IN TODAY’S Rumour Mill: Ryan McGowan on his way out of Tynecastle; Hearts sanctions scupper Skacel bid; Griffiths wants to stay in Edinburgh; Fabio Capello and Michel Platini write off Celtic hopes; plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.
China bound McGowan a target for Rangers
Rangers have joined the hunt for Hearts’ Australian defender Ryan McGowan on a pre-contract agreement. McGowan has been the centre of increased speculation in recent days and was linked with a switch to an unnamed Chinese club.
Reports suggested McGowan had agreed to visit China to agree terms later this week, and that a fee had been agreed between Hearts and the Chinese club.
Ally McCoist tried to sign McGowan in a last minute move in the August transfer window, but the player decided to stay in the SPL with Hearts. However, at this stage, the cash strapped Tynecastle club will likely accept all offers for their Australian star, so renewed bid by Rangers could prise him away. (Various)
New ban scuppers Hearts’ Skacel bid
Yesterday’s extension to Hearts’ signing ban, increases the misery at Tynecastle and means they will not be able to sign fans’ favourite Rudi Skacel.
The decision also means they will not be able to go ahead with the proposed signing of Arturas Rimkevicius. (Various)
Humphrey on Rangers’ wanted list
Motherwell winger Chris Humphrey also appears to be on the Rangers wanted list. The Ibrox club, who are unable to sign players until September, are looking to arrange a pre-contract agreement with the former Shrewsbury Town man. (The Sun)
Leigh Griffiths (still) wants to stay
The Leigh Griffiths will he, won’t he saga will finally be sorted out this month, his loan deal at Easter Road ends January 19.
Griffiths again stated he would prefer to stay with Hibs and not return to Wolverhampton. He said: “I have told them I want to stay, so now I just want it done as soon as possible.”
Hibernian bosses are increasingly frustrated by the mixed messages from Wolves and are desperate to secure the striker. (Various)
Lennon eyes Gershon as African Cup of Nations cover
Celtic are confident they can secure the loan of Rami Gershon from Standard Liege.
The Israeli defender would be free to play in Celtic’s Champions League games as he is not cup tied and would provide cover in defence while Efe Ambrose is away on Nigeria duty at the African Cup of Nations.
Celtic face competition for Gershon’s signature from Kortrijk and Germinal Beerschot, both teams play in the Belgian league and would likely be able to offer him more chances at first team football. (Daily Express)
Capello counts out Celtic
Former England boss Fabio Capello has written off Celtic’s Champions League chances. Capello, who is now in charge of the Russian national team, has been so impressed with Juventus that he thinks they will stroll through the tie with the SPL champions.
Capello said: “I have no doubt Juve will go far, very far in this competition”. Capello’s prediction follows UEFA president Michel Platini’s comments a few days ago.
Platini upset a few people when he said: “After being drawn against Celtic we can already consider Juve to be in the quarter-finals.
“Juventus will count themselves very fortunate. This comes from someone who understands football and who has played on this great European stage.”
Pitch inspection due ahead of Highland derby
With last week’s match against Hearts having to be called off, Ross County again face a nervy wait ahead of their much anticipated Highland derby clash with Inverness.
The Global Energy Stadium has again been battered by stormy weather and faces a pre-match inspection.
Hearts have looked into getting compensation from Ross County after the SPL match in Dingwall was called off at the last minute on Saturday afternoon. (Various)
Butcher of Barnsley?
Inverness Caledonian Thistle manager Terry Butcher is the top target for English Championship club Barnsley. The Tykes have struggled this season and are looking for someone to turn things around. Butcher has taken ICT to the heady heights of second place in the SPL, Barnsley currently lie bottom of England’s second tier. (Daily Record)