Griffiths urges Van Dijk to ignore offers from England, Dundee United’s cup hopes are hit by injury, while Hibs players face a long walk home – plus all the news on this week’s SPFL and cup action in Tuesday’s Rumour Mill
Griffiths urges Van Dijk to stay at Celtic
CELTIC’s Leigh Griffiths has urged Virgil van Dijk to ignore any offers from England’s big guns in the summer – and help the Parkhead club have another crack at the Champions League.
Van Dijk’s agent claimed “absolute top” clubs south of the Border had shown interest in the £2.6 million signing from Gronigen.
Griffiths said: “I’m sure there’ll be a lot of offers coming in for him in the summer. If that’s what happens then it’s up to the board at Celtic what it would take to sell him. We are going to be in the Champions League again next season, albeit we still have the qualifiers first. SO there are some big games to come. I hope Virgil takes that into consideration.” (Daily Record)
Dodds says Robson and Flood can steel cup glory for Dons
BILLY Dodds reckons Aberdeen have lost their soft centre and can lift the League Cup trophy on Sunday.
The Dons have crumbled in key games in the past, losing five semi-finals in the past six years, but Dodds reckons players such as Barry Robson and Willo Flood give the Pittodrie club much-needed backbone.
Dodds said: “They had to sign players who, even when they weren’t playing well as individuals, would still snarl at people, shout at people, make demands of others. That’s what Robson and Flood bring to Aberdeen. They have definitely brought that steel.” (Daily Express)
Bad news for Good after injury blow
DUNDEE United youngster Curtis Good is facing Scottish Cup agony after he was ruled out for six weeks.
The 20-year-old Australian defender made his full international debut last Wednesday for the Socceroos in a friendly against Ecuador.
But the on-loan Newcastle ace limped off in the 68th minute and scans revealed he has suffered hip damage, meaning he will almost certainly miss United’s semi-final clash against either Rangers or Albion Rovers (The Sun)
Butcher’s boys face long walk home
TERRY Butcher has warned his Hibs players he will leave them stranded in Inverness tomorrow if they repeat their dismal first-half display from the weekend which allowed Motherwell to go two goals in front at Easter Road after 29 minutes.
Hibs secured a 3-3 draw but Butcher is demanding more from his players in the rearranged league fixture.
The former England skipper said: “I’ve told the players if they give a performance like they did in the first half they will be walking back. I’ll just take the bus and go, leaving them there. I don’t think that will happen. It is an important game - we want to win and play better. Perhaps we’ll do better away from home.” (Daily Record)
McAllister tells Scots starlets to go south
GARY McAllister says Scotland’s top young players should head down to England as soon as they get the chance.
The former Scotland captain revealed he has been approached by managers of some of England’s Premier League clubs looking for the lowdown on Scottish starlets lighting up the SPFL.
McAllister said: “I like [Dundee United’s] Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven for a start. They are showing the capabilities of mixing with the best. The big question is when they go. My personal feeling is there is no time like the present.” (Daily Record)
Locke wants Nicholson to commit to Hearts
GARY Locke has begged Sam Nicholson to commit his future to Hearts.
Winger Nicholson is one of 12 Jambos out of contract in the summer as the Tynecastle side prepare for their slide into the Championship.
Signing talks have been put on hold while Ann Budge waits for administrators to hand over control of the club, but manager Locke said: “You don’t want to lose your best players. Sam has come into the team in the last few weeks and done well. Sam is a Hearts lad and I think he appreciates the opportunity he is getting here at such a young age. I’m hopeful he sees his future with Hearts.” (The Sun)