Rangers defender breaks silence on Ibrox ‘struggle’ as exit looms, Celtic flop ‘offered trial’ by English club

The latest Rangers and Celtic news and rumours on Thursday.

Just two days remain until the start of the new domestic season in Scotland as Rangers and Celtic get set to launch their campaign this weekend.

The Ibrox club have signed SEVEN new players this summer, while the Hoops had added SIX new recruits, including permanent deals for Daizen Maeda, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Jota.

Here is a look at all the latest transfer news regarding the Glasgow giants today....

Defender breaks silence on Ibrox ‘struggle’

Nikola Katic has revealed his Rangers future is now up in the air after falling further down the pecking order.

Manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst opted to hand the Croatian centre-back a pre-season lifeline after returning from a season-long loan spell from Hadjuk Split earlier this summer.

However, the recent emergence of youngster Leon King and the arrival of Ben Davies from Liverpool has meant it remains unlikely Katic will be given much game time this coming season.

The 25-year-old had hoped to impress the new Gers coaching team after falling out of favour under previous boss Steven Gerrard but it now appears he could be heading for the exit door.

In an interview with Sportske novosti, he said: “I have a contract, I played some matches during the preparations, some I didn’t. There are a lot of us, there is strong competition but as everywhere, the struggle is day by day.

”I think I have the quality to play for Rangers, but of course it all depends on the coach, we’ll see. That’s allI can say, I can’t say whether I’ll stay at Rangers or not, whether I’ll sign a new contract or not.

”I had a difficult two years, I missed the first one due to an injury, last season after a year or not playing I was on loan. It was not easy to play after the injury. Now I finally have that real feeling back and I’m in a good position.”

Morelos urged to sign new Rangers deal

Former Rangers defender Alan Hutton is hopeful that Alfredo Morelos will agree a new deal with Rangers, so it can help put both parties’ minds at rest.

The Colombian striker has entered the final year of his current deal at Ibrox, which will expire at the end of the upcoming season as uncertainty surronding his future began to surface.

However, Giovanni van Bronckhorst provided a hint that the 25-year-old could extend his stay at the club after telling Sky Sports earlier this week the player was “very positive about signing a new contract.”

If a long-term future is resolved in the coming weeks, Hutton reckons it will be huge sigh of relief for everyone associated.

He told Football Insider: “It just puts everybody’s mind at ease. The fans, the player, the club. If he signs a long-term contract you know he’s there for the forseeable future.

”They’ve obviously brought in Colak, he’s a different type of player to Morelos but we’ve seen the problems Rangers had last season when Alfredo was injured, Roose was injured and they really struggled.

“So if Morelos does sign I believe they’ll have that this season.”

Urhoghide returns to Belgium in loan transfer

Celtic have allowed fringe player Osaze Urhoghide to return to Belgian club KV Oostende on a season-long loan, with an obligation to buy clause inserted into the latest deal.

The 22-year-old defender spent the second half of last season on loan at the Belgian Pro League side and after initially opting against taking up the option to buy clause over the summer, Oostende now seem to have changed their mind.

The former Sheffield Wednesday stopper has failed to break into Ange Postecoglou’s senior team after arriving on a long-term contract last summer.

He featured just once last season, making his competitive debut in a Europa League group stage tie against Real Betis at Parkhead in December

Oostende president Gauthier Ganaye added: “Osaze would like to return and we are therefore very pleased that we have a strong holder in the defence who already knows the way the club and coach work.”

Celtic flop offered trial by English League One club

Jonathan Afolabi has been offered a trial period at English League One side Forest Green Rovers.

The 22-year-old striker began his career at Southampton but never made a first-team appearance. He moved north of the border in 2019 to Celtic but again struggled for regular game time and spent time out on loan at various clubs.

The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international was most recently on the books of Airdrieonians where he secored three times in 15 appearances. He also had short spells with Dunfermline, Dundee and Ayr United.

According to the Gloucestershire Echo, Forest Green head coach Ian Burchnall is keen to assess him ahead of lining up a potential contract offer with Portsmouth also interested.

Afolabi scored and provided an assist in Pompey’s 2-0 friendly win over Qatar SC in Spain earlier this month.