{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"football","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-new-stand-to-get-saturday-morning-inspection-1-4615888","id":"1.4615888","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ new stand to get Saturday morning inspection","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510941609000 ,"articleLead": "

Ann Budge is confident Hearts will be able to return to Tynecastle this Sunday despite the club failing to secure a safety certificate.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615886.1510936023!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work continues on the new stand at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

City of Edinburgh Council safety officers inspected the stadium on Friday ahead of Partick Thistle’s visit to the capital.

They found elements of work which still need to be carried out before the Ladbrokes Premiership match can go ahead.

Despite this the club are confident they will get the green light on Saturday afternoon and can finally return to the redeveloped Tynecastle.

Budge said in a club statement: “I know every Hearts supporter, and indeed every Partick Thistle supporter, is awaiting the announcement that will confirm or otherwise, whether our upcoming game can be played at Tynecastle Park on Sunday, 19 November.

“I cannot, at this time, definitively say ‘yes’ but I can say that every indication points to the game going ahead.

“Following our meeting with CEC officials this morning, there are a few elements of work still to be completed. Our Construction Management Team is very confident that this will be achieved.

“A final visit will take place tomorrow at 12noon, following which I hope to be able to issue a “we are open for business” message early tomorrow afternoon. However, no guarantees!

“Everyone at the club is working flat out, on the assumption that the game will go ahead.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615886.1510936023!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615886.1510936023!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Work continues on the new stand at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work continues on the new stand at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615886.1510936023!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5645993052001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/neil-lennon-i-have-no-interest-in-the-northern-ireland-job-1-4615681","id":"1.4615681","articleHeadline": "Neil Lennon: I have no interest in the Northern Ireland job","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510909845000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon has insisted he has no interest in becoming manager of Northern Ireland should current boss Michael O’Neill decide to quit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615680.1510909840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon is very content with his role at Hibs"} ,"articleBody": "

Former Hibs midfielder O’Neill is the front-runner to take charge of Scotland following the departure of Gordon Strachan, the SFA having made a formal approach for the 48-year-old who is also high on the wanted list by the United States and English Championship outfit Sunderland.

But while adamant his countryman will make his own decision – and he admitted he’d love to see a manager who “has performed miracles” stay with Northern Ireland – the Easter Road boss insists he won’t be putting his name forward should O’Neill decide the time is right to seek a change of direction.

He said: “I enjoy what I do and I like the day-to-day thing, I’d miss that too much. I don’t think I’m ready for international management. I don’t like the feast or famine aspect to it either.

“You win a couple of games and you are the best thing since sliced bread, you lose a game and the whole world falls around you. It’s just disproportionate from a public 

“I like working with the players on a day-to-day basis as well. In international management you get the players once every couple of months and you have to get it right over a specific period of time. I think it’s a very difficult thing to do.”

He isn’t, however, surprised in the slightest that the SFA are now chasing the man who led Northern Ireland into the Euro 2016 finals and narrowly missed out on a place in next summer’s World Cup finals, suffering an aggregate 1-0 defeat by Switzerland in the play-offs thanks to what Lennon described as a “diabolical” penalty decision. Conceding that he felt overall the Swiss were the better team and deserved to go through, Lennon was nevertheless unstinting in his praise for Edinburgh-based O’Neill. He said: Whether he wants to do it or not only Michael can answer that.

“His stock is very high and from a Northern Ireland point of view, I want him to stay on. He may feel he has taken Northern Ireland as far as he can, or that there is more to come.

“It doesn’t surprise me that there is interest in him from elsewhere. Michael has performed miracles. To get to the last 16 or the Euros and then to make the play-offs in a group containing Germany and the Czech Republic was unheard of when I played.

“He does not have a big squad of players, there is not great strength in depth but the players have been magnificent for him as he has got the best out of them. He has them believing and there is great mentality about them.

“Tactically he is very strong, defensively they are well set-up and they became really hard to beat.”

Expressing a belief that at present Scotland are a “young, vibrant international team” with potential while Northern Ireland could be about to enter a transitory phase with a number of players now the wrong side of 30, Lennon said: “Michael is smart and he will make the right decision for him whether that will be moving on or staying.

“He’s quite savvy that way. It’s all about timing too, and if he feels the time is right to move on then that will be his decision.”

He did however, agree that Tommy Wright – boss of St Johnstone, Hibs opponents’ tomorrow and a former Northern Ireland goalkeeper – would be a prime candidate to succeed O’Neill.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615680.1510909840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615680.1510909840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon is very content with his role at Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs head coach Neil Lennon is very content with his role at Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615680.1510909840!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1504877950570"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/building-inspectors-due-at-hearts-for-further-stand-inspection-1-4615421","id":"1.4615421","articleHeadline": "Building inspectors due at Hearts for further stand inspection","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510907320000 ,"articleLead": "

Building inspectors are due at Tynecastle tomorrow morning to once again look over Hearts’ main stand ahead of Sunday’s match against Partick Thistle.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615420.1510848832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work continued today on the new stand at Tynecastle. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Workers have been trying frantically in the past 36 hours to finish off parts of the structure to allow a safety certificate to be granted in time for the Jambos’ Premiership game with the Jags.

Builders worked a nightshift and throughout today after the last inspection yesterday. Progress has been made, but it remains to be seen whether they have done enough to allow the stadium to be open for Sunday afternoon’s fixture.

If building inspectors are happy with the stand, then a team from the public safety arm of City of Edinburgh Council would visit Tynecastle and, in conjunction with the emergency services, do their own assessments and issue the necessary paperwork if all standards are met.

However, if the inspectors leave Gorgie tomorrow morning dissatisfied with the situation, Hearts will have to decide whether to call the match off or do more work into the weekend to get everything up to speed. The council has reiterated that they are happy to do further checks into the weekend if required, but time is running against the club.

Hearts officials have remained in constant dialogue with the council, Partick Thistle and the Scottish Professional Football League regarding the ongoing situation.

Tynecastle has been closed since July as Hearts complete the reconstruction of their multi-million-pound main stand. The ground was due to be used for the match against Aberdeen on September 9 before delays to seat shipments and construction resulted in that game, and subsequent ties against Rangers and St Johnstone, being moved to BT Murrayfield.

The club had hoped to play their encounter with Kilmarnock on November 5 at Tynecastle in front of their new stand but that match, too, was switched to the home of Scottish rugby. BT Murrayfield is not an option for this weekend’s match, nor is it for the game against Ross County a week on Saturday, as it is being used for Scotland’s Autumn Tests against New Zealand and Australia.

The whole project – which is likely to run over the initial £12million budget and includes state-of-the-art dressing rooms, media facilities, hospitality suites, a Skyline restaurant and a piazza area outside – is not due for completion until summer 2018, when the new main stand will be fully operational on every level. It is due to increase Tynecastle’s capacity to more than 20,000 people.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARK ATKINSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615420.1510848832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615420.1510848832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Work continued today on the new stand at Tynecastle. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work continued today on the new stand at Tynecastle. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615420.1510848832!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5645993052001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-v-partick-thistle-match-preview-and-probable-line-ups-1-4616208","id":"1.4616208","articleHeadline": "Hearts v Partick Thistle: Match preview and probable line-ups","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510923373000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts welcome Partick Thistle to Gorgie on 19 November when the Jambos plan to open their new £12 million main stand.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616207.1510923368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arnaud Djoum, inset, will be hoping to make his return to action in front of a packed new main stand at Tynecastle. Pictures: SNS Group/Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

It’s been touch-and-go in recent days and at the time of writing, we are still unsure if the match will get the go-ahead.

Hearts go into this game hoping to end a run of three straight defeats to Hibs, Rangers and Kilmarnock while Partick haven’t won on the road on league duty since a 1-0 win over Dundee in March.

The last time Hearts defeated Partick Thistle at Tynecastle, in March 2016, Arnaud Djoum was the scorer of the only goal after 25 minutes. Coincidentally, Djoum should make a timely return to the Hearts starting line-up for the visit of the Jags.

Since then the teams have played out three draws (two at Firhill and one at Tynecastle) and a victory apiece; Partick winning 2-0 in Maryhill in February 2017 in a match that saw Esmael Goncalves sent off, and Hearts securing a 2-1 victory on the road in August 2016, Tony Watt popping up with a last-minute winner.

Don Cowie, who should also start for Hearts after coming through the 90 minutes against Kilmarnock unscathed, is keen for both fans and players to turn Tynecastle into a fortress once more.

The return of experienced pair Djoum and Prince Buaben will help ease Hearts’ problems in midfield, where Levein has been forced to play a handful of youngsters in recent weeks.

The likes of Harry Cochrane and Euan Henderson have impressed while Danny Baur, Rory Currie, Lewis Moore and Jamie Brandon have all been given game time since Levein took over.

However, the Hearts boss is still not without his injury concerns. John Souttar is out having sustained a concussion on international duty while Jamie Walker (hamstring), Ashley Smith-Brown (pelvis) and Malaury Martin are also missing.

Partick Thistle boss Alan Archibald also has a number of players on the sidelines: Mustapha Dumbuya, Callum Booth and Stuart Bannigan are all out with knee injuries while Christie Elliott is nursing an ankle complaint. Abdul Osman is still missing with a shoulder injury.

Archibald is also without the services of striker Conor Sammon, the on-loan Hearts player not able to face his parent club.

Last five meetings: Partick Thistle 1-1 Hearts; Hearts 2-2 Partick Thistle; Partick Thistle 2-0 Hearts; Hearts 1-1 Partick Thistle; Partick Thistle 1-2 Hearts

Likely Hearts team (4-2-3-1): McLaughlin; Randall, Hughes, Berra, M Smith; Buaben, Callachan; Cowie, Djoum, Goncalves; Lafferty. Subs from: Hamilton, Noring, Brandon, Baur, Nowak, Grzelak, Beith, Cochrane, Milinkovic, Moore, Currie, Henderson, Stockton.

Likely Partick team (5-3-2): Cerny; McGinn, Keown, Devine, Turnbull, Lawless; Edwards, Barton, Spittal; Doolan, Storey. Subs from: Scully, Nitriansky, Nisbet, Woods, Fraser, Erskine, Wilson.

Referee: Andrew Dallas

Kick-off: 3pm (Sunday)

Odds: Hearts 10/11 Draw 13/5 Partick 37/10 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hearts page

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PATRICK MCPARTLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616207.1510923368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616207.1510923368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Arnaud Djoum, inset, will be hoping to make his return to action in front of a packed new main stand at Tynecastle. Pictures: SNS Group/Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arnaud Djoum, inset, will be hoping to make his return to action in front of a packed new main stand at Tynecastle. Pictures: SNS Group/Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616207.1510923368!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-v-st-johnstone-match-preview-and-probable-line-ups-1-4616128","id":"1.4616128","articleHeadline": "Hibs v St Johnstone: Match preview and probable line-ups","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510920500000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon will go head-to-head with countryman Tommy Wright as the two Northern Irishmen’s teams do battle at Easter Road this weekend.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616127.1510920495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs players are put through their paces at East Mains ahead of the visit of St Johnstone. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

Hibs haven’t defeated St Johnstone in a league match at Easter Road since September 2011, when a goal from Ivan Sproule and a double from Garry O’Connor, including a hotly disputed penalty, handed the Hibees a 3-2 win, while Liam Craig and Cillian Sheridan were on target for the visitors.

Hibs are currently on a run of four wins, having defeated Hearts, Motherwell, Kilmarnock and Dundee and currently sit third in the Scottish Premiership, two points behind Aberdeen who have a game in hand.

Lennon is still without injured defensive duo Liam Fontaine and Darren McGregor, with Danny Swanson also set to miss out with a knee injury, but Anthony Stokes is available for selection after overcoming an ankle injury, and was a first half replacement for Dylan McGeouch in the 2-1 win over Dundee last time round.

McGregor has returned to training but is still some way off match fitness.

Away from the speculation over Tommy Wright being a possible candidate to succeed Michael O’Neill as Northern Ireland boss if the former Hibs winger leaves his position, St Johnstone will be desperate for a performance at Easter Road.

The Perthshire outfit haven’t won a match since 23 September - which was also the last time they found the net - when they defeated 10-man Hamilton 2-1 at McDiarmid Park.

David Wotherspoon and Liam Craig will return to familiar surroundings, the pair having spent a combined eight years at Easter Road between 2007 and 2015.

Craig is now in his second spell with the McDiarmid Park outfit while local boy Wotherspoon has been turning out for the Saints since joining from Hibs in 2013.

Wright has been boosted by the return of Michael O’Halloran and Murray Davidson, while Stefan Scougall and Chris Millar are back in training and will be assessed ahead of the game.

Brian Easton remains sidelined with a knee injury.

Last five meetings: St Johnstone 1-1 Hibs; Hibs 2-1 St Johnstone; St Johnstone 2-0 Hibs; Hibs 0-0 St Johnstone; St Johnstone 1-2 Hibs

Likely Hibs team (4-2-3-1): Marciano; Gray, Ambrose, Hanlon, Stevenson; Bartley; Barker, McGinn, McGeouch, Boyle; S Murray. Subs from: Laidlaw, Porteous, Slivka, Matulevicius, Stokes, F Murray, Shaw.

Likely St Johnstone team (4-4-2): Clark; Comrie, Anderson, Shaughnessy, Tanser; Wotherspoon, Davidson, Paton, Craig; O’Halloran, MacLean. Subs from: Mannus, Foster, Gordon, Alston, Scougall, Millar, Cummings, Johnstone, McClean.

Referee: Craig Thomson

Kick-off: 3pm

Odds: Hibs 31/50 Draw 5/1 St Johnstone 5/1 (Odds correct at the time of writing)

For more statistics, visit our dedicated Hibs page

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PATRICK MCPARTLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4616127.1510920495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4616127.1510920495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Hibs players are put through their paces at East Mains ahead of the visit of St Johnstone. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs players are put through their paces at East Mains ahead of the visit of St Johnstone. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4616127.1510920495!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/show-hearts-past-three-matches-are-just-a-blip-says-don-cowie-1-4615556","id":"1.4615556","articleHeadline": "Show Hearts’ past three matches are just a blip, says Don Cowie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510909862000 ,"articleLead": "

Don Cowie has urged Hearts to ensure their past three matches represent a minor blip rather than the onset of a crisis.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615555.1510864274!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Don Cowie"} ,"articleBody": "

Supporters have been left disenchanted following a run of consecutive defeats at the hands of Hibs, Rangers and Kilmarnock which has resulted in Craig Levein’s side languishing nine points adrift of the Ladbrokes Premiership’s top four.

Prior to the Edinburgh derby loss at Easter Road just over three weeks ago, Hearts were just two points from third place after a run of three wins in five matches. Cowie, the 34-year-old midfielder, is confident the return of some key men from injury, allied to being able to play at Tynecastle again following 13 consecutive league fixtures away from their spiritual home, will help them rediscover their poise. Hearts are due to face Partick Thistle in Gorgie this Sunday, although the staging of the match is subject to the new-look stadium being granted a safety certificate by City of Edinburgh Council.

“It’s been a disadvantage to have the run of fixtures we’ve had but we’ve not moaned about it, and probably until the last three weeks, it’s been a decent return,” Cowie told the Evening News. “The last three results have been disappointing but up until that point, I think we had a decent points return, in the circumstances. After we beat St Johnstone, I looked at the league and thought we were in a really good place to kick on, but unfortunately the results against Hibs, Rangers and Kilmarnock weren’t what we wanted. We’ve just got to make sure we respond to what’s happened in the last three games.”

Hearts’ predicament hasn’t been helped by injuries to Cowie, Aaron Hughes, Prince Buaben, Jamie Walker, Arnaud Djoum and Ashley Smith-Brown of late, although the list of absentees is gradually reducing. “It’s been difficult because of the injuries we’ve had,” said Cowie. “We’ve had a lot of players missing from the same area (midfield) and we’ve also been missing a lot of the more experienced players. That’s not to say that the experienced players have to play but it helps having them about on a match-day, whether it’s on the bench or starting. It was good to see Aaron playing for Northern Ireland and Arnaud’s coming back into contention, so hopefully they can feature on Sunday, and Jamie shouldn’t be too far away after that. It’ll be good to get everyone available again.”

The main source of solace for Hearts in recent matches has been the first-team exposure enjoyed by a raft of teenagers, with Jamie Brandon, Lewis Moore, Euan Henderson, Harry Cochrane, Danny Baur and Rory Currie all having been given game time since Levein took charge in September. “A lot of young players have got a taste of first-team action in big games with big atmospheres and it’s been great to see they way they’ve handled it,” said Cowie. “The future looks really bright. It’s not just the ones that have played, but also the others who are just behind them. There are a lot of exciting players here, that’s for sure. I train with a lot of them. The way the club is, they’re always trying to push the youngsters, so they’re coming to train with us on a daily basis and you can see first-hand how good they are. They obviously need to develop a bit physically but that comes with time. In terms of ability, though, they’re really exciting.

“I can definitely see why the manager’s so excited by this batch. There are so many of them coming through that I wouldn’t even pick out specific names. A few of them have had a wee taste of it, so it’s now about trying to maintain their form and make sacrifices to try and keep improving. I’m sure in three or four years, there will be a lot of these boys playing for the club.”

• Former Hearts player and Bonnyrigg Rose Scottish Junior Cup winner Tommy Davidson has died following a battle with cancer. Davidson, who played for Hearts briefly in the late 1960s, was a member of Duddingston Golf Club for 49 years.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615555.1510864274!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615555.1510864274!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Don Cowie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Don Cowie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615555.1510864274!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5645993052001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/don-cowie-wants-intimidation-factor-back-at-tynecastle-1-4615649","id":"1.4615649","articleHeadline": "Don Cowie wants intimidation factor back at Tynecastle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510909890000 ,"articleLead": "

Don Cowie has challenged Hearts to revive the spirit of last season’s rousing victories over Rangers as they bid to ensure new-look Tynecastle becomes a happy home.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615647.1510909882!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new main stand looks resplendent at Tynecastle"} ,"articleBody": "

Workmen are busy trying to make the stadium equipped to be granted a safety certificate in time to allow Sunday’s match against Partick Thistle to go ahead as scheduled.

The visit of the Jags is due to kick-off a run in which Hearts will play seven of their next eight fixtures in Gorgie after spending seven months – aside from two Betfred Cup matches in July – away from their home while extensive redevelopment work has been carried out. Tynecastle has traditionally been a stronghold for Hearts over the years, although recent memories of playing at home aren’t particularly positive for the Jambos after they won only two of their last eight Tynecastle fixtures of last season under Ian Cathro before a costly Betfred Cup draw against Dunfermline Athletic in July which ended with the stadium gripped by rancour and the rookie head coach being sacked.

Craig Levein has subsequently taken charge, and Cowie is confident that Hearts can capitalise on being back at home, as opposed to being inhibited. Recollections of the 2-0 win over Rangers a year ago and the 4-1 triumph over the same side two months later buoy the veteran midfielder as he aims to help his team get on the front foot from the moment they run out at their new-look home.

“The two games in my time that stand out at Tynecastle are the two Rangers games,” Cowie told the Evening News. “We beat them both times and played really well. We were on the front foot, putting them under pressure and getting the crowd behind us. That’s what we need to get back to doing.

“It’s a two-way thing. A lot gets made of it but it’s up to us to help the fans create the atmosphere. Unfortunately we went through a period in the second half of last season where performances were poor and then the confidence was low.

“It was a vicious cycle and Tynecastle then became quite a daunting place to play at. But this is a fresh start with the new stand, and it’s something we’re looking forward to. It’s a chance to form a new bond with the supporters. We’ve been waiting for a long time to get back home.”

Hearts are currently sixth in the Premiership but ten points adrift of city rivals Hibs after losing their past three matches. Criticism of the team has been fierce in recent weeks, but the upcoming run of games at Tynecastle is seen as a golden chance to start making some belated headway up the Premiership table after only four points were collected from the four “home” fixtures played at Murrayfield.

“We’re going back home, so it’s important to use that to our advantage because we’ve had a difficult period,” said Cowie. “We’ve been playing at Murrayfield, and we knew that would be the situation, but it’s not our home ground and it’s not what we’re used to. It’ll be good to get the fans back to Tynecastle. It’s going to be a tremendous stadium. It was one of the best in the country for atmosphere anyway, and now that it’s going to be finished with the four stands, I’m really looking forward to getting back out and playing there again. The pitch will be good because it’s not been used, so hopefully it can give us a real lift. We’ve got a good run of fixtures up until the break in January, so it’s up to us to get the results and take advantage of it.

“Tradition says that we’re stronger when we play at Tynecastle, so hopefully we can make the most of the run of home games we’ve got coming up. The fans want to see us on the front foot and that’s when we’ve tended to play at our best while I’ve been here.”

In addition to returning home, Cowie is encouraged by the fact a batch of experienced players are gradually coming back from injury. Cowie himself was back in the side against Kilmarnock last time out after missing the previous two games with a hamstring problem, while Aaron Hughes, Prince Buaben and Arnaud Djoum are all expected to be involved this weekend after recent lay-offs. The absence of these key men has meant Levein has had to rely on six teenagers in recent matches, while also using players out of position.

The resilience of the early months of the season has given way to a sense of frailty over the last three matches. Cowie believes that every player – particularly strikers Kyle Lafferty and Esmael Goncalves – will benefit if Levein is able to get something resembling his strongest XI on to the pitch.

“We’ve had no continuity because we’ve had Arnaud out for two months, I’ve been out, Jamie (Walker) has been out, and Prince and Aaron have been out,” he said. “It’s been hard to develop relationships on the pitch and get an understanding over a run of games. Isma and Kyle have managed to play the majority of games and have scored a few goals but we’ve probably not given them enough service to really see the best of them.

“They’re very different players but they can make a good partnership and be a real handful in this league. Hopefully as the weeks go on, we can get more players back and see a real improvement.”

Cowie is in good fettle after coming through the defeat by Kilmarnock unscathed. “I managed to play 90 minutes against Kilmarnock and I’ve had the free week to get a bit more fitness, so I’m looking forward to the run of games coming up. I felt my hamstring against Ross County and then I got a scan which showed the degree of the injury, so I had to give it time. Because of the injuries we had in midfield, I wanted to rush back but you just can’t do that. It’s not physically possible.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615647.1510909882!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615647.1510909882!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new main stand looks resplendent at Tynecastle","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new main stand looks resplendent at Tynecastle","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615647.1510909882!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615648.1510909885!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615648.1510909885!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Don Cowie wants Tynecastle to be an intimidating venue once more","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Don Cowie wants Tynecastle to be an intimidating venue once more","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615648.1510909885!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5645993052001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/young-hibs-striker-oli-shaw-keeps-grounded-despite-the-plaudits-1-4615671","id":"1.4615671","articleHeadline": "Young Hibs striker Oli Shaw keeps grounded despite the plaudits","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510900254000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s a moment Oli Shaw will never forget, his first goal for Hibs coming in their Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic at Hampden.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615670.1510862982!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oli Shaw fires home in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden"} ,"articleBody": "

Ultimately, of course, the day ended in disappointment for the Easter Road outfit, beaten by Brendan Rodger’s side as they clocked up yet another game in their seemingly never-ending unbeaten run.

But the assured manner in which the teenage Shaw offered Neil Lennon’s players a glimmer of hope as he calmly slotted the ball past Scotland goalkeeper Craig Gordon with only his second touch of the ball confirmed what those who regularly watch the Capital club’s development squad had been claiming, that in the youngster Hibs have a top striker in the making.

It has, though, proved to be something of a double-edged sword for Shaw, Lennon’s surprise decision to throw him on in such a match and to leave Simon Murray sitting on the bench, having, apparently, had the desired effect, serving as something of a jolt to Hibs’ top scorer who ended a barren spell in front of goal to find the net in each of his team’s last three matches, taking his tally for the season to 13 and helping hoist them into third place in the Premiership.

As far as Shaw is concerned, though, there’s no reason to feel hard done by, the very fact Lennon was prepared to turn to him at that time further indication his gaffer has every faith in those coming through the club’s academy, one of eight accorded “Elite” status this week under the SFA’s new “Project Brave” youth system.

Although still only 19, Shaw was just too old to add to his Scotland Under-19 caps as Easter Road team-mates Ryan Porteous and Fraser Murray helped the young Scots qualify from a group containing Luxembourg, Armenia and the Czech Republic for the elite round of the European Championships over the course of the past few days.

Like Shaw the pair have been regular members of Lennon’s matchday squad, particularly so leading up to the international break when the Hibs boss found his options severely limited by an ever-growing casualty list which, thankfully, has eased somewhat as they prepare to resume league action against St Johnstone tomorrow hoping to clock up a fifth successive victory.

Pointing to how Lennon’s faith in youth was again underlined as Porteous made a half-time appearance in what proved to be a 2-1 win over Dundee last time out, Shaw said: “I think it’s about being patient.

“I am one of the younger players in the squad, it’s about biding my time and awaiting that opportunity which I am sure will come as the gaffer is not frightened to give young players their chance. Ryan coming on in the last couple of matches when it’s been tight has shown that.

“I got my chance at Hampden and scored a goal but Simon has been given his and taken it as well.”

The unveiling of what the SFA has categorised “Elite” academies will, unquestionably, reopen the argument as to the merits of such systems, some seeing today’s young players as being “molly-coddled,” pampered with the best of what the game has to offer in stark contrast to days gone by when youngsters were seen to succeed despite rather than because of the often basic facilities at their disposal.

The differing routes taken by Shaw and 25-year-old Murray to Hibs’ first team probably encapsulates that debate, the former seven years with the Easter Road club despite his still tender years while his older team-mate came up through the Juniors to combine working as a plumber with part-time football at Arbroath before winning his chance at Dundee United.

Shaw, however, argues that “elite” is nothing more than a word, adamant the goal of every player, whatever their path they have followed, is simply to enjoy playing football.

“To be honest, Simon has not really mentioned it,” he said, “He’s here to play football and just focuses on the job here. Obviously there’s different ways to get to the top, Simon has that off-field experience but he’s also worked hard to get where he is.”

So too, insisted Shaw, has he, Porteous, Fraser Murray and the other aspiring youngsters who currently sit atop of the SPFL Development League.

He said: “The coaches here keep you grounded, telling you when you do things well and not so well. It’s about taking things on board. We are just boys wanting to play football, hopefully taking the opportunity to play at a high level and to do it to a good standard.

“I’ve been here five or six years, I’ve come through from the Under-15s, all the way up. I enjoy playing here and hopefully I’ll get that chance to play regular first-team football.”

So far Shaw has scored nine goals this season for the Under-20 side to go with the 20-odd from last season, including a hat-trick in a 5-0 win against the McDiarmid Park outfit’s kids last month.

He said: “They had a young team out that day, but it was still great to get a hat-trick. Tomorrow, though, will be a different story. However, we are going into it high on confidence.

“I think the international break came at just the right time for us, we’d had a lot of games and there were a few niggles here and there. We’ve had time to recover and everyone has been flying in training this week so hopefully we can keep the momentum we’ve been building.”

Shaw’s determination to keep his feet on the ground remains despite Lennon having made an unlikely comparison between him and Harry Kane in that, like the Spurs and England striker, he appears to find goals hard to come by at the start of a season but then seems unable to stop scoring.

“I didn’t score in the first couple of games,” he admitted, “But I’ve got a few since. That’s part of being a striker, sometimes it falls for you, sometimes it doesn’t.

“It’s nice to be bracketed in that category but I am me. I’ll continue to stay level-headed and grounded, to concentrate on what I am doing which is working hard.”

Shaw might have expected to have been slaughtered by his team-mates following Lennon’s comments but he revealed it’s hardly been mentioned.

Even so, as tenuous as the link may appear to be at the moment, he is determined to emulate Kane who, at the age of 24 has 100 league goals in just 179 games to his name. The Hibs kid said: “You see him at the top of his game scoring week in, week out. That’s what I am aiming to do.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615670.1510862982!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615670.1510862982!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Oli Shaw fires home in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oli Shaw fires home in the Betfred Cup semi-final at Hampden","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615670.1510862982!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/title-race-won-t-be-over-even-if-musselburgh-make-fauldhouse-fold-1-4615560","id":"1.4615560","articleHeadline": "Title race won’t be over even if Musselburgh make Fauldhouse fold","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510900240000 ,"articleLead": "

Musselburgh Athletic goalkeeper Ally Adams insists the Premier League title race will be far from over even if they do win all three points tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615559.1510853508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Musselburgh manager Calvin Shand"} ,"articleBody": "

The Olivebank men travel to West Lothian to take on second-placed Fauldhouse United knowing victory will stretch their lead over their closest challengers to eight points.

Calvin Shand’s unbeaten side have dropped just two points from 12 games so far, but Burgh No.1 Adams reckons there is still a long way to go as they bid to return to the Super League at the first time of asking.

“It’s a huge game,” said Adams. “Just the way the league is panning out, we are at the top but they are right on our tails.

“A lot of people have said to me ‘If you win this, that’s you won the league’, but I don’t believe that for a second. There’s still loads of games to play and there’s loads of injuries to happen.

“It would put a wee gap between us but it wouldn’t mean the league is won, not at all. It’s got a cup-final-feel about it. Both teams have been wanting to play each other now for a few weeks. We always check their result when we’re back in the dressing-room and every week they keep winning. I’m sure they’ve been doing the same.”

Fauldhouse will be desperate to be the first side to beat Musselburgh this season, but Adams insists they are intent on returning to East Lothian with all three points.

He continued: “We’ll definitely be going there to win. A lot of people will no doubt be saying we are unbeaten but we’ve not really played anyone. It’s almost halfway through the season and we’ve pretty much won every game.

“We’ve got a really good team. The dressing-room is really strong and everyone gets on, which is always a massive thing. The name of our group chat is ‘how many games we’re unbeaten out of 30’ and each week as it goes you think how long can we keep it going? You are not looking to go the whole season unbeaten, you’re just looking to win the next game, but as it starts to go you start to think more about it.

“We’re now coming into the winter and the pitches are a bit harder. As the run goes on teams will want to beat us more and more, so we’re well aware that the longer it goes on the harder it gets. The most important thing is we stay at the top of the league.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615559.1510853508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615559.1510853508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Musselburgh manager Calvin Shand","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Musselburgh manager Calvin Shand","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615559.1510853508!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/bonnyrigg-star-knew-linlithgow-would-come-back-strong-1-4615563","id":"1.4615563","articleHeadline": "Bonnyrigg star knew Linlithgow would come back strong","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510900235000 ,"articleLead": "

Bonnyrigg Rose winger Ross Gray knew things would come good for Linlithgow Rose despite spending a tumultuous year at the Prestonfield club last season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615561.1510853530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ross Gray, left, pictured when playing for tomorrows opponents Linlithgow"} ,"articleBody": "

Gray, who was initially brought to Linlithgow by manager David McGlynn at the start of last season, ended up playing under four managers at the club in a campaign which almost ended in relegation from the Super League for the first time.

Current manager Mark Bradley came in latterly towards the end of last season after the ship had been steadied by interim managers Jimmy Crease and Alan Miller, and their fortunes so far this season couldn’t have been more stark.

The Prestonfield men travel to Bonnyrigg tomorrow to take on the pre-season Super League title favourites. They sit top of the league on a nine-game winning run in all competitions and can extend their lead to eight points with victory over David White’s Bonnyrigg.

“It was difficult at Linlithgow with the season that we had last year. On the park you could feel the tension from stands when you were playing, so it wasn’t enjoyable every week, but I enjoyed playing with the boys there,” said Gray, who combines playing part-time football with running a full-time soccer academy with former Berwick Rangers team-mate David Gold.

“They had offered me a new deal towards the end of last season. There was no manager for four or five weeks and we never really knew what was happening, then Mark came in and wanted to have a look. He offered me a contract but by that time I had made my mind up that I wanted to play a wee bit closer to home as things are that busy with coaching now.

“It will be a tough game as they’ve obviously been on a really good run. It’s no surprise they are doing well with the boys they have brought in.

“It’s an important game for us to win. They are obviously going strong but it’s the middle of November. It’s important for us to win but it’s a long season and there’s load of games still to play. Every game when you want to win the league is a must win, so we’ll not be treating it any differently to any other game. If we get beat, then we’ll take the next game after that.”

It was Robbie Horn who brought Gray to New Dundas Park in the summer. But just as the 25-year-old was starting to make his mark in the Rose starting XI, Horn was departing for Berwick and so Gray had another new manager to try and impress.

He continued: “I knew there could be a risk of that when I came in [Horn leaving], because I knew how good a job he had done and I thought it would be a matter of time before someone would come in and snap him up. When the Berwick job came up for grabs I think most of the boys seen it coming.

“I’d come in and Robbie hadn’t really seen me play for a couple of years. I got myself into the squad just as he was leaving, then when Whitey came in, he’d worked with all the other boys before when he was a coach and had never really seen me play so for the first couple of games he played the boys he knew. When he came in it was like sort of starting all over again to impress. I knew I had to bide my time.

“When a new manager comes in it’s going to take time to gel. I know we’ve got a strong squad and we’ll be up there at the end of the season competing.”

Linlithgow boss Bradley is expecting to face a fired-up Bonnyrigg after the maroon Rose ended their title hopes in the penultimate league game last season.

He said: “I would imagine they’ll have it in the back of their minds. I think quite a lot of the boys that were in that team are still there, but we play for Linlithgow and teams are always fired up when we come and play at there place and it won’t be anything different.

“We’ll go for the win as we always do. If we can go to Bonnyrigg and get something – three points would be great – we’ll be one of the few teams to do that this year because they are strong side and it will be a hard game.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615561.1510853530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615561.1510853530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ross Gray, left, pictured when playing for tomorrows opponents Linlithgow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ross Gray, left, pictured when playing for tomorrows opponents Linlithgow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615561.1510853530!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/spartans-ace-subo-aims-to-be-on-song-again-against-fraserburgh-1-4615567","id":"1.4615567","articleHeadline": "Spartans ace ‘Subo’ aims to be on song again against Fraserburgh","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510900227000 ,"articleLead": "

Spartans midfielder Ian McFarland has faced Fraserburgh at Ainslie Park in the Scottish Cup before, but will be hoping for a more straightforward afternoon when the Highland League side arrive for tomorrow’s third-round tie.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615566.1510853620!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian McFarland knows how tough it will be against Fraserburgh but the prize is a fourth round William Hill Scottish cup tie"} ,"articleBody": "

“Subo” played and scored in an epic 4-4 second-round draw with the same opponents, albeit in an Edinburgh City shirt, when they faced The Broch just more than four years ago.

City, under then manager John Green, took the lead through Peter Stenhouse, only for the visitors to race into a 3-1 lead despite missing a penalty.

Darryl Devlin pulled one back only for Fraserburgh to go 4-2 up. Seemingly out, McFarland planted a header to reduce the deficit once more before a dramatic Gordon Donaldson equaliser.

A win for either tomorrow would see them pitched in with the big boys for the fourth-round draw, and McFarland is hoping such a comeback won’t be required this time around if Spartans are to progress.

“It’s one of those games you’ll look back on and remember when you finish playing,” he said. “It was a big game with a big crowd and we took the lead but then found ourselves two goals down. I scored to make it 4-3 and then Goggsy got the equaliser, which was rare enough!

“Unfortunately we lost the replay 2-0 and it was a comfortable 2-0 to be honest. Obviously it was great to comeback and get ourselves in the position to go to a replay, but they were much better than us up there.

“We were pretty evenly matched at the time – City were mid-table in the East of Scotland league and they were about mid-table in the Highland League so no-one was really favourites.

“It’s the same now – we’re third in the Lowland League and they’re second in the Highland League so it should be quite a tight game.”

Not only would a win give Spartans the chance of a big-name opponent in the next round once again, it would stop a run of successive defeats.

A controversial 1-0 loss to Lowland League title rivals East Kilbride a fortnight ago was followed up with a late 2-1 defeat by Edusport Academy that saw Dougie Samuel’s men exit the South Challenge Cup.

The second result in particular is one McFarland is keen to put right. “The East Kilbride game was disappointing but it was close and we’re still pushing them in the league,” he assessed. “Last week though, we didn’t play well at all and got what we deserved.

“That’s one competition gone but we’ve got the chance to put ourselves in the next round with the big teams, which are the type of games you want.

“The club has done well in the cup before but maybe fallen off in the league, but we have to try and do both this year. We’ve got guys who have gone up before so hopefully that can help us keep challenging and get a cup run too.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615566.1510853620!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615566.1510853620!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian McFarland knows how tough it will be against Fraserburgh but the prize is a fourth round William Hill Scottish cup tie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian McFarland knows how tough it will be against Fraserburgh but the prize is a fourth round William Hill Scottish cup tie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615566.1510853620!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/tynecastle-one-win-from-being-in-scottish-cup-1-4615565","id":"1.4615565","articleHeadline": "Tynecastle one win from being in Scottish Cup","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510900224000 ,"articleLead": "

Tynecastle are just 90 minutes away from a place in next season’s William Hill Scottish Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615564.1510853580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

Having triumphed 3-0 against East of Scotland League and city rivals Leith Athletic in last month’s Alex Jack Cup final, Tynie’s reward is a clash with Mid Annandale in the South and East Cup Winners Shield at Oriam on Sunday with the winners guaranteed a place in Scottish football’s biggest competition next year.

Stevie Vinter’s men, though, have suffered three straight defeats since their victory over Steve Chalmers and Leighton Jones’ Leithers.

Mid Annandale, meanwhile, were beaten 3-0 by former Lowland League outfit Threave Rovers last weekend in the South Region Challenge Cup.

Elsewhere this weekend, Leith will be hoping to build on their win over Edinburgh University six days ago when they make the trip to Fife to take on Burntisland Shipyard tomorrow. With current leaders Kelty Hearts idle, the Meadowbank-based side could move to within five points of the reigning East Super League champions with a game in hand.

Preston Athletic joint-
managers Paul Riley and Jack Lynch will be looking for an immediate response following defeat by Kelty at the Pennypit last Saturday.

The Panners, currently third, face a tricky trip to Stirling University. The students, though, are undefeated from their last three outings which includes an impressive 2-1 win at Tynecastle last month.

Heriot-Watt University will be confident of picking up maximum points when they entertain Coldstream at Oriam.

Banji Koya’s men could move up to second with a win and results elsewhere go their way. Watt were impressive 6-1 winners over Coldstream’s Borders rivals Eyemouth United last weekend.

And Ormiston, will hope to put their first points on the board in what will be their 11th attempt so far this campaign when they travel to Eyemouth. Their opponents have lost eight of their 11 league fixtures.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4615564.1510853580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4615564.1510853580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4615564.1510853580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/allan-preston-applaud-ann-budge-for-hearts-stand-legacy-1-4614435","id":"1.4614435","articleHeadline": "Allan Preston: Applaud Ann Budge for Hearts stand legacy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510813853000 ,"articleLead": "

FORMER Hearts winger Allan Preston insists Ann Budge should be applauded for leaving Tynecastle’s new main stand as her legacy regardless of when it opens.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614434.1510765401!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ann Budge"} ,"articleBody": "

Supporters are frustrated that the new structure may not be passed safe in time for Sunday’s Premiership match with Partick Thistle to take place.

However, Preston insists Budge has delivered by ensuring Hearts stay at their spiritual home.

“The fans are getting a wee bit upset about the stand but you’ve got to remember that, not so long ago, we could have been at Murrayfield permanently,” said the BBC Scotland pundit. “Tynecastle was getting sold off. I think Ann and everyone involved at the club should be applauded.

“If it takes a day, a week, a month, two months to get it finished, Hearts are still going to be at Tynecastle for the next 100 years. That’s the most important thing for the supporters. They aren’t losing their spiritual home.

“That new stand is Ann Budge’s legacy. Not only has she saved the club, she’s kept them at Tynecastle when previous chairmen were trying to move them to Murrayfield forever. She should be applauded.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614434.1510765401!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614434.1510765401!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ann Budge","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ann Budge","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614434.1510765401!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-ready-to-welcome-back-arnaud-djoum-and-prince-buaben-1-4614306","id":"1.4614306","articleHeadline": "Hearts ready to welcome back Arnaud Djoum and Prince Buaben","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510813846000 ,"articleLead": "

Arnaud Djoum and Prince Buaben are in contention to return from injury for Hearts if Sunday’s Premiership match with Partick Thistle goes ahead.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614304.1510759729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Buaben"} ,"articleBody": "

Winger Jamie Walker is likely to remain sidelined for another week with a strained hamstring, but Djoum has recovered from a knee problem and Buaben is over his own hamstring injury.

Having missed six and four weeks respectively, their experience is a welcome addition for the Hearts manager Craig Levein.

Like everyone connected with both clubs, he is still waiting to learn if the new main stand at Tynecastle Park will be ready for the Partick game to take place.

If so, he is excited at the prospect of adding some much-needed seniority to his threadbare midfield.

“Arnaud and Prince are coming along really nicely and are back in full training this week. They have done quite a lot,” Levein told the Evening News.

He added that Walker is unlikely to be fit in time for this weekend after straining his hamstring against Rangers less than three weeks ago.

“Jamie is progressing well, although I don’t know if he will make the Partick game. If he doesn’t make it for Partick, he should certainly be available for the following week. We’re starting to get senior players back into the group, which helps everybody.”

Don Cowie played his first match in almost a month when Hearts lost 2-1 to Kilmarnock in their last game before the international break.

The 34-year-old returned in midfield and brought the kind of experience Levein has been crying out for in recent weeks. Djoum and Buaben joining him further strengthens an area where Hearts have looked rather meek of late.

As revealed in yesterday’s Evening News, the veteran Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes is set to partner Christophe Berra in central defence with John Souttar sidelined by concussion.

Levein will continue preparing his squad as normal until news on the main stand arrives.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614304.1510759729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614304.1510759729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Prince Buaben","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Prince Buaben","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614304.1510759729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614305.1510759731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614305.1510759731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Arnaud Djoum","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Arnaud Djoum","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614305.1510759731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-boss-sympathises-with-danny-swanson-over-off-field-woe-1-4614469","id":"1.4614469","articleHeadline": "Hibs boss sympathises with Danny Swanson over off-field woe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510813840000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon has expressed sympathy with Danny Swanson over the off-field turmoil he has had to contend with while trying to make an impact at Hibs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614468.1510767054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson"} ,"articleBody": "

The 30-year-old midfielder’s early months at Easter Road have coincided with the trial of those accused of killing his best friend Shaun Woodburn following a fight outside a pub last New Year. Swanson, who was required to give evidence in court, last week publicly voiced his dismay at the “pitiful” sentences handed down to those involved in his long-time friend’s death and has been at the forefront of efforts to get the public to back a petition calling for more severe punishment.

Lennon admits Swanson’s off-field predicament hasn’t been conducive to the boyhood Hibs fan producing his best form since making his dream move to Easter Road from St Johnstone in the summer.

“It’s a horrible situation for Danny to go through so we just try to be as supportive as we can,” the manager told the Evening News. “It’s difficult to play under those circumstances, plus he’s had the injury as well. It’s been a bit stop-start for him but I totally understand it. Hopefully, once this ordeal is behind him, we’ll see the best of him going forward.”

Swanson has featured in just nine of Hibs’ 20 competitive games this season, with illness and injury also taking a toll. The former Dundee United, Hearts and St Johnstone player has appeared in only one of Hibs’ last eight matches and has missed the last four with a knee problem. Lennon had initially hoped to have him back for the recent trip to Kilmarnock but he is now set to remain sidelined for Saturday’s meeting with Saints at Easter Road. “Danny’s had a minor setback so he’s back in rehab,” confirmed Lennon.

The manager, meanwhile, is hopeful of having Steven Whittaker, Dylan McGeouch and David Gray available on Saturday after minor recent injury issues. Darren McGregor won’t be involved, however, as he continues to work his way back following a two-and-a-half-month lay-off with a knee problem which required surgery. “Darren’s back on the training ground now but it’ll be slow progress because of his injury history,” said Lennon of a player who was twice stricken by anterior crucial ligament damage earlier in his career. “He’s not had any setbacks but with the injury history he’s had, we’ve got to be careful with him. He’s going to need games as well.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614468.1510767054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614468.1510767054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Swanson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614468.1510767054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/david-wotherspoon-paul-hanlon-deserved-scotland-call-1-4614488","id":"1.4614488","articleHeadline": "David Wotherspoon: Paul Hanlon deserved Scotland call","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510813840000 ,"articleLead": "

David Wotherspoon was thrilled to see his old Hibs colleague Paul Hanlon earn a maiden call-up to the full Scotland squad for last week’s friendly against the Netherlands.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614487.1510770729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Hanlon, right, chats to Eric Black"} ,"articleBody": "

The 27-year-old pair came through the ranks at Easter Road and, after breaking into the first team, they both starred for Scotland U-21s.

“It was great news to see Paul get called up,” said Wotherspoon. “He recently moved round the corner from me, so I try and stay in touch with him, and I was absolutely delighted for him. We shared a room with Scotland Under-21s and went on a lot of trips together, so I’m glad he’s made it into the full squad. He’s a consistent player and has proven that over the last few years. He’s always had the quality and he’s been playing really well.”

Wotherspoon and Hanlon were part of a highly-regarded Hibs youth team which spawned four current Premiership regulars. Partick Thistle pair Callum Booth and Sean Welsh were team-mates of Wotherspoon as Alistair Stevenson’s Under-19 side claimed a historic league and Youth Cup double in 2008/09, shortly after Hanlon had been promoted to the first team. “We had a great youth team,” said the St Johnstone midfielder. “Paul moved into the first team a bit quicker than us but the rest of us did the Youth Cup and the league double which was a great success. Kurtis Byrne is playing at a decent level with St Patrick’s in Ireland and there are a few playing lower league in Scotland. There were a few in that team that I thought would progress a bit further, but sometimes players just don’t get the luck or the run that others do. Personally, I feel very lucky to be in the situation I’m in.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614487.1510770729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614487.1510770729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Paul Hanlon, right, chats to Eric Black","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Hanlon, right, chats to Eric Black","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614487.1510770729!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/david-wotherspoon-i-loved-time-at-hibs-apart-from-two-snubs-1-4614474","id":"1.4614474","articleHeadline": "David Wotherspoon: I loved time at Hibs – apart from two snubs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510813836000 ,"articleLead": "

Four and a half years after his promising start at Hibs fizzled out in demoralising fashion under Pat Fenlon, David Wotherspoon can now be considered as something of a Scottish Premiership stalwart.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614472.1510767514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Wotherspoon has not looked back since leaving Hibs"} ,"articleBody": "

The 27-year-old St Johnstone midfielder will always cherish memories of his career-igniting seven years at Easter Road, where he came through the ranks as part of a much-vaunted youth team, made a goal-scoring debut in the first team as a teenager under John Hughes and went on to accumulate more than 150 appearances over four largely enjoyable but fortune-fluctuating seasons.

Wotherspoon has no regrets about leaving Hibs when he did, immediately after suffering a second consecutive Scottish Cup final snub from Fenlon in 2013. However, he is still grateful to have represented the Edinburgh club and for being afforded a platform which allowed him to go on and play well over 300 competitive matches at Scotland’s top level, the vast majority as a starter.

Wotherspoon is relishing the chance to return to Easter Road as a player this Saturday for only the second time since leaving Hibs as Saints head to the Capital intent on stopping their own uncharacteristic form slide and simultaneously halting their on-song opponents in their tracks.

“I loved my time at Hibs,” Wotherspoon said.

“I was there from 16 years old to when I was 23 so I had a good seven years there and I really enjoyed it. I feel lucky to have been at Hibs. I was delighted with how many games I played although I was disappointed with how things ended. Overall, my time there was brilliant. I loved the club and I still have my connections there.

“A couple of my friends are big Hibs fans, so when I get the chance I go along with them. I love going back and I always see some familiar faces. Whenever I meet Hibs fans to this day, they still recognise me, and I love that. I’m looking forward to going back for the game on Saturday.”

Wotherspoon is in no doubt about his best moment in Hibs’ first team – his debut against St Mirren on the opening day of the 2009/10 campaign.

“I had played quite a few pre-season games that summer but I was quite lucky to get my competitive debut on the first day of the season because I think (Merouane) Zemmama was supposed to be starting but he came in ill,” recalls Wotherspoon.

“John Hughes chucked me in and fortunately I played well and scored a goal. They still had the old shed stand at the side at that point, and I remember scoring the equaliser in a 2-1 win. I think I got man-of-the-match as well, so it was brilliant. It’s a game I’ll always remember. I kept my place after that and I really enjoyed that season.

“John was brilliant with me, really encouraging. He was great to work with and was a top man as well. After that, we had a change of managers and a change of players – there was always change. These things happen in football so you’ve just got to ride with it. I was lucky with the managers I had at Hibs. Colin Calderwood was brilliant with me as well and Pat Fenlon was good, to an extent.”

That last line gives a subtle indication of the disenchantment the mild-mannered Wotherspoon felt at being omitted from the match-day squad for both the 2012 Scottish Cup final against Hearts and the one against Celtic a year later despite featuring prominently for the majority of the Irishman’s reign.

Indeed, Wotherspoon’s contribution against Hearts at Easter Road in December 2012 was crucial in Hibs earning their return to Hampden as his attempt from wide on the right took a wicked deflection off Marius Zaliukas and looped beyond Jamie MacDonald for the only goal of the fourth-round tie.

“I’ll always remember that goal against Hearts,” he said. “It did take a massive deflection but it’ll always rank up there as one of the best moments of my career. I’m still claiming it!”

Reflecting on not even making the bench for either of the two cup finals, when players who had contributed far less were picked ahead of him, it is clear Wotherspoon was irked.

“When I was left out the first time, I was disappointed considering how many games I’d played that season,” he said. “And then to miss out again the following season after the manager had said it was a mistake to leave me out the first time, it was just heart-breaking. I always felt it was a possibility that I’d be left out for the final against Celtic because I hadn’t been used in the semi-final against Falkirk either. At the same time, I had scored against Dundee on the last day of the league season, so I was still hopeful I’d be involved, but that never happened.

“It was all fairly amicable with the manager. It was his decision – he didn’t want to put me in because he felt I wouldn’t rise to the big occasion. It was unfortunate. I got along well with Pat but I was disappointed that I didn’t get into the squad after having had a good couple of seasons at the club. It felt like it was time to move on at that point because I couldn’t see things changing.

“The positive memories definitely outweigh the negative though. I got on with everyone at Hibs, it was a great club. I wish them all they success they get, except when they play us.”

Wotherspoon’s philosophical outlook probably owes plenty to the fact that being marginalised towards the end of his time at Hibs was not to the long-term detriment of his career. While the Edinburgh club suffered relegation the season after he left and then spent three years in the Championship, Wotherspoon swiftly banished demons by playing from the start as he capped his first season at Saints by helping them defeat Dundee United at Celtic Park to win the trophy in May 2014. In addition, he has been a mainstay throughout as his hometown team have finished each of the past four seasons in the top six of the Premiership under Tommy Wright.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start at St Johnstone,” said Wotherspoon. “The manager was brilliant with me from the start. He got me going and he got the team going. We had cup success in my first season, and that will always be in the memory.

“It’s been a good move for me. I’ve been playing regularly with a good group of boys in a team that’s been quite consistent over the years. I never had any worries about leaving Hibs when I did. I was looking to progress my career, and I feel like I have done that I haven’t looked back since I left.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614472.1510767514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614472.1510767514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Wotherspoon has not looked back since leaving Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Wotherspoon has not looked back since leaving Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614472.1510767514!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614473.1510767518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614473.1510767518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Wotherspoon scores on his debut for Hibs","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Wotherspoon scores on his debut for Hibs","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614473.1510767518!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/punishing-fitness-work-keeps-hearts-aaron-hughes-going-1-4614244","id":"1.4614244","articleHeadline": "Punishing fitness work keeps Hearts’ Aaron Hughes going","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510813804000 ,"articleLead": "

Aaron Hughes voluntarily punishing himself during post-match training exercises sums up the attitude of the Northern Irish fitness fanatic.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614241.1510758241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes, left, played for Northern Ireland on Sunday. Pic: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

He returns from injury for Hearts this weekend, provided Sunday’s Premiership match with Partick Thistle goes ahead.

His recovery is timely given the experience he offers with fellow centre-back John Souttar sidelined through concussion. A defensive pairing of 38-year-old Hughes and 32-year-old Christophe Berra gives manager Craig Levein a solid foundation on which to build.

Hughes has been criticised for missing too many Hearts games through injury since joining in January. He has featured in 17 of the club’s 38 competitive matches since his arrival and missed the last six weeks with a calf problem. He did manage 90 minutes for Northern Ireland against Switzerland in Basel on Sunday. As well as earning him a record-breaking 109th international cap, it helped ready him for a domestic return this weekend should Tynecastle’s new main stand finally open.

Those questioning the player’s longevity would be advised to watch him in training and, indeed, after games. At Pittodrie in March, he put himself through a tortuous workout which underlined his commitment to maintaining his body through the veteran years.

Allan Preston, the former Hearts winger and now BBC Radio Scotland pundit, remembers the day well. “Hughes didn’t get on, he was an unused sub up at Aberdeen,” explained Preston. “I was on radio for the BBC so we were there until 5.30pm as normal. Hughes came out after the game and gave himself an absolute pummelling, running about for ages.

“Honest to God, I’ve never seen an unused sub give himself such a hammering to keep his fitness up. He was out on the pitch longer than anybody else. The Aberdeen players came out for a warm-down and he was still running box-to-box, doing sprints and doggies and everything.

“It makes you think: ‘This guy is nearly 38. Magnificent. What a top professional.’ That attitude can only rub off on younger boys at Hearts like Danny Baur, who is a centre-half like Aaron. That’s the kind of role model they should be looking up to.

“Hughes has such a wealth of experience and he’s been a top professional throughout his entire career. Hearts have missed him. I was at the game up at Dundee when he came off after seven minutes. We thought he was going to be out for a while.”

That prognosis proved correct but Hughes is now ready to reappear along with other experienced colleagues. Cameroon’s Arnaud Djoum and the Ghanaian Prince Buaben are rejoining full training and will be in contention to face Partick. They have missed six and four weeks respectively due to knee and hamstring complaints. Midfielder Don Cowie returned from a spell out before the international break.

“It can only be a good thing for Hearts getting these guys back. Cowie, Hughes, Djoum and Buaben are all internationalists,” said Preston. “The young boys have been excellent since they came in. Harry Cochrane has done well, Baur and Lewis Moore have been really good, so that’s great for the future.

“It’s also good to get some experience back in the team because Hearts aren’t playing particularly well at the moment. It’s not pleasing on the eye so you’re hoping that an Arnaud Djoum type, a goalscoring midfielder like him, can make a difference. He likes to get forward, get beyond the strikers and cause another threat.

“Hearts can’t just rely on their strikers to score goals if they want to have a successful season. You need goals from all over the pitch. You want wide players coming in at the back post, you want midfield players going beyond strikers to score, and you need defenders threatening from set-plays. That’s where I think Hearts are lacking. They need goals from every single department in the team.”

Like everyone else connected with Hearts, Preston is praying a safety certificate for Tynecastle’s new main stand can be secured in time to avoid postponing Partick Thistle’s visit. The decision is likely to go down to the wire as builders try frantically to finish off essential areas of the structure and ensure it meets regulations.

If the endeavour is successful, then Hearts players can expect a marked difference in atmosphere back at their spiritual home compared with recent fixtures at BT Murrayfield. “I’ve spoken to opposition players who played against Hearts at Murrayfield – Rangers players, Kilmarnock players, St Johnstone players,” said Preston. “They all said the same thing: It’s a neutral venue. Gone is the fierce atmosphere of Tynecastle and with it the home advantage.

“Murrayfield is a beautiful stadium but it’s a neutral venue. It wasn’t like playing Hearts at home for these teams and I think that was a big loss. I’m sure the fans will generate the atmosphere you expect when they get back to Tynecastle.

“Everyone knows Hearts have been formidable at home and they’ll be hoping to get that run going again when they get back there.

“That will have to help, they will be back in familiar surroundings, along with the fact they’ll have experienced players coming back into the team at an important time.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614241.1510758241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614241.1510758241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aaron Hughes, left, played for Northern Ireland on Sunday. Pic: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes, left, played for Northern Ireland on Sunday. Pic: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614241.1510758241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614242.1510758243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614242.1510758243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aaron Hughes has not played for Hearts since a defeat by Dundee on September 30. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Hughes has not played for Hearts since a defeat by Dundee on September 30. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614242.1510758243!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614243.1510758245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614243.1510758245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Allan Preston","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Allan Preston","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614243.1510758245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/tynecastle-latest-hearts-partick-call-to-be-taken-later-in-week-1-4614335","id":"1.4614335","articleHeadline": "Tynecastle latest: Hearts-Partick call to be taken later in week","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510761160000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts expect a final decision on Tynecastle’s new main stand at the end of the week after safety officers visited the site again today.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614334.1510761312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work is ongoing at Tynecastle to get the new main stand ready for Hearts' match with Partick on Sunday. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Inspections took place on Monday and again this morning but some areas remain incomplete, therefore it is still without a temporary safety certificate.

Hearts are frantically trying to finish work on phase one of the stand to allow Sunday’s Ladbrokes Premiership match with Partick Thistle to go ahead as planned.

Builders are working nightshift this week in an effort to complete the essential work in time, but the verdict is likely to be given late on Friday or possibly even Saturday.

If a safety certificate does not arrive in time, Hearts owner Ann Budge would be forced to ask the Scottish Professional Football League to postpone the Partick match.

Tynecastle is due to reopen this weekend but the new stand, which is costing more than £12million, must be declared safe for the Partick match to go ahead as scheduled at 3pm on Sunday.

City of Edinburgh Council safety officers will be available throughout the rest of this week and over the weekend if a late inspection is needed on the stand.

Hearts officials remain in constant dialogue with the Council, Partick Thistle and the SPFL regarding the ongoing situation. All concerned are eager to ensure the match goes ahead.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614334.1510761312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614334.1510761312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Work is ongoing at Tynecastle to get the new main stand ready for Hearts' match with Partick on Sunday. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Work is ongoing at Tynecastle to get the new main stand ready for Hearts' match with Partick on Sunday. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614334.1510761312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5645993052001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hearts-and-hibs-awarded-project-brave-elite-academy-status-1-4614142","id":"1.4614142","articleHeadline": "Hearts and Hibs awarded Project Brave ‘Elite’ academy status","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510754231000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts and Hibs have both been awarded ‘Elite’ academy status as the Scottish FA confirmed bandings for the new Project Brave youth set-up.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614140.1510754228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Hearts' development league sides face off at the Oriam in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The capital clubs are joined by Aberdeen, Celtic, Hamilton, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Rangers in the ‘Elite’ rank.

Ayr, Dundee United, Inverness, Partick Thistle, Ross County, St Mirren, St Johnstone and the Forth Valley academy - comprising Falkirk, Stenhousemuir and East Stirlingshire - make up the second tier ‘Progressive’ category.

A third tier, ‘Performance’ will be made up of Dundee, Morton, Queen’s Park and the Fife academy (Cowdenbeath, Dunfermline Athletic, East Fife and Raith Rovers).

Ross County and Morton’s positions in the second and third tiers may be subject to appeal.

Hibs’ Head of Football Operations George Craig said the entire staff at Easter Road was ‘thrilled’, adding: “Throughout Hibernian’s history the club has quite rightly prided itself on producing great footballers, and the club have made a serious commitment to making sure this continues in the years to come.

“Lewis Stevenson, Paul Hanlon and Steven Whittaker are the most notable Academy graduates in our first-team, with the likes of Oli Shaw, Fraser Murray and Ryan Porteous all regular features in the matchday squads.

“From Eddie May to all of our Academy staff, everyone is pulling in the same direction at the club and this is not only a sign of the quality work they do, but a testament to their dedication to producing young footballers here at Hibernian.”

Hearts Academy Manager Roger Arnott added: “We are delighted to be awarded ‘Elite’ status because a major part of our overall strategy is to develop young players and it is something we take very seriously.

“The recent inclusion of younger players in the first-team is a marker of our continued commitment to developing talented young players for the benefit of both Hearts and Scotland.

“We look forward to working with other clubs to push the standard of young players and raise the profile of the game in Scotland.”

The SFA’s Performance Director Malky Mackay said: “This is a significant milestone for Project Brave. From day one this has been a collaborative activity.

“We have been heartened and inspired by so many of the positive things we have seen in regards to the development of young Scottish footballers and our aim is to assist clubs and encourage them to hit the highest possible standards.

“No door is closed to clubs outside of the Elite bracket with aspirations to move up.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PATRICK MCPARTLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614140.1510754228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614140.1510754228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs and Hearts' development league sides face off at the Oriam in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Hearts' development league sides face off at the Oriam in Edinburgh. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614140.1510754228!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4614141.1510754229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4614141.1510754229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "George Craig, Hibs' Head of Football Operations (left) and Hearts academy chief Roger Arnott. Pictures: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "George Craig, Hibs' Head of Football Operations (left) and Hearts academy chief Roger Arnott. Pictures: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4614141.1510754229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/fan-s-pictures-show-inside-new-tynecastle-main-stand-1-4613991","id":"1.4613991","articleHeadline": "Fan’s pictures show inside new Tynecastle main stand","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510748955000 ,"articleLead": "

Mark Donaldson had a behind the scenes tour of the new main stand at Tynecastle. Here’s his first hand experience and images from inside the stand.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613986.1510759698!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson"} ,"articleBody": "

I flew over to Edinburgh from the States last weekend specifically to attend the Kilmarnock game and what I thought would be the first match in front of the new main stand.

Well it was meant to be when I booked my flight! ‘Twas not to be, however, but the alternative outcome wasn’t too shabby.

Last Tuesday afternoon (07 Nov) Ann Budge very kindly allowed me to join her on her daily walkabout to check the progress of construction.

These pictures were taken on my iPhone during that tour of the new facilities.

READ MORE: Council safety chiefs give Hearts every chance to get new stand ready

Regardless if it’s this weekend or next weekend that Hearts return to Tynecastle, the amount of work that’s been done in less than six months is phenomenal.

It’s hard to illustrate the sheer size of the new main stand with pictures alone, a tour of the facility when everything is completed will be a must.

The panoramic photo was taken from behind Row 38 at the very back of the stand.

Phase One (current phase) is just about complete - having the structure and facilities up to the required standard so a safety certificate can be issued and it’s available for occupancy.

Phase Two (next phase, scheduled for completion by next summer) includes finishing off hospitality facilities to allow for migration of guests over from the Gorgie Suite.

The top two floors - featuring that hospitality area plus an outside terrace and a restaurant, among other things - will be spectacular.

Hearts supporters will eventually have access to walk between all three stands on a matchday, but this is unlikely be the case for the first couple of home games played at Tynecastle.

The club is well aware that fans in the Gorgie and Wheatfield stands will want to take a look at facilities in the new main stand as soon as possible, but the concern initially is overcrowding of walkways etc and too many people using kiosks resulting in food shortages.

READ MORE: Comment: Ambition is what builds stadiums

The new stand is *nearly* as steep as the other three, but new council building regulations came into effect a few years ago preventing any new construction containing the same gradient of steepness as the Gorgie, Wheatfield and Roseburn stands. It’s only a degree or so less steep than the other three, and certainly not noticeable.

A lot of unforeseen challenges have arisen along the way, which have severely impacted the ability to keep to timescale, and a significant sum of additional money has been spent that wasn’t budgeted for due to issues totally outwith the club’s control.

The new club store, which is located bottom left of the stand as you look from McLeod Street, is massive!

READ MORE: Comment: Hearts can’t afford to postpone Partick Thistle match

Any pictures where it appears that there’s still a lot of work to be done (upper floors of the main stand and escalators etc) are from Phase Two, with completion due by the middle of next year.

And because of this, a soon-to-be fenced off construction work area between the Main Stand and the Roseburn Stand is being maintained to allow for ongoing work in Phase Two.

I hope this is a worthwhile insight into the sheer amount of work that is currently being undertaken and the ridiculous amount of planning and logistics that goes into a project as big as this.

Finally please be patient. It’s worth the wait, I promise

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARK DONALDSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613986.1510759698!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613986.1510759698!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613986.1510759698!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613987.1510759699!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613987.1510759699!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mark had access to the main stand. Picture; Mark Donaldson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mark had access to the main stand. Picture; Mark Donaldson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613987.1510759699!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613988.1510759701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613988.1510759701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613988.1510759701!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613989.1510759702!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613989.1510759702!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613989.1510759702!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613990.1510759703!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613990.1510759703!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture; Mark Donaldson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613990.1510759703!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/council-safety-chiefs-give-hearts-every-chance-to-get-new-stand-ready-1-4613381","id":"1.4613381","articleHeadline": "Council safety chiefs give Hearts every chance to get new stand ready","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510735397000 ,"articleLead": "

COUNCIL chiefs in Edinburgh say they will make safety officers available throughout Friday, Saturday and Sunday should Hearts need a last-minute inspection of their new stand for the Ladbrokes Premiership match against Partick Thistle.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613379.1510687221!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new main stand at Tynecastle which is still unfinished. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Builders will work through the night tonight and will do overtime until the end of the week in the frantic last dash to finish off the new-look Tynecastle Park in time.

Building standards officials visited the site on Monday but a number of issues prevented them signing off a safety certificate for the multi-million-pound main stand.

They will return for another inspection today and again later in the week if required.

There are still seats to be installed at the Roseburn end of the new stand and, although most of the cladding has been fitted, signage and the concourse need attention. Other areas of the structure must also be completed but the Council are keen to do everything to help Hearts.

However the Evening News has learned safety inspectors will be on hand throughout the weekend if needed to assess whether the stand has passed all the legal checks.

Provided work is done to meet the required regulations, the Council are also prepared to issue a general safety certificate at the very last minute to allow Hearts to host Partick Thistle at 3pm on Sunday.

The Council’s Culture & Communities Convener, Cllr Donald Wilson, said: “Public safety is quite rightly our primary concern, as it is for Hearts, and the Council is doing all it can to help the club reopen Tynecastle in time for Sunday’s match. Further inspections are planned for today and later in the week, if required.”

Should time run out on Hearts, club officials will ask the Scottish Professional Football League to postpone Sunday’s match. Hearts have been in constant dialogue with the SPFL and will keep communication lines open throughout the week.

All concerned remain hopeful work will be completed in time and a temporary certificate granted to allow the match to go ahead as planned. Hearts have already contacted Partick to brief them on the situation and are desperate to avoid a postponement.

So far, Partick have been told that the match will go ahead and are preparing as such. The Glasgow club enjoy a cordial relationship with their Gorgie counterparts and the Evening News believes they would not be unduly difficult to deal with over a possible postponement.

Thousands of fans would be inconvenienced and potentially furious if the stand did not open given tickets have been sold, and many supporters have already made travel arrangements.

The decision will be a late one and builders on the project are working frantically to finish different jobs in the new stand, which was originally due to open in September. That date was put back to November 5 but, with work still not completed, a further delay was announced and a new opening date set for this Sunday.

Hearts are doing everything possible to stick to that schedule, however they are bracing themselves in case time runs out. In that event, they would be forced to wait and open the new Tynecastle Park a week on Saturday against Ross County - assuming all paperwork is in place.

Since being eliminated from the Betfred Cup in July, all of Hearts’ matches have taken place away from their spiritual home. Four “home” ties have been staged at BT Murrayfield, which has become the club’s temporary home. Murrayfield cannot host football matches during November due to Scotland rugby internationals being played there, leaving Hearts with no room to manoeuvre.

Hearts said in a statement: “Work is continuing at a considerable pace with a view to being ready for Sunday’s 3pm kick-off against Partick Thistle.”

The decision to build a stand was made to upgrade Tynecastle at an original estimate of £12million. Through the Foundation of Hearts fan group, supporters are contributing £3m to its cost.

The new structure will contain state-of-the-art dressing rooms, media facilities, hospitality suites, a Skyline restaurant and a piazza area outside. The frontage will be named the Foundation Plaza to mark the contribution from the fans.

The whole project is not due for completion until summer 2018, when the new main stand will be fully operational on every level. It will increase Tynecastle’s capacity to more than 20,000 people.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613379.1510687221!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613379.1510687221!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The new main stand at Tynecastle which is still unfinished. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The new main stand at Tynecastle which is still unfinished. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613379.1510687221!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613380.1510687226!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613380.1510687226!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A general view of the new main stand at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A general view of the new main stand at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613380.1510687226!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5645993052001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/big-interview-neil-lennon-loving-hibs-life-and-not-looking-elsewhere-1-4613414","id":"1.4613414","articleHeadline": "Big interview: Neil Lennon loving Hibs life and not looking elsewhere","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510727451000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon’s job satisfaction levels could hardly be higher as he reflects on his fruitful Hibs tenure thus far.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613413.1510685458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon is embracing life in the Lothians, playing the local golf courses and popping into Edinburgh to enjoy the citys culture and restaurants. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Since replacing Alan Stubbs as manager just short of 18 months ago, the 46-year-old has led the Easter Road side from the Championship to within five points of the top of the Premiership, a position he became accustomed to during distinguished times as both player and manager at Celtic. Relatively recent memories of firefighting at Bolton Wanderers ensure Lennon, who signed a contract extension in the summer, is able to fully appreciate the level of contentment he has found at Hibs, a club that would not initially have fitted with his plans when he chose to leave Celtic in order to progress his career as a manager in 2014.

“Sometimes you’re always looking for the next big move but the most important thing is that you’re happy in your work,” said Lennon in an interview with the Evening News. “As a manager you just want to work in a good environment. We’ve got a good structure here and a good facility, which is a big help. We’ve got a really good bunch of players in terms of quality and character, and they’re good to work with. I’ve got good people around me. I know people are starting to talk about me in relation to other jobs but I’m not looking anywhere else. I’m really focused. I signed a new contract because I’m happy here and want to progress the club.”

In restoring Hibs to the upper echelons of Scottish football so swiftly, Lennon has gone a long way to banishing any doubts about his managerial substance stemming from that chastening 17-month spell in charge of Bolton. The structure and stability at Easter Road is a far cry from the chaos he was thrust into the heart of in Lancashire. “From a personal point of view, I didn’t feel I needed reassurance that I was a good manager, but I think I probably needed to do well here in terms of the public perception of me as a manager,” he said. “Some people will have seen my results at Bolton and said ‘he’s been found out’ but it was just an impossible job. We did as well as we possibly could but there was no real leadership after the chairman fell seriously ill and I was having to deal with stuff that was nothing to do with football.

“This club is the total opposite to Bolton. Here, I can concentrate on the important stuff, which is the players and getting the team right. I feel refreshed here. Bolton was a one-off. There aren’t many clubs in the position Bolton were in. It was an experience I was able to learn from, but this club has certainly given me rejuvenation. I’m happy and satisfied, and I think that’s all you can ask for as a football manager.”

As someone who felt the intensity of representing Celtic for more than a decade, Lennon insists he still feels more than enough heat in his current guise as Hibs manager to keep himself motivated. “No matter where you go, any manager will tell you they are their own worst critic,” he said. “We all set ourselves targets. Allied to that, you’re analysed day in, day out, whether it’s your interviews, your body language, your persona. Ultimately everyone looks at your results as well. It’s certainly not as intense as life was in Glasgow, but there’s still an intensity and a responsibility in terms of managing a big city club and trying to get them challenging consistently, and I like that. That comes from being at a big club like Celtic, and you want to pass that on to the players in any way you can.”

Having removed himself from the renowned “Glasgow goldfish bowl”, Lennon is revelling in being able to remain a prominent member of the Scottish football scene without having his every move followed by someone who wants to acclaim or abuse him, depending on the team they support. Living in East Lothian has had a becalming effect on his off-field existence. “I’ve got a lot more freedom through here,” he said. “That took a bit of getting used to, in terms of not having so many people coming up to say ‘hello’ or talk about the team or whatever. There’s certainly a far more relaxed atmosphere through here - it’s not as intense. There’s a good rivalry with Hearts but it’s a lot more sociable, I suppose. There’s a lot more humour to it - it’s not got the same darkness or sinister aspect that the Old Firm has.”

As a man who, as evidenced by his touchline demeanour on a matchday, puts his heart and soul into ensuring his football team prosper, Lennon is aware of the need to ensure his dedication to his job doesn’t become all-consuming. More than seven years into his managerial career, he feels he is succeeding in finding a healthy balance between work and downtime. “Getting the balance comes with experience,” said Lennon. “You do live and breathe the game but there are times you have to get away or switch off. If things are going well, it’s fine. If things aren’t going well, it can encompass you, so you can’t let that happen because you have to have a work/life balance. I’m a lot better at doing that now than when I first came into management. Sometimes I’ll answer the phone on a day off and sometimes I’ll just leave the phone and say ‘I’ll deal with that tomorrow’ and try not to be so hard on myself in terms of feeling guilty about not taking a call. If it’s really important, you have to deal with things but I try not to stress myself too much about things, especially the things I can’t control.”

The simple things in life keep the Hibs manager ticking over in his spare time. “I just go home, spend time with the family, take the dog a walk, catch up with people,” said Lennon. “I play a bit of golf if I can when the weather’s good; this is a great area for it. The courses down North Berwick way are stunning. It’s a part of the world I wasn’t familiar with when I first came here but I’m really enjoying living here. I like living near Edinburgh. The city’s great. I’m in and out of the city but I don’t spend too much time there. I go out for a meal in places like Morningside, Portobello or Colinton. I try to vary it as much as I can.”

Lennon’s off-field contentment is reflected by the serene progress of his team of late, with a four-game winning streak prior to the international break lifting Hibs to third in the Premiership. “I think we’re exceeding my own expectations at the minute,” he said. “It’s still early in the season but we’ve got ourselves playing consistently well and in a good position in the league. We’ve dominated a lot of games. Early in the season we weren’t getting the results we felt we deserved but now we are. Our game management has improved and the quality of the football has been very good - there’s good pace in the team as well. It’s too early to think about increasing our expectations though because there could be so many things hiding round the corner like injuries, suspensions and a couple of defeats that could change the whole landscape. We can’t get too far ahead of ourselves.”

Lennon’s only notable cause for regret over the past 18 months has been an inability to eke out victory in either the Scottish Cup semi-final against Aberdeen in April or last month’s Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic. Hibs were undermined by slow starts in both matches. “The only disappointments I’ve had here are the two cup semi-finals, but even then we were playing the two best teams in the country,” he said. “The Aberdeen game was the one that really got away. We looked like the team that were going to win it and then lost to a deflection. Those were the two main disappointments but the rest of it has been excellent. I’ve loved it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613413.1510685458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613413.1510685458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon is embracing life in the Lothians, playing the local golf courses and popping into Edinburgh to enjoy the citys culture and restaurants. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon is embracing life in the Lothians, playing the local golf courses and popping into Edinburgh to enjoy the citys culture and restaurants. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613413.1510685458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/lennon-eyes-new-hibs-recruits-but-is-braced-for-mcginn-bids-1-4613357","id":"1.4613357","articleHeadline": "Lennon eyes new Hibs recruits but is braced for McGinn bids","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510727447000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon intends to bolster his Hibs squad in the upcoming transfer window. However, the manager explained that the level of January recruitment will be dependent on whether or not the club are able to resist any offers for star man John McGinn.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613356.1510680889!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon is expecting bids for Hibs midfielder John McGinn in January. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Hibs currently sit third in the Ladbrokes Premiership despite being depleted by a string of injuries to key men like Darren McGregor, Steven Whittaker, David Gray and Anthony Stokes. Lennon is wary of the fact his squad has had a threadbare look in recent weeks, particularly in defence, and, as a result, is already plotting to bring in at least one new face. The potential departure of Scotland midfielder McGinn, whose stock level has continued to soar since he was the subject of failed offers from Nottingham Forest in August, would necessitate further transfer 
activity at Easter Road.

“I would like a bit more depth to the squad,” Lennon told the Evening News. “Going into the Dundee game, we only had 18 fit players and by half-time we’d lost three of them. We’re a little bit light in numbers so we’ll look in January to see if we can strengthen. I don’t want to over-egg the squad either but we will look at areas where we could do with an extra body.

“We’ve had a bad run with injuries, which is outwith our control, but we will look to add one or two to the squad. Plus there is probably an inevitability about bids coming in, particularly John. We have to be realistic about that, weigh it up and be prepared for that eventuality if it does happen. If the club get an offer that they can’t refuse, that could potentially alter what we’ve got to spend. I’m hoping that won’t be the case, but the way John’s playing, it’s going to be very hard to hold on to him for the foreseeable future.”

Lennon explained that any January business is likely to hinge on how his squad is looking towards the end of next month. “You can’t have a clear idea at this stage because you don’t know what’s around the corner in terms of injuries and things like that,” he said. “We are looking at players for recruitment in January and hopefully we can get one or two in of the quality who can help us do what we want to do, as opposed to just being squad fillers. We definitely don’t want a big overhaul though. Continuity has been really important for us.”

Lennon confirmed that there has been no further movement with regard to the possibility of Kris Commons returning to Hibs. The 34-year-old, who is now a free agent after leaving Celtic in the summer, had a fruitful month on loan at Easter Road last winter and Lennon has never hidden the fact he would be keen to land the attacker once more if he can regain full fitness following a back problem. “There’s nothing at the minute with Commons,” said the manager. “I don’t think he’s back in full training yet. We didn’t feel he would be ready until the turn of the year anyway, so we’ll just keep an eye on that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613356.1510680889!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613356.1510680889!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon is expecting bids for Hibs midfielder John McGinn in January. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon is expecting bids for Hibs midfielder John McGinn in January. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613356.1510680889!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-set-to-replace-john-souttar-with-aaron-hughes-in-defence-1-4613346","id":"1.4613346","articleHeadline": "Hearts set to replace John Souttar with Aaron Hughes in defence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1510727417000 ,"articleLead": "

Aaron Hughes is preparing to partner Christophe Berra in central defence for Hearts this weekend with John Souttar injured.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613345.1510680087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts defender Aaron Hughes played 90 minutes for Northern Ireland on Sunday. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Manager Craig Levein admitted Hughes is the natural replacement for Souttar, who is out with concussion sustained on Scotland Under-21 duty.

Hughes, 38, played his first 90 minutes in two months for Northern Ireland against Switzerland on Sunday, but was left disappointed as his country were knocked out of the World Cup.

A troublesome calf injury now cured, the defender is ready to step in for Souttar back at club level. “It makes sense because the fact Aaron has played 90 minutes will help us, and help him enormously as well,” 
Levein told the Evening News.

“I see that as pretty straightforward. As long as he’s fine, it’s just a straightforward replacement.”

Hughes became the most capped defender in British football history with his appearance for Northern Ireland. He now has 109 caps, one more than the legendary former England player Bobby Moore.

“It’s fantastic, although I don’t think his emotions would be of joy on Sunday night because of how things turned out for Northern Ireland,” said Levein. “He’ll be bitterly disappointed about that but it is a significant achievement to surpass some legendary players.

“Everybody at the club is really proud of his achievement. You need to be durable to play international football because everybody else who isn’t an internationalist gets a rest when countries are playing.

“You are throwing yourself into even harder games, so Aaron’s durability is remarkable. He maybe could have got even more caps had he not stopped playing for Northern Ireland for a while [in 2011].”

Levein is now desperate to see Hughes get an injury-free run in the Hearts team. “There are no more international matches for a while so we will look at his schedule. Between him, the docs and the physios, we can look at exactly what’s best for him. I’m hopeful he stays fit,” explained the manager.

“I spoke to him before he left for international duty and he was confident the calf was really strong. He had been doing a lot of work on his hamstrings as well, so we’re hopeful but you never know.

“He is 38 now but he’s kept himself extremely fit. We just want him to get a little bit of luck and gets the opportunity to play a number of consecutive matches for us.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4613345.1510680087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4613345.1510680087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts defender Aaron Hughes played 90 minutes for Northern Ireland on Sunday. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts defender Aaron Hughes played 90 minutes for Northern Ireland on Sunday. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4613345.1510680087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}