Rumour Mill: Walter Smith | Celtic | Hearts

Rangers Chairman Walter Smith with manager Ally McCoist. Picture: SNS
Rangers Chairman Walter Smith with manager Ally McCoist. Picture: SNS
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WALTER Smith admits he is not a long-term option as Rangers chairman, Kris Commons believes that Celtic already have a replacement for Gary Hooper, and Livingston’s owner has some harsh words for a Hearts bidder, plus the latest on Champions and Europa League qualifying in Friday’s Rumour Mill

Walter Smith ‘not long-term Rangers chairman’

Former Rangers manager Walter Smith has admitted that he is a stop-gap appointment as Rangers chairman, and that he is in the role for his personality rather than for his financial knowledge.

Smith said: “I’m not conversant with business or legal matters and that’s why I can be a long-term appointment as chairman.

“My focus of attention is getting this club back to the days when the talk was about the team on the park and not who does what in the boardroom. That’s my goal.” (Record)

Celtic: Commons backs Stokes to replace Hooper

Kris Commons has backed controversial Celtic striker Anthony Stokes to fill the void which Gary Hooper will leave at the club. The former Scotland winger said that with Hooper’s departure expected, it is up to Stokes to pick up the scoring slack.

Commons said: “It’s not like we are going to lose Gary and no-one is going to score.

“It is important that Stokesy now tries to take that mantle [from Hooper]. We are going to lose Gary, so let’s see if Anthony can go and score 20 or 25 goals a season and maintain that.” (Scotsman)

St Johnstone pick up “massive” win in Norway

St Johnstone pulled off a stunning upset in the Europa League last night against Norwegian league leaders Rosenborg, and debut manager Tommy Wright believes that the win will be hard to top.

Wright said: “It’s certainly the best result of my St Johnstone managerial career. I might as well chuck it now because the only way is down!

“Seriously though, it’s a massive achievement against a big club with a good European history.

‘I’d still say that Rosenborg will be favourites to go through. But we have something to hold on to now and if we can get another goal then who knows.” (Mail)

Pat Fenlon wants big Hibs crowd for Malmo return

Hibs can overcome a two-goal deficit against Malmo, but only with a bumper Easter Road crowd behind them - that’s according to boss Pat Fenlon.

Fenlon said after last night’s defeat in Sweden: “It was a hard game for us. They are a decent side. In fitness and sharpness, they are a mile ahead of us.

“But we will be hoping that we can pack [Easter Road] out and get the supporters behind us. We had a great travelling crowd with us tonight.

“We need to score the first goal and get the place rocking. I’ve seen it before.” (Scotsman)

Champions League and Europa League draws take place today

Celtic will learn the identities of their next potential opponents in the Champions League this morning, as the draw for the third qualifying round is made in Switzerland.

Neil Lennon’s men are expected to be seeded in the twenty-team draw to be made in Nyon at 11am UK time. Celtic are in the driving seat in their second qualifying round tie after a 3-0 win away to Cliftonville earlier this week.

St Johnstone and Hibs will also find out who is next on their European schedules in the Europa League draw to be made at midday. Both draws can be streamed live on the UEFA website, and we’ll have a report on the draw later today. (UEFA)

Livingston owner wants life ban for Massone

Gordon McDougall has called for the SFA to ban Angelo Massone from the game for life. Massone was the previous owner at Livi, and the state in which the club was left makes McDougall uneasy at the businessman’s bid for Hearts.

McDougall said: “He should never be allowed back into the game. As well as Hearts, I hear he has been sniffing about Dunfermline and Raith Rovers but he is clearly not a fit and proper person.” (Express)

‘Show us the money’, Hearts administrators tell bidders

BDO, the firm in charge at Hearts, have given the three consortium in the running - Foundation of Hearts, HMFC Ltd and Five Stars Football Ltd - a week to prove the financial backing behind their bids.

The administrator hopes to name a preferred bidder for the stricken club in around one month’s time. (Various)

Motherwell: McCall-McManus meeting in Florida sealed deal

Motherwell boss Stuart McCall secured the signing of Scotland international Stephen McManus in a Florida cafe, following a chat about the game which lasted “an hour-and-a-half”.

McCall said: “The day we met was two years to the day after I sold Nicky Law on a move to Motherwell — also when we were both on holiday in Florida.

“I told Nicky I’d either get him back into the Premiership within two years, or a move to Rangers or Celtic.

“I couldn’t tell Mick that — he’s played with Celtic and I’m sure he ain’t going to go to Rangers!”

McManus said: “You need to go with your gut feeling and mine told me to come here. I enjoyed my time (on trial at) Hibs but the manager was a big factor in my decision.” (Sun)

• Dorin Goian is set to sign a £12,000 a month contract at Greek side Asteras Tripolis, just months after receiving a £420,000 payoff from Rangers

• Inverness Caley Thistle have officially signed a whole new team this summer - Carl Tremarco is Terry Butcher’s eleventh summer signing.