Rumour Mill: Lionel Messi | Kenny Shiels | Celtic

Lionel Messi leaves the pitch during his side's 2-0 win. Picture: Getty
Lionel Messi leaves the pitch during his side's 2-0 win. Picture: Getty
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THE world’s best player could miss his date with Celtic, Kenny Shiels has some surprising news, and the fighting continues at Kilmarnock, plus more news from across Scottish football in Sunday’s Rumour Mill.

Messi may miss Celtic clash

BARCELONA superstar Lionel Messi is a major doubt for the Catalan giants ahead of their Champions League clash with Celtic on Tuesday.

The Argentine forward scored a brilliant solo goal in Barca’s 2-0 win over Almeria, but went off at his request with a leg injury after less than half an hour. A scan is expected to take place shortly. (Scotsman)

Kenny Shiels: ‘I was almost an England boss’

FORMER Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels has claimed that he was “very close” to being appointed manager of the England under-21 side.

Shiels, out of management since being sacked by Kilmarnock last season, said: “Gareth Southgate got it but they told me I was very close because of my record of player development and club management.”

Shiels did not interview for the role. (Sun)

Stokes to return to Irish squad

CELTIC’S Anthony Stokes seems set to return to the Republic of Ireland squad, after a major supporter of the striker took charge in Dublin.

Noel King has taken the manager’s role on an interim basis, and has said that he “has no reason to block anybody”. King was Stokes’ coach at under-21 level where the Celtic striker was a prolific performer. (Sun)

Killie fans accused of plotting club’s demise

KILMARNOCK chairman Michael Johnston has suggested that fan groups are trying to bring down the Rugby Park club as a way to remove him from his post.

Johnston said: “There are people who have their own agendas who wait in the wings and jump on any perceived error and then create as much hysteria as possible.

“Their leaders advocate withholding revenue from the club, forcing an insolvency event to try to achieve their objective.” (Scotsman)

Ian Black ‘back to best’

ALLY McCoist praised the contribution of Ian Black on his return from a three-match ban for betting.

The midfielder set up three goals in Rangers’ 8-0 win over Stenhousemuir, and McCoist was effusive in his praise.

He said: “Blackie was terrific and it was great to see the reaction he got.

“He has been terrific for us all season and he continued from where he left off.” (Sunday Mail)

Lennon: Celtic could face a ‘spanking’ by Barcelona

CELTIC manager Neil Lennon is worried that his side could face a heavy defeat if they go a goal down early in their Champions League tie with Barcelona.

Lennon said: “If we go a goal down, can we stay in the game and force them into making a mistake?

“What you don’t want is a spanking and they will come aiming to rectify what went on last year so yes, I’m very mindful of that as well.” (Scotsman