Rumour Mill: Celtic eye Bakkali | Nadir Ciftci ban

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CELTIC are targeting £750k rated Belgian winger Zakaria Bakkali; Nadir Ciftci shocked to learn he’ll miss final; Kenny McDowall begs referee not to get card happy and more in Sunday’s Rumour mill

Celtic are targeting £750k rated Belgian winger Zakaria Bakkali

Nadir Ciftci is shocked to learn he will miss the Cup Final. Picture: SNS

Nadir Ciftci is shocked to learn he will miss the Cup Final. Picture: SNS

Celtic are to make a deadline day approach for PSV Eindhoven winger Zakaria Bakkali.

The Belgium international is due to be out of contract in the summer, when he would be available as a free agent.

Bakkali is stalling on a new deal with the Dutch club. That’s left the door open for Celts to swoop before tomorrow night’s transfer window deadline. (Sunday Mail)

Nadir Ciftci shocked to learn he’ll miss final

Dundee United hero Nadir Ciftci was left devastated last night after being told that he’s OUT of the League Cup Final.

The Turkish striker hit the semi-final winner against Aberdeen at Hampden and emerged jubilant after keeping a promise to his baby niece that he’d score.

But Ciftci’s joy turned to despair when he was informed by the club that a yellow card for a trip on Jonny Hayes means he 
will miss the showpiece on March 15.

Ciftci said: “It’s devastating because I’m desperate to play in the final.

“I didn’t know about this before the game but the club have told me I was booked against Hibs – I only found out after the match.” (Daily Record)

Kenny McDowall begs referee not to get card happy

Kenny Mcdowall last night begged ref Craig Thomson to keep his cards in his pocket and help keep a lid on the Old Firm mayhem.

The Rangers gaffer fears Scotland’s top whistler could pile pressure on himself and the players if he tries to boss today’s clash with bookings in the frantic early exchanges. And he admits he’ll be issuing a warning to his players to keep their shape and discipline after the carnage of their last game under Thomson at Tynecastle.

“When the whistle blows to start the game, the first 15-20 minutes is full on.

“It’s important he keeps that in mind. If someone gets a yellow right away they are walking a tightrope for the rest of the game. It’s pressure on him as well.

“But he’s experienced enough. I’m sure he’ll handle it.” (Record)

Peter Lovenkrands thinks Rangers can beat Celtic

Former Rangers winger Perter Lovenkrands thinks Rangers can beat Celtic and admitted he can’t wait to watch the game. He said: “I think Rangers have a great chance against Celtic on the basis this is a cup game. You can’t forget that, both the fact it’s a cup game AND a derby must be taken into consideration.

“I think it’s 50-50 and that makes it very exciting because there will be a lot of players for both teams that have never done an Old Firm game.” (

Live blog: Celtic v Rangers, League Cup semi-final

Gary Mackay-Steven coy over timing of Celtic move

Dundee United winger Gary Mackay-Steven says he doesn’t know whether he will join Celtic before Monday’s transfer deadline.

Speaking after helping his side come from behind against Aberdeen in Scottish League Cup, Mackay-Steven told STV that it’s up to the clubs to decide his immediate future.

“That’s out of my hands,” Mackay-Steven said. “That’s for the clubs to discuss. I just want to concentrate on what I can do, and what’s in my hands.”

“That was my job today, to do my best for the team and I’m absolutely delighted that we got to the final. It’s a nice feeling,” he added. (HITC)

Deila hasn’t contemplated losing to Rangers

Celtic manager Ronny Deila insists he has not contemplated losing to Rangers in Sunday’s League Cup semi-final.

The Norwegian is set to experience the Old Firm derby for the first time at Hampden Park and enters the fixture with his team overwhelming favourites to reach the final and a meeting with Dundee United on March 15.

Although Deila has been at pains to stress his respect for Rangers and has also highlighted the fact the Ibrox club’s wage budget remains the second highest in the country, the reigning Premiership champions and current league leaders are expected to defeat a side that is being comfortably held off top spot in the division below by Hearts.

“I never think about losing, it’s all about winning,” said Deila “People talk about the consequences of losing but what about the consequences of winning? We could be in the League Cup Final and, for me, the chance to win a trophy is bigger than beating Rangers.” (Daily Mail)

Kenny Miller reacts to John Guidetti’s hat-trick claim

Kenny Miller has responded with a wry smile to John Guidetti’s memorable hat-trick quotes from earlier in the season, according to the Daily Telegraph. Experienced Rangers man Miller, though, has had his say on the young Swede: “Over the years, you have seen so many players, new players, young players – even older players to be honest with you – making silly statements about games.

“To think this is going to be a one-sided affair and make big statements about scoring hat-tricks or whatever is a bit foolish.” (Daily Telegraph)


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