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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: FLOP LAFFERTY’S PAY CUT TO JOIN GERS, DONS’ ‘NO’ TO McKENNA, HOOPS-LINKED STAR REJECTS NEW DEAL, JAGS AXE COACH

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KYLE LAFFERTY has revealed he took a PAY CUT to join Rangers from Hearts last summer.

And the Northern Ireland international winger admitted he would like to rejoin Craig Levein at Tynecastle after being given the boot by Rangers.

He also said he had no hard feelings against Steven Gerrard who made the decision to shred his contract with 12 months still to run.

His return to boyhood idols last August didn’t quite work out after he claimed only six goals from 30 appearances and dropped down the pecking order.

The writing was on the wall for the lanky flanker when the Ibrox side brought in Jermain Defoe on a reported weekly contract worth £65,000 from Bournemouth in January.

The former England international provided the main threat to Alfredo Morelos’ first team place as Gerrard attempted in vain to derail the Celtic juggernaut on their way to their eighth successive title.

Lafferty, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “When I joined Rangers I took a pay cut and planned to finish my career there.

“Things change at all clubs, but it’s been difficult, the manager had his opinion and we will agree to disagree on that.

“I’m gutted it didn’t go well, but I don’t have a bad word to say about Steven. He gave me the opportunity to come back to the club.

“Steven had his view on me as a player and you don’t want to be told by any manager at any club that they are going down a different route and you won’t be needed next season.

“He was straight with me and told me I wouldn’t be anywhere near the first team. No matter who you are or who you play with, that’s hard to hear.”

Lafferty added: “I’d like to stay in Scotland, but I don’t know what to do.

“I’ve enjoyed playing abroad, I enjoy that type of football and the lifestyle of being abroad as my family would enjoy that, but it’s not about just going somewhere hot and sunny.

“My preference would be to stay in the Premiership and my ideal move would be to go back to Hearts as I enjoyed my time there.”

SCOTT McKENNA has been left frustrated by Aberdeen’s decision to reject his transfer demand.

The Scotland international centre-back still has four years on his Pittodrie contract to run after agreeing a new deal last season.

McKenna, 22, was a £3.5million bid from Brendan Rodgers at Celtic knocked back by the Dons last August while Aston Villa, Stole City, Swansea and Hull City were credited with an interest. Queens Park Rangers, managed by ex-Ibrox boss Mark Warburton, and Nottingham Forest are reported to have launched £3million submissions in recent weeks.

The club have rejected all offers which promoted the defender to demand a move yesterday which was immediately booted into touch by the Dons.

There has been speculation the Hoops may come back into the reckoning – especially if they sell Jozo Simunovic to French outfit Lille.

It’s going to be an interesting run-in to the transfer deadline on both sides of the border. The Premier League and Championship window closes on Thursday at 5pm while the Scottish market remains open until Monday, September 2.

STEPHEN O’DONNELL, who was linked with Celtic during their hunt for a new right-back replacement for Mikael Lustig, has knocked back a new contract offer from Kilmarnock.

The one-time Parkhead youth player became a key player during Steve Clarke’s two-year reign at Rugby Park and has started off in Angelo Alessio’s line-up this season.

O’Donnell, who has made nine Scotland international appearances, is understood to have rejected a three-year offer.

Killie will go back to the drawing board in an attempt to keep the defender who is a free agent next summer.

GARY CALDWELL has been threatened by a transfer budget cut as he attempts to lead Partick Thistle back to the Premier League.

The extent of cash-saving Firhill chiefs was the decision to scrap their own coach transport for away games, according to a report in The Sun.

It is understood manager Caldwell and his squad had to sort out their own travel arrangements for last weekend’s Championship opener at Alloa which ended in a 1-1 draw.

And the Jags boss and players also expect to make their own way to Greenock for their next away game against Morton a fortnight on Friday.

Thistle face a 200-mile round trip to Arbroath on September 13 and will visit Inverness Caley Thistle on September 28.

There are also reports plans for a new training ground have been shelved.

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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