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

Gordon Strachan is reportedly ready to listen to any offer from the SFA. Picture: TSPL
Gordon Strachan is reportedly ready to listen to any offer from the SFA. Picture: TSPL
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In today’s Rumour Mill: Craig Levein out, but who will replace him?; Celtic injury doubts for Barca clash; Edinburgh derby repeat in Cup; plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.

Levein’s reign ends

The search for another Scotland manager must begin once more after Craig Levein’s tenure ended yesterday. He learned his fate by conference call after turning down the chance to be told in person at Hampden Park, where the seven-man board of the Scottish Football Association met again yesterday. (Various)

• There was disquiet at the way in which Levein’s reign ended. So strung-out was the decision-making process that he even received sympathy from his detractors.

• Levein will continue to receive a salary from the SFA, with Stewart Regan, the chief executive, stressing that he had only been “relieved” of his duties. The governing body will honour the remaining 20 months of his contract on full pay and at a reported cost of £700,000. (Various)

• Regan revealed that Levein had told the SFA he wanted to quit at the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign - a “key piece of information” which the board took into account. (Express)

• Scotland midfielder Charlie Adam has blamed the press for the removal of Levein as national team manager. The Stoke player wrote on his Twitter account: “On my way back from training to hear Craig Levein has gone. Unbelievable. Can’t believe the Scottish papers got what they wanted.” (Various)

• Tartan Army spokesman Hamish Husband insists the SFA made the right decision in dismissing Levein: “I don’t think Craig ever quite recovered from the Prague game. It was very dispiriting and his performances were very dispiriting. It got to the point that people were going to games not expecting much.” (Various)

• Falkirk boss Steven Pressley insists the SFA got the decision wrong: “Was it the right decision? Absolutely not. The SFA lacks any level of strength or leadership.” (Sun)

Strachan ‘ready to listen to offers’

Former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan is ready to listen to any offer from the SFA to become the next Scotland manager, according to reports. Sources close to Strachan believe he would be willing to discuss stepping into Levein’s shoes after 18 months out of the game. (Record)

• Former Scotland striker Kevin Gallacher believes Walter Smith is the man to succeed Levein. He said: “He’s experienced and done it before – bring him in and give him another shot. I know people are always for change and not for going backwards, would Walter go backwards? I don’t know.” (Various)

• But Strachan is the bookmakers’ favourite at odds of 7/4. Smith is currently 16/1.

• Scotland legend Joe Jordan said last night: “It’s nice to be linked with the national job.” (Record)

Celtic v Barcelona

Efe Ambrose is eyeing redemption against Barcelona after his own goal cost Celtic a win at Dundee United at the weekend. He said: “For me, after scoring the own goal, what went through my mind was that I let the team down and I let myself down too... We’ve talked about it [losing late goals] with the manager and we know what we need to do – and we will do it.” (Scotsman)

• Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink believes Celtic need good fortune and bad weather to beat Barcelona in Glasgow tomorrow night. The former Parkhead striker said: “You hope for Celtic that [Barca] have a really bad day and that you have a really good day, that it rains hard, that they are cold, that the boys in Scotland are used to it and that they can get a result. It’s going to be hard. You need a little bit of luck.” (Scotsman)

• Defenders Thomas Rogne and Emilio Izaguirre both limped out of the action with injuries which could rule them out of contention for the visit of the Catalan giants this week. Celtic already have concerns over winger James Forrest and the forward pair of Georgios Samaras and Gary Hooper. (Scotsman)

Lionel Messi has been passed as fit to line up for Barcelona, after an injury scare during the Catalan club’s victory over Celta Vigo at the weekend. (Various)

Hibs captain welcomes Hearts draw

James McPake last night insisted Hibernian had got the William Hill Scottish Cup draw they had dreamed of after being handed the chance to make at least partial amends for May’s humiliating final defeat by Hearts. “It’s the tie we all wanted,” said McPake. “First and foremost, we’re just happy to have a home tie and it will be a massive game against Hearts.” (Scotsman)

Brown takes charge at East Fife

Former Hearts and Hibs 
assistant Billy Brown returned to football last night after being appointed manager of Second Division East Fife. The 61-year-old takes the reins from Gordon Durie, who had to step down due to a mystery virus which first came to light when he passed out in the dressing-room after a match in August. (Various)


• Dunfermline are lining up a move for striker Tom Foltyn-Brown, 18, after inviting him back for a second trial. (Record)

• Raith Rovers striker Brian Graham will miss the next two matches after his red card against Airdrie United on Saturday. (Express)

• Ayr United have signed former Celtic and Motherwell youth keeper Willie Muir on a short-term deal. (Express)