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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: EX-SCOTS STAR HAILS CELTIC AND GERS, HIBS IN ROSS TALKS, HEARTS MISS OUT

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FORMER Celtic midfielder Kris Commons has hailed the European exploits of his old team AND Rangers.

The Hoops are guaranteed a place in the Europa League knock-out stages following their dramatic 2-1 triumph over Lazio in Rome last night.

And Steven Gerrard’s side edged closer to joining their Glasgow rivals in the last 32 following a 2-0 victory over former European champions Porto at Ibrox.

The double success moved Scotland to within one place of securing a second Champions League place for season 2021/22.

Ex-Scotland international star Commons, speaking to the BBC, said: “It’s huge for both clubs – Lazio and Porto, these are big clubs.

“So, the fact Rangers and Celtic are not only going toe to toe with them, but beating them is a real statement for Scottish football.

“I don’t think there’s any team in European football who would want to go to Ibrox or Celtic Park.”

Commons added: “Neil Lennon had his critics when he first came through the door. There were a lot of people who weren’t happy with his appointment.

“I always said from day one, the one thing he had over Brendan Rodgers’ unbelievable run as Celtic manager was that Neil Lennon has proven with a Celtic squad of similar style that he got big results in Europe.

“Neil Lennon was brought in for one thing – to keep the ship going forward, but, ultimately, to get big results in Europe and he’s proven that not only in Rome, but I thought he was very unlucky not to get more than a draw in Rennes, as well.

“The one thing that Steven Gerrard brings is an entourage of people interested in how he is doing. The fact he’s still going toe to toe with Celtic in the league means it is all pluses for him and can only enhance his reputation.”

Celtic have two games still to play in Group E – Rennes at Parkhead on November 28 and Cluj in Romania on December 12 – four days after they have played their Ibrox foes in the Betfred League Cup Final at Hampden.

Gerrard’s men can take a giant step forward if they get a good result against Dick Advocaat’s Feyenoord in Rotterdam at the end of the month and they pull down the curtain on the section with a home game against Switzerland’s Young Boys.

HIBS have spoken to former St Mirren and Sunderland boss Jack Ross about becoming their next gaffer, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.

The Easter Road are urgently seeking a replacement for Paul Heckingbottom who was sacked in the aftermath of the 5-2 hammering in the Betfred League Cup semi-final from Celtic on Saturday night.

Welshman Nathan Jones, sacked by Stoke City last week, has also been approached.

However, Ross, 43, is the early frontrunner, as Scotzine reported.

HEARTS failed in a dramatic move for former Ross County boss Derek Adams – after he’d already agreed to become Morecambe manager.

The ex-Motherwell midfielder has been out of football for six-and-a-half months after leaving Plymouth.

The Tynecastle outfit, who parted company with Craig Levein a week ago, made contact with the 44-year-old yesterday afternoon hoping to speak to him about replacing the vacancy, according to a report in the Scottish Sun.

Adams, however, had already given his word to Morecombe co-chairmen Graham Howse and Rod Taylor that he would succeed Jim Bentley who quit last week after eight years in charge to become AFC Fylde boss.

It is also believed the Edinburgh club’s owner Ann Budge is looking to draw up a shortlist within the next 48-hours ahead of interviews next week.

 

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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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