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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: CELT BEATS IBROX ‘DEMONS’, EFE ON THE LOOK-OUT, DONS BOSS BACKS FLOP, LIVI’S BATTLE CRY

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MIKEY JOHNSTON believes he has dynamited his Ibrox demons after Celtic’s 2-0 win over Rangers before the international break.

The winger had been a two-time loser at the home of the Hoops’ Glasgow rivals in his previous visits last season.

Brendan Rodgers pushed him up front as a lone striker with Odsonne Edouard on the substitutes’ bench in the December clash which the home team won with a deflected goal from Ryan Jack.

It didn’t get much better for the Scotland Under-21 international when Neil Lennon fielded him in the next visit across the Clyde in May. On this occasion, Steven Gerrard’s team won 2-0 with an early free-kick from James Tavernier and a second-half strike from Scott Arfield.

Johnston didn’t last the 90 minutes in either loss with Edouard coming on in the first game and Scott Sinclair in the follow-up.

The 20-year-old flanker, who is injured and will miss the champions’ visit to Hamilton on Saturday, limped off near the end of his third appearance, but he had no complaints.

He was replaced by Jonny Hayes who scored the killer goal in stoppage-time to add to Edouard’s first-half counter.

Johnston, speaking to the Evening Times, said: “It was good – obviously a lot better than the previous two I’d played in last season.

“I was delighted we got the win.

“There is always a pressure going into a game at Ibrox – especially when you’ve lost there twice before. We maybe had a bit of a point to prove.

“It’s only the start of the season, but we were delighted to get the first win against them.”

EFE AMBROSE, the former Celtic and Hibs defender, is on the look-out for a new club – and revealed he would consider a return to Scotland.

The Nigerian international is a free agent after his brief stint with Derby County in the Championship.

Ambrose, who has been signed twice by Neil Lennon, had two years at Easter Road before making his move to join Frank Lampard at the Midlands club. The boss, of course, rejoined Chelsea in the summer and the versatile back-four star’s contract was not renewed.

The 30-year-old, speaking to the Daily Record, admitted: “I would never say never about the possibility of coming back to Scottish football.

“I have had some great times in Scotland.

“My times there, with Celtic and Hibs, were amongst the best of my career and if there was interest there then it is something I would definitely consider.

“It is a great place to play football and I feel the Scottish league is growing and getting better.

“There is a real profile to it with the likes of Neil Lennon and Steven Gerrard now at Celtic and Rangers”.

DEREK McINNES believes his former striker Stevie May can get back to his best at St Johnstone.

But the Dons boss hopes the frontman who cost him £400,000 from Preston two years ago, does not kick-start his career when the clubs meet on Saturday.

May, 26, who scored only eight goals in 74 appearances at Pittodrie, ended a frustrating period and had his contract ripped up before he returned to the Perth club on a two-year deal.

McInnes, speaking to the Evening Express, said: “Stevie had made it clear he was keen to focus on going to St Johnstone.

“He gave everything to try to make it work with us. Sometimes with players it doesn’t work out for some other reason.

“Maybe they don’t apply themselves right or don’t commit themselves. That certainly could not be aimed at Stevie.

“If all the boys you worked with were like Stevie in terms of how they actually apply themselves it would be easier being a manager.

“That hard work that he clearly has as a player I am sure that will hold Stevie in good stead going forward.

“He is still young enough to go again. I have no doubt Stevie will do well again.”

RYAN KENT’S £7million transfer fee would keep Livingston in the top flight for seven years, reckons assistant boss David Martindale.

However, the East Lothian outfit hope to turn over Rangers when they meet them at Ibrox on Saturday.

Martindale speaking to the media, said: “You do notice a wee change in training – they are going to Ibrox to play in front of 50,000, so you tend to get that wee bit extra out of them.

“If they go there and carry out the instructions, then, hopefully, we will get something from the game. But Rangers are a lot better than they were last year, so it is going to be a lot harder.

“They have a budget of £55million, ours is about £1million, so to get anything from the game would be massive.

“The players need to go there with a self-belief that we can get something. Every game is the chance to get points and Saturday is no different. Is it going to be that little bit harder? Of course it is.

“When Steven Gerrard first came in, he was still in a transitional phase, he was new to management, it was new players. But it is now predominantly his team and you can see that in the way they play.

“They have just spent £7million on Ryan Kent. That money would keep us in the SPFL for seven years, but we do not go there fearing anyone.

“It is a chance for our players to make an impression, too. Go and show Steven Gerrrard how good a club Livingston are and you are as an individual.”

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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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