Rumour Mill: Hearts transfers | Samaras | Black

Hearts to launch fresh appeal for transfer embargo lift after request turned down; replacing Georgios Samaras would cost millions, says Neil Lennon; Ally McCoist accuses rivals of targeting Ian Black, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Stenhousemuir's Bryan Hodge brings down Rangers midfielder Ian Black. Picture: Gary HutchisonStenhousemuir's Bryan Hodge brings down Rangers midfielder Ian Black. Picture: Gary Hutchison
Stenhousemuir's Bryan Hodge brings down Rangers midfielder Ian Black. Picture: Gary Hutchison

Hearts back Locke but fail in transfer embargo bid

Hearts’ administrators last night revealed that they have failed in a bid to have the club’s transfer embargo lifted. The struggling Tynecastle club were hit with an automatic 15-point penalty and a player registration ban when they suffered an insolvency event in June last year, and 21 games into the Premiership season still sit on minus two points.

Joint administrator Bryan Jackson told BBC Scotland: “We’ve put all the arguments forward and, not surprisingly, they’ve all been rejected.

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“Nothing is going to change with regard to the sanctions and I feel really sorry for Gary in that we can’t do anything to help him.

“Those restrictions are there, we’ve tried and there’s nothing we can do about it.”

However, the Daily Record reports that Hearts may mount another appeal to lift the transfer embargo in an effort to prevent Hearts’ young squad from burning out. A club insider told the paper: We weren’t surprised when the SFA said no to the initial request because it would have opened up a can of worms with the other culbs, some of whom would have been worried we could have caught them. But it’s not looking as if that is going to happen now. A 19-point gap is massive and we know it. That might make the SFA and SPFL think it would do less harm to allow us to bring in a couple of players who would allow Gary Locke to give some of the kids a rest.” (Scotsman, Daily Record)

Neil Lennon fears Samaras replacement will cost millions

Celtic manager Neil Lennon has admitted that the task of replacing striker Georgios Samaras may be an expensive one. The Greek international’s future has been in doubt since stalling on signing a new deal to extend his stay at Celtic Park. Lennon, who wants Samaras to stay, said: “He would be hard to replace and I can see why there are clubs interested in him. I know he can be inconsistent but when he was in the mood for us he was simply awesome.

“If he does go - and we’ll probably know in the next week - we will need to work hard to find a like for like replacement and these types cost a lot of money. He could have gone before he signed his last contract and earned much more money and he didn’t, he decided to stay.” (Daily Express)

Paatelainen fears for Teemu Pukki’s Celtic future

Mixu Paatelainen yesterday expressed hope that Teemu Pukki will start to score goals regularly in Scotland. However, the Finland manager has also warned his international striker that you don’t tend to be given a lot of time to prove yourself at a club such as Celtic. Suggesting that Pukki’s shyness may be a stumbling block to his progress, he said: “I have spoken to him a little bit and there has been a couple of text messages, but no heavy stuff. That is down to Celtic, the coaching staff and Neil Lennon to coach him. He is in good hands.

“He [Lennon] has given him time, and he understands the personality but at the top level, how much time are you given?” (Scotsman)

Ally McCoist accuses rivals of targeting Ian Black

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has slammed “ridiculous” tackles on midfielder Ian Black as evidence that other players are targeting the former Hearts playmaker.

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Black, who has accumulated 19 yellow cards and two red cards during his time at Rangers, is banned for the club’s forthcoming visit to Forfar on January 20, but McCoist said: “Ian comes in for a bit of heavy treatment. I said to him after the Airdrie game he can’t react the way he reacted and everbody appreciates that. But some of the challenges on him are ridiculous and after watching the game back, there were a couple that fell into that category. Ian’s just one of these players for us. He has certainly been fouled and he gets his fair share of fouls on him.” (The Sun)

Mahmoud Hassan claims he may move to Celtic this week

Egpytian midfielder Mahmoud Hassan has said he may seal a move to Celtic as quickly as this week. The 19-year-old midfielder, nicknamed the Egyptian Trezeguet after French international legend David Trezeguet, has been a long-rumoured target for Neil Lennon. The Al-Ahly player has already submitted a transfer request after the Egyptian top-flight club said they would not sell the midfielder, who could leave for around £1 million.

Hassan said: “I’ve repeatedly stated that I want to sign for Celtic. And I have been told that Celtic’s offer to the club will arrive this week. The club know it is coming and will have plenty of time to find a replacement for me. All players dream of playing at a higher level and I won’t give up my dream.” (Daily Express)

Everton to sign Dundee United’s Andrew Robertson

Everton are poised to sign Dundee United full-back Andrew Robertson for a fee of around £750,000. Toffees manager Roberto Martinez watched Robertson play in Dundee United’s 2-2 draw with Hibernian on Saturday and contacted the player’s representatives. He hopes to tie up a deal in January, with a view to possibly loaning the player back to Tannadice for the second half of the season.

The move would cap a remarkable rise for Robertson, 19, who was playing for amateurs Queen’s Park in League Two last season. Robertson is seen by the Everton hierarchy as a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines. (Daily Record)