Gordon Strachan backs Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon as Scotland gear up for Georgia clash; Hoops boost as Europa League opponents sack manager; Cummings tells of Primark snub and Carrick ‘surprised’ at Stubbs award
Strachan singles out Gordon for praise
SCOTLAND boss Gordon Strachan has backed Celtic goalkeeper Craig Gordon, dropping a hint that the former Hearts and Sunderland ‘keeper could be in line for a start against Georgia today.
Gordon has impressed at the start of a campaign which has seen Celtic stutter and drop points, and Strachan moved to publicly praise the 31-year-old.
Quoted on Celtic’s official site, Strachan said: “Everyone talks about how you need a good back-up or you need good people around you but it all depends on what you’re like as a person to drive yourself forward, and [Craig] has got himself back into spectacular form for Celtic.” (Various)
Ketsbaia warning over ‘cocky’ Scotland
GEORGIA coach Temuri Ketsbaia admits he’s been shocked by the confidence shown by Gordon Strachan’s squad and has vowed to cause an upset.
The former Dundee striker said: “We’ve been written off from the beginning by Scotland, because they said the only teams who will not play for the finals are going to be Georgia and Gibraltar.
“OK, that’s their opinion. The only thing you can do is go out and prove them wrong.”
Ketsbaia also slammed former Rangers striker and one-time Georgia team-mate Shota Arveladze who bemoaned a lack of quality in the national team’s attack, adding: “When we were in the national team, we had guys who played for top European teams. We don’t have the players of 20 years ago.
“We’ve a young squad but we are giving them a chance and I hope they take the opportunity to show what they can do against Scotland.” (The Sun)
Scotland in brief
• John Souttar has backed former Dundee United team-mate and one-time flatmate Ryan Gauld to do the business against Georgia if he gets game time.
• Ex-Dundee United defender Barry Douglas has warned Gordon Strachan to be wary of Poland.
McGregor calls on Hoops to do better
CELTIC youngster Callum McGregor has acknowledged Celtic’s start to the season has been ‘unacceptable’ and hinted at plotting a return to the starting XI.
McGregor was left out of the teams that beat Dinamo Zagreb and lost to Hamilton Accies after playing the first 15 games of the season.
But the youngster believes Celtic are making progress and urged fans to be patient.
He told the Evening Times: “Everyone in here knows that it’s not been acceptable so far.
“It’s just going to take a wee bit of time but we all believe that we are going to get there.” (Evening Times)
Celtic boost as Astra sack manager
CELTIC have been handed a boost with the news Astra Giurgiu have sacked their manager.
The Romanian side - Celtic’s next opponents in the Europa League - have relieved Daniel Isaila of his duties as manager and installed former Dinamo Minsk and Dnipro boss Oleh Protasov.
Isaila resigned as Astra manager in March but was convinced to return.
Cummings turned down by Celtic, Pars and Primark
HIBERNIAN’S award-winning striker Jason Cummings has revealed he was turned down by Celtic, rejected by Dunfermline and even knocked back from Primark as he tried to pick himself up after being released by Hearts.
The young forward, who picked up the Championship’s Young Player of the Month award, had been working as a gardener before rejoining Hutchison Vale.
Whilst at the Edinburgh side, he was set up with trials at Celtic, Dunfermline and Huddersfield, all of whom rejected the 19-year-old before he joined Hibs. (The Scotsman)
Carrick surprised at Neilson snub
HEARTS striker Dale Carrick admitted he was surprised to see Hibernian boss Alan Stubbs chosen over Robbie Neilson for the Championship’s Manager of the Month award.
Neilson has taken Hearts to the top of the league, with an impressive goal difference and an unbeaten record.
Carrick told the Evening News: “Our gaffer’s done everything right. We’re undefeated and scoring goals, and I think he should have got [the award] again.
“The coaching staff are putting in a lot of hours every day and it’s showing at the end of the week that what they’re doing is working 100 per cent. We’re getting better and better with each game.” (Evening News)
News in brief
• Goals by Shunsuke Nakamura and Steven Whittaker have both made UEFA’a list of Top 60 goals in European competition. Nakamura’s free kick against Manchester United in November 2006 and Whittaker’s solo goal against Sporting Lisbon in April 2008 were the goals chosen
• Highland League outfit Lossiemouth have approached both Andy Goram and Lorenzo Amoruso as they search for a new manager - just days after being accused of ‘lacking ambition’ by outgoing manager Stevie Dunn