Rumour Mill: Stokes tweet | Motherwell | Kris Boyd

Police to probe threatening tweet sent to Anthony Stokes; Motherwell begin search for new manager; Kris Boyd warns John Guidetti that he hasn’t got a clue; Virgil Van Dijk says Old Firm is bigger than Champion’s League and more in Monday’s Rumour Mill
Anthony Stokes holds off Gary Warren as Celtic and Inverness CT meet on Scottish Premiership duty. Picture: PAAnthony Stokes holds off Gary Warren as Celtic and Inverness CT meet on Scottish Premiership duty. Picture: PA
Anthony Stokes holds off Gary Warren as Celtic and Inverness CT meet on Scottish Premiership duty. Picture: PA

Police to probe threatening tweet sent to Anthony Stokes

Police Scotland are set to launch a probe into reports that Celtic striker Anthony Stokes was threatened on Twitter - just hours after the Old Firm draw.

A second threat was also apparently aimed at the star’s dad. After the draw the Irishman received a tweet saying: “An running on the park n stabbing u! Then blowing up yer IRA lovin’ da.”

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The police are reported to have launched a probe into the incident. Nil By Mouth director Dave Scott said: “People think they can hide behind their keyboards but the law is against them.”

Stokes however was quick to forgive the person who tweeted the threat after revealing they had contacted the Irishman to apologise, Stokes said: “The boy got in touch and apologised so that’s it done. We all make stupid mistakes we regret.” (Sun)

Motherwell begin search for new manager

Motherwell’s search for a new manager is now underway after Stuart McCall’s shock resignation. McCall’s team slumped to their ninth league defeat in 12 Premiership games on Friday night in a 2-1 reverse to St Johnstone, a result which leaves them just two points ahead of bottom club Ross County. It would ultimately prove to be his last game in charge of Well, with him quitting his post less than 48 hours later.

And the Well board say the process to find his successor is already in motion.

Motherwell director Derek Weir said: “Everyone at Motherwell FC would like to sincerely thank Stuart for his contribution to the club, which will go down as one of the most successful managerial tenures in our 128-year history. We have been acutely aware of results this season, but everyone at Fir Park was confident in his, and the team’s, ability to turn things around. However, following a long conversation this afternoon, Stuart felt it better for all concerned if he stepped down with immediate effect and we respect that. Assistant manager Kenny Black will take charge of first-team team affairs in a caretaker role to allow the board to start the process of recruiting a new manager, which will begin right away.”

McCall will go down as Well’s most successful league manager since the Second World War, having secured two runners-up spots, while he is one of only four men to lead them to a Scottish Cup final. (Various)

Meanwhile, former Ross County manager Derek Adams is the favourite to take over from McCall. Bookies have him at 3/1 ahead of former Well boss Terry Butcher at 4/1 (Record)

Kris Boyd warns John Guidetti that he hasn’t got a clue

Kris Boyd has warned Celtic’s John Guidetti that, as a newcomer to the Glasgow goldfish bowl, he has no idea how hard it will be to win a high-pressure Old Firm semi final.Speaking before Saturday’s League Cup draw teed up the first Rangers and Celtic clash in almost three years, the confident Swedish striker had claimed the Parkhead side’s last-four opponents were ‘going down’.

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Describing the last-four draw as a shot in the arm for the Scottish game, however, Boyd cautioned his Celtic counterpart that an Old Firm cup tie is unlike anything he will ever have experienced in football before.

‘Good for John Guidetti,’ said the Ibrox striker after news of the city rivals’ first meeting since April 2012 filtered through, ‘but that’s someone speaking who has never played in an Old Firm game before and who doesn’t know what he’s in for.

‘I don’t think it makes sense for anyone to stand up and say they’re going to steamroller teams, or do this or that, or such-and-such is going down.

‘Until you’ve played in that Old Firm fixture you don’t know what it takes and anyone can win those games on the day.’

Boyd reckons that a Rangers old guard featuring himself Kenny Miller, Lee McCulloch and Lee Wallace could give his side the edge in the semi-final. He added: “‘We’ve got five or six players who have played in Old Firm games before. I’m not so sure about Celtic. It can be an advantage because you know exactly what you’re going into.” (Record)

Virgil Van Dijk says Old Firm is bigger than Champion’s League

The Parkhead defender has never savoured a Celtic v Rangers match and admits he can’t wait for the League Cup semi-final at Hampden. The Dutchman insists Celtic’s long-awaited clash with Rangers in the semi-final of the League Cup is bigger than the Champions League.

The last-four draw pitched Glasgow’s big guns together for the first time since April 2012 and is set to spark one of the biggest scrambles for tickets in Old Firm history.

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Parkhead defender van Dijk has never savoured a Celtic v Rangers match and admits he can’t wait for the Hampden showdown.

He said: “I have heard a lot of stories about the game. It is something very special – even more special than the Champions League nights. So it is going to be amazing.

“I’ve heard the whole stadium goes mental. Winning it is the most important thing – it doesn’t matter how you do it. We will be up for it.” (Various)

Neil Lennon tells Ronny Deila he has to win

Neil Lennon last night gave Ronny Deila some Old Firm advice - just win. He said: “The only advice I would give Ronny Deila is just win. It doesn’t matter how he wins, it’s just about achieving it. If there’s one thing I learned about these games it’s that the result is everything especially for the supporters. If Ally McCoist was to get the victory then it would give Rangers a massive lift. If Ronny gets the win, the fans will really take to him. I think it’s great for the Scottish game. There will be real anticipation over the next three months.” (Sun)

Jim McIntyre believes Ross County’s defence must improve to beat Aberdeen

Ross County manager Jim McIntyre feels his side’s defensive resistance must improve if the Staggies are to take anything from tonight’s Premiership game against Aberdeen at Dingwall.

County were defeated 3-0 in their most recent game against the Dons, in September, with McIntyre thoroughly impressed by the attacking capabilities of Derek McInnes’ side. McIntyre is fully aware his team needs to defend better than it did in what was just his second game in charge of the Staggies, who have taken five points from their last four games.

McIntyre said: “Aberdeen were very good when we played them at Pittodrie. The game could have finished 7-3 or 8-3 – it was that type of game. We need to defend set-plays better because we gave two glaring ones away that day. We will certainly look at their strengths and try and combat them. Hopefully, our strengths can work in our favour. One thing you have to do against Aberdeen is defend well. We know we are going to be put under pressure. They have players with pace who can really hurt you in the wide areas and, obviously, the front two up top are a real handful. We need to do the fundamentals well but the one thing we’ve done consistently since we came in the door is create chances to score goals. I always feel we are capable of doing that. It is about getting the other side of it right and I don’t just mean as a back four, but as a team.” (Press and Journal)

Peter Pawlett is pushing for return to form

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Peter Pawlett heads to Dingwall tonight on a mission to recapture the form that earned the Aberdeen midfielder a Scotland call-up at the end of last season.

The 23-year-old’s pace, skill and vision were key factors in the Dons’ revival during Derek McInnes’s first full campaign in charge.

That led to a place in Gordon Strachan’s squad for the friendly against Nigeria last May, but Pawlett admits he has become a victim of his own success.

It is not just the national team manager who is paying closer attention to him nowadays as opponents are much more aware of those abilities.

Now he is having to add an extra layer of intelligence to his game to maximise those other qualities in the hope of fulfilling that potential for club and country.

Pawlett said: “Last season maybe people didn’t think of me as much of a threat, but this season they are and I have to deal with that. You get marked more when people know about you, like happened in the Motherwell game a couple of weeks ago.Every time I looked round Craig Reid was there. He went everywhere I went and I’ve had that a few times this season. It’s a compliment but I have to adapt and I’m starting to feel sharper so I’m getting there. I have to be clever in my movement and create space to get on the ball and the manager told me I’m going to have to add that to my game.”(Scotsman)

News in brief:

Jackie McNamara has praised his players after seeing them return to the top of the Scottish Premiership with a convincing 3-0 win over St Mirren at Tannadice. McNamara said: “It flattered us a wee bit to be 1-0 up at half-time but there were signs that we were getting back to our best after that.” (Dundee Telegraph)

Dundee manager Paul Hartley heaped praise on playmaker Gary Harkins after a virtuoso performance from the midfielder against his former club Kilmarnock. “Harkins was absolutely terrific,” Hartley said. “I thought some of his football was sheer quality. We know he’s got that, it’s just trying to get him to do it on a consistent basis.” (Dundee Telegraph)

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Marouane Fellaini has been caught up in a spitting row after pictures appearing to show the mdifielder spitting on Sergio Aguero, after the striker went down from a challenge from him, surfaced. (Record)