In today’s Rumour Mill: Kris Commons to miss Champions League; ‘reckless’ Hibs will get payback at Celtic Park, says Lennon; Rangers latest; Strachan wanted Naismith at Celtic, but he chose Rangers.
Commons KO’d for Champions League
Kris Commons is likely to miss Celtic’s Champions League tie with Ajax after limping off with a hamstring injury in the Hoops game with Hibs yesterday.
Celtic boss Neil Lennon confirmed the injury, saying “We don’t think it’s a tear, but if it is a strain it is a couple of weeks, so it’s definitely not looking good for Tuesday. Losing Kris is a huge blow.” (Various)
Lennon rails against Heffernan’s controversial goal
Neil Lennon had a frustrating afternoon yesterday, after appearing to lose another key man ahead of Celtic’s midweek must-win Champions League game against Ajax
Lennon’s frustration did not begin and end with Commons, however. Hibs opened the scoring with a goal that should clearly have been ruled offside.
“I haven’t looked at the goal but I didn’t need to,” said Lennon. “You can see he [Paul Heffernan] is at least a yard off. I’m not here to criticise officials but when it’s as blatant as that, you have to ask ‘why did you miss that?’” (Scotsman)
Hibs were reckless, says Lennon
Lennon has called Hibs “shocking and reckless” after Celtic’s bruising 1-1 draw at Easter Road yesterday. The Celtic manager warned Fenlon and Hibs to expect the same treatment when they play in Glasgow, “We’ll play Hibs again” he said, “They can expect us to be competitive.”
Kayal to step in to Brown’s shoes
With Scott looking set to miss Celtic’s Champions League game against Ajax, Neil Lennon has challenged Beram Kayal to step up and fill the boots of Celtic’s influential skipper.
Lennon believes it is time for Kayal to show his worth after returning from an ankle injury that left him sidelined for 18 months.
Brown will likely be banned from Celtic’s next two games in Europe, against Ajax and AC Milan. “It’s between Beram, Joe Ledley and Nir Biton for who starts against Ajax”, said Lennon (Sun)
• Ajax only escaped with a draw against FC Twente in their Eredivisie game. Frank de Boer’s side were fortunate to get anything from the game, with Victor Fischer’s late equaliser ensuring Ajax got out of jail with a 1-1 draw.
Rangers planning for the future - Easdale
Rangers director Sandy Easdale has insisted the current incarnation of the Rangers board is committed to sticking to their business plan after another tumultuous period in the Ibrox boardroom.
Easdale said in a statement: “At this stage I do not think getting embroiled in incessant speculation is in the best interests of Rangers. I have no desire to criticise any individual or group and believe the constant tit for tat that we have seen recently is damaging the club.
“I am a committed investor and fan and want nothing other than to see Rangers continue its progress back to the top of Scottish football. As far as I am are concerned there is a business plan in place and I am certain the directors will do everything to ensure that it continues to be implemented.” (Scotsman)
Rangers target Zaliukas set for Leeds
Marius Zaliukas looks set to join Leeds United, after snubbing a return to Scottish football with Rangers. The former Hearts skipper had offers from Rangers, QPR and Leeds United. (Sun)
Strachan: I wanted Naismith at Celtic, but he chose Rangers
Gordon Strachan last night revealed he once thought about signing Steven Naismith for Celtic.
The Scotland boss is still a big fan of Naismith, entrusting him with spearheading the attack for Scotland.
“I remember him as a kid at Kilmarnock and I’m sure when I was at Celtic we thought about signing but he was always wanting to go to Rangers so that didn’t happen - and we had to face him!” said Strachan. (Various)
Scotland is Strachan’s perfect job
Gordon Strachan says nothing could tempt him away from the “perfect” job of leading Scotland.
Strachan when asked about a return to club football, said: “This job is perfect for me.”
Gordon Strachan also hinted that Darren Fetcher could be part of the national side by the time the Euro 2016 campaign kicks off.
No team will want to face Scotland - Hanley
Blackburn and Scotland defender Grant Hanley reckons no team will want to be drawn with Scotland in the Euro 2016 qualifiers after their resurgence under Gordon Strachan.
Hanley said: “Scotland will not be a team people want to play against because they know we’re always going to give 100 per cent.”
The draw takes place in February, with Strachan’s Scots likely to be in pot 4. (Various)
Butcher’s stock on the rise
Partick Thistle boss, Alan Archibald has tipper Terry Butcher to land a big job after his sterling work at Inverness. Archibald expects the former England captain to be on the radar of some big English clubs.