RONNY Deila assures striker Stefan Scepovic’s future at Parkhead; Nadir Ciftci faces probe after bite claims; John Guidetti bids farewell to Celtic on Instagram, plus more news and gossip in Monday’s Rumour Mill
Stefan Scepovic assured of future at Parkhead
CELTIC boss Ronny Deila has suggested that Serbian striker Stefan Scepovic was assured of a future at Parkhead following his double at the weekend against Inverness Caley Thistle.
The striker has only scored three goals for the SPFL Premiership champions but Deila has reportedly insisted his future at the club is safe.
The SPFL Premiership trophy is the first for Deila at the reins, in what has been a ropey first season for Scepovic.
Despite this, the Serbian’s agents are reportedly expected in Scotland this week for talks to discuss his future at the club following his signing from Sporting Gijon last summer.
Deila said: “Stefan has struggled a little bit to get into the physical side of Scottish football but today he showed that he is capable of doing it. I’ m very happy for him.
“Of course he wants to stay here. He wants to succeed here. But everyone wants to play football, that’s the hardest part for me to manage.” (Daily Mail)
Nadir Ciftci faces SFA investigation over bite claims
Dundee United star Nadir Ciftci is facing a SFA investigation following a derby day fracas at the weekend.
The United forward is at the centre of a controversial claim that he bit Dundee’s Jim McAlister during an incident on pitch which has drawn comparisons with Luis Saurez infamous altercation with Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini during the 2014 World Cup.
Although no action was taken by referee Bobby Madden during the match, pictures reportedly showing McAlister’s injuries have been circulating on social media.
SFA compliance officer Tony McGlennan could study footage of the incident at Tannadice. If the Hampden probe into McAlister’s claims show Ciftci did bite the player, he could face months on the sidelines.
Despite winning 3 - 0, United failed to win a European spot. (The Scottish Sun/Evening Telegraph)
John Guidetti bids farewell to Celtic
On loan Swedish striker John Guidetti seemed to bid farewell to Parkhead following yesterday’s celebrations after declining to stay at the Glasgow club.
The Swede posted an picture of the Hoops celebrating with the Premiership trophy with a caption that thanked the club and the fans for the time he spent at Celtic Park.
He wrote: “I just wanna say thank you to the players and staff of Celtic and also to the wonderful fans.”
“It’s been an amazing year and I won my first 2 titles. I met so many amazing peaople (sic) but best of all I got to play at a full Celtic Park on a European night witch (sic) Celtic are known for all around the world.”
Guidetti was left on the bench for yesterday’s 5 - 0 rout of Inverness Caley Thistle and appeared at the very back of the podium as captain Scott Brown was presented with the silverware.
The Manchester City striker fell out of form after Christmas, scoring only four goals in the succeeding months. Previously he had scored 11 goals in his first 12 matches. (Daily Mail)
Leigh Griffiths challenges for No9 shirt
Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths has saluted teammate Stefan Scepovic following his strong showing against Inverness Caley Thistle at the weekend but has reportedly insisted he will not give up the fight for the No9 shirt.
Griffiths also got on the scoresheet after coming off the subs bench to bring his tally up to 20 goals this season.
The striker has suggested that he is the striker to trust ahead of the side’s European campaign.
He said: “I was happy for him [Scepovic}, but at the same time I want to be the number one striker here.
I have made it clear - I want that number nine jersey and I want to be one of the first names that the manager puts on the teamsheet.”
“I definitely think that if I start next season the way I finished this one that I’ll be the top scorer in the country. I feel like I am going to score every time I walk on to the pitch just now.” (Evening Times)
Mike Ashley will walk if Newcastle win something
Sports Direct owner Mike Ashley has confirmed he has no long term interest in Rangers after saying he intends to invest his time and interest in Newcastle.
The tycoon - who recently demanded the repayment of a £5 million loan to Ibrox in January - has said in a rare interview that he wouldn’t sell Newcastle until it wins silverware.
He said: “I’ll continue the policy of investing in Newcastle Football Club.
“To be clear, I’m not going anywhere until we win something.”
Rangers chairman Dave King will have noted his remarks, reportedly hinting that he expects Ashley to walk away from Rangers before long. (The Scottish Sun)
“Shattered” Rangers due a break, says McCall
Rangers gaffer Stuart McCall has said his side are “shattered” after a gruelling spell of four play-off matches in a fortnight.
He reportedly hopes that the momentum the team have built up during the last two weeks will propel them to victory in the final.
The Ibrox outfit will host Motherwell in the first leg on Thursday after seeing off Queen of the South and Hibs.
McCall reportedly gave the team a rare day off yesterday to recharge after admitting the nature of the play-offs were taking their toll. (The Herald)