Dermot Desmond claims Celtic are the best-performing club on and off the pitch in Britain; Andy Robertson offers Scotland left-back hope plus Ally McCoist to sit out King’s talks with the Rangers board
Celtic ‘best of British’ - Desmond
CELTIC majority shareholder Dermot Desmond has claimed the Hoops are the best club in Britain both on and off the pitch, and has predicted a ‘visionary future’ on the international stage.
Desmond told Celtic TV: “We have got financial stability, good organisational structures as far as scouting, development squad and coaching go. We have a vision of how we want to keep on improving the playing squad.
The Irishman also hailed Neil Lennon as a “first-class manager” and Peter Lawwell as a “wonderful chief executive”.
Asked about his highlights during his 20-year stint at Celtic, Desmond said: “I have too many to mention. I liked the evening we beat Barcelona and I liked when we did the same with Manchester United. I like any moment at Celtic Park when we have had victories, especially over teams that wear blue.
“I see the club getting stronger on the playing field. I see the club being visionary in developing internationally. And I see the Celtic fans and the club having a partnership that will be a model for all other football clubs.” (The Scotsman)
Samaras ‘no great loss’ to Hoops - McGarvey
FORMER Celtic striker Frank McGarvey believes that the likely departure of Georgios Samaras during the summer should offer no cause for concern among the Parkhead faithful.
The Greek forward joined Celtic in 2008 from Manchester City, and has netted 70 goals in all competitions. But talks on a new contract have stalled, and a host of big clubs - including Atletico Madrid, Russian outfit Rubin Kazan and Turks Trabzonspor - have been courting the 28-year-old and he is expected to move on under freedom of contract.
But McGarvey - who racked up 113 goals in 245 appearances for Celtic in the 1980s - has urged Hoops boss Neil Lennon to waste no more time on further talks with Samaras.
McGarvey said: “[Samaras] has done well in the Champions League for Celtic in the past but I think we are now at a stage where there is no room for him at Parkhead.
“He has given no indication that he wants to stay at the club.
“The other aspect of all this is that Leigh Griffiths has come to the club and immediately started scoring goals. So you have to ask, where does Samaras fit in?” (Evening Times)
Celtic to take on Bayer Leverkusen in Finland
THE Hoops have also confirmed a pre-season glamour tie with German cracks Bayer Leverkusen - in the Finnish capital Helsinki.
The Bundesliga outfit, who currently lie third in the table, are managed by former Liverpool and Finland defender Sami Hyypia, while the friendly, scheduled for August 2nd at the city’s Olympic Stadium, will see a homecoming for Celtic striker Teemu Pukki. (The Scotsman)
Leave me out of King talks - McCoist
RANGERS boss Ally McCoist has welcomed planned talks between former Ibrox director Dave King and the current board, but added: “I wouldn’t imagine being asked to get involved.”
McCoist has made no secret of his desire to get on with the football side of things, and said: “Mr King...thinks the manager should concentrate on football matters.
“I know Graham Wallace and the board are also happy for me to concentrate on football matters.”
The Ibrox boss has come under fire in the past for voicing his opinion on certain club issues, but looks to be sitting this one out.
However, he added: “Dialogue is great. I’m all for it, I’m very pro-dialogue.” (The Scotsman)
Robertson offers Scotland left-back solution
GORDON Strachan has hailed Dundee United kid Andy Robertson, after an assured performance as a second-half substitute in the win over Poland midweek. Robertson - who was still an amateur with Queen’s Park when Strachan was appointed Scotland manager - was up against the likes of Lukasz Piszczek, who turned out for Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final last year. But he said: “You can’t think too much about it. You have every right to be on the park, the same as him. You can’t think about who you are up against.”
And his international boss added: “He’s been good. We’ve enjoyed having him in our company this week. All he has to do now is keep going.
“I always felt, from the first time I saw him, that he was a bit different.”
“The future’s in his hands, not mine, not yours, but his,” Strachan added, before revealing his delight that the full-back positions - problem areas for far too long - are starting to look stronger. (The Scotsman)
Locke eager to avoid relegation by Hibs
HEARTS boss Gary Locke has admitted that his team need to pick up the points if they are to avoid being relegated at Tynecastle by bitter rivals Hibernian.
The Jambos were on the end of a 4-1 hammering from Motherwell last weekend, and Locke is looking for his players to respond against Kilmarnock.
“I’ve tried not to look as far ahead as the Hibs game,” Locke revealed, before adding: “I wish I could put my finger on what went wrong last week. I think just too many players didn’t turn up on the day.
“I wish I could put my finger on why we haven’t picked up points against the teams around us. We’ve competed well in ost games but there seems to be a bit of pressure about those games and we have not done so well.
“You have to keep believing.” (The Scotsman)
News in brief
• Dundee United pair Ryan Gauld and John Souttar will miss the action this weekend, with Curtis Good also a doubt after picking up a hip injury on international duty
• Terry Butcher is keen to see his Hibs side kick on from their 3-1 defeat last week by returning to winning ways against former team Motherwell
• Hamilton ‘keeper Josh Rae is heading to Liverpool for a trial, after the 13-year-old was the subject of two failed bids by Celtic. The 13-year-old made his Under-20 debut for Accies this week