Rumour Mill: Celtic | Hibs | Rangers

NEIL Lennon slams referee after Aberdeen defeat; Sam Stanton to sign new Hibs deal; Rangers reject Dave King’s interest-free loan plus more Scottish football news and gossip

Neil Lennon vents his anger at Craig Thomson at full time. Picture: SNS

Craig Thomson ‘ruined game’ fumes Lennon

IRATE Celtic boss Neil Lennon pointed the finger at referee Craig Thomson after his side crashed to defeat at Pittodrie against Aberdeen, saying: “The referee ruined the game.” And Celtic, who saw Virgil van Dijk red-carded after just 12 minutes for a last-ditch foul on Peter Pawlett, deserved to win, according to Lennon, who added: “It’s not a sending-off. I’ve seen the red card back...I didn’t think it was a red card at the time and I still don’t. I think it’s poor. Maybe I’m the only one who sees it that way but I’m pretty convinced it’s not a red card.”

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Lennon also blasted Thomson for his decision not to award Celtic a second-half penalty, claiming: “There was a clear handball. [Craig Thomson] has seen it and said it wasn’t deliberate. Everyone else in the ground must have known it was a penalty. He’s had two crucial decisions go against us.”

Celtic pulled a goal back through substitute James Forrest, but saw their unbeaten run - and goalkeeper Fraser Forster’s clean-sheet record - undone by goals from Adam Rooney and Jonny Hayes. (The Scotsman)

Hibs look to tie up Sam Stanton on new deal

HIBERNIAN have opened talks with highly-rated midfielder Sam Stanton over a new deal. The 19-year-old, who made his first start for the club in last month’s 4-0 defeat at the hands of Celtic, was named in the Scotland Under-21 squad for next week’s friendly against Hungary and although he penned a three-year deal in 2012, Terry Butcher has admitted the Easter Road club are keen to get Stanton on a longer deal.

Butcher said: “He’s very good and if he’s got that ability and that vision now, when he’s only played a handful of games, he’s got a very, very bright future.

“He’s got another year on his contract but we’re trying to tie him down for even more, and make sure he gets more first-team games.” (The Scotsman)

Rangers turned down Dave King loan

DAVE King reportedly offered Rangers an interest-free loan - and was turned down. And King was stunned at chief executive Graham Wallace’s claims that there had been board contact with the South African-based businessman, and that he would only invest in the club if there was a new share issue.

King told The Sun: “I can’t believe Mr Wallace would have said that. Mr Wallace has never spoken to me or even attempted to communicate with me in any form whatsoever.”

And The Sun are reporting that King is ready to reveal his dealings with the Rangers hierarchy - namely that he offered the club an interest-free loan of £1 million, and had only spoken to Sandy Easdale about it.

Ibrox chief Graham Wallace claimed in an interview earlier this week that he was in talks with King over potential investment in the club, but a joint statement from fans also condemned the terms of the loan deals agreed with Laxey Partners and Easdale. Laxey are believed to be demanding 15 per cent APR on their £1 million loan, while the Easdales have handed over £500,000 to the club. The loans are also secured against Edmiston House and the Albion car park next to the stadium. The cash is repayable by September 1st, although Laxey Partners can opt to take repayment in the form of new shares, with the approval of club shareholders. (The Scottish Sun)

Hearts duo expected to win fitness races to face Motherwell

HEARTS manager Gary Locke expects Paul McCallum and Jason Holt to be fit to face Motherwell on Saturday, despite both players feeling the effects of knocks picked up against Celtic.

McCallum limped out of the defeat due to a foot injury, but Locke said: “Paul has a bit of a problem with his heel but we have managed to sort that out in the last 48 hours. As long is there is no reaction then he should be fine for the weekend.”

And Locke is hopeful Jason Holt could return to training tomorrow or Friday. (Various)

Boyd shrugs off Scotland omission

KRIS Boyd has said Scotland boss Gordon Strachan has no explaining to do after the Kilmarnock striker failed to make the squad to travel to Poland. Boyd was one of a number of strikers left out of the squad, along with Celtic’s Leigh Griffiths and St Johnstone forward Stevie May. Boyd has netted 16 goals for the Rugby Park side this season, and had been linked with a return to the international set-up.

But the former Rangers striker said: “At the end of the day, you do the business for your club and, if that is good enough, then you will get selected.

“I don’t think an international manager needs to explain himself.” (Various)

Scotland release new ‘modern Rosebery’ away kit

SCOTLAND will today unveil a striking new away kit in white, pink and yellow, as a tribute to the national side’s old Lord Rosebery colours.

Although featuring similar colours, the design is very different to the striped jerseys worn by Scotland on four separate occasions in the late 1800s and first part of the 1900s.

Lord Rosebery, who was prime minister between 1894 and 1895, was also an early patron of the Scottish FA and later became honorary president. After Scotland secured the British Championship in 1900, defeating Wales and Ireland before trouncing England 4-1 at Celtic Park, the Liberal peer told the players: “I have not seen my colours more worthily worn since (racehorse) Lada won the Derby in 1894.”

The Rosebery jerseys made their final appearance in 1951, as Scotland defeated France 1-0 at Hampden. (The Scotsman)

News in brief

• JOHN Rankin is set to sign a new deal with Dundee United

• FORMER Aberdeen kid Ryan Fraser has revealed Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has helped him swap pizzas for soup

• STEPHEN Hughes has been emptied by Dundee after just 47 minutes of action. The former Aberdeen defender is being lined up for a loan move to East Fife after the now-departed John Brown brought him to Dens Park in January

• ST JOHNSTONE boss Tommy Wright has revealed he took a gamble on striker Steven MacLean in last night’s clash with Motherwell - but it paid off as MacLean grabbed a brace in a 3-0 win for the Saints