Scottish football news: Celtic open contract talks, Rangers star posts concerning update, Clarkson's Aberdeen goal
We take a look at some of the main headlines in Scottish football, with Celtic keen to tie down one of their star players and injured Rangers midfielder Todd Cantwell issuing an update on his knee injury.
Celtic open contract talks with Reo Hatate
Celtic are in discussions with midfielder Reo Hatate on extending the midfielder’s deal at Parkhead. The 25-year-old is under contract until the summer of 2026 but with team-mates Kyogo Furuhashi, Daizen Maeda and Liel Abada all committing their futures to the club earlier this summer, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is keen to do the same with Hatate. The Scottish Daily Mail reports that talks began between all parties earlier this week. The Japanese is expected to play a part in this afternoon’s match against Dundee following a spell on the sidelines due to injury.
Cantwell issues update on knee
Injured Rangers playmaker Todd Cantwell has issued an update on his knee injury via social media, saying his injury is far from “straight forward”. The attacking midfielder is set to miss the next month of action and he posted a picture on Instagram with the words: "Thank you for all the continued support and messages. I'll be back as soon as I can, it's not so straight forward but for now I'll be with you all as a fan."
Rangers squad behind Beale
Rangers midfielder Tom Lawrence says that the squad are right behind embattled manager Michael Beale, who is under pressure following two defeats in his first four Premiership matches. Ahead of the lunchtime match against St Johnstone in Perth, Lawrence said: “He’s our manager and we want to do the best for him, the club and ourselves. We go out on that training pitch everyday and work 100 per cent, that’s all we can do. As a collective we have to move forward. The players are 100 per cent behind him.”
More to come from County
Ross County midfielder Yan Dhanda believes togetherness has been a key factor in their promising start to the season. County sit fifth in the cinch Premiership with six points, despite playing Celtic and Rangers during their opening four fixtures. Dhanda said: “Our group of players is really good and we welcome new signings and make them feel part of the family. They have settled in quickly as you have seen on the pitch. We have had two really good wins and gone really close with Celtic and Rangers. You have seen what the new signings can bring. They are enjoying their time here and there is a lot more to come as well.”
Dundee plan to be positive
Dundee midfielder Luke McCowan is determined to give their travelling fans something to cheer at Celtic Park rather than just sit back when the two teams meet this afternoon. “When you play these teams it’s such a mentality thing,” McCowan said. “Obviously you go there and you know you can be sitting behind the ball and trying to see games out. But if you go there with the right mentality I feel you can always try and get something out the game or at least try and give your fans something to cheer about. Listen, we are up for it.”
St Mirren making contingency plans amid doubts over duo
St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson is looking for potential replacements for Ryan Strain and Keanu Baccus as the Australia internationals keep their options open over their futures. The pair are both in the second half of their two-year contracts and have made a big impression during their time in Scotland. Chairman John Needham this week stated St Mirren were speaking to the players’ agents and working hard to try to persuade them to sign new contracts, but that prospect appears unlikely. Robinson said: “That was a verbal conversation that myself and Jim Gillespie have had with the boys and their representatives and as yet both boys are keeping their options open at this moment in time, which they are more than entitled to do. We will continue to try but also continue to look for other people. We have to be a step ahead of other people so that’s what we are trying to do."
Clarkson looking to strengthen bond with Aberdeen strikers
Leighton Clarkson is determined to continue strengthening his on-field bond with Aberdeen’s strikers as he bids to help them kick-start their season and climb the cinch Premiership table, starting this afternoon against Hearts. The 21-year-old playmaker has scored six goals himself since moving to Pittodrie – initially on loan from Liverpool – at the start of last term while he has played a big part in supplying Reds forwards Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes and Bojan Miovski. Ester Sokler and Pape Habib Gueye have joined the Dons attack this summer and Clarkson feels it is his duty to make sure he is on the same wavelength of all the front players in Barry Robson’s squad in order to do his own job properly. “That’s part of my game, something I’ve always tried to do through youth levels, trying to get good connections with the strikers or striker I’m playing with,” he said. “It’s part of my game I still want to improve on. I want more assists and more goals. I managed to get a good relationship with both Duk and Bojan, especially in the last six months of last season, and it’s just about continuing that and getting to know Ester and Pape as well. It’s something I’m working on with them and something that needs to be good for the season.”