Rumour Mill: Strachan-O’Neill | Celtic | Rangers

GORDON STRACHAN dismisses any significance of facing Martin O’Neill, Henning Berg has criticised Celtic’s behaviour following Legia appeal, and Barry Ferguson approves of Dave King’s attempt to take control at Rangers.

Robert Lewandowski has slammed Scotland's Gordon Greer for what he calls a 'brutal' tackle. Picture: Getty

Strachan shrugs off O’Neill talk

Gordon Strachan is not fazed by the Celtic Park sub-plot when Scotland and the Republic of Ireland meet at the stadium on November 14. The former Hoops’ boss will be going head-to-head with the man he succeeded at Celtic: Martin O’Neill. However, Strachan insists it should be the game itself which receives undivided attention. A contest he believes will be like an old-fashioned cup tie. (The Scotsman)

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• Scotland midfielder Shaun Maloney expressed his gratitude to both men for playing a hugely influential role in his career. O’Neill gave the playmaker his chance in professional football as a youngster at Celtic, and Maloney went on to win the 2005-06 SPL Player of the Year under Strachan’s guidance. The current Scotland boss has also helped resurrect Maloney’s international career. (The Sun)

• Robert Lewandowski criticised Scotland defender Gordon Greer for what the Bayern Munich striker called a “brutal” tackle in Poland’s 2-2 draw with Scotland on Tuesday. The Polish No.9 claims the challenge broke his shin pad and couldn’t believe the referee never even gave a foul. (Daily Mail)

• Andy Robertson’s former Dundee United first-team coach Darren Jackson has defended Strachan’s decision to drop the left-back for Scotland’s trip to Poland after he performed so excellently in the win over Georgia. Jackson also believed Robertson would take it in his stride and become Scotland’s first choice left-back for the next 10-15 years. (The Scotsman)

Berg slams Celtic’s reputation

Legia Warsaw boss Henning Berg has stated he does not hold any grudges against Celtic and hasn’t since UEFA made the decision to eliminate the Polish champions from the Champions League - before criticising the Glasgow club’s behaviour following the original decision and discrediting Celtic’s reputation in Europe. The former Rangers defender feels Legia’s Scottish opposition should have said more to back-up his club’s appeal. (The Sun)

• Berg is confident Ronny Deila will prove to be the right man for Celtic if he’s given time. Likening Deila’s situation to his own, Berg is convinced supporters are more distrustful toward imported coaches, making a winning start all the more important. (Daily Mail)

• Deila has thrown down the gauntlet to his Celtic players by demanding they win seven consecutive games across three competitions before the next international break. As well as four fixtures in the Scottish Premiership, the reigning champions face Partick Thistle in the quarter-final of the League Cup and a Europa League double-header against the group’s bottom seeded side FC Astra. (Evening Times)

King move approved by Ferguson

Dave King’s move to take over Rangers has been backed by former club captain Barry Ferguson. The Clyde manager feels King’s prior experience in the Ibrox boardroom makes him the ‘ideal’ choice to take over the crisis-hit club. Ferguson did warn Rangers fans that they shouldn’t get their hopes up until a deal has been sealed, citing too many false dawns in the past. (The Scotsman)

• Livingston manager John McGlynn wants to face Rangers in the Petrofac Cup Final because it could provide the cash strapped club with a massive financial boost. Livingston are around £10 million in debt and although a final against East Fife or Alloa Athletic would give them a better chance of lifting the trophy, in the long term a clash with Rangers could be more beneficial. (The Sun)

Robbie’s sympathy for Hearts’ squad players

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson has expressed his sympathy for the fringe players at the club this season. The Tynecastle outfit are flying high, nine points clear at the top of the table, but it does mean that players like Scott Robinson, Brad McKay and Jason Holt, mainstays of the team last season, have struggled for playing time. Neilson revealed that all the players are happy to stay and fight for their place. (The Scotsman)

• Club legend John Robertson thanked the prowess of the first team squad for making his job much easier off the park. The former striker is currently under-17s coach and business development manager, the latter of which involves selling advertising and hospitality packages among other things. ‘Robbo’ acknowledged that positive results make that task much easier. (The Sun)

Hibs will be back in the race with derby win

Hibernian midfielder Dylan McGeouch believes the Easter Road club will haul themselves back into the title race if they can defeat Hearts in next Sunday’s Edinburgh derby. Hibs are currently 14 points behind their cross-town rivals but the on-loan Celtic midfielder is confident a victory would act as a catalyst for the rest of their season. (The Scotsman)

McInnes praises league leaders

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes admits he wouldn’t have imagined Hamilton Accies as likely candidates to be sitting on top of the table halfway through October, but added that he’s not at all surprised they are in the position after seeing them play. McInnes called them “the best team” he’s seen live this campaign ahead of their clash on Friday night. (The Sun)

News in brief

• St Johnstone defender Steven Anderson feels Saturday’s opponent Kilmarnock have exploited an advantage given to them by the artificial turf at Rugby Park. (Daily Express)

• Richie Brittain admitted that he is carrying a foot injury but will ignore the pain to help Ross County improve on their poor start to the campaign. (Daily Express)

• Inverness CT defender Gary Warren credits John Hughes with improving him as a footballer since the Highland club have adopted a passing philosophy. This approach is completely at odds with the kick-and-rush style of the English lower leagues the centre half was previously used to. (Daily Record)

• Young Dundee United prospect John Souttar is nearing a return to the first time as he continues his rehabilitation of an ankle injury which has kept him on the sidelines for all of this season. (Daily Record)

• Despite managing to emerge victorious from their first Premiership playoff experience, Hamilton boss Alex Neil insists the system should be made fairer for clubs in the second tier. (The Herald)

• Dunfermline boss Jim Jefferies looks forward to a “cracking” top of the table clash at home to Forfar Athletic this weekend. (Dunfermline Press)

• Stokes hopes he can kick start his season with Celtic after picking up a few tips from Robbie Keane in the Republic of Ireland squad. (Daily Express)