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Neil Lennon raging at Celtic snub in Player of the Year

A slap in the face! Lennon's anger at Celtic stars' absence from PFA shortlist

By
Stephen Mcgowan

PUBLISHED:

12:26 GMT, 25 April 2013

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UPDATED:

23:12 GMT, 25 April 2013

Neil Lennon has vowed to boycott the PFA Scotland awards dinner — after branding the absence of any Celtic stars from the Player of the Year shortlist ‘abysmal’.

A vote by the nation’s professional players ahead of the Players’ Union dinner will see Motherwell’s Michael Higdon, Inverness Caley Thistle’s Andrew Shinnie, Aberdeen’s Niall McGinn and Hibernian’s Leigh Griffiths battle it out for the top prize.

Irate that the feats of his players in winning the SPL title and reaching the last 16 of the Champions League have earned no recognition from their peers, however, Lennon — who is likely to be shortlisted for Manager of the Year — will vote with his feet on May 5 by staying away from the annual Glasgow dinner.

Three out of four: (from left) Niall McGinn, Andrew Shinnie and Michael Higdon are up for the PFA Scotland award

Three out of four: (from left) Niall McGinn, Andrew Shinnie and Michael Higdon are up for the PFA Scotland award

‘I won’t go, no,’ said the Celtic boss.

‘The players haven’t discussed that yet. There weren’t many of them in yesterday, so I’ll speak to them tomorrow and see how they feel about it.

‘I’m surprised to say the least. Are you voting for the best player in Scotland or are you voting for the most improved player

‘I have no axe to grind with any of the nominees — I think that they have all had fine seasons.

‘But for none of our first-team players to be on the senior shortlist is bewildering to say the least.

‘I think the outcome of those votes yesterday belittles all those efforts from the players. It is abysmal.’

Not good enough: Neil Lennon has hit out after his Celtic players were overlooked for the PFA Scotland award

Not good enough: Neil Lennon has hit out after his Celtic players were overlooked for the PFA Scotland award

Celtic players have won the PFA Scotland award in the main category in six of the last seven years.
Of the view that their peers have taken his side’s domestic dominance for granted in the absence of Rangers, however, Lennon describes the perceived snub to his team as a ‘slap in the face’.

‘The players are not happy. They feel as if they’ve been slapped in the face, almost. There was a bit of ill-feeling there yesterday,’ he said.

‘I do feel the influence you media guys have — and I’m not blaming you guys — with the nonsense about “one-horse race”, “foregone conclusion” and “no competition” all plays a part in people taking the club, or the players, for granted.

‘Hooper’s got 28 goals this season and
people keep telling me that he’s not having his best season. But he’s
two goals short of 30, which is a pretty decent return for a
24-year-old.’

Young guns: Dundee United pair Gary Mackay-Steven (left) and Stuart Armstrong (right) are nominated with Celtic's Victor Wanyama

Young guns: Dundee United pair Gary Mackay-Steven (left) and Stuart Armstrong (right) are nominated with Celtic's Victor Wanyama

‘We made the last 16 of the Champions League with 10 points, which is a record for a Scottish team.

‘And on a budget which was very limited compared to other clubs in the past — so these players have performed heroically.

‘Semi-final of the League Cup, Scottish Cup Final, championship … I don’t think they could have done much more this season, really, and for that not to be recognised by their peers is very disappointing.’

Aberdeen midfielder Jim Bett was the last non-Old Firm player to collect the accolade, back in 1989-90.

Celtic’s Charlie Mulgrew collected the main prize last year.

Alex McLeish – 10 reasons why he"s the RIGHT man for Nottingham Forest

Angry Forest fans, read this… 10 reasons why Alex McLeish is the RIGHT man for your club

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UPDATED:

16:03 GMT, 28 December 2012

Alex McLeish has faced a backlash from many Nottingham Forest fans after being appointed to replace sacked Sean O'Driscoll.

After troubles with Birmingham and Aston Villa, it's fair to say not every Forest supporter has welcomed him back to the Midlands' football scene.

Here, Sportsmail offers up 10 reasons why he is a good fit for the ambitious Championship side…

First day at the office: McLeish has run the rules over his new players

First day at the office: McLeish has run the rules over his new players

1 Wealth of experience – you do not manage Motherwell, Hibernian, Glasgow Rangers, the Scotland national team, Birmingham City and Aston Villa in a managerial career spanning almost two decades unless you know your way around football.

2 He knows what is needed to win promotion – he did it with Hibernian in Scotland and Birmingham CIty in England.

3 Good contacts – Sir Alex Ferguson gave McLeish very public backing when he took over at Villa Park. It may only need one or two crucial additions for Forest to reach the top six – or better.

4 Players like him. Upon his appointment last night, both Ben Foster and Liam Ridgewell – who both played under McLeish at St Andrew's – immediately went on twitter to add their voices to the chorus of well-wishers.

Big fan: Ben Foster tweeted his admiration for McLeish after the news

Big fan: Ben Foster tweeted his admiration for McLeish after the news

5 He will receive more time than Sean O'Driscoll because he is a man chosen specifically for the post by the Kuwaiti owners.

McLeish targets promotion

McLeish oversaw his first training session and spoke to the press after being formally unveiled as the new Forest boss today.

He said: 'It looks like an absolutely wonderful challenge for me. It's been a whirlwind for me. A surprise but a very welcome surprise.

'We have to target getting into the top six – then we will be gunning for the Premier League.

'I took both jobs (at Birmingham and Aston Villa) when those clubs were in difficulty. The goal was to guide both to safety. And I was pleased that we got Villa over the line despite the horrors of that season.

'The key to success in this league is winning a succession of games. We did that at Birmingham and got back at the first time of asking.

'Everyone should be bursting to get back into the Premier League.'

6 He will have learnt from his experience at Villa Park which, frankly, was an unmitigated disaster for all concerned.

7 He is hungry for success. He needs another chance to re-establish his credentials.

McLeish is a proud man and won't want the Aston Villa experience to be his epitaph in football.

8 He's leaner! During his time out of the game he hired a personal trainer to get himself fit for action once more.

9 He
will uphold Forest's traditions, certainly off the pitch. He was a good
ambassador both at Birmingham City and Aston Villa. Club staff will
like him.

10 Forest's
fans are a reasonable bunch, they will give him a chance.

McLeish's
style is first and foremost to protect what he has got – it might lead
to more conservative football but it is more likely to be winning
football. And that, ultimately, is what he has been employed to bring to
Nottingham Forest.

The future's bright: Forest are aiming to reach the Premier League

The future's bright: Forest are aiming to reach the Premier League

Kilmarnock 1 Hibernian 1 – match report

Kilmarnock 1 Hibernian 1: Heffernan and Doyle strike as spoils shared at rain-soaked Rugby Park

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UPDATED:

17:10 GMT, 23 December 2012

Kilmarnock and Hibernian served up some decent festive fare before sharing the spoils in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at a sodden Rugby Park.

In an entertaining first-half played in almost constant rain, striker Paul Heffernan gave the Ayrshire side the lead in the sixth minute before Hibees hit-man Eoin Doyle levelled in 26 minutes with his third goal in two games.

While Killie defender Robbie Fowler made a goalline clearance from Paul Cairney just after the break, excitement levels dipped and thereafter neither side did enough to claim all three points.

However, both sets of players deserve
credit for playing in some miserable conditions, as did the 4,023 fans
who braved the conditions.

Out in front: Heffernan celebrates opening the scoring

Out in front: Heffernan celebrates opening the scoring

Kilmarnock boss Kenny Shiels made one enforced change to his side with James Dayton coming into midfield to replace the suspended Liam Kelly.

The visitors, without skipper James McPake through suspension, showed two changes to their starting line-up with Lewis Stevenson coming in at left-back and midfielder Gary Deegan replacing Jorge Claros, who started on the bench.

Pat Fenlon's men, captained by Paul Hanlon and playing in all-yellow, found themselves behind early in the game after defender Alan Maybury had fouled Dayton 25 yards from goal when it looked as if he was favourite to clear Heffernan's poor cross.

Ben Williams made a fine save from Borja Perez's powerful free-kick but the Leith side failed to clear their lines and when Killie defender Michael Nelson put Heffernan in the Irishman skilfully lobbed the Hibs keeper from inside the box.

Stunned Hibs battled back but it was Killie who had the next chance in the 14th minute when Dayton's fine cross from the left found Heffernan but his header from eight yards slipped past the far post.

Moments later, Hibs striker Leigh
Griffiths fired a free-kick from 30 yards over Cammy Bell's crossbar,
before his low drive from similar distance sped past the post with the
Rugby Park keeper scrambling to cover.

Equal terms: Doyle celebrates (below) after bringing the two sides level

Equal terms: Doyle celebrates (below) after bringing the two sides level

Equal terms: Doyle celebrates (below) after bringing the two sides level

However, the visitors got themselves back on level terms after Heffernan lost possession in the centre circle with the ball breaking to Cairney.
The Hibs midfielder sent Griffiths racing down the right and his driven cross arrived at Doyle who did well to turn it at the far post.

Moments later, Heffernan had a drive deflected past for a corner from which the home side failed to capitalise before Doyle had a decent effort from 25 yards saved by Bell.

It was developing into an open game and in the 32nd minute Heffernan cleverly set up Jeroen Tesselaar inside a packed Hibs penalty area but the left-back's left-footed drive from 14 yards missed the target.

Four minutes from the break Killie escaped following a David Wotherspoon corner when Bell punched the ball in an attempted clearance and breathed a sigh of relief as it cannoned off Hanlon and back over the bar.

Ho, ho, ho! A first-aider gets into the Christmas spirit

Ho, ho, ho! A first-aider gets into the Christmas spirit

The Easter Road men should have taken
the lead just over a minute into the second-half when Doyle set up
Cairney in the box but his chip over Bell – when it looked like he would
have been better off blasting it – was headed off the line by Fowler.

There was little between the two
sides but Bell found himself called into action again when he had to
push a long-distance drive from Griffiths round the post for a corner
which, once more, came to nothing.

It looked as if something special
would be needed to find the winner and Kilmarnock defender Mohamadou
Sissoko almost provided it when he ventured up the park to have a go
from 35 yards but watched as the ball fizzed just past Williams' left-hand post.

Moments later, as the game continued
to flow from end-to-end, Cairney picked up a booking from referee Bobby
Madden for simulation after going to ground inside the box when taking
on Nelson.

In the 76th minute Chris Johnston
came on for Heffernan and Ivan Sproule replaced Wotherspoon as both
bosses looked for some inspiration.

However, while play was stretching by
the minute as the match entered its final stages, there was no clues as
to which side were most likely to find the winner.

In the 85th minute Williams spilled
Dayton's 25-yard free-kick before the Hibs defence eventually cleared to
safety but in the end both sides looked as if they had run out of steam
and thus, a draw was probably a fair result.

Celtic 1 St Johnstone 1: Match report

Celtic 1 St Johnstone 1: Hasselbaink leveler brings Hoops back down to earth after Barca heroics

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UPDATED:

19:08 GMT, 11 November 2012

Celtic appeared to be suffering a case of the Barcelona blues as they were held at home by St Johnstone in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Parkhead.

There was a tangible sense of anti-climax inside Celtic Park following the Hoops' historic 2-1 Champions League home win over the Catalan giants on Wednesday night and even when substitute Tony Watt, on at the break for Miku, put the home side ahead they did not look convincing.

Saints, who had been recently walloped 5-0 in the same venue in the Scottish Communities League Cup quarter-finals, sensed a point was there for the taking and Nigel Hasselbaink levelled in the 76th minute to leave Celtic with two points from the last nine and two behind Hibernian at the top of the table.

Watt a week: Tony Watt celebrates opening the scoring just days after scoring against Barcelona

Watt a week: Tony Watt celebrates opening the scoring just days after scoring against Barcelona

MATCH FACTS:

Celtic: Forster, Matthews, Ambrose (McGeouch 84), Wilson, Mulgrew, Brown, Wanyama, Ledley (Kayal 70), Commons, Miku (Watt 46), Samaras.

Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Lustig, McCourt, Ibrahim.

Goal: Watt 51

St Johnstone: Mannus, MacKay, McCracken (Miller 6),Wright, Callum Davidson, Millar, Murray Davidson, Robertson (Tade 71), Craig, Hasselbaink (Vine 84), MacLean.

Subs Not Used: Tuffey, Caddis, Kane, Tobin.

Booked: Murray Davidson.

Goal: Hasselbaink 77

Referee: Iain Brines

Parkhead manager Neil Lennon had warned against such a lacklustre display and could not have begrudged the Perth men a point.

Skipper Scott Brown returned to the midfield after missing the Barcelona game due to illness.

Defender Mikael Lustig started on the bench with Adam Matthews moving from left-back to the opposite side with Charlie Mulgrew moving back from midfield to left back.

St Johnstone defender Callum Davidson made a return following a back problem along with stopper David McCracken and midfielder David Robertson, with Gregory Tade and Gary Miller dropping to the bench and Steven Anderson out altogether.

This was a very different Celtic Park to the one which witnessed the momentous win over Barca.

There was a perfectly-observed minute's silence to commemorate Remembrance Day post-match but the opening stages were played out in near silence in front a vastly-reduced attendance.

The visitors suffered an early blow in the sixth minute when McCracken had to be replaced by Miller after taking a head knock whilst battling for the ball in the Celtic box.

Getting there first: Watt opens the scoring after his shot rebounds off Alan Manus to find it's way into the back of the net

Getting there first: Watt opens the scoring after his shot rebounds off Alan Manus to find it's way into the back of the net

Nevertheless, Steve Lomas's side, with Steven MacLean leading the line, appeared in positive mode.

A couple of whipped-in crosses from wide on the left by Mulgrew caused some panic but a free-kick from the Hoops utility player – and one from Kris Commons – were both saved with some comfort by Perth keeper Alan Mannus.

In the 26th minute, with Celtic in control, Victor Wanyama was presented with a great chance when Commons stood a cross up at the back post but the Kenyan mis-directed his header across goal, allowing Frazer Wright to complete the clearance.

Getting stuck in: Celtic's Kris Commons is tackled by St Johnstone's Frazer Wright

Getting stuck in: Celtic's Kris Commons is tackled by St Johnstone's Frazer Wright

Lean on me: St Johnstone's Chris Millar battles with Celtic's Beram Kayal

Lean on me: St Johnstone's Chris Millar battles with Celtic's Beram Kayal

The match trundled along at no great pace.

Parkhead midfielder Joe Ledley headed over the bar from Commons' cross, moments before the Scotland midfielder made a yard of space for himself at the edge of the box before sending a powerful drive over.

Watt, who had come on as a substitute to score against Barca, replaced Miku for the start of the second-half and six minutes later he put Celtic ahead.

Leveling up:The St Johnstone players smother scorer Nigel Hasselbaink (hidden) after his goal leveled the match

Leveling up:The St Johnstone players smother scorer Nigel Hasselbaink (hidden) after his goal leveled the match

Dejection: Celtic players look downbeat as St Johnstone level the match

Dejection: Celtic players look downbeat as St Johnstone level the match

Saints keeper Mannus did not look too clever when he allowed Mulgrew's searching pass to reached the former Airdrie striker who prodded the ball over the line from a couple of yards out with Wright clearing only when the it was over the line.

Not that the opener energised Celtic Park.

Just before the hour-mark a speculative shot from Dave MacKay dipped a yard wide of Fraser Forster's left-hand post Lomas was then sent to the stand by referee Iain Brine after appearing to remonstrate with the referee over his decision to let Watt back on after receiving treatment.

Unbelievable: Celtic's Victor Wanyama after the he spurns a great first half chance

Unbelievable: Celtic's Victor Wanyama after the he spurns a great first half chance

In the 75th minute Saints appealed for a penalty when Celtic defender Efe Ambrose clashed with Tade, on for Robertson, on the edge of the box but referee Brines gave a corner.

The visitors, though, were growing in confidence, pressing Celtic back and Liam Craig's deflected drive took Forster by surprise, the Hoops keeper smartly turning the ball over for a corner but that only delayed the leveller by moments.

The Celtic defence looked uneasy when Mackay's ball came into the box from Mackay and when it eventually fell to Hasselbaink he turned and drove it past Forster from around 10 yard.

Celtic responded and substitute Beram Kayal, on for Joe Ledley, drilled a shot from the edge of the box just over the bar.

St Johnstone, unsurprisingly, were forced to defend in the closing stages but they deservedly held out for a point.

Celtic have five injury worries for Barcelona clash

Injury worries plague Lennon ahead of round two against Barcelona

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UPDATED:

22:46 GMT, 4 November 2012

Neil Lennon is fretting over the fitness of five key players ahead of Wednesday night’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

The frustrated Celtic boss saw his team throw away a two-goal lead in the final seconds of a 2-2 draw with Dundee United at Tannadice, an injury-time own goal from Efe Ambrose handing the home side a share of the points.

The point put Celtic back on top of the SPL on goal difference over Hibernian with a game in hand, but that was of scant consolation to Lennon as he wrestled with fresh injuries to Emilio Izaguirre and Thomas Rogne.

Awkward landing: Emilio Izaguirre falls injured

Awkward landing: Emilio Izaguirre falls injured

Already missing Gary Hooper, James Forrest and Georgios Samaras from the starting line-up, he saw Miku and Tony Watt put the champions in cruise control before United substitute Gary Mackay-Steven gave his side hope with an 89th-minute strike.

Celtic replacement Ambrose’s injury-time misfortune handed Peter Houston’s side an astonishing point.

‘Thomas went off with a thigh strain pretty early in the game,’ said Lennon. ‘He’s been looking very good in training and I’m pretty sure if he’d been playing at the end of the game, those goals we lost wouldn’t have happened. We should have headed the ball clear on a couple of occasions.

‘Anyway, he’s a doubt and Emilio has a hamstring problem so we’ll have to see how they are tomorrow. Forrest is also a doubt.

‘We are hoping Gary Hooper and Samaras can make it, though Georgios is a doubt. He’s been feeling the ankle.’

The loss of two goals in the dying seconds was poor preparation for facing dazzling Barcelona, but Lennon believed his team deserved better.

‘I’m not going to criticise the team. There will be people out there criticising us, but that performance was very good today and we deserved our two great goals.

‘I’m delighted for Miku, but I’m annoyed we didn’t see the game out. That’s football.

‘I had a wee chat with Miku this
morning and he knows what’s required of him. He has taken that on board
and it was a lovely finish. He’s a good player and will bring things to
the team we haven’t got.

‘Our play was good and we missed easy chances in the first half, with two free headers we should have done better with.

‘Is it two points dropped Yes, but we didn’t get what we deserved today, which was a win.’

Watt
claimed the man of the match award, but admitted he expects to be
dropped for the Barcelona game if Hooper and Samaras are fit.

Helping hand: Izaguirre is treated for his knock

Helping hand: Izaguirre is treated for his knock

Double trouble: Thomas Rogne also picked up an injury

Double trouble: Thomas Rogne also picked up an injury

‘I don’t think I did as well as I could have today,’ he said. ‘Alright, I got an assist and a goal but I don’t think my all-round play was the best.

‘I don’t think I’ve done enough to earn a start on Wednesday. But, hopefully, I’m on the bench at least.

‘I’m critical of myself but I know I can do better than that. You can score two or three goals without playing well and still get recognised for hitting the net. Hopefully, that’s the bad game out of the way.’

Praising second-half strike partner Miku after the Venezuelan opened his scoring account for the club, Watt added: ‘Miku showed what he can do today. He was very lively and scored a great goal.

‘We’re happy for him because he’s a team-mate and we want him to do well.

‘If he plays on Wednesday, his experience at the highest level in Spain will help us.’

Scott Brown hopeful of being fit for Wales clash

Scotland midfielder Brown hopeful of being fit for Wales clash

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UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 8 October 2012

Scotland midfielder Scott Brown is optimistic he will be fit to face Wales on Friday – and has not ruled out playing against Belgium too.

Brown missed Celtic's win over Hearts on Sunday to rest his ongoing hip problem after helping Neil Lennon's side beat Spartak Moscow on an artificial pitch in Russia.

Speaking at Scotland's Mar Hall base on Monday, Brown said: 'I'm not too bad, I'm getting there slowly.

Optimistic: Brown has a hip problem

Optimistic: Brown has a hip problem

'I'm going to try for Friday first of all and see how I am. I'll take everything one step at a time and Wales is the most important game now.

'I missed out on the Hearts game at the weekend but I'm feeling not too bad just now. I'll see how training goes in the next few days.'

When asked if he could play both of the World Cup qualifiers, Brown said: 'I don't see why not. I feel okay.

'After the game on Friday, if I play, I'll take it step by step. We will just have to wait and see.'

Lennon has already given Brown and Scotland manager Craig Levein his blessing for Brown to play both matches if possible.

'He says it is up to me, if I feel fine
to play one game, play one, and if I feel okay for two, just go ahead
and do it, whatever my body can handle just now,' the former Hibernian
player said.

Plastic pitch: Brown complained about the surface at the Luzhniki

Plastic pitch: Brown complained about the surface at the Luzhniki

Brown has missed a number of Clydesdale bank Premier League matches with his hip complaint but played two games in a week last month, against Benfica and Dundee, and revealed his latest lay-off was largely down to the surface in the Luzhniki Stadium.

'The Astroturf did me,' Brown said. 'It was solid, there was no give. It was quite hard twisting and turning on it.

'We are back to grass so I think we should be okay for the upcoming couple of games.'

Meanwhile, Blackburn defender Grant Hanley has pulled out of the Scotland squad with a groin strain, assistant manager Peter Houston has confirmed.

Alex Bruce called up to Northern Ireland squad

Bruce called up to Northern Ireland squad to face Portugal after switching allegiance

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UPDATED:

14:44 GMT, 5 October 2012

Call-up: Bruce

Call-up: Bruce

Hull defender Alex Bruce has been called up by Northern Ireland for the first time after switching his allegiance from the Republic of Ireland.

Centre-back Bruce played at under-21 level for the Republic and was also capped in two senior friendlies but, with the likelihood of further caps waning he began the process of switching to represent Northern Ireland under former manager Nigel Worthington.

His successor Michael O'Neill has now called the 28-year-old into a 24-man squad to take on Portugal in a World Cup qualifier in Porto on October 16.

Bruce – son of former Manchester United defender Steve, who is his manager at Hull – was born in England but qualified for both the Republic and Northern Ireland via grandparents.

He was wanted by Northern Ireland at under-21 level but opted to play for the Republic.

He went on to captain their 'B' team and played for the full side in non-binding friendlies against Ecuador in 2007 and Poland in 2008.

He joins Hibernian's James McPake in the Portugal squad. The Scotland-born defender was persuaded by O'Neill to commit to Northern Ireland earlier this year and made his only appearance in the 6-0 friendly defeat to Holland.

Both players will provide cover for the suspended Gareth McAuley.

Back on track: Bruce has been starting regularly for his dad at Hull

Back on track: Bruce has been starting regularly for his dad at Hull

There is no place in the squad for Lee Camp, the Nottingham Forest goalkeeper who left the squad for personal reasons after being dropped in favour of Roy Carroll for the first qualifier against Russia.

Alan Mannus, of St Johnstone, and Michael McGovern of Falkirk will provide competition for the No 1 shirt but Camp's future is now in some doubt.

Elsewhere in the squad there is a recall for the country's record goalscorer David Healy, who is now back playing competitive football for Bury, as well as Peterborough's Grant McCann, who had declined an invitation to join a previous squad under O'Neill.

Bruce's Hull team-mate Joe Dudgeon, who has yet to be capped, is included, while Burnley striker Martin Paterson and Celtic winger Paddy McCourt both return from injury having missed the last two matches.

O'Neill was unable to call on Chris Brunt and Jamie Ward (both hamstring).

Rangers set for SPL rejection as Aberdeen confirm "no" vote

Rangers set for SPL rejection as Aberdeen confirm 'no' vote

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UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 25 June 2012

Charles Green's Rangers have been effectively consigned to start life outside the Scottish Premier League when Aberdeen became the crucial fifth club to confirm they would vote against a newco application.

Inverness had earlier joined Hearts, Dundee United and Hibernian in making public their intention to vote no.

Green needs seven other clubs as well as the soon-to-be liquidated Rangers to vote in his favour at a meeting next Wednesday and, unless there is a U-turn from at least one chairman, there will be no top-flight football at Ibrox next season.

No go: It looks as if Rangers will be denied re-entry to the SPL

No go: It looks as if Rangers will be denied re-entry to the SPL

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne said in a
statement: 'Traditionally we have preferred not to make public our
voting intentions, but in light of the level of interest and the fact
other clubs have chosen to show their hand, on this occasion I can
confirm it is our intention to oppose readmission to the SPL for any
Rangers newco.'

Other clubs are likely to follow suit. Motherwell have entrusted members of their newly-created fans' ownership group with the decision while St Mirren have launched a formal consultation with supporters.

Kilmarnock chairman Michael Johnston previously argued that Rangers had been punished enough but the Ayrshire club subsequently invited supporters to make their feelings known.

Fans have become the key element in the process and the Inverness board earlier came to a unanimous decision after struggling to sell season tickets.

Caley Thistle chairman Kenny Cameron said: 'The past few weeks have been extremely hectic in terms of our supporters and season ticket holders making their views known in great numbers to the club, as is their right. “It is fair to say that in excess of 95 per cent of them raised the issue of sporting integrity as the reason why they don't want the newco to be admitted and had not yet renewed their season tickets.

'Financially, we examined the various scenarios and, frankly, none of them were positive for our club. It is extremely disappointing to be adversely affected by something not of our doing, unfortunately this is a similar situation for the rest of the clubs in SPL.

'We have also been contacted by supporters of various other SPL clubs, saying they would not be back to Inverness if we did not accept that sporting integrity was what mattered, but this is something that we had already considered and it is not only the integrity of the SPL that is at stake but the integrity of Scottish football.'

Fallen Glasgow giants: Dark clouds continue to hang over Ibrox

Fallen Glasgow giants: Dark clouds continue to hang over Ibrox

Cameron added: 'We would be in a completely untenable position, financially and morally, if we defied the overwhelming demand of our own paying customers who are, after all, what Caley Thistle are all about.'

Attempts to accommodate Rangers in the Scottish Football League had already begun with the Scottish Football Association using the crisis to push ahead with proposals to restructure key elements of the game. #

The SFA want a merger of the two league bodies as well as a pyramid system and a play-off that could see another top-flight club relegated.

Talks have been held between the three bodies that could see Green's club admitted to the Irn-Bru First Division instead of inviting them to apply for entry to the Third Division in a bid to protect commercial income but Falkirk have already stated their objection to such a scenario.

And Aberdeen argued that such major change should be considered more carefully.

Milne said: 'If readmission were to be refused, we believe the appropriate course of action would be for Rangers newco to apply for membership to the SFA and to submit an application for admission to the SFL.'

He added: 'Reorganisation of the game is a priority and is something we have been actively involved in for a long time, but it is not something that should be rushed through just to deal specifically with one club.

'As we have indicated there are a number of other areas that we feel need to be addressed openly in the coming period if Scottish football fans are to feel that their views have been properly taken into account.'

We want out: Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith (left) have quit the club

We want out: Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith (left) have quit the club

One pressing issue is which club would complete the make-up of the SPL next season if and when Green's application is rejected. It is understood that the SPL clubs themselves would make that decision and it could be next Wednesday before it is announced.

Dunfermline finished bottom of the SPL last season, and were owed money from Rangers, but Dundee also have a claim having finished second behind promoted Ross County in the First Division.

Meanwhile, the continuing uncertainty could delay a St Mirren takeover until next summer.

The 10,000 Hours community ownership group, who have received financial pledges from more than 1,000 fans, had been hoping to assume control next week but the deal has been delayed.

Members of the group have been asked whether they would be prepared to support the club with increased donations should commercial revenues fall.

The consultation document said: 'Depending on the funding required, this may delay the purchase for a year with your monthly contribution going towards helping the club directly while helping to maintain the integrity of Scottish football.'

RANGERS TIMELINE

February 13 – Rangers lodge their intention to go into administration at the Court of Session in Edinburgh.

February 14 – Rangers appoint administrators Duff and Phelps after a court battle with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. They are immediately docked 10 points by the Scottish Premier League, leaving them 14 behind Celtic.

Duff and Phelps reveal that HMRC lodged their petition to take Rangers into administration over the non-payment of about 9million PAYE and VAT since Craig Whyte's 2011 takeover.

February 17 – The Scottish Football Association launch an independent inquiry into the activities of Rangers, specifically whether Whyte is fit and proper to hold a position in the game.

March 2 – The SFA confirm they will investigate claims made by former Rangers director Hugh Adam that payments made to players were not disclosed to the governing body.

March 5 – The SPL confirm that their board have instigated an investigation into the alleged non-disclosure of payments made to players by Rangers, which prompts the SFA to drop their case.

March 8 – The SFA declare Whyte is unfit to hold a position in football and confirm that the club is facing a charge of bringing the game into disrepute.

March 9 – Rangers administrators announce a package of wage cuts with players that prevent substantial job losses.

March 15 – The SFA issue Rangers with notices of complaint over alleged breaches of five disciplinary rules and Whyte over two alleged breaches.

April 4 – Duff and Phelps confirm they have received four bids for the club.

April 23 – Rangers receive a 12-month embargo on signing players and owner Craig Whyte is banned for life.

May 3 – American businessman Bill Miller granted preferred bidder status ahead of the Blue Knights consortium.

May 8 – Miller withdraws bid for Rangers.

May 11 – The Blue Knights withdraw their interest in buying Rangers after their noon ultimatum to Duff and Phelps passes.

May 13 – Administrators announce they have signed a binding contract to sell the club to a consortium led by former Sheffield United chief executive Charles Green.

May 16 – An SFA appeal tribunal rejects Rangers' appeal against a 160,000 fine and 12-month transfer embargo.

May 29 – The SFA transfer ban is ruled unlawful in the Court of Session following a challenge from Rangers. Duff and Phelps publish Green's Company Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) proposal to creditors.

May 30 – SPL clubs take on responsibility for deciding whether 'newco' clubs should be admitted to the competition but reject fixed penalties.

May 31 – Rangers' administrators provide files requested by SPL in their investigation into undisclosed payments.

June 12 – HMRC announce they will reject the CVA offer and force the club into liquidation.

June 14 – Charles Green completes purchase of Rangers assets and business following the club's liquidation, hours after a consortium led by former manager Walter Smith makes a late bid.

June 15 – Ally McCoist ends speculation about his future at the club following a meeting with Green.

June 18 – SPL confirm a vote on whether to admit newco Rangers to the league will take place on July 4, with provisional fixture list to be released replacing Rangers with 'Club 12'.

June 19 – Walter Smith's group officially end attempts to get Green to sell the club on to them, with Smith having also rejected an invite from Green to join the board.

June 21 – Bury reject reports they could be bought by Rangers as a way of getting the Ibrox club into English football.

June 22 – Hearts and Dundee United indicate their intention to vote against newco Rangers' application to play in the SPL. Meanwhile, a judge at Edinburgh's Court of Session orders a full report into allegations of a conflict of interest for club administrators Duff and Phelps.

June 23 – Green responds to reports that Rhys McCabe and Sone Aluko will object to the transfer of their contracts to the newco by claiming the switches have already been made and there is no legal avenue for players to force a move.

June 24 – Scotland internationals Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith reject a transfer to the newco and claim they are now free agents. Hibernian confirm they will oppose the newco application.

June 25 – The Crown Office instruct Strathclyde Police to conduct a criminal investigation into Whyte's takeover and the subsequent financial management of the club.

Inverness and Aberdeen take the confirmed opponents to Green's SPL application to five, the number needed to consign the newco club to start life outside the top flight.

Hibs to say no in Rangers SPL vote

Rangers set to be denied entry to SPL after Hibs confirm plan to vote no

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UPDATED:

22:33 GMT, 24 June 2012

Hibernian have become the latest club to confirm they will vote against newco Rangers' application for entry to the Scottish Premier League.

The Edinburgh side cited sporting integrity as the driving factor behind the decision, which was reached at a board meeting on Sunday night, despite the financial implications for the club.

Hibs join city rivals Hearts and Dundee United in going public with their plans to reject the Rangers bid.

Exit stations: Rangers look set to be denied re-entry into the SPL

Exit stations: Rangers look set to be denied re-entry into the SPL

Motherwell will ballot fans on June 29, while others have yet to make a decision.

The 12 top-flight clubs – including oldco Rangers – will cast their votes at an SPL general meeting on July 4.

A statement from Hibs read: 'Following a meeting of its board of directors, Hibernian FC confirmed that the club will vote against the transfer of the Rangers share in the SPL to a newco at the general meeting of SPL clubs on 4 July 2012.

'This re-affirms the view of the board that the sporting integrity of the SPL is of paramount importance.

Out: Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith (left) have quit the club

Out: Steven Whittaker and Steven Naismith (left) have quit the club

'The board is also acutely aware that in making this decision, Hibernian – like other clubs in the SPL – will suffer collateral financial damage at a time of severe economic hardship and uncertainty.

'The board believes it is time for all fair-minded supporters to get behind their clubs and to contribute in whatever way they can to the viability of the professional game in Scotland.'

Ibrox duo Steven Naismith and Steven Whittaker earlier said uncertainty over which division Rangers will play in next season was one of the main reasons for their decision to object to the transfer of their contracts to the newco, with the pair now seeking moves elsewhere.

Northern Ireland call up Rory Donnelly and James McPake

Northern Ireland call up uncapped duo Donnelly and McPake for Holland clash

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UPDATED:

11:58 GMT, 21 May 2012

Teenage striker Rory Donnelly and Scotland-born defender James McPake have earned their first Northern Ireland call-ups for next month's friendly against Holland in Amsterdam.

Manager Michael O'Neill has named a much-changed squad for his second match in charge of the national side, with senior players including Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt, Aaron Hughes, Kyle Lafferty and Dean Shiels all excused.

That has left room for some experimentation in the 24-man party, with Swansea's Donnelly and McPake, who ended the season on loan at Hibernian from Coventry, joined by fellow uncapped duo Daniel Lafferty and Will Grigg.

Proud day: Hibs' James McPake has been called up by Northern Ireland

Proud day: Hibs' James McPake has been called up by Northern Ireland

There are also recalls for Crusaders defender Colin Coates, Notts County forward Jeff Hughes and Rangers striker Andrew Little.

O'Neill has also recalled former Manchester United goalkeeper Roy Carroll to the squad.

Carroll, now with Olympiakos, last played for his country in 2006 but after being sidelined by Nigel Worthington is back in the international fold.

No captain has been named for the game, with O'Neill's appointed skipper Steve Davis among the injured and other alternatives such as Hughes, Evans and West Brom's Gareth McAuley also absent.

While it is a relatively youthful squad, record goalscorer and 92-cap veteran David Healy is named, with Grant McCann and Sammy Clingan the next most experienced players with 38 and 32 caps respectively.

Northern Ireland squad

Lee Camp, Alan Mannus, Roy Carroll; Michael Duff, Ryan McGivern, Lee Hodson, Colin Coates, Rory McArdle, Daniel Lafferty, James McPake; Sammy Clingan, Grant McCann, Corry Evans, Shane Ferguson, Jeff Hughes, Oliver Norwood, Pat McCourt; David Healy, Josh McQuoid, Niall McGinn, Josh Carson, Andrew Little, William Grigg, Rory Donnelly.

O'Neill has made it his mission to increase the available player pool as Northern Ireland manager and the presence of McPake, who qualifies via his grandmother, hints at a first success in that regard.

Having arrived at Hibs on a six-month loan deal he was immediately installed as club captain and led his new side to safety in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League, as well as to the Scottish Cup final.

Donnelly, meanwhile, has a chance to impress after capturing headlines in January with his move from Cliftonville to the Barclays Premier League.
Liverpool and Everton were both interested in the striker's services but it was Swans boss, and fellow Northern Irishman, Brendan Rodgers, who won the chase.

Donnelly has yet to play for first-team football for the club but has featured in the Northern Ireland Under 21 set-up.

Walsall's Grigg is also included after impressing for the Under 21s against Macedonia earlier in the month and Daniel Lafferty has been rewarded for winning a place in the Burnley side following his move from Derry City.