Rumour Mill: Ciftci ban | Celtic’s Vaughan bid

Referee strike threat looms as officials outraged over Nadir Ciftci ban; Celtic told to forget about signing Huddersfield striker James Vaughan; Virgil van Dijk says Scottish top flight matches Dutch league, plus the rest of today’s football news

Nadir Ciftci: Perceived leniency of ban has outraged Scottish officials. Picture: SNS
Nadir Ciftci: Perceived leniency of ban has outraged Scottish officials. Picture: SNS
Nadir Ciftci: Perceived leniency of ban has outraged Scottish officials. Picture: SNS

Refs’ anger at Ciftci ban sparks new strike fears

Former referee Stuart Dougal has urged Scotland’s current group of officials not to repeat their strike action of 2010 after Dundee United’s Nadir Ciftci was given just a two-match ban for putting his hand on an assistant referee’s throat.

The Turkish forward’s ban – one game of which is suspended until the end of the season – came after the 21-year-old was found guilty at an SFA disciplinary hearing of “excessive misconduct” in the altercation with Gavin Harris during United’s League Cup quarter-final defeat by Inverness Caledonian Thistle in October.

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Yesterday, the Scottish Senior Football Referees’ Association expressed its “deep dissatisfaction at the leniency of the sanction imposed on a player who was found guilty of physically abusing one of our members”. That prompted an angry response from the SFA, who accused the SSFRA of “inflammatory behaviour”. (Scotsman)

Forget about James Vaughan, Celtic told

Celtic’s attempts to sign Huddersfield’s James Vaughan have been met with a cool response by the Championship side. Neil Lennon is reportedly monitoring the striker’s progress as he seeks to bolster his forward line.

But manager Mark Robbins has told Celtic the 25-year-old was not for sale: “I don’t know if Neil Lennon is thinking of an irresistable bid - but it doesn’t matter what sort of offer it is, he’ll get short shrift.

“There’s absolutely no way on this planet that we will be parting with Vaughan and certainly not in January.” (The Sun)

John Hughes was our first choice, say Inverness

Inverness chairman Kenny Cameron said that new manager John Hughes was the board’s “unanimous” choice to replace Terry Butcher. Butcher left for Hibernian last month after the Edinburgh club parted ways with Pat Fenlon.

“He is an experienced manager which is what we feel is required in the current scenario we have at the club,” said Cameron. “He greatly impressed all the directors with his knowledge of the club, his passion and philosophy for the game.

“John has been chosen from a high-calibre shortlist who were a pleasure to interview. We took our time about the appointment as it was important to obtain the right fit for this stage of the club’s development. John was the person who met our criteria. He has already spoken to the players and made a very positive impact.” (Scotsman)

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Virgil van Dijk: Premiership matches Dutch league

Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk believes the standard of the Scottish Premiership compares favourably with the Dutch Ere­divisie and is confident his current environment will not hamper his international ambitions.

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Referring to Celtic’s recent 7-0 win over Hearts, van Dijk said: “Big scorelines does not mean the football is bad, not at all. Everyone from outside of the country talks badly about the competition, but you can look at the Dutch league and say it’s not that good either. The leagues are quite similar.

“The fact I’m playing in Scotland is not a concern for me. I’m a young player, so I still have time on my side. I want to be good in the Champions League and the Scottish Premiership. That’s what I work for.” (Scotsman)

Mohsni feels Rangers can become the ‘Invincibles’

Bilel Mohsni believes Rangers can complete their League One campaign with a 100 per cent winning record - and will use Arsenal as inspiration to achieve their goal.

“Yes, I think we can win every game,” said Mohsni. “We can do it. It’s going to be tough, for sure, and no game will be easy. But I think we can do it. We have proved we are a strong team in defence, up front and in midfield, so I think we can do it. If we did, it would be very good for us.”

“I remember that Arsenal team well,” said Mohsni. “They got a great record and it is nice to be called invincible. If you are thought of as an invincible team then everyone will want to beat you the next year.” (Scotsman)