Malcolm Murray says Ally McCoist’s job may not be safe if current board stays; Celtic pair Joe Ledley and Georgios Samaras could be set for exit; Lennon admits Celtic can no longer match top European sides, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Malcolm Murray fears for Ally McCoist’s job
Former Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray has said that Ally McCoist’s job may be under threat if the current regime remains. Murray, leading a group seeking representation on the Rangers board ahead of the club’s long-awaited agm this week, says the current board may also sell Lee Wallace in the January transfer window to balance the books as finance director Brian Stockbridge stoked fears that the club may only have £1 million left in the bank come April.
Murray said: “We have a solution, new enquiry from rich businessmen who are household names. They will provide the future investment if there’s a board that has full transparency. The alternative to this is debt or player sales. I don’t believe that our blue chip investors will support the incumbent board, therefore I fear for our best players. I also fear for the future of the manager. He is the only genuine Rangers man left, yet I know him not to be favoured by some among the current incumbents.” (Mail on Sunday)
Lennon applauds Izaguirre dive booking
Neil Lennon praised referee Bobby Madden after the official booked Emilio Izaguirre for diving in an attempt to win a penalty in the second half of this rain-lashed affair.
Madden, said Lennon, was “spot-on” in showing the Honduran a yellow card despite the Celtic manager roaring for the penalty at the time.
Lennon admitted that his initial impression of the penalty claim was the wrong one. “I thought the referee had a good game. I got it wrong and he quite rightly booked Emilio. It was an excellent refereeing decision and I thought he had a good game. I thought it was a penalty but, looking at it again it’s clearly not, so the referee got it spot-on.” (Scotsman)
Samaras told to take pay cut, Joe Ledley may leave
Celtic’s bid to tie up Georgios Samaras on a new two-year deal have stalled because they have insisted he take a pay cut, according to reports in his Greek homeland.
The striker is out of contract at the end of the season, but was this week linked a possible move to either Toronto FC or Hull City.
Samaras is in talks with the Parkhead club about extending his deal, but there is a catch – he’s been offered a new two-year deal at Celtic, but he’d have to agree to reduce his current £18,000-a-week wages to £16,000.
Meanwhile, Joe Ledley has been linked with a move to Cardiff, with reports in today’s tabloids suggesting the departures of both players being a matter of when, not if. (Scotsman)
We are poor relations in Europe, admits Neil Lennon
Neil Lennon has admitted that Celtic can no longer match Europe top teams in the Champions League in the wake of a 6-1 defeat at the Nou Camp against Barcelona. The Celtic manager said he was disappointed with a number of performances from his side, and admitted it would take a long time to get over the heavy defeat in Catalunya.
“I was disappointed with two or three if them individually, and as a team we were disappointed. I’m not going to go into individual players.”
He added: “It’s sore. You have to suck it up and go again. I am more motived than ever. I’ll dwell on the defeat for a long long time but it’s important that the players don’t.” (The Sun)
David Moyes to monitor United star Ryan Gauld
Manchester United manager David Moyes will personally monitor Dundee United star Ryan Gauld, according to reports. The 17-year-old, who is said to have attracted interest from Arsenal, Juventus, Roma, Real Madrid and Liverpool, is contracted to the club until 2016.
But the Tannadice midfielder may be allowed to go for a minimum of £3.75 million. Moyes will also look over Dundee United’s other promising talents, such as John Souttar and Andrew Robertson. (Mail on Sunday)
“What Celtic showed during their travails in the Champions League is that they have lost the capacity to survive at that level. The art of survival is made up of many things, including concentration, discipline, ruthlessness and luck – and Neil Lennon’s team were without them, the very things that elevated them 12 months ago, which is no surprise because what happened 12 months ago should be considered the exception rather than the rule. There was a touch of freakishness about it. This is not to denigrate their fantastic achievement of getting into the last 16, but Celtic might play in 50 similar campaigns and not survive in the same way they did a year ago.” READ MORE >>
“Every now and then Amanda Kopel will sit down with her husband, Frank, and show him footage of his volleyed equaliser against Anderlecht in 1979. With only a few minutes left in Brussels, and Dundee United needing an away goal to stay in the UEFA Cup, suddenly there is a break down the left. “A very brave run here by Paul Sturrock to the goal-line,” says Archie Macpherson in the commentary. “He’s got to have support, and he does… from Frank Kopel… wooofff… that really is one of the best goals I’ve ever seen in Europe.”
Until recently, that brought a smile to Frank’s face, a wee flicker of recognition, but not any more. Now, there is only a blank stare, just as there is when Amanda digs out her scrapbook detailing a proud career dominated by his decade at Dundee United, which culminated in the League Cup triumphs of 1979 and 1980.” READ MORE >>