Rumour Mill: van Dijk for Celtic? | Leigh Griffiths

Virgil van Dijk, reported Celtic target. Picture: GettyVirgil van Dijk, reported Celtic target. Picture: Getty
Virgil van Dijk, reported Celtic target. Picture: Getty
CELTIC are rumoured to have made an offer for a Dutch under-21 defender, Wolves’ chairman has bad news for Hibs fans on Leigh Griffiths, and Johnny Russell has harsh words for the SPL. All those stories, plus the latest on boardroom developments at Kilmarnock, Hearts and Dunfermline in Monday’s Rumour Mill.

Neil Lennon targets £2m van Dijk

Celtic have reportedly made a £2 million bid for Groningen defender Virgil van Dijk.

The 22-year-old defender, who made his Dutch under-21 debut against Scotland 18 months ago, has been linked with a host of Premier League sides as well as Dutch giants PSV and FC Twente. However, reports in the Dutch media suggest that Neil Lennon has put in an offer.

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van Dijk’s agent did little to stop speculation, saying: “It is true that a bid has been made for Virgil but I can’t say anything about the club (making the offer).” (Various)

‘Absolutely no way’ Leigh Griffiths staying at Hibs

Leigh Griffiths’ Hibernian career is over and he will return to Wolves for the coming season - that’s according to Wolves chairman Jez Moxey.

The Scottish Football Writers’ Player of the Year was on loan at Easter Road last year, and Moxey has confirmed Hibs fans’ fears that their top scorer will be absent this season.

Moxey said: “He will absolutely be coming back here to play for us next season.

“We have taken up the one year option on his contract, so he is with us and we will be working him.

“There is absolutely no way that Wolverhampton Wanderers has any interest other than having Leigh Griffiths here in the summer training with us in preparation for a League One campaign.” (Birmingham Mail)

Hearts: McPherson says ‘keep your cash’; Smith warns ‘watch out for Whytes’

Former Hearts captain Dave McPherson has advised supporters not to provide the club with any further money until a change of ownership takes place.

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“There is no point in Hearts supporters putting any more money in now,” said McPherson. “Not until the club goes into administration and we see exactly where we stand.

“The supporters have been brilliant, they came out in numbers all last season, which was a pretty grim season, remember, because everybody knew what was going to happen. So all

credit to them.

“But there is no point putting money in at the moment. I would wait and see what happens and I think that will bring it to a head. If that means administration, we’ll see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Hearts icon Henry Smith has warned fans not to be caught out by their own version of Craig Whyte in the rush for investment.

Smith said: “We need to look at offers on paper, make sure they can be true to their word and atake it from there.”

Up to six different groups, including a fans’ consortium led by Edinburgh MP Ian Murray, are thought to be interested in various degrees in the stricken Tynecastle clubs. (Scotsman/Record)

Johnny Russell says English second tier better than SPL

Johnny Russell has claimed that the English Championship is of a higher standard than the SPL.

Russell, who left Dundee United for Derby last week in a £750,000 deal, believes his move to the English second tier will help him raise his game.

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He said: “I believe that it is a step up from the SPL and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.

“No disrespect to the SPL, but the Championship is such a competitive league.” (Scotsman)

Kilmarnock: Unsworth front-runner for manager’s job as boardroom row intensifies

Sheffield United coach David Unsworth has emerged as a candidate for the manager’s job at Kilmarnock.

The Blades coach has been given permission to speak to Kilmarnock, who are without a manager after the departure of Kenny Shiels, and the former caretaker boss at Preston is keen to take on his first managerial role.

Meanwhile, Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston has claimed that potential investor Marie Macklin planned to knock down Rugby Park and move to a new ground.

Johnston said that the plan was part of a previous offer to buy his controlling stake in the club, which became public knowledge this weekend at the club’s supporters’ AGM.

The chairman said: “The decision to raze Rugby Park to the ground and build houses there would have meant we would have gone to a place where we would have been tenants and not owners.

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“That proposition was unattractive to me on behalf of the club.”

Macklin, chief executive of housebuilders the Klin Group, hit back on Twitter. She said: “I have a 5-year plan for our club unlike our chairman that will reduce debt, fan ownership & bring honour from the board room!” (Various)

SFA sorry for England ticket blunder

The SFA has apologised for accidentally selling tickets for Scotland’s game with England after putting a dummy ticketing website online.

Members of the Scotland Supporters’ Club believed they were able to snap up tickets for the August tie at Wembley, only to later be told by the SFA that their purchases were invalid.

The SFA apologised on Twitter, saying that an internal error led to the page being put online by mistake. (Scotsman)


• Former Rangers striker Kyle Lafferty has left FC Sion for Palermo, where he will team up with his former manager Rino Gattuso. Lafferty was singled out by Sion chairman Christian Constantin, who said the Northern Irishman was “no use”.

• A Portuguese newspaper has claimed that over half of the transfer fee paid by Celtic for striker Amido Balde went to his uncle Catio. ‘O Jogo’ claimed that Catio, Amido’s agent, collected 53% of the £1.3 million, with Vitoria Guimares paid 37% and his first club Sporting Lisbon netting 10% of the fee.

• The fans’ group looking to take control at Dunfermline is ready to put in a bid. The deadline for offers for the club is tomorrow, with creditors meeting administrator Bryan Jackson to discuss possible deals on Wednesday.

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