CARETAKER Rangers manager Kenny McDowall admits job is “tainted”; Aleksandar Tonev and Virgil van Dijk could be set for Celtic exits; Alan Stubbs recalls old rivalry - and friendship - with deposed Rangers boss Ally McCoist; plus all the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Kenny McDowall loyal to Rangers and Ally McCoist
Caretaker Rangers manager Kenny McDowall has revealed that he didn’t know Ally McCoist was planning to quit the club until he read about it in the back pages.
“I didn’t know Ally was resigning until it came out in the papers, believe it or not,” said McDowall. “He was obviously thinking long and hard about doing it. When he decided to do it, he just did it and it was a surprise to me as much as anyone else that morning.”
He also paid tribute to his former boss and friend McCoist, saying: “This is turmoil now for me at Rangers. It has been a bumpy ride of late, for the past three years really. Ally has done a fantastic job in keeping the place intact.” (Scotsman)
Kenny McDowall takes on ‘tainted’ role at Rangers
Rangers caretaker manager Kenny McDowall has described his appointment to the role as “tainted” and revealed the club’s board left it to him to inform Ian Durrant he was being demoted from the first-team backroom staff.
Durrant, previously first-team coach alongside McCoist and McDowall, will now assume Durie’s duties with the under-20 squad. Lee McCulloch, the Rangers captain, will assist McDowall and Durie as a player-coach.
“What can you do? I have got to try to make the best of a bad situation that has happened,” said McDowall. “Ally would wish for nothing more than the team to get on a winning run again and try to win that title. The biggest tribute we can do is to try to pull that off. It would be for Ally McCoist.” (Scotsman)
Aleksandar Tonev could leave Celtic for Bremen
Aleksandar Tonev’s agent last night confirmed Werder Bremen are showing serious interest in ending the Bulgarian’s troubled spell at Celtic.
The on-loan Aston Villa winger’s appeal against his seven-game SFA ban for a racial slur on Aberdeen defender Shay Logan was thrown out last week.
His agent confirmed Tonev could leave Scottish football next month. Nikolay Zheynov said: “Werder have again shown interest in him, but at this stage we don’t yet know whether the transfer will go through.” (Scotsman)
Leigh Griffiths becoming ‘24-hour footballer’ - Deila
Leigh Griffiths, once apparently set for the exit door at Celtic, has fallen back into favour with manager Ronny Deila after the Celtic boss heaped praise on the striker’s recent contribution to the team.
When asked why Griffiths had only been a sporadic contributor to the team, he said: “Leigh has made some very good decisions over the last two months. He looks much sharper, he’s scoring goals, he runs more and is quicker.
“He is becoming the player he can be. I think it’s him being conscious. Everything is about being conscious of what you are doing all the time.” (Daily Mail)
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Celtic eye up Darren Randolph, West Brom join Virgil van Dijk chase
Ronny Deila is considering a swoop for Birmingham City stopper Darren Randolph - so that he can put pressure on Craig Gordon. Randolph is out of contract in the summer, and would likely replace Lukasz Zaluska, whose deal also expires in the summer and is keen for more first team football.
Meanwhile, West Brom have joined the race to sign Virgil van Dijk in January. The £8 million-rated defender is being chased by a host of Premier League clubs. Also on the defender front, Celtic have been told they must pay at least £5 million to secure Senegalese international Kara Mbodj. (Daily Express, Scottish Sun)
Alan Stubbs feels for Old Firm rival Ally McCoist+
Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs has said he will speak to deposed Rangers manager Ally McCoist as he recounted the “respect” the two had for each other despite being on opposite sides of the Old Firm divide in the late 1990s.
“It is not ideal and I really feel for Ally,” said Stubbs. “I wish him all the best and hope he’s back in football soon. I will look to make contact with him soon and speak to him – that’s just the decent thing to do.”
He added: “I had the utmost respect for Ally as a player and we were know to socialise once or twice in Glasgow. The rivalry between Rangers and Celtic was so intense, but we got on great. There were a group of players who, if we saw each other in town, would stop and have a couple of drinks before going our separate ways. It was total respect. (Scotsman)
David Thompson in talks to become new St Mirren boss
David Thompson, the former Liverpool player, is in talks with St Mirren to become their new manager. As the Buddies continue to look for a replacement for sacked Tommy Craig, the 37-year-old was reportedly in discussions for the job despite having no coaching experience at the top level. Thompson was a team-mate of current caretaker boss Gary Teale at Wigan, and has also played for Coventry, Portsmouth and Bolton. (Daily Express)
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