Celtic manager Neil Lennon says his players are like "caged animals" as they wait for the green light to return to training amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Scottish Premiership has been suspended until further notice following the outbreak, with Celtic holding a 13-point lead over arch rivals Rangers at the summit.

Lennon admits some of his players might be struggling during the enforced absence from football and says the club are keeping a watchful eye on their mental health.

"They're like caged animals," he told BBC Sport. "These are young, fit men who're used to an almost regimented way of living. Their routine is training and playing. All of that is gone. Some of them will be cooking for themselves for the first time in their lives.

"Mentally, the change can put a strain on them. They're used to intensity and suddenly it's not there. We're very aware of the mental [health] side of this. We all need to keep our wellbeing in order.

"As long as I can get out and get some exercise for my own peace of mind then I'm fine. The silence is deafening when you go out for a walk. The place is deserted. We just have to ride it out as best we can. We're all in the same boat."

While understandably missing football, Lennon believes the break could be used as an opportunity for the game to find better ways of connecting with local communities when it returns.

"I'm really missing football," he added. "I'm missing the players, the staff, the games, the colour, the noise, but it's no bad thing to take a moment and appreciate what you've got.

"I think football will mean a lot more to a lot of people when it returns. What I'm seeing now is us going back to our roots, going back to community life with people looking out for each other and maybe we'd gone away from that.

"What's happening is tragic but everybody is pulling together to try to get through it and that's brilliant."

Football may be on hiatus in most of Europe and across the globe due to coronavirus, but Fabian Ruiz's future is still making headlines.

The Napoli and Spain star has established himself as one of the best midfielders on the continent since arriving from Real Betis in 2018.

Now, Liverpool are desperate to prise Fabian to Anfield but they have competition.

 

TOP STORY – REDS MAKE FABIAN TOP TARGET

Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz is Liverpool's top transfer target, reports The Express.

Fabian has attracted interest from his homeland, where LaLiga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are battling for the Spain international's signature.

However, Premier League leaders Liverpool are ready to pay £74million (€80m) for Fabian.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror says Manchester United – led by executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward – have re-opened talks with star midfielder Paul Pogba's agent Rino Raiola. It comes amid uncertainty over Pogba, who continues to be linked to Madrid and former club Juventus.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic will leave Milan at the end of the season, reports Sport Mediaset. The 38-year-old return to San Siro on a one-year and had been discussing a renewal before chief football officer Zvonimir Boban was sacked, angering the Swede.

Liverpool and Arsenal are among a number of clubs monitoring Eintracht Frankfurt's Evan Ndicka, claims Sky Sports. The defender has also been linked to Milan, Inter, Valencia and Sevilla.

- According to The Mirror, Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham have enquired about Barca's Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich.

United are confident of beating Borussia Dortmund to the signing of Birmingham City's 16-year-old sensation Jude Bellingham.

- Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard is being eyed by Arsenal, The Mirror reports, amid doubts over Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. Aubameyang has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and United.

David Moyes has proposed the introduction of a "British Cup" in response to UEFA's suggestion that the EFL Cup should be scrapped.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin said this week that concerns over player workloads should bring an end to England's second domestic cup competition.

The latest edition of the EFL Cup concluded on Sunday when Manchester City beat Aston Villa in an entertaining final.

West Ham boss Moyes believes revamping the competition to a British Cup, which would involve the likes of Celtic and Rangers mixing it up with some Premier League sides, would be a preferable alternative to ending it entirely. 

"My opinion on it is I have always thought we should have included Scotland," said Moyes, whose team are away to Arsenal on Saturday.

"It is in need of some way of being revamped. Maybe there is a way that a certain amount of Premier League teams wouldn't enter.

"Call it the British Cup. A couple of teams from Northern Ireland, maybe two of the Welsh League clubs. That could give us something different."

While he has a different take to Ceferin on how to deal with the EFL Cup, former Manchester United manager Moyes agrees player workloads are problematic in the modern game.

He added: "I understand the fixture pile-up and there are an awful lot of games for the top players. 

"A lot who will be playing in the Euros just off the back of playing long seasons, Saturday-Wednesday, are then expected to start again in the Premier League with only two or three weeks' break.

"So I don't think that's correct. The players are going to have no time off at all."

Pep Biel and Dame N'Doye struck late to earn Copenhagen a dramatic 3-1 away win over Celtic that completed a 4-2 aggregate victory in the Europa League's round of 32.

Michael Santos, who replaced the injured Mikkel Kaufmann in the first half at Parkhead on Thursday, scored the opening goal in the 51st minute when he was on hand to capitalise on a pair of defensive errors.

Celtic levelled when Ragnar Sigurdsson handled the ball in the box and Odsonne Edouard's Panenka penalty beat goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson, but Biel broke the hosts' hearts.

N'Doye then made sure of Copenhagen's progress to the last 16 by finishing well with two minutes to go, with the draw for the next round set to be made on Friday.

Celtic were the much better side in the first leg of their Europa League last-32 tie against Copenhagen, but the Scottish champions were ultimately grateful to claim a 1-1 draw at Parken thanks to Fraser Forster's wonderful late penalty save.

Neil Lennon's men claimed a deserved lead through Odsonne Edouard on Thursday, having failed to score in their last nine away knockout games in Europe, and looked superior to their hosts for long periods.

However, Dame N'Doye grabbed a 52nd-minute equaliser for Copenhagen and Jens Stage had the chance to seal victory with a penalty awarded with the aid of VAR, only for Forster to tip his spot-kick on to the left-hand post.

Celtic will now be confident of securing progress in next week's return tie in Glasgow, although they may wonder how they did not win this encounter by a comfortable margin.

Edouard was twice denied by Karl-Johan Johnsson inside the first four minutes, the Copenhagen goalkeeper also combining with Ragnar Sigurdsson to keep out a follow-up to the second effort from Olivier Ntcham.

It proved a case of third time lucky for Edouard when he was presented with another chance in the 14th minute. The prolific striker calmly clipped the ball past Johnsson after fine work from Ryan Christie and Callum McGregor.

The impressive visitors remained in the ascendancy prior to the interval, Copenhagen's only effort of the first half coming when Bryan Oviedo curled a shot wide on his weaker right foot.

However, Copenhagen came out for the second period with renewed vigour and they equalised when N'Doye fired home off the left-hand post from Rasmus Falk Jensen's pass after Ntcham had been robbed of possession.

McGregor blazed a shot wastefully over the bar, a Christie cross from the right almost found the far corner and Edouard was again denied by Johnsson as Celtic quickly regained the upper hand.

Copenhagen were given the opportunity to snatch a scarcely deserved win when a VAR review penalised Christie for handball at a corner, but Forster reacted superbly to deny Stage from 12 yards.

At the other end, home goalkeeper Johnsson rounded off a wonderful performance by denying James Forrest at his near post.

A 12-year-old boy has been charged and reported in relation to the alleged racist abuse of a Rangers player during the Old Firm derby in December.

The incident allegedly took place during Rangers' 2-1 victory over Premiership champions Celtic on December 29.

The boy cannot be named for legal reasons, Police Scotland confirmed on Monday.

Superintendent Mark Sutherland of Greater Glasgow Division said: "Abuse of any form is completely unacceptable and Police Scotland will continue to rigorously investigate any reports of abuse we receive and bring those responsible before the relevant authorities.

"We'd remind the public that, as the person charged is below the age of 18, he cannot be named or identified for legal reasons as per the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995."

Rangers claimed their first league win at Celtic Park since 2010 thanks to goals from Ryan Kent and Nikola Katic either side of an Odsonne Edouard equaliser.

Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos was sent off in second-half injury time after receiving a second yellow card for simulation.

Barcelona signed Brazilian midfielder Matheus Fernandes and Portuguese forward Francisco Trincao on transfer deadline day, but both players must wait for their chance to shine at Camp Nou.

Fernandes will join Quique Setien's squad from Palmeiras in July after a €10million package was agreed for the 21-year-old, who has played for the Brazil Under-20 team.

Braga accepted a €31m offer from Barca for 20-year-old forward Trincao, and he will also formally join the Catalan club's ranks at the end of the season.

Both players have agreed five-year contracts, the Blaugrana announced, with Fernandes' contract including a €300m buy-out clause and Trincao's deal showing a €500m clause.

Braga will take Barca's 18-year-old striker Abel Ruiz on loan until the end of the season and then make the deal permanent for €8m, with the LaLiga club having a buy-back option.

Barca were not the only Spanish club busy in the market though, with Celta Vigo signing striker Fyodor Smolov on loan from Lokomotiv Moscow until the end of the season.

Atletico Madrid re-signed Belgian winger Yannick Carrasco, almost two years after he left to join Chinese side Dalian Yifang. The 26-year-old joined until the end of the season on loan.
 

STAYING PUT

Deadline day was as notable for the deals that looked to have fallen through as those that were completed.

Paris Saint-Germain ruled out allowing Edinson Cavani to leave, as a host of clubs fancied taking the Uruguayan off their hands, while Chelsea refused to let France striker Olivier Giroud depart Stamford Bridge.

Tottenham were among the clubs keen on Giroud, but Jose Mourinho looked like missing out on the striker he wanted to strengthen a front-line depleted by the loss of injured England captain Harry Kane.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane said Gareth Bale would not be leaving the Santiago Bernabeu.

Manchester United remained linked with Bournemouth forward Joshua King, but time was running out for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to add new faces to his Old Trafford squad.

United made one signing, but it was a low-profile deal as England Under-20 goalkeeper Nathan Bishop arrived from third-tier Southend United.

Arsenal brought in defender Cedric Soares on loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, champions Celtic shipped out Scotland international Lewis Morgan to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami, who are part-owned by David Beckham.

Belgian side Genk allowed attacking midfielder Ianis Hagi, son of Romanian great Gheorghe Hagi, to join Scottish giants Rangers on loan.
 

KOUAME, DUNCAN IN

Serie A transfer activity was dominated by Fiorentina, who signed Ivorian forward Christian Kouame from Genoa, initially on loan. The deal will be made permanent at the end of the season.

They also brought in Ghanaian midfielder Alfred Duncan from Sassuolo in a similar deal, a loan with an obligation to buy.

Reports in Italy said Kevin-Prince Boateng was set to leave Fiorentina among the incomings, with Besiktas his destination. Turkish giants Besiktas also snapped up 18-year-old Croatian midfielder Ajdin Hasic from Dinamo Zagreb on permanent terms.

Atalanta agreed a loan deal with Nice, acquiring defender Adrien Tameze from the Ligue 1 outfit with a purchase option.

World Cup winner Steven Nzonzi cut short a season-long loan from Roma to Galatasaray, returning to his French homeland with Rennes on a six-month loan with an option for a further year.
 

HERTHA BUSY

In the Bundesliga, Emre Can left Juventus for Borussia Dortmund on Friday evening, initially on loan until the end of the campaign but with a €25m fee agreed for a potential permanent transfer.

Elsewhere, Hertha Berlin followed up Thursday's signing of Krzysztof Piatek by prising 20-year-old Brazilian winger Matheus Cunha from table-toppers RB Leipzig, for whom he scored nine goals in 52 games.

Hertha managing director Michael Preetz said on the club's website: "We wanted to increase the quantity and improve the quality up front, which we have been able to do with the Piatek and Cunha transfers."

Leipzig also offloaded Austrian midfielder Stefan Ilsanker to Eintracht Frankfurt. He spent four-and-a-half years at Leipzig, joining them in the second tier.

Werder Bremen signed striker Davie Selke on an 18-month loan from Hertha, the 25-year-old returning to the club where he began his professional career.

Manchester City winger Patrick Roberts has joined Championship side Middlesbrough on loan after having his Norwich City stay cut short.

Roberts, 22, joined the promoted Canaries ahead of the 2019-20 season after signing a new Man City contract and was expected to see plenty of first-team football given Daniel Farke's faith in young players.

However, the former England youth international has made just three substitute appearances in the Premier League, amounting to 23 minutes.

Boro will be Roberts' fourth loan destination following his spells with Norwich, Girona and Celtic.

The winger had been highly rated as a teenager, bursting on to the scene as a 16-year-old with Fulham and earning a move to City in 2015.

However, since then he has generally struggled to live up to his early billing, bar the first 18 months of his two-and-a-half-year period with Celtic.

He joins Boro until the end of the season, with Jonathan Woodgate's side – who are 16th in the Championship – hoping to eventually challenge for a play-off place having strung together four successive wins following a difficult start to the season.

Roberts has two-and-a-half years left on his City contract.

Rangers managing director Stewart Robertson has reiterated the club's support of VAR in a statement which claims striker Alfredo Morelos is "singled out for special attention" in Scottish football.

Steven Gerrard's side claimed an away Old Firm victory in the Scottish Premiership for the first time in 10 attempts on Sunday as Nikola Katic's winner saw them beat Celtic 2-1.

Yet Rangers, who moved to within two points of their rivals at the top of the table, with a game in hand, ended the match unhappy with the officials.

Odsonne Edouard's initial equaliser for Celtic appeared to strike his arm, while Morelos was sent off late on - his seventh Rangers dismissal - receiving his second booking for diving as his miserable goalless Old Firm record continued.

The absence of VAR - the system much-maligned in England's Premier League on the same day - in Scottish football is of frustration to Rangers, as Robertson explained on Monday.

"This is not a criticism of referees because they often have to perform under very difficult conditions and in a highly emotive environment, as do our players and coaches," Robertson said.

"The speed at which the modern game is played also means it is extremely difficult to make split-second calls with the degree of certainty required.

"We believe the introduction of VAR would help referees enormously and reduce the number of wrong decisions which sometimes have a dramatic effect on the outcome of matches.

"In recent weeks, Rangers has suffered from errors of judgement but it is our strong view that VAR would be to the benefit of everyone and in particular the referees themselves."

Rangers' statement highlighted three "glaring errors", referring to Edouard's goal, the non-award of a penalty for Morelos against Aberdeen, along with Celtic's offside winner in the Scottish League Cup final.

The release went on to defend Morelos, who has been criticised for an apparent throat-cutting gesture following his red card at Celtic Park.

The club said: "There can be little doubt Alfredo is singled out for special attention, on and off the field of play.

"Indeed, some of the things said and written about him leave a lot to be desired and do nothing to suggest Scottish football is the most welcoming of environments.

"Even Alfredo's gesture as he left the pitch is now being portrayed in some quarters as something sinister when, in fact, it is a gesture used commonly throughout South America to indicate quite simply that something – in this case, the match – is finished."

Rangers cut the gap to leaders Celtic down to two points in the Scottish Premiership thanks to a 2-1 victory at their Old Firm rivals on Sunday, despite another red card for Alfredo Morelos.

Nikola Katic's 56th-minute header secured Rangers their first league triumph at Celtic Park in 10 attempts, raising hopes for Steven Gerrard's squad they may finally be able to end Celtic's long run of dominance in the top flight.

While the reigning champions remain at the summit, their Glasgow neighbours have a game in hand as they bid to lift the title for the first time since 2010-11.

The only setback for Gerrard was the late dismissal of Morelos, who was sent off for the seventh time in his Rangers career after picking up a second booking for diving during added time.

Both teams had scored during a crazy nine-minute spell in the first half that saw a missed penalty, a Rangers opener and a fortuitous equaliser from a familiar scorer in these fixtures.

The visitors were on top before Katic presented Celtic the chance to take the lead by holding on to Christopher Jullien's shirt at a corner, the infringement spotted by referee Kevin Clancy.

However, Allan McGregor helped out his team-mate by turning away Ryan Christie's spot kick - and Rangers went ahead soon after when Ryan Kent swept in Borna Barisic's square pass with his left foot.

Celtic had struggled in attack but benefited from a fortunate break to draw level, Callum McGregor's shot going in off Odsonne Edouard, with the deflection - seemingly off an arm - wrongfooting goalkeeper McGregor.

Yet Rangers recovered from the unfortunate setback to retake the lead early in the second half, Barisic again the provider as his corner picked out the run of fellow Croatian Katic.

Steven Davis preserved the visitors' narrow advantage when he headed off the line from Jullien for a second time in the contest, while Morelos - still yet to score against Celtic - received his marching orders too late for the hosts to capitalise on the man advantage.

The full draw for the Europa League's round of 32 is: 

Wolves v Espanyol

Sporting CP v Istanbul Basaksehir

Getafe v Ajax

Bayer Leverkusen v Porto

Copenhagen v Celtic

APOEL v Basel

Cluj v Sevilla

Olympiacos v Arsenal

AZ v LASK Linz

Club Brugge v Manchester United

Ludogorets v Inter

Eintracht Frankfurt v Salzburg

Shakhtar Donetsk v Benfica

Wolfsburg v Malmo

Roma v Gent

Rangers v Braga

The first legs will take place on Thursday 20 February, with the return fixtures scheduled for a week later.

Club chiefs will return to Nyon for the last-16 draw on February 28.

Manchester United and Arsenal were handed tricky Europa League last-32 ties against Club Brugge and Olympiacos respectively, while Inter take on Ludogorets.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United side face Belgian outfit Brugge, who finished third in a Champions League group including Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid.

The Red Devils, winners of the competition in 2016-17, topped their Europa League pool, losing just once with a youthful side at Astana.

Struggling Arsenal will have been eyeing a more favourable draw than Olympiacos, who are familiar with north London having faced Tottenham in the Champions League.

Inter were unfortunate not to make the last 16 of the Champions League, losing out to Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund, but Antonio Conte's side will fancy their chances against Bulgarian side Ludogorets.

Sevilla, who are the competition's most successful club, with five wins across the UEFA Cup and Europa League, will have to overcome Cluj to make the last 16.

Old Firm duo Celtic and Rangers take on Copenhagen and Braga, while Premier League side Wolves lock horns with LaLiga strugglers Espanyol.

Ajax, Champions League semi-finalists last season, also face Spanish opposition in the form of Getafe, and Roma – who reached the last four of Europe's premier competition in 2017-18 – go up against Gent.

Bayer Leverkusen take on two-time winners Porto in one of the round's stand-out ties, as Shakhtar Donetsk and Benfica – two demoted Champions League outfits – face off.

Having impressed against Liverpool and Napoli, Salzburg play Eintracht Frankfurt.

First-leg games take place on February 20, with the return fixtures a week later.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon relished the opportunity to give European experience to teenagers Karamoko Dembele and Scott Robertson in Thursday's defeat to Cluj.

Dembele, 16, came on as a 72nd-minute substitute in the 2-0 Europa League loss in Romania and became the youngest player to represent Celtic in continental competition.

Debutant Robertson started the match and played the full 90 minutes, with the 18-year-old coming in as one of nine changes to the side that beat Rangers in Sunday's Scottish League Cup final.

Celtic were already assured of top spot in Group E but saw a 12-game winning run in all competitions ended by goals from Andrei Burca and Damjan Djokovic.

"We think very highly of him," Lennon told Celtic TV of Dembele. "I wanted to give him some experience.

"I want to keep him around the team squad because we think he's a real talent. I wanted to give him a little bit of experience at this level.

"Scott Robertson also had a terrific debut. His performance delighted me. I thought it was a superb debut for an 18-year-old to come in and play in that environment so maturely and with a lot of composure."

Explaining his team selection, Lennon added: "The campaign was done and dusted and we’ve already won a trophy so I didn’t want to run the risk of injuries. 

"I wanted to give others some experience and some will need that 90 minutes for the games coming up.

"We're disappointed to lose the game but in the main very pleased with what I got out of it. Some of my players needed the games and needed the 90 minutes.

"Overall, we’ve had an amazing campaign and I'm happy to have used the squad tonight because we have so many important domestic games coming up."

Celtic's unbeaten run in this season's Europa League was ended as Cluj sealed their place in the knockout stages with a 2-0 victory on Thursday.

Needing to avoid defeat to secure second place in Group E ahead of Lazio, Cluj ultimately had a comfortable night against a Celtic side who had already qualified and were chasing successive away victories in Europe for the first time since 2003.

Abdel Billel Omrani and Lacina Traore passed up chances but defender Andrei Burca made no such mistake to head the hosts in front in the 48th minute.

Celtic could not kick-start an underwhelming display, and Cluj secured their passage into the round of 32 for the first time when Damjan Djokovic prodded home with 20 minutes remaining.

Fraser Forster has been Celtic's first-choice goalkeeper in Europe this season, but stand-in Craig Gordon showed his quality with a fine save to deny Omrani in the 18th minute.

Gordon would have had little chance of preventing Traore opening the scoring, only for the former Monaco striker to send his close-range header over.

But Celtic did not get away with further sloppy defending three minutes after the break – Burca heading home unmarked from Ciprian Deac's inswinging corner.

Deac almost went from provider to scorer three minutes later, Gordon pulling off another top-quality stop after a defensive mix-up left Celtic exposed.

Leigh Griffiths' header forced keeper Giedrius Arlauskis into action at the other end, yet Celtic's hopes of a comeback were ended when Djokovic turned in Deac's cut-back to ensure Cluj's progression.

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