Football briefs: Rangers hit Albion for five in friendly

Lee McCulloch: Scored a penalty. Picture: SNS
Lee McCulloch: Scored a penalty. Picture: SNS
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A STRONG Rangers side defeated Albion Rovers 5-1 in a closed door friendly at Murray Park yesterday thanks to goals from Barrie McKay (2), Lee McCulloch, pictured, who netted a penalty, Alejandra Bedoya and a last-minute Maurice Edu strike. Trialist Kieran Brannan replied with a penalty for Rovers.

Albion manager Todd Lumsden had expected to be facing a Rangers under-20 side. “I did get a bit of a surprise when I saw their line-up as Neil Alexander, Carlos Bocanegra, Kirk Broadfoot and Dorin Goian all started as well as the guys that scored,” he said.

Pair agree terms to join Ross County

ROSS COUNTY have bolstered their backline for the SPL campaign by making a double swoop for Mihael Kovacevic and Jonathan Bateson.

Former Dundee United stopper Kovacevic, right, and freed Macclesfield 
right-back Bateson, have agreed terms to join Derek Adams’ side in Dingwall.

Kovacevic, 24, who played at Tannadice between January 2008 and June 2011, and helped the club beat County to win the Scottish Cup in 2010, is a free agent after leaving Croatian side FK Zadar.

Bateson, 22, has spent the majority of his playing career in England’s lower leagues. He began his career at Blackburn Rovers, but never broke into the first team.

Smalling sidelined by broken bone

Manchester United have suffered a major pre-season injury blow after England defender Chris Smalling was ruled out for up to ten weeks with a broken metatarsal.

Smalling had been training at United’s Carrington HQ after recovering from a thigh injury that ended his hopes of appearing at Euro 2012.

Asian federations justify payments

Several Asian football federations scrambled yesterday to justify tens of thousands of dollars that their top officials received from the region’s governing body during the tenure of its suspended President Mohamed bin Hammam.

The payments to officials in countries such as the Philippines, Nepal and Bangladesh were among hundreds of thousands of dollars that Bin Hammam gave supporters and friends, according to an audit obtained by The Associated Press. The audit, ordered last year to examine the AFC’s fiscal accounts, also found that Bin Hammam enriched himself during a presidency of the Asian Football Confederation that started in 2002. He also signed several no-bid contracts with companies with whom he had personal relationships.

Federation officials contacted by the AP either said they had no information on the payments or insisted they did not constitute any wrongdoing.