Celtic transfer target opens up on failed Parkhead move and Rangers defensive crisis deepens

Latest Celtic and Rangers news and rumours on Saturday.

Celtic and Rangers switch their focus back on domestic affairs this weekend after both sides fell to defeats in the Champions League against RB Leipzig and Liverpool respectively.

Ange Postecoglou’s Hoops entertain Hibernian at Parkhead on Saturday, while Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side face a tricky away trip to Motherwell at Fir Park on Sunday. Here is a look at the latest news regarding both clubs...

Ex-Hoops striker training with Livi

Leigh Griffiths is back training with Livingston for the second time in three months after returning to Scotland following a short stint Down Under at Mandurah City.

The 32-year-old scored two goals in two games for the Western Australia lower league side and was involved in a furious bust-up with a fan after responding to a shout from someone in the crowd as he prepared to take a corner.

Leigh Griffiths is back training with Livingston in a bid to build up his fitness. Picture: Ross Parker / SNSLeigh Griffiths is back training with Livingston in a bid to build up his fitness. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS
Leigh Griffiths is back training with Livingston in a bid to build up his fitness. Picture: Ross Parker / SNS

The ex-Hoops and Scotland striker confronted the supporter in a bad tempered verbal exchange before several onlookers intervened to calm the incident.

However, Livi boss David Martindale confirmed he won’t be able to offer Griffiths a deal because he cannot afford him.

Speaking to the Scottish Sun, he said: “I am trying to help him out. I had him in before he went to Australia. Everybody knows my history and Leigh’s history is nowhere near mine but he needs a chance and I am here to help him.

“I want to try to get him fit. Leigh is a fantastic footballer and has a fantastic football brain. I am using his expertise and knowledge and (he) has been excellent with our strikers.

“He’s had a lot of bad press but I am all about helping people and he has been brilliant around the place. Hit fitness is really coming on. We did his body fat weeks ago and they weren’t great but we had players who were worse when they came in at the start of the season.

“He has made phenomenal strides and I am confident that when the time comes for Leigh to get a new club he is going to be in tip-top condition. I don’t have a budget to bring someone like him to Livingston.”

Transfer target opens up on failed move

Mohammad Abu Fani has broken his silence on a summer failed transfer to Celtic, insisting his decision to stay in Israel has been a blessing in disguise.

The Maccabi Haifa star helped his team mates make Champions League history as they became the first Israeli side to win against Italian opposition when they defeated Juventus 2-0 on Wednesday night.

The Scottish champions were understood to be weighing up a move for the 24-year-old midfielder after various scouting missions but Haifa refused to lower their asking price and the club turned their attention elsewhere by bringing in Oliver Abildgaard on deadline day.

While admitting he was gutted a potential move to Glasgow failed to materialise, Abu Fani claims he’s now happy again after impressing for his parent club in Europe.

He said: “It wasn’t easy at all for me during the summer. I expected to go to a club in Europe and in the end, I didn’t make it and I stayed in Haifa.

“But that has been one of the best things that happened to me. I was in a kind of uncertainty because of the possible transfer and it affected me as a player. That episode closed at the same time as the transfer window.

“I’ve been at Maccabi Haifa all my life. For me, I regard myself now as part of the club and a supporter. Now I am only focussed on making the club better and improving myself as a player too. I’m not thinking about any transfer.”

Gers defensive crisis deepens

Rangers could be left with just ONE recognised centre-back for Sunday’s Premiership clash with Motherwell after Ben Davies emerged as the latest player to sustain an injury.

Connor Goldson - undergoing a scan on a thigh problem - and Ryan Jack both limped off during their midweek 7-1 Champions League hammering against Liverpool and now Giovanni van Bronckhorst has another fresh doubt to contend with.

Davies felt muscle tightness in the latter stages of Wednesday’s match but refused to be substituted against his former club. The Athletic claim he will be assessed today as the club’s injury list continues to mount.

It means teenager Leon King could be the only central defensive option if Davies is ruled out, with Filip Helander and John Souttar remaining on the sidelines until after the World Cup. Versatile defender/midfielder James Sands is the most likely option to fill in as part of a makeshift backline.

Ex-Ibrox flop struggles continue

Amad Diallo’s post-Rangers struggles have continued after the former Ibrox loan flop turned out for Sunderland’s Under-21 side against Leeds United earlier this week.

Manchester United's Amad Diallo makes his way towards the hotel upon team's arrival in MelbourneManchester United's Amad Diallo makes his way towards the hotel upon team's arrival in Melbourne
Manchester United's Amad Diallo makes his way towards the hotel upon team's arrival in Melbourne

The Ivory Coast international joined the Black Cats on a temporary one-year basis on transfer deadline day but has managed just one first-team start and five substitute appearances for Tony Mowbray’s men.

The 20-year-old, who arrived in the UK in January 2021 after sealing a £37million move to Manchester United from Serie A outfit Atalanta, endured an underwhelming six-month stint in Glasgow during the second half of last season.

And it appears he has failed to kick on at the Stadium of Light after initially taking part in United’s pre-season tour of Thailand and Australia.