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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: CELTIC FAVOURITE RETURNS, HECK CHARGED, NO DONS RISKS WITH McKENNA , DONNELLY’S NEW DEAL

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FORMER Celtic favourite Joe Ledley is poised to return to football after being out of action since January when he quit Derby County.

The Welsh international has been in limbo ever since – as highlighted in Scotzine – but is now back training with former club Cardiff City.

Ledley, 32, who was linked with the Hoops during the pre-season, held talks with Dutch side Fortuna Sittard and Cypriot outfit Pafos FC in the summer, but returned to the UK without deals being struck.

Neil Warnock, the Championship side’s manager who worked with Ledley at Crystal Palace, has offered facilities to the player who made more than 250 appearances for the Welsh side before being snapped by Neil Lennon for the Hoops when his contract expired in the summer of 2010.

Ledley, who left the Parkhead side in a £900,000 switch for the Selhurst Park outfit in January 2014, is NOT expected to be offered signing terms by his old club.

However, they are happy to help him regain a level of fitness. The cultured mid-line operator has not played a competitive game since August 25 last year when Derby beat Preston 2-0 while Frank Lampard was the Midland team’s gaffer.

PAUL HECKINBOTTOM has been charged by the SFA over his misconduct in Hibs’ 1-1 draw with Celtic in Edinburgh at the weekend.

The Easter Road boss blew his top following Ryan Christie’s equaliser and kicked a plastic water bottle which struck assistant referee Alan Mulvanny.

Heckingbottom also admitted he swore at fourth official Nick Walsh.

Ref Kevin Clancy red-carded the ex-Leeds and Barnsley gaffer and sent him to the stand and the Englishman has now had a notice of complaint served by the SFA.

DEREK McINNES insists he will not rush crocked centre-half Scott McKenna to bolster his dodgy defence after Aberdeen’s 5-0 collapse against Rangers at Ibrox on Saturday.

The Scotland international has been out for five games and the Pittodrie boss hopes he will be fit to the visit of Hibs at the weekend, but insisted he will not put the player’s recovery from a hamstring tear at risk.

Andrew Considine will return after missing the Ibrox hammering with a bout of gastroenteritis at the team hotel hours before kick-off.

McInnes, speaking to the Scottish Sun, said: “Scott McKenna is potentially touch and go for the Hibs game. However, we will need to be sensible with that.

“We hope after the international break that McKenna will be back, and that Stephen Gleeson will be close to a return — as well as maybe Ash Taylor.

“I need my experienced players and, hopefully, we can get Craig Bryson back soon as well.”

The Dons have suffered horrendous setbacks and youngster Scott Wright is out for the rest of the season following surgery on cruciate ligament damage while former Manchester United James Wilson is sidelined with a knee injury and Funso Ojo is recovering from a torn hamstring.

LIAM DONNELLY has agreed a contract extension with Motherwell.

The 23-year-old Northern Ireland international midfielder has signed a new deal that will keep him at Fir Park to the summer of 2023 at least.

Donnelly only played 12 times last term after arriving for an undisclosed fee from Hartlepool United, but he has claimed eight goals – two against Celtic in a 5-2 loss in August – in 11 games this time out.

The former defender won his second cap under Michael O’Neill in a 1-0 friendly win over Luxembourg last month.

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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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