The Rumour Mill: Monday’s Scottish football news and gossip
In today’s Rumour Mill: ‘Leave us out of it’ Lennon tells Green as EPL chief dismisses chances of pair playing in England; Norwich deny Hooper approach; Houston fears Skacel departure plus the rest of the day’s Scottish football news and gossip.
Neil Lennon tells Rangers: Leave us out of your problems
Celtic manager Neil Lennon has demanded that Charles Green stops dragging the Parkhead side into matters concerning Rangers.
Lennon’s request comes after the Ibrox chief’s latest threat to take the club out of Scottish football made reference to Celtic. As he aired the possibility of Rangers leaving Scottish football altogether following the SFL and SPL’s league reconstruction plans, Green claimed Celtic would see lower season ticket sales next season with no Old Firm derbies.
Lennon said: [Charles Green] is entitled to his opinion, but they keep bringing us into their problems.
At the end of the day, they have their issues and we have ours.”
Lennon vowed to avoid talking about Rangers, insisting: “They are not on our radar.”
Meanwhile, English Premier League chief Richard Scudamore appears to have torpedoed any faint hopes Rangers had of competing down south by dismissing the idea. Scudamore said: “It’s my fourteenth year of answering this question. The answer is still ‘no’.”
He added: “Our rules say it’s only clubs from England and Wales that can play here and I don’t see that ever changing.
“Quite a lot of clubs in the world would like to play in the English Premier League. It’s all very flattering but it’s simply not going to happen.”
Norwich deny Hooper approach but Canaries boss hints at new signings
Celtic may yet hang on to prolific striker Gary Hooper after Norwich boss Chris Hughton played down speculation linking the Carrow Road side with the former Scunthorpe hitman.
Hughton has been strongly linked with a move for Hooper since watching him score the winner in Celtic’s recent 1-0 victory against Motherwell, but denied making an offer.
Hughton admitted: “We are looking for players to strengthen what we have already got. We have never stated or quoted that we are looking at strikers. If we can improve the squad we will look to do it.”
Celtic will remain hopeful that Hooper may sign a contract extension as they seek to keep their squad together for the remainder of the SPL season.
Houston fears Skacel exit as Czech cracks wait in wings
Peter Houston has admitted that he fears losing Rudi Skacel this month, after the 33-year-old attacker was again linked with Czech side Slavia Prague. The former Hearts star joined Dundee United last year after Hearts failed to resign him for a third time, but has failed to make the same impact at Tannadice as he did at Tynecastle.
Houston, who has been granted permission to speak to Championship side Blackpool about their managerial vacancy, has Skacel until the end of January but is keen to extend his contract.
Houston said: “Rudi wants a longer-term deal. He is 33 and at that age, he is looking to make a fe wquid from his next contract.
“If somebody came in and offered to double or treble his wages then I’d understand if he moved.”
Rangers close in on £2,5m deal with Ashley for Ibrox renaming
Mike Ashley and Rangers are reportedly close to a deal that would see Ibrox stadium renamed and the club pocket an initial £1.5 million, which would likely rise to the suggested £2.5 million if various targets were reached.
Supporters and club officials, including Ally McCoist, had pointed out the importance of retaining Ibrox in the name of the stadium were it to be rebranded, and a new name could well incorporate Mike Ashley’s chain of Sports Direct retail stores.
Scottish football news in brief
• Celtic face competition from QPR for Australian midfielder Tom Rogic, but Central Coast Mariners have hinted that they are awaiting a bid from the Parkhead side.
• Arbroath striker Steven Doris could be on his way to the Midlands after impressing Lee Clark during a trial with Birmingham City. The 24-year-old has netted 32 goals in 62 games and Clark is set to hold talks with Arbroath boss Paul Sheerin this week.
• Richie Brittain remains adamant that he will continue to give his all for Ross County, despite signing a pre-contract deal with St Johnstone. The Staggies’ captain is unlikely to move to Perth this month and fears had been raised over his motivation.
• Lars Lagerback has become the latest high-profile name to throw his hat into the ring for the Scotland job. The current Iceland coach has admitted that he would be interested in the job but has not been approached by the SFA.
• Ryan McGowan has revealed he wants to return to Tynecastle to say a proper farewell to the Hearts fans. The defender, who moved to Chinese side Shandong Luneng earlier this month, was denied a chance to say goodbye in the Edinburgh derby as cash-strapped Hearts sought to avoid any potential injuries that could have scuppered his £400,000 move to the Far East.