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

Barcelona stars Lionel Messi (left), Xavi (centre) and Andres Iniesta wish Celtic a happy anniversary year. Picture: SNS
Barcelona stars Lionel Messi (left), Xavi (centre) and Andres Iniesta wish Celtic a happy anniversary year. Picture: SNS
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In today’s Rumour Mill: Strachan the favourite for Scotland job, but other contenders emerge; Henrik Larsson on Celtic v Barcelona; Rangers pay Jelavic debt; plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.

Scotland vacancy latest

• The bookmakers’ favourite to succeed Craig Levein, Gordon Strachan, last night indicated that he would be interested in the job. Speaking in his role as a pundit on ITV, the former Celtic manager said: “It would be an honour to be asked to manage your own national side. But it would be arrogant to presume that someone will ask me.” (Various)

• And current Celtic boss Neil Lennon believes Strachan is the “outstanding candidate”. (Scotsman)

• Scotland defender Gary Caldwell has also backed Gordon Strachan should be the next manager of the national team.

• Other Strachan backers include his former Aberdeen and Scotland team-mate Willie Miller, and Celtic skipper Scott Brown. (Various)

• But the SFA’c chances of recruiting Strachan could be scuppered by Southampton. Struggling Saints boss Nigel Adkins faces the sack and Strachan is understood to be one of the favourites to take over, should he go. (Sun)

• Scotland legend and former Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish is reportedly interested in the role. (Express)

• Alex McLeish and Stuart McCall yesterday ruled themselves out of the running for the post of Scotland manager. Motherwell boss McCall said he wasn’t ready for the role, while McLeish said he would feel like a “hypocrite” if he took it on after leaving the same job for Birmingham City in 2007. (Various)

• Joe Jordan, who spent last season as first-team coach at Tottenham Hotspur, has also reiterated his desire to be considered: “I am Scottish, I’m a proud Scotsman and a person that wants to work. And, for my name to be mentioned, yes, it’s nice to be linked with the national job.” (Various)

• Aberdeen boss Craig Brown has told his former employers at the SFA to forget about hiring a foreign coach: “What I would say is there are very good candidates about the place to take over and the SFA should look for a Scottish manager.” (Various)

• Former Scotland international and TV pundit Pat Nevin’s ideal candidate is Malky Mackay - although he thinks it’s come too soon for the Cardiff boss: “He is somebody I would have in a heartbeat but I don’t expect he will get it.” (Record)

• Rangers skipper Lee McCulloch believes his former boss Walter Smith is the man to lead Scotland: “I’ve never met a manager who is so respected in the game. Somehow Walter can get a reaction from players without even saying a word.” (Record)

• Dutch coach Co Adriaanse is another name in the reckoning. The former Ajax boss has been out of work since leaving FC Twente in January. (Herald)

Celtic v Barcelona

Neil Lennon has strongly hinted he will hand teenager Tony Watt a Champions League group stage debut tonight against Barcelona. Celtic have several injuries, with Emilio Izaguirre, Thomas Rogne and James Forrest ruled out, while Gary Hooper is almost certain to miss out with a hamstring problem. (Scotsman)

• It is understood that Hooper is also set to miss his England debut, as Roy Hodgson was set to offer him a place in the squad for next week’s friendly against Sweden. (Sun)

• Barca coach Tito Vilanova is uncertain how tonight’s game will go: “I don’t know how they will play in front of their own crowd. They weren’t that defensive though, they played well and made it very hard for us. It was hard for us to beat them, we only did it in the last minute so I think that has to be remembered.” (Scotsman)

• Celtic legend Henrik Larsson has paid tribute to his former Barca team-mates: “I saw Messi take his first steps as a player when I was with Barca... I will always be able to tell my family that I played in the same team as him. Messi deserves every prize that he gets. But Xavi is the soul of Barca’s team.” (Sun)

Rangers to settle Jelavic debt

Rangers are set to pay out the £800,000 they owe to Rapid Vienna for Nikica Jelavic to avoid a Fifa court case. Although the final instalment of the £4million transfer fee, due to be paid in the next few weeks, falls £200,000 short of the original sum agreed, Rapid chairman Rudolf Edlinger is ready to accept it. (Express)

• Rangers winger David Templeton faces a further fortnight on the sidelines after damaging his hamstring. (Express)

Robbo fears Hearts could go bust

Hearts could go out of business before next summer if their current share issue fails to raise enough cash, John Robertson believes. The club’s record goalscorer, speaking at Tynecastle yesterday, said: “This is a call to arms for Hearts fans. Because if the club can’t get very, very close to the full subscription then they’re going to struggle to see out the end of the season.” (Scotsman)


• Former Scotland captain Barry Ferguson has indicated he could make his loan spell at Fleetwood Town permanent. (Sun)

• Scotland have fallen to 70th in the Fifa world rankings - their worst position in more than seven years. (Record)

• Alloa have extended the loan deal of Aberdeen youngster Mitch Megginson by a further month. (Record)