The Rumour Mill: Wednesday’s Scottish football news and gossip

20/11/12 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE'BENFICA V CELTIC'ESTADIO DE LUZ - LISBON'Celtic manager Neil Lennon takes a look around the stadium as he waits for kick-off in Lisbon.
20/11/12 UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE'BENFICA V CELTIC'ESTADIO DE LUZ - LISBON'Celtic manager Neil Lennon takes a look around the stadium as he waits for kick-off in Lisbon.
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In today’s Rumour Mill: Neil Lennon clarifies Celtic quit claims, Stephen Thompson resigns from the SPL board, Elgin slapped with £25,000 fine plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.

Lennon quit threats made in ‘heat of the moment’

Neil Lennon has played down the seriousness of comments he made in the wake of Celtic’s 1-0 home defeat to Inverness CT in which he threatened to resign if the majority of fans weren’t happy with him. The Celtic boss admitted that the comment came in the ‘heat of the moment’ following a run-in with a fan during the match, adding that it was ‘no big deal’. He added: “I am tucked into this job now and I want to see it through. I want success. It just makes me more determined than ever.”

On the subject of unhappy fans, Lennon also referenced an incident during his playing days following a 1-0 defeat to Rangers, where he reacted badly to a fan berating the Celtic side, commenting: “We’d just come off a last 16 Champions League game against AC Milan in the San Siro and we were 19 points clear of Rangers in the league. Losing the game meant were were ‘only’ 16 points ahead. Sometimes you can’t please them all.”

Stephen Thompson resigns from SPL board ahead of league reconstruction proposal

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has resigned his position on the SPL board barely a week before Scotland’s top flight clubs are expected to accelerate a new league reconstruction proposal. Sources close to Thompson have suggested that his anger at what he sees as heavy-handed treatment by a fellow SPL board member could threaten his presence at the discussions at Hampden next Monday. Others within the SPL have expressed dismay at the timing of the resignation, accusing Thompson of over-reacting regarding a matter that was ‘not a resignation issue’.

A statement from Dundee United read: “Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has resigned from the SPL board with immediate effect, due to professional differences.”

The SPL issued a brief statement, saying: “The Scottish Premier League can confirm that Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson has resigned from the SPL Board with immediate effect.

“Stephen was appointed to the SPL Board in September 2011 and we would like to thank him for his contribution as a director.”

Elgin escape points deduction in ticket fiasco punishment

Elgin City have been hit with a £25,000 fine following the cancellation of their match with Rangers on safety grounds. The Borough Briggs club were fearing a points deduction as the SFL looked set to make an example of the club, but the governing body instead issued a fine, dictating that £5000 of it be paid to a charity of Rangers’ choosing. The Ibrox club will also receive compensation after the televised match was postponed due to the home side overselling tickets. More than 1,100 extra tickets had been sold, taking the total number well above the ground’s capacity of 4,250.

Proposal put forward to lessen Aberdeen’s debt

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne has put forward a proposal that would see around £6 million cleared from the Pittodrie club’s debt. Milne’s plan would see £3.7 million due to himself, and £2.5 million owed to Aberdeen Asset Management turned into shares, reducing the club’s debt to £10.28 million. Shareholders are expected to vote on the matter at the club’s agm next month. Major shareholders have invested heavily in the north-east club in recent years, with interest-free loans now totalling £5.75 million, part of which has gone towards the development costs of the new stadium.

The club issued their trading results for the year until June 30, 2012 yesterday, showing a rise in turnover from £7.462 million to £8.337 million, while the operating loss fell from £589,000 to £334,000. The total loss for the financial year was down, from £2,116,000 to £1,365,000.

Randolph offered two-match ban for Paterson incident

Stuart McCall has until this afternoon to respond to the SFA’s offer of a two-match ban following an incident between Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph and Hearts utility man Calum Paterson in Saturday’s 0-0 draw between the two sides at Fir Park. Randolph clattered into the teenager, but was not punished during the match, leading to anger from Hearts players and fans who felt that the Irish stopper should have been disciplined for the challenge. Should McCall appeal, a fast track tribunal will be held tomorrow.

Sandaza boost for Rangers

Former St Johnstone striker Francisco Sandaza has handed Rangers a boost by returning from injury ahead of schedule.

The Spaniard broke a cheekbone in September, undergoing an operation shortly afterwards, but scored in a reserve match against Livingston last night.

Izaguirre returns for Celtic

Celtic’s Honduran international Emilio Izaguirre is set for a return to action, and could feature against Hearts tonight. Izaguirre picked up a hamstring injury in the 2-2 draw with Dundee United earlier this month but has recovered quicker than expected, providing Neil Lennon with more defensive options.

Football news in brief

• Dumbarton’s new boss Ian Murray is to hold a question and answer session with fans on December 15 ahead of the Sons’ league game with Livingston

• Peterhead boss Jim McInally is keen for former St Johnstone and Kilmarnock keeper Graeme Smith to extend his stay at the club - just a week after he agreed a short term deal

• Kevin McBride is adamant Dundee can overcome a potential banana skin when they take on Livingston in the cup this weekend. The former Falkirk and Hibs midfielder has set his sights on making a third Hampden final, having made the league cup final with Motherwell and the Scottish Cup final with Falkirk