Rumour Mill: Celtic look to protect Dembele | Darren Fletcher hailed | Barton told to get in line

Karamoko Dembele made his debut for Celtic under-20s earlier this week. Picture: Jamie Williamson

Karamoko Dembele made his debut for Celtic under-20s earlier this week. Picture: Jamie Williamson

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Celtic are looking for Fifa to protect Dembele from being poached; Darren Fletcher hailed by Gordon Strachan as the perfect role model for young players; plus more news and gossip in Saturday’s Rumour Mill

Celtic look to keep Dembele

Celtic are seeking protection from Fifa should any club try to tempt teenager Karamoko Dembele from Parkhead.

Several major European clubs are reportedly tracking the youngster after the 13-year-old made a sensational under-20 side appearance against Hearts earlier this week.

Celtic are reassured that they can keep hold of the teen after the world governing body came down hard on Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid for breaching rules on transfers of under-18 players. (The Scottish Sun)

- Neil Lennon insists Celtic won’t let what happened to Islam Feruz derail Dembele’s future chances.

Lennon was manager four years ago when Feruz quit Celtic for Chelsea. Feruz, 21, has since been farmed out by Stamford Bridge to CFI Crete, Blackpool, Hibs and Excel Mouscron without much success.

The Hibs manager believes Celtic have now learned their lesson and will seek to protect Dembele. (The Scottish Sun)

Darren Fletcher already a Scotland legend

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan has paid a glowing tribute to captain Darren Fletcher, hailing him as the perfect role model for young international players.

Fletcher will don the captain’s armband for the 30th time on Saturday night in the World Cup qualifier against Lithuania.

Strachan said: “There is not a tattoo on Darren’s body, he doesn’t walk about with big headphones on, he hasn’t got a cockatoo hairstyle and he doesn’t wear outrageous shoes. He just wants to play football.” (The Scotsman

“End the circus, Joey”

Rangers legend Mark Hateley has urded embattled Gers player Joey Barton to stop being a distraction and get in line at the club.

Barton is due back at Murray Park on Monday after being suspended following a training brawl imposed by boss Mark Warburton.

The player and Warburton are set for crunch talks about his future, made worse by an SFA charge over betting on 44 matches. Hateley said Barton was a “distraction Rangers could do without just now.” (Daily Record)

Griffiths can break goal record

Former Scotland striker Gary McSwegan has backed Leigh Griffiths to break Scotland’s goal record if he is given a consistent run in the national side.

It is currently jointly held by Kenny Dalglish and Dennis Law who have scored 30 times each.

McSwegan believes Griffiths is capable of reproducing his prolific form for Celtic for Scotland. (Scottish Daily Mail)

Northern Ireland and Wales welcomed into Irn Bru Cup

Hibernian manager Neil Lennon has welcomed the introduction of Northern Irish and Welsh clubs into the Irn Bru Cup.

He said: “I think it creates a bit of freshness and interest. It’s an interesting concept and we’ll see how it works. I wouldn’t have been adverse to going to Belfast for the weekend, or Cardiff. I’m all for it. I think it’s good.”

Hibs avoiding being drawn against Belfast-based Crusaders and Linfield, as well as Bala Town, and The New Saints from Wales who were invited to join the competition. (Edinburgh Evening News)

NEWS IN BRIEF:

• Scotland fans have been handed 13,700 tickets - double their alloted ticket allocation - for their tie against England at Wembley next month. (Various)

• Philippe Senderos reckons competition for places in the Rangers squad will push the side up the Premiership standings. (Evening Times)

• Celtic’s Mikael Lustig scored Sweden’s only goal to edge victory against 10-man Luxembourg. (ESPN)

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