Kris Boyd hits back at John Brown; Celtic eye Stuart Armstrong and Canadian Starlet; Ronny Deila says refereeing in Scotland is ‘fantastic’ and more in Wednesday’s Rumour Mill
Kris Boyd hits back at John Brown
Brown slated Boyd, strike partner Kenny Miller and skipper Lee McCulloch as a “disgrace” after the 2-0 loss to Hearts 11 days ago that left the Light Blues nine points adrift in the Championship race.
But Boyd, who will aim to shoot Rangers into the Petrofac Training Cup Final with victory over Alloa this evening, has spoken of his astonishment at the outburst.
The 31-year-old said: “I found it pretty strange that it came from someone I speak to whenever I see him.
“I’ve got a good relationship with Bomber. He phoned me up a few months ago when he was still in a job to see if I fancied signing for Dundee. That’s not bad for being a disgrace.
“It goes in one ear and out the other. It’s not the first time it’s happened and it won’t be the last.
“Lee McCulloch is in here at 8am every day; there’s no one who works harder than him.
“And you don’t have the career Kenny Miller has had if you’re a disgrace and don’t work.” (Express)
Celtic eye Stuart Armstrong
Celtic are poised to reignite their interest in coveted Dundee United midfielder Stuart Armstrong.
The 22-year-old was the subject of a scouting mission by Parkhead assistant manager John Collins as United won their Scottish Cup clash in Motherwell on Saturday. Despite failing to take two scoring chances, Armstrong was the best player on the pitch.
Parkhead boss Ronny Deila, who is seeking between two and four new faces in the January transfer window, wants midfield reinforcements ahead of an assault on the last 32 of the Europa League.
Armstrong features high on a list of potential transfer targets compiled by the champions, who have also had Tranmere’s 21-year-old Max Power watched.
First considered when Neil Lennon was manager, Inverness-born Armstrong is a former Scottish Football Writers’ Young Player of the Year and also featured on the PFA Scotland shortlist last season.
A product of United’s youth system, he is under contract until 2016 and is likely to command a fee in excess of £2million, albeit the Tayside club do not have to sell after restructuring their bank debt and selling midfielder Ryan Gaul and left-back Andrew Robertson for a total of £5m in the summer. (Mail)
Celtic track Canadian Starlet Jay Chapman
Celtic are monitoring American college prospect Jay Chapman.
Though they face competition from Swansea, Aston Villa and Sunderland who are also tracking the midfielder.
The 20-year-old Canadian, who has a British father, has been starring for Michigan State who have made it through to the NCAA College play-off quarter-finals.
Chapman, an attacking midfielder, is a product of Toronto FC’s academy.
He was a fixture in their starting line-up last year, startling all 23 games, and scored the fastest goal of the season after 13 seconds into a 3-0 win over Oakland in October 2013.
Before joining Michigan, Chapman represented his country at the Under-17 FIFA World Cup, helping guide Canada to a runner-up place in CONCACAF qualifying.
He also helped Canada qualify for the FIFA under-17 World Cup for the first time since 1986. (Daily Mail)
Ally McCoist admits he may not be able to keep players
Rangers manager Ally McCoist has revealed that he will not have the final say on any decisions to release – or, where possible, to sell – his players when the transfer window reopens next month.
The cash-strapped Championship-challengers are currently living a hand-to-mouth existence courtesy of the loans supplied by influential shareholder Mike Ashley.
Since the Sports Direct magnate and Newcastle United owner increased his interest in the Glasgow club last month, ten employees have been made redundant and that process is understood to be ongoing.
McCoist has said he hopes to keep all his players.
“That would be my wish, that I could keep as strong a squad as possible,” said McCoist. “That’s what I would like to happen but I am fully aware of circumstances.
“When we are losing staff and where we are at the moment, things may alter. I can appreciate that more than anybody. We will just have to wait and see.”
McCoist claimed that he has not been told that his budget will be slashed – “not at all, absolutely not” – but admitted that departures may be inevitable. “I would think financial decisions might not be mine,” he said. “I will possibly be included in the conversation and the decision. It goes without saying that very few managers make financial decisions at clubs.
“So it wouldn’t surprise me at all if any decision was made by someone else – but I would be consulted. I respect everything that’s going on at the football club right now.” (Scotsman)
Ronny Deila says refereeing in Scotland is ‘fantastic’
Ronny Deila has leapt to the defence of Scottish football’s much-maligned refereeing community, insisting they have been “fantastic” since he took charge of Celtic.
Bucking the trend of managers for whom criticism of match officials often appears to be a default setting, Deila has responded to the furore surrounding last Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie at Tynecastle by heaping praise on the referees he has encountered as Celtic boss.
“The referees have been fantastic so far since I came here,” said Deila. “It is a high level of refereeing in Scotland. It has been worse in Europe, like last Thursday against Salzburg. We have more problems in Europe [with referees].
“But the referees here have been good. Sometimes you get something for you, sometimes you get something against you. I don’t think a lot about it. If you perform well as a team, then you will win games.
“Sometimes the referees have been right, sometimes they have been wrong. But if you go through a whole season, it is going to be quite equal with decisions. The best team will win in the end.
“I have found the referees to be approachable and very good. So far I’m very satisfied with how they have been in Scotland. As I say, I think we have had more troubles with the refs in European games. (Scotsman)
Celtic keen on Max Power
Celtic are showing interest in Tranmere Rovers midfielder Max Power. The 21-year-old has been with the League Two club since the age of eight and is out of contract in the summer.
Power has been one of his side’s best performers in recent seasons despite their slip towards the foot of the League Two.
Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday have also watched the versatile Power this season and Tranmere would be looking for around £400,000. (Mail)
Young Celts hit Rangers for six
Ronny Deila last night watched his Celtic kids thump Rangers 6-1 in a Development League match at Murray Park.
Filip Twardzik grabbed two of the Hoops’ goals, with Kieran Tierney, Jamie Lindsay, Liam Henderson and Aidan Nesbitt also getting in on the rout.
Remarkably, Rangers had taken the lead in 21 minutes through Ryan Hardie before the young Green Machine starting churning out the goals. The home side were already 3-1 down when they had Dylan Dykes sent off for a foul on Tierney with half an hour remaining.
Hoops skipper Scott Brown, who is now gaining coaching experience under Development Squad boss Stevie Frail, was also among the Celtic party watching this one-sided Glasgow Derby. Full-back Darnell Fisher played for the first half as he edged closer to full fitness. (Times)
Jarek Fojut is expected to return for Dundee United on Friday
Centre-half Jarek Fojut is expected to return when Dundee United make the long trek to face Ross County on Friday night.
The Pole was a last-minute call-off for Saturday’s Scottish Cup win at Motherwell because of illness.
United, though, are confident he’ll be back fully fit in time to head for Dingwall.
“Jarek had sickness on Friday night,” said coach Darren Jackson. “We tried him in the warm-up because he wanted to give it a go. But he was pure white and you could see he was kind of struggling. And you know if Jarek says he’s not fit, he’s not fit!” (Evening Telegraph)
News in brief:
• Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac could be £6m target for Spurs, prompting the French club to up their interest in John Guidetti. (HITC)
• Osman Sow could be out for the rest of the year, but Danny Wilson could be back for Hearts this weekend. (Sun)
• Cardiff dismiss fears that David Marshall could be out for several months with a hernia, saying he has ‘a niggle in his groin’ and nothing more. (Express)
• Hibs are running the rule over former Sweden under-21 goalkeeper Marcus Sandberg this week. (Express)
• Mario Balotelli has said sorry for his ‘anti-racist’ message. (Mirror)
• Bayern Munich star Thomas Muller hopes Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t win the Ballon d’Or again as he believes it would be ‘boring’ if he did. (Mirror)