Rumour mill: Virgil van Dijk to Southampton | Burnley want Stokes

SOUTHAMPTON are confident of signing Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk even if the Glasgow giants make the Champions League group stage, Anthony Stokes could be set to leave Parkhead for a move to Burnley, and three clubs in the English leagues are monitoring Inverness midfielder Ryan Christie.
Burnley are said to be interested in Anthony Stokes. Picture: Gordon FraserBurnley are said to be interested in Anthony Stokes. Picture: Gordon Fraser
Burnley are said to be interested in Anthony Stokes. Picture: Gordon Fraser

Southampton confident of landing Virgil van Dijk

Southampton are confident of landing Celtic defender Virgil van Dijk for £10million regardless of whether the Hoops make the Champions League group stage.

Manager Ronald Koeman is keen to sign the player and is said to be ‘relaxed’ about the situation, despite Celtic’s insistence they won’t sell the Dutchman. (Daily Record)

Anthony Stokes ‘heading for move to Burnley’

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Burnley are closing in on a deal that will take out of favour Celtic attacker Anthony Stokes to Turf Moor.

The addition of Nadir Ciftci this summer has pushed Stokes further down the attacking pecking order at Celtic Park and the player was recently told he was free to find a move elsewhere.

Burnley boss Sean Dyche is said to be an admirer of the former Arsenal and Sunderland striker, and will try to recruit the player to help the club return to England’s top flight at the first attempt. (The Scottish Sun)

Trio of English league clubs chase Ryan Christie

Swansea City, Burnley and Fulham are all said to be monitoring the progress of Inverness CT midfielder Ryan Christie.

The youngster fired in Caley Thistle’s first goal of the season in Saturday’s 1-1 draw with St Johnstone as he enters the final year of his contract.

Having lost attacking talents in Marley Watkins and Edward Ofere, ICT manager John Hughes will be desperate to hang onto the player, though a reasonable offer may convince the club to cash in on their top asset. (HITC)

Paul Hartley hails Bain as McPake rescues Dundee

Paul Hartley hailed Scott Bain’s save from Simon Murray as the turning point in a pulsating end to last night’s Dundee derby.

The Dundee manager was sent to the stand for leaving his technical area after McPake’s equaliser in the dying seconds to make it 2-2. A double from Blair Spittal in just three second-half minutes looked to have secured Dundee United all three points after they had been on the back foot for most of the first-half.

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Dundee scored twice in the last eight minutes to claim a point, with Greg Stewart sparking the comeback with a trademark curled effort into the top corner with eight minutes left.

But Hartley focused on Bain’s save after the goalkeeper had somehow touched an effort from Murray, a boyhood Dundee fan, on to the bar just before the away side grabbed their equaliser through McPake. (The Scotsman)

Leigh Griffiths urges Deila to play two up front

Leigh Griffiths has called on manager Ronny Deila to try using both he and new recruit Nadir Ciftci together in the Celtic attack.

Deila has preferred one or the other in Celtic’s 4-2-3-1 system so far this season, with Ciftci starting the European matches and Griffiths spearheading the attack in domestic fixtures, in part due to Ciftci’s six match league ban.

Griffiths understands the manager has his preferences in terms of system, but doesn’t think there’s any reason the two shouldn’t trusted to form a partnership.

“I don’t see why Nadir and myself couldn’t play together,” said the 24-year-old. “It’s not often the manager goes with two up front but Nadir has got attributes I could play off and vice versa. It could be an ideal pairing.” (The Scotsman)

Hearts: Neilson to carry on ringing the changes

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson insists he will continue to tailor his gameplan to suit the opposition, despite being forced to rip up his pre-match blueprint against Dundee at the weekend.

The Gorgie outfit began with skipper Alim Ozturk, a defender, in a diamond midfield at Dens Park in a bid to counteract the threats posed by their on-form hosts.

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However, Neilson was required to carry out a hasty reshuffle at half-time after watching his unusual line-up coming off second best and struggling against a dominant Dark Blues side. (The Scotsman)

• Neilson believes the work done by Hearts to make their foreign legion feel at home at Tynecastle is behind the Jambos’ rampant start to the Ladbrokes Premiership campaign.

Key to that impressive introduction has been the exploits of Spanish frontman Juanma, who has already notched three goals.

But head coach Neilson has also added Pole Blazej Augustyn, Brazilian Igor Rossi and Nigerian defender Juwon Oshaniwa to his squad and has been impressed by the way they have all settled into life in Edinburgh. (The Scotsman)

Lee McCulloch expects Collins quip to fire up squad

Kilmarnock player-coach Lee McCulloch expects John Collins’ critique of Celtic’s Ladbrokes Premiership opponents to fire up some players - but he will not be using them as a motivational tool.

Collins upset several managers by claiming domestic players were not quick or clever enough to punish slack play from his side compared with European teams.

The comments could come back to haunt Collins if bottom club Kilmarnock pull off a shock at Rugby Park on Wednesday night, but McCulloch was unruffled by the former Monaco midfielder’s observations. (The Scotsman)