HIBERNIAN boss Alan Stubbs defends guard of honour decision; striker Kenny Miller’s fears over Rangers’ form; former chairman Alastair Johnston’s bid to reclaim Gers’ identity and more in Saturday’s Rumour Mill
Stubbs defends decision not to honour Hearts
ALAN Stubbs has defended Hibernian’s decision to not stage a guard of honour for their city rivals ahead of today’s Edinburgh derby at Easter Road, claiming it was not a decision made out of disrepect.
Although it has been a feature at Hearts’ last three games against Queen of the South, Rangers and Alloa Athletic, it will not take place at Saturday’s match. The news irked some Hearts players, with defender Alim Ozturk commenting that “it says a lot about them [Hibs]”.
Stubbs has cited the safety of fans as the reason there will be no guard of honour at the derby, notoriously a highly charged event with match flashpoints.
Stubbs said: “The reason why we decided against it is because there are two sets of rival fans, it’s a derby, there’s going to be a lot of animosity.
“You are going to have one set of fans that will be jovial because they’ve won the league, and one that are not going to be happy about that. The most important thing is the safety of the fans and that’s the main reason we’ve done it.”
He went on to say that Hibs have shown nothing but respect for Hearts since they won the title.
He added: “The one thing I feel we have been towards Hearts is respectful.” (The Scotsman)
Miller’s fears over promotion
Rangers’ striker Kenny Miller has expressed his fears over promotion due to the team’s rollercoaster form.
The Ibrox outfit are behind rivals Hibs on goal difference with just five games in hand to leapfrog the Easter Road side and spare themselves the effort of playing two extra ties in the play offs.
But the worry for Miller, 35, is that Rangers’ lack of consistency could wreck their chance of a Premiership return.
Rangers suffered their first defeat under Stuart McCall’s stewarship at on Thursday night with a bruising 3 - 0 encounter away to Queen of the South, ending McCall’s six-game undefeated run.
Miller said: “Last night [Thursday] was a reminder that we have not turned the corner and that there’s a lot of hard work still to be done. It was a performance that summed up our season a little bit.
“That ‘consistency’ word has come up a lot this year. We seem to have a couple of good performances and then complacency kicks in and we take our foot of the gas (The Scotsman)
• Rangers boss Stuart McCall has demanded that defender Bilel Mohsni to clean up his act on Friday night.
Mohsni was booked in Gers’ 3 - 0 rout at Palmerston after react to taunts from Queen of the South fans.
McCall has warned the team that it’s time to cut out costly bookings. (The Scottish Sun)
Gers should scrap club badge to combat Mike Ashley
Former Rangers chairman Alastair Johnston has warned that Ibrox may have to bin their crest and start again in a bid to thwart Mike Ashley.
Johnston has expressed his disgust that ownership rights of the club’s trademarks - including Rangers’ iconic badge, were handed over to Ashley’s Sports Direct empire by Derek Llambias in one of his last acts as chief executive before Dave King’s takeover.
Now an expert in corporate branding, Johnston has said that the only option may be to redraw the club crest to regain some of the club’s identity.
He said: “At some point in time it may be that the only answer to get as close as you can to what has not been passed on to Ashley and basically get the fan base committed to that.” (Daily Record)
Johansen: I would rather have the Treble than Player of the Year
Celtic’s Stefan Johansen would turn down personal accolades if it meant the team would walk away with the Treble.
The Norwegian midfielder remains one of the favourites for this season’s Player of the Year award following his instrumental contribution to the Hoops’ campaign this season. He has said that he would much rather write his name in the history books as part of the fourth Parkhead Treble-winning team than glean an individual award.
He said: “You know you have done a good season [if you win player of the year] of course, but if I am honest. the most important thing for me is if we can go out there and win the Treble, that will mean the most to me.” (The Herald)
• Former Celtic gaffer Neil Lennon has revealed he tried to sign ex-Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty.
The Northern Ireland international has been out on loan to Turkish side Caykur Rizespor by Norwich City.
Lennon admitted he failed in a bid to take him to Bolton. (The Scottish Sun)
Armstrong defends former boss Jackie McNamara in Tannadice civil war
Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong has backs his former boss Jackie McNamara to come through the on-going Dundee United crisis.
McNamara is at the centre of a storm at Tannadice due to recent poor form of his squad and relevations that he benefitted from a bonus from the sale of Armstrong and Gary Mackay-Steven to Celtic in February.
Both players have made it onto the score sheet at Parkhead with flourishing form.
Armstrong said: “Jackie’s a good guy. He was always really nice to me and is capable of turning it around.
United are on a bad run of form just now and the injuries aren’t helping but I’m sure they will turn it around. It’s just a matter of time.” (The Scottish Sun)
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