Rumour Mill: Champions League changes | Rangers draw | Rodgers confident

Europe's top leagues to get four automatic places, Warburton slams players after Kilmarnock draw and Rodgers says Celtic can reach last 16.

Peter Lawwell has backed UEFA's changes. Picture: John Devlin

Champions League changes announced

UEFA plans to change the Champions League format to give Europe’s top four leagues four automatic entry

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places into the competition.

SPFL champions will still be granted access through a “seeded champions route”.

Prize money is set to increase with the coefficient system set to be altered to be based on the

individual performance of teams and previous historical successes. (Mail)

- The move has prompted anger from some European club with a North Atlantic league being mooted

- Peter Lawwell believes Uefa’s new plans for the Champions League from 2018 are a win for Scottish football

with champions from smaller nations at least offered access to the tournament rather than being shut out

altogether (Record)

- Neil Doncaster has vowed to protect the interest of Scotland’s clubs following the announcement (Various)

Rangers held by Kilmarnock

Rangers manager Mark Warburton last night rallied against the first-half display of his team as “the worst in my 14 months as manager” as his side were held to a 1-1 draw by Kilmarnock.


Joey Barton subbed as a “precaution” - Warburton

Mark Warburton says that he substituted Joey Barton as a precaution as the atmosphere began to rise during Rangers’ clash with Kilmarnock on Friday night.

The 33-year-old was on the receiving end of a poor challenge from Killie’s Greg Taylor - for which, the

midfielder received a red card - shortly after the hour mark at Rugby Park, and was replaced by Andy Halliday

just over five minutes later. (Record)

Celtic can reach last 16 - Rodgers

Brendan Rodgers believes Celtic can make it through the group stage if they win their home games.

The Parkhead side face a challenging draw in a group which features Barcelona, Borussia Monchengladbach and

Manchester City. (Herald)

Barcelona will treat Celtic with caution - Messi

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has warned his team-mates to beware Celtic.

The Argentinian striker has faced the Scottish champions several times in recent seasons in the Champions

League and the clubs were reunited in Thursday’s draw once again.

He said: “Celtic are a team we have got to know well in Europe and, after seasons without Champions League football, they will have a point to prove.

“Their team is very different to the ones we have played in the past. A lot of players have left and they have many new ones, but what won’t have changed is their spirit and desire.

“It’s always important in the Champions League to win the first game, especially if you want to win the group.

Celtic will arrive with no pressure, but we know from previous experience they will fight hard and I don’t expect

an easy game.” (Various)

Stefan Johansen quits Celtic to sign for Fulham

Celtic midfielder Stefan Johansen has completed a move to Fulham.

Brendan Rodgers had earlier confirmed the 25-year-old Norwegian was on his way out of Parkhead after failing to agree a contract extension. (Scotsman)

Brendan Rodgers: Celtic home games key in Champions League

Brendan Rodgers has welcomed being drawn in a group that is as glamorous as it is challenging.

The manager believes winning their home games is the key after Celtic landed Barcelona, Manchester City and

Borussia Monchengladbach, a re-emerging force in Germany, in Group C.

“There were other tough groups,” he said yesterday. “Look at the group with Real Madrid and Dortmund.

“The reality is we probably won’t win it. So you want to ensure that the club, the players, the supporters,

get the best experiences.” (Scotsman)

Aberdeen ready to risk Ryan Jack

Aberdeen may gamble on the fitness of captain Ryan Jack in Saturday’s match with Celtic at Parkhead.

The midfielder is set to undergo a knee operation. (Record)