Rumour Mill: Rangers target breaks silence | Brendan Rodgers ‘offered £8m to leave Celtic’ | Aberdeen eye ex-Manchester City man

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Bournemouth youngster opens up about Rangers link, Brendan Rodgers admits interest from China and Aberdeen linked with midfielder who made 176 appearances for Manchester City

Simpson: I never lost focus amid Rangers interest

Jack Simpson (No.42) has spoken out about Rangers' interest. Picture: Getty Images

Jack Simpson (No.42) has spoken out about Rangers' interest. Picture: Getty Images

Rangers target Jack Simpson has insisted he never lost his focus despite being linked with a summer loan move to Ibrox.

The Bournemouth 21-year-old said: “It was nice and I didn’t really expect it if I’m honest. It was a bit strange but it doesn’t really matter now because I’m here and I’m a Bournemouth player.

“I was aware of [the interest] but just got on with my training and if it happened, it happened.” (Bournemouth Echo)

Rodgers reveals China interest

Brendan Rodgers has admitted he was offered £8 million up front to leave Celtic and join an unnamed Chinese club - and the Northern Irishman could have supersized his salary in the Chinese Super League.

The former Liverpool boss, who was a target for Beijing Guoan before taking the reins at Celtic, said: “Since I’ve been at Celtic the last couple of years I’ve had a few offers, so that’s no different to any of the others.

“My focus is very much on Celtic and being here, and trying to help us rise to the challenge of this season. There’s nothing more really to say on that. [China] is an awful lot of money. But I’ve found happiness here.” (Daily Mail)

Dons closing in on Ireland swoop

Aberdeen are close to finalising a deal for former Irish international Stephen Ireland, according to reports.

The 32-year-old free agent, who counts Stoke, Aston Villa and Manchester City among his former clubs, was training with Bolton during the summer and also had an offer from Borussia Monchengladbach.

But Derek McInnes looks set to add the six-cap Irishman to his squad at Pittodrie with talks ongoing between the two parties. (The Sun)

Gerrard in fixture warning

Steven Gerrard insists it will be unjust on either Rangers or Celtic if one of them is forced to play their Betfred Cup semi-final just two days after a Europa League match. The Old Firm rivals avoided each other in the draw.

Gerrard said: “I’ll be interested to see the outcome, how they decide. All the best with that one. We’ll deal with that when we have to. 
I’m not sure how they will select who plays when or what the rules are. 
“Whoever has to do it, it won’t be fair as 48 hours is not enough.” (The Scotsman)

Bogdan slams Lewis over penalties

Adam Bogdan has accused Aberdeen counterpart Joe Lewis of gaining an unfair advantage with his penalty-saving technique. Bogdan was moved to complain to referee Steven McLean during the Dons’ penalty shootoutwin on Tuesday night.

The on-loan Liverpool goalkeeper had concerns about Lewis - who saved Hibs’ first penalty - coming off his lineaimed to the keeper’s right by Stevie Mallan.

Bogdan has accused McLean of not applying the rules and Lewis of breaking them. Goalkeepers are not permitted to move forward off their line before the taker has struck the ball. (The Scotsman)

Rodgers slams Boyata red card

Brendan Rodgers hit out at defender Dedryck Boyata for his “stupid” sending off as Celtic squeezed into the Betfred Cup semi finals thanks to a narrow 1-0 win over St Johnstone.

The Hoops boss slammed the centre-back for a straight red card after the Belgian international went too far in questioning referee John Beaton’s decision not to award him a foul.

“It is a stupid red card. He has got enough opportunities to not get sent off. He feels as if he should have got a free-kick and didn’t get it,” said Rodgers. (The Scotsman)

Rangers face striker crisis for semi final

Steven Gerrard has urged Umar Sadiq to “come to the party” and stake a claim for a starting berth in Rangers’ semi final against Aberdeen, with both Alfredo Morelos and Kyle Lafferty ruled out of the last four fixture.

Morelos was booked for dissent in the Ibrox side’s 4-0 win over Ayr United, earning him a suspension, while Lafferty is cup-tied.

Gerrard said: “Alfredo’s got it wrong at some points in the season and I’ve told him about that but I get his frustration here. But we suffer as a club and that’s the disappointing thing.” (The Scotsman)