Celtic branded ‘disrespectful’ over Spurs friendly; Southampton approach Samaras as Swansea want Matthews; Bilel Mohsni could be cleared to face Hibs and Robbie Neilson hails Hearts after 4-0 St Johnstone win
Celtic blasted over weakened team for Spurs friendly
THE organisers of Celtic’s 6-1 humbling at the hands of Spurs in Finland have demanded a written apology from Celtic, claiming that the Hoops’ decision to send a team of kids was ‘disrespectful’.
Leino Lonsu, of Estonian firm FC Santos - who paid for flights, accommodation and a match fee on the basis that Celtic would bring a strong squad - said: “We are very disappointed about the team Celtic brought over.
“It was disrespectful to the opponent, to Finnish football fans and to the organisers to field such a squad. You could tell when you saw the Celtic team that the match would end like this. So we are extremely disappointed.
“The head coach did not come either - and that was disrespectful to us as well.”
Celtic claimed Deila had inherited the friendly from previous management, and with £15 million on the line, decided to stay and work with his Champions League squad.
Lonsu added: “We want a written apology from the club president and part of the fee refunded. We feel we have been cheated.”
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino also expressed surprise that Celtic had sent a second-string side, adding that he had been anticipating a tougher test. (Daily Mail)
Samaras mulls over Southampton move
FORMER Celtic striker Georgios Samaras is weighing up a move to Southampton after rejecting a bumper contract in China.
The Greek forward would have picked up around £100,000 a week as part of the £5.5 million-a-year deal with the unnamed club - which would have made him the highest-paid Greek footballer of all time.
However, Samaras is keen on continuing his career in a top European league, and has already knocked back a £25,000-a-week deal from Besiktas and £30,000-a-week from Lokomotiv Moscow.
Hamburg and Sevilla are also monitoring the situation as Samaras waits to see how Southampton regroup this summer. (Daily Record)
Deila set to KB Swansea’s Matthews bid
RONNY Deila is set to put the kibosh on Swansea’s surprise bid for Adam Matthews.
The Swans have already been sniffing around Virgil van Dijk but could find themselves priced out of a move for the Dutchman, with a host of top clubs circling.
But Gary Monk is hopeful of luring Matthews back to his hometown club even though the Welshman still has two years left on his Hoops contract.
And it is thought that Swansea’s opening bid of £2 million wouldn’t even be entertained by Celtic. (Evening Times)
Mohsni could yet face Hibs in cup
BILEL Mohsni could be cleared to face Hibernian in the Petrofac Training Cup, despite his red card against Derby at the weekend.
The referee’s report is due to arrive at the English FA today, and the SFA could take action if Mark Heywood includes the headbutt incident in his account of the game.
However, with this process usually taking up to a week, Mohsni could be in the clear to start against Hibs at Ibrox. (The Sun)
Neilson hails Hearts squad after friendly win
ROBBIE Neilson declared himself delighted with his squad after Hearts ran out 4-0 winners in their pre-season friendly with St Johnstone.
Neilson took the chance to rotate his squad, with two different sides playing each half.
New signing Osman Sow scored the opener, while Jason Holt grabbed the second. A second-half double from Gary Oliver rounded off an impressive win.
Neilson told heartsfc.co.uk: “We did a lot of things right, things we’ve worked on. There was a good tempo in the first half, we didn’t want to treat it like a testimonial. We wanted a good game, and we brought two teams up to make sure everyone got some action.” (Various)
News in brief
• Stevie May will play for St Johnstone in Slovakia this week, despite reports linking him with a move to Rotherham - although the Spartak Trnava return leg could be May’s last for the Saints.
• Gary Lineker has called on England to snub the World Cup over what he called ‘corrupt’ Fifa practices, adding: “Sepp Blatter has run it like a dictatorship for so long and he comes out with so much nonsense.”