Rumour Mill: Gers ace nears return | Dembele ‘can star in Old Firm clash’ | Celtic man gets key Scotland role

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Scottish football gossip: Lee Wallace plays 90 minutes of bounce game ahead of Old Firm showdown; ‘big game player’ Moussa Dembele backed to star against Rangers and to which Celtic man has Alex McLeish handed a Scotland role?

Wallace pushes for Old Firm involvement

Lee Wallace played 90 minutes of the bounce game at Auchenhowie. Picture: SNS Group

Lee Wallace played 90 minutes of the bounce game at Auchenhowie. Picture: SNS Group

Lee Wallace played 90 minutes of a bounce game against St Mirren yesterday and fuelled rumours he could play a part in the coming Old Firm clash.

Wallace was joined by Ibrox fringe stars Fabio Cardoso, Joe Dodoo, Eduardo Herrera and Niko Kranjcar in the 1-1 draw at Auchenhowie.

And while Rangers boss Graeme Murty is keeping his cards close to his chest, having Wallace available with Declan John out injured would be a boost for the Gers. (Scottish Sun)

Dembele backed to shine

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has tipped Moussa Dembele to finish the way he started when it comes to this weekend’s derby meeting with Rangers at Ibrox.

A brace in the 3-0 Scottish Cup win over Morton followed the opening goal in the 2-0 win at Aberdeen, suggesting that Dembele – who bagged five goals in his first three derbies – is ready to wreak havoc on Rangers yet again.

“I think he is a big-game player, Moussa,” said Rodgers. “The players need to do it at Celtic in every match but, certainly in those big games, he has always come up trumps and shown his qualities.” (The Scotsman)

Stevie Woods set to replace Jim Stewart

Celtic goalkeeping coach Stevie Woods is being lined up as Jim Stewart’s replacement with the national team, according to reports.

Stewart is set to be binned after 16 years with Scotland and Woods is set to step into the role as Alex McLeish gets his backroom staff in order. (Scottish Sun)

Fans slate Nicholas over McTominay comments

Scottish football fans have taken Charlie Nicholas to task after the pundit appeared less than enthusiastic about Scott McTominay pledging his international allegiance to Scotland rather than England.

Nicholas criticised the 21-year-old and questioned whether he had picked his paternal heritage just so he could put “international footballer” at the top of his CV.

But fans hit out at the pundit, accusing him of “spouting some nonsense”, “talking out of his backside” and “saving face with his English chums on Soccer Saturday.” (The Scotsman)

Clarke calls for action against McInnes

Kilmarnock manager Steve
Clarke believes Aberdeen counterpart Derek McInnes should be brought to book by the Scottish Football Association for claiming Jordan Jones went down without contact to win a penalty on Saturday.

The Dons had taken the lead through Graeme Shinnie, but Kris Boyd levelled from the spot after Jones tumbled to the ground with McInnes saying afterwards: “I think he goes down without any contact.”

But Clarke hit back, saying: “I thought he was out of order. It was a clear penalty. Why is he allowed to come out and imply that Jordan Jones dived? Surely the authorities have to ask him to explain himself?” (The Scotsman)

Fergie’s role in Scott decision

Sir Alex Ferguson is said to have played a big part in convincing Scott McTominay to pledge his allegiance to Scotland rather than England.

McTominay’s grandfather Frank said: “Sir Alex was keen for Scott to play for Scotland. He was up front about it. I know that for a fact. He and Jose Mourinho were both quite keen on it over the last month or two.

“He gave Scott his first contract with Manchester United before he retired and then made sure it was extended when he was 18. He seems to get on well with him.” (The National)

Jig’s up for McCulloch

Lee McCulloch has quit his role with Polish top flight side Lechia Gdansk after Adam Owen was sacked following a poor run of form.

Former Gers captain McCulloch, who was assistant manager at the club, has also decided to leave, less than two months after moving from Scotland. (Scottish Sun)