Ronny Deila hails Celtic after hard-fought Europa win over Dinamo; Mike Ashley buys four million Rangers shares; Moshni accepts 2-match ban but Boyd to challenge punishment and Stubbs impressed by Cummings
Deila: ‘We have a good chance to qualify now’
RONNY Deila has heaped praise on his team after Celtic ground out a 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb to leave them top of their Europa League group.
The Norwegian, who admitted the Croatian side had been the better team - a sentiment echoed by Zagreb boss Zoran Mamic - said: “Tonight was an important game. The win can push us towards qualification, get control of the group and it puts pressure on the other teams.
“We have a good chance to qualify now. It’s so important to win at home in Europe. The fans were fantastic, they backed us right to the 93rd minute and that’s why Celtic win so many games at home.”
Celtic’s next European opponents are Romanian outfit Astra Giurgiu both home and away, and Deila believes six points from those matches should be enough to see the Hoops through. (The Scotsman)
Ashley buys up Rangers shares
NEWCASTLE United owner Mike Ashley has increased his stake in Rangers to almost nine per cent.
The Sports Direct founder’s MASH Holdings Ltd has been identified as the purchaser of over four million shares, sold by Hargreave Hale earlier this week.
The purchase of the 5.23 per cent stake was completed on his behalf by BNP Paribas Arbitrage SNC, based in Paris.
But it is understood that Ashley signed a deal with Scottish football bosses preventing him from owning more than 10 per cent of Rangers shares while he retains control of Newcastle.
The purchase comes just weeks after the businessman confirmed he would not be taking part in a share offer open to existing Rangers shareholders. (The Scotsman)
Boyd challenges retrospective ban
RANGERS striker Kris Boyd has challenged the two-match ban offered to him following Hibernian’s 3-1 win over Rangers at Ibrox on Monday night.
Boyd and defender Bilel Mohsni were offered retrospective bans by the SFA’s compliance officer for off-the-ball incidents.
Mohsni accepted a two-game suspension for his misdemeanour on a night to forget for the Paris-born Tunisian, but Boyd has refused his and will plead his case in front of SFA beaks later this month. (Various)
Stubbs praises Cummings’ enthusiasm
ALAN Stubbs has played down fears that teenage striker Jason Cummings is over-confident.
The former Hearts youngster grabbed a first-half brace against Rangers as Hibernian sweeped the Gers aside at Ibrox on Monday, and told media after the match that he had the ‘touch of an angel’.
His comments come just months after a stunning strike against Hamilton Accies in the play-offs prompted his ‘can of beans’ reference.
But Stubbs believes there is no arrogance in the forward - just natural confidence and enthusiasm.
“It’s just the way he is,” Stubbs told reporters yesterday. “He’s in his own little world at times, and it’s Jason’s world.
“Some of the things he says, he’s completely off the cuff, and sometimes when you’re chatting to him and you get his responses you’re thinking, ‘Is he really listening? Does he know what he’s saying?’
“But it’s a harmless type of confidence.” (The Scotsman)
McGregor out of Georgia & Poland clashes
HULL goalkeeper Allan McGregor has been ruled out of Scotland’s double-header with Georgia and Poland.
The former Rangers No 1 is set to spend a period of time on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.
But the performance of Craig Gordon during Celtic’s hard-fought 1-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb should leave Scotland boss Gordon Strachan with a nice selection headache, given the form of ex-Celtic ‘keeper David Marshall. (Daily Record)
News in brief
• Arsenal could face a hefty UEFA fine after Galatasaray fans set off flares during their Champions League match at the Emirates
• Michael Ngoo has pledged to score goals for Kilmarnock after grabbing a hat-trick in a mid-week development league match
• Robbie Neilson reckons the plastic pitches in the Championship will suit Hearts
• Raith Rovers will be looking for their third win at Easter Road in the last eight months when they travel to face Hibs on Saturday. Rovers beat Hibs in a February cup tie 3-2 and triumphed against Rangers in the Ramsdens Cup final in April
• Allan Johnston has called on Alexei Eremenko to inspire his young guns to reach the top
• Lewis Toshney has revealed that his career was almost ended by talcum powder on a surgeon’s glove - after some ended up in the defender’s knee after an operation