Celtic are in pole position to sign Polish defender Rafal Janicki but have missed out on Mitchell Dijks; ex-Celtic striker suggests it’s time the club cashed in on Virgil van Dijk and Celtic to challenge Rangers in race for Scott Allan
Celtic lead race for Janicki
CELTIC are leading the race to sign Lechia Gdansk defender Rafal Janicki, according to reports.
Primarily a centre back, 22-year-old Janicki can also operate at left back and right back, which is said to be a key factor in Ronny Deila’s interest.
Janicki, who started his career with Chemik Police, has made 102 appearances for Lechia, scoring one goal in the process. (Various)
Dijks snubs Celtic and joins Ajax
HOOPS target Mitchell Dijks has turned down a move to Celtic and has returned to Ajax, according to reports in the Netherlands.
The defender, who had been linked with a number of clubs including Feyenoord and Hertha Berlin along with Celtic and the Amsterdam giants, reportedly came to an agreement with Ajax last night. (Various)
Hesselink suggests Celtic should ‘cash in’ on van Dijk
FORMER Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink has suggested that Virgil van Dijk should leave Celtic this summer to become a regular in the Dutch squad.
Van Dijk’s countryman, who scored 44 goals in a 108-game spell with Celtic, told the Evening Times: “Sometimes it all just comes together. The club gets the cash they want, the player wants to go to the biggest league in the world and everybody is happy.
“The interest is there and I think if everything is realistic and Celtic get the right amount of money and Virgil is happy then fine.
“But the most ideal situation for a football player is to go in for pre-season, shake hands with his new team-mates and see how it goes.
“For Virgil it’s a pivotal point because he has to choose a stable club and one that is good for his development and a team that can maybe help him become a regular in the Dutch squad.” (Evening Times)
Celtic to fight Rangers for Hibs star Scott Allan
CELTIC are expected to challenge Rangers in the race to sign Hibs talisman Scott Allan.
The former Dundee United youngster still has a year to go on his contract at Easter Road, but his agent has already been contacted by Rangers over a possible move.
The Hoops were reportedly planning on striking a pre-contract deal with Allan in January, but the interest from Ibrox may well change that.
However, Allan has stated in the past that he is keen on seeing out his contract with Hibs. (Daily Mail)
Wakaso linked with Monaco switch
CELTIC loan flop Wakaso Mubarak could be set for a switch to Monaco, after a source close to the Ghanaian winger said “Wakaso has visited Monaco and he likes the place.”
The Rubin Kazan midfielder played just 11 matches for Celtic, and is likely to move on from the Russian club - but not to Glasgow.
Norwich to rival Celtic in chase for Iranian winger
NEWLY-promoted Norwich City could hijack Celtic’s move for NEC Nijmegen winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh, according to sources.
The Iranian winger has been in good form for NEC this season, scoring 13 goals in 31 games and clocking up 18 assists.
Naturally a right-winger, he can also perform on the left and in the number 10 role.
Linked with a move away from Nijmegen this summer, Jahanbakhsh is wanted by a reported three clubs, with two believed to be the Canaries and the Hoops. (Voetbal International)
‘Well boss claims Scottish game wants Rangers in top flight
MOTHERWELL manager Ian Baraclough believes there is a collective desire within Scottish football for Rangers to defeat his team in the Premiership play-off final.
Ibrox is sold out for tonight’s first leg as Rangers look to close in on a return to the top flight in the shortest possible time frame since their insolvency in 2012 consigned them to fourth-tier football.
Motherwell are equally determined to avoid being relegated for the first time in 31 years but Baraclough feels financial considerations mean there is a greater will within the game for Rangers to be playing Premiership football next season.
“Every media outlet, TV revenue, is generated by massive games and I can understand why from a commercial point of view people want Rangers in the top flight,” said Baraclough. “But teams have to earn the right to go and get in there. We just hope that it’s fought out by two teams and it doesn’t get overheated despite the passion shown.” (The Scotsman)
McCall ‘won’t celebrate promotion’
ON THE day he was appointed Rangers manager, 11 weeks ago today, Stuart McCall was quick to outline what he regarded as his nightmare scenario.
Having to face his former club Motherwell in the Scottish Premiership play-off final, he declared, “would make me sick, it really would”.
Football’s unending capacity to throw up such circumstances now finds McCall in exactly the situation he was so keen to avoid.
Over the course of 180 minutes – or perhaps 210 minutes and even a penalty shootout – McCall will strain every sinew in an effort to lead Rangers back to the top flight of Scottish football at the expense of a club where he enjoyed four remarkably successful years in charge.
“I won’t be celebrating, regardless of which way it goes,” said McCall. “I’m not even going to think about it. There certainly won’t be anything from my point of view.” (The Scotsman)
Fir Park chief blasts SPFL over ticket row
MOTHERWELL general manager Alan Burrows has hit out at the SPFL for the play-off final fiasco which will see more than 3,000 empty seats at Fir Park on Sunday.
Burrows told the Daily Record that a ‘stubborn stand-off’ forced him into closing more than half of the South Stand at Fir Park for the return leg against Rangers.
Just 950 Motherwell fans will head to a sell-out Ibrox tonight for the first leg, but Burrows insists the whole issue could have been avoided if league bosses had stepped in as mediators.
He said: “The truth is the league really needs to get its act together and take issues like this out of the hands of the competing clubs. If they applied the same 5 percent ruling which is used for cup matches and European ties then there would not have been any problem to resolve. We wouldn’t have been looking for 5 per cent of Ibrox and we wouldn’t have restricted Rangers to only five percent of Fir Park either.
“But it would have been easy to settle and I have said the same to Iain Blair at the SPFL. I told him all this squabbling would be taken out of the equation if the SPFL applied the same rule.” (Daily Record)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Shrewsbury have signed Ross County midfielder Martin Woods while Scott Boyd and Michael Gardyne have pledged their futures to the Staggies
• Rory Loy is winning his battle to be fit for the Falkirk starting XI in this weekend’s Scottish Cup final ahead of his summer move to Dundee
• New Raith Rovers boss Ray MacKinnon has secured the services of ex-Kilmarnock and Falkirk striker Mark Stewart
• Conrad Balatoni, Scott Fox, Stephen O’Donnell and Kalluim Higginbotham are all expected to join James Craigen in leaving Partick Thistle