Rumour Mill: Cardiff eye Hearts defender | Schalk says sorry | Rangers third rate

Callum Paterson is wanted by Cardiff City, Ross County's Alex Schalk has apologised for his dive against Celtic and John Harton is predicting a third-place finish for Rangers next season (but only if Pedro Caixinha gets his act together)

Callum Paterson is in demand despite being injured. Picture: Kenny Smith/SNS

Cardiff keen on Callum Paterson

Cardiff City are mulling over a move for Callum Paterson, with the Welsh club considering making a pre-contract offer to the injured Hearts defender. Cardiff were one of a clutch of players linked with the Scotland right-back before he sustained a serious knee injury in a 4-0 win over Kilmarnock in December. Paterson is out of contract at the end of the season but does not expect his knee to heal until October. Hearts would be due a development fee if and when the player does leave Tynecastle. (The Sun)

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Ross County striker Alex Schalk apologies for dive against Celtic

Alex Schalk has issued an apology for the dive against Celtic which earned his Ross County side a late penalty at the weekend. The striker tumbled in the box close to Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko despite there being no contact. County’s Liam Boyce scored the penalty to secure a 2-2 draw. Schalk, who has been banned for two games for the dive, said: “I really want to apologise to the referee, to Celtic and the fans. I’ve seen it back and it’s stupid. I don’t know what I was thinking.” (Various)

John Hartson says Rangers will finish third next season

Former Celtic striker John Hartson has predicted a third-place finish for Rangers next season. Hartson thought the Ibrox club would end up fourth this season but they are on course to finish higher than that. However, he does not expect a huge improvement for the next campaign under new boss Pedro Caixinha. “If Caixinha gets them going they might finish third again next season,” he said. (The Sun)

Take blunder ref out of the firing line

And Hartson has called on referee Don Robertson to be excused of officiating duties at this weekend’s Celtic v Rangers Scottish Cup semi-final. Robertson, who awarded Ross County the penalty against Celtic following Schalk’s dive, is due to be an assistant behind the goal in Sunday’s Hampden clash. Hartson says he should be removed for his own protection and would be better off going for lunch with his family. (The Scotsman) Full story

Win a trip on Ann Budge’s yacht

Hearts owner Ann Budge is auctioning off a holiday on her yacht in Corfu to help raise funds for the new main stand at Tynecastle. A week on the luxury boat is the top prize at the club’s Player of the Year event on Sunday which will raise money for the Tynecastle Regeneration Fund. The trip on the yacht is expected to cost the winning bidder at least £20,000. (Edinburgh Evening News) Full story

Ronny Deila wants no repeat of dodgy decision

Former Celtic manager Ronny Deila is hoping there is no repeat of the controversial refereeing decision which he claims denied his side a treble two years ago. Deila’s Celtic lost in the last four to Inverness Caley Thistle in 2015 when referee Steven McLean missed a handball in the goalmouth by Josh Meeking which blocked a goalbound effort by Leigh Griffiths. Celtic won the league and League Cup that season but Caley Thistle went on to lift the Scottish. Deila hopes Sunday’s semi-final against Rangers is not settled in such a contentious way. (Daily Record)

Ross McCormack has five cysts removed

Ross McCormack’s season is over after the Scotland striker had five cysts removed from his jaw. McCormack, who is on loan at Nottingham Forest from Aston Villa, is also suffering from an Achilles injury. McCormack underwent a three-hour operation in Glasgow to have the cysts removed leaving his face swollen and sore. (Daily Mail)