Ex-Arsenal star Paul Merson claims Virgil van Dijk was ‘untested’ at Celtic; Mark Warburton vows that the ongoing court case won’t affect Rangers on the park and Shay Logan set for Aberdeen exit
Van Dijk ‘untested’ in ‘poor’ Scottish football
PAUL Merson has taken aim at Scottish football, claiming he is yet to be convinced over Virgil van Dijk’s quality because the Dutchman was ‘untested’ at Celtic.
Van Dijk joined Southampton in a deadline-day move, netting Celtic more than £11 million in the process.
But Merson said: “I’m not sure about Virgil van Dijk at all because he’s been playing for Celtic and hasn’t had to head a ball. I’m very interested to see what happens with him.” (Sky Sports)
Bitton set for Celtic stay
NIR Bitton is set to stay at Celtic following a heart-to-heart chat with Ronny Deila.
The Israeli international was linked with Club Brugge and Sunderland in May amid rumours he wasn’t settling in Glasgow.
But Bitton revealed: “In January, I wasn’t happy. I found myself on the margin at Celtic and I wasn’t playing and that felt uncomfortable.
“I told my agent I wanted to leave because I wanted to play. I didn’t care where.” (Scottish Sun)
Hoops to make £1m loss on Scepovic
CELTIC are to take a hit of £1 million on striker Stefan Scepovic, after Spanish outfit Getafe said they would pay £1.3 million by June to take the Serbian forward to La Liga on a permanent basis.
Scepovic, 25, failed to set the heather alight at Celtic, scoring just six goals in 26 appearances after his £2.3 million switch from Sporting Gijon. (Scottish Sun)
Raith query Rangers ‘rule breach’
RAITH Rovers have contacted the SFA to ask the compliance officer to probe a potential rule breach by Rangers.
The Stark’s Park outfit have questioned if the Gers’ request to have Ryan Hardie released early from Scotland Under-19 duty ‘breaches SFA articles and rules’.
Rovers star Craig Wighton is also in the squad but will miss Saturday’s Championship match.
In a statement, Rovers said: “We are delighted that Craig Wighton is receiving international recognition, and whilst we are without his services for the crucial match with Rangers, our loss is Scotland’s gain.
Naturally we are concerned that if there is any breach of Article 82.1 and Rules 56 & 57, this would – in these circumstances – result in an unfairness in terms of players available for selection for Saturday’s match, which is to our disadvantage.”
However, the SFA said both clubs were given the same chance to recall their players. (BBC)
MARK Warburton is adamant that the players will be unaffected by the ongoing court case involving the Rangers takeover in 2012.
Warburton said: “I think football fans want to follow their football club and look at how their team performs. They want to enjoy the matchday and the build-up and get value for money.
“If they see a real work ethic from the players and the results are going our way, that should be the overriding factor.” (The Scotsman)
A FORMER Rangers administrator has appeared in court over the alleged fraudulent acquisition of club assets in 2012.
Paul Clark, 51, was charged with conspiracy and involvement in serious organised crime. He made no plea or declaration and was released on bail. (The Scotsman)
CALLUM PATERSON today won his appeal against his red card at Hamilton and is free to play for Hearts against Inverness.
A Scottish Football Association disciplinary tribunal met at Hampden Park to review the incident and ruled that Paterson’s tackle on Darian MacKinnon did not merit a sending off.
The red card issued by referee Willie Collum for serious foul play has now been reduced to a caution for recklessly dangerous play. (The Scotsman)
Logan set for Dons exit
SHAY Logan could quit Aberdeen to return south, according to reports.
The defender, whose current Pittodrie deal is up next summer, is understood to be keen on returning to England for family reasons.
But Derek McInnes hasn’t given up hope of keeping the former Manchester City starlet in the Granite City, despite signing Liverpool youngster Ryan McLaughlin on a short-term loan deal during the transfer window. (Scottish Sun)
Tannadice legend Milne ‘critical’
RALPH Milne is ‘critical’ in Dundee’s Ninewells hospital with liver problems after a lengthy fight against alcoholism.
Milne, 54, has reportedly been ‘in and out of hospital’, but former United director Mike Barile said the situation wasn’t looking good.
The fans’ favourite at Tannadice made over 144 appearances, scoring 44 goals including 21 in the league-winning 1983 season.
He also had spells with Charlton, Bristol City, Manchester United and West Ham. (Various)
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Partick Thistle are keen on ex-Huddersfield winger Adam Hammill, who is currently a free agent
• St Johnstone are still hopeful of adding Danny Swanson to their squad
• Tom Rogic and Jackson Irvine turned out for Australia in their 5-0 win over Bangladesh, with Rogic replacing Tim Cahill and adding a goal