Rumour Mill: Celtic | Rangers ‘impressed’ with Andy Halliday

Celtic manager Ronny Deila celebrates after the 2-0 victory last night. Picture: PA
Celtic manager Ronny Deila celebrates after the 2-0 victory last night. Picture: PA
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CELTIC lament their inability to defeat Stjarnan by more goals in last night’s Champions League qualifying encounter, Rangers boss Mark Warburton revealed he has been “very impressed” with trialist Andrew Halliday, and Dundee United are set to make a third bid for Billy Mckay.

Celtic ‘disappointed’ they didn’t kill off Euro tie

Celtic were left frustrated with their inability to kill off their Champions League qualifying tie with Icelandic outfit Stjarnan following last night’s first leg at Parkhead.

Celtic won the match 2-0 thanks to goals from Dedryck Boyata and Stefan Johansen, but missed further chances to take an insurmountable lead with them in next week’s return match, including a late Leigh Griffiths penalty saved by former Motherwell stopper Gunnar Nielsen.

Deila told Celtic TV: “In the end, I’m a little bit disappointed that we didn’t score more. We deserved to win but we could also have scored more. They also had one or two chances and it was good they didn’t score. I’m happy but I’m not too excited.” (Celtic TV)

Penalty row annoys Celtic boss Deila

Celtic manager Ronny Deila last night accused his team of lacking professionalism after an argument over who should take a late penalty denied them the insurance of a three-goal first leg lead in their Champions League second qualifying round tie against Stjarnan.

Goals from Dedryck Boyata and Stefan Johansen secured a 2-0 win which makes Celtic heavy favourites to progress when the teams play the return fixture in Reykjavik next Wednesday.

But Deila was left infuriated by the squabble between Johansen and Leigh Griffiths over the 78th minute spot-kick. (The Scotsman)

• Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths took to Twitter after the match to apologise to fans for the penalty miss, though there was no mention of the dispute with Johansen.

Griffiths said: “Disappointed with my penalty, all about the team tonight and we won which was main thing. Onto 2nd leg now and finish the tie.”

Mark Warburton ‘impressed’ with Andy Halliday

Rangers boss Mark Warburton admits to having been “very impressed” with the performance of former Livingston attacker Andy Halliday in a closed doors friendly with Ayr United last night.

The 23-year-old has been training with the Ibrox club since leaving Bradford City in the summer and Warburton is hopeful of making the player’s stay permanent.

Former Hearts midfielder Jason Holt also started the match against Ayr, scoring Rangers’ second goal in a 2-0 win. (Rangers.co.uk)

Dundee United to make third bid for Billy Mckay

Dundee United are set to return with a third bid for Wigan Athletic striker Billy Mckay.

The Tannadice club had a six-figure offer rejected on Tuesday, which was their second approach for the former Inverness Caley Thistle hitman.

However, it seems United will not be discouraged as they prepare to make another offer for the player who only left Scottish football to join the Lancashire club in January. (Evening Telegraph)

• Jackie McNamara will run the rule over Rodnei Sneijder, brother of Dutch superstar Wesley, when United take on Utrecht later tonight.

The 24-year-old has been on trial with The Terrors and McNamara has been impressed with what he’s seen so far.

He said: “He showed some nice touches. You can see he’s a skilful player and he’s also done well in training.

“His fitness needs work but we can do that and the main thing is he looks a good player.” (Evening Telegraph)

Jordan Thompson signs with boyhood heroes Rangers

Jordan Thompson, a young central midfielder who was released by Manchester United at the end of the season, has signed a two-year deal with Rangers.

The 18-year-old from Northern Ireland, a Rangers fan, was initially acquired as an academy signing, but immediately impressed manager Mark Warburton.

Thompson, who spent four years in the youth set-up at United, has been training with the Ibrox first team and travelled to London to play in their training game with Tottenham Hotspur on Friday. (The Scotsman)

Sam Stanton knows benefits of loan deal

Sam Stanton has insisted leaving Hibs won’t signal the end of his Easter Road career as he contemplates a loan deal which will give him the regular first-team football he craves.

Along with team-mates Danny Handling and Alex Harris, the 21-year-old has been told by boss Alan Stubbs that he’ll find game time limited during the coming season and that the head coach won’t stand in his way if he wants to seek a greater guarantee elsewhere. (Evening News)

Hearts close to deal with youngster Zanatta

Robbie Neilson is close to strengthening his under-20s squad with a deal for 18-year-old midfielder Dario Zanatta.

The Canadian has been training with Hearts this past week and played the full 90 minutes in a 1-1 draw with Stirling Albion last night.

Neilson has been impressed with the youngster and is looking to get ‘something sorted’ very soon. (Daily Record)

News in brief

• Former Dundee United defender Garry Kenneth could be set to make a surprise move to Latvian club Skonto Riga. (Daily Record)

• Cowdenbeath have signed former Celtic and St Mirren youngster Mohammed Yaqub. (Twitter)

• Falkirk have signed former Motherwell striker Bob McHugh following a successful trial spell. (BBC)

• Scotland under-19 striker Oliver McBurnie - known as the player who kept Real Madrid’s Jack Harper out of the squad - has made a leap up the English football league structure by signing for Swansea City from Bradford (Various)