Rumour Mill: Van Dijk not for sale | Souttar and Ciftci targeted

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CELTIC inists Virgil van Dijk is not for sale; the Bhoys now face Arsenal and Southampton in bid to poach John Souttar; Rotherham target Nadir Ciftci; Scott Brown says he can handle ‘the banter’ after last weekend’s pie incident, plus more news and gossip in Monday’s Rumour Mill

Ronny Deila: Van Dijk is not up for sale

CELTIC manager Ronny Deila has reportedly underlined his no-sale stance over Virgil van Dijk as the Bhoys head into the UEFA Champions League qualifiers.

Deila has hailed his title-winning squad with van Dijk highlighting his importance to the Parkhead outfit during Celtic’s 1 - 0 victory over Aberdeen at Pittodrie.

The Dutchman has attrached the attention of Spurs who are believed to be the latest English Premiership side to be keeping tabs on the defender.

Deila said: ““He will stay a Celtic player. That’s our target, to get stronger.” (Evening Times)

Virgil Van Dijk celebrates his free-kick against Dundee. Picture: SNS Group

Virgil Van Dijk celebrates his free-kick against Dundee. Picture: SNS Group

Celtic faces competition for John Souttar

Celtic faces stiff competition to steal Dundee United’s young star John Souttar.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila reportedly expressed his interest in bringing the 18-year-old to Parkhead last month, as a possible stand-in in midfield for skipper Scott Brown and Israeli international Nar Bitton.

Southampton began the latest club to throw their hat into the ring for the youngster - who became the youngest player in Dundee United’s history when he first debuted in 2013 - after scout Ross Wilson saw the player in action against St Johnstone last weekend.

Dundee United bosses are reportedly in no rush to sell Souttar, having received flak for the sale of Stuart Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven to Celtic in January. (Daily Mail)

Rotherham target Ciftci

English side Rotherham have become the latest club to target Dundee United’s Nadir Ciftci.

The Turkish striker has also been courted by Celtic although the Dundee United board have reportedly already agreed to bids from the Parkhead side and take a financial hit if Celtic boss Ronny Deila does outbid other clubs.

Rotherham manager Steve Evans travelled north to watch Ciftci play against St Johnstone at the weekend. (Scottish Sun)

Scott Brown can take ‘the banter’ after pie incident

Celtic skipper Scott Brown reportedly insists he can take ‘the banter’ after being pelted with a pie as he celebrated scoring his winning goal against Aberdeen which helped his side secure a 14-point gap over the Pittodrie outfit.

Brown was celebrating behind the goals when the pie was thrown at him from the stands.

He said: “‘Someone threw a pie at me and I was going to eat it but it fell out of my hands. That’s probably just as well because the gaffer wouldn’t have liked it – there’ s too many carbs in it.

“These things happen, I don’t pay too much attention to it. It’s banter and for 90 minutes they can give me as much as they want, it doesn’t bother me.” (Daily Mail)

Motherwell’s Erwin to sign new deal

Rising star Lee Erwin is set to secure his future at Motherwell with a new deal to keep him at Fir Park.

The 21-year-old has reportedly impressed bosses this season with stand out performances, including last Friday against Kilmarnock, helping to keep the club’s survival hopes alive.

17 first-team players will be out of a contract at the end of the season, including Erwin, but manager Ian Barraclough is reportedly hopeful that terms can be agreed with Erwin soon. (Evening Times)

IN BRIEF

• Hibernian’s long-serving secretary and operations director Garry O’Hagan - credited with a key role in the creation of Hibs’ £5 million training academy - has left the club. (The Scotsman)

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes has insisted Aberdeen will come back stronger next season to challenge Celtic for the Premiership. (The Scotsman)