Rumour Mill: United court John Hughes | Carlton Cole | Van Dijk

Caley Thistle manager John Hughes. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

Caley Thistle manager John Hughes. Picture: Lisa Ferguson

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CALEY Thistle reject Dundee United’s advances on John Hughes, Sunderland look to tempt Carlton Cole away from a deal at Celtic, Virgil van Dijk speaks out over controversial commments he is reported to have made, plus more news and gossip in Saturday’s Rumour Mill

United’s bid for John Hughes knocked back

Inverness Caley Thistle thwarted an attempt last night by Dundee United to poach manager John Hughes.

United had approached Hughes - who will be out of a contract at the end of the season - to replace ousted boss Jackie McNamara.

Hughes surged to the top of United chairman Stephen Thompson’s hitlist after failing to lure St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright to Tannadice. (Various)

Sunderland eye Carlton Cole transfer

Newly-appointed Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce is said to be considering a bid for Celtic’s Carlton Cole.

Free agent Cole, 31, has been in training with Celtic with a view to sigining for the club but is rumoured to be getting fed up with protracted negociations and could be looking elsewhere in the UK or abroad for opportunites.

Allardyce and Cole worked together at West Ham and could prove to be tempting for the player to move back to the Premier League. (Scottish Sun)

SFA will wait for Strachan

SFA chiefs are believed to be giving Gordon Strachan some breathing space to decide on his future as Scotland boss.

Strachan’s contract is reported to end next month. Chief executive Stewart Regan may hold talks with the Scotland manager in the next two weeks to discuss whether he wants to stay on in the role. (Scottish Sun)

Virgil van Dijk defends Celtic-Southampton comparison

Former Celtic star Virgil van Dijk has defended controversial comments he made comparing Celtic and Southampton in an interview with Dutch daily newspaper Algemeen Dagblad.

He was reportedly to have said that he learned more in three weeks at Southampton than he had in 2 years at Celtic.

His comments provoked a strong response from his former colleagues, notably midfielder Stefan Johansen. Van Dijk has now clarified his comments, telling Dutch football website Voetbal Primeur that they had been mistranslated.

“I have said that in the Premier League I have learned more compared to Celtic. That will be again mistranslated in Scotland.” (Insidefutbol.com)

Denis Law backs Griffiths to end Scotland exile

Scottish football legend Denis Law believes Leigh Griffiths could be the one to end Scotland’s 18-year exile from international tournaments.

Law was reportedly encouraged by what he saw of the young Celtic star’s performance in the Euro qualifiers and thinks he has the finishing skills Scotland needs to make it to the major competitions. (Scottish Sun)

Jim Goodwin wants to set a good example

St Mirren veteran Jim Goodwin reportedly believes he has finally shed the bad-boy image that has followed him during his tenure at the club.

The Irishman, 33, nearly quit football after receiving a three-match ban for elbowing United’ Aidan Connolly in the face last December - his third suspension for assaulting opposing players in three years.

As St Mirren prepare to face Dunfermline in the Petrofac Training Cup, he insists red cards and suspensions are now behind him. (Daily Record)

NEWS IN BRIEF

• Uefa has opened disciplinary proceedings against the SFA over the handling of the Scotland v Poland Euro qualifier. (Press and Journal)

• Former Hearts star Grant Murray has taken up a coaching role at Edinburgh rivals Hibernian. (Scottish Sun)

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