In today’s Rumour Mill: Anthony Stokes given last chance to salvage Celtic career; Manchester United rule out move for Wanyama; Kenny Shiels continues war of words with SFA; Hearts pay December wages early plus the rest of the day’s Scottish football news and rumours.
Anthony Stokes given six months to rescue Celtic career
Celtic striker Anthony Stokes has been warned he has just six months to try and turn his Celtic career around after conduct seemingly unbecoming of a professional footballer, which angered both staff and some team-mates left the Republic of Ireland striker’s Celtic career hanging in the balance. Stokes was publicly criticised by Neil Lennon last week after his attendance at a memorial for a deceased member of the Real IRA, and is expected to make a comeback to first-team action next month after being out injured since August. However, Stokes faces competition from Lassad Nouioui, Spanish striker Miku and youngster Tony Watt in the Celtic attack.
No transfer activity, says Ferguson, as Celtic look to hold onto Wanyama
Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Manchester United will not be making any moves in the January transfer window, despite being linked with numerous high-profile targets including the highly-rated Celtic midfielder Victor Wanyama. Ferguson, whose side won 3-1 against Sunderland yesterday, was believed to be keen to strengthen his midfield, but his comments will have given Celtic a lift ahead of the Champions League draw on Thursday.
‘Fabrication’ comments see Kenny Shiels reported to SFA - again
Kenny Shiels looks to have incurred the wrath of Scottish football’s governing body once again after accusing official Andrew Dallas of ‘outrageous fabrication’ following an SFA meeting concerning Shiels’ conduct in Kilmarnock’s 2-1 defeat to St Johnstone. Captain Manuel Pascali was sent off less than five minutes into the game, and an angry exchange of words between Shiels and fourth official Dallas saw referee Stevie O’Reilly send the Northern Irishman to the stand. Although the SFA decided against punishing the Kilmarnock boss further - believing his dismissal to the stand to be punishment enough - his latest comments could see the SFA throw the book at the outspoken manager.
Transfer embargo hopes as Tynecastle wages paid early
John McGlynn is hopeful that Hearts will have their transfer embargo lifted, after paying December’s wages early. The Tynecastle club were hit with a 60-day transfer ban after struggling to pay their players in full during September and October, but have managed to meet the deadline for this month. Although Hearts look set to lose some of their top players, Lithuanian striker Arturus Rimkevicius has been training with the Hearts squad and could be the answer to McGlynn’s attacking quandary.
Fenlon defends Hibs subs - but admits changes may be made
Stubborn Hibs manager Pat Fenlon last night defended the substitutions that saw his Easter Road side surrender a two-goal lead against Motherwell and wind up losing 3-2. Fenlon hooked strikeforce Leigh Griffiths and Eoin Doyle - who had netted both goals - early in the second half, replacing them with returning midfielder Gary Deegan and rookie forward Ross Caldwell as he sought to pack the midfield and stifle Motherwell’s creativity. However, the move backfired and an angry Fenlon saw his side crumble as Motherwell boss Stuart McCall capitalised on the cautiousness, throwing on an extra striker for a defender. Fenlon stopped short of blaming the players outright, but hinted that returning players may cause him to shuffle his starting XI around. The Easter Road side lie fourth, two points off third but have shipped six goals in the past two matches against ‘Well and Inverness CT.