Rumour Mill: Aberdeen ‘can win title’ | Celtic ‘don’t need magic’ to beat Rangers | Stubbs urges Hibs to cup glory

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DEREK McInnes finally admits that Aberdeen can win the title; Ronny Deila insists Celtic don’t need a magic formula to beat Rangers; Alan Stubbs urges players to forget cup final woes and seize glory and more in Saturday’s Rumour Mill...

Derek McInnes finally admits that Aberdeen can win the title

Derek McInnes now believes Aberdeen can win the title. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Derek McInnes now believes Aberdeen can win the title. Picture: Ian Rutherford

Derek McInnes has finally admitted that Aberdeen can win the league.

The Pittodrie boss revealed his side are where he always knew they would be with nine games to go, right in the hunt at the business end of the campaign.

He said: “It would be foolish to say we are not in the fight now.

“I always thought, privately, with 38 games to go at the start of the season we could be good enough to put a fight and a challenge in.

“We can certainly be that with nine games to go and the reality is we were a penalty decision in the last minute against St Johnstone away from sitting top of the league right now.

“That’s why it would be foolish for me not to say at this stage of the season we are in a fight.

“There is still a lot to do and every game is a challenge, as was shown at Firhill in midweek when we had to dig deep to win.

“Every opponent we face has got something to play for but my players are as relaxed as I’ve seen them all season.

“There is no anxiety as we are enjoying being where we are. We are a tight squad and they have earned the right to look forward to this home game, but there is no room for error.” (Daily Record)

Ronny Deila insists Celtic don’t need a magic formula to beat Rangers

Ronny Deila says he doesn’t need a magic formula for Celtic to beat Rangers and insists there is no contest when it comes to choosing the best squad.

When discussing next month’s Scottish Cup semi-final and Chris Sutton’s claim that most Celtic players would walk into the Rangers squad, Deila said: “I have not trained those players or played against them so I don’t know so much but I am confident in my players.

“We have international players all over the pitch so you do not have to be a scientist to say that we have better players than Rangers right now.

“We know that whoever we play here in Scotland we can beat them. Rangers have done very well this year. They have taken steps and are a good football team.

“But we are also leading our league. That means we have built the best team in Scotland so far.”

The Norwegian admitted victory over the Championship side next month is key to his future plans.

Under pressure in recent weeks, Deila said: “To get through against Rangers and get into the final is going to be a huge thing for the whole club, but also for me of course.” (Daily Record)

Deila insists Carlton Cole has a future at the club

Celtic manager Ronny Deila has suggested to Herald Scotland that Carlton Cole does have a future at the club.

Cole joined the Scottish Premiership giants in October 2015 and has a contract with the Glasgow-based outfit until June 2017.

The Englishman, though, has not performed as expected and is not guaranteed playing time even as a substitute.

Cole has been given leave of absence by Celtic for personal reasons, and Deila has suggested that the striker will remain at Celtic Park beyond the summer.

“Carlton has not trained for a while now because he has some things he has to do,” the Norwegian told Herald Scotland.

“Carlton is a fantastic person and a good player. There’s not so long left in the season now. We have to see what’s happening in the future.” (Herald)

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Alan Stubbs urges players to forget cup final woes and seize glory

Alan Stubbs wants memories of Hibernian’s most recent derby victory to be the spur for his players in their bid to lift the League Cup at Hampden tomorrow.

Almost 30,000 supporters of the Leith club will make their way to Glasgow for the clash with Ross County but the national stadium has been a scene of despair for them in their two finals since Hibs’ 5-1 League Cup final success over Kilmarnock in 2007 – their last major honour.

The Englishman said: “The fans have been amazing with me since I came here and it would mean an awful lot to send them home happy on Sunday.

“We’ve tried to pick the club up since we came in and we’ve made steady progress. I think the final on Sunday is a sign of that, but it’s only a sign,” added the 42-year-old former Everton and Celtic player, who has been in charge of the Championship side for 22 months.

“People never remember the losers. They only remember the winners. On Sunday, we want to be the winners. We know we can see fantastic scenes again at the end of the game. We don’t want to see the flipside of that.

“If players needed any indication, or anything to not see, that should be their motive on Sunday. Because what we saw against Hearts was better than good – it was fantastic. I think if we were to see that on Sunday it would be something 
everybody would be speaking about again.”

Interview: Hibs great John Blackley on League Cup jousts

News in brief:

Jim McIntyre says handing the Scottish League cup trophy to chairman Roy MacGregor would mean ‘everything to him’. (P & J)

Mark Warburton says he’s stunned none of his players were chosen for Scotland call-ups. (Daily Record)

Rafa Benitez has issued a rallying cry to Newcastle fans after he became the club’s new boss yesterday. (Mirror)

• Wayne Rooney’s injury woes continue as his comeback is delayed for another month. (Mirror)

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