Rumour Mill: Stuart McCall | Celtic | Mike Ashley

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RANGERS boss Stuart McCall insists the Ibrox club would not write to the SFA for clarification if they were on the end of a similarly controversial refereeing decision as their rivals suffered last week; Celtic are reportedly interested in former Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, and Mike Ashley is set to appeal the SFA’s £7,500 for ‘dual interest’ in Rangers and Newcastle

McCall backs Deila’s transparency calls

Stuart McCall has backed Ronny Deila’s call for referees to be allowed to explain contentious decisions after games but insists managers must expect to be held to some level of accountability. The Rangers boss believes Scottish football gaffers should be big enough to admit when they’ve wrongly criticised a referee’s decisions. (The Scotsman)

• McCall stated that Rangers would not have written to the SFA for clarification on a refereeing matter in the same manner Celtic did after last Sunday’s controversy. The Rangers boss didn’t see the point in querying such decisions after the fact. (The Sun)

• McCall says he is already working on a dossier of signing targets for next season - even though he may not be around to parade them. The interim Ibrox manager still does not know if he will be in charge beyond the current campaign after being lured back to his old club to kick-start their faltering promotion bid, but that hasn’t stopped him from talking to agents as he looks to strengthen Rangers for next season. (The Scotsman)

Deila wants referees to explain themselves

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has called for referees to explain their decisions post-match following his team’s controversial William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final defeat by Inverness. Referee Steven McLean sparked a furore by failing to penalise Josh Meekings after the Caley Thistle defender used an arm to block a goalbound header by Leigh Griffiths with the Hoops winning 1-0 at Hampden Park on Sunday. (The Scotsman)

Denayer wants second Celtic loan spell

Jason Denayer has expressed his willingness to return to Celtic for a second loan spell next season if it is sanctioned by Manchester City. The Belgian defender’s impressive first campaign with Celtic was recognised this week with his nomination for the PFA Scotland Young Player of the Year award. (The Scotsman)

• Emilio Izaguirre has stated his desire to see out the rest of his career with Celtic. The Honduran still has two years left on the contract he signed at the tail-end of last season. (The Herald)

The Rangers boss backed Deila's transparency calls, but did insist Rangers would not have written clarification letter. Picture: SNS

The Rangers boss backed Deila's transparency calls, but did insist Rangers would not have written clarification letter. Picture: SNS

Celtic ‘chasing Rafael van der Vaart’ - reports

Celtic are interested in signing Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart, according to German tabloid newspaper Bild. The 32-year old is out of contract with current club Hamburg in the summer and the Hoops are apparently interested in tempting the midfielder to Celtic Park. (The Scotsman)

Charlie Mulgrew to be ready for Ireland-Scots clash

Celtic midfielder Charlie Mulgrew is on course to be fit for Scotland’s crunch European Championships’ qualifier with the Republic of Ireland in June. Mulgrew has been out of action for four months with a knee problem. (Daily Record)

Ronny Deila wants referees to explain their decisions in public after matches. Picture: Getty

Ronny Deila wants referees to explain their decisions in public after matches. Picture: Getty

Mike Ashley to appeal SFA £7,500 fine

Mike Ashley is reportedly ready to appeal the £7,500 fine handed down by the SFA for breaching dual interest rules. The Newcastle owner holds 8.92 per cent of Rangers’ shares and 75 per cent of Rangers Retail. The fine was issued four days before Ashley’s favoured board of directors at Rangers were removed in the club’s EGM. (Daily Telegraph)

Nicky Law slams Ally McCoist’s tactics

Rangers midfielder Nicky Law has derided the approach adopted by former Rangers manager Ally McCoist. Law admitted he felt like the midfield was being missed out in McCoist’s long ball tactics, and feels neither he nor the team were playing well as a result. (The Herald)

SFA deemed to have ‘no case’ on Meekings charge

The Scottish Football Association’s disciplinary procedures risk being fatally undermined after the governing body yesterday revealed that Josh Meekings was cleared to play in the Scottish Cup final because the judicial panel convened for his appeal decided there were no grounds to punish the player retrospectively.

Mike Ashley is set to appeal the SFA's fine. Picture: PA

Mike Ashley is set to appeal the SFA's fine. Picture: PA

The lawyer acting for Meekings argued that the case did not fit the SFA’s protocols because match referee Steven McLean had witnessed the incident, if not the transgression.

In finding favour with this line of reasoning, the panel’s judgment makes it difficult to see how cases involving simulation, in particular, could now be retrospectively prosecuted. (The Scotsman)

Hearts gun for second tier points record

Hearts will set a new points record for Scotland’s second tier if they can defeat Cowdenbeath at Central Park this afternoon in the penultimate fixture of their league-winning campaign. A win in Fife would lift Hearts on to 90 points, one more than the total gained by Hibernian when they clinched the First Division in season 1998-99. (The Scotsman)

EPL clubs chase Inverness’ Ryan Christie

Inverness CT playmaker Ryan Christie is the target of several English Premier League clubs, including Everton and Newcastle United. However, the youngster expressed his desire to remain in his hometown for foreseeable future, and it is believed a fee of around £1 million would be required to persuade the club to part with their highly promising youngster. (The Sun)

News in brief

• Inverness CT manager John Hughes has ironically ‘thanked’ the SFA for helping to refocus his players after the high of reaching the club’s first ever Scottish Cup Final was quickly brought back to earth by Josh Meekings’s citation. (Press and Journal)

• Kilmarnock celebrate the 50th anniversary of their sole top flight championship title. (The Scotsman)

• Motherwell manager Iain Baraclough insists the Fir Park club can avoid the drop despite last night’s disappointing loss to neighbours Hamilton in the Scottish Premiership. (The Scotsman)

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