Rumour Mill: van Dijk | Rangers probe | Riordan

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Stefan Johansen says Ronny Deila has done well to hold onto Southampton target Virgil van Dijk; Rangers face sectarian charges as fans group ups shareholding and Derek Riordan set for comeback

Johansen hails Deila for holding onto talent

Virgil van Dijk challenges Inter Milan's Rodrigo Palacio. Picture: AP

Virgil van Dijk challenges Inter Milan's Rodrigo Palacio. Picture: AP

STEFAN Johansen reckons Celtic’s new signings have been a real boost to the club - but holding onto Virgil van Dijk and Kris Commons was crucial.

Johansen insists Celtic are set to flourish now that the Norwegian has had the chance to mould the squad to his liking.

Celtic face a Europa League showdown with Inter Milan on Thursday and a table-topping clash with Aberdeen in the Premiership at the weekend.

And Johansen said: “It’s important to bring in new signings, especially good players.

“We have quality players who were on other clubs’ radars but we managed to keep them and that can be the difference in the end if we want to win trophies.” (Daily Record)

Van Dijk ‘on Southampton’s radar’

SOUTHAMPTON have reportedly rekindled their interest in Virgil van Dijk, with the Saints set to lose out on Atletico Madrid stopper Toby Alderweireld who has been linked with Manchester City.

Ronald Koeman’s side were linked with van Dijk in the past, along with Everton and Sunderland - who both made tentative enquiries in January - and Arsenal. (Daily Mail)

No racism claims but Rangers face sectarian charges

RANGERS will not face accusations that their fans aimed racist chants at Stan Collymore during their 2-0 win over Raith Rovers last week but the club will have to answer charges relating to supporters singing sectarian songs.

According to the Daily Record, the content of the match delegate’s report is set to reach the SPFL and clubs today, with the sectarian singing mentioned in it.

Collymore was pulled from BT Sport coverage of the match following a high profile campaign condemning sectarian chanting from Gers fans at the League Cup semi final with Celtic, but it is thought that the match report makes no reference to claims of racist chanting. (Daily Record)

Rangers First own 2% of club after upping shareholding

FANS group Rangers First now owns two per cent of the Scottish Championship club after extending their shareholding to 1.6 million shares.

And the group has also been given another 410,000 shares in proxies ahead of next month’s EGM, which could spell the end of the current board’s Ibrox reign.

The group has already announced it will use its now combined 2.5 per cent stake to back Dave King’s bid to oust directors David Somers, James Easdale, Derek Llambias and Barry Leach after a poll of its 11,700 members. (The Scotsman)

Rangers set to offer Murdoch bumper deal

RANGERS are reportedly on the verge of offering starlet Andy Murdoch a bumper new deal to keep him at Ibrox.

The youngster, who scored a screamer against Raith Rovers last week, could sign a new contract in the coming weeks, after Derek Llambias opened talks with Murdoch’s representatives.

The club are also looking to extend Under-20s keeper Liam Kelly’s contract. (The Sun)

Riordan set for comeback with East Fife

FORMER Hibs striker Derek Riordan could be set for a dramatic return to Scottish football with East Fife, after New Bayview boss Gary Naysmith confirmed he had ‘asked the question about whether Derek would like to be involved’.

Riordan, who had two spells at Hibs either side of a stint at Celtic, has been training with Livingston in recent weeks after more than a year out of the game.

He had a trial spell at Brechin earlier this season, and has appeared for Alloa, Bristol Rovers, St Johnstone and Shaanxi Chan-Ba since leaving Hibs. (The Scotsman)

Hearts ‘could wrap up title at Ibrox’

HEARTS could wrap up the Scottish Championship title at Ibrox, if results fall a certain way.

Robbie Neilson’s men could be crowned champions on April 5 at the home of Rangers. With Hearts having played three more games than Rangers and having a 22-point cushion, which could be reduced to 16 points if both sides win all matches before they face each other in April.

But victory for Hearts would push them out of reach of Rangers - by one point.

And if the Gers drop at least three points in the build-up to the tie on April 5, a draw in Govan would be enough to seal the title for Hearts. (Daily Record)

NEWS IN BRIEF

• Hibernian midfielder Scott Allan should be available to face Alloa after overcoming a chest infection

Dundee have signed Falkirk striker Rory Loy on a pre-contract agreement

• St Johnstone have handed new contracts to Murray Davidson and Chris Kane

• Mauro Icardi has been linked with Chelsea amid reports he is set to extend his Inter contract

• Paddy McCourt has signed on loan for Notts County

• St Mirren defender Jeroen Tesselaar has slammed the club and Paisley in a Dutch magazine, saying: “Paisley is a s**thole. It is a little town with a bad reputation and high unemployment.”

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