Rumour Mill: Hearts | Virgil Van Dijk | Nicky Law
Hearts hit out at Willie Collum over ‘two major blunders’
Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson angrily criticised referee Willie Collum yesterday for two key decisions in the Edinburgh club’s 4-0 defeat by Celtic – and for refusing to explain those decisions afterwards.
“I’ve watched both incidents,” Neilson said. “I’m disappointed in the outcome of both. I’m sure the referee will look at it again and have his own views after assessing them, but it’s done now, we move on.
“We were in a game last week where two players were booked for tackles that were far worse than Morgaro’s,” Neilson continued, referring to his team’s match against Rangers. “Morgaro goes in and wins the ball and the referee decides it’s a sending-off.
“Morgaro’s tackle, we can’t really argue against it because they always have things they can say – it’s reckless, or at pace – but for me the second one, the penalty, is the real changer in the game.”
Asked if he had attempted to speak to Collum later, Neilson continued: “I tried to. He wasn’t speaking to me. I don’t know what the rules are [about speaking to officials] – they change all the time. Some of them do [speak], some of them don’t.” (Scotsman)
Dinamo Zagreb fans set to boycott game with Celtic
Dinamo Zagreb fans will boycott their Europa League game with Celtic next week unless the manager is sacked and their players apologise for a dire European run.
The statement said: “We want the manager sacked, a public apology on the pitch from all players and Domagoj Antolic stripped of the captaincy. We won’t attend games until that happens.” (Record)
Ronny Deila says keeping Virgil Van Dijk is a priority
Ronny Deila insists that Van Dijk is not becoming distracted by the growing speculation that he is soon going to become the Parkhead club’s next big-money export.
And the manager heaped credit on the 23-year-old for the way he is remaining focused and dedicated to improving himself as a player and as a member of the Hoops side stating that he is desperate to keep the player.
“I think Virgil is enjoying being at Celtic, and we want to keep him here,” said Deila.
“That’s the main thing. He has been through this speculation before. Now he is more mature.” (Times)
Nicky Law says Rangers fans were right to vote with their feet
Nicky Law reckons Rangers fans were right to vote with their feet as just 14,412 turned up at Ibrox to watch the Light Blues beat Kilmarnock 3-0 to reach the Scottish Cup fifth round.
Two goals by Law and a strike from substitute Kris Boyd were enough to seal a place for Ally McCoist’s side in today’s draw at Hampden.
But Law admits they’d suffered the supporters’ backlash because of recent results against Alloa and Hearts along with the fact the Killie match was being shown live on TV.
The Gers midfielder said: “The last few weeks have not been good enough for Rangers and the players know that.
“We’ve come in for a lot of criticism for our results against Alloa and Hearts and rightly so.
“We just wanted to get a win and build up our confidence levels again.” (Record)
Ally McCoist full of praise for Kris Boyd
Ally McCoist was full of praise for Kris Boyd as he rediscovered his goalscoring touch. And the Rangers manager hopes benching the hitman can motivate him to find his best form again.
Boyd, who was heavily criticised by ex-Ger John Brown following last weekend’s defeat to Hearts, notched Rangers’ second in their 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Kilmarnock within two minutes of coming on as a second-half substitute.
McCoist said: “It’s strange how football works – he’s on the park a minute-and-a-half against the team he scored 22 goals for last season and he scores. Sometimes these things are meant to be.
“You are always tempted to start Boydy. He is capable of scoring goals against anybody. It would be crazy of me to say you are not tempted to play him.
“But we just felt that him coming on a little bit fresher, having taken him out of it again, might be what he needs. He might benefit from it.” (Express)
Leeds want former Celt Darren O’Dea
Leeds United are being linked with a shock move to re-sign former defender Darren O’Dea.
The 27-year-old is currently a free agent, with The Star reporting he is on the radar of the Championship club.
O’Dea has been training with another of his former sides Celtic, to get fit after leaving Ukrainian club Metalurgs Donetsk in the summer.
Last month he was on trial at Blackpool, but has not been signed up. (HITC)
News in brief:
• A Deportivo fan has died following violent clashes with Atletico Madrid before yesterday’s game. (Record)
• Henrik Ojamaa hopes he can stay at Motherwell but admits his future there is uncertain. (Express)