Rumour Mill: Rangers takeover | Celtic flops

Former Rangers player Lewis Macleod, who is now at Brentford. Picture: SNS

Former Rangers player Lewis Macleod, who is now at Brentford. Picture: SNS

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ROBERT Sarver tried to stop Rangers selling Lewis Macleod; Celtic manager Ronny Deila to chop fringe players; Ex-Rangers striker Peter Lovenkrands backs Mike Ashley, plus all the rest of today’s football news and gossip

Lovenkrands backs Mike Ashley reign at Rangers

Former Rangers striker Peter Lovenkrands has voiced his support for influential club shareholder Mike Ashley. The Dane, 34, who played at Newcastle United under the Sports Direct owner, drew on his own experience when assessing Ashley, saying: “I don’t know what his plans for Rangers are of course. Nobody knows what he intends to do but it’s clear he wants to be involved. I knew him at Newcastle and thought he was great. He was very personable and seemed like one of the boys.

“He would turn up at players’ events, do things normal chairmen wouldn’t do, have a drink and socialise with us. He’d also come end-of-season and join in and have a laugh. I’d never seen a chairman do these things before so it was cool. It was good to see he could be so down-to-earth.” (Scotsman)

Ronny Deila to dump Celtic flops

Ronny Deila will engineer a major clear-out of his squad in January, and will jettison a number of first team players who have failed to impress. Amido Balde and Teemu Pukki are likely to be pushed out the exit door first - both were signed by Neil Lennon in the summer of 2013, but each player has rarely featured under Deila.

Beram Kayal and injury-plagued Derk Boerrigter are also contenders for the chop as Deila looks to slim down his squad.

Deila said: “We have too many players and in my mind it’s much better to have 20 to 22 players of a good level and then fill it with youngsters instead of having 28, 29 players.” (Scottish Sun)

Robert Sarver ‘tried to stop Rangers selling Macleod’

Robert Sarver has left the door open for a potential future investment in Rangers despite being left with no option but to withdraw his revised £20 million takeover proposal for the financially stricken Ibrox club.

In the wake of a second bid for the club was rejected by the board, it has been reported that Sarver attempted to block the sale of Lewis Macleod to Brentford. Sarver said the terms of his initial £18 million offer was a transfer freeze - a condition that the board promptly broke by selling Macleod.

Sarver expressed his “disappointment” with the decision, and said: “Clearly the current directors have a different path they want to go down. I hope for the sake of the club and the fans, who’ve been very warm and supportive towards me, that it works out.” (Scotsman, Daily Record)

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St Mirren fans want answers over club sale

An Argentine group understood to be the frontrunners to buy St Mirren has been urged to explain why.

The four-man group – led by lawyer Ricardo Pini – has lodged a £1.5 million offer.

Sources close to the Paisley club denied on Sunday that a firm agreement has been reached, although other parties are adamant a sale is imminent.

Now John White, secretary of the St Mirren Independent Supporters Association, says the South Americans need to tell Buddies fans what their plans are.

He said: “I’ve got one simple question: Why? I’d ask the same question no matter where they come from. If you do not have a St Mirren background, then why are you here? We’ve heard they are going to buy a 75 per cent stake but that gives you a lot of power.” (Scotsman)

Robbie Neilson adamant Rangers are still a threat

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson says Rangers will remain a huge Championship title threat – even if they move 16 points clear of the Ibrox club on Friday.

Hearts head to Glasgow for the televised encounter with a cushion at the summit having won 17 out of 20 league matches, including home and away victories over Rangers. But even if Hearts reinforce their title credentials with another win in Govan, Neilson insists he will still not write off Rangers’ challenge.

“I expect them to continue to win games and they have won a lot this season,” he said. “Although they’ve lost a few, they’ve still won a fair amount and they’ll do that again during the second half of the season so we have to make sure we continue to win our games.” (Scotsman)

Efe Ambrose linked with West Ham, Crystal Palace

Celtic defender Efe Ambrose has been linked with Premier League duo West Ham and Crystal Palace, according to reports.

Hammers boss Sam Allardyce, who faces the prospect of losing New Zealand defender Winston Reid, has also been linked with Manchester City stopper Matija Nastasic, but Allardyce rubbished both reports, suggesting that Nastasic would be a target for the summer months despite his intention to leave England.

Nigerian international Ambrose has scored six goals in 118 appearances for Celtic, and would cost around £3 million. (Scotsman)

Partick Thistle’s Stephen O’Donnell on Tannadice radar

Dundee United are planning a bid for Partick Thistle captain Stephen O’Donnell. Jackie McNamara, the Dundee United manager, is hoping to offer fringe players in exchange for the 22-year-old. Alternatively, O’Donnell may be signed on a pre-contract deal which would mean the Tannadice outfit would have to wait until the summer to secure the player. (Daily Express)

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