Brendan Rodgers has spoken out on the Deadline Day departure of Moussa Dembele, Aberdeen stand firm on Scott Mckenna and Rangers face an ‘acid test’ against Celtic says Steven Gerrard. All this and more in today’s Rumour Mill.
Rodgers on Dembele exit
Brendan Rodgers has lamented over the exit of Moussa Dembele and said that he is frustrated by the whole saga.
He said: “It is disappointing. I have seen some of the comments and you only need to look into that to see whether it is true or not.
“I have a certain level of empathy for him. At this stage, when people are trying to force through a move and trying to work it there is a lot of anger there.
“Sometimes people say things and do things and write things that they maybe didn’t necessarily mean.
“But of course if you’re trying to engineer something you can sometimes drop to that level of tactic in order to do it.
“I am experienced enough have been around it enough and seen it enough. You just have to get on with it.
“It is what it is. It’s disappointing it’s got to this stage and where it’s at. But that’s modern football. You just need to deal with it.” (Various)
Aberdeen turn down ‘record bid’ for McKenna
Aberdeen turned down a club-record fee for defender Scott McKenna from Aston Villa as they stood firm on their valuation of the Scotland international.
Villa wanted to take McKenna on loan until January with the option to buy for a fee around £7million in January.
The bid was swiftly turned down by the Dons according to reports with the side not wishing to sell key assets so close to the deadline. (Press and Journal)
Rangers face ‘acid test’ against Celtic
Steven Gerrard insists his Rangers players won’t be lulled into expecting a ‘weak’ Celtic when the teams meet on Sunday and believes the head-to-head will work as an ‘acid test’ for his side.
Speaking to the media he said: “I think we wait to see the team sheet come in,
“We’ll prepare for a good Celtic team.
“It would be very naive of us to underestimate the challenge and the personnel they’ve got.
“They’ve got good players in all different kinds of positions. It’s a huge game for them, just as it is for us, so we don’t expect a weak Celtic team or a Celtic team that’s going to lie down.”
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Benkovic trains with Celtic
Celtic have announced the signing of defender Filip Benkovic on a season-long loan deal from Leicester City.
Having been spotted at the Europa League game against Suduva, the centre-back trained with Brendan Rodgers’ first team squad on Friday morning.
“I’m very happy to be here,” he told Celtic TV. “This all happened so fast but I’m delighted that it finished here as this is a very big club with a big history.
“I was at the game on Thursday night and I can only say that the crowd were unbelievable. They were amazing and lived with the players for the whole game and they were so passionate. I really liked what I saw and I can’t wait to play in front of them.
“I will promise that I will do my best in every game and every training session. I know I can improve in my game as I want to reach as highest level as possible so I will give all my blood to this club. This is all can promise.” (Various)
Pressure all on Rangers for Derby says Strachan
Ahead of the Glasgow Derby, Gordon Strachan has said that all the pressure remains on Rangers.
He said: “We will find out on Sunday if all of this Rangers talk has been propaganda. They will go to Celtic Park with an optimism which hasn’t been felt for years.
“The thing which is driving a belief that Rangers are back is the Gerrard effect. No one saw that coming six months ago but what we’ve seen is a perceived dramatic change within the space of six weeks.
“All of the hype could blow up. It could also go the other way and Rangers do prove they are getting closer to Celtic. Maybe they’ll get the result and put pressure on Celtic. But if they don’t do well then they’ll be throwing away all of the positivity and talk of the last few months and realise they aren’t any closer.” (Daily Record)
Lennon delighted Levein back on the mend
Hibs manager Neil Lennon expressed his relief that city rival Craig Levein is recovering well from his health scare.
The Hearts boss was rushed to hospital on Monday after suffering a heart problem, but is now back at home.
Lennon said “I’m delighted he’s on the road to recovery,”
“I was gutted and a bit upset to tell you the truth. You see the headline and you just worry. Thankfully I was able to get hold of him later on that day and he was in good spirits.
“We sent all our best wishes from the staff here and he got back to me really quickly with his usual dry sense of humour. That to me was a great sign. I’ll be delighted to see him back soon but he obviously needs a bit of time and a bit of privacy as well.” (Edinburgh Evening News)
New deal for Celtic ace?
Olivier Ntcham looks set to sign a new contract at Celtic after the club managed to fend off interest in his services during the transfer window.
Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers confirmed earlier this week that talks were underway with the player, hoping that there would be a conclusion on a new deal soon.
Caulker leaves Dundee
Steven Caulker has left Dundee by mutual consent, the club has confirmed.
The one-time England international put pen to paper on an 18-month deal at Dens Park in February, but the former QPR and Liverpool defender has activated a clause in his contract that allows him to exit the club as a free agent. (Scotsman)