Rumour Mill: Celtic | John Guidetti | Rangers v Hearts

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Peter Lawwell insists Celtic would be the biggest club in the world if they played in the English Premiership; Celtic set to hold John Guidetti transfer talks; Robbie Neilson and Ally McCoist are ready for the big game and more in Saturday’s Rumour Mill

Peter Lawwell insists Celtic would be the biggest club in the world if they played in the English Premiership

Peter Lawell with Chairman Ian Bankier. Picture: Robert Perry

Peter Lawell with Chairman Ian Bankier. Picture: Robert Perry

Peter Lawwell took a step back in time yesterday for evidence Celtic could one day become the biggest club on the planet.

The Celtic chief executive reckons his club would leave Manchester United, Barcelona and Real Madrid in the shade if they were operating on a level financial playing field.

Lawwell was in bullish mood at the Hoops’ agm yesterday as he revealed a radical restructuring of European football is closer to happening than ever before.

Changes that will allow Celtic to stand as tall against the game’s superpowers as they did a few generations ago.

He was reluctant to put a timescale on the day when Celtic might travel to play Inter Milan on a Sunday lunchtime, rather than Inverness, but he is convinced it is moving ever closer.

He said: “Unfortunately, a country with only five million people cannot compete in terms of media values against those with populations of up to 100 million. If we win the SPFL Premiership we will pick up £1.8million – the club relegated from the English Premier League will receive £65m.

If Celtic played in an environment in which the media values were similar to those available in the English Premier League we’d be the biggest club in the world, no doubt. If it was a level playing field, with our strong fundamentals in terms of tradition, history and story to tell, I don’t see any reason why we couldn’t be. We are working on that.” (Record)

Celtic set to hold John Guidetti talks

Hoops boss Ronny Deila has confirmed they have the money to meet Manchester City’s demands, reported to be £5million.

“The fee would not be a problem,” said the manager. “It is do-able.”

But the Swedish striker’s wages is another matter, with Deila admitting paying anyone two or three times more than the rest at the club could have a detrimental effect on the harmony of the dressing room.

So, the leverage Celtic will rely on as they try to persuade Guidetti to ignore the more lucrative offers he will receive comes from the fact he is getting regular football, enough to win him promotion to the Swedish national squad - and is idolised by the fans.

He said: “We’re doing things in the right way. John is delighted to be here and is having a good time. We will do everything we can to persuade him to stay. It will be his choice, but we have to think about the interests of the club. It looks very positive and, hopefully, he can continue to show his skills here.” (Various)

Celtic are set to pay the living wage

Celtic have agreed to pay all in-house staff the equivalent of the new “living wage”, but accused politicians of hijacking the campaign for salary improvements at the club. They said they would pay 180 employees a minimum of £7.85 per hour, the same as the living wage, but would not sign up to the scheme as it would mean “handing over decision making on salaries to another agency.”

Ian Bankier said at yesterday’s AGM that Celtic have a “corporate responsibility to manage this club the best way possible”. Before adding that what the club could do with the “mantle on them” is to call “on the government to sort things out”. (Herald)

New fight at Rangers over Dave King bid

Dave King has hit back at Sandy Easdale’s denial that he had sought guarantees over his and his nrother James’ boardroom positions during discussions over a multi-million pound investment package.

Mr Easdale this week accused Mr King of destabilising supporters with a “phantom bid” and urged him to provide proof to back up his claims.

A spokesman for the consortium of investors said: “Mr Easdale, through his PR man Jack Irvine, has chosen to question our account of his request to retain his and his brother’s board positions in the event of our £16 million investment in the club going ahead. At all times during negotiations we have maintained proper corporate standards of confidentiality, despite regular leaks of the detail of those negotiations. But Mr Easdale has now requested that we produce proof of his concern over his own position. As a result of his request, we have released an email which minutes a conversation between Dave King and Mr Easdale.”

Mr Easdale’s spokesman Jack Irvine said: “Mr King’s most recent claims have been examined by Mr Easdale’s legal adviser, Professor Peter Watson.” (Herald)

Robbie Neilson and Ally McCoist are ready for the big game

Ally McCoist firmly believes the Championship title won’t be decided at Tynecastle today. The lunchtime game has been billed as a must win game for McCoist’s side. Should Hearts win they would go nine points clear. McCoist said: “I wouldn’t say it’s a game we can’t afford to lose, but I’m not thinking about losing. We are 100 per cent focused on being positive. If we lose the league’s not over but defeat is not something we are contemplating. I think our players are relishing the prospect of going to the team which is top of the league. Being written off fires me up and I don’t have any doubt it fires the players up as well.” (Sun)

Robbie Neilson last night suggested Rangers are the team with the dodgy bottle. While he reckons Hearts are the ones who have been handling themselves with dignity. He said: “It’s up to them if they want to play mind games. You can talk all you want on the TV and the papers and say this or that. But at the end of the day the talking gets done on the park. Rangers could have gone within a point of us. They didn’t so we had a chance to go six points clear - and we took it.” (Sun)

Dundee United can be unstoppable says hard-man Jarek Fojut

Dundee United defender Jarek Fojut has demanded his team-mates reproduce what he sees every day in training.

And the big Pole reckons if the Tangerines can do that — starting with Kilmarnock at Tannadice — they’ll almost be unstoppable.

“If you see these guys in training every day, the skills they have are incredible,” said the 27-year-old. “Unfortunately, we haven’t been able to fully show that on a weekend.

The performance levels as a team has not matched what I see on the training pitches. There are improvements to be made — we demand much more from ourselves.

At the moment we’re good but we want this team to be very good.” (Evening Telegraph)

Motherwell captain Keith Lasley wants Kenny Black to stay

Motherwell captain Keith Lasley has thrown his backing behind current caretaker manager Kenny Black continuing in some sort of role at the club if and when a new manager is appointed.

He said: “I’m sure results will help his cause, but certainly from a players’ point of view we would love to see Kenny here. We hopefully gave a performance against United that was full of grit and determination that was as much for the previous manager as it was for Kenny.

“He’s been putting his own little things in place, and obviously he has his own ideas in terms of how we go about certain things in training. Things haven’t changed drastically, but there are certain little things that have changed, and as the weeks go on that will grow. But the important thing in the last couple of weeks was to keep everyone together and really get back to doing what we know we can do - and that’s winning football matches.” (Record)

News in brief:

Vincent Tan has caused a stir by accusing ‘a racist chairman of hiring a racist manager’ in reference to Dave Whelan’s signing of Malky Mackay as Wigan manager. (Various)

Steven Fletcher has been passed fit to play against Leicester today. (Sun)