Rangers and Celtic news LIVE: Jimmy Bell dies as tributes flood in, Jota 'wants Hoops stay

THE focus turns elsewhere for Celtic and Rangers after Sunday's final Old Firm of the season.

Celtic are closing in on the title thanks to the draw 1-1 at Parkhead and will be looking to wrap it up in the coming days.

While Rangers have a mammoth Europa League semi-final tie this Thursday against RB Leipzig.

Keep up date with all the latest news right here with our live blog.

  • Craig Mahood

    Misunderstood

    Maurice Ross says Bell was 'misunderstood' and said he had a 'heart the size of a house'.

    He said: "Ahh Jimmy Bell!

    "Undoubtedly the most prepared and thorough kit man to have walked the earth!

    "A misunderstood man. Had the heart the size of a house! Behind the hard exterior was a warm and gentle soul!

    "Loved his job and the Rangers. Heartbreaking news! Love ya Jimmy."

  • Craig Mahood

    Nacho writes

    Mols commented on Nacho Novo's own tribute.

    Novo wrote: "I can't believe the sad news this morning. RIP Jimmy."

  • Craig Mahood

    Mols heartbroken

    Legendary striker Michael Mols has paid tribute to 'Mr Rangers.'

    "Absolutely devastated to hear the news of the passing away of Mr Jimmy Bell, Mr Rangers. The legend, my friend. RIP Jimmy GBNF."

  • Craig Mahood

    Gerrard tribute

    Former boss Steven Gerrard has posted his own tribute to Bell on social media.

    Posting the picture that Rangers released when announcing the news, Gerrard wrote: "RIP Jimmy."

  • Craig Mahood

    Park continues

    "He was excited for Thursday night’s game at Ibrox, particularly having experienced a European semi-final before under Walter Smith.

    “Rangers and Scottish football as a whole, have lost a legend and a friend today. He was a family man, a devoted father, grandfather and husband.

    "Jimmy will be sorely missed and I send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Bell family at this difficult time on behalf of Rangers Football Club.

    "Please respect the privacy of the Bell family at this difficult time. Funeral arrangements will be communicated in due course."

  • Craig Mahood

    Douglas Park reacts

    The Rangers chairman revealed his devastation at the news from this morning and said Bell dedicated his life to the club.

    He said: “As a club, we are absolutely devastated to learn of the loss of our colleague and more importantly, our dear friend, Jimmy Bell.

    “Jimmy dedicated his life to Rangers Football Club. Having worked under managers from Graeme Souness through to Giovanni, he experienced some of the greatest days in our 150-year history.

    "Of course, he was here during some of the lowest points, and showed selfless dedication, regardless of the challenge ahead of him.

    “Jimmy’s work ethic was second to none. He dedicated countless hours to preparation for each training session and game.

    "No job was too big or too small for him, and he thrived on working for his boyhood club.

    “I spoke with Jimmy regularly, having known him from his time as a mechanic and bus driver at Park’s."

  • Craig Mahood

    Rangers statement

    Gers confirmed the news a short time ago.

    A Rangers statement read: "Rangers Football Club are today devastated to announce the death of our much-loved, legendary kit man, Jimmy Bell.

    "Jimmy, who has served the club for over 30 years and been a friend and confidant to numerous generations of players and staff, will be so sadly missed by everyone at the Rangers Football Club.

    "A former employee of Parks’ of Hamilton, Jimmy initially drove the Rangers team buses to matches across the country, before moving on to his current role as First Team Head of Kit."

  • Craig Mahood

    Jimmy Bell tributes

    Ronald de Boer first announced the news on Instagram.

    He posted a picture alongside Bell and current boss Van Bronckhorst from the recent legends game.

    He said: "With great sadness the news came to me that Jimmy Bell passed away.

    "You will be missed Jimmy.

    “The best kitman in the world."

  • Craig Mahood

    RIP Jimmy

    Sad news this morning that Rangers kitman Jimmy Bell has died aged 57.

    He served the club for over 30 years and was close to the playing staff with many recalling their time with him years on.

    Rangers announced the news this morning after earlier social media reports.

    Ronald de Boer posted the news on his own social media page before the announcement and other past players and staff have done likewise since.

  • Craig Mahood

    Have your say

  • Craig Mahood

    Good chance

    Nicholas added that he thinks Rangers would have a better chance of winning the competition than they do against Leipzig.

    He added: "I have always said the measure of top teams is how they do in Europe. You have to give Rangers credit for getting to the Europa League semi-finals.

    "I also think they would have an even better chance if they were to get to the final against Eintracht Frankfurt or West Ham United than they do in Thursday's game against Red Bull.

    "If Rangers could progress then they would be 90 minutes away from winning a European trophy on a neutral ground.

    "What a chance that would be."

  • Craig Mahood

    Big achievement

    Charlie Nicholas believes Rangers reaching the Europa League final would be as big as winning the Premiership title

    He told the Express: "If Rangers can defy the odds and make the Europa League final then it would be as big as winning the league.

    "It definitely would be. It maybe wouldn’t have been if it had been to stop the craziness of 10-in-a-row because that was just too personal.

    "The fact is that Celtic are look set to win the title back after just one season.

    "If Rangers were to overturn the 1-0 deficit at Ibrox against Red Bull Leipzig and make a major European final then that would be a major achievement."

  • Craig Mahood

    Top character

    Thommo heaped praise on Gers' mentality having come through a tough set of fixtures yet still remaining competitive.

    Thomson said: “Rangers were the better team against Celtic on Sunday and they were the fitter team.

    “I sometimes think when you are at the business end of the season you want to be playing all the time.

    “You’d think with their involvement in Europe, Rangers would have been dead on their feet in the latter stages of the Old Firm games.

    “Yet it was the complete opposite, which is testament to the character and desire of Rangers."

  • Craig Mahood

    More on Joe

    Thomson knows what it takes to reach a major European final, having been a crucial part of the Gers team who made it to Manchester in 2008 for the Uefa Cup final against Zenit St Petersburg.

    He’s quietly confident the class of 2022 can repeat the feat with Aribo deployed as a false No 9 against the Germans in the second leg.

    Thomson said: “Joe is great when people come tight to him and he is excellent in the air.

    “You would expect Rangers to have more of the ball. I think he will have a vital role being the focal point of the attack and bringing Ryan Kent more into the game.

    “He has so many great attributes — he is strong, great in the air, has terrific skill and an eye for goal.

    “Of course, he has had the odd quiet game, which is understandable, but overall he has been pretty relentless.”

  • Craig Mahood

    Marathon man

    Exclusive

    Joe Aribo's SIXTY-THREE games this season is more than anyone on the planet.

    But Kevin Thomson told SunSport he will have enough in the tank to send Rangers through this week.

    He said: "With Alfredo Morelos and Roofe out injured, Joe provided that physicality up front against Leipzig.

    “His performance in the second half was brilliant under the circumstances.

    “There is every chance he’ll be asked to perform that role again. The manager has faith in him to do that job and I’m sure he will come up with the goods.

    “The phenomenal number of games he has played so far highlights just how important he is to Rangers and Nigeria.

    “He is now one of the first names on the team-sheet for both of them."

  • Ryan Rowe

    Mow the merrier

    Former Celtic and Hibs boss Tony Mowbray could make a shock return to Easter Road.

    The Leith club are recruiting a replacement for Shaun Maloney and Mowbray has emerged as one of the new bookies' favourites.

    Tony Mowbray looks set to leave Blackburn Rovers at the end of the seasonCredit: PA

    Mowbray won a number of manager of the year accolades during his debut season at Hibs but his time at Celtic didn't go so well and he was infamously sacked in the wake of a 4-0 loss to St Mirren.

    He's at a general 4/1 to be the next boss at Easter Road with his contract at Blackburn up at the end of the season.

    Michael Appleton, who recently left Lincoln City after three years, is the favourite at 3/1. Ross County gaffer Malky Mackay is also at 4/1.

  • Ryan Rowe

    Roofe to the rescue

    Rangers striker Kemar Roofe is winning his fitness battle ahead of Thursday's Europa League semi-final against RB Leipzig.

    The forward has missed the last three games with a knee problem picked up on April 17.

    But SunSport understands Giovanni van Bronckhorst is optimistic Roofe will be given the green light to return to action in time for Ibrox's second-leg decider.

    Barring any setbacks in the next 48 hours, he’s expected to be named in the squad for the crucial last-four clash.

  • Ryan Rowe

    More from Postecoglou on Hart

    “I just felt he’s still got a bit to prove. He’s said himself, he needed a bit of love and I knew he’d get it at this club.
    “I knew the supporters would embrace him and he’d love it here with the group we were putting together.
    “Joe’s still young for a goalkeeper. There’s no reason he can’t keep it going for a lot longer.”

  • Ryan Rowe

    Stick around, Joe

    By Roger Hannah

    Ange Postecoglou has backed Joe Hart to extend his trophy-laden career and be Celtic’s No 1 for years to come.

    The 35-year-old goalkeeper had to be on top form in Sunday's 1-1 draw against Rangers to prevent the Light Blues nicking a late win.

    Postecoglou said: “He’s been fantastic this year. I thought Joe was a top- quality keeper, but the background we did on him showed me he is a first-class person and a real leader in the dressing room.

    “That was one of the reasons we brought him in. We’d lost experience in the group and we wanted to bring some experience to the team.

    “To be fair, we haven’t needed him a lot as a keeper, but on Sunday we did and he stood up and that’s why he’s a top keeper.

    “Irrespective of his influence on games, his influence around the dressing room has been important."

  • Aidan Scott

    HAVE YOUR SAY

  • Ryan Rowe

    Leipzig shocker

    Just days before their clash with Rangers, RB Leipzig have crashed to defeat against a ten-man Borussia Monchengladbach side.

    Domenico Tedesco’s team , who hold a 1-0 first-leg lead over the Gers in their Europa League semi-final, made five changes from last week's match at the Red Bull Arena.

    RB Leipzig went down 3-1 to Borussia MonchengladbachCredit: EPA

    Trailing 2-1 at half-time, Leipzig were then handed a man advantage when Nico Elvedi upended Christian Nkunku. 

    But Jonas Hofmann scored his second of the night not long after to extend Monchengladbach's lead, which proved enough for the three points.

  • Ryan Rowe

    Sounds familiar

    Just in case you were wondering…

    Mark Lawwell is indeed a relation to former Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell.

    He is the recently-departed chief's SON.

  • Ryan Rowe

    "Great trust"

    Ange Postecoglou on Celtic's new head of scouting and recruitment, Mark Lawwell:

    “I was very keen for Mark to join the Club and clearly I am delighted that he has accepted this important role and that we have been able to bring him to Celtic.

    “Mark is someone who I worked closely with throughout my four years at Marinos, through which time we developed great trust and an excellent working relationship.He knows the way I like to work, the way my teams play and the particular player profile which this requires."

    He continued: “I know he will be a great addition to our team, leading our first-team scouting and recruitment function and delivering on our key objective of identifying and bringing exciting, talented players to the Club.  

    "We have a great team of people at the Club and since joining Celtic I have been hugely impressed by the staff around me who have all worked so hard to deliver success.  

    "I have said before that I didn’t want to make changes just for the sake of it, but we always aim to build and develop everything we do and in bringing Mark in I know we have made an appointment which will be hugely beneficial for us moving forward."

  • Ryan Rowe

    Celts announce new recruitment chief

    One of Ange Postecoglou's former aides has been appointed as the club's new head of scouting and recruitment.

    Mark Lawwell worked with the Aussie at Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan and is expected to play a key role in the upcoming transfer window.

    A club statement read: "Celtic Football Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Mark Lawwell as Head of First Team Scouting and Recruitment.  

    "Mark joins Celtic from his position as Head of CFG Scouting and Recruitment, within City Football Group’s global structure, having spent the last 10 years there.

    "Mark, who will join the Club in readiness for the summer transfer window, previously worked closely with Celtic Manager Ange Postecoglou on scouting and recruitment throughout Ange’s time as Manager of Yokohama F Marinos."

  • Ryan Rowe

    Jota's not a done deal

    Jota has his eyes on a move ELSEWHERE from Celtic Park, in the mind of one Hoops hero.

    Frank McAvennie would love to see the Portuguese winger return from Benfica on a permanent basis but says it's worrying that an agreement has already been announced.

    Jota has been a hit at Celtic this season on loan from BenficaCredit: Kenny Ramsay

    When asked if Jota would be a Celtic player next season, McAvennie told Football Insider: “I don’t think so.

    “I would love it to happen. Every time I see him he has been tremendous.

    “He can be a bit hot and cold sometimes but he has been different class since he came back from injury.

    “He’s a talented boy and I hope he likes what is happening at Celtic. It’s a great environment.

    “He’s one hell of a player but I think if he was going to sign then he would have by now.

    “Maybe I’m wrong, I hope I am wrong but maybe he has his eyes on a move somewhere else this summer.”

    Source: Read Full Article