EX-Manchester United striker Federico Macheda linked with both Celtic and Rangers; Gary Locke admits silence from Lithuania is worrying; Terry Butcher still loves his job, and more.
Macheda linked with both Celtic and Rangers
BOTH Celtic and Rangers are reportedly after frozen-out Manchester United striker Federico Macheda, according to the player’s agent.
The 22-year-old, who is currently on loan at Birmingham City, will be a free agent in the summer after his contract expires, but Giovanni Bia claimed Macheda could be headed north.
“There is the possibility of staying in England. But Glasgow Rangers have been persistent and Celtic especially so,” the agent said.
Macheda burst onto the scene at Old Trafford in 2008, scoring four goals in 19 appearances, but has spent the last three years completing unremarkable loan spells with Italian club Sampdoria, Queens Park Rangers and Stuttgart, where he made a combined total of 31 appearances but failed to find the net. A short loan spell at Doncaster saw him score three goals in five appearances, but he couldn’t repeat his form when Doncaster renewed his loan spell.
Since joining Birmningham City in January of this year, he has racked up five goals in nine games. (The Scotsman)
Lithuania silence leaves Locke feeling uneasy
HEARTS manager Gary Locke has admitted that the silence from Lithuania is worrying, as Hearts aim to exit administration.
The bid to emerge from administration is the club’s main aim in a season that has been dominated by their signing embargo and 15-point deduction.
But a lack of information from Lithuania is leaving Locke concerned for the future of Hearts, as well as affecting his plans for next season, and a raft of players are keen to resolve their futures, with up to seven first-team members understood to be out of contract in the summer.
The transfer of shares between the Foundation of Hearts and UBIG and Ukio Bankas was expected to occur within an 8-10 week time span from February, which means Ann Budge’s BIDCO company are still on target to complete negotiations to purchase the near-80 per cent shareholding.
But Locke revealed yesterday that the lack of movement in the Balkan state is worrying, adding: “It could collapse, but I pray that does not happen.
“I have been given no indication when we will exit administration. I have dealt with the people in Lithuania myself as they have been at the club and they are now dealing with the administrator.
“There is not a great deal we can do about it. We just have to wait. It is hard for the players as they are desperate to get their futures sorted out.
“We need clarity in terms of planning for next season as well as trying to sell season tickets.” (The Scotsman)
Creditors meeting set for next week
THE future of Hearts could take a big step forward next week when UBIG’s creditors meeting takes place. The Tynecastle club need the creditors to agree to release the 50 per cent shareholding held by the collapsed Lithuanian investment firm for a fee of around £50,000. The transfer of shares is regarded as one of the final hurdles to clear as Hearts bid to exit administration.
UBIG agreed to hand over their shares last month, but the decision needs to be ratified by its creditors.
And although Ann Budge is financing the £2.5 million for Ukio Bankas’ 29.9 per cent stake, it could be mid-April before she gains control. (Daily Mail)
Brad McKay looking for Plan B
HEARTS defender Brad McKay has admitted that he is searching for a ‘Plan B’ in case things get worse at Tynecastle - despite wanting to continue his career at his boyhood heroes.
McKay, who has played 26 times this season despite only making his debut a year ago, is prepared to open a new chapter in his football career if the negotiations to exit administration are not sorted out by the end of the season.
His contract reveals that the club has the power to decide if they want to keep him on, but if they don’t want to - or are unable to - offer him a new deal, McKay has accepted he will need to look elsewhere.
“You would be silly to not have a Plan B. If anyone sits and tells you I am just sitting around waiting it would be a lie. You need to have a Plan B just in case.”
“You have to look at your options, no question. You have to look at your options – will it be Hearts or will it not be Hearts?” (The Scotsman)
‘I want Miller and Boydy back at Ibrox’ - McCoist
ALLY McCoist has admitted that he wants to reunite Kris Boyd and Kenny Miller at Ibrox next season. Both strikers - who are currently at Kilmarnock and Vancouver Whitecaps respectively - are believed to be top of the Rangers manager’s summer wish list, and McCoist reckons the strike duo could be the men to fire the Gers back into Scottish football’s top flight.
Boyd is expected to leave Kilmarnock in the summer while Miller has three months left on his contract in Canada.
Although McCoist would not be drawn on transfer talk, he admitted: “I have spoken to two players. I can’t give you names but that’s where we are. The unfortunate position we are in is we can’t offer anyone anything.
“That’s not ideal, but we will continue to do our homework and prepare to move when we can.”
Rangers could also move for Motherwell stopper Shaun Hutchinson, who has yet to sign a new contract at Fir Park. He could replace Emilson Cribari, who is likely to depart Ibrox. (The Sun)
Terry Butcher’s love affair with Hibs not over
HE has endured a torrid run of results, including last week’s 3-1 reversal away to Partick Thistle, but Terry Butcher has not lost any of his zest for the Hibernian role.
Butcher, who yesterday said he knew how frustrated the fans are, told STV that he was still ‘in love’ with the job.
“I’m still in love with it, very much. I want to do well for the Hibernian supporters, for the club and for the players.
“We are very frustrated at the moment and very disappointed with results but we know we can turn things round.
“A good result and performance on Saturday can help clear away a few clouds and we’ll hopefully see some sunshine.”
And Butcher urged the Hibernian support to keep the faith, adding: “We have turned teams around, we have built teams from scratch. We made a lot of changes at Caley and produced a team that consistently beats Hibs, or has in the past, and who will be in the top six again this year for the second year on the trot.
“There are loads of things I could say to the Hibs fans to tell them to keep the faith and have faith in what we want to achieve.
“It’s hard sometimes to ask the punters to buy season tickets when they don’t know who is coming in. But I can assure them there will be quality and there will be good players coming into this football club.” (STV/The Scotsman)
Ex-Cowdenbeath chairman in St Mirren takeover talks
A group led by former Cowdenbeath chairman Jim Methven is believed to be in talks to buy St Mirren. The club has been up for sale for the last four-and-a-half years, when a number of directors put their shareholdings together to create a 52 per cent majority stake. Despite interest, and several takeover bids during that time - including a community buy-out - the club is still up for grabs.
But a deal could be completed that would see St Mirren handed over before the end of the current season.
Buying the Paisley club’s directors’ stake would give prospective new owners overall control of the club - but they have also chosen to increase their shareholding to 75 per cent, with former directors including Gordon Scott and Ken McGeoch reportedly willing to sell their stakes in the club.
Although a deal is nearing completion, there is still competition from a Swiss group, who have been in negotiations since last year to buy the club.
Methven worked closely with manager Danny Lennon at Cowdenbeath, and it is believed his arrival could improve the chances of the Buddies’ boss retaining his role. (The Herald)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Tickets for Scotland’s friendly with Nigeria go on sale today, with the SFA handed an initial allocation of 5,500 briefs for the match at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
• Motherwell’s Stevie Hammell has issued a rallying call to his Fir Park team-mates, telling them ‘Let’s be best of the rest’. The Steelmen moved into second in the Scottish Premiership after their 2-0 midweek win over Inverness CT.
• Callum Davidson and coach Alec Cleland will take charge of St Johnstone tomorrow when they face Hibs, after Tommy Wright underwent surgery. However, the Saints boss still managed to pick the team from his hospital bed.