The Rumour Mill: Wednesday’s Scottish football news and gossip
In today’s Rumour Mill: Juventus chase Gary Hooper; Hibs look to sign up Irish defender but may miss out on striker; Ally McCoist hails Ibrox fans for share issue fundraising plus the rest of the day’s Scottish football news and gossip.
Juventus join chase for Gary Hooper
Italian cracks Juventus are the latest club to be linked with Celtic striker Gary Hooper. The 24-year-old, who has netted 64 goals for the Parkhead side since his arrival from Scunthorpe, has been earmarked as a potential signing as the Turin side - who could be paired with Celtic in tomorrow’s Champions League draw - look to bolster their squad. On-loan Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner has returned to London for treatment on a thigh injury, but hasn’t managed a single goal for the Italian giants.
Hooper is the subject of interest from several English Premier League sides including Liverpool, Newcastle and Southampton. Valued at around £6 million, Hooper has been offered £25,000 a week to stay in Glasgow and has around 18 months of his current deal left.
Hibs deal for versatile defender could be done ‘within days’
Hibs could be set to sign Bohemians defender Evan McMillan some time in the next few days, according to reports in Ireland. The versatile player, who can operate up front as well as in defence, has been linked with Dundee United and League Two side Chesterfield, as well as attracting interest from Irish sides Sligo Rovers and Shamrock Rovers. Pat Fenlon is keen to add to his squad, and had been linked with a loan move for former Hibee Kenny Miller, but with Vancouver Whitecaps boss Martin Rennie playing it cool, Fenlon could swoop for McMillan, who finished as top scorer for the Irish side last season.
Ally McCoist praises Rangers fans for buying shares
Rangers manager Ally McCoist has praised Rangers fans for putting their hands in their pockets and helping to raise £5 million for the club’s share issue. The club have raised £22 million in total, with £17 million from investors. McCoist expressed his delight at the fans digging deep so close to Christmas, and added: “I love the way [the fans] keep surprising me”. McCoist also praised the 42,000 who attended last night’s 3-0 victory over Annan Athletic.
Terry Butcher in no hurry to sell Billy McKay
Inverness CT manager Terry Butcher is anxious to keep Billy McKay in the Highlands beyond January, and is hopeful of agreeing new contracts with several first-team players. McKay, who has netted 16 goals for ICT this season has been linked with English sides Derby County and Millwall, but Butcher is adamant that McKay will remain in a blue and red shirt for the foreseeable future. Butcher is keen to extend the deals of a number of the first-team squad at the Caledonian Stadium but does not envisage losing out on the former Northampton striker.
Scottish whistlers back decision to throw book at Kenny Shiels
The Scottish Senior Football Referees’ Association have backed Vincent Lunny’s decision to issue a further notice of complaint against Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels over his comments on official Andrew Dallas.
Shiels accused Dallas of ‘fabricating’ evidence after he escaped further punishment at an SFA hearing earlier this month following his sending off in Kilmarnock’s match with St Johnstone that also saw captain Manuel Pascali sent off after five minutes.
SSFRA chairman John McKendrick said: “In our opinion, ill-founded comments reported widely in the Scottish sporting media in recent days have impinged upon the character of one of our members.
“It is unacceptable that a referee should have his integrity questioned in such a matter. To accuse a referee of ‘outrageous fabrication’ is totally unacceptable.”
Shiels is currently in the middle of serving a three-match ban handed out for other comments made against match officials.
News in brief
• St Johnstone midfielder Murray Davidson has said he is flattered by reports linking him with Rangers, but is open to extending his stay at McDiarmid Park. Ally McCoist plans to hold talks with Davidson next month with regards signing a pre-contract agreement.
• New York Red Bulls are said to be chasing former Scotland captain Gary McAllister, who they want as their next manager. McAllister has also been linked with Sydney FC but is believed to be keen on a move to the Big Apple.
• Rudi Skacel could miss out on Dundee United’s clash with Hearts due to a gash he picked up in the Tannadice side’s 4-4 draw with Inverness on Saturday. The Czech midfielder had to get nine stitches in the wound and is a doubt to face his former club.
• Montrose boss Stuart Garden believes his side can take inspiration from Rangers and make the Third Division play-offs this year. The Gable Endies ended up on the wrong end of a 4-2 scoreline on Saturday but were praised for the way they pushed the Ibrox side all the way.
• Derek Adams has urged former Hearts striker Gary Glen to emulate Inverness hitman Billy McKay. Glen, who broke his scoring duck on Saturday against Dundee, has been likened to McKay and Adams is confident the 22-year-old can build on opening his account.
• Jackie McNamara has revealed he worried about being sacked as Partick Thistle boss - after being held to a 1-1 draw with junior side Culter in the Scottish Cup. The Jags won the replay 4-0, but the former Celtic defender has admitted: “If we had gone out, there would have been people calling for my head.”
• The SFA have confirmed that there is nothing illegal about Rangers planning to boycott the Scottish Cup clash with Dundee United. The Tannadice club wrote to the SFA after Charles Green publicly backed a boycott, but have been told that there is nothing the SFA can do.
• Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster has been named as one of the five best Champions League newcomers by UEFA. The former Newcastle goalkeeper, who has recently been part of the England squad, was commended for his heroics in the 2-1 victory over Barcelona at Parkhead.
• Crocked Dundee skipper Stephen O’Donnell took another step on the road to recovery with an appearance in the Dens Park side’s Under-20 match with Motherwell last night. The 29-year-old had been out since August with a hamstring injury.
• Suspended pair Marc McAusland and Jim Goodwin are free to start for St Mirren against Motherwell on Friday night - because their bans only kick in the day after. The pair would have been ineligible for selection had the game been played on the Saturday, as their bans for picking up their sixth bookings of the season are activated after 14 days.
• Craig Brown is confident Aberdeen are still in the race for second place in the SPL, but has seen his side depleted by injuries, with 10 first-teamers in the treatment room. Russell Anderson and Andy Considine joined the Pittodrie sick list on Saturday but Brown is confident that the Dons can replicate their 10-match unbeaten run from earlier this season.
• John McGlynn fears losing defensive pairing Andy Webster and Marius Zaliukas could destroy his team’s backbone. The Tynecastle side are expected to lose some players in January as a result of their ongoing financial problems, and the Hearts boss is concerned about how his team will cope should they lose the two influential defenders.
• Dundee United have taken Slovakian goalkeeper Martin Polacek on trial. The 6’6 former Tatran Presov and FC Brno stopper is a free agent and has also been invited on trial by West Ham and Slovan Bratislava.
• Ex-Celtic midfielder Morten Wieghorst is being lined up as the new manager of Norwegian side Valerenga. Wieghorst is currently manager of the Danish Under-21 side but is eager to get back into club management after a spell in charge of Danish side Nordsjaelland.
• Former Hearts defender Jose Goncalves is set to quit Swiss side Sion for America. The Portuguese stopper is said to be close to agreeing a deal with New England Revolution. Laryea Kingston is also close to sealing a switch to Brunei club DPMM FC.
• The referees for this weekend’s SPL fixtures have been announced. Iain Brines takes charge of Friday night’s match between Motherwell and St Mirren; Steve Finnie is the man in the middle for St Johnstone and Aberdeen; Euan Norris refs the Celtic-Ross County match; Kevin Clancy has been handed ICT’s clash with Dundee whilst Brian Madden and Craig Thomson take charge of Kilmarnock’s game with Hibs and the Hearts-Dundee United clash respectively.
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Monday 20 May 2013
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