Rumour Mill: Gerrard: Hearts genuine contenders | Gers star tipped for England glory | McInnes: Stubbs sacking '˜ridiculous'

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has called Hearts are the team to beat and says they deserve their place at the top; Rising Ibrox star Joe Worrall has been compared to England hero Harry Maguire; Aberdeen manager Derek MacInnes has spoken out on St Mirren's sacking of Alan Stubbs, labelling the decision '˜ridiculous'.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard says Hearts are the real deal. Picture: SNS Group

Hearts are genuine title contenders, says Gerrard

Steven Gerrard has labelled Hearts as “genuine” challengers for the Premiership title this season as he seeks to inflict a first defeat of the campaign on the league leaders at Ibrox tomorrow.

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Rangers manager Gerrard believes the real shape of the title race will not emerge until the first round of fixtures between the 12 top-flight clubs have been completed.

Gerrard said: “Hearts are the team to catch.

“The league table doesn’t lie and we certainly need to respect Hearts. Craig’s team have done ever so well.”

(The Scotsman/Various)

Gers star tipped for England national success

Rangers stopper Connor Goldson has tipped his teammate Joe Worrall for England national team success, comparing the rising star to World Cup hero Harry Maguire.

Worrall, from Nottinghamshire, impressed in Rangers’ midweek triumph over Rapid Vienna in the Europa League, leading Goldson to make the comparison.

He said: “Joe was brilliant and he was great against Villarreal too.

“I asked him today how old he is and he said 21, I thought he was about 26. He looks and reminds me of Harry Maguire.”


McInnes: Stubbs sacking was “ridiculous”

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes has described St Mirren’s decision to sack Alan Stubbs as “ridiculous”.

Stubbs lost his job after 77 days in charge, a 4-0 Betfred Cup defeat against Aberdeen among four consecutive losses in his final matches.

McInnes felt his team merited credit for that display and Stubbs deserved more time.

McInnes said. “A manager gets the job in the summer. To see a manager lose his job in Alan Stubbs so quickly is ridiculous.”

James Keatings: Depression hit me after Hibs exit

Popular former striker James Keatings heads back to Hibs today hoping he’s banished “a year from hell”.

The 26-year-old, who left Easter Road in summer 2017 to sign for Dundee United in search of a regular starting berth, is viewing his return to Hamilton Accies five weeks ago as a “fresh start” after a nightmare period on and off the pitch. Keatings plunged into a depression last year amid difficulties in his personal life before a serious injury early last season inadvertently paved the way for him to seek the help he needed.

“It was a year from hell,” Keatings told the Evening News ahead of Accies’ trip to Easter Road.

“It was one thing after another. I wasn’t getting the breaks with anything really. Having to get the surgery was a blessing in disguise because it allowed me to get away from everything for a while and concentrate on myself and getting the help I needed at that stage.

“Mentally wise, it’s night and day comparing now to where I where I was.”

Fulham boss insists Cairney good enough for England

Fulham boss Slavisa Jokanovic has insisted that Tom Cairney is good enough to make Gareth Southgate’s first team in the England national side.

The Fulham midfielder, who was born in England and has a Scottish father, has only represented Scotland in friendlies to date and is not tied to one country until he plays a competitive match.

Jokanovic said: “He’s definitely a quality player. There exists the possibility he will switch to a different direction, but I believe he’s a useful player for many coaches and could be for Scotland and England too.

“He showed his quality in the last few seasons.”

(The Scottish Sun)

Hibs’ Boyle thanks Maclaren for Socceroos call-up

Hibs winger Martin Boyle has revealed how Easter Road team-mate Jamie Maclaren set the wheels in motion for his call-up by Australia.

Boyle qualifies for the Socceroos thanks to his father Graeme who was born in Sydney, but while aware of that fact he had kept it quiet.

The arrival of Maclaren on loan from German outfit Darmstadt in January has finally resulted in him being named by new Aussie coach Graham Arnold for a training camp in the Middle East.

Boyle said: “The ball started rolling last season when Jamie came in and found out I was eligible to play.

“He was buzzing, more buzzing than I was because I never thought it would happen.”