ALLY McCoist gifts his AGM vote to Rangers fans, Ledley and Samaras deny Celtic exit talk, Ryan Gauld signs new deal plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Ally McCoist hands 1m share proxy to Rangers supporters club
Rangers manager Ally McCoist has risked incurring the wrath of the Ibrox board by proxying his shares to his local supporters club ahead of Thursday’s AGM, it has been revealed.
McCoist is believed to have given the proxy for his one million shares - a stake of around 1.5 per cent - to the East Kilbride Rangers Supporters Club, indicating that the Ibrox manager’s vote will almost certainly be used against the current directors when supporters vote to decide the future make-up of the board.
Born and bred in East Kilbride, McCoist reportedly made a pledge to the supporters club - of which his late father had been a member - when he first acquired the shares last year that they would be his proxy.
The former Rangers striker has maintained his view that the fans should have a major say in the future of the club, with the main supporters organisations united in calling for change, backing the rebel shareholders who have nominated four new directors - former chairman Malcolm Murray, ex-director Paul Murray, Alex Wilson and Scott Murdoch.
He has said previously that it would be ‘suicidal’ to vote against his current employers, but he will no longer officially be casting a vote. (Various)
Celtic pair deny exit talks
Joe Ledley and Georgios Samaras have not told Celtic chiefs that they want to quit the club, despite reports linking them with moves to England.
The pair are out of contract in the summer, and talks over contract extensions have stuttered in recent weeks but a Celtic insider told the Daily Express that neither player had indicated their desire to leave and that talks were ongoing. There had been some suggestion that Celtic were looking to sell the pair in January in a bid to recoup some money.
Ledley had been linked with a move back to former club Cardiff while Greek striker Samaras appeared to be a target for Hull City and MLS side Toronto.
Reports in Samaras’ homeland suggested that the 28-year-old had been asked to take a pay cut in order to stay in Glasgow. The towering striker was signed from Manchester City by Gordon Strachan in 2008, while Ledley joined on a Bosman from Cardiff in 2010.
Manager Neil Lennon is keen to hold onto the duo, who have become integral parts of his Celtic team following the departures of Gary Hooper, Kelvin Wilson and Victor Wanyama. (Daily Express)
Van Dijk urges Hoops to be invincible
Meanwhile, defender Virgil van Dijk has urged Celtic to aim for an unbeaten season. The Hoops’ 1-0 win over Hibernian at Celtic Park on Saturday kept their unbeaten run going, which has seen them win 12 and draw three.
Currently lying seven points ahead of nearest challengers Inverness CT, Celtic are hot favourites for the title, and van Dijk has revealed the players are setting themselves new targets.
The Dutch stopper said: “We have the quality to do it and have to stay focused. I think it is possible.
“We know what we are capable of from each other and we saw it in the two games before we played Barcelona.
“We are now 15 games unbeaten, so we hope we can make this run last all season. We should be striving for it.” (The Scotsman)
Lennon to ponder McGregor recall
Neil Lennon is also set to decide this week whether or not to recall Callum McGregor from his loan spell at Notts County. The Scotland Under-21 midfielder has run riot at the League Two club, scoring 11 goals and County boss Shaun Derry is desperate to extend the youngster’s loan deal.
He told The Sun: “We’ve begun talks with Celtic. If we can sort it out quickly it’d be great for all concerned. I’m unbelievably impressed with what he’s done.” (The Sun)
Ryan Gauld signs new Dundee United contract
Tannadice starlet Ryan Gauld has extended his contract with Dundee United, signing a deal tying him to the club until 2017.
The highly-rated youngster has been in fine form for the Terrors this season, attracting interest from the likes of Arsenal, Real Madrid and Manchester United.
Gauld, who turns 18 today, signed a contract extension just last month, keeping him at the club until May 2016 but United chiefs were unable to offer a longer deal until the midfielder had turned 18.
Dundee United could cash in on Gauld if the right price is offered, with The Sun reporting that the Terrors could let Gauld leave for a fee of around £3.75 million. (The Sun)
Australia, Algeria target Scotland warm-up matches
Australia and Algeria are keen on taking on Scotland in preparation for their respective World Cup campaigns, it has been revealed.
The north African side, captained by ex-Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra, are anxious to face European opposition ahead of their matches against Belgium, Russia and South Korea.
And the Scots have also received an offer from the Socceroos, and it’s thought the SFA could combine that with a friendly against Qatar in the Middle East on the way home. (Daily Express)