Scottish Gossip: Celtic, Dembele, Aberdeen, McInnes, St Johnstone

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FOOTBALL GOSSIP

Celtic's top scorer Moussa Dembele has missed out on a France call-up ahead of their matches against Luxembourg and Spain. (Sun)

Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne hopes manager Derek McInnes remains in charge of the Dons until 2020. (Scotsman)

McInnes confirms back-up keeper Neil Alexander will leave Pittodrie at the end of the season. Alexander, 39, signed a one-year deal last summer but has been kept out of the first team by Joe Lewis. (Evening Express)

The Aberdeen boss insists boosting Aberdeen's chances of European football is much more important than putting Celtic's title party on ice this weekend. A Dons win in the early kick-off against Hearts tomorrow means Celtic won't be able to wrap up the Premiership at Dens Park 24 hours later. (Sun)

Inverness CT manager Richie Foran, whose side host Ross County on Saturday, says the Highland encounter is one of the "friendliest derbies", but that has to change. "We must be nasty and ready to battle," he explained. (Daily Record)

Rangers chairman Dave King
Rangers chairman Dave King will dine with Pedro Caixinha next week

St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright hopes his side can overtake fourth-placed Hearts in this season's Scottish Premiership. (Herald)

Alex McLeish admits he is ready to take a director of football role to get back into the game but claims he is not actively touting himself for the position at Rangers. (Daily Mail)

"I'm a guy who is all about relationships," says Rangers's new manager Pedro Caixinha. The Portuguese was referring to his phone conversation with the club's chairman Dave King, who he will meet in person next Wednesday. "We are going to have dinner and, for sure, we will have time to talk face-to-face about all the points I think we share for the future of the club," he says. (Scottish Daily Express)

However, there may be a sterner side to Caixinha... He warns his players: "If you try and do something the opposite way from what I want, you will see the devil in front of you." (Daily Record)

Celtic's new head of recruitment Lee Congerton says he's determined to dig out a new breed of star turns that will boost the club's success in Scotland before they eventually make a profit. The Welshman was a "star finder" at Chelsea and Hamburg before his spell as sporting director at Sunderland. (Daily Record)

Motherwell's new Northern Irish boss Stephen Robinson will not be afraid to rebuild the club's ageing squad as he aims for a prosperous tenure. (National)

A scheme to pay Rangers's star players and senior staff through offshore trusts 'to avoid tax' was "smoke and mirrors" but not a sham, according to a QC fighting an appeal by liquidators at the so-called "Big Tax Case" at the Supreme Court. (Herald)

Hibs head coach Neil Lennon has not given up hope of having John McGinn in his side for the game with Falkirk next weekend, but he accepts holding on to the Scotland midfielder longer term may be becoming more and more unlikely. McGinn's involvement with the Scotland squad in games against Canada and Slovenia clashes with Hibs' Championship game against the Bairns. (Scotsman)

OTHER GOSSIP

Vern Cotter and Ross Ford
Vern Cotter has given Ross Ford a start at Murrayfield against Italy and moved Fraser Brown to the bench after his sin-binning after 90 seconds at Twickenham

Scotland have received a major boost after all six of their injured players were passed fit to take on Italy in the final match of the Six Nations. The biggest doubt had been full-back Stuart Hogg, who became a father for the second time on Wednesday evening when his wife Gillian gave birth to Olivia May Hogg. (Daily Mail)

Head coach Vern Cotter, ahead of his last match in charge of Scotland, says the memory of a last-minute defeat by the Azzurri at Murrayfield two years ago, "keeps us grounded". "That was a tough, tough day. I think we all got something from that," says the New Zealander. (Daily Telegraph)

Highlighting Cotter's no-nonsense style, hooker Ross Ford reveals how the coach told him he would be earning his 107th cap for Scotland, as Fraser Brown was moved to the subs' bench. "He just said, 'Fordy you are in, Fras you can have a go at them near the end'. That was it. Just you are in, go for it." (Scotsman)

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