Rumour Mill: Barry Ferguson | Ryan Gauld | Hearts

Dundee United youngster Ryan Gauld has reportedly been watched by Real Madrid. Picture: SNS
Dundee United youngster Ryan Gauld has reportedly been watched by Real Madrid. Picture: SNS
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BARRY Ferguson reveals the reasons behind his bust-up with former Ibrox boss Paul Le Guen; Hearts in line for derby cup cash boost and Tony Watt hits back at fitness critics.

Barry Ferguson: Le Guen bust up wasn’t about crisps

Former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson has lifted the lid on how a bizarre clash he had with ex-Ibrox manager Paul Le Guen led to the Frenchman getting in a pickle over Monster Munch crisps.

Ferguson and Le Guen had a fraught relationship during their time at Ibrox in the 2006-07 season and matters came to a head when the Scotland international was stripped of the captaincy and dropped after a spat between the pair after a 2-1 defeat to Inverness.

Ferguson was restored to the side when Le Guen resigned days later - after just 198 days in charge of Rangers - and the skipper played a major part in the club’s progress to the 2008 Uefa Cup final under Walter Smith before moving south in 2009, first to Birmingham and then his current club Blackpool.

Le Guen - now coach of the Oman national side - subsequently accused Ferguson of undermining his authority, but writing in his column in the Daily Record, the midfielder has revealed that he was angered by Le Guen’s “lack of passion” and let his emotions boil over.

Perhaps the final straw for Ferguson was an impasse over a packet of crisps. In an attempt to improve his squad’s diet, Le Guen placed Monster Munch on the banned list, something Ferguson - who enjoys pickle onion Monster Munch - found laughable.

Real Madrid keep tabs on Dundee United starlet Ryan Gauld

He’s been called the ‘baby Messi’ after Barcelona star Lionel, but Dundee United playmaker Ryan Gauld is reportedly a target for Barca’s La Liga rivals Real Madrid. The 17-year-old was reportedly watched by a representative of the Spanish giants’ youth set-up during United’s midweek cup victory over Partick Thistle, with Jackie McNamara calling the Scotland Under-19 international a ‘special’ player.

Although the Tannadice boss played down any rumours linking Gauld with the Spaniards, he conceded that if ‘Ryan continues to progress’ he expects real big clubs to look at him, and insisted that speculation over Gauld’s future would not faze the youngster, adding: “He’s single-minded and won’t get caught up in any hype or speculation. Most of our kids are like that, they’re very grounded.”

Jack Harper, born in Malaga to Scottish parents, is already on the books at Real. (various)

Hearts to get cash boost from cup derby clash

Cash-strapped Hearts are set for a £250,000 windfall after being drawn to face Edinburgh rivals Hibernian in the League Cup quarter finals. The Tynecastle club will get 50 per cent of the gate receipts plus a sizeable chunk of television revenue if the match is shown live.

Managing director David Southern said it was ‘as good a draw as we could have hoped for in terms of finance’.

A full house at Easter Road would generate over £450,000 and TV cash would carry the total even further, providing a much-needed boost for Hearts - but Southern warned that any League Cup money would make no difference in terms of the club emerging from administration. (The Scotsman)

Tony Watt: Shirt removal showed I’m fit

Celtic striker Tony Watt , on loan at Lierse, has defended ripping his shirt off after scoring a second goal for the Belgian side during a cup match insisting: “I just wanted to show everyone I am in prime condition.”

Lierse manager Stanley Menzo went public with comments about the 19-year-old’s fitness despite a debut goal against Kortrijk, saying that Watt was ‘physically not good’ and that he was the sort of player who thought he could achieve a lot by doing a little.

Watt scored his second goal in as many games for the Belgians as they beat Lommel United 3-2, with the former Airdrie striker taking his top off to celebrate.

“I knew perfectly well if I took my top off I would get a yellow card - it happens all over the world. I just wanted to show I am not fat,” Watt explained.

The Scotland Under-21 striker added that he would ‘stay at [Celtic] for the rest of my life’ if he could, adding that he is hoping to score goals for Lierse and force his way back into Neil Lennon’s plans. (Scotsman)

Allan Johnston pleads with Killie support to stay loyal

Kilmarnock boss Allan Johnston has begged Kilmarnock fans to keep supporting the club - despite no league wins this season so far, dwindling crowds and a chairman who is at war with the fans.

Johnston believes a win over Celtic this weekend could kickstart a Killie revival, adding: “We have to get the fans back on our side. There are a lot of issues behind the scenes which have been happening for the last season, but the fans need to get on our side and give us the backing because, at the end of the day, we are playing for Kilmarnock Football Club.

“We have to focus on our games. We have to encourage the fans back by playing good football and getting results. Hopefully that will deflect from the off-field stuff.” (Scotsman)