GORDON Strachan reveals his attempts to keep hold of Kenny Miller, Neil Lennon welcomes back Celtic’s most notorious fans, Ally McCoist backs Ian Black, plus the latest from Celtic’s European opponents and news for the national side in Saturday’s Rumour Mill
Strachan: I tried to stop Kenny from retiring
Scotland boss Gordon Strachan admitted he tried to talk Kenny Miller out of his international retirement - then changed his mind after feeling “selfish”.
Miller announced his retirement yesterday, calling time on an international career in which he scored 18 goals for Scotland.
Strachan said he attempted to talk Miller around: “I did for about a minute but then I thought to myself, ‘this is really selfish’.
“I told him he’d have to excuse me because I went into a kind of selfish mode trying to change his mind. I suddenly thought it was wrong and I shouldn’t be doing it. He’d done as much as he can.” (Herald)
Lennon glad to see Green Brigade back
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has welcomed the return of the Green Brigade to their section 111 home at Parkhead. The club reversed its decision to move fans from the area following talks this week, and the manager recognised the part the group play in creating a matchday atmosphere.
Lennon said: “I’m delighted they’re back in. The Green Brigade have proved to be very important, not just for the atmosphere in the stadium but also for the team with their colour and energy.
“I hope that’s the matter resolved. We want them there.” (Scotsman)
McCoist backs Black after Airdrie game
Ally McCoist has backed under-fire midfielder Ian Black after his first game since he was charged with betting on football.
Black was repeatedly booed by Airdrie fans at Excelsior Stadium during his side’s 6-0 win and even felt the wrath of the PA announcer, who played ‘The Gambler’ by Kenny Rogers to the crowd before kick-off.
McCoist said: “(Black) is one of these players who just attracts attention anyway, the way he plays and the way he is treated at grounds all around the country. But he has had a good pre-season this year.
“I was delighted with the (Rangers) fans’ reaction to him and I thought that would be the case. I thought the Rangers fans, as they do, would support one of their own.” (Scotsman)
Barry Ferguson: ‘Black in trouble if he bet against own team’
Former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson has said that Ian Black will have serious questions to answer if he is found to have wagered against his own team.
In his Record column Ferguson admitted to betting on football, but added that the entire situation will be viewed differently if Black is guilty of betting against his team.
Ferguson said: “I’ll hold my fire about Black’s part in all of this until the details have become a lot more clear. I’m not going to join in the stampede because, the truth is, I see nothing wrong with a football player having a flutter. I hold my hands up, I do it myself.
“But what I will say is this, I cannot get my head around any player who would bet against his own team.” (Record)
Shakhter ‘may kill sheep in Scotland’
Celtic may not be the only ones worried about Shakhter Karagandy this week, after Shakhter manager Viktor Kumykov said that the club may repeat its ritual sheep slaughter in Glasgow.
When asked about the tradition, carried out before big games by the Kazakh champions, Kumykov said: “We honour our traditions everywhere. Perhaps in Scotland, too.”
Kompany out of Scotland game
Scotland have been given a boost ahead of September’s internationals, as it emerged Belgium will be without captain Vincent Kompany for next month’s World Cup qualifier. The Manchester City defender went off injured in his side’s 4-0 win against Newcastle this week, and has been ruled out of the clash with Scotland.