GORDON Strachan mulls over Scotland team to play Republic of Ireland; Rangers to announce new manager on Friday; Jim McAlister urges Nadir Ciftci to confess over biting, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip
Gordon Strachan puzzles over Ireland team
Gordon Strachan reflected on Scotland’s abundant complement of midfield options yesterday when he was asked what team he would pick to face Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side.
“What we probably pick this morning might be different as managers and coaches as to when you pick the team next Friday,” he admitted yesterday, as he reflected on the posers provided by Friday’s 1-0 friendly win over Qatar. Charlie Mulgrew, who played in defence during that win, could well feature in some capacity against Ireland – a prospect which Strachan refused to rule out. (Scotland on Sunday)
Steven Fletcher praises Old Firm influences
Steven Fletcher has praised the influence of two managers who once opposed each other in the dugout at Old Firm matches. The 28-year-old had kind words for both Dick Advocaat, the Sunderland manager, and Martin O’Neill, who managed the Wearsiders from 2011-2013.
Speaking about Advocaat, Fletcher said: “You could tell [Advocaat] took a real shine to the lads by the way he got so emotional after the Arsenal draw [that made sure we stayed up]. We have a great group of lads there, especially in training, it’s a good atmosphere. He’s done brilliantly since he came in. He’s kind of similar to Martin in the way he takes you asides and speaks to you, which I like.” (Scotland on Sunday)
Rangers will name new manager on Friday
Rangers director Paul Murray has revealed that the club will name its new manager on Friday. Stuart McCall, the interim manager since Kenny McDowall stepped down in March.
McCall remains in the frame for the job, but Mark Warburton has been installed as favourite by bookmakers. Alex McLeish is also understood to be in the running.
The announcement will coincide with a controversial meeting held by Mike Ashley which will ask shareholders whether the club should repay his £5 million loan. (Sunday Mail)
Confess over biting, Jim McAlister tells Ciftci
Dundee midfielder Jim McAlister has urged Nadir Ciftci to come clean about biting him on the leg. The furious midfielder said the “bizarre” incident would have been forgotten about had Ciftci and Dundee United owned up to it.
He said: “In any walk of life, you don’t expect to turn up at your work and be bitten... When I saw the Dundee United statement defending Ciftci, I was flabbergasted. I can rest at night knowing I’ve not told any lies. But can they? I’m not sure.” (Sunday Mail)
Celtic prepare for glamour ties in Paisley
Celtic will play a series of friendlies in Paisley before beginning their charge to qualify for the Champions League group stages. David Moyes will bring his Real Sociedad side to New St Mirren Park on July 10 to face Celtic as the Parkhead side lays new turf on its home ground.
Ronny Deila’s side will also face Dutch side Den Bosch and Czech team Dukla Prague on July 1 and July 4 respectively. (Sunday Mail)