Scottish Gossip: Hearts, Rangers, Celtic, Dundee United, Dundee

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FOOTBALL GOSSIP

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson is relieved that his team's match against Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Tuesday evening has been postponed since, he says, a virus "has completely wiped out the majority of the squad". (Scotsman)

Rangers manager Mark Warburton rejects claims made by Neilson that he will need to treble his budget to about £24m to match Celtic next season. The Englishman believes buying wisely is more important that the size of a club's budget. (Various)

With Rangers on the brink of clinching the Championship title against Dumbarton on Tuesday evening, Warburton, with an eye on next season, promises that any team led by him, David Weir and his staff will be "highly competitive". (Various)

Warburton says conceding nine goals in Rangers' last three games is "unacceptable". (Various)

Dumbarton manager Steven Aitken is expecting a tricky night in front of a capacity Ibrox crowd but he warns that the Sons of the Rock have plenty to play for too as they strive to avoid being dragged into the relegation play-offs. (Daily Express)

Paul Paton
Combative midfielder Paul Paton feels Dundee United can no longer be termed soft touches

Dundee boss Paul Hartley points to the attacking threat of Kane Hemmings and Greg Stewart as proof that the Dark Blues can pose a threat to Celtic at Dens Park in Tuesday's Premiership match. (Various)

Ahead of the league trip to play Partick Thistle, Dundee United manager Mixu Paatelainen reveals that he may have to alter his tactics to take account of the Firhill pitch, which has been heavily sanded and which has suffered from yet more heavy rainfall in recent days. (National)

United skipper Paul Paton argues that the Premiership's bottom team can no longer be branded a "soft touch" as their battling qualities have helped to drag them towards 11th-placed Kilmarnock. (Daily Mail, Sun)

After angering Hearts with a two-footed tackle on Juanma on Saturday, Celtic captain Scott Brown advises rivals to "man up". "In football, there is too much focus on a wee slide tackle here or there," he says. (Various)

Brown and assistant manager John Collins back 19-year-old loan player Patrick Roberts to make a big impact at Celtic. (National)

Motherwell manager Mark McGhee admits he phoned some players to apologise for his tactics after a 2-0 home defeat by Kilmarnock in mid-February. (Daily Mail)

Hearts defender John Souttar
Hearts defender John Souttar is enjoying the intensity of life at Tynecastle

"Axed Celtic flop" Derk Boerrigter cost the club £587,500 per start, or £9,180 per minute. The former Ajax winger signed a four-year £3m deal in July 2013 but in his injury-hit time at Celtic he made eight first-team starts and is thought to have earned £12,000 a week. (Daily Mail)

John Souttar, 19, claims the intensity of training at Hearts and the encouragement to undertake extra gym work have made him a better centre-half in the two months since he moved from Dundee United. (Scotsman)

Northern Irish forward Niall McGinn says his Aberdeen team are capable of winning all of their remaining league games and he hopes that, should they do so, it would be enough to pip Celtic to the title. (Sun)

Head coach Alan Stubbs remains upbeat about Hibs' chances of having a "fantastic" end to the season, as they chase second spot in the Championship and a Scottish Cup final place. (Times)

OTHER GOSSIP

Former Scotland captain Kelly Brown, looking forward to playing for Saracens in the European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final against Northampton Saints on Saturday, says despite being almost 34 his desire to play in big matches remains undiminished. (Scotsman)

Florida-based Scot Russell Knox is relying on the precision of his short game to do well at his first Masters at Augusta, rather than trying to match some of his big-hitting rivals off the tee. (Sun)

"Pocket Rocket" Graeme Dott will have to come through three qualifying rounds to play in snooker's World Championship at Sheffield's Crucible this month. (Daily Record)

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