NEW Rangers loan deal comes to light as Dave King hits back at board letter; Gordon Strachan says Euro 2016 qualifiers will not be factor in Poland game; UEFA hint at possibility of talks over Celtic’s ambitions to move to England, plus all the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Rangers: New loan deal surfaces as King retaliates
Dave King has refused to back down from his bitter row with the Rangers board after accepting chairman David Somers’ invitation to a showdown.
And, in a separate development tonight, Rangers were reported to be considering a fresh £1 million loan offer from businessman and supporter George Letham, which would see an existing £1.5m deal with Laxey Partners ditched.
Letham told the Rangers Standard website: “[Chief executive] Graham Wallace is now in receipt of written confirmation that I am happy to replace the Laxey loan, on condition that it is cancelled, with no penalty to the club. I have offered the loan on the same terms but with the interest payable reduced from £150,000 to £75,000. It is my intention to convert this interest into shares as I have no wish to take cash out of the club.”
Earlier, King had responded to an open letter from Somers 24 hours earlier in which the Ibrox chairman “summoned” him to a meeting to explain recent statements attacking the board. King said he would be “delighted” to attend but added the way the invitation had been made made him feel like he was being sent to the headmaster for “a caning”. (Scotsman)
Poland v Scotland: No team experiments this time, says Strachan
Any desire for Gordon Strachan to experiment in Poland tonight has been dulled not by the fact the Warsaw hosts are also Euro 2016 rivals, but by what happened the last time the Scotland manager did so.
“I tried to do things a wee bit differently in Norway and that lasted about half an hour,” Strachan said of the fortunate 1-0 win his team registered in November’s Oslo friendly, their last international outing. “The system didn’t allow us to bed in, theirs threw us in the first part of the game. I hadn’t seen a team play with so many players going forward as they did that night. I watched the game again this week and it was the strangest international game I’ve ever seen. They played with two old-fashioned strikers with wide men and full-backs getting in the box. It was so strange. But it was a great lesson for us.”
Setting up lessons for learning with his players in the lead-up to their assignment in Warsaw has been bothersome for Strachan, even when this week is the second-last time he will be able to gather together his men before the start of the Euro 2016 qualifiers in September. (Scotsman)
UEFA give Celtic hope of England league move
The general secretary of UEFA has given Celtic’s aspirations to exit Scottish football a boost by declaring the association were ready to discuss the proposal with the Scottish champons.
Gianni Infantino responded to suggestions by Fergus McCann that Celtic should move to the English Premier League by saying UEFA was “open to discussing everything.”
Ifantino pointed to an experiment in women’s football where Belgian and Dutch teams play each other in a newly-formed championship, after which an analysis on the benefits of such a merger will be assessed.
Though UEFA’s opposition on cross-border leagues remains firm, Infantino said: “I don’t know what will happen and there are other discussions going on in Scotland at the moment about independence in any case. One part of the country wants independence and another wants to join England.” (Daily Mail)
Anti-match-fixing guidelines to be sent to Scottish clubs
Scottish clubs are to be handed a code of conduct on match-fixing by PFA Scotland. FIFPro, the world players’ union, has devised the document for a UEFA-backed project aimed at tackling corruption within the game. The sheet will be distributed to club representatives, who will be given an information poster to display in the dressing room.
England, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Romania and Slovenia are already part of the scheme.
PFA communications officer Jack Ross said: “It’s about being pro-active in dealing with a number of issues that face players.
“We will also have a face-to-face delivery of information on visits to clubs.” (Daily Express)
Poland v Scotland: Lewandowski feared serious injury if he played Scotland game
Borussia Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski has been ruled out of the Poland squad to play Scotland tomorrow night amid rumours that his future club had appplied pressure on him not to participate.
Lewandowski was present as Poland launched their new strip at the National Stadium on Tuesday afternoon but he will be back in Germany when Scotland face their Euro 2016 rivals on Wednesday night after failing to overcome a knee strain.
Poland were already without their captain, Lewandowski’s Dortmund team-mate, Jakub Blaszczykowski, who suffered cruciate ligament damage earlier this year.
Lewandowski, who will play for Bayern Munich next season after agreeing a five-year deal, said it was his decision to withdraw from the squad.
“It is not the case that I’m being forced not to play. I have spoken to the Polish medical team.” (Scotsman. Daily Express)
Celtic manager Neil Lennon gives his reaction to his team’s 5-0 win over Inverness CT at Celtic Park in the SPFL, 01/03/2014: WATCH
19 goals in the SPFL Scottish Premiership this weekend (that’s over 3 per game). 15 of these were scored on Saturday, one more than in the Barclays Premier League on the same day. Watch all 19 here: http://po.st/19Goals
Leigh Griffiths scored a hat trick for Celtic on Saturday. This was the pick of the three: http://po.st/GriffithsHT
Motherwell’s Lionel Ainsworth has a habit of scoring great goals. Watch his latest golazo from the Well’s 4-1 victory over Hearts: http://po.st/LionelGoal
Richard Brittain is arguably the best free-kick taker in Scotland. He scored another free kick (his second in as many games) in Ross County’s draw with Partick Thistle: http://po.st/BrittainFK
TRICKS, SKILLS AND FUNNY CLIPS
Nadir Ciftci shows yet again why he’s a fan favourite at Dundee United with this lovely piece of skill against Hibernian on Friday night. Eden Hazard repeated the trick the following day in Chelsea’s match against Fulham. Watch here: http://po.st/SkillCiftci
Hearts’ player Paul McCallum faceplants over an advertising board during the 4-1 defeat to Motherwell, but sees the funny side of it. Watch here: http://po.st/AdBoardOuch
Gary Mackay-Steven missed a penalty on Friday, and took to Twitter to take the mick out of himself. Watch why here: http://po.st/GMStweet
St Mirren talisman Steven Thompson gets the ball kicked into a rather sensitive area... Watch here: http://po.st/StMouch
Gavin Gunning celebrates his goal for Dundee United by doing a rather simplistic imitation of Robbie Keane’s somersault! Watch here: http://po.st/GunningCeleb
Celtic 5-0 Inverness Caledonian Thistle
Leigh Griffiths scored a hat-trick as Celtic hammered Inverness CT 5-0 at Celtic Park in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew also scored on a day when all five strikes were scored by Scotsmen.
Watch here: http://po.st/CelICT
Hibernian Football Club 1-3 Dundee United
Dundee United missed two penalties but still powered to an convincing 3-1 win over 10-man Hibernian at Easter Road in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. Nadir Ciftci opened the scoring for the visitors shortly after having a weak spot-kick saved by Ben Williams but an error from Radoslaw Cierzniak allowed Jordan Forster to equalise before the break. Gavin Gunning’s third goal in two games restored the lead and Farid El Alagui sealed the win after Gary Mackay-Steven had missed a second penalty and Tom Taiwo had been sent off for the hosts.
Watch here: http://po.st/HibsDU
St Mirren FC 2-0 Kilmarnock
Conor Newton and Gregg Wylde scored late goals as St Mirren beat Kilmarnock 2-0 at St Mirren Park in a crucial relegation battle in the SPFL Scottish Premiership.
Watch here: http://po.st/StMKIL
Aberdeen 1-0 St Johnstone
Ryan Jack’s early goal was enough to give Aberdeen a hard-fought 1-0 win over St Johnstone at Pittodrie in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. The visitors had striker Steven MacLean sent off in the second half for two bookable offences.
Watch here: http://po.st/ABDStJ
Motherwell FC 4-1 Heart of Midlothian
James McFadden scored his first goal since New Year’s Day as Motherwell beat Hearts 4-1 at Fir Park in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. Lionel Ainsworth, John Sutton and Iain Vigurs scored the other goals as Callum Paterson notched a consolation for the visitors.
Watch here: http://po.st/MOTHEA
Ross County 1-1 Partick Thistle
Both sides scored free kicks as Ross County and Partick Thistle shared the points in a crucial relegation battle at the Global Energy Stadium in the SPFL Scottish Premiership. Kallum Higginbotham gave Thistle the lead but Richard Brittian levelled for the hosts before half time.
Watch here: http://po.st/RCPT