Scottish football gossip: Celtic sweating over the fitness of key player ahead of Ross County clash; Lennon calls for more protection for his players and Scott Bain keen on permanent Celtic deal
Tierney a doubt for Dingwall
Celtic could be without Kieran Tierney for their clash with Ross County, with the defender still nursing a calf injury that forced him to miss Scotland’s friendly double-header against Costa Rica and Hungary.
Brendan Rodgers could opt to play Marvin Compper at left back, or select a back three. Jozo Simunovic is suspended so Jack Hendry will likely start alongside Kristoffer Ajer. (Various)
Lennon wants more protection of players
Hibs boss Neil Lennon has again called for better protection for his players from match officials.
Lennon is serving a three-game touchline ban following his reaction to being sent to the stand during a game against Kilmarnock, but saw his side come in for rough treatment against St Johnstone before the international break.
Lennon said: “Brutality is the wrong word, it’s the coarseness of the tackling that has upset me; the lateness and off-the-ball stuff and amount of fouls given against my team.” (Evening News)
Bain eyes permanent deal at Celtic
Scott Bain is hopeful his loan spell at Celtic could be made permanent in the close season.
The goalkeeper will be a free agent when his short spell at Parkhead ends in the summer but Bain has no guarantees of a permanent deal,
Hibs are said to be keen on bringing the No 1 back to Easter Road but Bain said today: “I’d love to stay and if I continue to play well then it stands me in good stead.” (Daily Record)
Donnelly urges Hoops to make McGinn move
Simon Donnelly believes John McGinn could become Scott Brown’s long-term successor for club and country and has expressed surprise that Celtic have not already made a move for the Hibs midfielder.
“I’m surprised that Celtic didn’t have a sniff at him in the January transfer window, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up there,” Donnelly said of the Hibs player who is contracted until summer 2019.
“I’m surprised Celtic haven’t gone for him yet; he has the mentality to handle it.” (The Scotsman)
McCoist expects clarity on Rangers manager job
Ally McCoist believes a clearer picture on the identity of the next Rangers manager will emerge imminently – and it could be revealed before the Old Firm Scottish Cup semi-final.
McCoist hinted that decisions are being taken behind the scenes in advance of the clash with Celtic at Hampden on 15 April and said: “I’d expect a bit of clarity in the coming week.
“I’m not going to say who should get the job or that Graeme should get it, but I believe there’ll be some clarity and light shed on it in the coming week.” (The Scotsman)
Brown opens up over Celtic switch
Scott Brown has opened up on the reasons behind his £4.4 million move from Hibs to Celtic in 2007 - and why he turned down Rangers.
The Hoops captain, currently in his testimonial year at Parkhead, had been impressing for the Easter Road side and had caught the eye of numerous clubs, including both sides of the Old Firm as well as teams south of the Border.
But he opted for Celtic, and in a wide-ranging interview with the club’s TV channel revealed that Gordon Strachan’s belief and trust in him sold him on the move. (The Scotsman)
Goodwillie aiming higher
Clyde striker David Goodwillie has admitted that he still harbours hopes of returning to playing at a higher level, after netting his 25th goal of the season on Tuesday night.
“Of course I’ve got aspirations of going back up a level,” Goodwillie said. “If you ask any footballer, they’ll say they want to play at the highest level they can so I’m not going to say I don’t want to play at a higher level.”
Recognising there is a significant reason that he is operating well beneath his level, Goodwillie added: “I need to be respectful to Clyde because they gave me a chance. I’ll always be thankful for that.” (The Scotsman)
Old Firm game convinced McLeish to call up Hendry
Scotland boss Alex McLeish has revealed that Jack Hendry’s performance in the last Old Firm game convinced him to add the defender to the national squad.
Hendry impressed in the 1-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday night and McLeish revealed his substitute appearance for 10-man Celtic at Ibrox had sold him on the decision.
McLeish said: “I saw him in one game – he came on as a sub for Celtic against Rangers. I loved his composure for a young kid coming into an Old Firm game.” (The Scotsman)
Power extends Killie stay
Kilmarnock midfielder Alan Power has signed a new two-year deal with the club.
The Irishman was a summer arrival from Lincoln and has become an integral member of Steve Clarke’s side at Rugby Park, securing his future in Ayrshire until 2020.
After a sticky start he has formed a formidable partnership in the middle of the park with Youssouf Mulumbu and Gary Dicker that has played an important part in Killie’s rise to fifth. (The Scotsman)
Auchinleck chief ‘not keen on senior football’
The secretary of leading Junior side Auchinleck Talbot has insisted the club has no desire to play senior football, over fears it would damage the Ayrshire team’s identity.
Henry Dumigan spoke out in the wake of clubs backing plans to allow Junior teams to gain access to the SPFL through a pyramid system, telling the BBC: “We certainly didn’t vote for it. We compete very well with the lower leagues of senior football, but that’s where we see ourselves and that’s it. It’s not a lack of ambition. We’ve been a junior club since 1909 and have never had aspirations to go senior.” (The Scotsman)