Rumour Mill: Celtic | Hearts | Hibs | Rowan Vine

Neil Lennon is back in his homeland as Celtic prepare to fance Cliftonville. Picture: PA

Neil Lennon is back in his homeland as Celtic prepare to fance Cliftonville. Picture: PA

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AS Neil Lennon looks to Celtic’s clash with Cliftonville, Kevin Thompson is preparing for when Hibs face Malmo in Sweden. Meanwhile, Hearts extend an SOS call to the Scottish business world, Tommy Wright comments on Rowan Vine’s contract and Pars United are closing in on their fundraising target.

Lennon returns to his homeland with Celtic

Neil Lennon is back in his homeland for tonight’s Champions League second qualifying round, first leg fixture against Cliftonville.

Though there is a friendship between the two clubs, Lennon has insisted that will not affect tonight’s all important game.

Speaking ahead of tonight’s hotly anticipated clash, Lennon said: “I’m proud to come back as Celtic manager and the other ingredient is that we are playing Cliftonville. There is such a good rapport between the two clubs and it’s very special.”

He added: “There’s a great friendship between both clubs but that won’t play a part at all. We are here to be professional. This is very important for everyone at this club and once the game starts we will be giving it our all.”

Hearts’ SOS call to business world

Hearts’s SOS call has been extended to Scotland’s business community.

The adminstration-hit club have urged businesses to snap up corporate hospitality tickets, sponsorship and advertising for next season.

The call comes after administrators BDO warned that season-ticket sales need to go over the 10,000 mark if the Tynecastle club were to survive until the start of the new season.

Kevin Thomson’s Euro hopes for Hibs

As he prepares for his 30th European career appearance tomorrow night when Hibs face Malmo in Sweden in the first leg of their Europa League second qualifying round tie, Hibs’ midfielder Kevin Thompson says his side is staying optimistic about their chances.

“It’s going to be hard against Malmo. It’s a challenge but if we are in a tournament, we want to progress. A lot of our players are playing in Europe for the first time. We are optimistic. We need to go over there and give it our best shot. If we can keep the tie alive, then we can get Easter Road rocking for the second leg.

The 28-year-old midfielder is no stranger to European games, and knows that it comes with its highs and lows.

“Europe has been great for me. I’ve played 11 Champions League games and managed to get to a Uefa Cup final with Rangers. When I look back at some of the teams we managed to beat that season, it was breathtaking. Then you get the disappointments like Kaunas. But that’s just what happens in football.”

St Johnstone had no budget to keep Rowan Vine

Tommy Wright has said that there was no chance of extending Rowan Vine’s contract with St Johnstone due to financial considerations.

The Saints manager said: “I like Rowan, and Steve and myself wanted to keep Rowan. We were disappointed to see him go but financially we couldn’t keep him.”

Wright’s comments come after Vine spoke of his disappointment at the way his Saints career ended.

The forward claimed former manager Steve Lomas had hinted the club could keep him if Saints finished third in the Scottish Premier League but heard nothing after a top-three place was wrapped up.

Wright said: “I think he’s quoted as saying Steve promised him something. I don’t see how Steve could have done that because we were told we couldn’t keep Rowan.”

Vine was unveiled as a Hibernian player yesterday.

Pars United near fundraising target

Pars United are moving closer to owning administration-hit Dunfermline, as they began closing in on their £100,000 fundraising target.

As of Tuesday night, the group has raised £93,100. They still have £6,900 left to raise in order to meet their target.

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