Leigh Griffiths could be close to a sensational return to Hibernian; Dave King and Mike Ashley set to save Rangers with £4m boost and Peter Lawwell admits he’s desperate to hold on to Commons and van Dijk
Griffiths linked with Hibernian return
CELTIC striker Leigh Griffiths could be set for a shock return to Easter Road before the transfer window slams shut, it has been revealed.
The 24-year-old has played 15 times for Celtic since joining from Wolves in January, netting seven goals.
But Ronny Deila is reportedly ready to let Griffiths, Kris Commons and Anthony Stokes leave Celtic as he attempts to make his mark on the team.
Griffiths scored 31 goals in 66 matches for Hibs during two loans spells between 2011 and 2013 and despite a host of off-field issues, won the SFWA Footballer of the Year award and was called up for Scotland.
Hibs are looking to bolster their squad before deadline day and have been looking at a number of trialists - but Dutch attacker Donovan Deekman will not be joining the club. (Various)
Rangers set for Ashley/King cash boost
THE Ibrox board have admitted they have just two weeks to save Rangers, after a statement to the London Stock Exchange revealed the club needs to raise £4 million.
The Stock Exchange was told that Rangers hope a new cash boost will help ‘re-build and re-establish Rangers as a stable, sustainable and successful business.’
It was revealed that the club ‘expects to raise between £20m and £30m’ over the course of the next three years, and former director Dave King and Newcastle chief Mike Ashley could be asked to provide some much-needed cash.
However, fans have hit out at the news, with the Union of Fans issuing a strongly-worded statement telling of their ‘utter dismay’ at plans for a further share issue, adding: “Graham Wallace and the other board members have known for at least nine months that significant levels of investment were required.
“For the avoidance of doubt, if this board would finally start to do their job properly, there can be absolutely no threat of administration.” (The Scotsman)
Lawwell: I want to keep van Dijk and Commons
PETER Lawwell has insisted he wants to keep Kris Commons and Virgil van Dijk at Celtic despite rumours linking the pair with a move away.
Van Dijk has reportedly told the Celtic hierarchy that he wants to leave, with Sunderland in pole position to snap up the Dutch stopper, while Commons was left out of the side to face Maribor.
But Lawwell told the Daily Record: “Categorically, we do not want to sell Virgil. We have had phone calls but they have had no encouragement. We don’t have to sell him. We don’t have to go and sell three or four players.”
And Ronny Deila claimed that Commons ‘knows he has a future’ at Celtic, with his agent set to arrive for talks at Celtic Park on Tuesday. (Daily Record)
Meanwhile Lawell says that Rangers mismanagement has cost Celtic millions. The Hoops chief executive confirmed they are coping without their rivals. When Craig Whyte failed to turn things around many feared the worst. Lawell said: “Rangers going out has taken a lot of money out not just for Celtic but for the game. To be fair to us we said:’No we have a strategy, we know where we’re going’ and we’ve delivered on that.”
Championship title race between Rangers and Hearts - El Hassnaoui
HEARTS will pip Rangers to the second tier title - because Hibs don’t have the quality to compete, according to Souffian El Hassnaoui.
The striker, who has yet to make his Hearts debut due to an injury picked up in pre-season, believed the Championship will be a two-horse race, with the Jambos just pipping the Ibrox side to the title.
He told The Scotsman: “I don’t think Hibs have enough quality to do it. In the first half against us they played well, but I think we have more quality than Hibs and so do Rangers. So I think it will be between [Hearts and Rangers].”
The Dutch forward could make his first start for Hearts at home to Falkirk this afternoon. (The Scotsman)
Patrick Kluivert is interested in the Ross County job
Dutch legend Patrick Kluivert has emerged as a shock contender for the Ross County job. The 38-year-old former Barcelona and Ajax star is keen to get into management in the UK and sees County as the ideal base. The Sun has reported that the player has been put to chairman Roy MacGregor as a potential candidate to replace Derek Adams. The club have apparently told his representatives that they are considering his application. (Sun)
News in brief
• Ex-Hearts and Aberdeen striker Lee Miller is keen to get in on the goal-scoring action after a calf strain delayed his start to the season
• St Mirren striker Callum Ball reckons the goal-shy Buddies will click soon. They recorded a win over Dunfermline in the League Cup midweek but have failed to register a goal or point on league duty
• New Motherwell signing Mark O’Brien has revealed Derby County’s Scottish contingent convinced him to move north
• St Johnstone have failed in a bid to land Dean Shiels on loan. Rangers have made it clear the player won’t be moving. (Sun)
• Sheffield Wednesday boss Stuart Gray says it is only a matter of time before Gordon Strachan is forced to give Stevie May a call-up. He said: “If Stevie carries on developing like we know he can it won’t be long before he gets into the full squad.” (Sun)
• Hearts striker Soufian El Hassnaoui has dismissed Hibs’ hopes of mounting a title challenge - by insisting Alan Stubbs’ side do not possess the quality to trouble their city rivals or Rangers. (Daily Mail)
• AC Milan have landed £50 million flop Fernando Torres for free as Chelsea agreed to allow the player to move to Italy to get his £175,000-a-week wages off of the wage bill. (Mail)
• Marc Wilmots is set to call up Celtic loan star Jason Denayer to the Belgian squad for their Euro 2016 campaign. (Record)
• Rangers would be deducted 25 points if they are forced into administration this season. It comes as part of a new ruling that punishes any club that goes into insolvency twice in five years. (Record)
• Scotland will almost certainly host games at Euro 2020 - according to the English FA. The SFA will find out on September 19th if Hampden is to be one of UEFA’s 13 chosen venues. (Record)