Rumour Mill: Celtic ace on Premier League hopes | Steve Clarke blasts Rangers fans’ sectarian abuse | Ex-Rangers man wants Aberdeen switch

The latest Scottish football news, gossip and transfer rumours...

Benkovic keen on Foxes fight

Celtic defender Filip Benkovic has admitted he is desperate to fight for his Leicester place next season.

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Speaking to Sporske Novosti in his homeland: “[At Celtic] I have played a lot of high level games, which has helped me a lot. But I think I have plenty of room for progress. I need to work, to improve, to play in every part of the game.

Celtic line up ahead of a Europa League group match. Picture: SNS Group

“I want to make another step at the end of the season. I want to show that I can play in the English Premier League. It’s a formula for growth, a recipe for further progress, I think I’m on the right track.” (Sporkse Novosti)

Clarke blasts ‘dark ages’ after sectarian abuse

Steve Clarke issued a scathing denunciation of “dark ages west of Scotland” sectarianism after he had chants of “sad Fenian b*****d” directed at him at Ibrox last night.

The Kilmarnock boss boiled over when asked about the abuse meted out to him by Rangers fans. “It’s nice being back in the west of Scotland – really nice,” he said sarcastically.

“When I was approached by Rangers about taking the job here I was assured, ‘nah, we don’t have that in the west of Scotland anymore and it had gone’. Hahaha. They can call me a b*****d or w****r but to call me a Fenian b*****d? Come on. “We’re living in the dark ages. They’re not allowed to call my assistant a black B but they can call me a Fenian b*****d. Is that correct? What are we doing in Scotland?” (The Scotsman)

Ball open to Dons stay

Dominic Ball has admitted he hopes a permanent deal at Pittodrie is an option this summer as his Rotherham contract comes to an end.

The 23-year-old enjoyed a successful season-long loan at Aberdeen in 2017-18, and returned last summer for a second stint.

He said: “I will see what happens. At the moment I am just hoping to get back in and get back playing. Hopefully there are options, and hopefully there is an option here.” (Evening Express)

Haring update from Levein

Peter Haring is on course to return to the Hearts midfield against St Mirren this weekend. The influential Austrian hasn’t featured since the winter break after undergoing a double hernia operation in January. 
However, Craig Levein is of a mind to hand the 25-year-old a return to the side on Saturday as long as he comes through today and tomorrow unscathed. 
“I’m hopeful that Peter will be in contention for the weekend. He’s done a lot of work already so if he trains well, I wouldn’t be concerned about putting him straight back in.” (Evening News)

Gauld ‘still some weeks away’ says Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom won’t be taking any risks with Ryan Gauld’s fitness as he confirmed that the Hibs midfielder faces “another couple of weeks” on the sidelines. The on-loan Sporting Lisbon playmaker has missed the Easter Road side’s last two matches after picking up a hamstring injury in the 2-0 defeat away to Celtic a fortnight ago. Gauld is unlikely to feature in any of Hibs’ next three matches, away to Dundee tomorrow, away to St Johnstone on Wednesday and at home to Celtic in the Scottish Cup a week on Saturday. “I’m not sure when he’ll be back, but he’ll be another couple of weeks yet,” said Heckingbottom. (Evening News)

Hull eye Hastie

Hull City are keeping a close eye on Motherwell’s contract talks with exciting forward Jake Hastie.

Both Hastie and ‘Well boss Stephen Robinson are hopeful of striking a deal to extend the youngster’s stay beyond the summer.

But the Tigers are keeping tabs on negotiations in case they break down. The 19-year-old is understood to have been offered a new three-year deal by the Fir Park side. (The Sun)