Scottish Gossip: SPFL, Celtic, Rangers, Murty, Kilmarnock, Motherwell, Hamilton


SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster insists the governing body were powerless to ease Celtic’s hectic fixture schedule ahead of their final Champions League group game against Anderlecht.

Responding to criticism from Celtic captain Scott Brown, Doncaster said: “I think it is important to sit down and look at why those three games happened,” he said. “One was a league game, one was a re-arranged league game and one was a cup final.” (The Herald)

“There was relatively little we could do to avoid instances from happening like that from time to time.”

German defender Marvin Compper could be Celtic’s first signing in the January transfer window. The 32-year-old RB Leipzig defender was given a VIP tour of the Scottish club’s facilities and is believed to be one of Brendan Rodgers’ two defensive targets. (Daily Mail)

Brendan Rodgers has warned Premiership rivals that his Celtic side will be even stronger after the New Year. Ahead of facing Hearts on Sunday and aiming to extend their domestic unbeaten run to 70 matches, he said: “You put so much in to the first half of the season but when we get to the [winter] break we’ll hit the re-set button again.” (Daily Record)

Celtic striker Moussa Dembele

Interim Rangers boss Graeme Murty has dismissed claims that the Ibrox outfit are locked in a Premiership title fight with Old Firm rivals Celtic. Murty, who has guided his side to four straight wins, says: “We know we need to elevate our level significantly if we are going to maintain second, never mind push on towards the top end.” (Scottish Sun)

Kilmarnock defender Scott Boyd says the players at Rugby Park are relishing working with manager Steve Clarke. “He has brought something different to the club and results have been better in recent weeks,” says Boyd. (The National)

Graeme Murty has revealed that former Rangers manager Walter Smith is helping him bring stability to the club. “I got some brilliant advice in the week from Walter, who is always on tap and was holding court in the office because his grandsons were playing at one of our community football sessions.” (Daily Record)

Celtic should resist the temptation to sell prized asset Moussa Dembele in January if they have ambitions to progress in the Europa League, says former Celtic striker Chris Sutton. (Daily Record)

Motherwell are weighing up a move for Dundee midfielder Mark O’Hara on a pre-contract agreement. The Fir Park club have funds to bolster their squad following the £500,000 sale of top scorer Louis Moult to Preston. (Daily Record)

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke

Hamilton Accies manager Martin Canning believes the margins are so fine in Scotland’s top flight that “one or two breaks” can prove the difference between victory and defeat. Accies have lost their last two games following a six-match unbeaten run, and Canning says: “You don’t need to be playing well to win, you don’t need to be playing poorly to lose.” (The Herald)

Rangers missed a trick by not appointing Steve Clarke as manager before Kilmarnock did so, according to Killie defender Gordon Greer. “When we appointed Steve Clarke we were as surprised as anybody,” says Greer. “I don’t think he would have been fazed by it [managing Rangers] at all.”

Hearts manager Craig Levein is concerned about playing his precocious talents against Celtic on Sunday – but admits he may be forced to with his squad down to the bare bones. Sixteen-year-olds Harry Cochrane and Anthony McDonald could feature at Tynecastle, and Levein says: “I worry. When they go in for a tackle I wince. And if the situation arises where Harry or Ant play against Celtic, it’s another bit of experience that won’t go amiss, as long as they don’t get hurt.” (Scottish Sun)

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