Kenny Miller and Lee McCulloch address Scottish Cup Old Firm question; SFA pledge clampdown on flares after Rangers fan incident; Terry Butcher urges team to “be like wasps”, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Kenny Miller wants Old Firm Scottish Cup final
Kenny Miller played a role in keeping Celtic and Rangers apart in the William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round draw but believes the game in this country needs to see them face each other at some stage of the tournament.
Former Scotland striker Miller, who lifted the Scottish Cup with Celtic in 2007 and then again as a Rangers player just two years later, conducted the last 16 draw at Hampden yesterday afternoon.
“I think everyone would love to see it happen – media, fans, everyone. And I’m sure the players would love to take part in that fixture again. There is no doubt that Scottish football would benefit from it. I think we need it, to be honest.” (Scotsman)
SFA pledge clampdown on flares
SFA chief Campbell Ogilvie has pledged to come down heavily on the use of flares by supporters, while Rangers manager Ally McCoist has also condemned the “needless damage” caused to Falkirk’s pitch at the weekend.
Flares were thrown on to the artificial pitch by away fans during Rangers’ 2-0 win at Falkirk and were also set off at another William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round tie between Lanarkshire rivals Motherwell and Albion Rovers at New Douglas Park.
He said: “Flares have crept in over the last few years. Like missiles in the past, we have to come down heavily on it. We have to be vigilant and we work closely with the clubs on these things. If you compare us with some other countries, we have it under control, but we can’t have flares at games.” (Scotsman)
Rangers ‘not a million miles away’ from Celtic
Lee McCulloch is confident Rangers could beat Celtic in a Scottish Cup tie. The Old Firm avoided each other in yesterday’s cup draw, as Celtic were paired against Aberdeen at Pittodrie and Rangers will face either Ayr or Dunfermline at Ibrox.
McCulloch said: “People have asked about Celtic, and Celtic players saying the can’t wait to play us. Some of their players were saying they wanted us now, some were saying they wanted us in the final. You didn’t get any Rangers players shouting about what they wanted. All we hoped for was a home tie.”
He added: “I wouldn’t say they are miles ahead of us though. They are ahead of us because we are in League One and they’re in the Champions League.” (The Sun)
‘Be like wasps’, Butcher urges Hibs
Terry Butcher has revealed he has brought with him to Hibernian the mind games that made Inverness Caledonian Thistle a success.
In his previous job, the former England skipper was famed for his use of psychology to get the best out of the Highlanders, with pre-match riddles forming part of his team talks.
He said: “I said before the game I wanted the players to be like wasps, to ‘irritate’ the Ross County players and be in their faces and be pests, which they were. So, I asked the players if they had any other words beginning with ‘i’, and there was ‘incisiveness’, ‘inject’ pace and all sorts of words, and Scott Robertson came up with ‘in the next round’, which I thought was pretty clever.” (Scotsman)
Foundation label Jamieson’s Hearts bid ‘fanciful’
THE Foundation of Hearts has joined the Tynecastle club’s administrators BDO in criticising a former bidder, whose actions, it believes, could derail its bid to complete a takeover.
In a statement yesterday, a Foundation spokesperson called Borders businessman Bob Jamieson “a Walter Mitty character” who was indulging in an “unfunded and fanciful rival bid” for a controlling stake in Hearts.
Jamieson’s bid, along with that of Angelo Massone, was dismissed in the summer when the Foundation was named preferred bidder for Hearts, as BDO decided he had no proof of funding. (Scotsman)
Neil Lennon monitoring James Vaughan
Neil Lennon is monitoring Huddersfield Town striker James Vaughan with a view to making a bid for the Englishman in January.
Celtic are looking for an old-fashioned centre-forward, and Lennon sees Vaughan, 25, as the ideal fit. He is expected to watch Vaughan play against Bolton just four days after watching the forward score against Burnley.
Vaughan has scored 12 goals in 16 appearances this season. (Daily Mail)
Bangura is set to return to Celtic
Elfsborg last night confirmed they wouldn’t be taking up their option to sign Celtic flop Mo Bangura on a permanent basis.
The Sierra Leone striker is on loan at the Swedish club, but has had a miserable time there, despite costing Elfsborg £1 million.
Chairman Bosse Johansson said: “The loan agreement expires at the end of the year. He has one game left here and then he belongs to Celtic. What Celtic will do with him, I do not know. He may stay there or they might loan him out again.” (Scotsman)
• John Hughes has emerged as the favourite to take over at Inverness, and may be unveiled in the next 48 hours. Paul Hartley and Kenny Shiels were also among the favourites to take the post. (The Sun)
• Hearts’ Ryan Stevenson is a target for a Chinese side, which may be able to take him for nothing next month despite a contract that doesn’t expire until the end of the season. (The Sun)