The Rumour Mill: Wednesday’s football news and gossip

In today’s Rumour Mill: Murray admits mistake in selling Rangers to Whyte as American firm expresses interest, Wylde and Celik still in limbo over transfers, Celtic and Kilmarnock gear up for the League Cup Final, plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.

Sir David Murray has apologised for selling Rangers to Craig Whyte, insisting he was ‘duped.’ Murray sold the Ibrox club to the Motherwell-born businessman last May, but the former owner has expressed his dismay at how Whyte has handled affairs, maintaining that he had no knowledge of Whyte’s intention to use a £24 million loan from Ticketus to fund his takeover. Murray also produced documents from Whyte and his lawyers supporting the sale, outlining details of £9.5 million being set aside for players and stadium developments, and £5 million of other working capital.

Murray has also denied any wrongdoing during his time at the club, insisting that there were no double contracts, and every player was registered correctly with the SPL. Murray’s comments come in the wake of Hugh Adam, the former Rangers director, claiming that dual contracts were paid and that the club were aware of the illegitimate payments.

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Meanwhile, an American investment bank has expressed definite interest in taking over the club. New York-based Fortress, who have assets totalling £27 billion, have contacted Duff and Phelps signalling their interest, which the administrators are said to be considering. Fortress join a Singapore-based consortium who are also contemplating a bid for the club, however, the Paul Murray-led Blue Knights consortium believe they are currently favourites to take over Rangers.

Rangers news in brief:

• Released midfielder Mervan Celik and Gregg Wylde are still in the dark over transfer moves, but hope to have the situation resolved as soon as possible.

• Paul Murray’s Blue Knights consortium would need around £1000 from each fan in a plan to save the club. Murray, a former director of the club admitted there was no quick fix to the situation.

• Brian Kennedy, owner of the Sale Sharks rugby club, has announced he will table a bid for the Ibrox club. Kennedy was quoted as saying “My position is that if there is no better deal...then I will gladly do a deal to buy the club. If there is a better offer then I will gladly walk away.”

Paul McGowan of St Mirren will miss his side’s cup replay at home to Hearts next week. McGowan was booked in an earlier round against Ross County, and picked up a second booking in the 2-2 draw with Hearts at Tynecastle, landing himself with a one-match ban.

On a more positive note for the club, defender Marc McAusland has recovered from a fractured eye socket and is in contention to face St Johnstone this weekend.

St Mirren are also running the rule over four Newcastle United reserve players, including former Hibs loan striker Phil Airey. The Paisley side are said to be looking at Ryan Donaldson, Dan Taylor and Greg McDermott along with Airey.

St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas has admitted he is doing everything in his power to source potential new strikers for the Perthshire club. Highly-rated Spaniard Francisco Sandaza has been linked with a move away from McDiarmid Park whilst strike partner Cillian Sheridan is due to return to CSKA Moscow when his loan deal ends.

Meanwhile, Hearts and St Johnstone have lodged a complaint with the SPL over TV scheduling. The two were involved in a midweek clash that wasn’t televised due to European games, yet an English league match was shown alongside a European match a few days later. The clubs missed out on over £80,000 in revenue.

Celtic and Kilmarnock will both wear their change kits in this weekend’s League Cup final, to avoid a clash of colours. Kilmarnock will line up in yellow, whilst Celtic will sport their grey and green kit.

Staying with Kilmarnock, winger James Dayton has paid tribute to Glenn Hoddle, who he says helped him kickstart his football career. Dayton was plying his trade with non-league English side Bishop’s Stortford, before attending one of Hoddle’s football camps in Spain, helping him win a deal with the Ayrshire side.

Celtic are rumoured to be planning an audacious bid to take £20 million-rated Paraguayan striker Lorenzo Melgarejo on loan next season. The 21-year-old is currently with Portuguese side Benfica, who have slapped the high price tag on him to ward off potential suitors. Malgarejo, currently on loan at lower league Pacos Ferreira, has attracted attention from German side Hannover as well as Everton, but his club may be willing to let him go out on loan to gain more experience.

Peter Houston will not punish defender Robbie Neilson over his sending off against Celtic. Neilson was red-carded after half an hour of the Tannadice club’s 4-0 defeat to Celtic.

Stuart McCall is still angry over being sent to the stand in his side’s Scottish Cup defeat at home to Aberdeen. McCall was punished after approaching referee Craig Thomson over an incident leading to Aberdeen’s opening goal. McCall has the backing of several radio pundits, and the Aberdeen coaching staff, and will be contacted by compliance officer Vincent Lunny. Meanwhile midfielder Keith Lasley will miss two matches after his red card for a late challenge on Aberdeen youngster Fraser Fyvie.

And finally, American broadcasting behemoth Fox has signed a deal with the SPL to show live matches on its Soccer Plus channel. The deal lasts until the end of the 2013/14 season, and will be available in the US and in the Caribbean. The first match due to be shown is Saturday’s match between Dundee United and Rangers, with the Old Firm clash on March 25th also being shown. The deal comprises two live matches a week, along with a 30 minute highlights programme.


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