Besiktas set for Parkhead raid, Rosenborg could make move for former Rangers man and Steven MacLean has stoked things ahead of the Betfred Cup semi-final between Hearts and Celtic
Besiktas want Boyata
Besiktas have joined the race for Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata, with the Turkish side ready to make a move if Croatia international Domagoj Vida leaves, with Saudi Arabian side Al-Ittihad linked with a €10 million swoop.
Boyata was linked with Fenerbahce, Fulham and Sevilla during the summer as he entered the final year of his Hoops deal, but the 27-year-old remained at Parkhead.
Celtic are keen to hang onto the former Manchester City defender but with other clubs free to talk to Boyata from January, the Hoops could have a fight on their hands. (Various)
Ex-Old Firm pair wanted by Rosenborg
Celtic’s Europa League oppponents Rosenborg have reportedly got a three-man shortlist as they look to find a permanent replacement for Kare Ingebrigtsen - with an ex-Celtc and a former Rangers ace on the list.
Morten Weighorst, currently in charge at Aalborg, is understood to be a target while former Arsenal, Barcelona and Rangers man and current Feyenoord boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst has also been linked with the job.
The Norwegians sacked Ingebrigtsen just days before they faced Celtic, with Rini Coolen taking temporary charge. It’s believed the caretaker boss is the third man on the shortlist. (The Sun)
“I hope Celtic get pumped” admits Hearts ace
Steven MacLean helped Hearts skip to a comfortable victory at Dens Park on Tuesday. Now he hopes RB Leipzig are everything Dundee were not and prove inhospitable hosts by “pumping” Celtic tonight.
Hearts strolled through their own midweek appointment and now MacLean wants Celtic to endure the opposite in their Europa League encounter in eastern Germany in order to enhance Hearts’ chances of reaching the Betfred Cup final.
“We’ve got a bit about us, boys who can score goals, so we’re looking forward to it,” said MacLean. “Hopefully Celtic get pumped tonight and lose a bit of confidence and we’ll see what happens on Sunday...” (The Scotsman)
Rodgers urges fringe stars to shine for Celtic
Brendan Rodgers has urged his Celtic players not to be frightened to make mistakes against RB Leipzig in Germany this evening.
The Parkhead manager will have to dig into his squad for the Europa League Group B game in the Red Bull Arena after midfielder Tom Rogic joined the list of absentees which include the suspended James Forrest, injured skipper Scott Brown and striker Leigh Griffiths, while defender Filip Benkovic is a doubt. (The Scotsman)
Haring set to face Hoops
Peter Haring is ready to return for Hearts’ Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic, manager Craig Levein has confirmed. The influential Austrian is nursing a hernia complaint having missed recent victories over Aberdeen and Dundee but should be available for Sunday’s tie at BT Murrayfield. A summer signing from SV Ried, Haring quickly established himself as a key figure in the Hearts midfield with five goals in 14 games prior to the recent international break. Levein hopes the player can delay hernia surgery until January but, with rest, he is confident Haring can feature in the semi-final. (Evening News)
Leipzig boss: Us and Celtic are battling for second
RB Leipzig boss Ralf Rangnick believes his side and Celtic are playing for second place in their Europa League group. Austrian side Salzburg top Group B after wins against both teams who face off at the Red Bull Arena tonight. R
B Leipzig and Celtic both have three points following their wins over Rosenborg, with the German side sitting in second by virtue of a better goal difference. Speaking at the pre-match press conference ahead of their double header - with RB Leipzig visiting Parkhead next month - Rangnick said: “It looks like these two teams will be fighting for second spot. Salzburg have won both their games and I would expect them to win against Rosenborg.” (The Scotsman)
Gerrard plays down class of 92 comparisons
Steven Gerrard insists his Rangers players have done nothing to earn even the most tenuous comparisons with the Ibrox side whose European record they could beat tonight.
If Gerrard’s team avoid defeat at home to Spartak Moscow, it will extend their undefeated run in the tournament this season to 11 matches. That would eclipse record set by Rangers under Walter Smith in 1992-93.
Gerrard said: “We’re not ready to be spoken about in the same breath as successful Rangers teams of the past. We are nowhere near ready to be put on a par with teams like the one from 92-93.” (The Scotsman)