Rumour Mill: Celtic | Rangers | Charlie Nicholas

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RONNY Deila wants Celtic to become UK’s top football factory; Rangers pair Lee McCulloch and Steve Simonsen banned; Charlie Nicholas hits out at ‘blinkered football chiefs’ and more in Friday’s Rumour Mill

Ronny Deila wants Celtic to become UK’s top football factory

Ronny Deila wants Celtic to nurture the best youth players Scotland has to offer.  Picture: John Devlin

Ronny Deila wants Celtic to nurture the best youth players Scotland has to offer. Picture: John Devlin

Boss Deila admits the days of players coming to the Hoops from England’s top flight are long gone – unless it’s a homesick Scot or an Irish kid living a dream.

This week the English Premier League sealed a £5billion deal from Sky and BT Sport for live football, while Scotland pockets just £15m a season.

That has convinced Deila that the only way for Celtic to go is make sure the best kids choose Parkhead and that the system is in place to let them develop.

And he’s happy to do that without the help of TV jackpots – as some games in England’s cash-rich set-up leave him bored.

Deila said: “We have to be the best at developing players. We have to build ourselves up so that every youngster in Britain wants to come to Celtic.

“Look at what Ajax are doing. The best youngsters go there because they know they can come through.” (Express)

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Jason Denayer tells Celtic he wants to return to Manchester City

Jason Denayer last night handed Celtic a blow by revealing he wants to return to Manchester City next season.

The Belgian defender has enjoyed an excellent season at Parkhead with the Hoops on course for the treble and still in Europe.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila has made it clear he would love to extend the stopper’s loan for another season and Ajax have also been credited with an interest. (Various)

Rangers pair Lee McCulloch and Steve Simonsen banned

Rangers will be without captain Lee McCulloch and goalkeeper Steve Simonsen for just one game of the Championship promotion run-in after the pair were both found guilty at their respective SFA Judicial Panel hearings.

McCulloch was unsuccessful in contesting the two-match suspension for stamping, while Simonsen will also miss out against Hibs after receiving a two-match ban, one of which is suspended until the end of the season, for breaching SFA regulations on gambling in football. (Scotsman)

Charlie Nicholas hits out at ‘blinkered football chiefs’

Charlie Nicholas last night told Scottish football chiefs to stop moaning about the gulf in TV deals and start helping themselves, as he revealed details of a horror own-goal in this country.

Nicholas – a Sky pundit since its inception – believes Scotland has to be more proactive rather than mumping about deals elsewhere.

He said: “TV bosses asked Scottish football to look at the structure of the season a few years ago. Broadcasters were crying out for football over the summer months when the bigger leagues were in shutdown.

“Scotland could have re-structured the season to corner this market. It was a chance to be innovative.

“It would have also helped clubs who have to play European qualifiers in July if our season was tweaked to start a month or so earlier than it does at the moment.

“But no one had the guts to do something bold. There has to be more flair in how we sell our game, which still has a lot to offer.” (Express)

Celtic reject Aberdeen request for more tickets for Parkhead clash

Celtic have refused Aberdeen’s approach for extra tickets for next month’s top-of-the-league clash.

Aberdeen were originally given 1,800 tickets by the Parkhead club but, after selling out that allocation in just 48 hours, the Dons returned to Celtic asking for more tickets.

However, Celtic have rejected the request, as the Dons confirmed with a statement on the official club website, which read: “In an effort to allow as many supporters to attend this match as possible the Club requested an additional allocation of tickets on Wednesday 11th February but this request has been declined. (P and J)

Brian Easton signs two year St Johnstone contract extension

Brian Easton has signed a two-year contract extension.

Now he aims to help St Johnstone bounce back from their Scottish Cup defeat from Queen of the South by beating Celtic. (Herald)

Mark Wilson signs for Dumbarton

Dumbarton have completed the signing of full-back Mark Wilson who recently left Dundee United.

The 30-year old has agreed a deal that will see him play for the Sons till the end of the current season.

Manager Ian Murray was delighted at his latest capture.

He said : “Mark has plenty of experience having played at the top level in Scotland.

“He’ll do well for us over the remaining games in the season.” (Dumbartonfootballclub.com)

Derek McInnes says backline are key to Aberdeen’s form

Derek McInnes boosted attack-minded Aberdeen with the £300,000 signing of Kenny McLean from St Mirren – but the Pittodrie boss has hailed the defenders who have continued to deliver high-calibre performances.

The Dons’ unbeaten Premiership run of 11 games includes nine where a goal hasn’t been conceded.

McInnes said: “The clean sheets have been an important part of the formula that has helped us get positive results.

“It’s going to take something similar in our remaining games if we hope to stay up where we are.” (Record)

News in brief:

Ross County have signed ‘£2m-rated’ international defender Abdoulaye Meite. (P and J)

Tim Sherwood leads the race for the Aston Villa job. (Mirror)

John Hughes secures Josh Meekings on a new deal for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. (Scotsman)

Branislav Ivanovic escapes punishment as Chelsea and Everton are charged for mass brawl. (Mirror)