Rumour Mill: Did Celtic run rule over Pantic? | Mike Ashley court battle | Dundee’s US bid

Was Aleksandar Pantic, seen here taking on Luis Suarez, one of the players watched by Celtic scouts? Picture: AFP/Getty
Was Aleksandar Pantic, seen here taking on Luis Suarez, one of the players watched by Celtic scouts? Picture: AFP/Getty
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Celtic scouts take in La Liga clash; date set for court showdown between Mike Ashley, Dave King and SFA and more on Dundee’s bid to play Celtic in the USA

Hoops scouts take in Villarreal-Eibar tie

CELTIC scouts took in Villarreal’s 1-1 draw with Eibar at El Madrigal at the weekend, sparking further talk about potential January signings.

It is not known who the representatives were watching, but 23-year-old Serbian defender Aleksandar Pantic, on-loan at Eibar from Villarreal, is a possibility.

Pantic’s deal with Villarreal is up in the summer of 2016, and Ronny Deila has been linked with a number of defenders in recent weeks such as Marko Leskovic of HNK Rijeka while Jozo Simunovic, Saidy Janko, Tyler Blackett and Dedryck Boyata all signed during the last transfer window. (El Periodico Mediterraneo)

Ashley wins right to challenge King ruling

MIKE ASHLEY has won the right to have the Scottish FA’s ruling on Dave King as a fit and proper person challenged at a judicial review.

A Court of Session in Edinburgh dismissed the call for the review to be stopped. A date has been set for a two-day hearing beginning April 28, 2016.

Ashley, through Mash Holdings, is challenging the SFA decision to allow King to become chairman of Rangers after granting him ‘fit and proper person’ status. (The Scotsman)

Dundee v Celtic in US ‘pointless’ says ex-Hibs striker

ALLAN McGraw, who was part of a Hibs team that played in the USA in the 1960s, has branded Dundee’s plans to play Celtic across the pond as ‘pointless’.

McGraw said: “I just don’t see how this idea is of any benefit to Scottish football.

“If the clubs do go over there to play then I’ve no doubt the players will enjoy it but what will our game get out of it? That’s the bit which is a puzzle to me. I can’t see it being a success. America has so many different sports it’s difficult to see how it would be much of an attraction. I don’t see any way the Americans would want to get involved with us.” (Daily Record)

Mixu fumes over Kawashima delay

DUNDEE United manager Mixu Paatelainen has branded the system “a joke” for stalling Eiji Kawashima’s move to Tannadice – and warned it could even scupper the deal altogether.

The club’s ongoing efforts to cut through the red tape to allow the Japanese international to launch his career in Scotland continue to be blighted by a wall of resistance.

Kawashima is living in Dundee but is forced to work out by himself as he is unable to train with the rest of the squad under employment law which strictly prohibits his involvement.

Paatelainen said: “There’s nothing more we can do. It’s a joke. It could jeopardise the deal if it goes on too long. We have a quality, skilled and experienced professional training by himself because he’s not allowed to train with us.” (The Scotsman)

Jackie McNamara’s York City thumped 6-0

FORMER Dundee United boss Jackie McNamara has lost his fifth consecutive match since taking charge of York City after watching his side get thumped 6-0 at Portsmouth.

The first half finished goalless, though things started to go wrong for City when Jonathan Greening was sent off in first half stoppage time.

It took the hosts just five minutes after the restart to break the deadlock when Ben Davies netted. The roof then fell in on the visitors, with ex-Livingston striker Mark McNulty netting a hat-trick as Pompy racked up the goals. (Various)

Talisman John McGinn ‘has earned break’ says Stubbs

ALAN Stubbs admits he is glad to finally be in the position to allow star midfielder John McGinn a well-earned break.

It is something he had hoped to already have given McGinn, who has started all 17 games since making his debut for the club as a 
substitute in the defeat by Dumbarton on the opening day of the league season.

Stubbs has resisted said: “I’ve been looking to try to give John a break, because he’s played a lot of games. But because of his performances and because he keeps going I’ve decided just to keep going with him. The players have got a few days off and if anyone has earned that rest then John McGinn has earned that rest.” (The Scotsman)

Play Ciftci and Griffiths together, urges van Hooijdonk

PIERRE van Hooijdonk has urged Ronny Deila to play Nadir Ciftci and Leigh Griffiths up front together - so they can emulate the Dutchman’s partnership with Jorge Cadete.

The former Hoops striker also pointed out that Ciftci should be allowed to play in from the left, as he did at Dundee United.

Van Hooijdonk said: “Leigh is more a poacher and a goalscorer than Nadir is. Nadir has other attributes. He can hold up the ball a bit better, his link-up play is better.

“You also need to realise at Dundee United Jackie McNamara let him play from the left. In that role I haven’t seen him yet. At Celtic he just seems to play No 9 or sit on the bench.” (The Scotsman)

Goal-tastic night for Scots in English leagues

A NUMBER of Scottish players and former Scotland-based players found the back of the net in the English league games taking place last night.

Ex-Livingston forward Mark McNulty netted a hat-trick for Portsmouth against Jackie McNamara’s York City, while Michael Higdon grabbed a double for Oldham as they lost 5-2 at home to Southend.

Former Killie striker Conor Sammon netted for Sheffield United against Shrewbury, with Ian Black, former Dons striker Scott Vernon and ex-Hibs forward James Collins among the goalscorers for the opposition.

Jamie Cureton scored the only goal of the game as Dagenham & Redbridge won at AFC Wimbledon and ex-Hearts star Eggert Jonsson scored his first goal for Fleetwood against Milwall.

Former St Johnstone striker Marcus Haber scored in the five-goal thriller between Colchester and Crewe while ex-Hibs forward James Collins was also on target for Shrewsbury. (Various)