Scottish Premier League

Matthews ready for finale

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Mon, 06 May 2013 20:04:00

QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia has denied using Twitter to express his interest in a move away from the relegated club.

Rangers have slipped back into the Championship after only a two-year stint in the Premier League and manager Harry Redknapp has admitted he wants to offload a number of his players.

Mbia only joined QPR from Marseille last summer, but it appeared that he contacted Joey Barton, who moved to the Ligue 1 club as part of the deal, to suggest they swap clubs.

A public message sent from Mbia's account read: "So... Seriously @Joey7Barton do you want rechange your seat with me? #qpr #om"

Ian Taylor, the club's head of media and communications, said he had spoken to Mbia and released a statement via the social networking site.

It read: "The club is aware of tweets from the official Twitter account of #QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia today

"Stephane Mbia has informed the club he is not responsible for these tweets.

"The club will continue to investigate and deal with the issue internally."

Mbia has since told The Guardian: "I do not know how this happened. Someone must have got hold of my login and password because I did not write these things.

"This was not me. I did not write the tweets, and I have made people at the club aware of that.

"I saw the messages this morning and spoke with the club about them, but now I see there are more appearing in my name."

Barton responded to the tweet by calling on QPR's players to pull together after their relegation.

"How do I answer this politically? Er...Nope #allezLOM," he replied.

"If you go down with a team, you should stay and help them up mate. They need you all to stick together and help them back."

The 12 Scottish Premier League clubs met last week to discuss a number of options for introducing play-offs between the top two divisions.

Since then, 10 clubs sent a proposal to the SPL asking to join their ranks in a breakaway from the Scottish Football League.

Dundee, who were relegated on Sunday, have a foot in both camps as they will be able to speak for their future second-tier colleagues.

It is understood there are three options other than the status quo that will be discussed by the 12 clubs on Tuesday.

One is the introduction of play-offs between the SPL and SFL. The second is the introduction of play-offs in a new structure with an all-through distribution model with the other option being the possibility of an SPL2.

St Mirren and Ross County both vetoed plans for a new merged structure last month after being unconvinced of the merits of the proposed split of the top two divisions into three after 22 games.

Both clubs are understood to be more favourable towards play-offs and have publicly questioned the wisdom of a split, but other clubs might need to be convinced over opening themselves up to an increased chance of relegation without creating enough extra revenue for the second tier.

There are just five weeks left until the fixtures are due out, with the SPL season scheduled to start on August 3, but it is understood league officials are comfortable that any agreement could be actioned at any stage before the publication.

Dundee manager John Brown is optimistic some progress can be made on Tuesday.

Brown told BBC Scotland: "I think tomorrow could be the point where we get a decision.

"What I'm hearing, there will be decisions made tomorrow and hopefully it's for the best of Scottish football.

"We need to do it soon. We're becoming a mockery here - we need to come up with the answers."

Matthews is set to return from a two-month absence from a hamstring injury when Celtic receive the SPL trophy following their last home game of the season against St Johnstone on Saturday.

The Welshman, who has not played since Celtic's Champions League defeat by Juventus in Turin on March 6, is also hoping to be back to his best form for the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian at the end of the month.

He said: "I've been training for the last couple of days and today so I will hopefully be fit for the weekend.

"I'm looking forward to the Scottish Cup final and hopefully I can stay fit and won't get a recurrence of the injury.

"We won the league a couple of weeks ago and we have all been looking forward to getting the trophy.

"It will be great to get the trophy in front of our home fans. I'm sure it will be a full house to see us lift it.

"The fans have been brilliant all season and I'm sure there will be a party atmosphere but we have got to win the game first."

Celtic have rested players in their last two games, a defeat by Motherwell and yesterday's 1-1 draw with Ross County, after clinching the title.

But the early holidays are over and Celtic are looking to increase their intensity before facing Hibs in the cup final on May 26.

Matthews, who trained with his team-mates at Celtic Park today in front of thousands of families at the club's open day, said: "We have had a great season so far.

"The Champions League has been brilliant and we have comfortably won the league so hopefully we can do the double, which would be great for us and the fans.

"It's a big game and you want to win every tournament you are in.

"We are 100% focused on what we need to do and hopefully we can get the win."

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