Rumour Mill: Anthony Stokes | Saints discipline Goodwin

Anthony Stokes is sent home ahead of Astra game; Saint Mirren discipline Jim Goodwin after SFA ban; Celtic players are backing Aleksander Tonev and more in Thursday’s Rumour Mill

Stokes turned up for the flight at Glasgow Airport despite feeling unwell and club medical staff decided he was too ill to travel. Picture: SNS

Anthony Stokes is sent home ahead of Astra game

Celtic suffered a blow when sickly striker Anthony Stokes was sent home ahead of the club’s flight to Romania ahead of their Europa League clash with Astra Giurgiu.

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Stokes turned up for the flight at Glasgow Airport despite feeling unwell and club medical staff decided he was too ill to travel.

The last-minute development is a huge blow to manager Ronny Deila, who is already missing top goalscorer John Guidetti as well as injured attacking players Kris Commons and James Forrest. (Scotsman)

Saint Mirren discipline Jim Goodwin after SFA ban

St Mirren have taken disciplinary action against Jim Goodwin after choosing to accept the three-match ban offered to their player-coach by the Scottish Football Association.

A club statement also acknowledged that the Paisley club is “disappointed” in the 32-year-old.

Goodwin struck Aidan Connolly in the face with an elbow during a defeat by Dundee United on Saturday and will now serve his second suspension this season.

A club statement confirmed: The board met with Jim Goodwin today. Jim and the club have accepted the offer of a fixed penalty from the Scottish FA. The club are disappointed in Jim’s conduct given that this is not the first time he has been guilty of an offence of this nature. The club have taken internal disciplinary action, which the player has accepted.” (Various)

Celtic players are backing Aleksander Tonev

Scott Brown insists the Celtic squad is united behind Aleksandar Tonev and has echoed manager Ronny Deila’s stance by saying they “know” he is no racist.

Brown revealed Tonev has spoken to his team-mates and they believe he did not abuse Logan.

The Hoops captain said: “We know he didn’t say it. All the lads in the dressing room believe him because he doesn’t come in and lie.”

Tonev is free to play pending the appeal and could come up against Logan when Celtic visit Aberdeen on Sunday. (Express)

Jim Murphy vows to scrap SNP football legislation

Labour leadership front-runner Jim Murphy has pledged to scrap controversial laws aimed at sectarianism in football “right away” if he becomes first minister.

MSPs at Holyrood last night rejected a Labour move to repeal the legislation after it came in for criticism from football fans and judges.

The Scottish Government has insisted the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act is working. It was introduced two years ago after a series of ugly incidents surrounding the Old Firm, but failed to win the support of opposition parties.

Mr Murphy said: “If I am elected ­Scottish Labour Party leader and First Minister, I will scrap the Football Act right away.

“The law was an attempt to chase headlines rather than actually fix a complex problem. Sectarianism and intolerance goes far beyond 90 minutes on a Saturday or 140 characters in a tweet. Instead of fixing the problem, they have created a pointless culture of mistrust between football fans and the police.” (Scotsman)

Billy McKinlay and Atli Edvaldsson among candidates for Motherwell job

Billy McKinlay and Atli Edvaldsson are among the candidates to be the new Motherwell manager.

Around 40 applications have arrived at the Fir Park club since Stuart McCall resigned on Sunday and the former Scotland international midfielder has made it known that he would be interested in the job. McKinlay would continue Motherwell’s sequence of making unexpected, slightly left-field managerial appointments although Derek Adams is still the bookmakers’ favourite for the position. McKinlay who left Watford after just eight days in charge last month, was linked with a move to Fulham but it is believed he’d be more interested in the prospect of his first coaching role in Scotland. (Sun)

John Guidetti plays down talk of any future moves

The Swedish youngster joined the Hoops on a season-long loan in September, and after a scintillating start to the campaign, which has seen him notch nine goals in as many games, reports have suggested that he is already looking to make the deal a permanent one.

But according to talkSPORT, Guidetti has insisted that he isn’t playing for a move to Celtic Park, and is just focused on performing well week-in-week-out.

“I just want to keep playing as long as I can and just enjoy it – go out and give 100% every time I go out and play,” he said. “If you start looking too far ahead you aren’t going to be successful.” (Sportsvibe)

News in brief:

• Robin Van Persie is set to drop to the bench for Man United this weekend with young striker James Wilson being called up to replace him. (Mirror)

• Man City face a Euro exit after a shocking 2-1 home defeat to CSKA Moscow in which they had two players sent off. (Mirror)

• Celtic are set to replay what was arguably the most controversial encounter in their history after entering talks to face Argentina’s Racing Club home and away. (Various)

Nicky Riley has had his contract terminated at Dundee. (Express)

Arnold Peralta has received a call up for Honduras despite not playing for Rangers for five weeks. (Sun)