Gordon Strachan given selection headache as players demand to play
The eagerness to be involved in the first Scotland v England clash to be staged in Scotland this century means Gordon Strachan has been forced to reconsider plans to significantly change his team ahead of tonight’s game at Celtic Park.
Despite what Strachan suspected was a “dilution” of the fixture due to the amount of other big matches shown routinely on television, he has been encouraged by the level of intensity detected among the players.
Several of those who featured in Friday night’s bruising Euro 2016 qualifying encounter with Republic of Ireland, and who Strachan considered leaving out of tonight’s starting XI, have made it clear they have no wish to be rested.
“I need to rethink my strategy,” said Strachan. “I had an idea a couple of days ago but the players that played the other night keep banging on that they are fit enough to play again. They’re dropping hints everywhere I go. From training today, nobody wanted to be rested, that’s for sure.”
Asked if this was because of the identity of the opponents, he admitted: “I would say that it’s a wee bit of that.” (Various)
Wayne Rooney says he could do a Roy Keane and join Celtic at the end of his career
Wayne Rooney has refused to rule out the prospectof following in Roy Keane’s footsteps and playing for Celtic at the end of his career.
Rooney’s affection for Celtic was inspired by his friendship with their former player Alan Stubbs when the pair were Everton team-mates. When Keane left Manchester United in 2006 and joined Celtic, Rooney joined the away support at Ibrox to watch the midfielder make his Old Firm debut.
Rooney has played at Celtic Park for Manchester United in the Champions League and the 29-year-old was non-committal when asked if he could envisage himself joining the Parkhead club one day.
“I don’t know,” he smiled. “You’ve seen some great players come here and play, the likes of Roy Keane who I played with, but it’s not something I’d talk about now. I’m focused on England and Manchester United.
“I’m good friends with Alan Stubbs, who played at Celtic for a few years. He told me about the atmosphere here. I came up to watch Celtic for myself but to play here for United in the Champions League was a completely different thing.”
Rooney has recently taken to leading the England players in a pre-match “huddle” in the same manner which has become a Celtic tradition. He will use it tonight to further prepare the younger members of his team for the atmosphere which will be created by the Scotland fans. (Scotsman)
Roy Hodgson expects a great game and brilliant atmosphere
England boss Roy Hogdson hopes the experience of running out in front of the Celtic Park cauldron will shape up his youngsters for the rigours of international football.
The Three Lions manager and his team can expect a fearsome reception when they appear from the tunnel in the east of Glasgow for Tuesday night’s friendly clash with Scotland.
“Our approach to the game is exciting, it is a big game and we will be given a tough test. Scotland will be keen to win the game and I hope we feel the same way,” the Three Lions boss, whose side ran out 3-2 winners in the sides’ previous meeting last year, told a pre-match press conference.
“We don’t see so many of these games between the countries now. Last season we played them and it was very tight.
“As far as I am concerned, we are the away team and Scotland have the home advantage because Celtic Park is a fantastic stadium to play in.
“The fans give Celtic, and I am sure Scotland, incredible support. We will have to deal with that and not let it affect us mentally. Our younger players might not have had that experience.” (Various)
Wayne Rooney will put his friendship with Darren Fletcher to one side
Having played alongside Fletcher for 11 years, Rooney has nothing but admiration for his Manchester United team-mate.
The England captain rates Fletcher highly as a player and he also has nothing but respects him for the way he battled back from a debilitating bowel disease to return to first-team action for club and country.
“It’s incredible for him to be back playing and to be back in the Scotland team,” said Rooney of Fletcher, who was missing for most of the 2011-12 and the 2012-13 seasons because of ulcerative colitis.
“It shows the character he is, the type of person he is. Obviously it was a hard moment for Darren and his family and he’s come though that with flying colours. He doesn’t miss a training session. He trains really hard, so I’m really pleased he’s managed to come through. He’s back fit and ready to play. Obviously, we speak about the game and he’s playing for Scotland and I’m playing for England,” he said. “We’re great friends off the pitch, but for 90 minutes we’re opponents.” (Various)
John Guidetti wants to end Layvin Kurzawa feud
Celtic striker John Guidetti is hoping to lock horns with Monaco defender Layvin Kurzawa when Sweden meet France in a friendly tomorrow evening.
The two crossed paths in a recent Under-21 European Championship qualifier, which saw Kurzawa score what he thought was the winning goal for France in the 87th minute.
Kurzawa, visibly delighted and certain France’s Under-21s were heading to the finals, saluted in front of the Sweden players, celebrating with aplomb.
However, the Swedes rallied and equalised just a minute later, booking their spot at the finals next year and saluting Kurzawa back for good measure.
They then carried their celebrations into the dressing room, where the entire team posed for a photo, saluting.
For Guidetti, it is water under the bridge and the Swede has vowed what happens on the pitch stays on the pitch.
“It’s good for him he’s been selected. He is a very good player and he deserves it”, Guidetti told
“He is so good he almost deprived us of a place at the Under-21 Euros!
“What happens on the pitch stays on the pitch.
“We have to move on now”, the Celtic striker added. (Futbol24.com)
Hooligan fears for the England v Scotland game
An anti-hooligan crack squad has uncovered a sinister plot to cause chaos ahead of Scotland’s clash with England this week.
Special football intelligence officers have confirmed known troublemakers are planning violence before the game on Tuesday night (18 Nov).
They issued the grim warning after it was revealed thousands of England fans had been asked to pick up their tickets in Glasgow city centre, sparking fears of disorder.
Police Scotland’s Chief Superintendent Andy Bates, who is heading the operation on match day, said: “Absolutely there’s intelligence that suggests there maybe planned disorder.
“I’m concerned enough to make sure there will be a very robust policing operation in place.” (Scotsman)
Mario Bilate’s recovery on the right tracks
Dundee United will have a close look at striker Mario Bilate over the next few days to see if he can return from injury against Kilmarnock this weekend.
Twice this season, the summer signing from Sparta Rotterdam has been sidelined by hamstring problems.
His troubles started when he was forced off early in the win over St Johnstone at the end of September.
Since then, he’s managed just two appearances, first as a substitute at Inverness and then at the beginning of this month when he started against St Mirren.
He lasted just 32 minutes of that victory before being struck down by another injury to the same hamstring.
Initially it was feared this time his absence could be even longer but over the last week or so the teenager has done some training with the medical staff.
That’s given him an outside chance of being involved against Killie. While that would only be as a sub, it would boost the Tangerines’ plans for the Scottish Cup trip to Motherwell on Saturday week. (Evening Telegraph)
News in brief:
• Scott Robertson has added to Hibs injury woes by breaking his hand. (Express)
• Darren O’Dea will be given a chance to win a contract with Blackpool today. (Express)
• Brechin City have ended their interest in former Celtic player Derek Riordan. (Express)
• Hearts boss Robbie Nielson says it will take a ‘ridiculous’ offer for him to sell any of his players this January. (Express)