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The Rumour Mill: Thursday’s football news and gossip

Rangers manager Ally McCoist admits pressure is on to beat Alloa. Picture: SNS

Rangers manager Ally McCoist admits pressure is on to beat Alloa. Picture: SNS

In today’s Rumour Mill: Rangers boss admits there’s a long way to go; Hibs captain hits back at Skacel; Craig Levein awaits SFA verdict; plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.

McCoist minds the gap

Rangers manager Ally McCoist admitted his rebuilding job still has a long way to go after watching his side lose 3-0 at home to Inverness in the Scottish Communities League Cup: “Individual errors cost us the three goals and that’s extremely disappointing. This was our opportunity to compete with an SPL club again but we were miles short of the intensity we showed [in the previous round] against Motherwell. We have still got a long, long, long way to go and tonight showed that.” (Various)

• Inverness boss Terry Butcher, on the other hand, was elated after the win: “We are delighted to be there but it hasn’t really sunk in,” he said. “We had to weather a bit of a Rangers storm but once we got the second goal, we were able to pick Rangers off.” (Various)

Houston stopped Skacel taking penalty

Peter Houston has admitted it was his decision to stop Rudi Skacel taking a spot kick against his former club as Hearts sent Dundee United out of the Scottish Communities League Cup on penalties. The Tannadice boss said: “I thought it would be best with the guys I know can take penalties and who I can trust. I don’t think it would have been fair to Rudi to put that pressure on him.” (Sun)

• Nottingham Forest have joined the race to sign in-demand Dundee United pair Johnny Russell and Gary Mackay-Steven. The Championship club are thought to have sent a scout to last night’s match as they seek to bolster their squad for a promotion push. (Record)

Hibs captain hits back at Skacel

Hibernian skipper James McPake has had a pop at Dundee United midfielder Rudi Skacel over his controversial choice of the 51 shirt number. The Northern Ireland international said: “Rudi Skacel can do what he wants but it’s the kind of behaviour I’d expect from someone who is 16 or 17. I’d expect Leigh Griffiths to pull a stunt like that but even he’s too mature. Fair play, it’s a bit of banter but it won’t bother me or the Hibs players.” (Record)

Levein: I’ll know my fate by Monday

Craig Levein has said that he will know by Monday if he is to be sacked following Scotland’s dismal start to their World Cup qualifying campaign. The embattled Scotland boss said: “I had a chat with Stewart Regan and Campbell Ogilvie earlier in the week and I believe I will find out at the beginning of next week. They have assured me a decision will be made before we announce the squad to face Luxembourg on Tuesday.” (Various)

• Former international Paul Hartley has backed SLevein as his position comes under scrutiny again. He said: “I think we’ve got the right man in Craig. We can’t chop and change managers every couple of years, we’ve got to give them more time to hopefully get the positive results. He’ll see it as a building job. We know we’re not in a good position.” (Various)

Hearts deny share issue cash will be used to pay tax bill

Hearts last night claimed that none of the money raised in their share issue will be used to pay off a potential tax bill. The club are in dispute with Her Majesty’s Revenue and 
Customs which claims it is owed £1.75 million (plus interest and penalties) in unpaid taxes relating to players loaned to Hearts from Kaunas from 2005. (Scotsman)

• Ryan McGowan looks set to leave Hearts after his agent admitted that contract talks have broken down. The Australian defender has already turned down an offer that agent Lou Sticca claimed was “demeaning”. Sticca said he was now “in the dark” and had not heard from the Tynecastle club for about a month. (Record)

Hibs chairman calls for fans’ financial backing

Hibernian chairman Rod Petrie has urged supporters to help fund Pat Fenlon’s continuing attempts to improve the team. Citing the “unprecedented events of this summer created high levels of uncertainty in Scottish football”, Petrie said on the club’s website: “We would like to do more to help Pat sustain that improvement again in the January transfer window. That will depend on our core source of income – receipts from attendances at home games 
between now and the turn of the year. There is no magic wand, everyone needs to do what they can, but only if they can, in these times of economic hardship.” (Various)

‘Old’ Rangers formally liquidated

Oldco Rangers has been formally put into liquidation, as a senior judge declared himself “very concerned” that allegations had been made about the administration of the club carried out by London insolvency firm Duff & Phelps. Lord Hodge said he wanted the claims to be “aired in a fair way” and had asked the BBC for transcripts of conversations at the centre of the allegations. (Various)

Lee McCulloch extends Rangers stay

Rangers captain Lee McCulloch yesterday signed a new two-year deal that will keep the versatile player at Ibrox until 2015. McCulloch, 34, has been at Ibrox since 2007 and has scored 14 goals in 16 appearances for the Third Division side so far this season, having been deployed in midfield and defence as well as up front. (Various)

IN BRIEF

• Falkirk are set to renew their attempt to sign Robbie Neilson, who suffered a broken cheekbone while playing as a trialist against Dunfermline earlier this month. (Express)

• The Tartan Army have been given an extra 1000 tickets for Scotland’s friendly in Luxembourg on November 14. (Express)

• Dunfermline chairman John Yorkston has vowed that players will be paid after October wages were late. Five directors recently quit the First Division club. (Sun)

• The attendance of 14,399 at Parkhead for Celtic’s 5-0 League Cup win over St Johnstone was the club’s lowest in 18 years. (Sun)

• Alloa defender Ryan Harding has returned to the club after a month on loan at Peterhead but is cup-tied for Saturday’s Scottish Cup tie against Rangers. (Record)

• Former St Johnstone, Blackpool and Huddersfield striker Keigan Parker has joined Junior outfit Irvine Meadow. (Record)

• Former Rangers and Scotland midfielder Barry Ferguson, 34, has agreed terms with League Two club Fleetwood Town on a short-term loan deal after struggling to hold a regular place at Blackpool. (Mail)

 

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