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Ian Bankier Today Offered Celtic Fans No Assurances Over The Rumoured Appointment Of Bernard Higgins To A Senior Security Role

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The Parkhead supremo was quizzed over suggestions Police Scotland Assistant Chief Constable Higgins could be lined up for a role at Celtic.

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But he was reluctant to give any concrete answers to the rumours after major fan protests to the possible appointment.

As quoted by The Scottish Sun, Bankier was asked: “Recently there has been strong murmurs that the club are looking to appoint Benard Higgins into a senior security role.

“Will the board rethink that? And before we get a stock answer, can we get an assurance from the board that they will not appoint someone who had a massively negative impact on the mental health of many young Celtic fans back in 2012.

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“To appoint him into any sort of role would be a massive slap in the face to those fans.”

But Bankier refused to provide any assurances over any possible operational roles: responding: “It won’t surprise you to know that I am not going to give assurances on what would be an operational roles. I am not giving any assurances, not for today.

“What I will re-iterate, health and safety at big arenas is a massive issue.

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“It’s a big topic, it is high level, it is strategic. It is not a role that polices Celtic fans, that is not the role we are seeking to fill.

“When we are ready to announce it, we will announce it.”

Last month the Green Brigade announced a silent protest against the rumoured appointment for the match against Livingston.

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The fan group stated: “Higgins played a major part of the implementation of the much-hated Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act and passionately defended the legislation within the Scottish Parliament.

“Assistant Chief Constable Higgins’ remit involved strategic decisions on the policing of football across Scotland.

“His appointment would be no laughing matter, however. For hundreds of Celtic fans this would represent the ultimate insult.”

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The group then displayed a banner protesting any appointment which depicted ACC Higgins alongside the words: “His evil eyes have no place in Paradise”.

In another protest, Celtic fans lobbed tennis balls onto the pitch before the away match against Dundee delaying kick-off.

The balls were covered with an image of ACC Higgins scored out with a banner raised which read: “Fans or Higgins? The ball’s in your court.”

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Eddie Howe plots LaLiga raid; also wants Prem duo in Newcastle defensive upgrade

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newcastle boss eddie howe claps fans following home draw with norwich city

Newcastle boss Eddie Howe wants to bring experienced defensive trio Kieran Trippier, Ben Mee and James Tarkowski to St James’ Park, according to reports.

The new Magpies boss wants to add more knowhow to his squad in the club’s fight for Premier League survival. To that end, he wants Atletico Madrid man Trippier and Clarets duo Mee and Tarkowksi to add that to his defensive back line.

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The report in The Sun claims that England right-back Trippier, who is also wanted by Manchester United, would cost around £25million and demand big wages.

Howe also wants Turf Moor pair Mee and Tarkowski, who are both out of contract in the summer.

Burnley’s struggles this season have come from not scoring enough goals, with their defence doing fairly well.

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Tarkowski has been spoken of as a Newcastle target for some time, with Steve Bruce previously wanting the England man.

Meanwhile, the report adds that Hoffenheim’s Florian Grillitsch and Dusan Vlahovic of Fiorentina are also on Howe’s radar.

The former is a centre-back who can also play in midfield and is a full Austria international. Vlahovic, meanwhile, continues to be linked with a switch to the Premier League.

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Manchester United, Manchester City, Tottenham and Arsenal have all been mooted as potential destinations for the free-scoring Serbia striker.

Newcastle secured their first win of the Premier League season in their 15th game on Saturday.

Callum Wilson scored the all-important winner in the 1-0 victory over relegation rivals Burnley.

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Emenalo turns down Toon

Meanwhile, Newcastle have been dealt a significant blow after Michael Emenalo reportedly turned down an offer to become the club’s director of football.

The former Chelsea technical director has been the club’s’ top target for the position ever since the Saudi-led £305million-takeover.

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But according to the Telegraph, the 56-year-old decided the role is not a good fit. The report adds that Newcastle do not fit Emenalo’s ambitious plans.

READ MORE: Howe makes bold Newcastle prediction and reveals difference victory makes

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Paper Talk: Rangnick wants £50m-rated Villa man to take Pogba spot; Everton line up shock Benitez replacement

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Ralf Rangnick wants to bring in Aston Villa star John McGinn to replace Paul Pogba at Old Trafford, while Sunday’s transfer gossip claims that Everton are lining up Roma boss Jose Mourinho to replace the struggling Rafa Benitez.

VILLA STAR PERFECT FOR RANGNICK STYLE 

John McGinn is still on Manchester United’s radar, with new interim boss Ralf Rangnick keen on landing the outstanding Aston Villa midfielder.

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United are expected to be in the market for midfield reinforcements, as doubts continue to surround the long-term futures of the likes of Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Donny van de Beek.

Amadou Haidara is expected to become Rangnick’s first signing next month, but only if United pay his £32million release clause now.

England duo Kalvin Phillips and Declan Rice have both been on the club’s radar over the last 18 months. However, McGinn has once again caught the eye with his superb displays for club and country.

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The Sun previously reported United’s interest back in the summer of 2019, but Villa refused to play ball at that time.

The report adds that Villa wanted £50million back then so would want even more now.

McGinn perfect for Rangnick style

McGinn currently has three-and-a-half years left to run on the deal he signed at Villa Park last December, leaving Steven Gerrard’s men in a strong position to demand whatever fee they like.

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The 27-year-old has scored three goals and provided one assist in 13 Premier League games so far this term.

His ability on the ball and unbelievable work rate is said to be something that United scouts are understood to have noted. McGinn’s endless energy also makes him a perfect option for Rangnick’s high pressing style.

Any move now depends on what sort of fee Villa will demand, although they could completely bat away any bids – given the player’s contract status.

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The Ralf Rangnick effect? How Man Utd’s top-four chances are changing under the German tactician


EVERTON READY TO TURN TO MOURINHO

Jose Mourinho has emerged as a potential target for Everton if they decide to pull the plug on Rafa Benitez’s reign. (Sunday Mirror)

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Everton’s board is divided over the future of Benitez. But the Spaniard is safe while he still has the full backing of club owner Farhad Moshiri. (Sunday Mirror)

Borussia Dortmund chief Michael Zorc has admitted striker Erling Braut Haaland, who is rumoured to have a £75m buyout clause in his contract, can leave the club “under certain conditions”. (Sunday Mirror)

Tottenham have joined Manchester United and Newcastle in wanting to bring in winger Ousmane Dembele, whose contract with Barcelona runs out in the summer. (Mundo Deportivo)

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Newcastle United have prioritised the signing of England attacking midfielder Jesse Lingard in January. They are likely to make him the club’s highest earner. (Sunday Times)

SHOCK PICKFORD EXIT A POSSIBILITY

Jordan Pickford reacts during Everton vs Watford, October 2021

Rafa Benitez is open to selling keeper Jordan Pickford to raise funds at Everton. However, the asking price makes that hard. (Sun on Sunday)

Amadou Haidara will become Ralf Rangnick’s first signing next month – if Manchester United pay his £32m release clause now. (Sun on Sunday)

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Wolves left-back Rayan Ait-Nouri is a shock £30m target for French giants Paris Saint-Germain. (Sun on Sunday)

Eddie Howe wants Atletico Madrid’s Kieran Trippier plus Burnley’s Ben Mee and James Tarkowski at Newcastle. (Sun on Sunday)

Manchester United have no interest in signing Philippe Coutinho from Barcelona. However, they are interested in Barca’s Netherlands midfielder Frenkie de Jong. (El Nacional)

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AND MORE TRANSFER GOSSIP

Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang applauding the fans 2021

Mikel Arteta has insisted there is no rift between him and Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. (Mail on Sunday)

Former Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo has turned down an offer to become Newcastle United’s director of football after the club could not match his ambitious plans. (Sunday Telegraph)

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Leeds have agreed a deal with Espanyol to sign striker Mateo Joseph Fernandez from the Spanish club. The 18-year-old was born in Spain, but qualifies for England through his parents. (Mail on Sunday)

Samuel Umtiti is one of the options being considered by AC Milan as they look to reinforce their defence following an injury to Denmark centre-back Simon Kjaer. (Sport)

Yaya Toure is a phone call away from gaining a coaching role with Arsenal. (Mail on Sunday)

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