Celtic talking quadruple Dutch

Scottish round-up
Click to follow
The Independent Online
Celtic's hopes of preventing Rangers equalling their record of nine successive titles could rest on events in the Celtic boardroom this week as Pierre Van Hooijdonk and his agent meet Fergus McCann, the Celtic chief executive, to discuss a new contract.

The Dutch striker, who has scored in his last six games and taken his Celtic total to 51 goals in less than two years, appeared to be on the verge of leaving the club last month when talks broke down. Since returning to the side he has demonstrated an ability to score vital goals, which have taken Celtic to within two points of Rangers.

Tommy Burns cannot afford to lose such ability. "We hope he'll stay at Celtic for the next four years at least," the manager said after Van Hooijdonk had scored one of the four goals against Hibs on Saturday.

However, the player is adamant he was given a verbal agreement to increase his wages before his current contract expires if he proved his worth and unless that is honoured he could decide to move on.

One man who will definitely be moving at the end of the season is Richard Gough, the Rangers captain. The announcement of his departure was nicely timed, proving a spur to the Rangers players to ensure Gough leaves on a successful note. His place as captain is likely to be taken by Alan McLaren, who is recovering from injury, and on Saturday Paul Gascoigne and Brian Laudrup responded to the challenge, the Englishman scoring a hat-trick as Motherwell were beaten 5-0. Laudrup added the other two goals, all of which were scored in the second half.

Aberdeen remain the only side capable of staying within sight of the Glasgow giants. The 1-0 win over Raith Rovers left them five points behind second-placed Celtic, with the two meeting next week.

The city of Dundee had its revenge on Hearts for that midweek Coca-Cola Cup semi-final defeat when its other club, United, secured a single-goal victory over the Edinburgh team.