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

Lionel Messi in action against Celtic. Picture: Getty
Lionel Messi in action against Celtic. Picture: Getty
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Latest on Benfica v Celtic, SFL and SPL and loggerheads and Leigh Griffiths set to return to Wolves.

Benfica set for return of key players for Celtic match

The Portuguese side are expected to welcome back Argentinian pair Ezequiel Garay (defender) and Enzo Perez (midfielder), both valued at £5m, for their match against Celtic in the Champions League.

Benfica must win if they are to stay in contention for qualification to the last 16 of the competition. (Express)

• Benfica will also have captain Luisao back in their starting line-up. The Portugal under-21 captain infamously assaulted German referee Christian Fischer during a pre-season friendly against Fortuna Dusseldorf.

• Benfica keeper Artur says Celtic play a “negative” style of football and are too reliant on a counter-attacking brand of football. (Record)

• Celtic star Mikel Lustig says all the pressure is on Barcelona tomorrow night despite the Parkhead side aware that a score draw could take them through to the next stage. (Scotsman)

• Hungarian referee Viktor Kaassai will take charge of Celtic’s match against Benfica. The high profile whistler took charge of the 2011 Champions League final between Manchester United and Barcelona at Wembley. (Express)

SPL teams set to dismiss SFL proposals

The turf war engulfing Scottish football is set to increase in intensity today with SPL members expected to vote to dismiss SFL proposals for 16-10-18 league set up.

One proposal up for discussion at today’s meeting will be a two-tier top flight with 12 teams in each division.

The top division would split after two rounds of fixtures with the top-eight clubs meeting each other twice more and the bottom four facing off against the top four in the lower division with four promotion and relegation places at stakes. (Scotsman)

Leigh Griffiths set to return to Wolves

Hibs have been told they cannot extend the loan deal of star striker Leigh Griffiths.

Wolves boss Stake Solbakken says he has no interest in letting Griffiths remain at Easter Road once his loan deal expires in January. (Various)

Sell-out boost for Hearts

Over 16,000 fans turned up at Tynecastle at the weekend to watch their team clinch a 1 - 0 victory over St Mirren.

It was also announced that £500,000 had been raised by the club’s share issue launched only three weeks ago. (Scotsman)

Black calls for more protection for referees

Rangers midfielder Ian Black has called on referees to give him more protection from tough tackling Third Division players after complaining about his treatment during the Ibrox side’s 6 - 2 win over East Stirlingshire. (Record)