at Pittodrie, allowing the Dons to open up a five-point gap between themselves and Celtic.
Griffiths plays down disharmony talk
LEIGH GRIFFITHS insists Celtic will approach their Europa League opener against Ajax tomorrow without trepidation, despite their recent domestic and continental woes. The Scottish champions travel to Amsterdam this morning as they bid to re-ignite their season after a couple of high-profile setbacks.
It has sparked rumours of disharmony at Celtic, which was dismissed out of hand by Griffiths,, who insisted he and his team-mates are not labouring under any sense of increased scrutiny as they prepare to face the Dutch League leaders.
“I don’t think we feel under pressure, I think the players are looking forward to it. We spoke about Pittodrie after the game. We were disappointed the way we lost. But we came in this morning and had a look at Ajax on the video. We will be ready for Thursday when it comes along.” (The Scotsman)
Lack of Scots title race bores Dutch - de Boer
FORMER Rangers midfielder and ex-Netherlands international Ronald de Boer has said that Dutch football fans have lost interest in Celtic - because there’s no title rivalry with Rangers.
De Boer, currently an ambassador for Ajax, said: “In Holland, they don’t show highlights of the Celtic games any more and why? It is because Rangers aren’t there.
“People here don’t only talk about Rangers coming back. They talk about the Old Firm. They talk about both teams together and that’s what they are interested in. There is a lot of tension in the Old Firm games and it is not just people in Scotland who want to see those games.” (Various)
I’ll turn things around, vows Deila
RONNY Deila has accepted Celtic are struggling, but the Norwegian boss vowed to turn things around. Defeat to Malmo and subsequent Champions League exit was swiftly followed by losing to 10-man Aberdeen, who now sit five points clear at the top of the table.
But Deila said: “Celtic have had bad periods before and we will come again. Now we want to come out of it as quickly as possible. I know it is very frustrating and a lot of people are very, very angry or sad about what is happening.
“That is the same as we are - but we have to go on. We really, really need the support of Celtic because that makes the players much better. To stay together now is so important.” (The Sun)
Warburton wary of January transfers
DESPITE comments just a couple of weeks ago suggesting that he had identified some January transfer targets, Rangers boss Mark Warburton is wary of a signing spree, insisting he doesn’t want to disrupt the Ibrox squad’s unity.
The ex-Brentford gaffer said: “The January transfer window is very different from the summer window. In terms of players coming in the summer, you have that pre-season period to bed them in, which you’ve seen with our own group this season.
“The squad is doing really well. Sometimes more harm is done by adding unnecessary players to what you really need.” (Daily Record)
Celtic target Michu in retirement hint
SWANSEA striker Michu, linked with Celtic during the transfer window, has dropped hints that he could retire when his contract with the Swans is up.
The 29-year-old has been plagued with a troublesome ankle for two years, and failed to find a move away from Wales in the summer. (Various)
Hearts set for SFA battle over Neilson comments
HEARTS have vowed to back head coach Robbie Neilson after he was served with a notice of complaint by the Scottish FA for comments he made in the wake of last month’s defeat by Hamilton.
Neilson criticised referee Willie Collum’s decision to send off defender Callum Paterson and claimed he had trained his team in preparation for playing with ten men when he found out who was going to take charge of the match.
Hearts were leading 2-1 when Paterson was dismissed and went on to lose 3-2, but the defender’s red card was later overturned - the third Collum red card in eight months to be rescinded.
Neilson is sticking with what he said, insisting: “I didn’t question any integrity, I didn’t comment on a performance. The stats are there for everyone to see if you do your homework.” (The Scotsman)
Griffiths vows to avoid Tynecastle
CELTIC striker Leigh Griffiths says he will not be returning to Tynecastle except on playing duty following his court appearance last week.
The diehard Hibee was carpeted after admitting singing a song with offensive lyrics about ex-Hearts player Rudi Skacel. The incident happened in a pub in the Roseburn area of Edinburgh before an Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle in March 2014.
“It was a derby and it was heat of the moment,” the striker said, adding: “Safe to say I won’t be going back to Tynecastle unless it is playing for Celtic.” (The Scotsman)
Tannadice board has faith in Dundee United management - Donnelly
SIMON Donnelly insists Dundee United’s board still has faith in the management team to turn things round – but concedes the on-field decline must end.
United slumped to second-bottom after suffering a fourth straight league defeat at home to Kilmarnock last weekend to turn the heat up further on Jackie McNamara’s side.
“I think [Stephen Thompson] has faith in us. I think he’s shown faith in us by allowing Jackie to get on with the job up until now. We’ll get the boys ready to go again,” said Donnelly. (The Scotsman)
McInnes glad to ‘win ugly’ against Hamilton
DEREK McInnes admits his Aberdeen side had to cling on desperately against Hamilton Accies to see out a seventh successive league win that moved them five points clear of Celtic at the top of the table thanks to Adam Rooney’s first-half penalty.
McInnes said: “There’s not a team out there who has won anything, whether it’s cups or leagues, who haven’t won games like that. There is a confidence that we can win games like that.
“People will always throw doubts at us so we’ll have to keep proving it. I never have any doubts about them. Maybe the levels were not there after last weekend, but we would have taken that before the game.” (Various)