The Rumour Mill: Wednesday’s football news and gossip

Steven Davis has denied any knowledge of dual contracts while at Rangers. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Steven Davis has denied any knowledge of dual contracts while at Rangers. Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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In today’s Rumour Mill: Former Rangers star refutes EBT claims; Celtic boss backs striker for England; Craig Levein explains Steven Fletcher decision; plus the rest of the day’s football news and gossip.

Davis denies dual contract claim

Steven Davis has denied claims made in a BBC documentary that he was one of the Rangers players on a dual contract. The SPL is investigating allegations that more than 80 Ibrox employees were paid via the controversial Employee Benefits Trust (EBT) scheme between 2001 and 2010. Davis, who left Rangers to join Southampton in the wake of the club’s financial crisis, said: “I don’t think anybody in the dressing room was aware of anything about dual contracts.” The Northern Irish international also criticised the prospect of the club losing titles: “It’s totally ridiculous to even be talking about the scenario of stripping trophies from Rangers.” (Sun)

Lennon ‘proudest man in Europe’

Neil Lennon heaped praise on his Celtic team last night after watching them claim a 3-2 win against Spartak Moscow - their first ever away victory in the Champions League group stage. Lennon said: “I am probably the proudest man in Europe tonight. I cannot speak highly enough of the players, they were magnificent.” (Various)

• The Celtic boss also reiterated his belief that striker Gary Hooper is good enough to play for England: “People keep asking me about him playing for England, well I think he showed how good he is tonight.” His view was backed by England legend and Match of the Day presenter Gary Lineker, who wrote on Twitter during the match: “With the dearth of English strikers Gary Hooper must be worth looking at. Only one way to find out if he has it.”

• Barcelona will be without two of their star men for the match against Celtic on October 23. Defender Carles Puyol disclocated his elbow in their 2-0 victory over Benfica last night, while Sergio Busquets was sent off and is now suspended. (Various)

Levein explains Fletcher U-turn

Craig Levein has explained his startling decision to name in-form Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher in his latest Scotland squad, following their prolonged fall-out. The Scotland boss said: “I had a long think about things on Monday. We were at the point where I’d been informed for the first time by someone I know that Steven wanted to talk and wanted to come back and play for Scotland. Rather than wait and see who blinks first, I decided to take the bull by the horns and get it done.” (Scotsman)

Hearts in talks to keep stars

Directors at Hearts are facing some crucial decisions on 14 players whose contracts expire at the end of the season. It is understood that ten first-team members and four youth players are out of contract next summer, with some of those expected to leave Tynecastle under freedom of contract. The players in question are Ryan McGowan, Darren Barr, Andy Webster, Scott Robinson, Andy Driver, Arvydas Novikovas, Marius Zaliukas, Gordon Smith, Kevin McHattie, Dale Carrick, Jack Hamilton, 
Fraser Mullen, Brad McKay and Danny Thomson. (Evening News)

Houston uncertainty not affecting United - Daly

Dundee United captain Jon Daly has insisted the club’s early-season slump has nothing to do with uncertainty over the future of manager Peter Houston, who revealed last week that he had not been offered a new contract. Daly said: “I don’t think it has any effect on you when you go out on the park. You are not thinking about contracts and whose is up at the end of the season.” (Record)

Gordon for Gala?

East of Scotland league side Gala Fairydean hope to end Craig Gordon’s time in the wilderness. The 30-year-old, who has 40 caps for Scotland, cost Sunderland £9 million five years ago but has been without a club since May. Gala have appointed his dad, Davie, as goalkeeping coach and hope Gordon may act as back-up if regular keeper Elliot Turnbull is injured. Said manager Garry Fraser: “I’m just pleased that we have Davie Gordon helping us, but Craig doesn’t have a club and we’d be happy for him to join us. He’s still one of the country’s best keepers.” (Scotsman)


• Livingston striker Marc McNulty could be set for a move to Championship side Derby, who had him watched when he bagged a brace against Dumbarton on Saturday. (Express)

• Dean Shiels and Ian Black should both be back in contention for Rangers’ weekend trip to Stirling Albion. The pair returned to training yesterday after Shiels was sidelined with a groin problem and Black was ruled out with a hamstring strain. (Scotsman)

• St Mirren manager Danny Lennon has confirmed Paul McGowan is likely to be sidelined for three months. (Scotsman)

• Former Celtic star Evander Sno has returned to training at Dutch club NEC after denying that he suffered a second on-field heart attack. (Mail)

• Celtic youngster Paul Slane, 20, has joined Partick Thistle on loan until January. (Mail)