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The Rumour Mill: Friday’s football news and gossip

Brian Kennedy has said he would be a reluctant bidder for Rangers. Picture: Getty

Brian Kennedy has said he would be a reluctant bidder for Rangers. Picture: Getty

In today’s Rumour Mill: Deadline day in the race to take control of Rangers; Another Hearts wage warning; Real Betis striker cools Celtic speculation; plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.

Rangers takeover deadline day

• With today’s 5pm deadline looming, a mystery firm in the Middle East are reportedly lining up a bid for Rangers. The unnamed group made contact with administrators Duff and Phelps yesterday and are understood to be keen to invest heavily in the club. (Sun)

• Craig Whyte has personally intervened to start up negotiations with New York-based Fortress Investment Group, because the majority shareholder expects to be paid handsomely for playing his part them over the line. However, he may only receive a finder’s fee if their bid is accepted. (Record)

Walter Smith and Graeme Souness could be reunited at Ibrox if Brian Kennedy’s takeover plan for Rangers comes to fruition. Kennedy, as well as consulting Souness and current Ibrox manager Ally McCoist, is “very interested” in involving Smith, who was Souness’s assistant manager before taking charge himself. (Scotsman)

Rangers and their majority shareholder Craig Whyte have been charged by the Scottish Football Association with seven breaches of its rules. (Various)

Wylde set for Bolton move

Former Rangers player Gregg Wylde looks set to join Bolton today after meeting with manager Owen Coyle this week. The winger was made redundant by the stricken Ibrox club less than a fortnight ago. (Sun)

Hearts wages warning

Hearts players have been warned not to expect their salaries on time today as new doubts emerge about the ability or willingess of the club’s parent company Ubig to keep funding it. The players were briefed after training yesterday and told it was unlikely that the money, due on the 16th of each month, would arrive. (Scotsman)

Molina not interested in Celtic

Real Betis player Jorge Molina has no interest in a move to Celtic, according to his club. Manager Pepe Mel said any summer move for the striker would be a waste of time because he would not be sold for less than £3million. “We’ve spoken to him and he wants to stay in Spain, not move to Scotland,” Mel added. (Express)

Whittaker targets Old Firm return

Rangers full-back Steven Whittaker has targeted an Old Firm comeback after making his return to full training yesterday. Whittaker has not played since the Christmas Eve defeat by St Mirren and underwent hernia surgery last month, but now hopes to face Celtic in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League at Ibrox on 25 March. (Various)

Larsson refutes ‘tainted title’ talk

Celtic legend Henrik Larsson has rubbished talk of a Celtic title triumph being tainted by the crisis at Rangers. The Swede, who spent seven years at Parkhead, said: “It’s not Lenny’s fault what has happened at Rangers. He can’t do anything about it. There is nothing to worry about because, in the end, the trophy will say it’s another league title for Celtic - nothing else.” (Mail)

Top ref quits

Steve Conroy last night quit top-flight refereeing in Scotland after becoming disillusioned with the job. It is understood that other refs, who are unhappy with their bosses at the SFA, could follow suit. (Record)

Mixu points finger at Hibs’ instability

Former Hibernian manager Mixu Paatelainen reckons dugout instability is behind the Easter Road club’s failure to win any of the previous nine Edinburgh derby matches against bitter rivals Hearts. Paatelainen said: “It’s quite an amazing statistic that Hibs have not won in nearly three years. What can I say? There has not been stability in terms of managers recently.” (Scotsman)

Pressley wants Falkirk future finalised

Falkirk manager Steven Pressley is poised to start contract talks with his squad next week – but wants to secure his own future at the club first. Pressley’s deal expires on 31 May and he said: “We’ve been finalising our budget and, as soon as we get the accurate figures, we will start moving on players’ contracts. I don’t want to speak about my own situation but it has to be finalised as well, so there can be continuity.” (Scotsman)

IN BRIEF

• Derby County will run the rule over Paul Dixon when Dundee United take on Rangers tomorrow. (Record)

• Stranraer have signed midfielder Ryan Borris on loan from Dumbarton. (Record)

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