Rumour Mill: Rangers-Hearts | Celtic want Ben Haim

RANGERS fans hold protest against Ibrox board before ugly scenes mar abandoned match with Hearts; Dundee United hit out at Celtic over Mackay-Steven as Deila ponders Ben Haim signing and Shaun Maloney linked with Celtic return

Jon Daly (centre) battles with Hearts pair Danny Wilson (left) and Alim Ozturk. Picture: SNS

Rangers fans protest before Hearts clash

A large number of Rangers fans staged a loud and angry demonstration outside Ibrox prior to last night’s match with Hearts, as supporters vented their fury at the latest news from the club.

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On Thursday it emerged that the board were considering mortgaging off Ibrox and Murray Park in return for a £10 million loan from Mike Ashley.

Jon Daly (centre) battles with Hearts pair Danny Wilson (left) and Alim Ozturk. Picture: SNS

Several hundred supporters vented their anger before the abandoned match by shouting ‘sack the board’, and boycotted the match when it kicked off.

Some fans held a banner reading: “Give us back our Rangers RC / No more asset stripping / Sack the board / Ashley f*** off.” (The Scotsman)

Ugly scenes mar abandoned match

THERE were reports of ugly scenes outside Ibrox last night, with some Hearts fans claiming the windows on a supporters’ bus carrying young fans had been smashed by a brick, while there were further reports of fighting between rival fans.

Tensions rise between opposing fans. Picture: SNS

The windscreen on another bus was reportedly cracked after an object was thrown while Hearts defender Adam Eckersley tweeted: “Seems like we’re blocked in here!!! Would like to get home tonight!!”

Hearts’ Digital Media Executive Phil Turnbull also tweeted: “Trapped inside Ibrox for our own safety. Brilliant” before adding: “One police escort later and we’re out of the building. Take me the f*** home.” (Various)

Severe weather abandons top-of-the-table clash

HEARTS boss Robbie Neilson and his Ibrox counterpart Kenny McDowall backed referee Bobby Madden’s decision to abandon the match 25 minutes in due to the weather.

Neilson told the BBC: “I think it was the right decision to start the game, but it was becoming worse and dangerous. You need to try to start the game. Sometimes the snow dissipates a bit but that didn’t happen tonight.

“We brought two thousand fans through and I’d like to thank them. I’m disappointed for them.”

McDowall echoed Neilson’s comments, adding: “We couldn’t disagree. There was a lot of preparation for the game. We were looking forward to it.”

Match official Bobby Madden told BT Sport that he had been lead to believe by Ibrox groundstaff that the snow would melt, adding: “We felt that the pitch was acceptable.

“We were lead to believe by the groundstaff that the snow wouldn’t come back, which it didn’t, and that the snow would melt when the players were on it and when the undersoil heating took effect.

“Unfortunately, after starting the match, it didn’t seem to improve. The decision was taken to postpone the match.” (BBC/BT Sport)

Celtic track Tal Ben Haim

CELTIC are reportedly mulling over a move for Maccabi Tel Aviv winger Tal Ben Haim, after having the 25-year-old watched in action.

Hoops chiefs have been impressed with the Israeli, who can play on either wing or behind the striker, but no bid has been made.

Reports in Israel suggest the attacking forward would be available for around £1.75 million

Ben Haim cut his teeth at Maccabi Petah Tikva, before joining Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2012, joining Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2013.

He has notched 57 goals in 242 matches in all competitions in his career, and is also on the radar of Standrd Liege, PAOK Salonika and Dynamo Kiev. (STV)

Maloney ‘could return to Celtic’

SCOTLAND international Shaun Maloney could return to Celtic for a third time, after the Wigan midfielder’s proposed move to Premiership side Leicester fell through at the last minute.

Maloney, who grabbed a stunning winner when Scotland defeated the Republic of Ireland in a Euro 2016 qualifier at Celtic Park, could agree a pre-contract deal with the Hoops, with Wigan’s £1 million price tag putting Celtic off in this window.

The Times is reporting that Celtic’s interest has been ramped up since the breakdown of Maloney’s move to Leicester, and the midfielder himself is said to be keen on a return to Glasgow. (The Times)

Guidetti ‘no closer to permanent Celtic deal’

JOHN Guidetti is reportedly no closer to agreeing a permanent deal at Celtic, with speculation the Swedish striker is holding out for an offer from the Premiership.

Guidetti, 22, hit the ground running following his loan move from Manchester City but his form has tailed off in recent weeks.

The Swede was coy when asked about his future, saying: “My agent will do what he does best. He doesn’t tell me to take the ball with the inside of my foot on the pitch, so I don’t tell him how to do his job.

“I am not worried. I am just so happy to wear the Celtic shirt. The rest will work itself out, it always does. I’ll just try to stay fit and strong and the goals will come back. Everyone can be calm.”

Celtic are reportedly looking at other options but are still hopeful Guidetti will sign a permanent deal. (Various)

McNamara slams Deila over Mackay-Steven

JACKIE McNamara has insisted that Gary Mackay-Steven will leave Dundee United on a high, but took aim at Ronny Deila following the 24-year-old signing a pre-contract agreement with Celtic.

McNamara hit out at Deila’s publicly announcing Celtic’s interest earlier this week, adding: “I’m not comfortable with it. I like to speak about players behind the scenes and I don’t think it’s right to speak publicly about it.

“He’s got his own way of doing things but I wouldn’t want to speak about one of his players under contract.” (The Scotsman)

News in brief

• Henri Anier says his decision to join Dundee United was based on the way the Tannadice club play

• Aberdeen defender Shay Logan says he has forgiven banned Celtic winger Aleksandar Tonev for racially abusing him and says he has no qualms about lining up against Tonev again in the future

• Celtic defender Adam Matthews says he is properly fit for the first time in 18 months

• Dundee’s Paul McGinn has vowed that the club will not plummet in the same way Hibernian did last season

Video used with kind permission of Conor Elen. Original link here >>>