Celtic's summer plans, Hibs transfers 'more achievable', Rangers vow, Hearts told cup is holy grail, 'hot-headed' Aberdeen chief - football news

We round up some of the football stories doing the rounds across Scotland and beyond this Sunday morning ...

Rodgers expects busy summer transfer window

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says he his excited about the summer transfer window as it will allow him to put his stamp on the squad. Celtic went through a difficult January on the signings front, unable to land the players they wanted, and since then then recruitment chief Mark Lawwell has left Celtic Park. Rodgers is likely to be very active at the end of the season and speaking ahead of today’s Scottish Cup clash at home to Livingston, the Northern Irishman said: “I’m really excited about next season, having now had a look at this group. I’ve seen players who were out for a while and I want to develop this squad. There’s a lot of work going on on that front. Is it a chance to put my stamp on it? Yeah, because I think we lost influential players (last summer) who make the game look different. Those players weren’t just good footballers but they were personalities. It’s hard when you lose that personality from the team. The guys have been great this season with everything that’s been thrown at them. But it’s about seeing what it needs, how it can develop and grow. I had to give guys who were here an opportunity because they’d just come off the back of a Treble-winning season. But I also know because of my experience in football – especially at clubs like Celtic – that there’s a revolving door every three or four years. Even if you’re a winning team you have to fire up the squad again. That’s something we’ll look at doing in the summer.”

Montgomery on loan duo

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is eyeing up a busy summer of recruitment.Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is eyeing up a busy summer of recruitment.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is eyeing up a busy summer of recruitment.

After a cash injection from American billionaire Bill Foley, Hibs boss Nick Montgomery says it is more achievable some to keep loanees Myziane Maolida and Emiliano Marcondes at Easter Road this season. Maolida has another year of his deal at Hertha Berlin to run, while Marcondes’ Bournemouth contract expires in the summer, and both players have helped Hibs improve since their arrivals in January. “Can we keep those guys here?” said Montgomery ahead of this evening’s Scottish Cup quarter-final at home to Rangers. “If they like it and enjoy it. Emi is out of contract at the end of the season so there will be an opportunity. Myziane undoubtedly has huge talent and we’ve seen the level of transfer fees people have paid for him in the past. Like many players, they sometimes lose their way. They go to the wrong environment, lose confidence and find themselves falling out of love with football. I wouldn’t say the investment makes it possible – but it makes it more achievable in different ways. You can be creative bringing players in, whether it’s on loan or it’s permanent. Having that network gives us a bit more room to manoeuvre, bring players in on pre-contracts for next season and continue to build the squad.”

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Butland focuses on Hibs, not Benfica

Jack Butland insists Rangers will be giving every competition their all as attention turns this weekend from Europe to Scottish Gas Scottish Cup action. The 2-2 draw against Benfica in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 clash in Lisbon on Thursday night sets the tie up nicely for the return game at Ibrox next week. However, before that fixture, Philippe Clement’s side, who are top of the cinch Premiership with the Viaplay Cup already in the trophy room, have to travel to Easter Road on Sunday for their quarter-final tie against Hibs. “We’ve got another cup that we want to progress in at the weekend and all focus turns to that now,” said Butland. “We’ll turn our attentions after Sunday but full focus is on Hibs, they’re a good side. We go to their place and we need to go and get a win and progress to the next round. We want to win every game that we’re involved in. We want to win every competition that we’re involved in. So Sunday is exactly that. It’s another competition that we want to progress in. Hopefully we do that and only then we turn our attentions back on to Benfica.”

Jack Butland and Rangers take on Hibs today.Jack Butland and Rangers take on Hibs today.
Jack Butland and Rangers take on Hibs today.

Cup will top it all, says Naismith

Hearts head coach Steven Naismith has told his players the feeling of winning a major trophy can eclipse the emotions of sealing third place. Hearts are 13 points clear in third spot in the cinch Premiership and will potentially clinch a second season of European group stage football in three years. But winning the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup would achieve that goal directly. And, as Naismith knows from enjoying six major trophy successes with Rangers, a Hampden triumph in May would provide lifelong memories for players and fans alike. Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s quarter-final against Morton at Cappielow, Naismith said: “The demand is we get to the late rounds of cups, whether that’s at Hampden or just the next round, that’s the aim. We want to be a successful team. I think the team has made really good strides and we have progressed in loads of ways but the best way we can show that is by getting silverware. For a player and an individual, they are the best memories you will have. If you win a trophy, the feeling of all your hard work, the enjoyment, the aftermath of it, the party, celebrating with all your team-mates, with your family and everybody as one group is amazing.”

Cormack labelled hot-headed by Miller

Aberdeen hero Willie Miller admits his former club are in a “dreadful situation” and labelled Pittodrie chairman Dave Cormack “hot-headed” after caretaker manager Neil Warnock left the club yesterday. Warnock – who was appointed until the end of the season after Barry Robson’s dismissal – departed Aberdeen just an hour after guiding them to Scottish Cup semi-final by defeating Kilmarnock 3-1. The Yorkshireman’s exit comes amid news that the Dons are getting closer to a permanent appointment but with the club in limbo, Miller said: “There is no continuity or consistency. It is all on the back of Dave Cormack. He's the chairman and leader of the club and has to set the standard at the highest level and these standards have dropped dramatically since he took over and Stuart Milne stepped aside. I think Dave is very hot-headed and tends to make decisions and wants to move on. We've got these consultants coming in and only got the news when the manager had to go. There seems to always be some kind of a distraction put out when they move managers on but it is not good enough. Michael [Stewart] is right. You can't take someone of 75 and for whatever reason he decides to walk away from the club. Whether it is mutual or Dave has pushed him or he has decided himself, it doesn't matter. It is a dreadful situation to be in.”