In today’s Rumour Mill: Hibs face sweat over loan duo; Aberdeen ponder stadium move; Butcher turns down Barnsley to stay with Inverness; Kilmarnock accept Bristol offer for Kelly plus the rest of the day’s Scottish football news and gossip
Hibs face anxious wait over Claros and Griffiths
Motagua yesterday dealt Hibs a fresh blow in their attempts to hang on to their trio of on-loan players as the Honduran club revealed they had received a number of enquiries about international midfielder Jorge Claros.
The one-time Rangers target signed a 12-month loan deal with the Easter Road side in January of last year, and Pat Fenlon was said to be hopeful of extending the midfielder’s stay in Edinburgh. Motagua director Julio Gutierrez confirmed this yesterday, saying: “Hibernian are interested in having the player in their ranks and we are evaluating whether it is the best option for the player and the team.”
But Gutierrez also revealed that Hibs faced competition to retain the midfielder’s services, adding: “We are also considering other offers and we have to come to a decision.
“We will accept both offers [of either a sale or loan] depending on what is best for the player.” (STV)
Meanwhile, striker Leigh Griffiths has held talks with new Wolves manager Dean Saunders this week in an attempt to sort out his future. Saunders hinted at a return north for Griffiths, whose form this season saw him earn a full international call-up for the friendly against Luxembourg, describing it as a ‘difficult situation’.
Saunders said: “Ideally, we want him here every day training. But the boy has got to play football and, if I can’t guarantee him a place now in the team, he will want to play and we will want him to play.
“If I do need to sign an expensive striker and he is not going to play then I would rather him go out and play games and learn.” (The Scotsman)
Aberdeen could move to new stadium outwith city limits
Aberdeen vice-chairman George Yule has hinted that the Dons could yet move to a new stadium outwith the Granite City’s boundary,. The club have also refused to rule out a move to the Loirston Loch area. Plans to leave Pittodrie and build a new 21,000-seat stadium on the southern outskirts of the city appeared to have been abandoned during last summer, but Yule could see the club’s future lying away from Pittodrie.
The club have admitted that it would be equally as expensive were they to attempt to revamp Pittodrie, and have tentative planning permission for 350 houses on the site.
Yule said: “While Loirston remains an option, as a consequence of Aberdeen City Council’s decision last year [to veto agreement for a training ground at Calder Park], we are investigating other potential sites, including areas outwith the city boundary.
“However, the focus in the short-term for the club is very much on the acquiring of new training facilities.” (STV)
Terry Butcher rejects Barnsley to remain with Inverness
Barnsley have been hit with another setback in their attempts to recruit a new manager after Terry Butcher turned down the Oakwell club in order to stay with Inverness. The former England and Rangers defender has around 18 months of his contract left, but spoke of his pleasure that the Highland club gave him permission to speak to the Yorkshire club. Butcher said: “I was pleased that Caley Thistle gave me the opportunity to talk to Barnsley, who were excellent to deal with. But I have decided that my future lies at Inverness.
“I have also brought people to this club and, on reflection, feel that I should remain with them to try and continue the good work. My focus is now firmly on that.”
Supporters flooded internet forums and social networking sites this morning to express their delight. Butcher has enjoyed a successful time in charge of the Caley Jags, taking them to second in the SPL behind Celtic. (Various)
Peter Lawwell rules out marquee signing as he urges Gary Hooper to pledge Celtic future
Peter Lawwell has urged in-demand striker Gary Hooper to extend his contract at Celtic, admitting that he wants to see an end to the saga. The club’s chief executive said: “Ideally, we’d like to see a conclusion to the talks with Gary. Neil wants him to stay, we want him to stay.
“He has been a revelation and Gary has the last 16 of the Champions League to keep him here.”
Celtic, who signed a lucrative shirt sponsorship deal with Magners cider yesterday, are currently in Marbella, with new loan signing Rami Gershon expected to join up with his new team-mates after finalising his switch from Belgian side Standard Liege, but Lawwell has confirmed that no ‘big names’ will be following suit. In the past, the SPL champions have brought in the likes of Freddie Ljungberg and Robbie Keane on short-term deals, but the Celtic chief insisted: “You try a Ljungberg or something but it’s very difficult to see that happening again. I think we have a good strategy. We are never complacent.” (The Sun)
Kilmarnock accept Bristol City bid for Liam Kelly
Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston has accepted an offer from Bristol City manager Derek McInnes for Liam Kelly, believed to be around £200,000 plus add-ons. Johnston has given the Championship strugglers permission to speak to Kelly about a move to Ashton Gate. The 22-year-old playmaker has also been linked with Derby County, whilst Killie manager Kenny Shiels is still hopeful of hanging on to him.
Kelly has been offered a new four-year deal by the Rugby Park side but is understood to be keen on a move south. Were he to turn down Bristol and stay with Kilmarnock until the summer, he would still command a development fee, but the amount would be considerably less than what City are currently offering. (This Is Bristol)
Ross County trial Canada international André Hainault
Ross County are running the rule over Canada international defender André Hainault, as they seek to bolster their defence during the SPL’s winter shutdown. The 26-year-old has made 32 appearances for Canada, scoring two goals, and is training with the Victoria Park side with a view to signing a contract. Hainault is currently with MLS side Houston Dynamos, and was reportedly a target for French side Bordeaux last season, but could make the move to Scotland if he impresses Derek Adams. Hainault may well have had encouragement from Dynamos team-mate Adam Moffat, who began his career with Ross County. (
Meanwhile, the Staggies are facing the possibility of losing captain Richie Brittain this month, rather than in the summer. Brittain signed a pre-contract with St Johnstone this week, but the McDiarmid Park side could try to tempt the former St Mirren player to Perth during this window, with Kevin Moon expected to be used as a makeweight. (Various)
Motherwell take Huddersfield striker on loan as defender hopes Fir Park side can hold onto Ojamaa
Former Falkirk striker Kallum Higginbotham has signed a six-month loan deal with Motherwell, after struggling to secure a first-team berth at Championship side Huddersfield. The 23-year-old has been farmed out to Barnsley and Carlisle on loan, but could step into the void left by the departure of Jamie Murphy at Fir Park - even though the forward himself has admitted he’s ‘no Jamie Murphy’. (The Sun)
Defender Steven Hammell has also expressed his fears at the club losing highly-rated attacker Henrik Ojamaa, warning that the Steelmen’s European ambitions would be severely hampered were Ojamaa to leave. The Estonian has been linked with a move to Poland, and admitted in December that he was unsure of his future but was happy at Motherwell ‘at the moment.’
Scottish football news in brief
• Aberdeen have offered new one-year deals to both Russell Anderson and Gavin Rae.
• Rangers target Mat Ryan will finally arrive in Scotland this weekend, after playing his part in Central Coast Mariners’ game against Melbourne Victory. Australian international Ryan had been due to join Rangers a few days ago, but suffered a minor injury setback.
• Marvin Andrews has agreed a short-term deal with Second Division side Albion Rovers, after turning out as a trialist in the club’s 2-0 loss to East Fife last weekend. The 37-year-old was last seen turning out for junior side Kirkintilloch Rob Roy.
• Dunfermline have revealed they are unable to select striker Shuan Byrne again - because it will cost them too much. The Pars received £1750 of EC funding towards their youth programme, which they would be forced to repay if they recalled Byrne from a two-week training camp in Cyprus.
• Former Hibs and Kilmarnock attacker Dean Shiels has insisted that signing for boyhood heroes Rangers - and foregoing the chance of Champions League football with Danish cracks FC Nordsjaelland - was the right move, and remains hopeful of experiencing Champions League football with Rangers in the future.