Andrew Smith

Aston Villa's John McGinn suffered an ankle fracture. Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP

‘Me, Brendan Rodgers and Claude Puel got together and worked it out’ - Neil Lennon laughs off ‘conspiracy’ claim over Celtic return

A year ago today, Neil Lennon was waking up to what seemed an entirely uncertain future. Suspended by Hibernian the evening before in a strange and confused episode wherein it was claimed he faced a player revolt, five days later his two-and-a-half years at Easter Road was officially ended with a statement from the club which said he had not been guilty of any wrongdoing, had not been sacked, indeed had not even resigned but was no longer the club’s manager.

Aston Villa's John McGinn suffered an ankle fracture. Picture: Adrian Dennis/AFP

Scotland coach’s priority is to keep tabs on John McGinn

The football career of Steven Reid was a struggle against a body that so often seemed to want to let him down. The mind of the Scotland assistant never did, though – in 2013 he played an hour for Steve Clarke’s West Bromich Albion against Arsenal with a broken leg. And the 38-year-old is determined that the humanity he craved in difficult times will be afforded the players he is working with now.

Jon Flanagan in action for Rangers against St Mirren. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Rangers’ Jon Flanagan: I’m right man to fill in for James Tavernier

Handed a first outing this season in his preferred right-back berth, Jon Flanagan could hardly have been heartened to hear that his manager Steven Gerrard subsequently attributed his team’s stuttering 1-0 win over St Mirren, in part, to the unavailability of the overlapping James Tavernier for the role he had occupied.

Jermaine Defoe celebrates putting Rangers in front. Picture: SNS

Rangers 1 - 0 St Mirren: Defoe goal keeps pressure on Celtic at the top

Quality controls do not enter into title races. For that Rangers may be mightily grateful following a victory over St Mirren last night that was one heck of a grind. An alert finish from Jermain Defoe just after the hour, the stubbornness of Jim Goodwin’s side was matched by a ponderousness from the Ibrox men who simply do not pack the same punch when deprived of Alfredo Morelos, suspended last night.
Borna Barisic celebrates at full-time after his stunning free-kick gave Rangers a 1-0 win at St Mirren in August.

Steven Gerrard: The turning point in Borna Barisic’s Rangers career

There have been suggestions from Jim Goodwin that his St Mirren team might “park two buses” against Rangers at Ibrox this evening. His rival manager, Steven Gerrard, had cause to reflect yesterday that the last meeting between the pair, in late August, proved the occasion for Borna Barisic to get the engine running on his Rangers career.

Rangers keeper Robby McCrorie is joining Livingston on loan. (Picture: Rob Casey / SNS

Hibs made late bid to sign promising Rangers keeper

Rangers goalkeeper Robby McCrorie is set to go straight into the Livingston side for their home encounter with St Johnstone tonight after the Ibrox club brought an early end to his loan deal with Queen of the South to allow him to make a temporary move to West Lothian.

Leigh Griffiths scores to give Celtic the lead against Partick Thistle. Picture: SNS

‘He never misses…’ Celtic’s Jeremie Frimpong hails return of Leigh Griffiths

The fact that Partick Thistle are struggling at the foot of the Championship demands caution over seeing Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths’ first goal and domestic start in five months as the kickstarter for a career that has stalled following personal and injury issues. However much the 29-year-old is desperate to see his dainty display, which helped set up a Scottish Cup last-16 tie away to Clyde, in such terms.

Lawrence Shankland has scored 24 goals in 26 games for Dundee United this season. Picture: Bruce White / SNS

Lawrence Shankland was no Aberdeen flop but he needed to leave Pittodrie to flourish

There is a desire to present Lawrence Shankland as a striker who simply couldn’t put it together at Aberdeen, only to be transformed into a predator who has rarely put a foot wrong subsequent to being freed by the club. To the extent that, nine weeks ahead of the country’s most important fixture for more than a decade, the free-scoring Dundee United forward is arguably Scotland’s foremost contender to lead the line in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel. It is a role the 24-year-old finds himself vying for just two-and-a-half years on from when Ian McCall, at Ayr United in the lowly ranks of Scotland’s third tier, began to rebuild a career that had seemed shattered as the result of Derek McInnes losing faith.

Celtic's latest signing Patryk Klimala is unveiled at Parkhead. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Celtic now looking for ‘experience and physicality’ in transfer window

There is no chance of Neil Lennon being able to avoid his team being judged against title rivals Rangers when the Scottish Premiership resumes this week. And the home defeat to Steven Gerrard’s men immediately before the shut-down has more than removed any margin for error for Celtic in their quest for a ninth straight title. It is the reason the Parkhead manager himself has essentially arrived at the judgment that the club’s January transfer moves so far haven’t covered all the bases that could be required for the monumental five months ahead.

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