FOOTBALL: Collins prepares for Celtic swan-song

Scottish round-up
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The Independent Online
The final whistle is about to be blown on John Collins' five years at Celtic. Circumstances have made it probable that Saturday's Old Firm derby at Celtic Park could provide home supporters with a final sight of the midfielder in green and white hoops.

Middlesbrough have been chasing Collins for some time, but Blackburn are thought to be ready to offer a price closer to Celtic's valuation. Stuart Ripley could be included as the makeweight in a pounds 3m deal for Collins, who spent Saturday afternoon playing for Celtic reserves while the first team were beating Hearts 4-0 to move to the top of the Premier Division.

Collins created a furore at Celtic with comments on television suggesting he was neither appreciated nor wanted at the club - remarks which led to his demotion to the second team. He might be recalled for the European Cup-Winners' Cup tie against Dynamo Batumi on Thursday but his eventual move has been accelerated.

Rangers are also ready to sell one of their top players. The 33-year- old Mark Hateley will today transfer his talents to London by joining Queen's Park Rangers as player-assistant manager in a pounds 1m deal.

Borussia Dortmund are at Ibrox on Wednesday in the Champions' League and Rangers are struggling in defence. Richard Gough limped away from the stadium after the 1-0 defeat by Hibernian, Alan McLaren is suspended and David Robertson is injured.