Rumour Mill: Mike Ashley | Scotland v Georgia

MIKE ASHLEY makes a power move at Rangers, Mark Wotte defends Celtic boss Ronny Deila, and Ryan Gauld is happy to be his own man.

Mike Ashley has launched a bid to have Graham Wallace and Philip Nash removed from the club's PLC board. Picture: PA
Mike Ashley has launched a bid to have Graham Wallace and Philip Nash removed from the club's PLC board. Picture: PA

Mike Ashley’s Rangers move

Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley is rumoured to be on the verge of increasing his stake in Rangers to around a quarter of the club’s total shares. This revelation came on the same day that it was announced Ashley had called for an extraordinary general meeting of the Rangers board to vote on the position of both Graham Wallace and Philip Nash. Wallace is thought to be in talks with former directors Dave King and Paul Murray about securing much needed funding for the crisis-hit club. The pair are apparently intending to spend £16 million to finally wrestle full control of Rangers away from Ashley and other shareholders. However, it seems Ashley is ready to halt those plans with this power move. (The Scotsman)

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• Livingston confirmed on Wednesday night that the editor of the matchday programme has resigned following controversial comments made about Rangers in last Saturday’s publication. Ally McCoist’s side won the match 1-0 at The Energy Assets Arena, though some of the visiting fans were left seething at the mention of a “now defunct club” in reference to Rangers’ liquidation two years ago. Club chairman Gordon McDougall apologised for any offence caused. (The Herald)

• Former Rangers captain Barry Ferguson has “no doubt” that Scotland will defeat Georgia on his old stomping ground. Now the player-manager of Clyde, Ferguson believes the general positivity around the national squad will be a big advantage for Scotland when they host Georgia at Ibrox on Saturday. (The Scotsman)

Gauld happy to be rid of nickname

Young Scotland star Ryan Gauld has admitted he was relieved to get away from the ‘mini-Messi’ tag when he swapped Tannadice for Sporting Lisbon this summer. The former Dundee United No.10 was given the moniker because of his small stature, cultured left-foot and mop of brown hair, all similarities shared with the Argentine attacker. However, it was a comparison that didn’t resonate with Gauld personally. (The Scotsman)

• Hibs midfielder Scott Allan has expressed his regret that he didn’t pursue a move abroad after watching his former club-mate Gauld make the switch this summer. Allan believes his style of play would have suited the football on the continent, though he chose instead to sign for West Brom from Dundee United in 2011. He also recalled thinking that Gauld had the talent to play for Scotland the first time he saw him playing with the United youth team. (The Herald)

Wotte backs Deila

SFA performance director Mark Wotte has backed the strict dietary rules of under-fire Celtic manager Ronny Deila. The Dutchman made similar comments about Scottish kids growing up on diets of crisps, McDonald’s and Buckfast two years ago, and he reiterated his point that to become a world class player footballers need to strictly regiment their eating habits in order to raise fitness levels. (The Scotsman)

• Wotte has compared Stevie May to Dirk Kuyt in terms of both players being late developers. Wotte was the manager at Utrecht when Kuyt arrived there as a 19-year old back in 1998, and he insists there was no way then he could have envisioned the former Champions League finalist (with Liverpool) having such a successful career. Wotte had similar reservations about May’s talents when observing the striker play for Scotland under-21s two years ago, but conceded the Sheffield Wednesday striker has improved tremendously. (Daily Express)

Hearts’ Alloa training | Hibs observe Quinn

Hearts have forked out a fee believed to be in the region of £300-400 to train on Alloa Athletic’s synthetic pitch ahead of their league meeting on Saturday. The Recreation Park turf was branded “horrible” by Ally McCoist earlier this season, and Jambos’ head coach Robbie Neilson wanted his players to get acclimatised to the environment by hiring out the council owned pitch. (The Scotsman)

• Alan Stubbs shall observe the talents of former Motherwell defender Paul Quinn as the 29-year old joins Hibs for a trial period. The full-back is a free agent having left Doncaster Rovers in the summer. (The Scotsman)

Youth player legal bid

The manner in which Scottish clubs use and pay young apprentices could change forever thanks to former St Mirren player Kieran Doran. The 18-year old left the club in the summer to study medicine full time at Edinburgh University, but he can’t even take part in amateur football because the Paisley club still hold his registration. Doran is taking legal action over the issue, with details emerging that his wage for seven months at St Mirren was just £1 a week. Politicians are also having their say as scrutiny heightens over how clubs treat their young playing staff employees. (The Daily Record)

News in brief

• Former Scotland boss Craig Brown doesn’t envy the decision facing Gordon Strachan over which goalkeeper to select for Saturday’s match. With Allan McGregor unavailable through injury, David Marshall started the game against Germany and is favourite to retain his place for the Georgia clash. However, Craig Gordon has been in outstanding form since for Celtic this season. (Daily Express)

• Scotland midfielder Barry Bannan hopes a good performance for his country can help force his way back into the Crystal Palace starting XI. (Daily Express)

• Georgian manager Temuri Ketsbaia has warned Scotland not to underestimate his side ahead of Saturday’s match. The former Dundee midfielder has cited results against superior teams – they drew with France in the recent World Cup qualification campaign – as evidence. (The Herald)

• Former Celtic boss Neil Lennon will fly into Saudi Arabia on Thursday morning to discuss a potential £2 million a year deal with Al Ittihad. (Daily Mail)

• Kilmarnock are facing a ‘civil war’ over a bonus dispute between the players and owner Michael Johnston. (The Sun)