NEIL Lennon wants more new blood at Celtic, Craig Mather says Rangers are building to beat their Glasgow rivals, and warnings that Hibs are in for a physical battle tonight in their European opener, plus news from Dundee United and Hearts in Thursday’s Rumour Mill.
Lennon looking to add to squad
Neil Lennon is “actively looking to strengthen” his Celtic squad ahead of the coming season.
Speaking after their 3-0 victory over Cliftonville in Belfast last night, the Celtic manager said that some of his transfer plans are linked to the ongoing saga over striker Gary Hooper.
He said: “There is obviously some money available from the Wanyama transfer. So are working pretty hard in the background.”
Celtic captain Scott Brown was pleased to get a full game under his belt at Solitude. Brown said: “I am definitely going to feel the benefits of that.
“I feel fine. The more matches I get the fitter and more confident I will become.” (Scotsman)
Mather - ‘Rangers building squad to beat Celtic’
Rangers CEO Craig Mather says the club are building a squad to beat Celtic the next time the sides meet.
Mather said: “We can grow in stature as a team. We’ve brought in players like Jon Daly and Nicky Law who we know can play at a high level but we’re not just buying for this league.
“We are trying to create momentum so when we get back to the top and are playing against Celtic on a regular basis we’re in a position to compete convincingly.”
Rangers have added seven new players including Daly and Law to their squad for when their registration embargo ends, with Bilel Mohnsi and Boris Pandza on trial at Ibrox. (Sun)
Hibs in Europe: Malmo ready for physical battle, Fenlon wants away goal
Hibs should be prepared for a physical contest against their Swedish opponents tonight, according to Malmo’s midfield enforcer Markus Halsti.
The combative Finn said: “If I see a fight I always go to fight. If it’s a header or a tackle I will go for it.
“For me, it’s fun to play in physical games. I look forward to the battle against Hibs - we are focused.” (Record)
Hibs boss Pat Fenlon believes that his side are in for a test tonight, and believes that a balanced approach will be key.
Fenlon said: “We have to make sure we play well, that we are solid enough defensively but are capable of scoring goals as well. The ideal scenario is to nick an away goal and take it back to Easter Road.
“But they are a decent side, they don’t lose too many games here, so it will be tough for us.” (Scotsman)
United captain Dillon knows place not guaranteed
Sean Dillon admits that his place in the Dundee United team is not a certainty, despite being named as the side’s new skipper.
Drawing an analogy with the controversy over Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions selection, Dillon said: “What (matters) is that the manager in any team sport makes sure he puts out what he believes is his strongest available team.
“That should always come first and being skipper can’t guarantee you a place.” (Evening Telegraph)
Bob Jamieson has hit out at attempts to undermine his consortium’s bid for Hearts.
Speaking to The Scotsman, the Peebles-based businessman claimed that third parties were spreading “malicious gossip” in claims of a dispute between Jamieson and US investors Club 9 Sports.
He said: “The fact remains that HMFC Limited is the highest bidder with a potential £45 million US investment to build a new 25,000 capacity stadium.
Meanwhile Hearts will learn later today if they will receive a financial penalty for going into administration. Club officials will be at Hampden later to hear an SFA judgment on whether they have breached insolvency rules, and what punishment if any they will receive. (Scotsman)
Ex-Hearts stars close to finding new clubs
Former Hearts defender Danny Grainger could be set to join ex-Rangers man Alex Rae at Blackpool.
Grainger is on trial with Paul Ince’s side, and Rae - now assistant coach at Blackpool - has praised the defender.
Rae said: “We want to take a look at him although a deal isn’t imminent. I know Danny well from his time at Hearts and although he’s had a few injuries he’s a good player.”
Mehdi Taouil is also close to finding a new club, after starting a trial period at the San Jose Earthquakes in the States.