Rangers rekindle interest in Hastie
Rangers have rekindled their interest in Motherwell youngster Jake Hastie - but face competition from six other clubs.
Atlanta United, Derby, Hull, Middlesbrough, Millwall and Portsmouth are all keeping tabs on the ‘Well starlet who is understood to have been offered a contract by Rangers.
The Light Blues had initially cooled their interest after feeling the 20-year-old was dragging his feet on making a decision. (Various)
Gers eye deals for Souttar and Stewart
Rangers are also closing in on the signing of Greg Stewart from Birmingham.
The forward has enjoyed two loan spells with Aberdeen and one with Kilmarnock but the Gers are keen to sign him on a permanent basis.
The Ibrox side are also preparing a bid for Hearts defender John Souttar, recently described by manager Craig Levein as the “best in Scotland”. (The Herald)
Levein not planning on losing Souttar
Hearts boss Craig Levein is not preparing to lose star defender John Souttar this summer, telling the Evening News: “There’s nothing really to say about John other than we’re in a good position and John’s in a good position.
“Craig Halkett has not been signed in any way as a replacement. I hope John’s still with us for another couple of years.
“He recently signed a three-and-a-half-year deal so it puts us in a strong position if there is anybody who is interested in trying to sign him.” (Evening News)
Southampton ‘still keen on Arfield’
Southampton are keeping tabs on Rangers midfielder Scott Arfield after being linked with the Canada international captain last week.
Despite reports that the Saints were not about to make a move for the former Huddersfield and Burnley ace, it’s understood the interest has not waned.
Arfield was a free transfer for Rangers last summer after running down his contract at Turf Moor. (Daily Star)
Celtic set to dodge SFA rap
Celtic could avoid SFA action over alleged sectarian singing at Hampden during the Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen - because the club held a meeting with a fans group before the tie.
Dons boss Derek McInnes was sent off in the second-half of the game after making a gesture towards Hoops fans who had been calling him a “sad Orange b******”.
But despite McInnes commenting later that he would be interested in seeing if Celtic were disciplined for their fans’ conduct, Compliance Officer Clare Whyte is unlikely to take action because the Hoops can demonstrate that they took all “reasonably practicable steps” to prevent any misconduct in the stands. (Various)
Rangers ‘could boycott Rugby Park’
Ex-SFA chief Gordon Smith has claimed Rangers could refuse to play at Rugby Park as a retaliation for Kilmarnock cutting the Light Blues’ ticket allocation.
Former Ger Smith believes his old club could boycott the Ayrshire ground, saying: “I can understand, to a degree, why Kilmarnock have done this but I can also understand why Rangers would be annoyed.
“What they’re saying is, ‘we sell all these ticket for you, now you’re halving our allocation?’ Rangers might even say, ‘we won’t come and play at Rugby Park any more’. That would be Rangers paying them back.” (Daily Record)
Derby ‘unable to sign Shinnie’
Derby County are unable to sign Aberdeen captain Graeme Shinnie on a pre-contract basis, because the English Championship side’s accounts are being probed by league bosses, according to reports.
The Rams are understood to be operating under a “soft transfer embargo” while the English Football League (EFL) look into the club’s financial dealings, leaving them unable to register any new players for the time being.
County are unable to sign or register new players but insiders are hopeful the embargo will be lifted later this week, allowing Frank Lampard to announce the Dons skipper as his first signing ahead of the new campaign. (The Scotsman)
McNamara backs Clarke for Scotland
Former Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara has backed Steve Clarke to be the new Scotland manager, insisting the national team needs a new man to stand a chance of qualifying for Euro 2020.
Speaking on the Hampden Roar podcast, ex-Celtic defender McNamara said: “The SFA need to take control of this and it’s disappointing there’s nothing coming from them. Unless things change I don’t think we’ll get out this qualification group. Everyone keeps mentioning Steve Clarke for the job and yeah, why not? His teams are organised and he has maximised Kilmarnock’s potential with limited resources.” (Hampden Roar podcast)
Christie set for surgery but hopeful over final spot
Ryan Christie will undergo surgery this week after suffering “multiple facial fractures” in Celtic’s Scottish Cup semi-final win over Aberdeen on Sunday - but the midfielder is still hopeful of making the showpiece final.
The former Aberdeen loan star was taken from the field on a stretcher wearing a neck brace after coming off worse in an aerial collision with Dons defender Dominic Ball.
But the 24-year-old hasn’t given up on the final on May 25. (Various)
Scotland ace hit with fine and ban over anti-doping misconduct
Robert Snodgrass has been fined £30,000 and banned for one match by the FA after being found guilty of misconduct towards UK Anti-Doping officials.
The Scotland star was not scheduled for a test and didn’t refuse to take one when officials visited West Ham’s training ground in February.
However, the 31-year-old was found to have used “abusive and / or insulting and / or improper language” towards the officials. (Various)
Levein eyeing flair players for Hearts
Craig Levein has acknowledged that he needs to prioritise “flair players” during this summer’s transfer window. Hearts have too often lacked the wherewithal to triumph in tight matches, regardless of the quality of opposition, and this is down to a shortage of creative spark in Hearts’ attack, with the Tynecastle side currently lacking someone in the mould of Daryl Horgan, Gary Mackay-Steven or Jordan Jones.
The Hearts boss said: “We could do with two or three players in the front area of the field that can help us in those games where there’s deadlock and we need to get in front. (Evening News)