Scottish Gossip: Celtic, Messi, Crystal Palace, Strachan, Rangers, Hearts, Barcelona

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FOOTBALL GOSSIP

Celtic and Aston Villa have targeted 24-year-old midfielder Jordan Mutch, who is out of favour at Crystal Palace, to bolster their squad in January.(Sun On Sunday)

Former Cardiff City, Watford and Wigan Athletic manager Malky Mackay heads a six-man shortlist for the Scottish FA's performance director vacancy. (Sunday Mail, print edition)

Hearts head coach Robbie Neilson admits he might sell Scotland right-back Callum Paterson, who was the subject of rejected bids from Wigan Athletic this summer, in January having accepted that the 21-year-old will leave at the end of his contract in June.(Deadline News)

The Scottish FA faces a revolt by clubs, with one having already sought legal advice, over a new blueprint to improve youth football that would create an eight-club academy elite, which could exclude clubs like Motherwell, Dundee United, St Mirren and Kilmarnock. (Sunday Mail)

After winning a move of confidence from the Scottish FA board last week, Gordon Strachan needs his side to beat Slovenia at Hampden in March to retain his job as head coach.(Sunday Times)

Crystal Palace midfielder Jordan Mutch
Jordan Mutch has fallen down the pecking order at Crystal Palace

Scotland head coach Gordon Strachan is hoping to organise a friendly in March against a side similar in style to Slovenia, who are the next World Cup qualifying opponents that month. (Sunday Times, print edition)

Scotland are poised to drop to 67th in the world rankings - behind Benin, who were recently disbanded by their own football association.(Sunday Mail)

Former Scotland striker Ally McCoist believes the national team need to unearth a Kyle Lafferty, who has been a regular scorer for Northern Ireland at international level. (Sunday Herald)

Scotland winger Oliver Burke helped Leipzig to the top of the German Bundesliga with a 3-2 win over Bayer Leverkusen.(Sunday Mail)

After watching left-back Lee Wallace face England at Wembley, Rangers manager Mark Warburton has the ambition of providing more players for the Scotland squad. (Sunday Herald)

Hearts right-back Callum Paterson
Callum Paterson is out of contract with Hearts next summer

Former Rangers manager Walter Smith thinks present boss Mark Warburton will be allowed a season's grace to get things right in the Scottish Premiership before fans pile on the pressure to narrow the gap with champions Celtic.(Sunday Mail)

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers says his club's fans are not being unrealistic by hoping for a victory over Barcelona in the Champions League on Wednesday. (Sunday Express)

Lionel Messi is a £200m target for Manchester City as the Argentine forward became a doubt for Wednesday's Champions League game against Celtic after he was ruled out of Barcelona's La Liga match against Malaga with a stomach upset.(Sunday Mail)

Alex Neil has vowed not to quit as Norwich City manager after the Scot's side suffered a fourth straight defeat in the English Championship - 2-1 away to Queens Park Rangers. (Sun On Sunday, print edition)

OTHER GOSSIP

Russell Knox has defended his decision to pick friend Duncan Stewart as his World Cup partner and said he does not care if he has upset any of the higher-ranked Scottish golfers he overlooked. (Sun On Sunday, print edition)

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