Rumour Mill: Celtic '˜one of Europe's top clubs' | Fletcher denies '˜Billy Big Time' remarks | Hibs injury boost

Peter Lawwell claims Celtic are one of Europe's top clubs; Steven Fletcher rubbishes '˜Billy Big Time' remarks and Hibs set to have five players back after international break

Leigh Griffiths in action for Celtic against Ajax. Hoops chief Peter Lawwell has said the club are among Europe's elite clubs. Picture: John Devlin

Celtic ‘among Euro elite’

CELTIC chief Peter Lawwell has claimed Celtic’s involvement in the International Champions Cup proves they are among Europe’s top clubs.

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The Hoops will face Barcelona, Leicester and Inter Milan during the summer event and Lawwell said: “We are delighted to be invited to take part in such a unique and prestigious international tournament and join together with the other great names in world football in what we know will be a fantastic sporting occasion.

“Celtic is proud to enjoy its own global profile and we are sure our involvement with the biggest names in the game will only increase interest in the club on a global stage.” (Scottish Sun)

Fletcher denies ‘Billy Big Time’ comments

SCOTLAND striker Steven Fletcher has denied being a ‘Billy Big Time’, insisting he has ‘grown up and learned from the social media gaffes’ that blighted his Sunderland career.

The ex-Hibs striker - who was pictured next to a £260,000 Lamborghini while Sunderland were embroiled in a relegation battle - admitted: “We all make mistakes. But I don’t regret buying my car.

”People thought I was a 
Billy Big Time. They never bothered with the classic Mini sitting next to it. That’s my pride and joy, that car. But they saw the Lamborghini and they got the wrong idea about me.

“I had a reputation when I was younger for showing off the stuff. But I was brought up in a normal family. I had a poster of a Lamborghini on my wall when I was a kid.

“I made a good living, I had the chance to buy one and I did.” (The Scotsman)

Hibs receive injury boost ahead of run-in

HIBS could welcome back five key players ahead of the crucial point of the season, as the Easter Road side look to overhaul Falkirk in the Championship and reach the Scottish Cup final.

Midfielders Fraser Fyvie, Dylan McGeouch, Dan Carmichael and Liam Henderson, who all missed the 2-1 defeat at Raith, are making good progress while defender Paul Hanlon is also nearing a return.

But Hibs will be without first-choice goalkeeper Mark Oxley for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Dundee United after the shot-stopper’s yellow card against Inverness Caledonian Thistle. (Various)

Scots can beat England to World Cup 2018, insists Snodgrass

SCOTLAND midfielder Robert Snodgrass insists Scotland can stun England and reach the 2018 World Cup.

Snodgrass, who had 15 months on the sidelines with a dislocated kneecap, claimed that Scotland can beat their neighbours to the automatic qualification spot.

The Hull winger said: “Our aim is to get to the World Cup. England’s aim is to win it. There is a different mindset. People down south will say: ‘Scotland have fallen short again.’

“So we want to shut a few people up. We want to qualify. If that starts with beating the Auld Enemy, that would be even sweeter.” (Daily Record)

Sviatchenko scoops top Danish award

CELTIC defender Erik Sviatchenko has been named Player of the Year - for his performances in the Danish top flight with FC Midtjylland.

The 24-year-old stopper joined Celtic in January but was recognised for helping Midtjylland to their first Superliga title as well as reachng the last 32 of the Europa League.

Sviatchenko said: “I didn’t expect this but I am very proud to win it. I knew I had a very good 2015 but I didn’t think it was as good as that.

“It is probably the icing on the cake after a great year. It’s great to get a personal honour at a prestigious event.” (Daily Record)

NEWS IN BRIEF

• Hearts look set to agree a new deal with goalkeeper Neil Alexander after securing a top six spot

• St Johnstone boss Tommy Wright is keen to hold onto on-loan Celtic defender Darnell Fisher

• Celtic face stiff competition to land Oxford United winger Callum O’Dowda with Liverpool, Spurs and Manchester United all tracking the Republic of Ireland U21 international

• Dundee are set to appeal the red card shown to goalkeeper Scott Bain during the recent 2-2 draw with Dundee United

• Rangers defender Luca Gasparotto, currently on loan at Morton, is keen to stay at Ibrox but admits he doesn’t know what the future holds