Neil Lennon and Kris Commons let rip over Celtic’s abject Ajax display; Terry Butcher likely to miss out Hibernian v Inverness clash; Lionel Messi vows not to do Ajax any “favours”, plus the rest of this week’s football news and gossip
Lennon and Commons let rip over Ajax display
Celtic manager Neil Lennon and midfielder Kris Commons have both savaged their team’s display against Ajax on Wednesday, which saw the Parkhead side lose 1-0 at the Amsterdam ArenA. Lennon, who was particularly critical of his frontmen, called the performance “shocking” and said his players lacked hunger and desire.
He said: “In forward areas, we need to do better. They didn’t perform. I’m not going to dig out individuals. You know who I’m talking about.”
Commons said the game was one of the worst attacking displays he’d seen from the side.
“Coming in at 0-0 at half-time flattered us, really, because we didn’t pass the ball well, we didn’t look inventive. We had no imagination going forwrd and we were losing the ball too easily. We looked a little bit out of our depth. But second half, when they scored, we were looking more on top.” (Daily Express, The Sun)
Lionel Messi vows not to take Ajax lightly
Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has said the Catalans will not ease off on Ajax in Amsterdam, despite having already qualified with a 3-1 win over AC Milan. Barcelona have not yet won the group outright, a goal which Messi says is key to how they approach their remaining two games.
“We are glad we are qualified after matchday four,” said Messi, “but there is still work to be done.
“Our aim was always to win the group and to make sure of that we must get a result in our next game against Ajax. Celtic and Milan don’t need to worry, we won’t be doing Ajax any favours. Our aim will be to go and win in Holland and that is what we believe we will do.” (The Sun)
Celtic to begin probe over Amsterdam violence
Celtic have launched an investigation into violence that saw dozens of supporters arrested and policemen injured in assaults that broke out in Amsterdam. Though the Parkhead club will escape UEFA sanction over the incident in Dam Square, the club has launched a probe after footage emerged of Celtic fans entangled themselves in city centre skirmishes. Celtic will also investigate claims that their 9,000 travelling support were subjected to provocation and heavy-handed policing. (Daily Mail)
Inverness Caledonian Thistle assistant manager Maurice Malpas believes Terry Butcher has not yet made a decision about whether to join Hibernian as the teams prepare to meet tomorrow afternoon at Easter Road in an encounter now replete with intrigue.
Malpas was speaking at the club’s Fort George base yesterday after taking training with the players in Butcher’s absence. It’s likely that Malpas will be in the away dug-out tomorrow afternoon.
“Terry has a decision to make and it’s up to Terry what he does,” said Malpas. “Then there are a million scenarios after that. I’m here to make sure we are prepared properly. It’s been a normal week. Terry wasn’t here today, but Terry misses training sometimes.” (Scotsman)
Liam Craig loses appeal over violent conduct
Hibernian midfielder Liam Craig has lost his challenge against a charge of violent conduct in the Edinburgh derby and will miss two games, while Dundee United forward Nadir Ciftci has enjoyed success in the first of his two scheduled disciplinary hearings over his part in a League Cup melee at Inverness.
Craig lost his appeal against a two-match ban for “kicking or attempting to kick” Hearts goalscorer Ryan Stevenson in the face during Hibernian’s 1-0 League Cup quarter-final defeat last week. The midfielder misses his team’s Scottish Premiership clash against Inverness tomorrow as well as the first League Cup tie of next season.
Ciftci has won his appeal against his red card in the quarter-final and saw a further violent conduct charge thrown out. He is still to face another hearing relating to an alleged attack on a match official. (Scotsman)
Rangers and Northern Ireland player Andy Little will undergo surgery on Monday after tests proved he had broken his right cheekbone and jaw during his club’s win over Dunfermline.
Little was carried off on a stretcher wearing a neck brace after lengthy treatment following a clash of heads with Dunfermline full-back Alex Whittle in the first half of Rangers’ 3-1 League One victory on Wednesday night.
The 24-year-old went straight to hospital and Rangers say it will be 2014 before he is expected to make a comeback. (Scotsman)