Kris Commons urges Celtic to bring back Gary Hooper; Rangers fans say Graham Wallace’s position is ‘untenable’ and Terry Butcher instructs Hibs to fight dirty to avoid the drop
Commons: Bring Hooper back to Celtic
CELTIC midfielder Kris Commons has called on Neil Lennon to bring Gary Hooper back to the club, who he described as ‘one of the best players I have ever performed alongside.’
Hooper was sold to Norwich for £5 million last summer after netting 63 goals in three seasons at Parkhead, but has struggled to make the same impact at Carrow Road, and with the Canaries staring relegation in the face, there could be a summer clear-out in a bid to reduce costs.
Commons told Celtic TV: “In an ideal world I’d like to get Gary back at Celtic. Undoubtedly he is one of the best players I have ever performed alongside.
“I don’t think it’s totally unrealistic that we could get him back one day. Genuinely, I think it would be magic to have him in our side again.”
Hooper was left out of Norwich’s 0-0 draw with Chelsea at the weekend, with the result leaving the Canaries on the brink of relegation. (The Sun)
Van Dijk still hopeful over Rio call-up
CELTIC defender Virgil van Dijk is still clinging onto hopes that he may yet make it to the World Cup in Brazil this summer.
Netherlands boss Louis van Gaal has named a 20-man pool of players for a get-together this week, but will have two more training camps in the next few weeks in a bid to finalise his squad for Brazil - and future meetings will include foreign-based players.
Van Dijk has two matches left for Celtic, and hasn’t abandoned his dream of a call-up after van Gaal called up three uncapped players for his first training camp. (Daily Express)
Wallace’s position untenable, say unhappy Rangers fans
RANGERS fans have given Ibrox chief Graham Wallace a vote of no confidence, claiming his position is untenable.
The ex-Manchester City chief operating officer joined Rangers in November, regarded as a figure supporters could trust.
But in recent weeks, a number of statements, poorly-judged decisions and the possibility of a 100 per cent bonus have left fans furious.
Wallace blamed threats by some fans not to renew season tickets for the club’s inability to accept credit cards for sales of season tickets, but it became apparent that their merchant services provider had requested for Ibrox to be put up as collateral weeks before any boycott was made public.
Although that request was rejected, Union of Fans spokesman Chris Graham said Wallace is a busted flush, adding: “We are of the opinion that his position at the club is untenable after the stuff that has come out in the past few weeks – and the bonus is only the latest thing.
“One of the things that particularly angered us was his attempt to shift the blame of the credit and debit card facilities on to the Union of Fans. We are perfectly well aware and we will reiterate it again that it had nothing to do with the season ticket boycott and we know it didn’t.
“There has been no engagement, there has been no apparent progress in terms of the finances. In fact, things appear to have gone backwards.” (The Scotsman)
Union of Fans launch season ticket website
THE Union of Fans supporters group have also set up a dedicated website, allowing disgruntled fans to pledge season ticket money to a trust rather than to the club, amid claims that only 2,000 fans have renewed for next season so far.
Dave King and ex-captain Richard Gough - who set up the trust - have been vocal in their attempts to dissuade fans from giving money to Rangers until the board hands over security of Ibrox and the club’s training complex.
Perhaps crucially, the new website will allow fans to renew season tickets by credit or debit card - something the club was unable to offer supporters.
And Chris Graham added: “We don’t have a target figure but there is a deadline. Essentially, what we are saying is that we won’t physically collect any money before 15 July. If the security is granted before that date then we will take the money and start issuing season tickets.
“The backstop date is 8 August, which is the day before the first league game of the season. If the security hasn’t been granted by then, that’s us – we stop.”
A spokesman for Rangers said he could not confirm how many tickets had been sold, adding: “We don’t normally release figures until after the deadline for renewal and that isn’t until 16 May.” (The Scotsman)
Butcher urges Hibs to fight dirty in survival bid
HIBS boss Terry Butcher has revealed he is happy his side are committing more fouls than opponents - because it shows how dedicated they are to avoiding the drop.
Butcher, who tasted relegation as a player with Ipswich on the final day of the 1985/86 season is eager for Hibs to avoid a similar fate, and said: “I’ve sensed a change in spirits over the last couple of weeks.
“It wasn’t as if we put a copy of the league table in front of every player and said ‘look at this’. It was just a realisation from everyone about what we had to do.”
And Butcher, who has been forced into yet another defensive reshuffle after Michael Nelson’s red card against Partick Thistle, believes on-field indiscipline is currently a price worth paying as it confirms to him his players have discovered the attitude required.
He said: “If one of my central defenders has only got one yellow card all season, I’m not very happy. You don’t go out to deliberately commit fouls, but you go out to compete.” (Various)
Wednesday Gunning for Tannadice defender Gavin
SHEFFIELD Wednesday have entered the chase for highly-rated Dundee United defender Gavin Gunning, whose contract expires in the summer.
Gunning, who has insisted he will settle his future after the season is over on May 17th following the Scottish Cup final, is believed to be a key target for the Owls, with caretaker boss Simon Gray earmarking Gunning as a potential signing, and could make an offer once his own future is finalised.
United boss Jackie McNamara admitted: “It will be difficult to keep him because he is a free transfer.” (Daily Express)
BT Sport Q&A: Rangers | Hibs | Neil Lennon
THIS week’s BT Sport video Q&A looks at whether Rangers fans will buy season tickets and if the club’s supporters will force a change of ownership.
The form of Hibs under Terry Butcher is also examined following the Easter Road side’s derby defeat while the future of Neil Lennon is also considered following the announcement that his assistant Johan Mjallby is to depart at the end of the season.
• Email your Scottish football question for the BT Sport panel to answer. The next show will be recorded on May 7 after St Johnstone v Celtic, which will also be shown live on BT Sport, with the video available on The Scotsman website the following day. You can also tweet us @TheScotsman.
A line-up of experts will handle your questions after each BT Sport game. Most match days, the team includes Darrell Currie, Derek Rae and Gary McAllister.
Over this season, BT Sport will air 30 SPFL matches plus 10 Rangers games from the SPFL League One.
• T&C: We can not guarantee which presenters will answer your questions. Questions are vetted and no correspondence will be entered into.