Scott Brown ‘perfect’ Celtic captain says John Collins as duo omitted from Scotland squad; Stuart McCall baffled at Shane Ferguson’s Northern Ireland call-up and Matt Ritchie says family ‘over the moon’ after Bournemouth midfielder’s Scotland call-up
Brown is perfect Celtic captain - Collins
SCOTT Brown is the perfect captain for Celtic, according to assistant manager John Collins.
Collins, who managed Brown at Hibs before his £4.4m move to Celtic, said: “The only thing I’m going to say is that Scott’s performance on Sunday was magnificent.
“It was a typical Scott Brown performance - winning every 50-50, driving his team-mates on and lifting the crowd.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better captain. He is everything you want on the football pitch. He shouts at his team-mates, growls at them when it’s needed - that’s what you are looking for in a captain.” (Evening Times)
Celtic surprise at duo’s absence from Scotland squad
JOHN Collins admits he was shocked to see recent recruits Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven omitted from Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad.
Strachan named a 26-man squad for next week’s double header with Northern Ireland and Gibraltar but the former Dundee United pair have failed to make it into his plans, despite a storming start to their Celtic careers.
Strachan seemed to suggest the pair were simply carrying on at the same level they had been performing at while at Tannadice, asking: “Have they kicked on? Or are they the same players they were five or six months ago?”
But Collins believes they are already good enough to feature for the national side, adding: “I have got to be honest, I am surprised that they were not called up.
“They have done very well for us but the their time will come. They are young players and I have no doubt they will get themselves into Scotland squads of the future.” (The Scotsman)
McCall baffled at Shane Ferguson’s NI call
NEW Rangers manager Stuart McCall has expressed bewilderment at Shane Ferguson’s inclusion in the Northern Ireland squad to face Scotland.
The 23-year-old winger - one of five Newcastle players loaned to Rangers - has yet to even appear at the Ibrox club’s Murray Park training ground as he recovers from a knee injury.
And despite not playing a senior fixture since October last year, Michael O’Neill is hopeful the winger will be fit to face Scotland and Finland.
That left McCall seeking clarification on Ferguson’s fitness, having previously all but ruled out the possibility of him playing any part in Rangers’ faltering bid for promotion this season.
“As far as I was concerned, Shane was going to be out for a fair length of time and he hasn’t been through the doors here yet. So I was a bit stunned to learn that he is in the Northern Ireland squad.
“There might be reasons for it, I don’t know. It’s maybe just to give him a little boost by getting back involved.” (Various)
Ritchie aiming to make old man proud
MATT Richie has said his family were ‘over the moon’ when he told them of his Scotland call-up.
Gosport-born Ritchie - who qualifies for Scotland through his Edinburgh-born dad - said: “I’m delighted. It’s a proud moment for both me and my family. I can’t wait to join up with the squad next week.
“My Dad is over the moon. Hopefully he’ll be able to come to the games and watch me if I’m involved.”
Ritchie has netted 11 goals in 35 matches for Bournemouth this season, catching Gordon Strachan’s eye.
Ritchie added: “[Strachan] gave me a call and mentioned that I was in his thoughts. He just told me to concentrate on my form and thankfully I’ve been able to do that.” (Daily Record)
Advocaat jets in to save Sunderland’s season
EX-Rangers and Netherlands boss Dick Advocaat has been appointed the new manager of Sunderland on a short-term basis, after Gus Poyet got the boot on Monday following a 4-0 home defeat to Aston Villa at the weekend.
Advocaat, who has been out of work since leaving his post as Serbia coach last year, will take charge of the Black Cats until the end of the season.
And last night the 67-year-old ‘Little General’ flew to England to finalise a short-term deal, which was confirmed by the club this morning.
Dutchman Advocaat took charge of Rangers between 1998 and 2002. (The Sun)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Teemu Pukki is banging in the goals for Brondby while on loan from Celtic. The Finn scored his eighth goal of the season against Odense
• Gordon Strachan has suggested Celtic made a mistake letting Paddy McCourt leave the club
• Robbie Neilson is hopeful that Hearts can reach 99 points for the season
• St Johnstone skipper Dave Mackay still believes the Saints can finish in the top six
• Alan Stubbs admits he has been delighted with how Fraser Fyvie has settled into life at Hibs