Scottish Gossip: Celtic, Bitton, Tavernier, Goncalves, Kilmarnock, Souttar

Football gossip


Brendan Rodgers says Celtic face an uphill battle to ever savour another journey to a European final. Rodgers believes his side are underdogs to progress from the last 32 of the Europa League against Zenit St Petersburg. "I'm a realist. I'm in my dream job, but I'm also a realist," he says. (Daily Record)

Kilmarnock are a different club since the arrival of manager Steve Clarke, according to striker Rory McKenzie. "I was out for lunch last Sunday with some of my family and it felt strange talking to them about a Killie team that's been winning over the last two months," says McKenzie. "The change has been huge. The whole place has been lifted." (Scottish Sun)

Brendan Rodgers has revealed Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton may have played his last game this season. The versatile Israeli is to undergo surgery to fix a knee problem and faces months on the sidelines. "Nir will probably be out for the season which is a blow for us," says Rodgers. (Scottish Sun)

Zenit St Petersburg boss Roberto Mancini
Scott Sinclair says he has nothing to prove to Roberto Mancini (pictured)

Harry Souttar will finally face big brother John on Saturday — exactly three years after they last took to the field together. Despite growing up as central defensive siblings with Brechin City and Dundee United their paths seldom crossed. However, that will change this weekend when Ross County face Hearts. "It will be good, but my focus is 100% on getting the three points," says Harry. (Scottish Sun)

Rangers right-back James Tavernier, fresh from signing a new deal to keep him at the club until 2021, says he dreams of winning the Treble at Ibrox and playing in the Champions League. (Scottish Sun)

Celtic winger Scott Sinclair won't feel any animosity when he faces Zenit St Petersburg and comes up against former boss Roberto Mancini. The Italian signed Sinclair from Swansea for Manchester City for £10m in 2012 - but only gave him three starts. "I wouldn't say I have a point to prove to him [Mancini]. It's for myself," says Sinclair. (Scottish Sun)

Ian Ferguson says he forced through a move to boyhood heroes Rangers as then employers St Mirren tried to sell him to Manchester United. "There is no doubt St Mirren made it very difficult for me at that time and that was the most frustrating thing," says the former midfielder. (Daily Record)

Brendan Rodgers is confident Celtic striker Moussa Dembele will rediscover his best form in the Europa League tie against Zenit St Petersburg. (The Herald)

Celtic midfielder Nir Bitton
Nir Bitton is the latest addition to Celtic's injury list

Partick Thistle defender Danny Devine is under no illusions as to how vital his team's next three league matches are in their aim to safeguard Premiership safety. Alan Archibald's side are currently 10th in the table, four points clear of basement side Ross County and one ahead of Hamilton Accies. (The National)

Celtic won't be weakened by the absence of injured goalkeeper Craig Gordon in their Europa League clash with Zenit St Petersburg, according to Astana manager Stanimir Stoilov. Dorus de Vries has replaced the injured Gordon, and Stoilov, who faced Celtic in the Champions League qualifiers, says: "Their goalkeeper is out but that is not a concern for Celtic. They have a second, a third and a fourth keeper at about the same level." (Daily Record, print edition)

Alex McLeish has made a personal pitch to the Scottish FA's board for the national side's managerial vacancy. The 59-year-old is itching for another chance to manage Scotland after Michael O'Neill and Walter Smith ruled themselves out of the running. (Daily Mail, print edition)

The SFA is "making progress" in its search for a new manager and chief executive after a lengthy board meeting on Wednesday continued into the night. (The Scotsman)

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