Inverness Caledonian Thistle resigned to losing manager Terry Butcher to Hibernian; Rangers fans plan protest as supporters expect six-week wait for AGM; Edwin van der Sar “impressed” by Celtic’s Fraser Forster, plus all the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Inverness Caledonian Thistle have denied reports that Hibs have already agreed terms with Terry Butcher to make him their manager, but the Englishman is now a red-hot favourite to take over from Pat Fenlon at Easter Road. Inverness have denied that they have been approached by Hibs, but the Highland club are said to be resigned to losing Butcher and may demand that Butcher does not sit in the home team’s dugout when they travel to Easter Road on Saturday. (Daily Record, (Scotsman)
Rangers fans and shareholders are expected to be forced to wait another six weeks for the club’s annual general meeting, as it emerged last night that Wednesday, 18 December has been scheduled as the date, a move which Andy Kerr, president of the Rangers Supporters Assembly, described as “prevarication.”
A splinter fans’ group, The Sons of Struth, has pledged to protest at all Rangers games until their demands are met, which include a confirmation of the date of the AGM and the identities of mystery shareholders involved in investors Blue Pitch Holdings and Margarita Holdings.
Former Rangers chairman Malcolm Murray and his partner Paul Murray raised concerns about the two shareholders, with fans fearing they could be a front for former chief executive Charles Green or even Craig Whyte, the man who started the club on its path towards liquidation last year. (Scotsman, Evening Times)
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has said he will not rush Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher back from injury. The midfielder has not played for nearly two years because of a serious bowel condition.
“I think we just leave him,” Strachan said yesterday. “The thing I’m looking for is his first game with the Man United first team, and that will signal to us that then we come on board now and start, you know, ‘Can he help us?’
“Which he can, obviously. But we leave him till then. We have nothing to do with it apart from me phoning up and seeing how he is: ‘Anything we can do for you?’ Go. And then when you’re ready, when you’ve played that first Man United game, I think we all should celebrate that. Then we take it from there. (Scotsman)
Edwin van der Sar impressed by Fraser Forster
Former Mancheser United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar has hailed Celtic stopped Fraser Forster, saying he could easily compete in the Premiership or Serie A. Van der Sar, now a marketing director at Ajax, also said he was “impressed” by Forster, and also remarked he was so big that “I found myself looking up to him.”
He continued: “Of course there is more to him than that. He’s playing really well at the moment, especially in the big European games which means he’s getting quite a reputation.” (Daily Record)
Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has backed his former side to progress past the group stages of the Champions League. Celtic face Ajax at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday in a tie that will decide which of the two will challenge AC Milan and Barcelona for progress to the knockout stages of Europe’s premiere competition.
Strachan said: “I think Celtic can win in Amsterdam and I think they can beat AC Milan in the next game too. That’s not just hoping, I definitely think they can win on Wednesday. They’re a better team than Ajax. The Ajax team will develop - I don’t think anybody’s had a shave in that team yet. When you look at them compared to the Juventus team Celtic played a year before, they were men.
“The Ajax team will develop in the next nine months, a year, into an exceptional team again. But at the moment I think Celtic have the strength and the know-how to definitely get a result there.” (Scotsman)
“Terry Butcher is a managerial survivor. Having done a marvellous job in Inverness, the mood in Leith suggests that his appointment would be met with applause there, which only serves to highlight football’s here-and-now rationale. At any other time, perhaps even when he was making a good fist of managing Motherwell, the patrons of Easter Road might have felt that they could do better.
“Butcher has been burned by management enough times to disfigure his skin, but that skin has remained thick. Rather than sulk he has kept on coming back for more, remaining true to the values of hard work, honesty and humour that have won him respect and popularity, if not always won him football matches.”