Rumour Mill: Rangers | Ann Budge | Kenny Shiels

Alloa squad celebrate having beaten Rangers 3-2. Picture: SNS

Alloa squad celebrate having beaten Rangers 3-2. Picture: SNS

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ALLY McCoist will remain defiant in the face of another wave of criticism following Rangers 3-2 loss at Alloa last night; Ann Budge called for Celtic and Hearts to work together to stop the intimidating atmosphere which occurs whenever the clubs meet at Tynecastle, and Kenny Shiels has been linked with a return to management as the new boss of Motherwell.

Ally McCoist once again insists he won’t walk away

Rangers manager Ally McCoist refused to contemplate quitting after his team blew a two-goal lead with only 17 minutes remaining to lose 3-2 away to Alloa in the semi-final of the Petrofac Training Cup. McCoist said he shared the “disappointment” of the fans but that he would “fight tooth and nail” to get Rangers back to the top flight. (The Scotsman)

• Alloa match winner Greig Spence insisted Rangers are not the “giants they used to be” and that there is nothing to fear when playing them any more. Spence started the Alloa revival with a 72nd minute header before Ryan McCord equalised two minutes later. The former Raith Rovers attacker - who played when the Rovers defeated Rangers in last year’s Challenge Cup Final - then snatched victory with a coolly placed finish. (Daily Express)

• If Rangers fail to win the Scottish Championship and finish in the playoffs they’ll be forced to share gate receipts for the fixtures with the 41 other SPFL clubs. The new rules were implemented last year and only apply to the playoffs. (Daily Record)

Celtic respond to Ann Budge statement

Hearts owner Ann Budge has criticised the behaviour of both sets of supporters during and after Sunday’s Scottish Cup tie between her club and Celtic. The club’s executive chairwoman revealed one Hearts fan, who was arrested for sectarian abuse, would be banned indefinitely from Tynecastle. She also called for Celtic to take a tough stance on the five away supporters who were arrested, and expressed her disappointment at acts of vandalism and intimidating behaviour towards staff from those in the away end. (The Scotsman)

• Celtic responded to Budge’s statement by highlighting the treatment of their fans and first team squad on a typical trip to Tynecastle in recent years, though the club did express their intention to work with Budge to address the problems. (The Scotsman)

Problems in Scottish football

Scottish football is showing “too much self-pity” and not doing enough to promote the game north of the border, according to high profile sports promoter Barry Hearn. Speaking at the inaugural Scottish FA convention, Hearn reserved a particularly strong form of criticism for SPFL chief Neil Doncaster for failing to find the league a sponsor. (The Scotsman)

• At the same convention, football finance expert Joe McLean warned the SPFL that part-time clubs could become a common occurrence in the top flight if sliding attendance numbers are not halted. (The Sun)

Kenny Shiels in line to take over at Motherwell

Motherwell are considering a move for Kenny Shiels as they seek to fill the managerial vacancy created by Stuart McCall’s resignation. Kenny Black has been in temporary charge for the last three games after McCall stepped down following a surprisingly poor start to the league campaign by last season’s runners-up. (The Scotsman)

• Terry Butcher is also in contention to return to Motherwell for a second spell. The former Inverness manager has been on gardening leave at Hibs after a disastrous six months in charge of the Easter Road club. Motherwell fans have fond memories of Butcher’s time in Lanarkshire after he helped build the first team squad up again following administration. (Daily Express)

Celtic not at their best in victory

Celtic manager Ronny Deila admitted his team were some way short of their best in beating Partick Thistle 1-0 last night but believes they will now stretch away from their pursuers in the Premiership. Virgil van Dijk scored the game’s only goal as Celtic won their sixth consecutive league game. (The Scotsman)

• Deila will have to wait to see whether the knee injury which forced Charlie Mulgrew to withdraw at half time in last night’s game is a recurrence of the same problem that’s dogged the Scottish international this season. (Evening Times)

El Alagui on the comeback trail

Hibs striker Farid El Alagui is back in light training as he remains on course to make a January return following an Achilles injury sustained in August. His quick recovery is a welcomed boost for Hibs who may be without striker Dominique Malonga for most of January if the 25-year old is called up by Congo for the African Cup of Nations. (Daily Record)

News in brief

• Darren Jackson revealed Dundee United’s training is played at a furious tempo because the demand for places makes every session highly competitive. (Daily Express)

• Inverness defender Gary Warren is desperate to make it back to a cup final after missing out on Caley Thistle’s League Cup loss to Aberdeen last year through suspension. (Press and Journal)

• Paul Quinn insists Ross County can’t hide behind excuses as they battle against relegation from the top tier. (The Sun)

• St Johnstone captain Dave Mackay believes the Scottish Cup holders are beginning to hit their stride following a poor start to the 2014/15 campaign. (Daily Express)

• Dunfermline are to leave their training base at Pitreavie after the council terminated the club’s lease, a decision the Pars board are “delighted” with. (Dunfermline Press)

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