Rumour Mill: Zidane tells Dembele to stay at Celtic | Warburton defends Barton signing | EPL clubs watch Quitongo

Moussa Dembele netted the winner in Sunday's Old Firm semi-final. Picture: John Devlin
Moussa Dembele netted the winner in Sunday's Old Firm semi-final. Picture: John Devlin
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Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane tells Moussa Dembele to stay at Celtic, Mark Warburton stands by his signing of Joey Barton, and Derek McInnes insists Aberdeen deserve a 50-50 ticket split with Celtic.

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Zidane: Dembele must stay at Celtic

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has advised Moussa Dembele to stay at Celtic for at least another two seasons in order to develop into one of the world’s best strikers.

A host of top European clubs are said to be monitoring the 20-year-old, who continued a blistering start to his Celtic career with the winner over Rangers in Sunday’s Old Firm semi-final.

Though an admirer of Dembele himself, Zidane believes it would be better for the player’s career to remain in Glasgow for the meantime in order to guarantee himself first-team football. (Daily Record)

Warburton defends Barton deal

Rangers boss Mark Warburton still believes he was right to take a chance on controversial midfielder Joey Barton.

The player has been absent from Ibrox for almost six weeks after a training ground bust-up with his manager and team-mate Andy Halliday.

However, Warburton insists the quality of the former Manchester City star “was there for all to see” and it was worth taking the gamble. (Daily Express)

• Burnley boss Sean Dyche refused to confirm or deny whether the English Premier League side would welcome back Joey Barton if the midfielder became available. (Daily Mirror)

READ MORE - Only one Rangers star worth a spot in Old Firm select XI

McInnes demands 50-50 split

Derek McInnes insists it would be a disgrace if Aberdeen were to receive anything less than half the tickets available for next month’s Betfred Cup final against Celtic.

The Pittodrie club’s manager believes that’s the least their supporters deserve after 44,000 of them packed Parkhead when they defeated Inverness Caley Thistle on penalties to lift the trophy three years ago.

Aberdeen had the backing of more than 12,000 fans for their semi-final win against Morton at the national stadium despite the early kick-off time and McInnes is certain there would more than double that number for their return on 27 November. (The Scotsman)

Hibs sweat over Keatings

Hibs were today sweating over the fitness of James Keatings after the striker was sent for a scan on the knee injury which forced him to limp out of the 3-1 victory over Dunfermline.

Keatings was left in obvious pain after attempting to block a clearance only minutes after his shot deflected off Pars midfielder Nat Wedderburn to cancel out Kallum Higginbotham’s opener.

He had to be helped off the pitch and was seen leaving East End Park on crutches and with his knee in a brace. (Evening News)

Simunovic’s penalty fear

Jozo Simunovic has spoken of his relief after thinking Craig Thomson had awarded Rangers a penalty during the first half of Sunday’s Old Firm semi-final.

The Croatian defender challenged Barrie McKay inside the penalty area, with the winger going to ground.

As Thomson blew his whistle, most people thought he was penalising the Celtic player, but the whistler chose instead to book McKay for simulation. (Evening Times)

Dear Norwich, please let us keep Maddison

Aberdeen stopper Joe Lewis has backed James Maddison to make an impact on his return to Norwich City - but desperately hopes that isn’t until the end of the 2016/17 season.

Lewis grew up supporting the Canaries and was a product of the club’s youth academy before moving on to Peterborough.

He has no doubt Maddison will continue his electric form after the conclusion of his loan, which is due to expire in January, but hopes Aberdeen can sort out an extension until the summer. (Press & Journal)

Stewart queries O’Halloran absence

Scottish football pundit Michael Stewart has questioned why Mark Warburton refused to use speedster Michael O’Halloran during Rangers’ League Cup semi-final defeat to Celtic on Sunday.

The Ibrox side were pinned back for long spells during the game as Celtic dominated in terms of possession and chances created.

With “blistering speed” capable of getting in behind the Celtic rearguard, Stewart thinks it’s strange O’Halloran sat on the bench while Joe Dodoo and Joe Garner came on instead. (The Sun)

Celtic star dismisses Warburton claim

Erik Sviatchenko has advised Mark Warburton to watch Sunday’s Befred Cup semi-final again if he thinks the 1-0 scoreline is proof Rangers are getting nearer Celtic.

The Danish centre-half was again outstanding in the middle of the Celtic defence as the Parkhead side again defeated their rivals just six weeks after the 5-1 league victory.

Warburton stressed the tighter outcome illustrated how the Ibrox side are improving but Sviatchenko, backed up by Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers, dismissed this interpretation. (The Scotsman)

Dozens of English clubs watch Quitongo

Around a dozen scouts for English clubs watched Morton’s semi-final defeat to Aberdeen on Saturday in order to get a look at Ton striker Jai Quitongo.

The 19-year-old has been in terrific form this season and impressed again against the Scottish Premiership side, despite passing up a terrific chance at the end of the first half to give his side the lead.

Swansea and West Ham are said to be among the EPL chasing his signature. Quitongo is out of contract at the end of the campaign. (Daily Express)

NEWS IN BRIEF

Robert Snodgrass may miss Scotland’s World Cup qualifier with England after sustaining an injury in Hull City’s 2-0 defeat to Stoke at the weekend. (The Scotsman)

Aaron Doran could be set to make his first Scottish Premiership start in over a year when Inverness CT take on Motherwell tomorrow evening. (Press & Journal)

Dunfermline will appeal the red card given to Michael Moffat during Saturday’s loss against Hibs. (Various)

Hearts goalkeeper wants to improve his skills with the football at his feet in order to become a sweeper-keeper. (The Scotsman)

Mark Warburton has backed Niko Kranjcar to make a full recovery following the player’s knee injury. (The Scotsman)

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