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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: MYSTERY OF CELTIC’S 61-GOAL MISSING LINK, HOOPS TARGET HEADS FOR ITALY, KAMBERI ‘HAPPY’ AT HIBS

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SCOTT SINCLAIR has been Celtic’s top scorer with 61 goals during their historic treble treble seasons after arriving as one of Brendan Rodgers’ first signings in a £4.5million switch from Aston Villa in August 2016.

The 30-year-old winger has entered into the final 12 months of his contract, but looked to be heading for the Parkhead exit before the English transfer deadline on August 9 with newly-promoted Sheffield United and Championship outfits Derby County and Preston monitoring his situation.

Speculation of his departure heightened when Neil Lennon left him out of the squad for the first leg of the Champions League third round qualifier against Cluj in Romania and the Irishman explained there were clubs “interested” in the Englishman.

However, the window came and went and Sinclair is still a Celtic player – and that will remain the case unless he gets a move within the next fortnight before the end of the European signing deadline.

Remarkably, he has played only SIXTY-SIX minutes of competitive football this season – utilised as a substitute in four games – and his only start was against Rennes in the goalless friendly at Parkhead. Even then, he didn’t last the full game and was replaced by Karamoko Dembele in the 77th minute.

The former Chelsea, Swansea and Manchester City attacker doesn’t look to have a future at the champions and reports indicate he is not pleased at being cast as a bit-part player with Mikey Johnston, Lewis Morgan and Marian Shved ahead of him in the pecking order for the wide positions.

The mystery of the missing 61-goal link could be solved within the next two weeks, as Scotzine reported earlier this month.

CELTIC appear to have lost out on Partizan Belgrade’s £5million-rated centre-half Strahinja Pavlovic.

Neil Lennon watched the 18-year-old defender in Europa League action against Kilmarnock’s conquerors Connah’s Quay Nomads last month, but the top prospect is heading for Serie A outfit Lazio.

Pavlovic was linked with a move to Juventus earlier this year, but their interest cooled and, according to a report in the Daily Record, the Under-21 international has agreed a five-year contract with the Roman outfit.

FLORIAN KAMBERI has admitted he is happy at Hibs, despite a £2million link with a return to Switzerland with Basel.

The striker was on target as the Edinburgh side overcame Championship outfit Morton 5-3 in a thrilling Betfred League Cup-tie to battle through to meet Kilmarnock at Rugby Park in the quarter-final next month.

Kamberi, speaking to the Daily Record, said: “I deal with speculation really well. Every player has his ambitions, but I’m happy playing here and scoring goals.

“You never know what is going to happen in the future, but the talk of big-money move is a motivation. It shows I’m doing something right. I’m working hard and it’s paying off.

“But it doesn’t mean I can stop now they are looking at me. It doesn’t affect me. It just pushes me on even more. It’s a good sign when you hear something like this, but it’s important to keep your feet on the ground and keep working harder.

“All this is not in my hands. My job is to work on the pitch for Hibs and score goals to help the team.”

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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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