Celtic set to raid Sporting Gijon for £3.2m-rated striker Stefan Scepovic; Ally McCoist ‘committed to Rangers’ despite Crystal Palace links and Allan Johnston denies Michael Ngoo was jailed over alleged altercation in Ayr
Celtic set to bring Scepovic to Glasgow
CELTIC are set to bolster their squad as they bid to make the Champions League group stages by bringing in Sporting Gijon hitman Stefan Scepovic.
The Spanish side rejected a £2 million bid from the Hoops earlier this month, but an improved offer of £3.2 million could see the Serbian striker arrive in Glasgow in the next few days after he was left out of Sporting’s squad to face Numancia last night.
Club coach Abelardo Fernandez confirmed the 24-year-old was not in his plans, adding: “His exit is imminent. He has been left out to avoid injury that could influence negotiations.”
The Serbian has netted 23 goals in 39 games for the Segunda Liga outfit. (Sunday Mail)
Deila: Inverness gamble will pay off
RONNY Deila admitted on Saturday night that his gameplan backfired after the Hoops were beaten 1-0 by Inverness Caledonian Thistle but insisted it would be a worthy sacrifice if his side can get past Maribor and secure a £20 million passage into the Champions League group stages.
“You could say that the gamble backfired but we will see on Tuesday whether we regret it or not,” the Norwegian said.
“Maybe it was too many new players at the same time and we didn’t get the performance that we wanted. Now we have to focus on Tuesday night.” (Sunday Mail)
McCoist: ‘I’m committed to Rangers’
ALLY McCoist has insisted that his future lies with Rangers, despite admitting being ‘flattered’ by reported interest from Crystal Palace.
The Ibrox boss denied there had been any contact with the Selhurst Park club, adding: “I suppose [it is flattering] but I don’t really know where it came from. It’s obviously the case that even though [Rangers] have been coming through the lower divisions, maybe people have noticed.”
McCoist reiterated that he has a ‘lot of work to do’ with the Ibrox side, adding: “I’ve got a job to do here. There are various steps that we have to take - the immediate one being to get out of this division -and this is where I see myself hopefully short-term and longer-term.”
Ex-Celtic boss Neil Lennon is also on Palace’s radar, who are seeking a replacement for Tony Pulis. (The Scotsman)
Ngoo ‘not jailed, just injured’ insists Killie boss
ALLAN Johnston has insisted that Kilmarnock striker Michael Ngoo missed his side’s 2-1 win over Motherwell due to injury.
The former Hearts striker reportedly spent a night in the cells after being involved in an alleged altercation in an Ayr bar, but Rugby Park boss Johnston told reporters: “He took an ankle knock last weekend but hopefully it’s a short-term thing.”
Kilmarnock registered a 2-1 win over ‘Well, thanks to goals from Robbie Muirhead and Sammy Clingan. (Express)
New FIFA rankings set to place Scotland and England together
SCOTLAND will be just one place behind England in the new FIFA rankings, despite sitting at 78th in May of last year.
Gordon Strachan has overseen a string of impressive victories, including victories over Croatia and a draw against Nigeria.
And the Scots are set to rise to 27th in the new rankings with England falling six places to 26th. (Sunday Mail)
Scotland have never been above England since the ranking system was brought in in 1993.
Stubbs frustrated but asks Hibs fans to stay positive
ALAN Stubbs admitted his frustration at watching Hibs lose 1-0 to Falkirk at Easter Road, despite the home side passing up several good chances to win the game.
Strikers Farid El Alagui and Paul Heffernan had five chances between them as Hibs racked up 18 attempts on goal.
And Stubbs told Hibernian TV: “To create than many chances in a game, if you’re really honest with yourself, I think there’s frustrations from last season and the circumstances and it’s boiled over to the pitch.
“You’ve always got an opportunity when you’ve had a disappointment and it’s important you’ve got a game that comes up quickly, and we’ve got that opportunity on Tuesday against Dumbarton [in the League Cup].
“I understand the fans’ frustrations but they’ve got to stick with us and I know they will, they can see we’re doing the right things.” (Various)
Craig ‘not panicking’ despite lack of goals
ST MIRREN boss Tommy Craig is refusing to press the panic button despite seeing his side fail to score for the third successive game.
The Buddies went down 1-0 to Scottish Premiership new boys Dundee, but the former Hibs assistant manager said: “There is no panic. Yes, we would take a ricochet or a 25-yarder but I’ve had a word with the players and I don’t want them to be too concerned.”
St Mirren currently lie 11th in the table but Craig is confident that results will come. (Various)