Celtic manager Neil Lennon says referees ‘can’t have it both ways’ over Ciftci; Andy Goram says Rangers’ current crop are not comparable to class of ‘92; Celtic set to land Partick Thistle defender, plus all the rest of today’s news and gossip
Neil Lennon: Refs should explain decisions
The fallout from Nadir Ciftci’s controversial ban for manhandling a linesman continued last night as Celtic manager Neil Lennon called on Scotland’s referees to explain their decisions if they want to criticise the ‘lenient’ punishment handed out to the Dundee United striker.
Lennon claimed that referees “can’t have it both ways” when it comes to having their say in public. “If they want to explain their side of it in this case then they should have to explain a lot of things after games,” said the Celtic manager.
“We want to protect referees as well because they are human beings and they are liable to make mistakes as we all are. This is one of the reasons why they are reluctant to come out and explain things after games because they leave themselves open to widespread criticism.” (Scotsman)
Rangers can’t be compared to Class of ’92 - Goram
Rangers goalkeeping great Andy Goram has commended Ally McCoist’s current crop of Ibrox players for their record-breaking run of 19 consecutive victories but insists the achievement is “not comparable” with his class of ’92.
“You can’t compare it because we were playing Champions League football and combining that with top-flight football, that is true,” said Goram. “We had a great run back in the ’92-’93 season – as well as the winning run we went 44 games unbeaten.”
He added: “I’m of the view that a record is a record and they should be congratulated. It has been decent stuff this year. You still have to beat the teams in front of you, and that wasn’t happening last season.” (Scotsman)
Celtic make move for Partick Thistle’s Aaron Taylor-Sinclair
Celtic have moved a step closer to clinching a deal for Partick Thistle defender Aaron Taylor-Sinclair. The deal, thought to be worth £75,000, will see the left-back join in January.
Partick Thistle are thought to be keen to do a deal because the left-back’s contract expires in the summer.
Jags manager Alan Archibald confirmed the move was in process, saying: “Aaron isn’t staying but wen had a couple of good years out of him. He exceeded all expectations.” (Daily Record)
McCall fears financial fallout from cup exit
AS if overseeing arguably the worst result in Motherwell’s history wasn’t enough to deal with, Stuart McCall is already bracing himself for the collateral damage which last Saturday’s shock Scottish Cup loss to Albion Rovers could cause.
“There is a fear now attached to what might happen in January,” admitted McCall. “It’s not just about going out of the cup, there are financial implications and I know that.”
He added: “This has been as hard a week as I’ve had. As proud and as happy as I was at Hampden in 2011 when we reached the club’s first Scottish Cup final for 20 years, the emotion of it doesn’t come anywhere near the low I felt last weekend.” (Scotsman)
Rangers rebel insists Brian Stockbridge must be ousted
Rangers were embroiled in fresh boardroom turmoil as a member of the rebel group seeking representation on the Ibrox board proclaimed he would not work with Rangers finance director Brian Stockbridge if elected.
Scott Murdoch, one of four nominated directors headed by Jim McColl and Paul Murray, says Stockbridge’s position is untenable.
He also accused chairman David Somers of being partisan, saying: “I would not sit on a board alongside Brian Stockbridge. I would happily sit with the other guys to make sure they were trustworthy and if they were not, I would expose them.”
He added: “If [the directors] are independent they will presumably realise the financial control of Brian Stockbridge has been appalling. He predicted a £7 million loss which became a £14 million loss only three months after he made the prediction.” (Daily Record)
Gary Locke pleads for no January sales at Hearts
Gary Locke has known for some time that he will almost certainly be unable to strengthen his squad in January because of the signing ban while Hearts remain in administration. Now, as the transfer window approaches, his fear is that he will lose players from a group that is already perilously small.
“This is the squad of players we’re going to have to get through the season with, and we certainly can’t afford to lose anyone,” Locke said yesterday. “If clubs want our players and offer money the club thinks is reasonable, I could lose another player – and I can’t replace him.
“So that’s another worry for me in January, that I won’t be able to bring anyone in but that I could still lose one or two. And that would be a disaster.” (Scotsman)
• Celtic are to hand a trial to Japanese international Hiroki Yamada. The Jubilo Itawa will be available on a free transfer should Lennon decide to strike a deal for the twice-capped midfielder. (The Sun)
• Celtic’s market value rose to £95 million yesterday - making them worth £70 million more than rivals Rangers. (The Sun)
• Blackburn Rovers duo Jordan Slew and Yann Songo’o have been linked with loan moves to Ross County. Haukur Pall Sigurdsson, who plays for Icelandic club Valur, is also on Derek Adams’ shortlist for a temporary deal. (Press & Journal)