Rumour Mill: United back Ciftci | Liam Craig | Van Dijk

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DUNDEE United back ‘victim’ Nadir Ciftci over biting incident; Hibs captain Liam Craig axed from Easter Road; Virgil van Dijk stays tight-lipped over Celtic future, plus more news and gossip in Tuesday’s Rumour Mill

United back Ciftci amid “Bitegate” fallout

Dundee United bosses backed Nadir Ciftci last night following claims he bit Dundee’s Jim McAlister during last weekend’s derby fixture.

Nadir Ciftci has reportedly claimed he was in fact the victim, despite pictures circulating on social media which appear to show the player biting McAlister’s leg.

The club have gone as far as to praise Ciftci for dealing with strong provocation on the pitch during Sunday’s derby clash with Dundee at Tannadice.

A spokesman for Dundee United said: “It’s clear to us the player has not been involved in any such incident. In fact, we commend Nadir for his tolerance on the field given some quite severe physical and totally unacceptable verbal provocation.”

Dundee United's Nadir Ciftci celebrates scoring against Dundee in a match which has caused a considerable storm. Picture: SNS Group

Dundee United's Nadir Ciftci celebrates scoring against Dundee in a match which has caused a considerable storm. Picture: SNS Group

A club insider reportedly hinted that there may have been a racial element to the fracas on the pitch. (The Scotsman/The Scottish Sun)

Hibs captain Liam Craig axed

Hibs captain Liam Craig has become the first casualty of Hibs’ failure to move to the top flight, after reportedly being told a deal was no longer on the table.

Although his two-year stint with the Easter Road outfit is now over, 28-year-old Craig has reportedly insisted he doesn’t bear a grudge and is looking for a fresh challenge.

He said: “I understand the club have hard choices to make with another season in the Championship to come, so I just need to look for a fresh challenge elsewhere now.

“I’ve captained the club through a difficult time but it was an honour to do it and I know I have a lot still to offer.” (Daily Record)

Van Dijk remains tight-lipped about future

Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk has bid farewell to teammate Jason Denayer as the on-loan Belgian return to Manchester City but remains tight-lipped about his own future.

The Dutchman’s future at Parkhead is still unclear with a number of English clubs expressing an interest in signing the defender.

Celtic boss Ronny Deila has in recent weeks insisted van Dijk is going no where. (Evening Times)

St Johnstone sign Exeter City’s Graham Cummins

St Johnstone have signed former Preston striker Graham Cummins as Gary Miller and James McFadden depart McDiarmid Park.

27-year-old Cummins has signed a one-year contract with the Premiership side after on-loan striker Brian Graham chose to join Ross County.

Cummins scored seven goals in 36 games for Exeter this season. (The Herald)

Steven Thompson ‘desperate’ to sign new deal with St Mirren

Captain Steven Thompson is eager to sign a new contract with St Mirren and become part of the new Ian Murray era at the Paisley club.

Thompson, 36, is one of 16 players now out of contract and reportedly has no immediate plans to hang up his boots.

Following relegation, new gaffer Murray will be focused on returning the club to the Premiership and Thompson is keen to help do it at the first time of asking next season.

He said: “Ideally I would like to play next year and would love to play at St Mirren. I’ll have to wait and hear from Ian and see what his thoughts are but I want to play on.

“He did a fantastic job at Dumbarton and obviously was a team-mate of mine at Rangers. It’s a great chance for him at a club with an amazing infrastructure to enhance his career.” (Daily Record)