Scottish Gossip: Aaron Hughes, Hearts, Walter Smith, Kouassi Eboue

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FOOTBALL GOSSIP

Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes says his "first impressions of the club have been very good", as he gets to know the set-up at Hearts. "I feel fit and I'm motivated to play for as long as I can," says the 37-year-old. (Edinburgh Evening News)

Walter Smith believes the chasm currently separating Rangers and Celtic is bigger now than at any time during his Ibrox nine-in-a-row reign. The former Gers boss has called on Dave King to spend money now to give manager Mark Warburton a fighting chance of challenging Celtic. (Daily Record)

Rangers' new loan signing, the American midfielder Emerson Hyndman, is confident that the transition from Bournemouth to Ibrox will be easy because both teams play a similar style of football. (Daily Record)

The former St Johnstone, Hamilton and St Mirren winger Nigel Hasselbaink criticises certain aspects of Scottish football. The Dutchman, now at Veria in Greece, says: "Cursing and fighting during training seemed entirely normal. I learned how to scrap in Scotland. The lads there were four times bigger than me." (Daily Record)

Nigel Hasselbaink, in his days at Hamilton Accies, gets involved in a fracas with Kilmarnock's Lee Ashcroft
Nigel Hasselbaink, in his days at Hamilton Accies, gets involved in a fracas with Kilmarnock's Lee Ashcroft

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers believes Africa is an untapped resource of talent which can flood Scottish football with a fresh wave of quality players. Ivory Coast teenager Kouassi Eboue is poised to become Rodgers' first signing of the January transfer window. (Herald)

Rodgers has revealed he wanted to sign £2.8m-rated Eboue after watching him in action for only 10 seconds. Eboue has agreed to join Celtic from Russian outfit Krasnodar on a four-year deal. (Sun)

Cathcart MSP James Dornan has renewed his call for strict liability rules to be imposed on Scotland's football clubs. The SNP MSP says he does not expect the Scottish Football Association or Scottish Professional Football League, both based at Hampden in his constituency, to welcome his Bill on strict liability that is currently before the Scottish Parliament. (National)

Aberdeen have joined the growing list of clubs on the trail of 21-year-old Falkirk midfielder Craig Sibbald, who is out of contract at the Championship club at the end of the season and is attracting the interest of several clubs in Scotland as well as England. (Press and Journal)

Kevin Thomson is desperate for his ex-team mate Scott Brown to keep playing for Scotland and believes Gordon Strachan can persuade the Celtic captain to prolong his international career. (Scotsman)

Craig Sibbald
Craig Sibbald has scored seven goals in 26 appearances for the Bairns this season. He has been in the first team since making his debut aged 16 in July 2011

Aberdeen may be spending six days at a luxury five-star hotel in Dubai but manager Derek McInnes is adamant the squad is not going there for a holiday. "Dubai is all about getting the players moving again after the winter break and fine-tuning their football for when we come back," said McInnes. (Sun)

OTHER GOSSIP

London-based Scottish Olympian Beth Potter, 25, has declared that it is 'now or never' after quitting her job as a teacher to focus full-time on her athletics career. (Herald)

World number one Andy Murray says that after he retires from tennis he will potentially move into coaching another player but, intriguingly, he adds: "I would like to do something in football. I watch loads of it. I am into my fantasy sports a lot." (Daily Mail)

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