Rumour Mill: Rodgers ‘feared for players’ | Gers set up Marseille clash | Arnason returns to Dons

Brendan Rodgers criticised the fans who threw missiles at the Celtic players. Picture: Getty Images
Brendan Rodgers criticised the fans who threw missiles at the Celtic players. Picture: Getty Images
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Brendan Rodgers admits ‘worry’ over missiles; Rangers set up friendly with French giants and Kari Arnason returns to Pittodrie

‘It should be a safe environment’ says Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers has insisted that players should be able to play matches in a ‘safe environment’ after Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths wasa targeted by Linfield fans throwing missiles at last night’s Champions League qualifier.

Griffiths was bizarrely booked after a number of missiles -including a glass bottle of Buckfast - rained down on him as he tried to take a corner. He was yellow carded after picking the bottle up and alerting the referee.

Rodgers added: “I didn’t quite see what it actually was but of course there is always a worry. It was maybe a bottle of some sort, but anything, whether it’s a coin or a bottle or whatever, shouldn’t happen.” (The Scotsman)

Read more - Linfield 0-2 Celtic: How the Celtic players rated

Gers line up Marseille friendly

Rangers will take on French giants Marseille in a pre-season friendly at Ibrox next weekend.

The Ligue 1 side will travel to Glasgow on July 22 as Pedro Caixinha looks to sharpen up his squad ahead of the season opener away to Motherwell on August 6.

The Gers will also take on Sheffield Wednesday on July 30 in another friendly match. (Evening Times)

Read more - Five things we learned from Linfield 0-2 Celtic

Arnason returns to Pittodrie

Former fans’ favourite Kari Arnason has returned to Aberdeen five years after he left the Dons for Rotherham.

The Iceland international, 34, has signed a one-year deal with the Pittodrie side, and has played for Swedish outfit Malmo and Omonia in Cyprus as well as the Millers since leaving in 2012.

Arnason, who starred for Iceland at Euro 2016, said: “About two weeks ago I heard of the interest and I told my agent to get on it and make it happen. It’s been difficult but we got there in the end so, very happy.” (Various)

Caixinha watches on as Newcastle defeat Hearts

Pedro Caixinha was in the stand to watch target Jamie Walker score as Hearts narrowly lost to Newcastle United in a friendly at Tynecastle.

A double from Dwight Gayle was enough for the Magpies, who gave run-outs to a number of first teamers including new signing Christian Atsu, Chancel Mbemba and Aleksandar Mitrovic.

Hearts striker Esmael Goncalves skied a first-half penalty as Hearts gave a good account of themselves - and Caixinha could be convinced to put in an improved offer for Walker after his showing. (Various)

Outgoing SPFL chief stands firm amid title stripping calls

Departing SPFL chairman Ralph Topping is confident the organisation can withstand attempts from clubs and fans to question the validity of titles won by Rangers following last week’s Supreme Court verdict in the Big Tax Case.

Topping will officially stand down as chairman on 1 August but knows the row over Rangers’ use of Employment Benefit Trusts (EBTs) won’t go away.

And he confirmed the SPFL is confident it can issue a robust defence to any potential legal challenges. with Celtic calling for a review of Lord Nimmo Smith commission of 2013, which fined Rangers for the non-declaration of EBTs.

Topping added: “In these circumstances you have to rely on legal minds. We have gone to the finest solicitor in the land and taken his view. He has given us what we think is very sound legal advice.” (The Scotsman)

Lennon aiming to add ‘a bit of quality’

Neil Lennon believes Hibs have a solid base to build from as he bids to bring some additional stardust to his squad in the coming weeks.

Steven Whittaker is likely to be added to the squad this week to join Ofir Marciano, Efe Ambrose, Danny Swanson and Simon Murray as new permanent signings at Easter Road, while a number of players have signed new deals at Hibs.

Lennon added: “The core of the squad is good – now we just need to add a bit of quality here and there. We’re very pleased with the business we’ve done and hopefully we’ll have some more names that will appeal to the supporters.” (Evening News)

NEWS IN BRIEF

• Andy Geggan scored the only goal on his second debut for Ayr United as the Honest Men defeated rivals Kilmarnock in the League Cup last night

• Hamilton Accies have paid their first transfer fee in nearly a decade to bring in French defender Xavier Tomas from Swiss side Lausanne

• Gary Mackay-Steven has claimed he felt ‘invisible’ at Celtic - but insisted there are no regrets and no hard feelings since he joined Aberdeen