NEIL Lennon hopeful of successful van Dijk appeal while revealing Fergus McCann’s influence; Rangers fans back Dave King; Terry Butcher ‘sorry’ for United defeat; McCall wants strong Hearts and more.
Celtic hopeful of overturning van Dijk red
NEIL Lennon has said that Celtic have launched an appeal against the red card shown to Virgil van Dijk in the 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen because of the belief they “have a shout” of seeing it overturned.
The Dutch defender was sent off 11 minutes into Celtic’s 2-1 defeat to Aberdeen for fouling Peter Pawlett on the edge of the box - but Lennon reckons Efe Ambrose could have made a tackle and that Pawlett was heading away from goal.
Lennon said: “We have appealed Virgil’s red because we think it is worthwhile doing. We think we might have a shout. So he will be in contention.
“The angle Pawlett was taking the ball to, I think Efe would have got over there,” he added.
“It is not like we are wasting anybody’s time on it, we feel we have a decent case.”
If unsuccessful, van Dijk will miss Celtic’s match with Kilmarnock on March 14th. (The Scotsman)
‘I wouldn’t be here without Fergus McCann’ - Lennon
THE Celtic boss also hailed Fergus McCann for stabilising the club in the 90s. McCann rescued the Hoops from the brink of bankruptcy in March 1994, before restructuring the financial side of the club and rebuilding Parkhead.
And Lennon praised McCann as ‘one of the great figures in Celtic’s history’ as the club prepare to mark the 20th anniversary of his takeover during today’s home match against Inverness. (Irish Independent)
Lennon would be happy with title every year
NEIL Lennon yesterday suggested he would be happy with taking the league title each year, as he countered criticism of his team. The Hoops boss said he felt it was ‘difficult to progress when you are selling your best players’ but added: “It is a case of stabilising this year and rebuilding to get better, and build on what is arguably going to be ‘just’ a league title.
“Maybe that’s just the expectations and standards that we’ve set previously. I’ll be quite happy to take the league title every year.” (The Scotsman)
Rangers fans back Dave King; issue vote of no confidence in board
DAVE King has received the backing of the main Rangers supporters groups following his call to withhold season ticket money and prevent it from going straight to the board.
The Union of Fans issued a statement endorsing the former Ibrox director’s criticism of the club’s business strategy and issued a vote of no confidence in the current board of directors.
But Ibrox chief Graham Wallace attacked what he called a ‘divisive campaign’ played out in the media to undermine his efforts at stabilising the club after ‘years of mismanagement.’
King has also expressed his wish to lead a supporter-based bid to get an influential shareholding in the club, and called on fans to place their season ticket money for next season in a trust, with funds released to Rangers on a ‘pay-as-they-play’ basis. (The Scotsman)
McCoist wants to talk about football
MEANWHILE, Rangers boss Ally McCoist has distanced himself from the off-field goings-on at Rangers, insisting: “My only concern, and major concern, over the next 24 hours is going to East Fife on Saturday and getting a result.
“I have been pretty open in terms of discussing everything, really. But I think at this particular time I just need to take a step back and let the fans know that the footballing side of things is, hopefully, in good hands with the staff and the players.”
The decision by McCoist follows occasions where his comments have been interpreted in certain ways and have led to the Ibrox boss being accused - variously - of playing to the gallery and delivering mixed messages. (The Scotsman)
Butcher apologises for ‘men against boys’ performance
SHELLSHOCKED Hibs boss Terry Butcher has apologised to fans after his side were comprehensively beaten by a Dundee United side that scored three goals and missed two penalties.
The Easter Road manager’s initial verdict of ‘Not pleasant. Not acceptable. Not good’ summed up a weak performance from Hibs, who had snatched an equaliser on the stroke of half-time but found themselves outplayed in the second half, with Radoslaw Cierzniak rarely called into action in the second half.
Butcher added: “It was a difficult night for us, no two ways about it. I’ve apologised to the Hibs fans, because it was unacceptable. It was not nice to watch.
“It was men against boys at the end. Anything that could have gone wrong did tonight.
“We were well beaten by a far better team. When they’re in that mood, and allowed to play as we allowed them to play, they can carve you open.” (The Scotsman)
‘We need a strong Hearts side’ - McCall
MOTHERWELL boss Stuart McCall has said the game needs strong Rangers and Hearts sides, and admitted that losing Hearts from the top flight would be a blow for Scottish football.
McCall, whose side face Hearts today, said: “They’re not gone yet but barring a miracle they’ll go down. For the sake of Scottish football, the quicker they can get back up the better.
“Rangers being out is a blow to the game, the finances and crowds in general. And the competition really - probably along with Aberdeen, Hearts would be seen as the third force outwith Rangers and Celtic.
“It’s sad to see how Hearts and Rangers have been run over the few last years and why they’re now struggling. Outwith their own dressing room, not a lot is expected of them. They will come with freedom and because they need to win games their approach and formation might be different.” (Daily Record)
News in brief
• Young Kilmarnock defender Lee Ashcroft says training with Kris Boyd is helping him cope with the dirty tricks of strikers
• Ross County loan boy Filip Kiss has said the Scottish game is ‘physical and painful’ but that he still enjoys it
• Derek McInnes believes Mark Reynolds signing a new deal keeps the building process going on at Pittodrie
• Partick Thistle midfielder Stuart Bannigan believes on-loan striker Lyle Taylor can fire the goals to save the Jags from relegation
• St Johnstone have signed former Hibs, Kilmarnock and Motherwell stopper Tim Clancy as cover following injury to Tam Scobbie
Pick of the tweets
Following his second half penalty miss, Dundee United midfielder Gary Mackay-Steven tweeted: “Good three points for the team. Off up Arthur’s seat to find that ball.”
Meanwhile, Hibs striker Danny Haynes added: “I wasn’t good enough 2night. We as a team wasn’t good enough. Must keep our heads and go again. Must do better next week, it’s a must.”