The Rumour Mill: Friday’s Scottish football news and gossip

One-time Livingston owner Angelo Massone is interested in Hearts
One-time Livingston owner Angelo Massone is interested in Hearts
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IN THE Rumour Mill today: The latest from Tynecastle as former Livingston owner Angelo Massone declares an interest in taking over at Tynecastle, whilst director Sergejus Fedotovas admits he can’t put a price on the club; Scotland will have a new manager by March 2013 as praise for Billy Stark’s abilities grow; Walter Smith rejoins Rangers plus the rest of the day’s Scottish football news.

Angelo Massone fronts Hearts takeover bid

One-time Livingston owner Angelo Massone has declared an interest in buying Hearts from Vladimir Romanov, and is behind a £4.5 million takeover bid tabled by an Italian consortium. The Rome-based lawyer has also indicated his willingness to let the fans become involved with the bid, suggesting that the Italian consortium he is connected with are happy to sign over a percentage of shares to fans, appoint supporter representatives on the board and leave the door open for fan ownership in the future.

Massone’s initial bid is expected to fall below Romanov’s valuation of the club, but the consortium could join forces with the Foundation of Hearts group and pool their resources to end Romanov’s seven-year reign.

Massone is well-known to Scottish football fans, having taken Livingston to the brink of administration in 2009. (Daily Mail)

• Sergejus Fedotovas unsure of club’s worth

Hearts director Sergejus Fedotovas has said that the club will consider any ‘realistic’ offers, but admits he is unsure of the club’s worth. Fedotovas said that he was unable to comment on behalf of Vladimir Romanov, but believes the Lithuanian owner would entertain any reasonable or realistic bids for the club that reflect the value of Hearts and its assets.

• Foundation of Hearts frontman challenges Hearts to name their price

The chairman of the Foundation of Hearts group has insisted that, despite a statement from Sergejus Fedotovas in which a bid to take over the club’s ownership was rejected, talks are ongoing between the group and the club. Alex Mackie has urged Hearts to name a price for the club to allow the foundation to begin the process of raising cash from supporters. Edinburgh-based Mr Mackie has revealed he believes the club could be worth less than £5 million.

• John McGlynn braces himself for January exits

Tynecastle boss John McGlynn has accepted he may lose some of his top performers in January, with several players out of contract in the summer and expected to leave in January. Andy Webster, Marius Zaliukas and Andrew Driver are among those who could leave.

• Hearts have confirmed that their match with St Mirren tomorrow - labelled as potentially their last game a week ago - is a sell-out, with the attendance expected to top the gate that saw Liverpool narrowly beat Hearts earlier this season.

Scotland to have new manager by March 2013

Scotland will have a new manager in place by March of next year - as the SFA heaped praise on Billy Stark following the national side’s narrow friendly victory over ‘big minnows’ Luxembourg. Stark, who has headed the under-21 side since being brought in to the international set-up by Alex McLeish, is believed to have moved up the SFA’s pecking order as they seek to appoint a new manager. Defender Steven Whittaker echoed the governing body’s praise, adding that Stark has ‘all the credentials’ and is ‘more than capable’ of taking on the role. (various)

Celtic starlet Tony Watt extends Parkhead stay to 2016

Celtic striker Tony Watt has penned a new deal that will see him at the club until 2016. 18-year-old Watt, who scored the winner in the Parkhead side’s shock Champions League win over Barcelona, took to Twitter to express his delight, saying: ‘Glad to sign a new deal with the best club in the world! Couldn’t be happier!’ With injuries to Gary Hooper and Anthony Stokes, Watt has enjoyed substantial first-team action in recent weeks, with his goal against Barcelona his first at Celtic’s home ground.

Walter Smith rejoins Rangers in director role

Former Ibrox manager Walter Smith has rejoined the club as a non-executive director, along with retired Glasgow businessman Ian Hart. Charles Green admitted he had been trying to convince the former Scotland and Rangers boss to make a return to the club in a bid to increase the number of ‘Rangers men’ on the board. Prior the Smith and Hart’s appointment, only Malcolm Murray had any connection with the club. Current manager Ally McCoist, who served as both a player and assistant manager during Smith’s two terms as manager, welcomed the new role, believing the appointment will ensure decisions taken at the top will be in the best interests of the club. (Scotsman)

Dundee United aim to punish Kenny Shiels for long-ball comments

Kilmarnock manager Kenny Shiels has been told that his side can expect a backlash from Dundee United this evening, as the two clubs meet on SPL duty for the first time since Shiels caused a bit of a stir in the United camp with comments suggesting the Tannadice club were little more than a long-ball team. Following his side’s 3-1 victory over United earlier this season, Shiels described United as ‘direct but effective’, comments which the United camp interpreted as negative. Although Shiels insists his comments have been distorted, United will be looking to bounce back after last week’s defeat away to Hibs.

Football news in brief

• Hibs boss Pat Fenlon has rubbished reports linking him with highly-rated Irish duo Chris Forrester and Ronan Finn, declaring that the club don’t have a penny to spend on transfer fees. Meanwhile, James McPake has been given a ‘50/50’ chance of being fit for the Easter Road side’s clash with Dundee tomorrow.

• Craig Brown is hopeful that talented winger Ryan Fraser will pen a new deal at Pittodrie but has insisted that he is not worried about the youngster stalling on signing a new deal. Representatives from several English clubs including Manchester United are expected to be at Pittodrie tomorrow for the Dons’ game with Celtic.

• Former Motherwell and Hibs goalkeeper Graeme Smith is hopeful of making his Partick Thistle debut this weekend after signing a short-term deal with the First Division side.

• Derek Adams has urged his Ross County stars to emulate Andrew Shinnie and Murray Davidson of Inverness CT and St Johnstone respectively, and earn Scotland call-ups. The Staggies boss believes his own players’ hopes of an international call-up could be a long-term incentive.