VIRGIL van Dijk will leave Celtic in the summer, according to his agent; Rangers could repay £1.5m loan with season ticket money; Aiden McGeady reveals regrets over Gordon Strachan bust-ups, plus all the rest of today’s news and sport
Celtic’s Virgil van Dijk England-bound, says agent
VIRGIL van Dijk’s agent said last night that he expects the Celtic defender to move to England in the summer.
The Dutch centre-back has impressed since his £2.6 million move from Groningen last year. He has been linked with English Premier League clubs, including Manchester United and Manchester City, and his agent, Henk-Maarten Chin, believes Van Dijk could be on the move, although he admitted there had been no bid so far.
Chin said: “There is certainly interest. Many English clubs are interested in him – the absolute top clubs. They watch him and are very keen. There has been no official approaches for Virgil yet, but that will come after the season ends.
“There’s certainly far more interest in him than we could have dreamed of. I expect something will happen for him this summer – the intention would be for him to earn a top transfer.” (Scotsman)
Rangers season ticket money could repay £1.5m loan
RANGERS have agreed that their £1.5 million loan from Sandy Easdale and Laxey Partners could be repaid from the sale of season tickets for 2014-15.
The move, which is likely to further damage relations between the current board of directors at Ibrox and a significant proportion of the club’s support, has been published in documents lodged with Registers of Scotland, the country’s official land and property register.
When Rangers announced the loan late last month, they said repayment would come from “a variety of potential sources”. Section six of the “Inter Creditor Agreement” lodged with Registers of Scotland spells out what those potential sources are.
“6.1.1 the sale of season ticket monies for the 2014/15 football season or;
“6.1.2 a placing or rights issue or other form of debt or equity fundraising of the Company or any member of the Rangers Group; or whichever is the first to occur and in any event by no later than 1 September 2015.” (Scotsman)
Favourites’ tag means nothing, warns Ally McCoist
Ally McCoist is unsure if his Rangers are ready to compete for major trophies. The unbeaten League One leaders are on the brink of clinching the third-tier title but have not faced top-flight opposition since losing 3-0 to Dundee United in last season’s William Hill Scottish Cup.
The bookies believe Rangers are on course for the final and have priced them as the 3/1 second favourites. But Ibrox boss McCoist is uncertain whether his team is ready to take on one of the nation’s big outfits.
He said: “I’m not sure if we are ahead of schedule or behind. It’s difficult to gauge with cups because you do need the luck of the draw. Should we be amongst the favourites? I don’t know. Dundee United look not bad, while Aberdeen have beaten Celtic twice in the last four weeks.”
He added: “Cup ties are one-off games anyway but because we are not playing at the top level no one really knows where we are it, so it doesn’t really bother me what the bookies say.” (Scotsman)
Aiden McGeady regrets Gordon Strachan bust-ups
Aiden McGeady has revealed details of his sometimes fractious relationship with Gordon Strachan while the pair were at Celtic. McGeady, speaking about his old boss Strachan ahead of the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifiers against Scotland, also said the now-Scotland manager had helped him improve his game.
“He was always on at me,” said McGeady, “tracking back was probably his thing for me. The penny finally dropped for me that I had to bring that into my game. If you don’t track back then you are a luxury player, aren’t you?”
He added: “Myself and Strachan had our differences but overall he took my game to the next level.
“In terms of disagreements, I’d maybe do a couple of things differently. In my opinion, a lot of the time. I wasn’t in the wrong. Now, maybe, I would bite my tongue. “The game against Scotland will be good, especially if it’s at Celtic Park. I’m expecting abuse from Scotland fans and it will be worse if the game is at Ibrox.” (Sunday Mail)
Be wary of threats, John Brown tells Rangers fans’ coalition
John Brown has warned Rangers fans to be wary of threats and intimidation in the course of campaigning for control of the club. A coalition of fans are preparing to back Dave King by withholding season ticket money from the club, a suggestion the former Rangers director had made in order to gain leverage with which to seek assurances about the club’s future from the board.
Brown, initially ridiculed for publicly opposing Charles Green’s stewardship of the club two years ago, has warned fans to expect sinister tactics from individuals opposed to their bid. Brown also revealed he was subject to threats, which made mention of his family.
“I’d say to anyone who is going to go in at the deep end, trying to protect their football club, just be wary. Because I think, sooner or later, someone will try to warn them to step back from it.
“From my own experience, you can end up looking over your shoulder and careful of who is looking at you.” (Mail on Sunday)
Garry O’Connor abandoned flat and Range Rover in Russia
Garry O’Connor’s stint in Russia playing for Lokomotiv Moscow was so bad that he left the Range Rover he owned with the keys in the ignition and abandoned his flat without packing.
O’Connor, who moved from Hibernian to the Russian outfit in 2006, also revealed he hadn’t been paid by the club for months and that he would often be pulled over and extorted for money by local police.
After the chairman denied him permission to leave the club, O’Connor took drastic action: “He said I had to honour the contract but I said he hadn’t paid me for eight months!
“So I gave them the ultimatum to pay me the next day... put the money in my account or else.
“But I just left anyway. I drove to the airport and left the car with my keys in it and left all my clothes at my flat!” (Sunday Mail)
Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths is given a warm embrace by former teammate Kevin Thomson as he watches his old side draw 3-3 with Motherwell at Easter Road in the SPFL Scottish Premiership.