Leigh Griffiths and Robert Snodgrass hint at Celtic interest; Georgios Samaras awaits Neil Lennon contract offer; Billy Brown to remain at Hearts after administrator U-turn, plus all the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Samaras awaiting Celtic offer as West Ham poised for bid
Celtic striker Georgios Samaras is awaiting a contract offer from Celtic before deciding whether his future lies at Parkhead. The Greek international’s contract expires in the summer, and is being chased by several clubs, with Atletico Madrid, Wolfsburg, Trabzonspor, Hull City and Everton among the names linked repeatedly with the striker.
The 28-year-old’s agent Rodger Linse said: “I have not had an official meeting with Celtic regarding Georgios’ situation and therefore there hasn’t been any offer either. Georgios is very relaxed about the situation.”
Meanwhile, West Ham have emerged as the Greek striker’s latest suitors as Sam Allardyce looks to increase the Hammers’ firepower. (Daily Express, Daily Record)
Leigh Griffiths declares Celtic interest
Former Hibernian striker Leigh Griffiths has declared his interest in signing for Celtic. Griffiths has fallen out of favour at Molineux, and is keen to restart his career with Celtic.
Griffiths, who is Wolves’ top scorer with 13 goals, said: “I have heard the rumours. Celtic are a massive club and it would be an honour to go and play for them. They are playing in the Champions League every season and have a tremendous squad.
“But it is speculation and the man you need to ask is Neil Lennon if the rumours are true. But if Celtic came in with a big for me then it is definitely something I would consider.
“Until, or if that time comes, then I have to keep focused and stay in the Wolves team.” (The Sun)
Snodgrass leaves door open for Celtic move as Norwich resist
Norwich midfielder Robert Snodgrass has hinted that a move to Glasgow’s East End could appeal to him despite the English Premier League club issuing a hands-off warning to the Parkhead side. Lennon, who has already watched Snodgrass in person, has not yet made an official approach for the winger but it is widely thought Celtic are keen to sound out the possibility of a deal.
Reports of an unsuccessful £4.8 million bid have been circulating, but it is thought a fee of around £6 million is more realistic.
Snodgrass, capped 15 times by Scotland, said: “It’s my home town and I stayed five seconds away from the stadium. I’m a Celtic fan. So many people have been texting me. There’s so much speculation, especially during the transfer window, but I’m here at Norwich and have 18 months left on my contract. I’m focused on doing as well as I possibly can at this minute.” (Daily Mail)
Billy Brown to stay at Hearts after Jackson U-turn
BILLY Brown will stay on at Hearts for at least the remainder of his contract as assistant manager after the club’s players persuaded administrator Bryan Jackson to make a U-turn.
The change of heart means that Brown, who had thought Saturday’s 3-3 draw at St Johnstone would be his last involvement with Hearts, remains officially until the end of the month as things stand, and could even stay beyond then, according to Jackson.
In a statement on the Hearts website today, Jackson made it clear that he had made the decision to keep Brown on after talks with Locke and some of the club’s most influential players. “I went up to see the senior players, who put forward a case of being 100 per cent behind Billy, as was Gary,” he said. (Scotsman)
Ally McCoist bemoans off-field turmoil at Rangers
Rangers manager Ally McCoist says he is glad to have tonight’s clash at Forfar to focus on in the wake of yet another off-field Ibrox drama.
The League 1 leaders were rocked again on Thursday when it emerged the first-team players had been asked to consider – but rejected – a 15 per cent pay cut. That offer comes as chief executive Graham Wallace seeks ways to cut costs at the club following the £14.4 million loss recorded in the 13 months up to June.
McCoist said: “It’s to their eternal credit that they are getting criticised for only winning 1-0 and 2-0. That’s how far they have come.
“But my biggest concern is that the off-field stuff will have an effect on their performances. The players in the dressing room don’t deserve to be going through this.” (Scotsman)
No pressure on Kris Commons to make Scotland return
Charlie Mulgrew says there will be no attempt inside the Celtic dressing room to persuade Kris Commons to make a return to the Scotland squad.
Commons announced his international retirement last May, declaring his desire to spend more time with his young family and focus solely on his club career with the Scottish champions.
Commons would clearly be a significant asset for Scotland in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign which begins later this year. But while Mulgrew would love to have Commons alongside him again on international duty, he will not be seeking to tempt him back. “That’s up to Kris,” said Mulgrew. “He knows what’s best for him and as long as he keeps doing it for Celtic that’s the main thing. I would think Scotland would welcome him back, although it’s a decision Gordon Strachan would need to make.
“But whatever Kris thinks is best, he knows what’s right for him and I’m not going to try and tell him.” (Scotsman)
ANNOUNCING his resignation as Alloa Athletic manager on Saturday evening, Paul Hartley said he had “no future plans whatsoever” and would probably take a short break from football.
Given the former midfielder’s outstanding record in his two and a half years at Recreation Park, he will likely have very little time off before he starts getting offers to resume his career at other clubs.
What will make Hartley especially attractive to club chairmen is the fact that he took Alloa to two successive promotions on a minimal budget. He recruited astutely, but also got the best out of the squad with which he began. READ THE FULL COLUMN HERE >>