In today’s Rumour Mill: Alleged training ground bust-up at Hibs; Jefferies hopes to put pressure on Fenlon’s men; Hearts players to complain over unpaid wages; fourth unnamed buyer for Rangers emerges, plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.
According to the Daily Mail, Hibernian striker Leigh Griffiths has played his last game for the club after being involved in a training ground bust-up that saw him “head-butt” manager Pat Fenlon, and “punch” assistant manager Billy Brown. The story alleges that the on-loan Wolves forward took exception to comments made regarding his recent performances for the team. However, there appears to be some doubt over the nature of the incident, with a number of sources claiming the “bust-up” was nothing more than a heated argument between Fenlon and Griffiths, with no head-butt or punch involved.
Meanwhile, Dunfermline’s new manager Jim Jefferies has vowed to turn up the heat on former No. 2 Billy Brown and his Hibernian team. Both the Pars and the Easter Road side are embroiled in a basement battle, with eight games left to play. Jefferies is due to be officially unveiled as the new manager of the East End Park club today, and will seek to secure Dunfermline’s SPL safety. The Pars are currently four points adrift of Hibs, but the former Hearts boss has insisted the gap is ‘not an impossible one.’ (Daily Mail)
At Jefferies’ former club, Hearts players are set to complain again over their unpaid wages. The players have held talks with PFA Scotland over the past two days, and are said to be contemplating complaining to the SPL. Should Hearts beat St Mirren in tonight’s Scottish Cup quarter-final replay, the Tynecastle club could earn £500,000 in TV money, gate receipts and prize money, as they will set up a semi-final clash with Celtic. The SPL threatened sanctions against Hearts towards the end of last year, as wages were paid late three months in a row. The players have been told to wait for nearly two weeks for their unpaid wages. (Daily Express)
On a related note, St Mirren boss Danny Lennon has added fuel to the fire by claiming Hearts are ‘cheating’ the SPL by signing players they can’t pay. Lennon, who attempted to sign Craig Beattie before the former Celtic striker opted to move to the capital, is upset that Hearts have not only defaulted on players’ wages for the fifth time this season, but that Beattie could knock the Paisley club out of the cup - without having been paid. (The Sun)
Over in Glasgow, Rangers administrators Duff and Phelps have confirmed that a fourth bid for the Ibrox club has been submitted. It is thought the offer has come from an all-British consortium, coming barely a day after an overseas bid was revealed, believed to be from Club 9 Sports, under the guise of a Chicago-based investment firm, who have tried unsuccessfully to take over two English clubs in the past few years. (Daily Express)
Meanwhile, police are set to investigate files relating to the deal Craig Whyte made with Ticketus. Officers from CID are expected to request all documents relating to Whyte’s takeover last May from administrators Duff and Phelps. There are three key areas of investigation: the legality of the deal made with former owner Sir David Murray, the movement of money made from the Ticketus deal, and what happened to the ‘missing’ £15 million unpaid PAYE and VAT since the beginning of season 2011/12. (Daily Record)
Football news in brief:
• Celtic winger James Forrest is set to win his fitness battle to be able to face Rangers this Sunday. Forrest was injured in Sunday’s League Cup final defeat by Kilmarnock, but the injury is not thought to be as serious as first feared.
• Celtic’s on-loan striker Pawel Brozek still has a future at the club, despite being limited to two substitute appearances for the Parkhead side. Despite rumours that the Glasgow club had already notified Turkish side Trabzonspor of their decision not to extend Brozek’s stay, Parkhead sources claim the Polish hitman will get his chance.
• Former Rangers striker Daniel Cousin, who was caught in a transfer limbo as the club’s financial difficulties came to light, has signed for homeland side FC Sapins. The Gabon forward was prevented from signing for the Ibrox club due to a trasnfer embargo being placed on the club when they entered administration.
• Motherwell are set to refuse the SFA’s offer of a one-match ban, and will appeal the decision to suspend manager Stuart McCall. The former Scotland international was sent to the stand by referee Craig Thomson during his side’s Scottish Cup defeat to Aberdeen, after McCall commented that linesman Alasdair Ross would be ‘embarrassed’ by the decision to award the corner leading to Aberdeen’s opening goal.
• Referee Willie Collum, who denied Celtic an injury-time penalty in the Scottish League Cup final defeat to Kilmarnock, has received backing from former referee Stuart Dougal, who insists Collum was right to book Anthony Stokes for diving, and not award the penalty. Collum has also received a vote of confidence from UEFA, who have appointing him as referee for one of the Europa Leafue quarter-finals on March 29th.
• The SFA have demanded that all 93 member clubs meet a deadline of April 6th to declare any ‘non-contractual payments.’ The decision comes after former Rangers director Hugh Adam accused the club of routine ‘under-the-table’ payments to players, against SFA and SPL rules. Whilst former owner Sir David Murray has refuted Adam’s claims, the club are still to pass on documentation requested by the SPL last week.
• Former Celtic winger Aiden McGeady, now plying his trade for Russian side Spartak Moscow has admitted he would ‘rejoice’ if Rangers went out of business.
• Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who collapsed and needed on-pitch treatment including CPR during his side’s cup tie with Tottenham on Saturday evening, may play again, as the Congolese player continues to make an astonishing recovery. Although still in intensive care, Muamba has been responding well to treatment, and has been conversing with friends and family.
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