Rumour Mill: Celtic | Griffiths | Neilson | McInnes

Leigh Griffiths (left) and Scott Brown celebrate winning the Scottish League Cup in March. Picture: PA

Leigh Griffiths (left) and Scott Brown celebrate winning the Scottish League Cup in March. Picture: PA

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AS Celtic win their fourth successive title, Leigh Griffiths explains how he and Deila turned it around; Robbie Neilson comes out fighting against ban; McInnes has already setsAberdeen target for next season, plus more news and gossip in Sunday’s Rumour Mill

Leigh Griffiths: Turned it around to make it four

EARLIER in the season, Celtic star Leigh Griffiths was anxious about his future at Parkhead, fearing the axe from new boss Ronny Deila.

With a fourth title in the bag, Griffiths and Deila have both delivered another title to Celtic. But amid all the celebrations, Griffiths reportedly admitted it hasn’t all be plain sailing.

He said: “After my first four or five months at the club, it wasn’t looking great for me.

“But I spoke to the manger about it. I had to get my head down and work harder.

“He said my chance would come and since the turn of the year, it has beeen magic and I’ve helped the club win another title.” (Sunday Mail)

Robbie Neilson will fight any SFA ban

Hearts boss Robbie Neilson has reportedly vowed to fight any ban he might get after he was sent to the stand by referee Calum Murray during the Rangers fixture on Saturday.

Neilson was forced to watch from the stands as Hearts finally lifted the Championship trophy and could face a rap from the SFA.

According to Neilson, he was sent off the sidelines for shouting at a Rangers player after his side went 2 - 0 down to the Ibrox side.

He said: “I didn’t think it was a penalty anyway. But there were a few other things in the build up to that goal that were dubious to say the least.

“It was the first time I have been sent to the stand. I will get called up and I will explain my side. If coaches are going to get sent up to the stand for shouting at opposition players there will be nobody left in the dugout.” (Sunday Mail)

Gordon: Bhoys will get better because Deila demands it

After two years out of football, Celtic keeper Craig Gordon, 32, is celebrating his first title win with the Hoops.

That said, Craig Gordon isn’t content to rest on his laurels with a shot at the Champions League in sight, and he isn’t convinced Ronny Deila is either.

He said: “When he first came in, he was trying to get his style of play across to the players in pre-season as well.

“So you couldn’t just go straight into the fitness work. He wanted to put the tactical side across as well.”

There was noted dissent among the Celtic ranks early on in Deila’s tenure but, according to Gordon, it is all smoothed out.

He added: “With everyone knowing exactly what’s expected now, we can look 
forward to having another crack at the Champions League.” (Sunday Mail)

McInnes sets Dons target of closing the gap on Celtic

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes congratulated Celtic on winning their fourth consecutive Scottish Premiership title last night - but has already reportedly set his side the target of closing the gap next season.

He said: ““The challenge is to get closer to Celtic next year.

“That’s for everyone, not just us, but certainly from our point of view we want to keep improving.

“We are 10 points better off than we were last season but even then we always knew Celtic would have to have a poor season.”

Celtic won the title without kicking a ball on Saturday as closest challenger Aberdeen lost at Tannadice to Dundee United, who were routed 5 - 0 by Celtic last weekend. (STV Sport)

Stubbs hits back about Hibs’ “bottle”

Hibernian gaffer Alan Stubbs reportedly made a side-swipe at detractors yesterday who cast doubt on his teamafter the show of strength that allowed Hibs to cruise into the play-offs at the semi-final stage.

Hibs outgunned Falkirk in a disciplined and emphatic 3-0 victory to secure the runners-up position in the Championship.

Asked whether his team had shown ‘bottle’, Stubbs responded: “Bottle is a funny thing, isn’t it? I’m surprised sometimes when people can question our bottle.

“No one was questioning our bottle when we’d lost just one game in 27. Suddenly we lost one or two and people began to question it, but that’s good because it just makes my players more determined.” (Scotland on Sunday)

Wilson avoids embarrassment leaving with head high

In a last act as Hearts captain and lifting the Championship trophy, Danny Wilson has said he can now leave with his head held high.

In front of an expectant crowd who have waited since the end of March to see the trophy lifted, Wilson, 23, emerged last from the tunnel and hoisted aloft the silverware to the pop of confetti cannons and cheers.

To avoid embarrassment, the Hearts captain had been warned that there was a knack to lifting the Championship trophy.

He said: “It was just a great feeling. I was desperate to be out there soaking it all in. I’d been told that if I lifted it too quickly, the lid would come off, so I was making sure my thumbs were in the right place when I took it.” (Scotland on Sunday)

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