Ange Postecoglou at the Celtic transfer update unveiling as he explains the Champions League factor driving the signing policy

The Hoops manager after Saturday afternoon's 2-2 draw against Blackburn Rovers. (Author: Gardener)

Ange PostecoglouAnge Postecoglou was impressed by his touch from the side in the first half of the friendly against Blackburn Rovers. And the Hoops boss believes his side are on track to be where he wants them to be, with the first competitive game of the season in two weeks. Celtic bounced back from a nightmare start where they conceded a goal within the first 30 seconds. Jota and David Turnbull put Postecoglou's men ahead at half-time before Ben Diaz leveled from a late free-kick. It could have been a friendly but it was also the first time in ten weeks that the home fans had seen their side in action, so there was that competitive advantage between the Scottish Premiership champions and the English league side. I thought the first half was good in terms of our competitiveness and our performance, both teams were there and we conceded early but then we got the game under control. The second half was bumpy, but both teams made a lot of substitutions, making it difficult for the new players to find their rhythm. “So the second half wasn't great as an overall exercise, but that's the challenge of these games. I thought the first half reflected the work we've done so far, but we're still two weeks away from the season. "We've worked a lot in Austria and here in Scotland and now it's about getting the lads in the best possible physical condition for the first game. We want to be ready as a group when we play Aberdeen here. There's plenty of time to prepare as we've already had a good solid couple of weeks in the bag and we now have two weeks to prepare.” Postecoglou was without the injured Carl Starfelt while key stars Reo Hatate and Giorgio Giakoumakis was also absent from the squad. He added: "We will definitely add a few players. We're working on it but we expect to do so in the next seven days. "The squad looks really good but on days like today we want to make sure we don't lose our effectiveness with a pair missing. The reality is we're almost 60 games will be played. The weekly champions league will put an extra strain on the squad so I'd like to add a few more to make sure we're strong and robust. I don't think it's going to be a bigger squad, just more robust with Quality." Celtic will now fly to Poland to play in an Artur Boruc tribute friendly game mid-week before returning to Parkhead to face Norwich City ahead of the season opener against Aberdeen.


Rovers and Celtic play an entertaining pre-season friendly

Rovers got the pre-season test Jon Dahl Tomasson wanted in a fun pre-season test match with Celtic. (Author: Gardener)

pre-seasonSam Gallagher put them ahead after just 21 seconds at Celtic Park but goals from Jota and David Turnbull gave the hosts the lead at half-time. Rovers provided good value for the tie with an improved second-half performance and equalized from a Ben Brereton free-kick with 15 minutes to go. Four outfield players plus goalkeeper Thomas Kaminski played 90 minutes as Rovers intensified their preparations for the new season in just two weeks. Jack Vale started in attack, with Tyrhys Dolan acting in a role just behind him, and Sam Gallagher and Ben Brereton on the flanks. Rovers couldn't have asked for a better start, leading after just 21 seconds. Vale won the ball high up the pitch and picked up the attack before playing a back pass down Gallagher's run, who picked up a touch before firing past Joe Hart. Carter was given a hard time by Jota, who eluded the challenge of backup right-back and Lewis Travis to knock off Liel Abada, whose curling effort missed the mark. David Turnbull was able to free himself in the penalty area in the 12th minute, but dragged his shot wide of Thomas Kaminski's left post. In the 17th minute, the same post could help the hosts equalize. A right outside corner wasn't cleared enough, Jota's snap found its way through a multitude of bodies and over the inside of the post into the net. By this point Rovers were being dragged around by the hosts who were working on opening up the flanks well. Greg Taylor's delivery from the left was turned over by Kyogo Furahashi from 12 yards. That was midway through the first half when Rovers were under heavy pressure from the hosts and needed to find more quality to play through. They almost made it when Travis shoved a pass through to Gallagher, who appeared to have to beat Cameron Carter-Vickers in a foot race, but the ball ran straight through to Joe Hart. Celtic then took the lead after 28 minutes, despite a great deal of luck. John Buckley was penalized for a trip on Matt O'Riley, with the free-kick being taken briefly to Turnbull, whose shot was a huge deflection for wrong-footed Kaminski. The referee then became overly fussy, showing Gallagher, Buckley and Pickering cards in quick succession before Rovers had a good opening to level. Buckley showed good footwork midway before a typical through ball for Brereton and while Hart quickly got off his line to clear, the ball rolled in Dolan's path but he couldn't find the target with his attempted lob from 30 yards Find. The Rovers went into the second half unchanged to add minutes to the starting line-up. They would have liked the second half to start the same way as the first and they could have done it without a referee's call. Dolan looked like he stumbled in the penalty area, but the referee wanted nothing to do with the appeals. Substitute goalkeeper Ben Siegriest was then called into action, first repelling a flick from Ben Brereton before saving a similar try from the opposite side from Gallagher. Kaminski was also in action, saving an iota shot on the second try before chipping away a pounding punch from Alexandro Bernabei, who came on at half-time for his Celtic debut. It was all about finding their moments at the break for the Rovers and they did just that before the hour mark, Vale and Brereton joining in to chop off Gallagher, whose low shot was hit well but was blocked by Siegriest. Gallagher was back in within a minute and regained the ball before running away from Carter-Vickers but was denied again by Siegriest. Kaminski was tested but mainly from distance, Callum McGregor tried his luck from 25 yards halfway through the half while the Belgian came over to smash that away. Rovers replaced Gallagher, who appeared to be limping, with Ryan Hedges in their first substitution of the afternoon. With his final shot of the afternoon, Brereton, who won the free-kick, rounded the wall and into the corner with 15 minutes to go. Rovers seemed more likely to snag a late winner, ending the stronger side and leaving good value for the tie.


PSG beat Newcastle and Ekitike signs €35m transfer

The forward was targeted by several top Premier League sides but switched to the capital club instead (Author: Gardener)

NewcastleParis Saint-Germain have confirmed the signing of Hugo Ekitike from Reims. The 20-year-old forward excelled in Ligue 1 last season and attracted the attention of several top teams across Europe, but it's the capital club who won the battle for him. The Reims-born player has already agreed personal terms with PSG and will undergo a medical before the transfer is finalized. Ekitike left the Reims training camp to travel to Paris for a medical and his move to the French champions was announced on Saturday. Ekitike is on loan to the French side for the duration of the 2022-23 season with an option to buy, PSG confirmed. GOAL understand PSG will pay €28.5m (£24m/$29m) up front to sign Ekitike from Reims, with a further €6.5m (£6m/$7m) in bonuses will follow. Ekitike is then expected to sign a five-year deal with the Parc des Princes team. On his reasons for moving to the capital, Ekitike said: "It's a mixture of many feelings, many emotions. I'm obviously very happy and proud to sign for Paris. I'm French too, it's the club from my country. " "And it's a club where the greatest players play, where there are quality and experienced staff and the desire to win all the trophies in all competitions. All the ingredients are there so it's a logical decision for me to move here be." After all, I have family in the Paris region myself and have always followed Paris Saint-Germain. All of this makes it natural for me to want to join this club. It's the right choice for me to be here!” “I like the aesthetics of football and I think I'm best in Paris to play like that. And then there's the statistical side, which is football is very important today and the desire to make the team shine." Newcastle were actively pursuing him as they were reportedly close to signing Ekitike in January and this summer but were unable to get a deal across the line. The following January he was loaned to Danish club Vejle, where he scored three goals in 11 games. However, his big break came last season when he took on a key role in the Reims squad. A hamstring injury and suspensions limited him to just 23 French Premier League appearances but he finished the season with 10 goals.


PSG boss Galtier appears to be choosing sides in the 'conflict' between Neymar and Kylian Mbappe

Neymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain has recently come under the spotlight after multiple reports emerged of a high-profile row with Kylian Mbappe in the French capital (Author: Gardener)

Kylian MbappeNeymar's future at Paris Saint-Germain has recently come under the spotlight after multiple reports surfaced of a high-profile row with Kylian Mbappe in the French capital Chris McKenna over PSG, Messi, Mbappe and Pochettino in June as new Paris Saint-Germain boss Christophe Galtier has addressed Neymar's future at the club following a reported row between the Brazilian and Kylian Mbappe. Recent comments from PSG chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi cast new doubts on Neymar's future at the club, as the club boss said: "Neymar is part of the new project or not? Video footage of a moment of tension between Neymar and Mbappe then surfaced PSG on The two players appear to be completely ignoring each other during a routine practice, prompting others to step in and prevent the moment of awkwardness from dragging on.Mbappe recently opted for a three-year contract extension with the Ligue 1 champions, according to reports the striker as part of the agreement to extend his stay at Parc des Princes will have a major impact on the club's sporting decisions.L'Equipe described the situation as follows: “They (Neymar and Mbappe) Nr don't have much in common anymore and the World Champion (Mbappe) does not hesitate to make fun of his attacking partner in private, because Mbappe would have b Nothing wrong with a Ney Mar is leaving during the next transfer window and his managers have been informed.” This led to Mundo Deportivo highlighting how Mbappe and Lionel Messi were at odds over Neymar's future, with the Argentinian superstar opting for his former Barca -Team-mates despite Mbappe suggesting the player should face greater consequences for his alleged lack of discipline PSG consider selling Neymar this summer Mbappe, Neymar and Messi struggled to find the best kit for PSG last season However, new PSG boss Galtier has set the law on Neymar's future by definitely ruling out a summer exit: "I've always been clear I want him to stay." have potential that can come in. Galtier was also unhappy that a lack of discipline in the squad was framed as a question related specifically to Neymar, stressing that the rules would be applied across the club: "There will be rules that will be set and those the whole group will remember, there will be things that are negotiable and others that aren't.” Neymar is signed at Les Parisiens until the summer of 2027 – when he will be 35 – and it seems he will will now remain at the club for the long term, with no move expected this year.


Who is Gianluca Scamacca? The 6ft 5in striker West Ham bid

According to Serie A Sassuolo CEO Giovanni Carnevali, West Ham have made an official £33.8m bid for Gianluca Scamacca but there is no deal yet. (Author: Gardener)

Gianluca ScamaccaHaving signed a goalkeeper, a defender and a midfielder so far this summer, West Ham appear to be focused on signing a new striker. According to Serie A Sassuolo chief executive Giovanni Carnevali, the Hammers have made an official £33.8million offer for Gianluca Scamacca but there is no deal yet. Read on as Sportsmail profiles the Italy international, which football superstar he has previously been compared to, why he had to distance himself from his father and grandfather last year. West Ham are said to have made a £33.8million bid for the Sassuolo forward. Gianluca Scamacca Scamacca is 23 years old and has been with Sassuolo since 2017. Born in Rome, he was previously at Lazio, Roma and PSV academies before returning to Italy to sign for I Neroverdi. After being loaned out to Cremonese, PEC Zwolle and Ascoli during his first three years at Sassuolo, Scamacca finally earned regular time in Serie A during another loan spell at Genoa in the 2020/21 season. 12 goals in 29 games for the Ligurian club encouraged new Sassuolo manager Alessio Dionisi to give him a chance last season after Francesco Caputo's departure. The forward seized the opportunity with both hands, scoring 16 goals in 36 league games, with only five Serie A players scoring more. The 23-year-old started Italy's goalless draw against England in Molineux last month. At international level, Scamacca has represented Italy from the under-15s to the under-21s, earning a whopping 79 caps across all youth age groups. He started last month in the 0-0 draw against England at Molineux. Scamacca is agile and his hold-up play is a key element of his game as he is able to create chances for teammates. Such attributes regularly see him compared to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Scamacca has been regularly compared to Swedish icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the past. When compared to the Swede, Scamacca said: "He's a champion, it's just a pleasure to be compared to such a champion. In the last two seasons, the only Premier League players to hit the net more regularly than Scamacca (once every 146 minutes) have been Liverpool pair Mo Salah (once every 130 minutes) and Diogo Jota (once every 145 minutes). Where would he fit in at West Ham? David Moyes has been on the hunt for a new striker for a long time, with the Hammers boss being forced to rely on Michail Antonio throughout last season. Moyes is unlikely to switch to a formation that can accommodate two forwards, leaving the 23-year-old to compete with Antonio for a spot. The Italian would compete with Michail Antonio for a starting spot in West Ham's team Scamacca. Last season's numbers stack up better as Antonio managed just 10 goals in 35 league games. He's also more of a long-term option than the 32-year-old. There will be plenty of opportunities for playing time and rotation, however, as West Ham are set to compete in the Europa Conference League this season after finishing seventh in the Premier League last season. West Ham's main competition is Paris Saint-Germain. Sassuolo's chief executive Carnevali confirmed the French club have bid £29.6m for Scamacca. However, according to Fabrizio Romano, the Serie A side want £42.5m for the striker - which PSG believe is too much and are unwilling to pay. PSG reportedly believe Sassuolo's £42.5m asking price is too expensive for Scamacca. This could give the Hammers a clear path to secure Scamacca's signature if they are willing to meet the hefty price tag. Arsenal, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund have all been linked in the past with a move for the 23-year-old but it seems West Ham's concrete interest could put them in the driver's seat. Much like Ibrahimovic, Scamacca has a reputation for sparking controversy. In 2017, he was sent home from Italy U19 duty along with Everton bad boy Moise Kean for "disciplinary reasons". Reports at the time suggested the pair were "taking a practical joke too far." Scamacca was once sent home from Italy alongside Everton's Moise Kean. It would only be fair for Scamacca to assume he has since matured, but last year he was forced to distance himself from his own relatives after they made headlines for the wrong reasons. In May 2021, the striker's father was arrested after breaking into the training ground of his former club Roma and destroying the club's management cars with an iron bar.


Insights into PSG's eventful summer off the pitch

The club managed to keep Kylian Mbappe, but at what cost? Then there's the uncertainty surrounding Lionel Messi and Neymar's future at the club. (Author: Gardener)

summerWinning the league by 15 points would be considered an unqualified success at pretty much any club on the planet. The club had another Champions League campaign to forget last season as they were eliminated in dramatic fashion by Real Madrid in the last 16, meaning the wait for that elusive European trophy continues. PSG sacked Mauricio Pochettino despite winning the league at a gallop last season. This ultimately cost coach Mauricio Pochettino his job, while sporting director Leonardo was also replaced. The club managed to keep Kylian Mbappe, but at what cost? Then there's the uncertainty about Lionel Messi and Neymar's future at the club as neither is guaranteed to stay at Parc des Princes much longer. Now the club are poised to sack up to nine players this summer to give new boss Christophe Galtier a chance to reshape their squad. It's already been an eventful summer for the Ligue 1 champions and it looks like plenty of drama is yet to come. Sportsmail takes a detailed look at how things are shaping up at PSG off the pitch... Squad overhaul has become a clear priority at PSG. On Wednesday it was reported that the French club had decided to keep nine "undesirable" players at home for their pre-season tour of Japan, including Georginio Wijnaldum. However, his first season was disastrous as he failed to make an early impression and was subsequently left out of the team for most of their biggest games - he didn't play a minute in either game against Real Madrid. PSG are ready to sack Georginio Wijnaldum after just one season at the club. Whether PSG can get all those players out the door is another question, but they're not part of Galtier's plans at the moment and that's unlikely to change any time soon. Neymar became the world's most expensive player when he joined PSG from Barcelona in 2017, but five years later his time in the French capital may be coming to an end. He didn't bring the club the Champions League trophy they coveted and the patience of the fans and the club hierarchy seems to be waning. The Brazilian winger was booed by some of the supporters after being eliminated from the Champions League last season and last month it was reported that he was offended by PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi's criticism of the team, which led to it made him think about his future. It's still unclear if Neymar will still be a PSG player at the start of the season. Neymar has felt himself being targeted by PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi for the past month. Chelsea and Juventus have both been linked with Neymar of late and he might want a change of scenery after half a decade at PSG. Meanwhile, mixed news has come from the club, with some reports claiming PSG are open to his departure while new boss Galtier insisted he wants Neymar to stay close. This saga could continue for the remainder of the transfer window, which is hardly ideal for Galtier as he looks to prepare for the upcoming season. MESSI REMAINS – BUT HOW LONG? Messi's debut season at PSG has been underwhelming with his ridiculously high standards. He only scored six league goals and was far outstripped by teammate Mbappe. Still, his status as one of the greatest players of all time is assured and PSG are keen for him to stay. The Argentine playmaker has one year left on his contract but the French want him to extend that contract for another 12 months. Lionel Messi is expected to stay at PSG until 2023 but it's not clear if he will stay after that. However, Messi wants to keep his options open until after the World Cup later this year, by which time he will be close to entering the final six months of his contract. This leaves Galtier with a potentially tricky dilemma. Or should he try to put together a team that doesn't become too dependent on individuals like Messi and can instead work together as a collective to achieve Champions League glory in the coming seasons? We all know Mbappe's role on the pitch. He made an amazing about-face to sign a new contract with PSG earlier this summer and turned down a last-minute chance to join Real Madrid. PSG had to pull out all the stops to keep him and offered him a £34m-a-year contract and a £126m signing bonus, giving him significant control over his image rights and they promised to run the club revise . Kylian Mbappe decided to dedicate his future to PSG until 2025 earlier this summer. He has been given a lot of power and it will be interesting to see how he uses it. There were even reports that Mbappe could have a say in who leaves the club even with new signings. For example, will Mbappe really get rid of Galtier if he doesn't rate him? That remains to be seen but PSG have certainly bestowed Mbappe with unprecedented power. The fact that PSG let Pochettino go without batting an eyelid shows just how cutthroat it is at the club. Winning the title is not enough - the Champions League is the priority. Galtier has one of the most talented squads in Europe, which can be both a blessing and a curse. New coach Christophe Galtier is expected to help PSG succeed immediately. Many managers before him have struggled to find the right formula at PSG but have then proven their class at other clubs, with Carlo Ancelotti and Thomas Tuchel both winning the Champions League since leaving the Parc des Princes. As with Carlo Ancelotti and Thomas Tuchel, there can be very little doubt about Galtier's credentials.


3 talking points as Celtic and Blackburn strike breathless friendly as Jota wreaks havoc

Benfica's £6.5million signing left the scene of Celtic's 2-2 draw after an hour to a standing ovation. (Author: Gardener)

CelticA scintillating show from Jota turned a regular run against Championship Blackburn into a glamorous friendly. Benfica's £6.5million signing left the scene of Celtic's 2-2 draw after an hour to a standing ovation - and the Rovers players may have been tempted to join in as they were delighted to have the attacker's back to see. Jota snatched an excellent equalizer after Jon Dahl Tomasson's Blackburn took a shock lead in just 20 seconds and ran amok on the pitch for the rest of the time. The 23-year-old tormented Rovers all day and even brought out some party favors with a range of tricks and tricks. The Scottish Premier League defense might not want to inundate the footage and Ange Postecoglou's champions are ready to pick up where they left off last season. David Turnbull's deflected free-kick made it 2-1 and there could have been a few more before the usual substitutions spoiled the form of the game a bit and Ben Brereton Diaz scored a set piece to equalize for Blackburn Rovers with 15 minutes to go. But Celtic fans will be satisfied to see their side heading into the new season with the same swagger that they closed the last one with. There are a few defensive issues to address in the coming weeks, but there's nothing wrong with the attack led by Jota. It was a strong looking side and Postecoglou are preparing for the big Premiership opener against Aberdeen in two weeks time and Blackburn side, not shy about putting the boot on, was a good test. The Parkhead men have looked pretty good so far preseason - they've scored 14 goals in three games. Which made it somewhat surprising when the hoops were caught out in just 20 seconds. Callum McGregor lost possession a few passes after kick-off and a blink of an eye later Sam Gallagher was behind, tucking past Joe Hart. Celtic have serious firepower and they've stalked the aisles. Jota, Matt O'Reilly and Turnbull began picking apart Rovers and the deficit was erased within half an hour. Jota snatched the leveler as he pounced on a loose ball from a corner kick and smashed in brilliantly off the post. The celebrations were a bit muted as he sustained a sore in the process, but he was soon back on his feet terrorizing Blackburn. There was some deft movement and tight decisions before Turnbull made it 2-1 with a low, raspy free-kick that went past keeper Thomas Kaminski on its way. New boys Benji Siegrist and Alexandro Bernabie emerged after the break to pick up their Parkhead bows and join in the fun as the hoops pressed to a third. The relentless offense gave Blackburn room to break - but Siegrist would have been happy if he'd been called on to make a couple of decent saves. He didn't sniff much, however, as Diaz brilliantly put a 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner after sub Christopher Jullien tripped en route through his man. Fans are always desperate to see new faces each summer but it could be the permanent signings of a familiar one that's the best deal Celtic are set to make this window. Jota, writing a £6.5 five-year deal, is already looking like a bargain. The 23-year-old was up against Blackburn and at times left his superiors feeling dizzy. The goal was scored with the usual class, but it's his versatile attacking game that will get fans back on their feet this season. Celtic have scored a plethora of goals in pre-season, with the Rovers' record being 16 in four games. But the goals conceded column suggests there could be another wild ride in some games next season, with seven goals conceded in the three games not against Austrian pawns. The Celts actually had the best defensive record in the Premier League last season so some of the talk about them being fragile at the back was a bit misplaced. They get caught napping in the first minute against Rovers and there were a couple of shaky moments here. The leading man didn't have much to do in his 45 minutes against Blackburn, but there was enough of backup Benji Siegrist on his home debut to suggest the former Three Lions star needs to keep on his toes. Siegrist was a star for Dundee United last season so Celtic already knew what to expect. But he was reminiscent of Blackburn, making several intelligent stops when the England team threatened at the break. In the short term, Siegrist will be an excellent insurance policy if Hart is injured, but he will also give boss Postecoglou a chance to rest his main No. 1 when the game plan gets hectic. Long term who knows, but for now the Celts have two top shot stoppers on the books.


"The Cat Man," Tony Gonsolin reflects on his potential All-Star season

Tony Gonsolin, known as "The Cat Man," has embraced Los Angeles Dodgers fans with everything from his "Caturday" shirts to his cat-themed cleats. (Author: Gardener)

Tony Gonsolin"The Cat Man" Tony Gonsolin on his potential All-Star season. Be the first to know about it. Receive browser alerts for breaking news, live events and exclusive reports.


first saturday

Laurelhurst Park-Portland (Author: Gardener)

saturdaySaturday! Saturday! Saturday! This is the day when cats, whose thunder has too often been stolen by DOGS, will finally see and be seen in the park. Feline VIPs will descend on Laurelhurst Park for this adorable event. This event is in the past. This event is in the past.


Dodgers' Tony Gonsolin hits like an All-Star and embraces his inner cat

MLB's Cat Man Tony Gonsolin has reached a new level with a 10-0 start to the season, writes Ben Verlander. (Author: Gardener)

Tony GonsolinTony Gonsolin has always been a cat person as he grew up around animals since childhood. Today, Gonsolin also has the lowest ERA of any MLB starter and is one formality away from being named an All-Star for the first time in his career, with the game being played at his home stadium in L. But Gonsolin did. Did you ever expect to compete in the MLB playoffs with cat-fur cleats? Or having a World Series promo calling him "Part Man, Part Cat"? But this week he joined Flippin Bats to discuss it all. Watch Flippin' Bats with Ben Verlander on YouTube or subscribe to podcast platforms, including Apple Podcasts. Of course, I had to ask Gonsolin how he became the catman in Major League Baseball. "It all started in 2017 when I was at Rancho [Cucamonga, with the Dodgers' high-A team]," he said. "Pitching coach Kip Wells saw this $5 shirt with a cat on it, and I showed up [in the locker room] one day and it was on my chair. I think it was a Friday and the next day, I wore it on Saturday to stretch." For Gonsolin, Saturday is more than just another day of the week. It's a day to honor the cats. "It just started, and then I wore this cat shirt every Saturday because I only had one, and then I grew my list from there," Gonsolin said, laughing. How many cat shirts does Gonsolin have now? "When I was 10 years old If someone had said to me, '15 years from now you're going to be known in the big leagues as 'The Cat Man' because you're wearing the cat shirts,' I would have been like, 'What are you talking about?'" he said. This year for Gonsolin, everything clicks. The cat shirts are available every "Caturday" and every start, Gonsolin dominates for the Dodgers. I like to think it's because he's channeling his inner cat. Watch the full episode of "Flippin' Bats" to hear our conversation about Gonsolin's journey to the big leagues, his success this year and acting like a cat in a FOX Sports World Series promo. Ben Verlander is an MLB analyst at FOX Sports and the host of the Flippin' Bats podcast. Born and raised in Richmond, Virginia, Verlander was an All-American at Old Dominion University before joining his brother Justin in Detroit in 2013 as a 14th-round pick for the Tigers.