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Rumour Mill: Rangers | Georgios Samaras | Skacel

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RANGERS set for £1.5m investment boost; Georgios Samaras turns down £60,000 a week Rubin Kazan move; Albion Rovers fail in Rudi Skacel bid, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip

Rangers could be set for £1.5m investment boost

RANGERS chief executive Graham Wallace is is lining up an investment of up to £1.5m million. The club is hoping to raise the money via discussions with the Easdale brothers and majority shareholder Laxey Partners. It is expected that the loans will not be repaid and instead converted into shares, which would strengthen the power base of the two parties at Ibrox.

The club has denied it is on the brink of running out of money, as former finance director Brian Stockbridge had claimed.

Rangers are expected to make an announcement on the stock exchange next week relating to the expected cash injection. (Daily Record)

Georgias Samaras turns down Rubin Kazan move

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras has reportedly turned down an astronomical £60,000-a-week, three-year deal to play in Russia for Rubin Kazan.

Celtic’s enigmatic Greek international striker is out of contract at the end of the season and it seems probable he will quit the Parkhead side after six years at the club.

Russia’s transfer window remains open until next Thursday and mega-rich Rubin are desperate to add to their squad. According to reports in Greece, Samaras was offered a bumper three-year contract with the ambitious club which would have earned him a staggering £9.36 million. (Scotsman)

Neil Lennon: I can’t do anything about speculation

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has reaffirmed his commitment to the club as speculation of a move to Norwich grows.

Lennon has been linked with the job at the English Premiership side after pressure has mounted on Chris Hughton.

But, speaking about the link to the post, Lennon said: “I can’t do anything about the speculation. It’s always flattering, but it would be wrong of me to make any sort of comment on it at the minute. Norwich have a manager, a very good manager, in Chrus Hughton. 
“Being a manager, you can’t pick and choose where you go. Do I see my immediate future at Celtic? Absolutely. I don’t see that changing.” (The Sun)

Inverness CT fans moved for League Cup final

Inverness Caledonian Thistle fans have been placed together for their League Cup final against Aberdeen, after the SPFL released revised ticketing plans for the Celtic Park clash.

The Scottish Professional Football League has released ticket details, with Caley Thistle fans geting a full section behind one of the goals.

Inverness supporters will be housed in the lower tier of the Lisbon Lions stand, with further tickets in the upper tier available if they sell out their initial block.

Aberdeen fans, who have an initial allocation in excess of 30,000 tickets, will be housed in the main stand, north stand and Jock Stein stand. (Scotsman)

Hundreds more rally behind Hearts takeover bid

Foundation of Hearts have gained more new pledges in the past fortnight than in the previous two months as supporters rally behind Ann Budge’s prospective takeover of the club.

More than 350 fans have signed up to the fans’ group, who aim to ultimately take control of the club, in the last two weeks. It is understood FoH’s next target of 8,000 subscribers is within touching distance.

Reported estimates put their current annual funding through pledges somewhere between £1.4 and £1.5 million. Self-made millionaire Budge was last week revealed as the financial muscle behind the £2.5 million purchase of a majority shareholding (78.97 per cent) in the administration-hit Tynecastle club from Ukio Bankas and UBIG.The Edinburgh businesswoman will run the club for at least two years, but she has made it clear that plan will only succeed if fans’ group FoH provide working capital. (Scotsman)

Albion Rovers miss out on Rudi Skacel

Albion Rovers have failed in a bid to sign out-of-contract striker Rudi Skacel. The former Hearts player was high on manager James Ward’s wishlist as he plotted to boost Rovers’ promotion chances from League Two.

Albion Rovers had also reportedly tried to sign ex-Hibs player Derek Riordan, who made a substitute appearance for Alloa last weekend after a year out of football.

Skacel, 34, is still searching for a club after leaving Czech side Slavia Prague last year. He is thought to have turned down Albion Rovers to keep his options open as he holds out hopes of signing for Hearts in the summer, if the club can emerge from administration and have their transfer embargo lifted. (Daily Express)

SPFL ON YOUTUBE

Martin “Jimmy” Scott scored a Goal of the Season contender for Livingston in their SPFL Scottish Championship match against Alloa Athletic. Scott’s brilliant lob from just inside the Alloa half caught goalkeeper Craig McDowall off-guard, as Livi went on to win 3-0.

GOALS

Anthony Stokes – CELTIC vs St Johnstone:

The Irishman completed an impressive hat-trick (the sixth of his professional career), with this first goal arguably the pick of the three.

Alexei Eremenko – Kilmarnock vs Dundee United:

The Finnish international first goal on his return to Kilmarnock is a stunning snap-shot that defeated Radoslaw Cierzniak at his near post.

Sam Stanton – HIBERNIAN vs Ross County:

Hibernian midfielder Sam Stanton curls home a beautiful free kick from 20 yards to give Hibs the lead during the 2-1 win over Ross County

John Rankin – DUNDEE UNITED vs Kilmarnock:

Rankin managed to score from an obscure angle to win the match for the Arabs, firing a strike from the by-line which crashed off the post and went in.

Kallum Higginbotham – Motherwell vs Partick Thistle:

Kallum Higginbotham scores a stunning solo goal to double his own tally in the match and put Partick Thistle ahead during the 4-3 defeat to Motherwell at Fir Park

Richie Brittain – Hibernian vs Ross County:

Dead-ball specialist Richard Brittain curls in a great free kick to pull his side back into the game during the 2-1 defeat to Hibernian at Easter Road in the SPFL Scottish Premiership.

All 19 goals from this weekend’s action.

FOOTBALL FUNNIES

Dundee United’s John Rankin gets taken out by teammate Nadir Ciftci in the celebrations that follow his winner for the Arabs against Kilmarnock.

It’s February in Scotland. It’s cold. So, Dundee United’s mascots try to overcome this.

Celtic fans, meanwhile, go “taps aff” during their match against St Johnstone. Watch here:

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

Motherwell 4-3 Partick Thistle:

Motherwell scored twice in the last five minutes as they came from behind to beat Partick Thistle 4-3 in a thriller at Fir Park.

Dundee United 3-2 Kilmarnock:

Newcastle United loanee Curtis Good scored his first goal for Dundee United as they edged out Kilmarnock 3-2 at Tannadice in the Premiership.

Hibernian 2-1 Ross County:

Sam Stanton and Richard Brittain both scored stunning free kicks but Tom Taiwo’s goal proved to be the difference as Hibernian beat Ross County 2-1 at Easter Road.

Celtic 3-0 St Johnstone:

Anthony Stokes scored a hat-trick and Fraser Forster kept his 12th consecutive clean sheet as Celtic beat St Johnstone 3-0 at Celtic Park in the SPFL. Leigh Griffiths started for the champions for the first time since his deadline-day move from Wolves but it was his Irish strike partner who stole the show.

Inverness CT 0-0 Hearts:

Hearts’ unbeaten run in the Scottish Premiership was extended to four games with a draw in the Highland capital against Inverness CT.

St Mirren 0-1 Aberdeen

Aberdeen continued their excellent run of form as Adam Rooney converted a late penalty to see off St Mirren.

 

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