ANDREW HALLIDAY keen to be reunited with childhood friend Scott Allan at Rangers; Mark Warburton warns Rangers players on social media use; John Collins says Scottish Premiership rivals not good enough to prepare them for Europe, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Andrew Halliday wants Scott Allan at Rangers
Rangers midfielder Andrew Halliday has admitted his eagerness to see a deal for Hibernian’s Scott Allan secured before the the start of September. Halliday, who grew up with Allan in Glasgow, called him his “best pal”, and said he would love to see his fellow Rangers fan at the club.
“From a selfish point of view, I would love for Scott to be here,” said Halliday. “He’s a Hibs player so I can’t say much about it. I have had texts about the situation, but not really texts from him, but other pals. He’s not saying so much himself. He’s a mature boy now, getting his head down in training every day and working hard and concentrating on his next games with Hibs.” (Scotland on Sunday)
Warburton issues Rangers social media warning
Mark Warburton has offered another insight into the tough regime he has begun to put in place at Rangers by warning his squad that he will monitor their social media channels.
Having already instituted a more gruelling fitness routine and a more attractive playing style, he said that it was “important to know what the players are doing.”
He added: “If they’re playing 18 holes of golf at a hectic stage of the season, then you have a problem.”
Warburton has also said he will attempt to arrest the club’s poor record on artificial surfaces by having his team train on the surface prior to their next game at Alloa. They will train at Recreation Park and on an astroturf pitch at their own training complex, Murray Park. (Sunday Post)
John Collins: Rivals too slow and not clever enough
John Collins, the Celtic assistant manager, has said that his side’s Scottish Premiership rivals are not good enough to adequately prepare them for European competition because they’re neither clever enough nor quick enough.
Collins, speaking ahead of Celtic’s Champions League qualifier against Swedish side Malmo, said that while his side could afford to be “gung-ho” domestically, European football is less forgiving of openness.
“We conceded too many goals last year. If you become open and detached against good players and teams you get punished. It’s something that doesn’t happen in Scotland. No disrespect to teams here but they’re not clever enough or quick enough thinkers to punish us.” (Sunday Mail, Scotland on Sunday)
Ryan Stevenson: Van Dijk too good for Scotland
Partick Thistle defender Ryan Stevenson reckons Virgil van Dijk is the best defender he’s ever played against. Stevenson says the 24-year-old is so good that the Dutchman is destined to flourish when he eventually moves on to a club in England or the continent.
The former Hearts defender said: “Van Dijk is a top player. He strolls through most of the games. He’s fast, strong, and great on the ball. If Mathias [Pogba] plays against him on Sunday, I’m sure he’ll more than hold his own. But for me, Van Dijk just seems to play in second or third gear. He’s playing for a huge club in Celtic. But the standard in Scotland is probably below him if I’m honest.” (Sunday Mail)
Mikael Lustig wants to make Malmo boss eat words
Mikael Lustig wants to feed Age Hareide’s words back to him after the Malmo boss boasted several months ago that his team were better than Celtic and Norwegian side Rosenborg.
The Celtic defender was happy to ignore Hareide’s comments, but now that the two teams are set to face each other in European competition Lustig thinks it will present a good opportunity to settle a score.
“I didn’t pay any attention to that. Maybe it’s good for him that he has a belief in his own team. Maybe it’s because our gaffer is Norwegian too and he wanted to say something about that. It’s going to be two good games. We’ll see who is the best when we play now.” (Sun on Sunday)
David Goodwillie a much better player now, says McInnes
Derek McInnes has praised Aberdeen striker David Goodwillie for becoming a smarter, technically better player than the one who left Dundee United for Blackburn five years ago for nearly £3 million.
The Aberdeen manager was a former team-mate of Goodwillie at Dundee United and has seen first-hand the improvement in the Scotland striker’s game.
“David is a better player now than the one that went down south. He went there on goals and potential and I think he was a bit damaged by the experience.
“He’s had to pick up the pieces, but his general game, his touch, his link-up play, his intelligence, his thought for others, is all much better tahn it ever has been.” (Sun on Sunday)