Leeds told ‘hands off Griffiths’ as Hoops face fight to land Dijks; Pukki keen to make Brondby stay permanent as Celtic step up Iraqi winger chase and Scott McDonald faces play-off sweat over St Mirren bust-up
Leeds ‘priced out of Leigh Griffiths move’
LEEDS have been priced out of any move for Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths, according to reports.
Despite genuine interest from the Whites in the 24-year-old hitman, it is understood that the Elland Road side would struggle to meet Celtic’s valuation of the former Hibs and Wolves striker.
The Griffiths link reportedly stems from Leeds’ intention to approach Celtic’s chief scout David Moss with a view to installing him as technical director. (Evening Times)
Hertha Berlin set to hijack Celtic’s bid for Dijks
HERTHA Berlin could scupper Celtic’s chances of landing Willem II left back Mitchell Dijks, with the £900,000-rated defender also attracting interest from Feyenoord and AZ Alkmaar, while former SFA Performance Director Mark Wotte has suggested there will be interest from England as well.
Dijks has just a year left on his contract at the Koning Willem II Stadion, and Celtic are keen on bolstering their options at left back and with Dijks able to fill in at centre half as well, he is an attractive prospect.
But a four-way struggle to secure his services could leave Celtic, who have also been linked with Lech Poznan full back Barry Douglas, looking elsewhere. (Daily Record / The Sun)
Give Rangers job to McCall, urges Gattuso
EX-Ibrox midfielder Rino Gattuso has backed Stuart McCall to keep the Rangers job, ahead of the Gers’ crunch play-off clash with Hibernian.
But Gattuso has insisted McCall should get the job on a permanent basis no matter what.
He told The Sun: ““The board will make their decision — but Stuart is a Rangers man. He understands the club, he understands the fans and he knows what football means to them.
“It wouldn’t be a decision on money, or to further his career, he’d want the job because he is passionate about Rangers and would want to see them back where they belong — just like I do. I arrived at Rangers as an 18-year-old and one of the players I took to straight away was Stuart. He had the same passion for the game that I had.” (The Sun)
Hoops face competition for Iranian winger
CELTIC will also face competition from Belgian giants Anderlecht as well as a number of top Dutch sides in their race to capture Iran international Alireza Jahanbakhsh.
The 21-year-old winger, currently with NEC Nijmegen, has caught the eye with a number of impressive performances and helped NEC secure promotion to the Eredivisie.
But the Omroep Gelderland newspaper are reporting that while Anderlecht and AZ Alkmaar are keeping tabs on Jahanbakhsh, NEC coach Ruud Brood is hopeful of keeping the youngster at the Goffertstadion. (Inside Futbol)
Pukki keen on Brondby stay
FINNISH striker Teemu Pukki is ready to pledge his long-term future to Brondby, having settled in well to life in Denmark and bagged nine goals this season.
Pukki is at the Danish outfit on a season-long loan deal, after joining with Parkhead team-mate Holmbert Fridjonsson.
And Brondby coach Thomas Frank is keen to keep the 25-year-old in Copenhagen, with Pukki eager to stay put as well. (Inside Futbol)
Celtic target ‘leaving Elche’ at the end of season
ELCHE striker Jonathas, linked with Celtic, has confirmed that he has played his last game for the Spanish outfit, despite admitting that he would ‘always have a special place’ in his heart for the club’s fans.
On loan from Italian side Pescara, Jonathas netted a brace in Elche’s 3-2 defeat to Athletic Bilbao - the home side going two up before crumbling and allowing Bilbao to nab victory - taking his tally to 14 for the season.
But the big Brazilian forward has said he won’t be back at Elche, which could alert Celtic - and also the likes of Sevilla, who have been credited with an interest in the 26-year-old. (Various)
Skippy faces play-off sweat over St Mirren bust-up
MOTHERWELL striker Scott McDonald could yet miss the Steelmen’s last three fixtures - the final league match and two-legged play off final against Rangers or Hibernian - despite initial relief at copping a two-game ban and not a three-match ban for his red card against St Mirren.
But the Australian forward could yet face action over a bust-up before the match, which St Mirren won 2-1.
The former Celtic striker was reportedly involved in a heated exchange with a St Mirren official, and was heard using foul language in front of young mascots.
A Fir Park spokesman confirmed last night: “Motherwell are aware of the incident and they have spoken to Scott McDonald.”
Motherwell are also contesting the red card given to McDonald for violent conduct, with manager Ian Baraclough saying: “I saw it with my own eyes at the time and I never had any thoughts whatsoever that it would even be a foul, let alone a red card.”
McDonald will appear at Hampden this week in a bid to overturn the red card. (The Sun)
Cierzniak ‘could have played last game’ for United
RADO Cierzniak could have played his last game for Dundee United, with the Polish ‘keeper a doubt for the final match against city rivals Dundee at Tannadice, after picking up a rib injury in the 3-0 defeat to Inverness last weekend.
And Cierzniak has already confirmed he is on his way out of the club, and despite being at fault for the first and third goals against Caley, looks to have played his final match for Jackie McNamara’s outfit.
Reports suggest the No 1 could well return to his homeland with Pogon Szczecin keen on him. However, the goalie has expressed an interest in trying his luck in England. (Evening Telegraph)
Blades set for talks with Motherwell loanee George Long
SHEFFIELD United manager Nigel Clough has revealed the club are poised to open talks with George Long aimed at extending the goalkeeper’s contract despite paving the way for him to rejoin Motherwell on loan next season.
Long was recently informed that Clough would be activating a clause, inserted into the 21-year-old’s present agreement, tying him to Bramall Lane for another 12 months. However, the former England international has now announced plans to further cement Long’s status as a potential first-team regular.
“We’ll be taking up the option in his contract with a view to him spending the first five months of next season [at Motherwell],” Clough said. “We’d also be looking to extend his contract after taking that option up.
“He didn’t have the best of experiences at Oxford at the beginning of the season but then, for him to play in the SPL, has been great.”
Long, who spent a brief spell at the Kassam Stadium before heading north of the border in February, has emerged as an instrumental figure in Motherwell’s bid to preserve their top-flight status.(Sheffield Star)