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Rumour Mill: Hearts | Celtic in for Williams

Neil Lennon: Chasing multiple targets. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Neil Lennon: Chasing multiple targets. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Hearts move a step closer to new ownership with verbal agreement; Celtic chase Rhys Williams and Filip Djuricic; Walter Smith and Dick Advocaat back Barry Ferguson for success at Blackpool, plus all the latest football news and gossip

Hearts move closer to new ownership with Ubig deal

HEARTS took another significant step towards new ownership yesterday when it was announced that administrators BDO have a verbal agreement with Ubig to buy the Lithuanian company’s 50 per cent stake in the club.

But BDO warned that, while they hope to turn that verbal agreement into a written one in the coming days, there is still no prospect of the club exiting administration this month.

Having said that, BDO, who have been the administrators at Tynecastle since last June, are confident that significant progress has been made with Ubig, who were once Hearts’ parent company under the control of Vladimir Romanov. (Scotsman)

Celtic in £1.5m bid for defender Rhys Williams

Middlesbrough defender Rhys Williams is the latest players to be linked to a move to Celtic, according to various newspaper reports.

The Australia international is attracting interest from Swansea, and it was previously thought that a deal between Middlesbrough and the Premier League side would be tied up last week. Celtic have been made aware that a deal could still be on to bring the £1.5 million-rated defender to Parkhead.

Welsh-born Williams, 25, can play either as a centre-half, right-back or deep-lying holding midfielder. (Daily Record, The Sun)

Serbian Filip Djuricic a £6m Celtic target

Benfica midfielder Filip Djuricic is being trailed by Celtic with a view to a £6 million bid. The attacking midfielder is struggling to settle in Portugal since moving from Eredivisie side Heerenveen last summer. Djuricic, who is 22 next week, has been the subject of two scouting attempts by Celtic representatives - but each time they flew to Portugal, Djuricic was left on the bench.

However, Celtic have made their interest known to Benfica. Celtic are rumoured to be interested in Romanian Gabi Iancu, who plays for Steaua Bucharest, as a fall-back option. His agent, Victor Bacali, said that exploratory talks with Celtic had taken place. (Daily Express)

Barry Ferguson takes charge at Blackpool

BARRY Ferguson is poised to be appointed manager of Blackpool until the end of the season following the much-anticipated dismissal of Paul Ince.

Former Rangers and Scotland captain Ferguson has been placed in temporary charge of the Bloomfield Road club by chairman Karl Oyston, who yesterday sacked Ince and his assistants Alex Rae and Steve Thompson.

Ferguson, who has undertaken coaching courses over the last couple of close seasons, has made no secret of his ambition to move into management as his playing career winds down. He will celebrate his 36th birthday in 11 days’ time and it is not yet clear whether he will also continue as a player at Blackpool for the rest of this season. It is understood the manager’s job at the club will be Ferguson’s on a permanent basis if he succeeds in turning their slipping fortunes around. (Scotsman)

Dick Advocaat, Walter Smith back Ferguson for management

Former Rangers managers Walter Smith and Dick Advocaat have backed Barry Ferguson to make a success of his new appointment as interim Blackpool manager. Ferguson, who replaces the sacked Paul Ince, has the right qualities to be a manager, according to AZ Alkmaar manager Advocaat.

“I brought him into the Rangers team when he was just a young boy. You could see he had excellent technique and was able to play one-touch football. He could really see the game and that is a tremendous quality. I didn’t think then about him as a future coach because he was so young, but they say midfielders make the best coaches. Of course, I would agree, having played there myself!”

Meanwhile, Smith said: “I think that it’s the natural progression for him.

“Barry himself has always wanted to into management. It’s an aspect of the game he’s been interested in. So am I surprised he’s going down this road? No, I can’t say I am.” (The Sun, Daily Mail)

Steve Simonsen grabs Rangers chance with both hands

Steve Simonsen has provided the best response to critics who questioned why it is necessary for Rangers to have such an experienced goalkeeper sitting on the bench in the third tier of Scottish football.

Told on the day of the game he was being called into emergency action against Forfar Athletic on Monday, the 34-year-old pulled off one of the most spectacular saves of the season to keep Rangers ahead at a critical stage of the proceedings.

“It was an instinctive save and the type of save you work day in and day out in training, particularly after the general training where we [the goalkeepers] work on our reactions,” explained Simonsen. “I said last week I didn’t know when my chance was going to come along. I just needed to keep working hard. Monday was the night and I was delighted with my night’s work.”

(Scotsman)

SPFL ON YOUTUBE

GOALS

• Kallum Higginbotham will be developing a reputation as an overhead kick specialist after his wonderful goal for Partick Thistle against Kilmarnock . Whilst at Motherwell the Englishman scored an exquisite goal for Motherwell last season which drew parallels with Wayne Rooney’s famous goal against Manchester City.

• Arguably the in-form team of 2014 so far has been Ross County. A handful of signings in the transfer window have seen the Staggies claim 10 points from a possible 12 in January. Many argue that the catalyst has been the loan signing of Filip Kiss from Cardiff City. The Slovakian has scored four goals in two appearances, none better than this delightful curling effort from 30 yards against Dundee United on Saturday. County won the match 3-0.

• Another Premier League signing who has been attracting attention is Newcastle United’s Adam Campbell. Campbell has scored twice for St MIrren since joining the Buddies on loan, including this strike in their 3-2 win over Hibernian at Easter Road.

• Inverness’ secured a fantastic victory against Aberdeen with this terrific goal from Danny Williams . His strike crashes off the crossbar and past Jamie Langfield to end the Dons’ four-game winning streak.

• Kris Commons’ fine form continued for Celtic as they recorded their tenth consecutive victory in the Scottish Premiership on Saturday. The Hoops’ 3-0 win over Motherwell at Celtic Park maintained their unbeaten run in the league, and was also their ninth consecutive clean sheet. The last player to score against Celtic in the Premiership was Niall McGinn for Aberdeen in November.

Kris Commons’ fires a penalty for the Hoops for his 14th goal of the season:

TALKING POINTS

FIGHT - The game of the week came from Perth, as St Johnstone were held to a 3-3 draw against Hearts. The Saints were 3-1 thanks to a Stevie May hat-trick with five minutes to go, but Hearts scored twice in the dying minutes in an incredible comeback. The match had 6 goals, 3 red cards and 2 penalties, as well as bust-up at the end .

OWN GOAL - It wasn’t a great return to Celtic Park for Stephen McManus. The former Celtic captain scored this spectacular own-goal against his former club.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

@AberdeenFC 0-1 @ICTFC

Danny Williams scored his first ever goal for Inverness CT as John Hughes’ side won for the first time in six matches by stunning high-flying Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. The defeat ended a run of four straight wins for Derek McInnes’ Dons.

@CelticFC 3-0 @MotherwellFC

Celtic extended their lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table to 13 points as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Motherwell at Celtic Park. Kris Commons scored twice and Stephen McManus scored an own goal but Anthony Stokes saw red late on for a late challenge on Keith Lasley.

@HibernianFCClub 2-3 @saintmirrenfc

St Mirren scored three times in the opening 26 minutes as they held on to beat Hibernian 3-2 at Easter Road in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. An own goal from Ben Williams and further strikes from Adam Campbell and Steven Thompson had the Buddies in dreamland and it proved to be enough despite a second-half double from James Collins.

@ThistleTweet 1-1 @OfficialKillie

Robbie Muirhead scored a dramatic injury time equaliser for Kilmarnock, after Kris Boyd had seen his penalty saved, as they held Partick Thistle to a 1-1 draw at Firhill Stadium in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. Kallum Higginbotham’s stunning overhead kick had given Thistle the lead but Aaron Taylor-Sinclair was sent off and Killie levelled it at the death.

@TheStaggies 3-0 @dundeeunitedfc

Filip Kiss scored a double for the second time in two appearances for Ross County while Yoann Arquin also scored on his debut as the Staggies beat Dundee United 3-0 at the Global Energy Stadium in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. United have now gone six games without a win but County have won three of their last four.

@St_Johnstone_FC 3-3 @JamTarts

All hell broke loose at McDiarmid Park as Hearts launched a sensational injury time comeback in a match that saw 6 goals, 3 red cards, 2 penalties, multiple penalty claims, a hat-trick for Stevie May, a mass brawl, the woodwork struck, two players scoring their first ever goals and a defender playing the closing stages as a goalkeeper. Stevie May scored a hat-trick -- two from the penalty spot -- for Saints while Sam Nicholson and Dale Carrick both scored their first Hearts goals before Danny Wilson’s last gasp leveller.

 

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