Rumour Mill: World Cup winner '˜nearly joined Rangers' | Celtic target signs new deal | Celtic fans slam Hearts over cup tickets

World Cup winner reveals he nearly joined Rangers, rumoured Celtic target set to sign new deal with current club and Celtic fans hit out at Hearts over Betfred Cup tickets

Pires ‘nearly joined Rangers’

Former France star Robert Pires has revealed he came close to joining Rangers during Paul Le Guen’s brief tenure.

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Pires, who won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000 with his country, was on his way out of Arsenal and had an option to head north to Ibrox, but instead chose to go to La Liga side Villarreal.

A general view of Ibrox, home of Rangers. Picture: SNS Group

Pires said: “In 2006, my manager spoke with someone from Rangers, but I chose to go to Villarreal. It was at the time of Paul Le Guen and he’s French, I’m French, but I chose Spain.” (Evening Times)

Longstaff pens new Toon deal

Reported Celtic target Sean Longstaff looks set to extend his stay with Newcastle, potentially casting a blow to the Hoops’ hopes of signing the youngster.

The Parkhead side scouted the 20-year-old in an Under-23 game earlier this season and were said to be impressed with what they had seen, although other clubs in Germany, France and Spain were also said to be keen.

Longstaff is out of contract in the summer but is on the fringes of the Magpies first team and the club are hopeful that he will sign a new deal. (Chronicle)

Celtic fans slam Hearts over cup tickets

Celtic fans have hit out at Hearts over the sale of Betfred Cup semi final tickets and say they fear a repeat of last season’s league cup semi final with Hibs that saw scores of empty seats at Hampden.

Hoops supporters fear Hearts will be unlikely to sell more than 20,000 tickets (despite the Jambos having already shifted more than 18,000 before the public sale) and say the equal split in terms of seating is wrong.

A quote on one fans’ site suggested that Hearts fans would “no incentive to buy up tickets now that the tickets closest to the Celtic support have been sold.” (Various)

Ferguson nearing Kelty deal

Barry Ferguson is ready to make his return to football management with Lowland League leaders Kelty Hearts after insisting he has been “blown away” by the structure, set-up and ambition of the Fife club. The former Rangers and Scotland captain believes it is the perfect opportunity to get back into the dugout after an ill-fated spell at Clyde, who he left in February 2017.

“Over the 16 months I’ve been out of management I’ve had various offers to go back in but this has made me that excited and I want to get that bit between my teeth,” said Ferguson. (The Scotsman)

Brown quizzed on management hopes

Scott Brown will do his coaching badges this summer, but says he isn’t finished playing. His deal runs out in the summer but Celtic’s desire to add him to the coaching staff means there’s little chance he would consider moving on. He’s held detailed discussions with Brendan Rodgers and Peter Lawwell about the next step and has started coaching younger age groups at Celtic.

Brown, who said he had learnt a lot from all his managers, added: “I’m still playing so I’ve not thought about managing Celtic one day. You never know. The manager here now has set a great standard and I still have a lot to learn.”

McIntyre takes Dee job

Dundee have announced the appointment of Jim McIntyre as their new manager.

The former Ross County boss takes over from Neil McCann, who departed the Tayside club on Tuesday night with the Dee propping up the Ladbrokes Premiership.

McIntyre has signed a one-year rolling contract and will meet the players on Thursday morning before taking training. (The Scotsman)

Hibs sign Harry

Hibs have completed the signing of Greek internationalist Charalampos Mavrias on a deal until the end of January 2019, subject to international clearance.

The 24-year-old former Sunderland right winger was a free agent after his contract with Croatian side Rijeka expired last summer. He has penned a short-term deal, but there is the option to extend beyond the start of next year. Mavrias, who can also operate as a wing-back or full-back, was on trial at the club a few weeks ago and played in a bounce game against Motherwell, doing enough to impress Hibs’ head coach Neil Lennon. (The Scotsman)