Celtic rule out transfers for Ikechi Anya and Steven Fletcher

Scotland pair Steven Fletcher (left) and Ikechi Anya are out of Celtic's price range, says assistant John Collins
Scotland pair Steven Fletcher (left) and Ikechi Anya are out of Celtic's price range, says assistant John Collins

Celtic assistant manager John Collins says the club will not be signing Scotland internationals Steven Fletcher and Ikechi Anya.

Collins admitted the Parkhead side can not compete with the wages on offer in the English Premier League.

He does, though, remain confident defender Virgil van Dijk will still be a Celtic player next season despite interest from south of the border.

"They'll be on Premiership wages," said Collins of Fletcher and Anya.

"They're two good football players who I admire but they're both Premiership players.

"For top players the money that's in England, France, Spain and Germany, we can't compete with these teams when it comes to buying players so we've got to take our time and try and get the ones that no-one else has spotted.

"We're still a massive club with a great support, a great stadium, a great atmosphere in that stadium so we're still an attraction for a lot of players."

Collins, who also confirmed the Scottish champions will not be pursuing their interest in former Hearts captain Danny Wilson, says Dutchman Van Dijk is happy at Celtic, and expects him to stay and partner new Belgian signing Dedryck Boyata.

"I'm in regular contact with Virgil and I know for a fact he's very happy at Celtic. He's enjoying playing, he's enjoying training, and he's got two years to go," said the former Scotland midfielder.

Rangers and Celtic met in last season's Scottish League Cup, but have not met in the league since the club's financial collapse
Rangers and Celtic met in last season's Scottish League Cup, but have not met in the league since the club's financial collapse

The Old Firm derby will be missing from the top flight for at least another season after Rangers failed to win promotion from the Scottish Championship, losing 6-1 on aggregate to Motherwell in the play-off final.

Collins, though, still expects a challenge from the other sides as they chase a fifth league title in a row.

"They're not in because they didn't deserve to be in," Collins said of Rangers. "Motherwell beat them in the playoffs so they've got a big season for them to try and win the Championship and get back in to the top league.

"Of course everybody knows Rangers-Celtic games are special, they're exciting to be involved in, but it's up to Rangers now to try and win that Championship, get promoted and get back in with us.

"Hearts had a wonderful season last year. A lot of young players, played good attractive football, so I am delighted to see them back.

"There's no doubt the main challenge will come from Aberdeen. They had a terrific challenge last year, pushed us all the way, and they've signed a few players, strengthened their squad.

"Aberdeen I'm sure will be our main rivals but I expect Hearts will be a challenge as well."

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