Rumour Mill: Celtic step up defender chase | Rangers slam Alves ban | Ref demoted

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Celtic step up interest in Croatian defender; Rangers hit out at Bruno Alves ban with strongly-worded statement and referee demoted from Scottish Premiership duty this weekend

Celtic step up Benkovic chase

Filip Benkovic, left, vies with Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic during a Champions League match in September 2016. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Filip Benkovic, left, vies with Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic during a Champions League match in September 2016. Picture: AFP/Getty Images

Celtic are set to rekindle their interest in Dinamo Zagreb defender Filip Benkovic after scouts ran the rule over the 20-year-old at the weekend.

The Hoops were first linked with the centre-back at the start of the year as Brenda Rodgers looked to strengthen his squad in January, and again in the summer.

Celtic are said to have baulked at the whopping £17 million price tag slapped on the 6ft 4in stopper by Zagreb bosses - but they could return for the defender in January. (Scottish Sun)

Gers ‘shocked’ by Alves ban

Rangers have hit out at the two-match ban offered to Bruno Alves by the compliance officer for appearing to kick out at Motherwell striker Louis Moult.

A lengthy statement claimed the ban would ‘seen as devoid of credibility and balance’ and also questioned if Rangers were ‘being assessed to a different standard from others in the Scottish game’.

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McLean dropped from Premiership duty

Steven McLean will take charge of a Scottish Championship match this weekend, after refereeing the Betfred Cup semi final between Rangers and Motherwell, and Hamilton’s 0-0 draw with Partick Thistle last night.

Criticised for his performance at Hampden, McLean was also in the firing line last night as Alan Archibald claimed the whistler hadn’t wanted to make a ’big decision’.

Archibald felt his team could have had a penalty while opposite number Martin Canning felt Accies had two shouts for spot kicks turned down. (BBC Sport)

1-0 flattered Hearts, claims Lennon

Neil Lennon has claimed Hibs’ 1-0 derby win over Hearts flattered Craig Levein’s men.

The Hibs boss said: “I’m very very happy. In the first half we were perfect. The scoreline flatters Hearts. We were thoroughly dominant. I have been involved in a lot of derbies and that is as good as any.”

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Dons ‘may sell McLean in January’

Derek McInnes has admitted Aberdeen could be tempted into selling Kenny McLean in January rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer.

Rangers had a £300,000 bid for the midfielder thrown out in June but the Pittodrie club are likely to be more amenable to offers when the transfer window reopens.

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Celtic defenders ‘running on adrenaline’

Dedryck Boyata has claimed adrenaline is playing a big part in the Celtic backline as the Belgian stopper prepares for his eighth game in 36 days.

Boyata said: “It’s been hard, playing three games in seven days. When it comes to managing myself, if the other centre-backs had been there, maybe it would have been different. The adrenaline keeps you going in a way.”

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Foreigners not to blame for Gers slump, says Dorrans

Graham Dorrans has dismissed the notion that the multinational make-up of Rangers is a contributory factor to their under-achievement.

Dorrans said: “We need players who can go out and win games. Whether they are from Portugal, Colombia, Brazil, anywhere in the world, doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if they’re British. We need winners.”

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Celtic finalise tie-up with Mr Green

Celtic have agreed a deal with Swedish firm Mr Green to become the club’s new casino partner.

The deal will be Mr Green’s first partnership in Scotland, after successful relationships with Wigan in England and Bohemian FC in Ireland. (Various)