The Rumour Mill: Thursday’s Scottish football news and gossip

In today’s Rumour Mill: Latest on the league reconstruction plans; Dons kid attracts interest; Lennon heaps praise on Celtic heroes; plus the rest of the day’s news and gossip.

SPL to offer First Division clubs cash incentive

Clubs in the Scottish Football League will today be offered a financial incentive to join the Scottish Premier League’s plans for two leagues of 12. At a top-level meeting at Hampden First Division clubs will be told they stand to gain an estimated £350,000 more than they currently receive in league payments if they move to the new format. (Sun)

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Aberdeen face fight to keep Fraser

Highly-rated Aberdeen youngster Ryan Fraser has been targeted by Premier League outfits Swansea and Wigan. Pittodrie boss Craig Brown is in talks over a long-term contract for the 18-year-old, whose deal runs out in the summer. (Express)

• Defender Joe Shaughnessy, 20, has signed a new contract with Aberdeen which lasts until summer 2015. (Mail)

Lennon hails Celtic heroes

Celtic manager Neil Lennon last night labelled his team’s qualification for the last 16 of the Champions League “miraculous” but believes it should not be the limit of their ambitions in the tournament. “It means the world to me,” said Lennon. “Obviously, I’m a young manager in my first year in the Champions League so to qualify with ten points is fantastic. I’m very proud of the players, they have performed a miracle. No-one gave us a prayer coming into this group but we have qualified and deservedly so.” (Scotsman)

• Lennon admitted he couldn’t bring himself to watch Kris Commons score from the penalty spot. (Record)

• Celtic were handed a boost with the news that Efe Ambrose will not have to join up with Nigeria for the Africa Cup of Nations until the SPL winter break. (Sun)

Dundee United dilemma over Rangers boycott

Dundee United face a quandary over ticket prices for February’s William Hill Scottish Cup fifth-round clash with Rangers, who have instructed their supporters to boycott the fixture – which was yesterday snapped up by Sky Sports as a live fixture.

• Former Rangers defender John Brown has backed the club’s boycott and says it’s payback time for Tannadice chairman Stephen Thompson. (Record)

Scotland on standby for ‘13-nation Euro 2020 finals’

Football leaders from across Europe have told Uefa they want the 2020 European Championship to be organised in up to 13 host countries and Scotland 
remain waiting in the wings ready to make a pitch to be one of them. (Various)

Warning over Hearts tax legacy

Prospective Hearts buyer Alex Mackie has welcomed the “clarity” provided by the club’s latest deal with the taxman but believes any new owner would be made to pay. The Foundation of Hearts chairman said: “We welcome the clarity but the concern is they are just passing on their handling of tax affairs to any new owner that comes in.” (Record)

SFA charges for Elgin chairman and Lomas

Elgin chairman Graham Tatters has been charged by the Scottish Football Association after his club’s Third Division game against Rangers was postponed last month because too many tickets were sold, while a fresh charge has been brought by the SFA against St Johnston manager Steve Lomas, currently subject to an eight-match touchline ban. (Various)


• James McFadden has raised hopes of earning a longer deal at Sunderland after making his comeback from injury in a youth team clash. (Mail)

• Former Rangers striker Kris Boyd could leave Portland Timbers this month as the MLS transfer window is open. (Sun)

• Trinidad and Tobago striker Collin Samuel has joined East Fife for a second time. (Express)