SCOTT Brown is fired up for his Champions League return, Rangers’ finance chief hands back a big bonus, and Derek Riordan dreams of a top-flight return, plus all the latest Scottish football news in Wednesday’s Rumour Mill
Celtic v Barcelona: Brown ready for return
• SCOTT Brown has been backed by manager Neil Lennon to make a big impression on his return to Champions League action against Barcelona.
The Celtic captain copped a three-match ban for kicking Neymar in the first group meeting of the two teams, and is now raring to return, according to his manager.
Lennon said: “He will be bursting at the seams to get playing again and I’m really glad he is there.” (Express)
• SERGIO Busquets wants Barcelona to ‘kill off’ Celtic early in tonight’s clash.
The Spanish international said: “The faster we score a goal the better, because they might be able to close things down at the back otherwise.” (Express)
• ADAM Matthews could return to the Celtic team at the Nou Camp tonight - but James Forrest and Emilio Izagguire are ruled out through injury and suspension respectively. (Sun)
Lustig opens new contract talks
CELTIC defender Mikael Lustig has begun negotiations on a new contract to extend his stay in Glasgow.
The Swedish international said: “We have started to talk about a new contract, so we will see. I have about 18 months left so there is no rush.
“Am I keen to stay for longer? Yes.” (Mail)
Brian Stockbridge left off Rangers cash committee
EMBATTLED Rangers finance chief Brian Stockbridge has been left off the newly-formed remuneration committee at Ibrox.
Executive directors have been appointed as attending members of the Audit, Remuneration and Nominations, and Investments committees, but Stockbridge will sit on the Audit committee only.
Stockbridge has agreed to pay back a £200,000 bonus in the midst of anger from fans and shareholders.
Celtic to learn Green Brigade banner fate
CELTIC could learn the extent of their punishment for the Green Brigade’s Bobby Sands banner at a UEFA hearing today.
The banner was displayed during Celtic’s Champions League defeat to Milan two weeks ago, and UEFA subsequently charged the club with allowing an “illicit banner” to be displayed.
The Green Brigade has since been outlawed from its Celtic Park home after the group was held responsible for damage caused to Motherwell’s Fir Park stadium. (Scotsman)
Derek Riordan ‘wants top flight return’
FORMER Hibs and Celtic striker Derek Riordan believes he still has what it takes to make a return to top-level football.
Riordan is currently training at Alloa after being axed by Bristol Rovers. The striker said: “I’m dying to get back playing football. I was training hard in the summer to try and get back into a top-flight club but things still haven’t worked out.” (Sun)
Ciftci ‘loving football’ at United
TURKISH striker Nadir Ciftci has “found himself” at Dundee United, and the striker says he is the happiest he has been in football.
Ciftci, who was at the centre of controversy last month when he was charged with attempting to throttle an official, said: “I am loving my football. I was lost in a footballing sense for a number of years but I have found myself now as a United player.
“This is the happiest I have felt all the time I have been playing football.” (Express)
• HEARTS captain Danny Wilson says he will play on after being diagnosed with shin splints. The defender was feared to have suffered a fractured leg. (Mail)
• STRANRAER captain and firefighter Frank McKeown, who played in his side’s Scottish Cup tie with Clyde the day after working at the Clutha helicopter crash site, scored the go-ahead goal in a 4-1 replay win last night. (Sun)