Celtic linked with Shrewsbury youngster Josh Ginnelly as Anthony Stokes is targeted by Nottingham Forest and club write to SFA over semi-final handball; Alan Stubbs hits back at Peter Houston as post-semi final row rages on and Ryan Christie a target for West Brom
Celtic linked with Shrewsbury starlet Ginnelly
CELTIC have been credited with an interest in Shrewsbury Town starlet Josh Ginnelly.
The Hoops face competition from Ipswich Town and a number of other unnamed clubs for the 18-year-old midfielder, who has impressed in a handful of performances for Micky Mellon’s outfit.
Salop currently sit second in League Two, having racked up 86 points from 44 league games and are on track for promotion to League One.
But it is expected that Ginnelly will leave Meadow Lane for a moderate fee.
The former Aston Villa youth will be able to call on team-mates James Collins, Scott Vernon, James Wesolowski and Aaron Wildig for their experiences of Scottish football. (Various)
Stokes on Nottingham Forest radar
CELTIC forward Anthony Stokes has been linked with a move to Nottingham Forest, according to reports.
Dougie Freedman’s side are understood to be leading the race to land the former Hibs and Arsenal striker, but fellow Championship teams Bolton, Leeds and Cardiff have all been linked with the Irishman in the past.
Freedman has been promised additional funds after striking a new deal as Forest boss and is keen to bolster his squad, with Stokes understood to be his top target.
Stokes has scored seven goals in 18 starts for the Hoops but appears not to be part of Ronny Deila’s plans.
A move to the City Ground would see Stokes reunited with former Celtic Park team-mate Kelvin Wilson as well as former Scots-based players Danny Fox, Chris Burke and Dorus de Vries. (Various)
Celtic write to SFA over semi-final handball
CELTIC have asked the SFA to explain the failure of the match officials to give them a penalty at a crucial stage of Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.
The Scottish champions say they were deluged by complaints from their supporters yesterday regarding the incident in which Inverness Caledonian Thistle defender Josh Meekings blocked a Leigh Griffiths goalbound header with his right arm.
Celtic were leading 1-0 at the time but went on to lose the tie 3-2 after extra time, ending their hopes of securing the domestic treble this season. Now the club have made formal contact with the SFA with regard to the performance of referee Steven McLean and his assistants.
“With the club being inundated today, Celtic can confirm that it has written to the SFA regarding yesterday’s match and in particular the incident involving Leigh Griffiths and Josh Meekings.
“We have not been given any other specific explanation so far and this is simply to understand the circumstances of what went on and why such an obvious error was made.” (The Scotsman)
Stubbs stands by record after Houston jibe
ALAN Stubbs has assured Peter Houston that he will “take on board” his comments about Hibs’ defensive flaws ahead of the re-match between the teams on the last day of the season.
Houston was furious that Stubbs had not given Falkirk the credit they deserved, something he complained had been the case in their previous two victories against Hibs.
Houston also remarked that Falkirk had learned to prey on their opponents’ weakness for defending corners. The insinuation was he had expected Stubbs to have rectified this by now.
Stubbs yesterday thanked Houston for pointing out Hibs’ deficiencies. However, he reminded his opposite number that, for a novice manager, he is doing fairly well according to the statistics.
“We have a goal difference that is plus 27 compared to Falkirk,” Stubbs said. “When you put that up against a real experienced manager then, for a novice, I’m doing okay. (The Scotsman)
Scottish Cup final attendance ‘could be lowest in 36 years’
THE Scottish Cup final next month could be played in front of the smallest crowd for the showpiece in over 30 years, after both clubs estimated 30,000 fans at most would attend the game.
But despite the projected low attendance, neither Inverness Caledonian Thistle or Falkirk will call for the game to be moved to a smaller stadium.
Ronnie Bateman, Falkirk managing director, was at the 1997 final staged at Ibrox because Hampden was being refurbished, a match which his club lost to Kilmarnock in front of 20,000 of their own fans.
He believes it would be asking a lot for a repeat of those numbers. The club held a meeting yesterday morning to begin work on attracting as many potential fans in the area to attend the match.
Bateman said: “We are not expecting the same numbers we got in 1997. We will, however, be working very hard to get as many as possible to the game.
“My guesstimate would be that between us and Inverness we will get 25,000 of our fans at the game. When you add in what the SFA give away and the neutrals who will come along, then I would say we are looking at a crowd of 30,000.” (The Herald)
West Brom ponder move for Ryan Christie
INVERNESS Caledonian Thistle could be set to lose their highly-rated starlet Ryan Christie to West Brom, The Scotsman understands.
Christie, who has played 45 matches for the Caley Jags, was named the SPFL’s Young Player of the Month for February, and has come through the ranks at the Highland Stadium since his promotion to the first-team squad in May 2013.
But the Baggies are thought to be keen on the young midfielder, while Aston Villa have also been credited with an interest in Christie. (Tamworth Herald)
Nicky Low signs pre-contract with Dundee
ABERDEEN midfielder Nicky Low has signed a pre-contract deal with Dundee.
Low will join Dundee on a three-year deal when his contract with Aberdeen is up at the end of this season.
Low joins Rory Loy and Daryll Meggatt in signing pre-contract agreements with Paul Hartley’s side.
The Aberdeen youth product worked under Dundee boss Paul Hartley during his loan spell with Alloa in the 2012/13 season. (Various)
Dumbarton star ‘more impressed with Hibs than Rangers’
DUMBARTON’s Mark Wilson believes Hibs have the edge over Rangers, admitting that it is Alan Stubbs’ side that have impressed him more as the season comes to an end.
Hibs have won 6-3 and 2-1 at the Rock this season, and despite Rangers’ 3-1 win over the Sons last weekend, Wilson reckons Hibs ‘passed the ball a lot better than Rangers’. (Evening Times)
News in brief
• Shane Ferguson and Kevin Mbabu both played in Rangers’ 1-0 win over Celtic in the Development League last night
• Paul Hartley admits he may be forced to sideline Paul McGowan to keep him out of trouble
• Gary Warren has blasted the two-booking rule that will see him ruled out of the Scottish Cup final
• Willie Collum will be the man in the middle for Monaco’s Champions League quarter-final clash with Juventus