Lyon land striker
Dembele departs Celtic in record £19.7m deal
French striker Moussa Dembele scored 51 goals in two seasons with Celtic and has now clinched a big-money move to Lyon (pic: SNS Group)
Celtic have agreed to sell unsettled striker Moussa Dembele to Lyon in a deal understood to be worth a record £19.7 million to the Glasgow club.
The 22-year-old, who has scored 51 goals in two seasons at Parkhead, was told the news just hours before the closure of the transfer window.
The Frenchman still had two years left to run on his contract but after days of speculation, the on-off move gained momentum again today and he underwent a medical with the Ligue 1 outfit.
He has signed a five-year deal with his new club, the fee swamping the previous record of £12.5m Celtic received for the sale of Victor Wanyama to Southampton in 2013.
Dembele, who missed last night’s win over Suduva which took Celtic into the group stages of the Europa League, had made no secret of his desire to join Lyon once there was confirmed interest. He even took to social media to seemingly take a swipe at Brendan Rodgers for refusing to let him leave.
However, confirming the news that Celtic had accepted an offer from Lyon, Rodgers said: “Every decision we make at Celtic will always be in the best interests of the club and our supporters.
“It is vital to make clear that we have never promised any player that he can leave the club at a particular time. It has never happened. In fact, we have said all along that we did not wish to sell Moussa, given the circumstances within the transfer window and that is why we rejected a significant offer yesterday.
“However, this particular decision to accept this offer has been taken in order to serve the best interests of the first-team squad, my coaching team and the culture and environment we have created in these last two seasons.
“The board and myself are united and they have been very supportive to me on this issue.”
The huge transfer fee will no doubt make Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell a happy man, the club having brought the front man to Glasgow for just £500,000 from Fulham in 2016.
The timing of Dembele’s departure, though, will make Rodgers’ squad significantly weaker with the much-anticipated first league meeting with Steven Gerrard’s unbeaten Rangers looming large on Sunday.
Ray McKinnon’s decision to leave Morton for Falkirk has not gone down well with the Cappielow board (pic: SNS Group)
McKinnon appointed new Falkirk manager
Ray McKinnon has left Morton after just three months to become the manager of Championship rivals Falkirk.
The Bairns had been searching for a new boss after sacking Paul Hartley, McKinnon signing a deal with the basement club until 2020.
“It is quite clear that this is a club with a passionate support and excellent facilities,” said the new man in charge.
“In recent times those fans have not had the success they deserve. It is now my job to bring that success and I am determined to do so.”
Morton chairman Crawford Rae was unhappy with the circumstances of the 48-year-old former Dundee United manager’s appointment.
He said: “I left the training ground on an absolute high and on my way back to my car I received a phone call from Falkirk to ask permission to speak with our manager.
“I was told that the friendship and regard that Falkirk had for our club was important which was why they chose to ask permission to speak to Ray.
“It is ironic that six hours later, Falkirk announce Ray McKinnon as their new manager and to me it is clear that there could have been previous discussions with our manager ahead of their phone call to me.
“We will be speaking with the appropriate counsel on our options moving forward, and we will keep our support up to speed as we look to fill our vacant managerial position.”
McKinnon leaves Morton sitting in second place in the Championship.