Celtic news: Ryan Christie suffered multiple facial fractures against Aberdeen and will undergo surgery, club confirm

16 Apr

Celtic midfielder Ryan Christie will require surgery after suffering multiple facial fractures in a horror collision with Aberdeen’s Dominic Ball, the Scottish champions have confirmed.

Christie, 24, was rushed to hospital in a neck brace after the sickening clash of heads during the Hoops’ 3-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory at Hampden Park on Sunday.

His former Aberdeen team-mate, Ball, was shown a second yellow card and sent off for the foul.

A Celtic statement said: “Celtic Football Club can confirm that Ryan Christie has suffered multiple facial fractures following the incident during Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.

“Ryan is scheduled to undergo surgery on Thursday of this week. We are not able at this stage to give any specific indication on a timescale for his return to action but, of course, everyone at Celtic wishes Ryan all the best for his full recovery.

“Ryan would also like to thank everyone sincerely for the many wishes of support he has received.”

Christie revealed the damage to his face on Instagram by sharing a picture of a nasty black eye and swelling on the side of his face.

The Scotland youth international was in a light-hearted mood, however, describing himself as a ‘full-kit w*nker’.

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Meanwhile, Celtic manager Neil Lennon expects the midfielder to be fit for the Scottish Cup final against Hearts on May 25.

“It was a horrendous coming together and I don’t think there was any deliberation over it. It was a definite second yellow,” he told BBC Scotland.

Rangers 0-2 Aberdeen: Steven Gerrard set for trophy-less season at Ibrox as Gers crash out of William Hill Scottish Cup

12 Mar

Steven Gerrard seems set to finish his first season as Rangers boss empty-handed as his team crashed out of the William Hill Scottish Cup after a 2-0 defeat to Aberdeen.

With the Gers eight points adrift of Celtic in the Ladbrokes Premiership title race, Gerrard’s hopes of lifting a trophy at the end of his rookie campaign rested on steering his side through their quarter-final clash with Derek McInnes’ men.

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard seems set to finish his first season empty-handed

But goals from Niall McGinn and Connor McLennan gave the Reds their third win over Gers in Glasgow this term and another trip to Hampden.

The Dons defended magnificently at times as Scott McKenna and Andy Considine again kept Alfredo Morelos quiet.

So frustrated was the Colombian that he got himself booked for diving for the second game running against the Pittodrie outfit to earn a ban that meant he would have missed the semi-final with Celtic had Rangers progressed.

But that proved inconsequential as it is the Dons who now march on to face the Hoops next month.

Scott McKenna netted at Ibrox

Aberdeen got off to a perfect start in the first tie at Pittodrie with an early goal and repeated the trick three minutes into the re-match.

Glen Kamara tried a risky square ball across his defence to James Tavernier and watched with horror as it went wrong as McGinn nicked possession before calmly beating Allan McGregor.

Ibrox was momentarily hushed but the Gers faithful shook off their shock to roar their side on. Scott Arfield looked to hit back for Gerrard’s team but his shot was blocked by Dons youngster Dean Campbell.

The hosts’ desperation to get back on level terms saw them swarm over the Reds, refusing to give them a moment’s peace.

Kyle Lafferty could not make an impact from the bench

But while Rangers’ work-rate was impressive, their quality in the final third was not. Gerrard could not hide his disgust as Daniel Candeias wasted a brilliant opening on the breakaway as the Portuguese inexplicably overcooked a cross for the unmarked Ryan Kent.

And a look of frustration swept across the Light Blues boss again in the 33rd minute. Gerrard refused to contemplate leaving out Morelos despite his top-scorer walking a suspension tightrope after being booked for taking a dive at Andrew Considine’s feet in last month’s meeting.

But the former Liverpool skipper was left to regret that call as an identical repeat of that Pittodrie scenario saw Morelos collect his second yellow of the competition.

Ryan Jack almost fired Gers level eight minutes before the break as a Borna Barisic corner broke his way but his low drive thudded off the base of the post.

Ryan Jack could not inspire Rangers

The home support unleashed a flurry of ticker-tape from the Broomloan Road end as they roared their team out for the second half.

But McInnes’ men had a knack of getting a vital block in just whenever Gers thought an opening was coming their way, like when Scott McKenna stood strong to deny Tavernier on the turn.

And it was the 975-strong band of Aberdeen supporters who were cheering in the 62nd minute as McLennan put them two up.

Stevie May – deputising for the banned Sam Cosgrove – did brilliantly to hold up play as he waited for support, before picking the perfect moment to slip his young colleague in behind the Gers defence and McLennan did the rest with a cool finish past McGregor.

Gerrard had no option but to go all in and immediately threw on Jermain Defoe and Kyle Lafferty to join Morelos in a three-man attack.

But Considine produced a great block to deny Defoe while Lewis kept out a Morelos strike as Aberdeen held firm.

Partick Thistle boss Gary Caldwell calls for ‘something to be done’ about coin throwing in football following latest incident in Scottish Cup tie

6 Mar

Partick Thistle boss Gary Caldwell claims no missiles hit him during his side’s Scottish Cup tie at Hearts but admits “something needs to be done” about the growing problem.

Monday’s cup tie, which saw Thistle claim a replay after a draw at Firhill, however, the game was overshadowed by a number of missiles being thrown in the direction of the former Hibernian player and the Thistle dugout.

Former Wigan boss Gary Caldwell returns to management with League One side Chesterfield
Caldwell claims none of the objects hit him

Thistle said in a statement after the game that it was investigating the matter.

This is the latest in a long line of incidents during matches that has blighted Scottish football this season.

Former Hibs boss Neil Lennon was struck by a coin during the Edinburgh derby in October, while Hearts keeper Zdenek Zlamal was assaulted by a fan in the Roseburn Stand during the same game.

Neil Lennon collapsed to the floor holding his face after being hit by a coin at Tynecastle Park

Assistant referee Calum Spence required treatment after a Rangers fan threw a coin at the back of his head in a Scottish Premiership clash at Livingston.

In September, Light Blues forward Alfredo Morelos had a coin thrown at him at St Miren and Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd was struck with a coin by Celtic supporters at Rugby Park last month.

And just last weekend, a Scottish Cup tie between Aberdeen and Rangers was marred by reports of chairs being thrown by opposing fans, while bottles were thrown on the field of play during Hibs’ clash with Celtic, one of which narrowly missed Hoops forward Scott Sinclair.

Six fans were arrested following the incidents at Pittodrie

And Caldwell, while aware the coins were coming in his direction, claimed that it didn’t prevent him from concentrating on the game.

He told Jim White on talkSPORT: “There were none that hit me but there were some hitting the dugout and the club are looking into this.

“It’s something that can’t keep happening – not just in Scottish football but in English football as well. It’s something that has to be cut out quickly.

“Coins, bottles, it’s dangerous and could really hurt someone. Something needs to be done before someone gets a serious injury.

“It wasn’t unnerving as I was concentrating on the game. I’ve got a job to do and I was focused on that.

“I think the abuse that’s friendly banter is a good thing but once it becomes physical it goes a step too far.

“Hopefully at Tynecastle that abuse can be friendly in nature and we can have that rivalry in football and I look forward to that when it comes.

“I do think the people need to be found and stopped by the authorities before someone gets an injury.”

But Caldwell was full of praise for the home fans as the Scottish Championship club earned a replay at Tynecastle.

He added: “Our supporters were exceptional with getting behind the team. The physical challenge Hearts pose we were excellent. We thoroughly deserved the replay.”

Celtic news: PFA Scotland calls for urgent action after bottle thrown at Scott Sinclair during Hibs victory

4 Mar

PFA Scotland has warned a player could be ‘maimed’ after Celtic winger Scott Sinclair was targeted with a glass bottle at Easter Road.

The object almost struck Sinclair as he lined up a corner and Hibernian later claimed another bottle was thrown from the visiting fans during their 2-0 Scottish Cup defeat by Celtic on Saturday.

Sinclair prepares to take a corner
The bottle was alarmingly close to Sinclair

The near miss was the latest in a series of missile-throwing incidents which have plagued Scottish football this season.

Players’ union chief executive Fraser Wishart said in a statement: “After this weekend’s incidents at Easter Road, we stress again that the throwing of objects at players, violence or any form of verbal abuse directed towards players must be taken seriously and we trust that the authorities will take the appropriate action to ensure that this dangerous practice is stopped.

“The continuing rise in incidents of this nature at football grounds across the country is alarming and must be addressed with the greatest of urgency.

“On the field, our members have been subjected to racist and sectarian abuse, physically assaulted and had coins and now a bottle thrown at them.

“Any form of abuse – physical or verbal – is wholly unacceptable and it is of paramount importance that something is done before someone is seriously hurt or maimed.

“The football pitch is a player’s place of work and it is not unreasonable for a player, like any other employee, to be able to work with the knowledge that their workplace is indeed a safe environment, free from violence and discrimination and that their health and safety is not at risk.”

Hibernian 0-2 Celtic: Neil Lennon returns to haunt former club and keeps treble dream alive

2 Mar

Celtic’s new interim boss Neil Lennon returned to Easter Road to dump his former club Hibernian out of the Scottish Cup with a 2-0 win.

Lennon left Hibs in January under unexplained circumstances and was put in charge at Celtic Park until the end of the season on Tuesday following the departure of Brendan Rodgers to Leicester.

Neil Lennon made a winning return to Easter Road

He watched his charges forge ahead in the 62nd minute with a stunning strike from winger James Forrest before skipper Scott Brown hammered in the second in the 74th minute to hand Lennon’s successor, Paul Heckingbottom, his first defeat in four games.

Celtic, the first team into Monday night’s semi-final draw, have won all 11 domestic games in 2019 and are on course for the domestic treble-treble.

And with the Betfred Cup already in the trophy cabinet and as the Hoops sit eight comfortable points clear of Rangers at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership, the Glasgow outfit could be just two cup matches away from that unprecedented achievement, with Lennon back at the helm.

The former Celtic captain’s second tenure as Parkhead manager began with a dramatic last-gasp 2-1 win over Hearts at Tynecastle on Wednesday night.

Lennon, having quickly surveyed his new squad, reinstated right-back Mikael Lustig and striker Odsonne Edouard, with Jeremy Toljan and Ewan Henderson dropping to the bench

For Hibs, midfielder Stephane Omeonga came in for Stevie Mallan.

The home side were almost caught cold in the second minute when Edouard slipped in Oliver Burke but his drive was saved by keeper Ofir Marciano with Scott Sinclair, under pressure from Paul Hanlon, failing to find the target with his shot on the follow-up.

Scott Brown was among the goals

Celtic built on that early encouragement, notwithstanding a long-distance Marc McNulty effort being easily saved by Hoops keeper Scott Bain.

A slick move by the visitors just after the half-hour mark saw Edouard race into the Hibs penalty area after taking a Forrest pass but just as he shaped to go round Marciano he lost his footing and the home side survived the scare and by half-time had worked their way back into the game.

Celtic, however, stepped up the pressure after the break.

James Forrest opened the scoring with a wonder goal

It appeared an object was thrown when Sinclair was set to take a corner, with referee Willie Collum removing it before play commenced.

Just before the hour mark Burke went to ground at the edge of the box when challenged by Hibs left-back Lewis Stevenson but referee Collum took his time before waving play on, to the anger of the travelling support.

However, a minute later those same fans were celebrating wildly when Forrest gave Marciano no chance with a thunderous drive.

Heckingbottom immediately brought on Mallan and Marvin Bartley for Mark Milligan and Daryl Horgan but the Edinburgh side looked rattled and bereft of belief.

As Hibs began to take chances they left gaps and when former Easter Road midfielder Brown thrashed in the second from 14 yards, for his third goal in six matches, Celtic had secured yet another semi-final berth.

Steve Clarke angry at sectarian abuse he received during Scottish Cup defeat to Rangers

21 Feb

An angry Steve Clarke accused Rangers fans of living in the Dark Ages after he was the victim of sectarian abuse during Kilmarnock’s Scottish Cup defeat.

Chants of “sad Fenian b*****d” could be heard at Ibrox as the home side booked a quarter-final clash with Aberdeen by hammering Killie 5-0.

Alfredo Morelos scored four goals on his return from suspension, but the visitors’ hopes were over as soon as goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann was sent off for an off-the-ball clash with Glen Kamara.

Kilmarnock manager Steve Clarke was the victim of sectarian abuse during Rangers’ 5-0 Scottish Cup win

Afterwards, Clarke could barely contain his disgust with referee Alan Muir about the decision, branding the red card a joke.

But he saved his fiercest condemnation for those who directed derogatory words towards him in a withering blast.

“It’s lovely being back in the west of Scotland, really nice,” he said.

“When I was approached by Rangers about taking over the job here I was assured that ‘we don’t have that in the west of Scotland any more. It’s gone’.

“They can call me a b*****d or a w****r. No problem, thanks, guys. But to call me a Fenian b*****d, come on. Where are we living in? The Dark Ages?

“They are not allowed to call my assistant [Alex Dyer] a black b but they can call me a Fenian b*****d. What are we doing in Scotland?”

Clarke, who spent the majority of his career as a player with Chelsea where played 421 times, having joined them from St Mirren in 1987, said he was grateful to his former club for getting him out.

Steve Clarke in his Chelsea days where he played between 1987 and 1998

“I wake up every morning and thank Chelsea for coming and taking me away from the west of Scotland because my children don’t understand this. Thankfully when I go down there my children, my grandchildren don’t have to worry about this. So, fantastic to be back in Scotland.”

On Sunday, television footage caught a coin bouncing off Kilmarnock striker Kris Boyd’s arm as he warmed up in front of Celtic fans at Rugby Park.

Boyd, who used to play for Rangers, was also verbally abused and hit out at Celtic fans for their behaviour, which also saw some invade the pitch following Scott Brown’s winner.

Instagram Photo

Rangers 5-0 Kilmarnock: Steven Gerrard’s quest for a trophy still on as Alfredo Morelos bags four to send Gers to Scottish Cup quarter-finals

20 Feb

Steven Gerrard’s hopes of finishing his first season as Rangers boss with a trophy remain alive after four Alfredo Morelos goals helped the Ibrox side into the William Hill Scottish Cup quarter-finals.

The Colombian striker took his tally for the season to 27 in a 5-0 win over 10-man Kilmarnock.

Morelos now has 27 goals this season

Gers manager Gerrard essentially admitted on the eve of the fifth-round replay he had given up hope of clawing back Celtic’s eight-point Ladbrokes Premiership lead – meaning it was all or nothing against Steve Clarke’s men.

Andy Halliday also struck as the hosts booked a last-eight date with Aberdeen at Pittodrie on March 3.

Kilmarnock with their well-drilled line-up have proved tricky customers for Rangers this season but there was no hope for the Ayrshiremen after goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann was sent off midway through the first half following an off-the-ball clash with Glen Kamara.

Gerrard savaged his team for lacking hunger in the sorry weekend stalemate with St Johnstone that allowed Celtic to take a giant step towards eight-in-a-row.

Rangers celebrate victory over Kilmarnock

But there was no sign of that malaise this time as Rangers hunted down their visitors with a ravenous look from kick-off.

They were lucky referee Alan Muir took no action against Joe Worrall just two minutes in as the Englishman appeared to block off Eamonn Brophy in the box.

But with Morelos back in action for the first time since his red card at Aberdeen, Gers once again had a focal point back and it took just seven minutes for them to find it.

James Tavernier measured an inch-perfect ball down the right for Daniel Candeias, whose first-time ball was whipped straight to the unmarked Morelos to tap home at the back post.

The Colombian pounces to score (image courtesy of Rangers)

Bachmann pulled off a good save from Scott Arfield soon after but that was the Austrian stopper’s last involvement as he saw red on 25 minutes.

Former Dundee midfielder Kamara hit the deck claiming he had been struck with an elbow as he and Bachmann waited for a corner delivery. Muir took his time as he consulted his assistants before leaving Bachmann stunned as he reached for his top pocket.

Clarke sacrificed Conor McAleny to put on back-up keeper Jamie MacDonald while there was a further blow as debutant Alex Bruce had to be replaced at the same time after going down injured.

Gerrard’s team sensed their chance to put the tie to bed. First Tavernier rattled the underside of the crossbar with a 20-yard rocket – but their second again came from point-blank range on the stroke of half-time.

Candeias threw over another sumptuous delivery, this time from deep in the corner, and Morelos had the easiest header to bring up his quarter-century.

The game was in danger of dwindling down after the break but the introduction of Halliday sent Gers’ tempo soaring.

The left-back won possession on half-way, sprayed forward to Ryan Kent before racing on to finish emphatically from 15 yards out on 73 minutes.

Morelos then wrapped up his hat-trick five minutes later as he fizzed the ball past MacDonald at his near post.

And Rangers’ top-scorer was not done there, swivelling on the ball before sending a low finish into the bottom corner for number five with seven minutes left.

Celtic 5-0 St Johnstone: Scott Sinclair hits hat-trick as Hoops run riot in Scottish Cup

10 Feb

Celtic booked their place in the Scottish Cup sixth round with a thumping 5-0 defeat of St Johnstone – with Scott Sinclair helping himself to a hat-trick at Parkhead.

The Hoops forward squeezed in the opener in the third minute before skipper Scott Brown thundered in a 30-yard drive six minutes later.

Sinclair was loving life on Sunday afternoon

Returning winger James Forrest added a third in the 52nd minute, with Sinclair scoring twice more in a one-sided affair to seal the cup holders’ place in Monday night’s quarter-final draw.

Celtic had beaten Tommy Wright’s side 2-0 both home and away in the Premiership before their midweek win over Hibernian and it was their fifth victory of the season over the Perth side, who are on the slide after five successive defeats.

Brendan Rodgers’ team have now won seven matches out of seven since the turn of the year, scoring 21 goals and conceding none as they turn their attentions to Thursday night’s first leg of a Europa League tie against Valencia.

The visitors’ chances of pulling off a cup shock ended almost before they had started.

When striker Oliver Burke burst all too easily through the Perth defence it looked like he made an error in squaring the ball instead of shooting as Sinclair was at an acute angle.

However, the Hoops winger beat Zander Clark at his near post, with the McDiarmid Park keeper looking culpable.

What remaining belief Saints had – and it could not have been much – evaporated when Brown picked up a clearance and arrowed a drive high past the flailing Clark for his first counter in two years.

The visitors struggled to cope with Celtic’s movement and fluidity.

However, just after the half-hour mark, Parkhead keeper Scott Bain had to throw himself to his right to push away a Chris Kane drive and the home side defended consecutive corners.

Wright swapped midfielder Sean Goss with Tony Watt for the start of the second half while Kristoffer Ajer replaced Celtic centre-back Jozo Simunovic.

The visitors tried to press Celtic high but that left gaps and Burke was sent racing clear by a wonder Ryan Christie pass, but he looked off-balance as his weak attempt at a shot went straight to Clark.

Scott Brown scored a rare goal with James Forrest grabbing Celtic’s other

Moments later in another swift Celtic counter, however, left-back Jonny Hayes, in for injured Emilio Izaguirre, sped through the middle before laying the ball off to Forrest, who slotted in from 12 yards.

Two minutes later, after Forrest had set up Burke, Sinclair tapped in from close range.

A rout similar to the 6-0 win over Saints in October was threatened and it should have been five when Christie headed over a Forrest cross.

Defender Niall Keown, on loan from Partick Thistle, replaced winger Matty Kennedy to make his St Johnstone debut as the visitors sought to limit any further damage.

Christie made way for French striker Odsonne Edouard and, in the final minute, after the latter’s shot fell to him inside the Saints box, Sinclair slammed his third in from 10 yards, taking his tally to an impressive 16 so far this season.

Celtic vs Airdre: Man accused of punching three police horses outside Celtic Park

23 Jan

A football fan is to stand trial accused of punching three police horses outside Celtic Park.

Kevin McGuire, 35, is alleged to have carried out the attacks before Celtic’s Scottish Cup tie against Airdrie.

Four men have been charged with offences related to the Celtic vs Airdree match

Mr McGuire, of Cardonald in Glasgow, is also accused of two police assaults and throwing missiles, including bottles and stones at stewards and police.

Three other men appeared at Glasgow Sheriff Court on charges related to Saturday’s game, which ended in a 3-0 win to Celtic.

Kieran Carvill, 19, from Pollok, is accused of acting in a threatening or abusive manner at London Road.

Mr Carvill faces a second charge of assaulting an unknown person at London Road and repeatedly pushing him on the head and body.

William Winstanley, 23, from Wigan, is accused of behaving in the same manner at Kent Street, allegedly shouting, swearing and gesticulating at other supporters.

He is also charged with being in possession of cocaine.

Shaun Ross, 26, from Bellshill – who did not appear from custody – is charged with breaching the piece after running onto the field at Celtic Park.

The men denied the charges against them and were granted bail by Sheriff Linda Ruxton.

Their trials will take place later this year.

Rangers striker Jermain Defoe will go from Stamford Bridge to Central Park (in Cowdenbeath), a stadium that doubles as stock-car racing track

18 Jan

Jermain Defoe will make his Rangers debut on Friday night when his new club travel to Cowdenbeath for their Scottish Cup clash.

The striker swapped Bournemouth for Glasgow at the start of January and his first appearance is a world away from his last first team outing.

In December, Bournemouth travelled to Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, with Defoe getting a two-minute run out. On Friday, though, the 36-year-old will turn out at Central Park, home to Cowdenbeath since 1917.

Cowdenbeath’s Central Park is where Defoe will make his Rangers debut

In the lives of many Chelsea supporters, stocks represent ownership in some fancy corporation, but at Central Park it represents racing, with the ground doubling as a stock car venue.

The oval track encircles the pitch and has hosted the sport since 1965.

“He has never tried to control a ball on a skid mark from a stock car? I do that every week,” Cowdenbeath captain David Marsh said about the Rangers striker.

“Defoe won’t have a clue what to do but maybe that’s wishful thinking. I’ve seen cars driving about the pitch and you can see the tyre marks – he won’t be used to that.”

Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, which holds 41,631 fans, is where Defoe last played

Cowdenbeath’s biggest attendance was actually against Rangers when 25,868 showed up at Central Park in 1949. Central Park currently has a capacity of 4,370 with seating to the north and open terracing to the south, east and west side.

The club say the south side “is a full uncovered terrace with a food vendor and toilet facilities while there is further uncovered terracing behind each goal (east and west of the ground). The west of the terracing was the location of the popular ‘Coo Shed’ until it was blow down by a storm in 1983.”

Central Park also doubles as a stock-car racing venue

On the main stand, it says it is divided into two sections – The Alex Menzies Stand (‘New Stand’) and the West Stand (‘Old Grandstand).

“The old grandstand, the first of its kind at the time, held 3,500 people but was partially destroyed by fire in 1992,” the League Two club continue.

“The Alex Menzies Stand was constructed in 1993, complete with new dressing rooms, board room, function suite and office facilities, and sits side-by-side with the remnants of the old stand.

“The main stand provides access to a food vendor and toilets. The Club Bar and Alex Menzies lounge are contained within while the Club Shop is located next to the food vendor at the back of the stand.”

Stock-car racing has been held there since 1965 and the racing community refer to Central Park as the ‘Cowdenbeath Racewall’. It hosts round four meetings per month – between March and November – and attracts large crowds

Marsh is hopeful Rangers manager Steven Gerrard plays his new signing.

“I’m a Rangers fan and you want to face the best,” he explained.

“Even if they rested all their big players they could bring in reserves who should be capable of winning.

“I’ve watched Match of the Day and Super Sunday for years so I know Defoe’s a top striker. [Alfredo] Morlelos is also a handful as he’s the top scorer in Scotland.

“So we all want to see the best and the strongest Rangers side take us on.”

In addition to stock-cars, greyhound racing and speedway have also been hosted at Central Park

Marsh will be pleased to know Gerrard plans to play Defoe at some point.