The Rumour Mill: Mo Bangura | Celtic | Rangers

Celtic deny targeting James McLean and Christian Atsu following the sale of Gary Hooper; Mo Bangura admits strain over being at centre of Celtic-Elfsborg tug of war; Hearts better off without Vladimir Romanov, says Lee Wallace; plus all the latest football transfer news and gossip
Mo Bangura, centre, celebrates winning the SPL title with his team-mates in 2012. Picture: SNSMo Bangura, centre, celebrates winning the SPL title with his team-mates in 2012. Picture: SNS
Mo Bangura, centre, celebrates winning the SPL title with his team-mates in 2012. Picture: SNS

Celtic deny targeting James McLean and Christian Atsu

Celtic have denied reports that they are planning a bid for £2.5 million-rated James McLean and Porto winger Christian Atsu. A club spokesman flatly denied speculation that the duo would arrive at Celtic Park for a combined total of £7 million.

After the sale of Gary Hooper to Norwich in a £5.2 million deal, Celtic have significant funds to spend on recruiting new players.

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But coach Garry Parker, when asked of the rumours surrounding the Parkhead transfer targets, said: “I’ve no idea. We’ve got options, I’m not going to say who they are, but there are people we like. I’d say we’d like to sign another two or three - but that’s down to the manager. We have our sights on a few players and we’lll see what happens.”

Other Celtic targets include Artjom Rudvens of Hamburg, Evian’s Saber Khelifa, Southampton’s Billy Sharp and Kevin Doyle of Wolves. (Scotland on Sunday, Mail on Sunday)

Mo Bangura caught up in Celtic-Elfsborg tug of war

Mo Bangura has admitted feeling the strain over being at the centre of a dispute between parent club Celtic and Danish side Elfsborg, where he is currently on loan. The two sides are due to meet in the Champions League third qualifying round and Elfsborg habe told Bangura that they want him to line up against the Parkhead outfit, but Celtic are opposed to the possibility.

“There is so much pressure on me right now. I am going to have to sleep over it,” Bangura said. “It is hard for me, but I just have to get on with it. I don’t really know what to do to be honest, but I have not spoken to Neil Lennon.

“Elfsborg pay my wages, but Celtic are my club so I don’t know who will make the decision.” (The Sun on Sunday)

Hearts will be better off without Vladimir Romanov, says Lee Wallace

Rangers defender Lee Wallace has backed Hearts to emerge from administration as the club recovers from the financial turmoil of Vladimir Romanov’s stewardship. Wallace, who left Hearts to join Rangers in 2011, said he was “sad” to see his former club enduring a plight similar to that of his current employer last year.

“I’d say I am sad more than angry about it. They were my first club and I have a lot of good memories from my time there so it was sad to learn of the redundancies.”

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He added: “There were certainly lots of things happening higher up at Hearts, out with the players’ and manager’s control, that raised eyebrows and there were questions asked about the running of the club.” (Sunday Mail)

Ally McCoist: Rangers can compete with anyone for cups

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has signalled is ambition for the new season as he challenged his squad to set their ambitions beyond the SPFL League One title; The Rangers manager has told his players that a tilt at three cups - the Ramsdens Cup, the Scottish League Cup and the Scottish Cup - is a possibility with the addition of new recruits such as Cammy Bell and Jon Daly.

“I wouldn’t say I was interested in the cups last year - of course I was,” said McCoist when asked about Rangers’ cup exits last season.

“But the best way of putting it is that I got over the disappointement a lot quicker than I usually would.

“This year will be different. The disappointment would be far greater because we have a better squad than last year.

“The boys we’ve signed have that winning mentality - they wanted to get to finals with their previous clubs. Cammy won the League Cup with Kilmarnock and Joh won the Scottish Cup with United.” (Sunday Mail)