In today’s rumour mill: Celtic’s media ban over press’ “muck-racking”; identities of Blue Knights consortium members unveiled by Paul Murray; Rangers administrators to contest Ticketus’ claims to season ticket money; plus the rest of today’s football news and rumour
Celtic’s progress to the Scottish Cup semi-finals after beating Dundee United has been tempered by accusations that the Scottish media have been stirring up trouble for Neil Lennon, who The Herald says is upset over reports by a number of media outlets that Celtic are taking advantage of Rangers’ ongoing financial turmoil. Lennon withdrew from the usual courtesies of the pre- and post-match media conferences. Lennon said of the action: “There’s a lot of much-racking going on between some hacks...we’re nothing but professional and respectful to the media and yet they do us no favours.” Lennon added that legal action is being considered against a number of unidentified media outlets.
Most of the rest of today’s back pages focus on developments concerning Paul Murray’s mooted takeover bid at Ibrox. Murray’s consortium, the so-called ‘Blue Knights’, have been identified as Scott Murdoch, Douglas Park and John Bennett, a trio who have made their respective fortunes in property, transport and fund management. (The Daily Record)
The Blue Knights have also revealed their plans to involve Ticketus in any takeover deal, who would aid the Blue Knights in a “successful CVA (Company Voluntary Agreement) exit from administration”, and would also prevent a legal wrangle with their biggest creditor (even bigger than HMRC, according to Murray) leaving them to focus on reaching a CVA with the taxman. Under the proposed agreement, Ticketus would bolster a cash purchase of the club and provide working capital to keep the club operational until the event of a share issue launch, where the club will invite interested parties - including fans - to buy shares. The deal would also see Rangers’ debt to Ticketus restructured on less aggressive repayment terms. (Record)
Meanwhile, the Daily Mail report that Rangers administrators Duff & Phelps will contest Ticketus’ claims to the three remaining years of season ticket money. Administrators added that potential buyers are not restricted to those announced by Paul Murray, with substantial interest reported from buyers based in the US and the Far East. (Daily Mail)
In the wake of a deal that saw 11 players agree to 75 per cent pay cuts (The Daily Express), Rangers midfielder Alejandro Bedoya has pledged his committment to the club. However, his former club Orebro, to whom Rangers defaulted on the final instalment of his transfer fee, may yet attempt to prise their former player back to Sweden. (Record)
In today’s other piece of transfer news, Portsmouth have signed Chris Maguire on a short-term loan, despite being in administration. His parent club Derby have allowed the move in order for the 23-year-old to gain some regular first-team action. (Record)