The Rumour Mill: Saturday’s football transfer news and gossip

Celtic boss Neil Lennon with striker Gart Hooper. Picture: PA
Celtic boss Neil Lennon with striker Gart Hooper. Picture: PA
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In today’s Rumour Mill: Gary Hooper urged to sign new contract; Georgios Samaras faces missing Juventus tie; Lee McCulloch to miss Tannadice cup clash, plus the rest of today’s football news and gossip

Neil Lennon urges Gary Hooper to sign contract

Neil Lennon has urged Gary Hooper to sign a new contract with Celtic and end the uncertainty surrounding the Englishman’s future.

Celtic rejected four bids from Norwich, the last of which Lennon called “substantial”.

“I will need to speak to Peter Lawell about it but the contract is still there,” Lennon said.

“My advice to Gary would be to sign it. Whether he wanted to go now or in the summer. If the money is there in front of you from Celtic then take it.” (Daily Record)

Georgios Samaras doubtful ahead of Juventus tie

Celtic striker Georgios Samaras faces missing his side’s crucial Champions League tie against Juventus after scans have revealed a hamstring tear.

The Greek striker was substituted against Kilmarnock in midweek after limping off during the Parkhead side’s 4-1 win.

Manager Neil Lennon said that being without the striker for the last-16 tie on February 12 would be a “huge blow”.

“It’s a minor tear but we’re hoping to be aggressive with his rehab and get him for for Juve. It would be a huge blow if he didn’t make it because his contribution has been massive.” (The Sun)

Lee McCulloch out of Rangers’ Tannadice cup tie

Rangers captain Lee McCulloch will miss Rangers’ tie against Tannadice today because of a mystery injury.

Manager Ally McCoist admits that club doctors have yet to figure out the source of his ankle knock, despite giving McCulloch a 10-day rest.

“He’s injured, but we can’t seem to get to the bottom of it,” McCoist said. “He’s our captain, he’s chipped in with a lot of goals and is unquestionably a key player.

“We want Lee back on the training ground and the park as soon as we can.” (The Sun)

Self-interest will rule league reconstruction - Ally McCoist

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has said that self-interest will drive talks over league reconstruction in Scottish football, but admitted that it was “not a crime.”

McCoist was part of talks held with 30 SFL clubs yesterday as chiefs hosted a discussion on reconstruction proposals.

The SFL have thus far backed SPL proposals for two top leagues of 12, but the make-up of bottom tier leagues is still to be agreed - a bottom-18 league, or two leagues of 10 with the inclusion of new teams are among proposals being considered.

“We’re aware a lot of the SPL clubs fancy the 12-12-18. They probably couldn’t care it it’s 12-12-18 or 12-12-10-10.

“But we made the point that the SFL clubs have a big say in it.

“Self interest is not a crime, of course it’s not. We have all got it somewhere.

“From our point of view, we are not too delighted with the 12-12-18.

“The overriding feeling is you can’t move the goalposts during the season.” (Daily Record)