Burns angered by reports of clear-out

 

CELTIC prepare to resume their title pursuit of Rangers today with several players stung by claims that they are set to leave the club.

Tommy Burns' side can close the gap at the top of the Scottish Premier League to 11 points if they defeat Kilmarnock at home tonight.

However, the Parkhead management team are furious over reports that foreign stars Andreas Thom and Morten Wieghorst head a planned clear-out list.

Assistant manager Billy Stark denied that German international Thom, who has been linked with a return home to Karlsruhe, and Danish midfielder Wieghorst are leaving. "It's nonsense to say that Tommy and myself have sat down and discussed a clear-out," he said.

Speculation that Wieghorst would move in a swap deal with Hibernians' £1 million-rated international striker Darren Jackson, particularly angered Stark.

The Dane scored in last weekend's 5-0 win over Motherwell, but Stark is worried that the rumours could affect him.

Celtic will still be without three key players - Alan Stubbs, Peter Grant and Thom are all injured - while skipper Paul McStay is struggling to be fit. Grant has also been linked with an exit from Parkhead, but Stark insists that is not the case.

"There is never a conscious decision to clear out a group of players," he said.