Rumour Mill: King demands Europa qualification for Rangers | Sinclair will be '˜huge loss' | McInnes insists Aberdeen can win at Hampden
Dave King has admitted that Rangers are still miles behind Celtic and Mark Warburton must deliver European football to close the gap
The Ibrox chairman reckons everyone got carried away with the Scottish Cup semi-final win last season when Warburton’s men won on penalties.
But he believes that given the summer spending spree, Rangers should be in a much better position in the Premiership and not in a battle with Aberdeen and Hearts for second place.
King said: “I think we are further behind Celtic than I would have expected at this stage.
“Celtic have the bigger budget and are able to bring in better quality players but I expected us to be more competitive.
“Securing European football is critical. If you look at the gap, we will always be the number two club, if that was our ambition, because our resources are way beyond Aberdeen and Hearts.
“Our ambition is to be the top club but you cannot do that without being in Europe.” (The Scotsman)
The Rangers chairman has also vowed to stand up to Mike Ashley’s attempts to “bully” the Ibrox board.
King spoke out at the club’s AGM following news the club have launched a £4 million legal action against the Newcastle owner.
He said: “The last year has seen a continuation of Mike Ashley and Sports Direct’s attempts to bully your company’s directors by suing them in their personal capacity.
“The present board comprises supporters who signed up for this challenge and who are not intimidated in the slightest by such bullies.” (The National)
Brendan Rodgers admits that it would be a ‘huge loss’ if Scott Sinclair was to miss the League Cup final with Aberdeen
The Celtic Boss has given mixed signals over whether the winger will be fit to play on Sunday but admits it would be a ‘huge loss’ if he was to miss out.
Sinclair is struggling with fitness after being forced off at half-time in their midweek game against Barcelona in the Champions League, with some reports saying he could be out for up to a month. The Celtic manager has however hinted that he could still make the final.
“He would be a big miss,” Rodgers told the club’s official website. “He has come up here and has done what I expected him to do in terms of his quality. He has big quality, he works hard, very robust and mentally strong, and he has obviously been a very important member of our team.” (Various)
Derek McInnes is convinced Aberdeen can get the better of Celtic on Sunday, just like they did last season at Pittodrie
Derek McInnes got the better of Ronny Deila twice last term and reckons Aberdeen will need to get under the skin of Celtic once again if they are to win on Saturday.
“I think without question the two victories here [at Pittodrie], above all, planted that seed of doubt in them last season,” said McInnes. “They knew they had a challenge. They felt it. While we had good results and consistent results all over the country last season and the year before, it was the games last season when we beat them that had a significant impact on them. And for us we need to plant the seed of doubt in Celtic on Sunday and that means starting the game well, being strong and being as good as we can be.” (Various)
And McInnes will have the backing of one former Aberdeen manager and legend
Sir Alex Ferguson has tipped Derek McInnes to get his hands on the Scottish League Cup for the second time as Aberdeen boss. When asked if he believed Aberdeen could win, Sir Alex said: “ Absolutely, I think they have got a great chance. The best chance of overcoming Celtic is in a cup final, there’s no doubt about it.” (The Sun)
News in brief:
• Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers backs Malky Mackay as the man to get the SFA youth system sorted out (Daily Record)
• Striker Martyn Waghorn has returned to the Rangers squad after recovering from a rib injury for the game against Partick Thistle today. (Daily Record)
• Emilio Izaguirre is a target for MLS side San Jose Earthquakes as his contract at Parkhead comes to an end. (Daily Mail)
• Celtic’s third choice keeper Logan Bailly is a target for Belgian club Gent. (The Sun)