Scottish football gossip: Rangers suffer injury setback ahead of Old Firm showdown; Dundee United linked with ex-Rangers bad boy Bilel Mohsni and Craig Levein admits to pre-derby mindgames
Martin injury blow
Rangers could be without Russell Martin for the Old Firm match this weekend after the defender hurt his back in training, and was forced to sit out yesterday’s session.
While there is still a chance the former Norwich stopper could make the crunch match, he was ruled out for weeks when he suffered a similar problem in the past.
Graeme Murty is understood to be hopeful of Martin proving his fitness but could be forced to start with Bruno Alves and David Bates at the back - his central defensive pairing from the 4-1 win over Falkirk last weekend. (Scottish Sun)
United consider Mohsni move
Dundee United could be set to offer former Rangers bad boy Bilel Mohsni a route back into Scottish football.
The hotheaded defender quit Rangers after copping a seven-match ban for his part in the bust-up after the Ibrox side’s play-off defeat to Motherwell in May 2015.
Mohsni trained with Dundee United on Thursday and is understood to have come recommended by his former boss Paul Sturrock, now in a scouting role at Tannadice. (Daily Mail)
Levein admits pre-derby mindgames
Craig Levein has stoked the fires ahead of tonight’s Edinburgh derby by admitting that he is trying to get under Hibs’ skin.
“Listen, it is just one big game. It hurts when you go to Easter Road and they win 1-0 and they are doing a lap of honour and people are tweeting stuff,” said Levein.
“It hurts but the only real way to fix it is to do it on the park. If there are some words exchanged that maybe push some people a bit closer to the edge then that is part of it as well.” (The Scotsman)
Jones refutes dive accusations
Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones has shrugged off accusations of diving from Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes and St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright by insisting: “I can use it as motivation to prove them wrong.”
The Northern Irish winger said: “If people make accusations then it motivates me even more. Derek McInnes did it after the Aberdeen game, Tommy Wright said I dived on Tuesday.
He can say what he wants but all I want to do is impress Steve Clarke. I don’t want a reputation as someone who does that but I can use it as motivation to shut them up and prove them wrong.” (The Scotsman)
Adao ‘won’t change’ until after derby
Joaquim Adao won’t change his combative style for tonight’s Edinburgh derby despite six yellow cards in his first six Hearts appearances.
The on-loan Sion midfielder will make his derby debut at Easter Road and insisted he will change the way he plays – but only after this evening’s match with Hibs.
The player stressed he has been unlucky with some of the bookings, but admitted he will take another one this evening if it helps Hearts get three points against their greatest rivals. (Evening News)
Sviatchenko would love Celtic return
Erik Sviatchenko would love to come back to Celtic for the 2018/19 season but concedes his future is in Brendan Rodgers’ hands.
The Dane was ssent on loan to Midtjylland in his homeland in a January loan deal and while his loan club are doing well, Sviatchenko harbours hopes of a return to Celtic.
“In the summer I will speak to Brendan Rodgers and see what his thoughts are. Ultimately it is his decision. I am at an age now where I need to play football. I don’t want to be in and out.” (Evening Times)