Rumour Mill: Jon Daly | Kevin McHattie | Celtic

Jon Daly holds off Alim Ozturk during the Championship clash. Picture: SNS
Jon Daly holds off Alim Ozturk during the Championship clash. Picture: SNS
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Jon Daly accuses Hearts stars of trying to get Rangers players sent off; Hearts star Kevin McHattie could be out for three months and Adam Matthews warns Celtic must up their game for the Europa League and more in Monday’s Rumour Mill

Jon Daly accuses Hearts stars of trying to get Rangers players sent off

Rangers striker Jon Daly has accused Hearts of overreaction during an eventful Championship clash between the league’s top two teams on Saturday in which Steven Smith was sent off and nine players were booked.

Smith was later criticised by manager Ally McCoist for letting his team-mates down after a rash challenge on Hearts right-back Callum Paterson earned a straight red card from referee Craig Thomson.

Daly, however, took issue with opponents who hope to influence the referee’s decision by “screaming like he’s been shot by a sniper”, with Paterson believed to be the target for Daly’s anger, and that of several other Rangers players.

Kenny Miller, who was later substituted after a robust tackle which led to Kevin McHattie being stretchered off, could be seen shouting at Paterson after the defender went to ground following another challenge in the first half. He said: “I think it’s a man’s game and when a player gets hit and he goes down screaming like he’s been shot by a sniper I don’t think it really helps the case,” said Daly. “Obviously the referee hears a scream and sees the reaction of a player rolling on the floor and he thinks he has been seriously hurt. You have to cut the referee a bit of slack because if he sees that he thinks it’s a serious injury. You have to ask questions of the players if they are trying to con the ref or not. It seems football is changing and probably in my opinion not for the better.” (Scotsman)

Hearts star Kevin McHattie could be out for three months

Hearts fear they could have lost left-back Kevin McHattie for three months after Saturday’s bruising win over Rangers. The 21-year-old has gone for a scan on a badly damaged knee following a second half tackle by Kenny Miller. Hearts boss Robbie Neilson said: “It looks like Kevin’s medial ligament. Fingers crossed it’s not, but it might be three weeks, it might be three months. I feel bad for Kevin because he’s been doing well for us.”

Adam Matthews warns Celtic must up their game for the Europa League

Adam Matthews has warned that Celtic will need to raise their game for their Europa League tie against Salzburg this week or risk being “turned over”.

Ronny Deila’s side welcome the Austrians to Parkhead on Thursday night knowing a victory will guarantee them a place in the last 32 of the competition. Deila described Saturday’s 2-1 SPFL Premiership victory over Dundee as “a poor performance” and Matthews echoed that sentiment, believing Celtic will need to perform substantially better if they are to defeat the side with which they drew 2-2 in the group’s opening match.

He said: “It’s going to be a tough game and we know from the away match the threats that they pose. We know we’ve got to be on our game and play better than we did against Dundee or else they will turn us over.

“Hopefully, we will get a good crowd here and hopefully can win the match.

We don’t want it to go down to the last match. We’d like to get the job done as soon as possible. We were a little unhappy we didn’t qualify in the last match but Thursday is another chance to show Europe what we can do.

Hopefully ,we’ll get a good result and a good performance.” (Various)

Jamie Walker is fired up for Hearts cup revenge

The high-flying Jambos dumped Rangers 2-0 to move nine points clear in the Championship.

Next up for Robbie Neilson’s side is the home Scottish Cup clash with Celtic on Sunday.

Hearts crashed out of the League Cup to Celtic at Parkhead earlier in the season, but are up for revenge.

And Walker – scorer of the killer second goal against Rangers – said: “We’re glad we’ve got this one out of the way and we now look forward to Celtic next week. In the game through at Celtic, they deserved to win, but we missed a penalty and I missed a great chance. So we are going into the game full of confidence and we think we can get a good result.

The club’s in a better place now. We are full of confidence because we have not lost a league game so are doing well.” (Express)

Adam Rooney looking for Aberdeen to push on

Aberdeen attacker Adam Rooney has challenged his side to build on success at Partick Thistle after helping his club get back to winning ways at Firhill yesterday.

Rooney’s 14th goal of the season helped the Dons put the disappointing of their 2-1 defeat by Celtic in their last outing behind them as Derek McInnes’ players moved to within four points of the champions and second-placed Caley Thistle.

He said: “It was important we bounced back after losing to Celtic in our last game and we are two points better off than we were at this stage last season which is pleasing. We’ve kept four clean sheets in our last five games and it’s the sign of a good team that it can be solid and carry a goal threat. Hopefully, we can build on this result. I want to score as many goals as I can and hopefully they will keep coming.” (Press and Journal)

Maccabi Haifa want Beram Kayal to rejoin them in the summer

Maccabi Haifa want Beram Kayal to rejoin them in the summer. The Isreali midfielder is out of contract next summer and will be free to speak to interested suitors. Maccabi though are hoping to steal a beat on the competition by contacting him in January. Haifa boss Aleksandar Stanojevic said: “We will speak with Beram to ask him if he wants to come back. The player’s agent is already in Israel and we are talking with him.” (Record)

Rangers could have had Robin Van Persie for £3m

Robin Van Persie has revealed how he almost joined Rangers for a bargain £3million. He added that he would have been a Rangers player had Dick Advocaat managed to sell one of his Gers stars. The Dutch star said: “I was still playing with Feyernoord and I wanted to go there [Rangers]. I spoke to Dick and he was interested. I was ready to go but they first needed to sell one player before they could buy me.” (Record)

Celtic scouts spotted at Benfica game

According to reports in the Portuguese media Celtic sent scouts to Portugal to watch the cup game between Benfica and Moreirense. The SPL club were present in Portugal on a frequent basis last season which was mainly to watch Benfica.

Portuguese newspaper O Jogo revealed that Celtic were among a number of other clubs reported to be on the scouting list that attended the Benfica and Moreirense game including Stoke City. The game ended in a 4-1 win which saw Benfica go into the next round of the competition. The Lisbon club also look on course to defend their league title and is seems only FC Porto will now challenge them after a faltering start from local rivals Sporting Lisbon.

There have been no concrete reports to who Celtic were watching at the weekend but within the Benfica side there is a whole host of talent players who have attracted a number of clubs from around Europe to their games this season. (Sportwitness)

Andy Robertson attracting big name Premier League teams

Hull boss Steve Bruce has revealed that Scotland starlet Andy Robertson is already attracting interest from the Premier League’s big guns.

The left-back has made only eight top-flight starts since joining from Dundee United in the summer for £2.85million. But his impressive performances for Gordon Strachan’s side have seen his value rocket and he is now rated at £12m.

Bruce told the Sunday People: “There has already been one or two with phone calls asking ‘to keep me informed’. That’s always the first stage.

“I had it with Palacios when I was at Wigan and then Valencia when he went off to Man Utd. And if this kid keeps performing the way he is then it might become inevitable.

“I spoke to Gordon about him in the ­summer. He threw him in against Nigeria for his first cap. He took to it like a duck to water, and he has done exactly the same when offered the challenge with us.” (Record)

Arsenal fan set to banned over wine attack on Man United bench

An unhappy Arsenal quite literally gave a public showing of sour grapes when he threw RED WINE at the Manchester United dugout on Saturday evening.

The incident came as United opened the scoring through a Kieran Gibbs own goal during their 2-1 English Premier League win at the Emirates on Saturday evening, propelling Louis van Gaal’s men into the top four.

Wine reportedly went onto the backs of unhappy United staff on the sidelines, although it is unclear whether they will make an official complaint about the matter.

Arsenal managed to identify the culprit and with the help of CCTV and stewards in attendance, removed him from the stadium. They have told Metropolitan Police that they will ban any individual found guilty. (Record)

News in brief:

Brendan Rodgers admitted his position as Liverpool boss could be under threat after their collapse against Crystal Palace. (Mirror)

Rangers and Dundee United are to clash over Charlie Telfer’s transfer tribunal. Rangers are demanding in excess of £200,000 for the player while Dundee United have offered £80,000. (Sun)

Tommy Craig will be given time to turn around St Mirren despite growing fan unrest. (Sun)