Celtic winger earns Lionel Messi comparison and agent claims Rangers held talks over Russian top scorer

The latest Celtic and Rangers news and rumours on Tuesday.
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Celtic and Rangers are back in Scottish League action this midweek after both sides recorded victories over the weekend.

Ange Postecoglou’s side make the short trip to face fellow top-flight side Motherwell at Fir Park, while Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men entertain Championship outfit Dundee at Ibrox on Wednesday night.

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

Nakamura calls time on playing career

Ex-Celtic midfielder and set piece specialist Shunsuke Nakamura has announced plans to retire at the end of the year - 13 years after leaving Parkhead.

The 44-year-old - capped 98 times by Japan - is still plying his trade in the country’s second tier for Yokohama FC but has now confirmed he will hang up his boots at the end of the 2022 season.

Nakamura moved to Glasgow from Italian side Reggina in 2005 and went on to make 166 appearances for the club, scoring 34 goals. He won six trophies during his four-year stint with the Hoops.

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A statement released by Nakamura read: “I made the decision to retire after this season. It’s been 40 years since I started kicking a soccer ball when I was in kindergarten. At first, I started playing soccer just because it was fun. That soccer became my job, and I was abe to spend 26 years as a professional player.

“In my long football career, I have faced many anguish and setbacks, but there was always someone who supported me and pushed me forward. The team mates who fought alongside me, the manager and coaches who gave me guidance, the doctors and trainers who treated and cared for my injuries, the people who were involved in the club, and the people who always cheered me on.

“Thank you to all the fans and supporters. I was able to continue fighting as a soccer player until now because I had so much support. Thank you very much for your support and cooperation for 26 years.”

Hoops winger earns “Mini Messi” comparison

On loan Celtic winger Mikey Johnston has been compared to Lionel Messi after scoring a memorable double the PSG and Argentina superstar would be proud of.

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Johnston is currently starring for Portuguese outfit Vitoria de Guimaraes in the Primeira Liga and was on the scoresheet twice in their 3-1 Taça de Portugal victory over CF Canelas at the weekend.

The 23-year-old glided past a handful of players as he cut in from the left wing before firing low into the net. His second goal arrived expertly controlling a lofted pass before guiding a shot into the top corner.

Team-mate Tiago Silva responded to an Instagram image of Johnston’s goal celebration with the caption, “Mini Messi, is that you?” while Celtic stars Stephen Welsh and Joe Hart passed on their congratulations.

Johnston’s strikes gave him the best goals-per-game ratio in the squad and sent a timely reminder to Hoops boss Ange Postecoglou what he is capable of.

Gers signed Colak over Russian top scorer

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Rangers opted to sign Antonio Colak over £3million-rated Russian Premier League top scorer Gamid Agalarov this summer, his agent has revealed.

Croatian striker Colak had been an instant hit with supporters after scoring 13 goals in 18 appearances in all competition since completing a £1.8m move from PAOK in July.

However, the Ibrox side were close to sealing a deal for 22-year-old FC Ufa free-scoring sensation Agalarov, according to Russian agent Jamal Akaev who confirmed he held discussions with Gers sporting director Ross Wilson.

Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson has hailed the appointment of Zeb Jacobs. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson has hailed the appointment of Zeb Jacobs. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Rangers sporting director Ross Wilson has hailed the appointment of Zeb Jacobs. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)

Agalarov netted 19 goals in the top-flight last season before signing a three-year deal with Akhmat Grozny after it became clear the Glasgow giants weren’t going to follow up their interest.

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Akaev recalled: “From February onwards, Glasgow Rangers were extremely interested in signing Gamid. The club continued to show interest after those events in Ukraine.

“I have a good relationship with their sporting director Ross Wilson, but it didn’t happen. Rangers have a Polish scout in Eastern Europe and he watched all of Gamid’s matches and asked me for his details.

“But they weren’t able to put together a concrete proposal and Rangers signed another striker instead.”

Gers legend addresses Van Bronckhorst’s position amid sack fears

Ex-Rangers captain Barry Ferguson reckons Giovanni van Bronckhorst should be given more time to prove he can become a success at Ibrox.

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The Dutchman guided the Light Blues to the Europa League final last season after inheriting a squad built by previous manager Steven Gerrard but questions have been asked of Van Bronckhorst after a sluggish start to the campaign with performances on the pitch adding to the growing pressure surrounding his future.

Speaking on the Go Radio Football Show, Ferguson said: “I can understand the Rangers fans being angry, but in terms of them wanting Gio out, I still think he should be given time.

“Listen, they’re only two points behind in the league and they’ve still got a quarter-final against Dundee to come to make sure they get into the semi-final. I think he did enough last season to show that he’s more than capable of being a Rangers manager.

“I still believe he’s a good manager and I still believe he should get the time. (The players) have got to take responsiblity on the pitch. as well.”

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