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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: CELTIC POISED TO NAME TALENT SUPREMO, SNODGRASS QUITS SCOTS, FINDLAY THANKS BOSS

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NICK HAMMOND is set to be named as Celtic’s permanent Head of Recruitment within the next 48 hours.

The 52-year-old former Reading and West Brom talent scout joined the Hoops’ backroom staff in an interim capacity in the summer after Lee Congerton quit to be reunited with Brendan Rodgers at Leicester City.

Now Hammond, who has impressed chief executive Peter Lawwell, will be handed the job on a permanent basis.

Neil Lennon faced a frantic pre-season transfer window as he had to replace the likes of Mikael Lustig, Dedryck Boyata, Emilio Izaguirre and, of course, Kieran Tierney when he left in a record-breaking £25million switch to Arsenal in August.

Loan players Oliver Burke (West Brom), Jeremy Toljan (Borussia Dortmund), Timothy Weah (Paris Saint-Germain) and Filip Benkovic (Leicester City) all returned to their parent clubs at the end of the treble treble campaign.

Lennon, with the assistance of Hammond, brought in 11 new players including the likes of £7million central defender Christopher Jullien, £3million left-back Boli Bolingoli (Rapid Vienna) and £1.6million defender Hatem Abd Elhamed as he restructured the squad.

The champions’ boss has admitted he will be looking for additions when the window reopens in January and Hammond is expected to be busy over the run-in to the end of the year.

FAREWELL…Robert Snodgrass (back row, second right) has quit the Scotland international scene. This is the team that started the 2-2 World Cup draw against England at Hampden in 2017.

ROBERT SNODGRASS, the West Ham midfielder, has announced his retirement from the Scotland international team at the age of 32.

The 28 times-capped has called a halt to his appearances for his country with his last game coming in Moscow on Friday when Steve Clarke’s side were thumped 4-0 in their Euro 2020 qualifier.

The former Livingston star wrote on Instagram: “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live my childhood dream.

“It’s been such a special feeling pulling on that Scotland jersey since I was 16 years old.

“There’s been many highs throughout my international career which I’ll always remember with fondness, including my debut against Northern Ireland, winning 2 international player of the year awards, and my hat-trick in Malta.

“It’s now the right time for me to step aside though and retire from the Scotland national team and let the boys and younger players take my place and hopefully push the squad forward.

“I want to especially thank the Tartan Army for their special support you’ve showed me over the years. I will never forget this.

“A massive thank you also goes to everyone at the SFA for looking after me since I was a young boy, including Frank Reilly, Doc McLean, Jonesy, managers, coaches, staff, the physios, massage therapists, kit men and the media staff I’ve worked with over the years.

“I will now watch as a fan and I hope to see us play at a major tournament again soon – fingers crossed the boys do it come March!”

STUART FINDLAY paid tribute to former Kilmarnock boss Steve Clarke for giving him the opportunity to play for Scotland.

The Rugby Park centre-half was given the nod to make his debut in the Euro 2020 qualifier against San Marino at Hampden on Sunday night.

And Findlay marked the occasion by scoring with a header in the 6-0 triumph with John McGinn claiming a hat-trick and Lawrence Shankland and Stuart Armstrong chipping in with the others.

The former Celtic and Newcastle defender, speaking to the Herald, said: “I basically owe my career to Steve Clarke over the past couple of years. From being in and out of a struggling Kilmarnock side to being one of the main players in a team which comes third in the league.

“There is only one guy I can thank for that. He put his trust in me, gave me the deal that I got at Kilmarnock and now he’s brought me into the Scotland squad.

“I owe him a lot and, hopefully, I have repaid him.

“My relationship with him is key. Thankfully he put his trust in me. I know people will say it’s San Marino, but you have to go out and put in a professional performance and, hopefully, I’ve done that.

“It was one of those games that you maybe don’t want when you’re a little bit nervous because you are expected to win by a heavy margin. But when you consider how bad the conditions were, to score six goals and keep a clean sheet, it was about doing what was expected of us and we did that.

“We got the three points and got a few goals, so, hopefully, we sent the fans who turned out in that terrible weather home happy.”

Findlay’s goal was also a first for any Kilmarnock player in over half a century, with Tommy McLean’s strike against Wales in May 1969 the last time that a player representing the Ayrshire club scored for Scotland.

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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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