Rumour Mill: New second favourite for Celtic job | no £3m bid for Rangers star | Celtic ace ‘can be next Van Dijk’

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Thursday’s Scottish football news and gossip.

READ MORE - Neil Lennon’s Celtic future hinges on defeating Aberdeen in Scottish Cup - Alan Pattullo

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill. Picture: Getty

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill. Picture: Getty

McCoist: Haul troublemakers out of stands

Ally McCoist has backed harsher sentences for football hooligans but has rebuffed moves regarding the introduction of strict liability for clubs. There have been suggestions that legislation will be introduced given the catalogue of incidents that have been televised at stadia across the country this season. (The Scotsman)

‘No Southampton interest’ in Arfield

Southampton are not eyeing up a move for Rangers midfielder Scott Arfield, despite suggestions the English Premier League side were keeping tabs on the Canada international. Arfield netted his first professional hat-trick in the Gers’ 3-0 win over Motherwell last Sunday, and the Saints were linked with a move for the ex-Burnley man. (The Scotsman)

Ajer can emulate Van Dijk

Kristoffer Ajer can emulate the success of Virgil van Dijk, according to former Celtic assistant manager Johan Mjallby. The Swede also believes that Ajer should remain at Parkhead and become a Celtic stalwart before contemplating a move elsewhere. (The Scotsman)

- Mjallby believes Celtic still have the clout to land another blockbuster name as their new manager such as Rafa Benitez or Andre Villas-Boas. (Various)

Michael O’Neill second favourite for Celtic job

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill is now second favourite to become the new Celtic boss after a flurry of activity at the bookmakers. The former Scotland target was a long-odds outsider but has now dropped down to 3/1 behind odds-on favourite Roberto Martinez. (Daily Record)

Hibs chief praises Bartley after racist abuse

Leeann Dempster, the Hibernian chief executive, has commended Marvin Bartley for his response to the racist barracking he was subjected to at Tynecastle and has praised the swift response of Hearts officials and supporters in identifying the alleged perpetrator. (The Scotsman)

Hibs to install ‘best CCTV in country’

Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster has underlined the club’s determination to stamp out hooliganism at Easter Road, revealing £100,000 is to be spent on what she described will be the best CCTV system in the country. Dempster admitted the Capital outfit had suffered “reputational damage” thanks to two recent high-profile incidents. (Evening News)

Robertson: Levein not at risk of sack

John Robertson, the legendary Hearts goalscorer, spoke candidly yesterday of the great burden of expectation weighing on Tynecastle manager Craig Levein as he insisted there was no imminent threat to Levein’s job despite an upswell of unhappiness among the Gorgie faithful. (The Scotsman)

Neilson to remain at United

Dundee United have confirmed that manager Robbie Neilson will remain with the club into next season even if the Tannadice side fail to win promotion back to the top flight. It looks likely the Terrors will have to battle their way through the playoffs in order to reach the Premiership with Ross County holding an eight-point lead atop the second tier. (Scottish Sun)

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