PAOK refute Aberdeen racism claim, Rangers 'circumstances' warning, Celtic's 'young team' reason - football news


We pick out some of main football headlines across the football media this Friday morning:

PAOK deny Aberdeen racist abuse allegation

Greek side PAOK have refuted claims from Aberdeen that Dons striker Pape Gueye, who was an unused substitute during the 2-2 draw, was racially abused during the Europa Conference League match in Thessaloniki by the home fans. The Greeks labelled the incident “as a product of imagination” and wasn’t mentioned to officials, with a statement reading: “There has never been racist behaviour in Toumba, which would not be tolerated anyway. This specific incident is clearly a product of imagination, as it did not come to the attention of any official of the organisation. Instead, the defiant behaviour of the Aberdeen substitutes in their equaliser was evident and to their credit the fans did not react at all.”

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Aberdeen have claimed one of their players, Pape Gueye (not pictured), was subjected to racial abuse by PAOK fans during the match at Toumba Stadium.Aberdeen have claimed one of their players, Pape Gueye (not pictured), was subjected to racial abuse by PAOK fans during the match at Toumba Stadium.
Aberdeen have claimed one of their players, Pape Gueye (not pictured), was subjected to racial abuse by PAOK fans during the match at Toumba Stadium.

Clement warns Rangers Europa League qualification is not secured yet

Philippe Clement warned his Rangers players that Europa League knockout football is not yet assured despite a 2-1 win over Sparta Prague taking them in to second place in Group C. In a thrilling first-half performance, Brazilian striker Danilo got the breakthrough after 11 minutes before midfielder Todd Cantwell added a second in the 20th minute but the second half was not so convincing. Sparta substitute Lukas Haraslin reduced the deficit in the 77th minute and although Danilo soon had the ball in the net again it was ruled out after VAR check for a foul and in the end the Light Blues were glad to hang on. Real Betis have nine Group C points, Rangers have seven, Sparta Prague have four and Aris Limassol just three. Rangers host Aris Limassol later in the month and can confirm qualification with a victory before concluding their campaign next month with a trip to Spain to face Real Betis. However, Clement said: “If there is one thing I don’t want is that the players now think that we are qualified. We made a really important step forward that is true but we don’t have anything in our heads for the moment. We need to get our points against Aris or against Betis, we still have two games to go. It is focus and concentration to try to get three points out of every game and we know that football is a game that you don’t always get what you deserve. There can be circumstances that can go against you so we have to be at the top level every time.”

Scales: Naive Celtic can learn from street-smart Atletico

Liam Scales admits Celtic need to be more streetwise in Europe. Brendan Rodgers’ side have been very competitive with a full quota of players in the Champions League but three red cards in four games have proved costly. Daizen Maeda’s dismissal in Spain on Tuesday led to a 6-0 defeat by Atletico Madrid, which leaves Celtic bottom of Group E with one point and in need of wins over Lazio and Feyenoord and favours from Diego Simeone’s team. Centre-back Scales, who has not been booked in the Champions League, said of the red cards: “It’s probably that we are a young team and maybe a bit naive at times. “You come and play in Europe and the referees, you get nothing out of them. They are a lot stricter and tackles that you might get away with domestically, they give. With VAR, you are going to pick up red cards in the way we’ve been doing. It’s frustrating, because I think with 11 players on the pitch we had started the game quite well. I know we had conceded earlier before the red card, but I thought we had quite a bit of the ball, and it definitely would have been a more even game with 11 men.”

Maddison withdraws from England squad due to injury

Tottenham midfielder James Maddison has been withdrawn from the England squad due to injury. The 26-year-old was taken off during the first half of Spurs’ 4-1 Premier League defeat to Chelsea on Monday with an ankle injury, and his club have now confirmed he is unavailable for England’s Euro 2024 qualifiers at home to Malta on November 17 and away to North Macedonia on November 20. Spurs said in a statement that the player would continue his rehabilitation at their Hotspur Way training centre under the supervision of club medical staff. Maddison had been included in the initial 25-man squad named by England manager Gareth Southgate on Thursday. England sealed qualification for next summer’s Euros in Germany in their last qualifier, a 2-1 win over Italy at Wembley last month.