Rumour Mill: Celtic wanted Iranian striker | Hoops blast Stewart Regan | Leigh Griffiths staying put
Celtic expressed an interest in an Iranian international playing in Russia; Hoops accuse Stewart Regan of jeopardising their Champions League aspirations and Leigh Griffiths says he has no intention of leaving Parkhead.
Rubin Kazan chief confirms Celtic interest in Sardar Azmoun
Rubin Kazan manager Kurban Berdyev has revealed that Celtic were interested in striker Sardar Azmoun last summer - but no bid materialised. Celtic were linked with the Iranian international before they kicked off their Champions League campaign, with Arsenal, Liverpool and Everton also submitting enquiries. Berdyev said: “There was huge, crazy interest in Azmoun. Arsenal and Celtic called us and his father. The Everton owner came on to me and tried to negotiate a transfer.” (Scottish Sun)
Hoops blast Regan over UCL ‘jeopardy’
Celtic are 'privately furious' with Stewart Regan. Brendan Rodgers and Peter Lawwell are believed to be baffled at the SFA’s decision to schedule friendly matches in Peru and Mexico in June. Scott Brown has already hinted at his concerns for Celtic’s European aspirations. Lawwell is now expected to contact the SFA to demand an explanation as to why the trans-Atlantic friendlies have been scheduled. (Daily Record)
Sparky: I’m here to stay
Leigh Griffiths has rubbished claims he is looking to leave Celtic, insisting: “I don’t want to leave this massive club.” Griffiths, who came on to score the winner against Partick Thistle on Tuesday, added: “You can’t take the huff if you’re not playing. You just need to bide your time.
“I don’t want to leave here. I love playing for this club. I am focusing on trying to hit that 100 goal mark and won’t be going anywhere.” (Scottish Sun)
O’Neill rejects ‘using’ Scotland
Michael O’Neill has fiercely denied using the SFA’s interest in him to ramp up the terms of an extended contract with Northern Ireland. O’Neill said: “That’s totally false. It shows a lack of knowledge on the part of the people passing comment, simple as that. There was no idea of playing the two associations off against each other. I also had discussions with two clubs during that period as well, so it wasn’t a case of that at all.” (Herald)