In today’s Rumour Mill: Celtic told Juan Agudelo is not for sale; Elgin face repercussions over ticket fiasco; Rangers face a battle to sign Motherwell’s Jamie Murphy plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.
Celtic target Juan Agudelo ‘not for sale’ say Chivas
Celtic have been issued a ‘hands-off’ warning from Chivas USA over striker Juan Agudelo who is currently training with the Parkhead side. The highly-rated 19-year-old - who holds the record as the USA’s youngest ever scorer - is not for sale, with the Los Angeles-based side confirming that the forward is merely maintaining fitness during the MLS close season. Communications manager Rodrigo Ochoa said: “Juan Agudelo is just keeping fit training with Celtic, and that’s it.
“There are no plans for the club to take any kind of transfer. He’s taking advantage of the vacation time we have right now and he’s training and keeping fit.”
Agudelo is out of contract at Chivas next year and Celtic were hoping to make a move to bring the striker to Scotland, with Neil Lennon expressing his interest in the player last week. However, managerless-Chivas are set to offer Agudelo - who has had trials at Liverpool and Stuttgart - a new deal to stave off interest from Celtic.
Elgin face penalty over ticket fiasco as SFL aim to make example of club
Elgin City director Martyn Hunter has spoken of his embarrassment at what he called the ‘greed and stupidity’ that saw nearly 1200 additional tickets sold for the Borough Briggs club’s clash with Rangers, leading to the game’s postponement on safety grounds.
Hunter said: “The reputation of Elgin City has taken a hell of a dunt and I was absolutely shattered when the police took the decision.
“Regardless of the motives, we know the result. We don’t know the exact number of tickets over the capacity that were sold but it was over our safety limit and that’s all that matters.
“I’ve never known anything like it and it was down to greed and stupidity.”
Hunter is only too aware of the threat of at least a fine for the Third Division side, with the possibility of a points deduction as the SFL seek to make an example of the club - however, they are likely to escape with a censure and warning.
• The club’s board are due to meet today to discuss the future of chairman Graham Tatters.
• SFL Chief David Longmuir has called on Third Division clubs to stop hiking prices for the visit of Rangers fans. It transpired that Elgin had raised ticket prices by 50 per cent for travelling fans, with Queen’s Park set to do likewise.
Rangers could face competition in race to sign Jamie Murphy
Motherwell manager Stuart McCall has warned Rangers that they won’t find it easy in the race to sign winger Jamie Murphy. The Ibrox side are unable to sign anyone until September 2013 but are said to be keen on the Fir Park attacker, but McCall reckons Murphy will be attracting attention from outwith Scotland, suggesting that Championship or even English Premier League sides may be keeping tabs on the player.
Kimarnock to appeal Pascali red but Shiels could face further action
Kilmarnock have confirmed they will appeal Manuel Pascali’s red card for a challenge on Nigel Hasselbaink in their Rugby Park side’s game with St Johnstone on Saturday. Pascali was sent off after only five minutes for a rash challenge on the former St Mirren striker in a decision that left manager Kenny Shiels furious. Shiels was banished to the stand as a result, but continued to communicate with players in the dugout from his seat in the stands. The incident was not brought to the SFA’s attention but a spokesman confirmed that the referee’s report and video evidence would be analysed today and Shiels could be asked for his comments if the governing body decide there is a case to answer.
Dunfermline chief moves to quash rumours of financial troubles
Dunfermline majority shareholder Gavin Masterton has allayed fears that the Fife club are struggling financially, after the East End Park side were unable to pay a tax bill last month. Some players were also denied their full wages but Masterton is confident the situation will improve, blaming the club’s relegation from the top flight and the autumn fixture list on the temporary money issues. Masterton is adamant that the problems will not be a long-term feature.
Football news in brief
• Ross County manager Derek Adams has urged the club to provide him with funds to improve his playing staff. The former Hibs assistant boss has asked the Staggies’ chairman Roy MacGregor to fund a recruitment drive for the Victoria Park side this January.
• Hibs captain James McPake will only play against St Johnstone tomorrow night if he is 100 per cent fit. Manager Pat Fenlon is wary of rushing the defender back ahead of this weekend’s cup clash with city rivals Hearts.
• Calum Murray will take charge of this weekend’s Scottish Cup tie between Hibs and Hearts at Easter Road.
• Danny Grainger has been ruled out of Hearts’ next two matches. The defender will miss tomorrow’s clash with Celtic and the Cup match with Hibs.
• Former Rangers full back Gregory Vignal has left Dundee United without making a single appearance. The 31-year-old agreed to terminate his contract by mutual consent, citing family reasons.
• Gary Mackay-Steven is facing a further 4-6 weeks on the sidelines after fracturing his hand. The Dundee United forward had only recently returned from injury before suffering his latest setback.
• Valery Karpin has taken the reins at Spartak Moscow after Unai Emery was emptied following the Russian side’s 5-1 loss to city rivals Dynamo at the weekend. Karpin moved aside earlier this year to make way for Emery.
• Dundee will not appeal the red card shown to Colin Nish in their defeat to St Mirren. The former Hibs striker was sent off following a challenge on Paul Dummett
• Former Hibs captain Chris Hogg looks set to make a return for Inverness CT after a lengthy spell on the sidelines. The Englishman had been ruled out for several months after suffering a cruciate ligament injury last December, but his return was hampered by a separate patellar tendon injury.