Rumour Mill: Robbie Neilson to Aston Villa? | Rangers targets | Craig Whyte bankrupt

Robbie Neilson has emerged as a shock candidate for the Aston Villa job. Picture: SNS Group/Rob Casey
Robbie Neilson has emerged as a shock candidate for the Aston Villa job. Picture: SNS Group/Rob Casey
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Robbie Neilson linked with Aston Villa job;’ Mark Warburton reveals ‘Premiership-standard’ January targets and ex-Rangers owner Craig Whyte declared bankrupt

Neilson a target for Aston Villa post

HEARTS boss Robbie Neilson has emerged as a shock candidate for the vacant Aston Villa managerial post.

Tim Sherwood was sacked last week, with Rangers manager Mark Warburton one of the early names linked with the role.

But Neilson, who guided Hearts to the Championship title last season, has been named among the candidates who could replace Sherwood at Villa Park.

Ex-Lyon boss and Arsenal player Remi Garde remains the favourite to land the job. (Various)

McLeish warns Deila: Treble might not be enough

EX-Rangers manager Alex McLeish, who eclipsed Martin O’Neill’s powerful Uefa Cup finalists to land the treble in 2003, believes Celtic have under-performed in being unable to achieve the feat while the Ibrox club have been out of the top flight in recent years.

And the former Scotland, Hibs and Birmingham boss said: “When Celtic and Rangers were in the league together, in my day, winning the ­treble would have compensated if things hadn’t gone to plan in Europe.

“But maybe now what is much more important to Celtic is Europe. They should be winning the three trophies domestically but I understand it’s easier said than done.

“Even if you win domestically just now it might not be enough, Europe is the big expectation and winning domestically is a bit taken for granted.” (Various)

Ex-Rangers owner Craig Whyte ‘is bankrupt’

FORMER Rangers owner Craig Whyte has been declared bankrupt in the wake of a High Court battle with Ticketus, which accused him of ­luring it into a deal on false pretences.

The ticketing firm obtained a judgment in its favour relating to allegations of a misrepresentation by Whyte during a ticket purchase agreement involving the Gers.

The bankruptcy petition was filed after Whyte failed to pay a judgment debt currently worth some £20.8 million, including interest and legal costs.

It was alleged Whyte had agreed to sell three years’ worth of season ticket sales to the company for £25m, some of which, it is alleged, he used to fund his takeover of the Ibrox club in May 2011. (The Scotsman)

Gers will bring in ‘Premiership-standard’ players

RANGERS will set out a ‘message of intent’ with new signings in January, Mark Warburton has insisted.

The Ibrox boss said yesterday: “In a very respectful way, we will be strengthening for next season.”

Chairman Dave King has said another five players could be brought in.

Ahead of the mouthwatering clash with Hibernian, Warburton added: “It’s another three points and I don’t mean that in any bad way to Hibs at all.” (Daily Mail)

Chelsea star wanted over Toronto sex assault allegations

CHELSEA midfielder Lucas Piazon is being hunted by Canadian cops over allegations of a sex assault in Toronto.

Piazon and fellow Brazilian Andrey da Silva Ventura were in Canada for the 2015 Pan American Games, where the team won a bronze medal.

Andrey, currently with Botafogo and Piazon, on loan at Reading, are wanted in connection with the incident that took place at a 21-year-old woman’s residence in July. (Various)

Griffiths ‘can be Celtic great’ - Bonner

PAT Bonner believes Leigh Griffiths has the makings of a Celtic great after watching the striker’s stunning goal against Hearts.

Griffiths lit up his side’s League Cup quarter-final at Tynecastle with a magnificent second-half opener before also setting up Tom Rogic for the visitors’ second in their 2-1 win.

Former Celtic goalkeeper Bonner said: “I’ve seen good strikers at Celtic and played with them and they didn’t play brilliant in every single game. Griffiths had a lot to do in that particular [first goal], but his mind was working and you could see what he was thinking.

“Even when he went through, he just had the composure to knock it past the goalkeeper. That’s the making of great strikers and great Celtic strikers.” (The Scotsman)

Houston cops touchline ban for ref rant

FALKIRK manager Peter Houston has been punished with a touchline ban after being found guilty by the SFA of a disciplinary rule breach for his criticism of referee John McKendrick earlier this month.

The Bairns boss was hit with a notice of complaint following remarks made to Falkirk TV in the wake of his side’s controversial 3-1 defeat by Rangers at Ibrox and appeared before a disciplinary hearing at Hampden yesterday.

Having been accused of breaching rule 72, Houston appeared before the panel to argue his case and admitted an amended charge of “criticising the decisions and performance of the match officials in such a way as to indicate bias and incompetence on their part”. (The Scotsman)

Hearts ‘don’t need to buy in January window’ - Neilson

HEARTS head coach Robbie Neilson insists his side can improve without the need to delve into the January transfer market.

The Tynecastle outfit’s League Cup campaign came to an end on Wednesday in a narrow 2-1 quarter-final loss to Celtic.

Despite that defeat, Neilson insists there are plenty of positives to take from the tie.

The former Hearts captain said: “If we need to bring someone in, then we will. But at the moment we don’t. We’ve got a good squad and we’re sitting third in the league. We’re way ahead of the expectations of the club.” (The Scotsman)

Regan feared Strachan Scots exit

STEWART Regan has revealed he harboured fears that Gordon Strachan had lost the will to remain as Scotland manager.

Strachan brought an end to uncertainty over his future in the job when he accepted a new two-year contract which will see him lead Scotland into their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign which begins next September.

While Scottish FA chief executive Regan was always optimistic Strachan would finally agree to extend his tenure, he admits there was a point when the failure of the Euro 2016 qualifying bid raised doubts in his mind.

“There was probably a period after [the Georgia and Germany defeats] when Gordon was more down than I had seen him,” reflected Regan.

“That was the only moment when I thought: ‘I wonder whether he is going to have the fight in him to take the World Cup campaign on’.” (The Scotsman)