MEEKINGSGATE rumbles on as fans call for him to escape ban while FIFA chief blasts SFA; Celtic are interested in Belgian under-21 international Brandon Mechele; Rangers board kick off Mike Ashley talks and more in Thursday’s Rumour Mill
Celtic are interested in Belgian under-21 international Brandon Mechele
CELTIC have made an approach to Club Brugge for their £3million-rated central defender Brandon Mechele.
The 22-year-old has been in impressive form this season for the Belgian league leaders.
Mechele will line up in Ukraine tonight for the second leg of his side’s Europa League quarter-final against Dnipro. The Belgian Under-21 international has played every minute of their unbeaten European campaign.
Celtic manager Ronny Deila is on the hunt for one or two new centre-halves, as he braces himself for the prospect of losing both Virgil Van Dijk and Jason Denayer. (Daily Express)
FIFA chief blasts SFA over Meekings decision
FIFA vice president Jim Boyce launched a blistering attack on the SFA when he waded into the row that has seen Josh Meekings hit with a retrospective suspension for a blunder made by the match officials in Sunday’s semi-final win over Celtic.
Meekings who faces a ban following the unprecedented decision of compliance officer Tony McGlennan to punish him for the handball missed by ref Stevie McLean and goalline assistant Alan Muir. The defender is expected to appear at Hampden today in the hope of having the charge thrown out.
Boyce said: “This decision to suspend the player is setting a very, very dangerous precedent.
“FIFA allow associations to make their own decisions but if this decision stands and Inverness feel it is unjust they would have every right to bring this matter up with the powers that be at FIFA.” (Daily Record)
Rangers board kick off Mike Ashley talks
The Rangers board have held their first meeting with Mike Ashley since assuming control at Ibrox.
Interim chairman Paul Murray and director John Gilligan held talks with Ashley and other members of the Sports Direct hierarchy on Wednesday.
While no details of the discussions have been disclosed, supporters will hope it may represent an initial step towards finding an amicable way forward with the billionaire owner of Newcastle United. (Mail)
Fans push for Meekings to escape ban
FOOTBALL fans from around the world are signing up to try and get the SFA to perform a U-turn over their decision to ban Caley Jags defender Josh Meekings from the Scottish Cup final next month.
Fans have gone online to create a petition to push for Josh Meekings’ ban to be rescinded and for the player to be allowed to play in the final. (Various)
John ‘Bomber’ Brown mocks Celtic over ‘sour grapes’
John Brown says the whole furore surrounding Josh Meekings handball incident is ‘a bit of sour grapes’ that speaks of the frustration within his old rivals Celtic.
‘It’s hard for officials given the pace of the game,’ said Brown. ‘Celtic have been frustrated because they have not managed to win a Treble and Rangers have not been in the league for a number of years. I’m sure if Rangers were in that position they would have won a Treble in that time, probably two or three...’ (Daily Mail)
Celtic and Rangers fans shut out for youth cup final
Celtic and Rangers will play their youth cup final behind closed doors after trouble erupted at previous games.
The teams will meet in the Glasgow Cup Final at Hampden Park on Tuesday at 7pm.
The under-17 game will be played without the general public in the ground, although Glasgow FA bosses have decided to allow in a small number of children from local schools.
In 2013, trouble flared at the final , which was the first meeting of the Old Firm since Rangers were plunged into financial crisis and relegated to the Third Division.
The kick-off was delayed after flares and smoke bombs were set off and seats ripped up in the stands. (Various)
News in brief:
• Manchester United have made a concrete £22m offer for Mats Hummels. (Express)
• Rafa Benitez is moving closer to a return to the Premier League with Man City a possible destination. (Mirror)
• Zinedine Zidane has begun moves to try and bring Eden Hazard to Real Madrid. (Mirror)