John Guidetti in clear over penalty ‘dive’ claim; Rangers fans group call for Mike Ashley boycott; Jim Goodwin reveals he nearly quit the game after elbow incident and more in Tuesday’s Rumour Mill
John Guidetti in clear over penalty ‘dive’ claim
John Guidetti is in the clear with the SFA over his role in the controversial penalty Celtic received at Tynecastle on Sunday.
Parkhead first-team coach John Kennedy firmly backed the Swede on Monday when he insisted it would be wrong for anyone to brand him a cheat.
And it is understood Guidetti will not face any retrospective SFA action after compliance officer Tony McGlennan viewed footage However, it’s believed the fact Guidetti made no appeal for the spot-kick – which he converted - and may have simply slipped convinced McGlennan that there was not a deliberate attempt to deceive the match officials. Any error in the award therefore lies with Collum.
Kennedy is adamant the furore should not damage the reputation of Guidetti, who now has 11 goals for Celtic.
“He’s not that type of player,” insisted Kennedy. “He’s certainly not a player who looks to con anyone or dive.
“I’ve seen the incident replayed once. His momentum has taken him forward, he’s tried to cut the ball back and sometimes your natural movement in that instance is to fall over.
“He’s certainly not dived or been theatrical and he has not claimed to the referee - and the referee gave the decision very quickly so that is the end of the matter.
“So if anyone comes out and tries to call him a cheat I would certainly dispute it because that is not the case.” (Various)
Craig Whyte link to Rangers financial firm
The firm appointed to be Rangers financial adviser have had dealings with a firm connected to disgraced former owner Craig Whyte, it has been reported.
The Daily Record have reported that WH Ireland, appointed by Ibrox chairman David Somers to be the club’s Nomad, had previously purchased some of the assets of Pritchard Stockbrokers - an accountancy firm that listed Craig Whyte as secretary.
Pritchard Stochbrokers, based in Bournemouth had been investigated by the FSA over financial irregularities that led to them being forced into administration. WH Ireland then acquired assets from the ailing company including 8000 private clients.
Mark Dingwall, editor of Rangers fans website followfollow.com, spoke out after Rangers made the announcement yesterday, he said: “Considering the atmosphere around the club, it would seem crazy for any company that has had anything to do with Craig Whyte would be given any future at Ibrox.” (Daily Record)
Jim Goodwin reveals he nearly quit the game after elbow incident
St Mirren defender Jim Goodwin has revealed that his manager, Tommy Craig, had to persuade him not to stop playing following his latest brush with the authorities.
The Irish veteran’s four years with the Paisley club have been pock-marked by cautions and dismissals and, although he will return to the side for tonight’s William Hill Scottish Cup fourth-round replay against Inverness Caledonian Thistle, he had considered quitting after his latest violent outburst.
Goodwin admits that he was so appalled by his behaviour after studying replays on Sportscene of him elbowing Dundee United teenager Aidan Connolly in the face towards the end of his side’s 3-0 defeat at Tannadice on 1 November that he planned to hang up his boots.
“When I saw the incident back on the Sunday night I knew it couldn’t go on,” said the 33-year-old. “There was that split-second thought that maybe I should quit playing all together.
“The game has changed and I need to change with it or get left behind. I spoke to [manager] Tommy Craig about quitting. I told him I didn’t want to be causing him headaches every other week.
“My disciplinary record is a joke, I am aware of that. I am not going to change my style of play in terms of being competitive as there is only one reason why I am in the team.” (Scotsman)
Rangers fans group call for Mike Ashley boycott
The Union of the Fans has urged fellow Rangers supporters to boycott club shops and Sports Direct in protest at the ‘disgraceful’ retail deal with Mike Ashley’s firm. The supporters coalition enlisted accountants to study financial results the Ibrox outfit released last week. And they insist the numbers show that only a tiny percentage of money from any purchase of Rangers merchandise makes its way to the club. A statement from the group read: “Having had the accounts analysed by qualififed accountants, we feel it is important to bring Rangers fans’ attention to the absolutely disgraceful reality of the retail deal whihc has been entered into with Mike Ashley’s Sport Direct. David Somers stated recently that Rangers ‘make quite a lot of money’ from the deal, but that is not how the accounts read in our analysis. In fact, despite fans seeing £7.6m spent on retail in the year covered by the accounts, the club’s share is a paltry £590k. That means for every £10 spent by Rangers fans on merchandise, the club receives around 75p.” (Mail)
John Boyle gives Well Society a little more time
The Well Society has been given more time to finalise their bid for fan control at Motherwell - after a late change of heart by majority shareholder John Boyle. Boyle held talks with the Society board last week and is now convinced they can find the £1m needed. Boyle stands to make £300k from the deal, with the rest of the money being poured into the club to plug the massive financial hole that is predicted between now and the end of the season. (Express)
Ronny Deila believes Stefan Scepovic can be a success
Celtic manager Ronny Deila remains confident Stefan Scepovic can be a success at Parkhead and refuses to even consider allowing the Serbian striker to leave.
Spanish clubs are monitoring the situation closely and are ready to make their move to take the former Sporting Gijon hitman on loan.
But Deila insisted: “That is not an option. I’m not interested in that. Stefan has a future here. His chance will come.”
It is important for Deila that he takes it when it does. Scepovic is the manager’s only purchase since he took over in the summer, with £2.2million having been paid out for his services.
But the striker was not even listed among the subs for Sunday’s Scottish Cup win over Hearts.
“It’s been tough competition for him,” said the manager. “But, again, every player has been through tough times.
“Leigh Griffiths has been through tough times, and we’ve been working hard with him. Now Leigh is being rewarded for all the hard work.”
“Stefan had been loaned out in the past because he needed experience. But this is different because he was sold to us. He was wanted by Sporting Gijon to stay, but we wanted him and bought him.
“It’s way too early to talk about whether it has been good or not. We will see after the season is over.” (Times)
Paul Hartley wants to extend his Dundee stay
Hartley signed a deal until 2016 when he was appointed as Dens Park boss in February.
The 38-year-old former Scotland star, left, guided Dundee to the Championship title last term, continuing his upwards trajectory as a manager following back-to-back promotions with Alloa. He is now in demand and Cardiff wanted him to replace Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, but he turned down that opportunity at the Championship club.
Hartley has held initial talks with the Dees over a new deal and revealed more are planned as he prepares his side for the upcoming league challenges, as well as the Scottish Cup last-16 clash at home to Celtic in what will be the tie of the round. He said: “We’ll be speaking in the next few weeks about extending my contract. We’ve had initial talks already. It’s a big opportunity and I just want to build a good team.” (Express)
David Moyes interested in Charlie Adam for Real Sociedad
New Real Sociedad manager David Moyes wants to make Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam his first signing, according to reports.
The former Everton and Manchester United boss is plotting to take the Scotland international to La Liga in the January transfer window, claims the Daily Star.
Moyes’ assistant Billy McKinlay was at Stoke’s game against Burnley on 22 November. Adam, who came on as a late substitute, was reportedly the reason for the trip.
Former Liverpool, Rangers and Blackpool star Adam, aged 28, is said to be open to quitting the Britannia Stadium in favour of more regular first-team football. His agent is Moyes’ brother Kenny, so negotiations should be
The two clubs are expected to hold talks to see if an agreement can be reached. That is likely to involve a six-month loan for the second-half of this season, followed by a permanent move next summer. (Offthepost.com)
Celtic warn Arsenal Virgil Van Dijk won’t be cheap
Arsenal have been warned that Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk is not available on the cheap.
The Gunners have been credited with interest in the Dutch centre-back as they seek to bolster their depleted defence in the January transfer window.
Celtic boss Ronny Deila has admitted he expects to receive bids next month, but has warned that his side will drive a hard bargain.
He said: “It will not be a surprise for me if there is interest in Van Dijk in January, but he will be very expensive.
“Van Dijk is a fantastic player who keeps on improving and I hope he stays with us.”
Manchester City, Southampton and Sunderland have also been linked with the 23-year-old.
A fee of £8m has previously been mentioned in press reports, although it appears Deila might have set his sights higher than that. (Various)
News in brief:
• Mario Balotelli could be set to face disciplinary action after he retweeted a tweet that was deemed racist and offensive. (Various)
• Leeds turmoil as owner Massimo Cellino failed the Football League’s ‘fit-and-proper persons test’. (Mail)
• Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi lead the contenders for the FIFA Ballon d’Or. (Mail)
• Manchester City are hoping that Vincent Kompany’s injury is not severe however he is set to miss tomorrow’s game with Sunderland. (Mail)
• Former Ross County Derek Adams has been slated by the Dutch stars he brought to the club. Darren Maatsen told a Dutch magazine: “All the promises made when we joined were not kept. Derek Adams didn’t let us play proper football.” (Sun)