Rumour Mill: Celtic eye Rodolph Austin | Dave King
Celtic target Rodolph Austin
CELTIC have been linked with freed Leeds midfielder Rodolph Austin, according to the player’s agent.
The Jamaican midfielder made 100 appearances for the Elland Road side between 2012 and 2015, before being released earlier this month.
He found first-team opportunities hard to come by this season, making just 13 appearances and scoring once.
But Austin, 29, who was a target for Wigan and Brighton during the January transfer window, is reportedly interesting a number of clubs, including Burnley and the Scottish champions.
His agent said: “I am talking to several interested clubs about Rudy.’ (HITC)
Dave King awaits ‘fit and proper’ results
DAVE King is on the verge of finding out if he has been given the Hampden green light to become chairman of Rangers.
The Scottish FA have been waiting on one final document from King’s legal team before making a decision on his ‘fit and proper’ status.
Despite rumours that King has been cleared, official judgement is not expected until some time next week.
King’s lawyers have been asked by the SFA to provide key documents explaining why the former Ibrox director stayed on Craig Whyte’s board as the club nosedived into administration.
A source told the Daily Record: “The SFA’s been waiting for a document for two weeks and it slowed King’s case up. Things are starting to move again.” (Daily Record)
Van Dijk warned over progress
VIRGIL van Dijk has been warned that his progress as a top class central defender could be hindered if he leaves Celtic too soon.
The highly-regarded Dutch player has been consistently linked with a move to the English Premier League where Arsenal, Tottenham, Southampton and Crystal Palace are among the clubs believed to be weighing up a summer bid for the 23-year-old.
Van Dijk further fuelled the speculation himself earlier this week when, in a Dutch media interview, he said he would “definitely consider” a transfer if the opportunity arose.
But Celtic first-team coach John Kennedy has urged Van Dijk, who is under contract with the Scottish champions until 2017, to be patient and remain at the club for another tilt at Champions League football next season.
Kennedy said: “Yes, Virgil can play at the very top. Players sometimes get their head turned too quickly and it stalls their development.
“He’s in a good place right now and we want to compete in the Champions League next year. For him to have that, and be at a club where him and his family are happy, is an important factor.” (The Scotsman)
Alan Shearer: I knocked back Celtic twice
FORMER Newcastle and England striker Alan Shearer has revealed he twice knocked back attempts by Celtic to sign him.
Shearer said during a visit to Scotland that he had spoken to Martin O’Neill during his tenure, adding: “I actually spoke to Martin O’Neill twice about moving to Celtic a few years ago when I thought I might be leaving Newcastle.”
And the former Blackburn ace admitted he is missing the Old Firm.
Shearer said: “All that has happened to Rangers has not been good for Scottish football, but the more teams in and around the top and challenging for the championship, the better it is for the game.
“Even if you’re not a Rangers or Celtic fan, the return of the Old Firm fixture in the league calendar must be good for everyone. Scottish football has suffered from Rangers not being in the top flight - and I suspect the television and financial figures have gone down as well.” (Daily Record)
Wigan set to beat Celtic to McGinn signing
WIGAN look set to pinch St Mirren ace John McGinn from under Celtic’s nose as the midfielder prepares to exit the Paisley club this summer.
New Latics boss Gary Caldwell is keen to rebuild the squad for their assault on League One, following relegation from the Championship, and has reportedly earmarked Scotland Under-21 star McGinn as one of his first signings.
The Hoops were linked with McGinn in January, but didn’t make a move for the midfielder, who was injured in a training ground prank after team-mate Steven Thompson speared him with a pole. (Various)
Dons may have to sell Ryan Jack
DEREK McInnes admits that Aberdeen may be forced to sell Ryan Jack this summer if the midfielder doesn’t agree a contract extension. However the Dons manager insists that will only happen if they get the right offer for the highly rated player.
Jack’s current deal runs until next May and so far there’s no sign that he’s ready to commit his future for longer than that. McInnes will do all he can to keep the player at Pittodrie but is determined to get the right price if they do have to sell.
He said: “We have been trying to find a way to get him to commit longer without success to be honest.
“While Ryan hasn’t said officially that he doesn’t want to sign a new deal, we are still working towards getting an agreement. But, it is like anything else, you have got to be prepared if clubs come in for any of your players.” (The Scotsman)
Vuckic wants Gers and Magpies double
RANGERS star Haris Vuckic is hoping parent club Newcastle can avoid the drop - and that the Gers can hoist themselves into the Scottish Premiership as well.
Vuckic, whose future is uncertain, has expressed an interest in joining Rangers full-time, but knows he has to play his part in five more matches if Rangers are to reach Scottish football’s top flight.
Holding onto a slender one-goal lead over play-off rivals Queen of the South, the Gers, if they got past Queens, would then face a tough tie against Hibernian - who beat the Rangers side 4-0, 2-0 and 3-1 this season.
But Vuckic is keen to avoid Championship football on both sides of the Border, saying: “You could say things are more positive just now at Rangers than at Newcastle.
“Newcastle lost eight games in a row and then they drew at the weekend. Hopefully, they are going to do well in the last two games and I wish them all the best.
“I’m confident Newcastle can stay up with the players they have but when the bad momentum comes, even when you have the best players, it can be hard. But I just want to focus on myself at Rangers – I want to do well for the club and hopefully we bring them back to where they belong.” (Daily Record)
Rangers win Neil Alexander cash appeal
RANGERS look to have settled their long-running legal battle with former goalkeeper Neil Alexander.
An independent SPFL tribunal had awarded Alexander £84,000 in December after ruling that Rangers had breached his contract.
However, it is understood that an SFA appeals panel has reversed that decision after backing Rangers’ argument.
Hibs ‘could keep Martin Boyle’
HIBS boss Alan Stubbs has hinted that Martin Boyle may be given the chance to extend his Hibs stay despite sustaining a knee injury in the final match of the season.
The pacy wideman, who netted the first goal in Hibernian’s 3-0 win over Falkirk, underwent surgery on Wednesday and Stubbs said from the club’s La Manga training base that he will hold talks with the on-loan Dundee player about his future.
NEWS IN BRIEF
• Motherwell have released Iain Vigurs, Simon Ramsden, Paul Lawson and Stuart Carswell
• Barry Robson has signed a new deal with Aberdeen
• Dunfermline have released ten players, including Andrew Barrowman, Jonathan Page and Ryan Thomson
• St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright has revealed the McDiarmid Park club had a loan bid for former striker Stevie May knocked back
• Iain Davidson and Jamie Reid have been released by Dundee
• Aberdeen are to free eight players, including former Hearts winger Andrew Driver and Joe Shaughnessy but may make a move for Stevie May
• Partick Thistle boss Allan Archibald has admitted he wouldn’t want a plastic pitch at Firhill, while the Jags have tied up Callum Booth and Christie Elliott on new deals