{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"football","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/scotland-boss-alex-mcleish-calls-for-patience-after-opening-defeat-1-4712105","id":"1.4712105","articleHeadline": "Scotland boss Alex McLeish calls for patience after opening defeat","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521845955000 ,"articleLead": "

Alex McLeish has called for understanding in response to Scotland’s defeat against Costa Rica but admits they must improve to achieve his ultimate goal of qualification for the Euro 2020 finals.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712104.1521845952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish"} ,"articleBody": "

Marcos Urena’s 14th minute goal earned Costa Rica a repeat of the famous scoreline they recorded when stunning Scotland in their opening match of the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy.

Jeers from the Tartan Army in a crowd of just more than 20,000 greeted the final whistle as McLeish suffered a loss in the first match of his second stint in charge of the national team.

It was the first of five friendly matches Scotland will play before the inaugural Uefa Nations League campaign begins in September. The Scots’ next assignment is against Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday night.

On a night when he handed debuts to five players – Scott McKenna, Scott McTominay, Kevin McDonald, Oli McBurnie and Jamie Murphy – McLeish expressed his hope the circumstances of the occasion would be taken into account.

“I would expect common sense to prevail,” said McLeish. “I was disappointed with the first half but much more pleased with the second half.

“Some of it worked, some of it didn’t. There is a process and I want my record to be good. I’m disappointed with the defeat. We have to nullify the perception it’s the same old Scotland. We need to show that with not only competitive performances, but also winning performances. It’s easy to talk but we are looking for improvement.

“We were off the pace in the first half. We didn’t get the tempo I wanted. We were halfway there but never quite the full way in terms of pressing.

“The second half was much better. With the new caps, there’s not a lot of fluidity in the team compared to Costa Rica who have been together a couple of years.

“It reminded me of playing a League Cup game as a club manager and rotating your squad. It looks good on paper but they don’t have the rhythm of guys playing regularly.

“I see some good things and some not so good things. I’ll look at that before the game against Hungary.

“It was common sense that we looked at some new young players. We have seen some great club form from them. There were a few who did really well and those where the pluses.

“I do have to get the right system and personnel. We have to show certain traits in our game that the opposition have difficulty with and we did that in the second half.”

Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez was understandably satisfied with his team’s display as they build up to their appearance at this summer’s World Cup finals in Russia.

“I was especially happy with the first half, we were good in possession and also on the counter-attack,” said Ramirez. “We managed the pace of the game well and that’s something we will have to do at the World Cup.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4712104.1521845952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712104.1521845952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4712104.1521845952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/maroon-memories-tynecastle-rises-to-acclaim-hibs-keeper-goram-1-4711195","id":"1.4711195","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Tynecastle rises to acclaim Hibs keeper Goram","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521872880000 ,"articleLead": "

When a Hearts crowd rises to acclaim a Hibs player during an Edinburgh derby then perhaps you should start looking for a blue moon in the sky or a month of Tuesdays.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711194.1521758728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Goram makes another save"} ,"articleBody": "

Yet it did happen on Saturday at Tynecastle, where Hearts continued their domination over their old city rivals with a convincing and stylish 3-1 win.

Long after other details of this derby are forgotten, however, the performance of Hibs’ goalkeeper, Andy Goram, will remain vivid. He was simply magnificent.

It was a display filled with acrobatics, uncanny instinct, courage, and determination.

It saved Hibs from what could probably have been their most humiliating defeat in almost 100 years of Edinburgh derbies.

It also showed that brilliance can overcome bigotry. How could one ever forget the spontaneous reaction from the Hearts fans five minutes from the end.

Scott Crabbe lashed a glorious volley towards the right-hand corner of the goal but, amazingly, Goram got to it to perform what was his final act of defiance on a day when he almost single-handedly defied Hearts.

After a split second of silent wonder the maroon end of the ground erupted in a long burst of applause as they chanted the keeper’s name. It was a fitting tribute to a very special performance.

“Scotland don’t have much of a problem as far as the goalkeeping position is concerned,” said Hearts manager Joe Jordan. “He was quite magnificent.

Hearts performed well – the best since he took over, admitted the manager.

They were more determined, much higher in confidence and so far ahead of anaemic Hibs in almost every department.

Only Goram stood between them and a goal avalanche.

As it was, all the goals were crammed into a nine-minute spell in the second half, beginning in 56 minutes when Davie McPherson got to an Eamonn Bannon free kick and knocked the ball across the six-yard area for Craig Levein to head home his third goal against Hibs this season.

Four minutes later, immediately after Hibs had made a double substitution, Hearts grabbed a second when young George Wright got the break of the ball off a defender and steered a low drive inside the right-hand post.

Joe Tortolano then raised Hibs hopes with a fine headed goal before Hearts put the issue beyond doubt.

Goram’s only mistake of the game saw him lose a cross from John Colquhoun, leaving John Robertson with the simple task of heading the ball into the net.

Hibs just didn’t seem to have the stomach to come back again.

Hearts: Walker, Sandison, McKinlay, Levein, Wright, McPherson (c), Colquhoun, Bannon (McLaren 83), Crabbe, Ferguson, Robertson (Harrison 87).

Hibs: Goram, Miller, Milne, Orr (Tortolano 59), Hamilton, Hunter, Weir, Wright, Findlay (Evans 59), Mitchell, McGinlay.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Hearts 3, Hibs 1. (Prem Div). Saturday, March 23, 1991"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711194.1521758728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711194.1521758728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Goram makes another save","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Goram makes another save","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711194.1521758728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibee-history-alex-miller-s-masterplan-pays-off-in-style-at-ibrox-1-4711198","id":"1.4711198","articleHeadline": "Hibee History: Alex Miller’s masterplan pays off in style at Ibrox","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521872880000 ,"articleLead": "

The first point to be made about this apparently surprising result was that it turned out to be a tactical triumph for Alex Miller’s Hibs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711196.1521758878!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Miller urges his team on"} ,"articleBody": "

The Edinburgh team have, in fact, enjoyed an edge over Rangers all season and their 3-4-3 not only held Scotland’s strikeforce in check but also succeeded in curbing the effectiveness of Rangers’ flank players, Gary Stevens and Mark Walters.

Miller acknowledged that his pre-match planning was designed to take into account Rangers’ strengths and a scheme was hatched in training last week to make life uncomfortable for the league leaders.

Hibs’ plan consisted of three central defenders policing Maurice Johnston and Ally McCoist, two full-back pushing on to the midfield and John Collins playing more or less as an orthodox left winger.

The policy also required the Hibs players to make good use of the possession which came their way – a feat they duly achieved in spite of a gale force wind and blizzard conditions during the second half of the match.

All Hibs’ careful planning, of course, would have counted for very little had McCoist buried a first-minute header rather than crashing the ball against the bar. The outcome of the match probably turned on that very first attack, for Hibs were able to regroup and they grew in confidence the longer the game went without a goal.

Hibs’ reward for this victory was both tangible and psychological. The club leapt to places to fifth in the Premier Division and a place in Europe no longer seems such an outside bet.

In addition, the club’s remarkable haul of five points from a possible eight from the league favourites should stand them in good stead for future campaigns. “The players now know they can come to Ibrox and win,” noted Miller.

Hibs’ best result of the season was achieved after Collins had exposed a square Rangers defence to give Keith Houchen the opportunity to score a 60th-minute goal.

There was never much doubt thereafter about the outcome, though McCoist did squander the simplest opening of the game seven minutes later when he took the ball around Andy Goram before lifting a shot high over the open goal from seven yards.

What was both depressing and worrying from Rangers’ point of view during the last half hour of the game was the chronic inability of their players to lift their game. Apart from the odd isolated instance, Goram was only called upon to make the most perfunctory saves as Rangers found it impossible to escape the strait-jacket Hibs had placed them in.

This was partly due to a lack of inspiration and leadership – Graeme Souness made the point afterwards that such a half-hearted approach could yet lose them the title - and partly to an absence of alternatives that might have changed the course of the game.

With Ian Durrant having suffered a setback in training last week which seems likely to delay his return to the first team until the new season, and with Derek Ferguson another long-term injury victim, Rangers are short of new blood on the creative side of play.

The club’s first home defeat since the opening game of the season would not normally be sufficient cause to set alarm bells ringing, but Saturday’s defeat was the culmination of a six-match period in which Rangers have struggled to score goals, dropped out of the Scottish Cup, and failed to win five consecutive Premier Division games.

Rangers: Rangers: Woods, Stevens, Munro, Butcher, Gough, Steven, Brown, Spackman, Walters, McCoist, Johnston. Sub: I Ferguson

Hibernian: Goram, Kane, Sneddon, Miller, Cooper, Hunter, Wright, Hamilton, Houchen, Collins, Mitchell. Sub used: McGinlay

Referee: M McGinley

Attendance: 37,542

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Rangers 0, Hibs 1 (Prem Div). Saturday, March 24, 1990"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711196.1521758878!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711196.1521758878!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex Miller urges his team on","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex Miller urges his team on","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711196.1521758878!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711197.1521758880!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711197.1521758880!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Keith Houchen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Keith Houchen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711197.1521758880!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/alex-mcleish-s-second-scotland-spell-starts-with-defeat-by-costa-rica-1-4712092","id":"1.4712092","articleHeadline": "Alex McLeish’s second Scotland spell starts with defeat by Costa Rica","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521842969000 ,"articleLead": "

A first-half goal from Marcos Urena ensured Alex McLeish’s second spell in charge of the national side got off to a disappointing start as Scotland went down 1-0 to Costa Rica at a half-full Hampden.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712088.1521845392!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Scotland midfielder John McGinn challenges Yeltsin Tejeda during the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Despite the game being settled by that single goal, Costa Rica gave the impression throughout the 90 minutes that they were playing well within themselves and could, if necessary, quickly move up through the gears.

For McLeish, this challenge match represented the beginning of a long journey which he hopes will culminate with Scotland ending what will be a 22-year wait for an invite to the finals of a major tournament when Euro 2020 comes round.

Four more friendlies – against Hungary on Tuesday night, Mexico and Peru at the end of the season and Belgium in September – will give him further opportunities to put his squad together, but he’ll undoubtedly feel few staked their claim on the evidence of last night.

Hibs midfielder John McGinn came on as a late second-half substitute to win his sixth cap, while Hearts goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin was denied his national team debut as he watched on from the substitutes’ bench.

The first and only time these teams had met previous to this encounter, Scotland were the World Cup veterans. Costa Rica won that match, surprisingly at the time by the same scoreline as last night, with Italia 90 the Scots’ fifth successive appearance on that global stage. The Central Americans were very much the rookies as they made their debut at that level. How times have changed.

Since that infamous meeting in Genoa – bar an appearance at France 98 – the finals of major football tournaments and Scotland have become distant strangers, while Los Ticos have become regular participants, in fact reaching the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago.

And this summer in Russia they’ll be doing it all again, drawn against Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia, with the Tartan Army once more reduced to watching from afar on television.

As such, this meeting found two countries at vastly differing stages in their development. Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez – like McLeish, he had played all those years ago in 1990 – is honing his team for that opening game against Serbia in Samara on June 17 and his team reflected that, boasting the likes of Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, captain Bryan Ruiz of Sporting Lisbon, Espanyol’s Oscar Duarte and Giancarlo Gonzalez of Bologna – not to mention Celtic’s Christian Gamboa.

McLeish, on the other hand, deployed four new caps. Scott McKenna, Scott McTominay – watched from the stand by his manager at Manchester United, Jose Mourinho – Kevin McDonald and Oli McBurnie all made their debuts, with McLeish having said he’d use this match and Tuesday night’s against Hungary as an opportunity to have a closer look at those younger players who would like to believe they have what it takes to cut it at this level.

McLeish’s pre-match warning that Costa Rica would be tricky opponents proved prophetic as Sunderland’s Bryan Oviedo sped down the left touchline before cutting it back for Urena to side-foot through the legs of Charlie Mulgrew and beyond goalkeeper Allan McGregor.

The pace and movement of Ramirez’s side at that point had the Scots looking as if they might be in for a long night, but they began to settle, former Hearts defender Callum Paterson rising to head Matt Ritchie’s corner wide before McBurnie – scorer of six goals in his last eight matches for Barnsley – made space to drill in a low shot which caused Navas some discomfort.

And there were faint cries for a penalty when McBurnie, ploughing that lone furrow up front, tangled with Duarte as they made for Andy Robertson’s low cross, but German referee Tobias Stieler wasn’t interested in the slightest.

McLeish had spoken before the match of trying to restore the excitement and fervour which seems to have deserted Scotland in some measure, but the 20,488 inside Hampden had seen little to get them off their seats, the feeling being at their opponents could quite easily go up through the gears.

Ruiz certainly did that as he caught Andy Robertson the wrong side of him, ploughing into the box and unleashing a rising shot on the angle, McGregor appearing to get the slightest of touches to put it on to his bar and so 
avoid the loss of a second goal.

The Scots had carried little in the way of a threat, although McBurnie was using his physique to good effect at times, doing to so give Callum McGregor the opportunity to play a well-weighted ball into the path of Ritchie. His shot carried plenty of power and there was an anxious moment for Navas as he pushed it high into the air to land on the roof of his net.

It was, however, a rare moment of worry for Navas and his team-mates.

Scotland (3-4-2-1): A McGregor; Hanley, Mulgrew (McGinn 81), McKenna; Paterson, McTominay (Armstrong 58), McDonald, Robertson; Cairney (C McGregor 58), Ritchie (Murphy 87); McBurnie (Phillips 78). Unused subs: Archer, McLaughlin, Christie, Forrest, Douglas, Cummings, McLean, Fraser, Hendry.

Costa Rica (3-5-2): Navas; Acosta, Gonzalez, Duarte; Gamboa (Smith 75), B Ruiz, Borges, Guzman (Tejeda 56), Oviedo (Calvo 78); Urena (Y Ruiz 69), Colindres (Wallace 63). Unused subs: Moreira, Briceno, Segura, Mitchell, Azofeifa, Waston, Gutierrez.

Referee: Tobias Stieler (Germany).

Attendance: 20,488.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4712088.1521845392!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712088.1521845392!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs and Scotland midfielder John McGinn challenges Yeltsin Tejeda during the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs and Scotland midfielder John McGinn challenges Yeltsin Tejeda during the 1-0 defeat by Costa Rica. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4712088.1521845392!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4712089.1521845395!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712089.1521845395!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Costa Rica's Marcos Urena makes it 1-0. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Costa Rica's Marcos Urena makes it 1-0. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4712089.1521845395!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4712090.1521845398!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712090.1521845398!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Hearts defender Callum Paterson competes with Oscar Duarte. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Hearts defender Callum Paterson competes with Oscar Duarte. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4712090.1521845398!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4712091.1521845400!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4712091.1521845400!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish gives instructions. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish gives instructions. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4712091.1521845400!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/comment-martin-boyle-fast-becoming-one-of-hibs-key-players-1-4711572","id":"1.4711572","articleHeadline": "Comment: Martin Boyle fast becoming one of Hibs’ key players","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521811788000 ,"articleLead": "

Put together a list of the most important players at Easter Road and the usual suspects will emerge. Midfielders John McGinn and Dylan McGeouch, the defensive trio of Paul Hanlon, Darren McGregor and Efe Ambrose, target-man and new fans’ favourite Florian Kamberi. Then there is Martin Boyle.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711568.1521836241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle recently signed a new Hibs contract until the summer of 2021. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

That in itself highlights the growth in the 24-year-old’s game. Coming into this season, it would have been reasonable if fans looked at Boyle as a player who could be upgraded. He was raw, inconsistent and frustrated as much as he enthralled. Now he is one of the most feared wide-men in the league.

A look into his background paints a more vivid picture as to the magnitude of his rise. He progressed through junior football in Aberdeen to sign for fourth-tier Montrose. By the time he had reached the Gable Endies’ first team, they were no more than a plodding outfit having been stranded in the division since 1996.

It was at this time that Boyle was more familiar with doing shuttle runs between doors delivering parcels for his mum than he was for terrorising full-backs as he supported his part-time football and studying for an HNC degree in sports science at college.

“I was just tagging along with my mum, just getting by really, a bit of money on the side”, Boyle recalled earlier this year. “I had to run to the doors with the parcels. It was a nightmare. It kept me fit, but I was shattered going training at night.”

He made his breakthrough for Montrose early, coming off the bench against Hibs as a 16-year-old in a 5-1 Scottish Cup defeat in 2010. By the time he was 18 he had exploded, blitzing defences with his searing pace. He netted 22 times in 36 league games during the 2011/2012 campaign.

It prompted Dundee to make a move, the player jumping from the fourth to the top tier. Dee boss Barry Smith admitted he was “one for the future” and Boyle was used sparingly before spending the second half of the season back at Montrose on loan.

He arrived at Hibs under Alan Stubbs in a loan swap deal with Alex Harris in 2015, a move which didn’t sit too well with either support. While Dundee fans were left frustrated with his final product, they realised the danger he posed with his pace, even if he wasn’t utilised correctly. One of his finest moments in the City of Discovery was Paul Hartley’s first game in charge, a 1-0 win over Hamilton. Boyle scored the only goal of the game, plus he left not one but two left-backs in a tizz. One was subbed, while the substitute was sent off.

At Hibs, he was replacing a popular figure in Harris, someone fans had an affection for. It took him until April and a starring role in a derby win that he won over many doubters. Despite a serious injury to his medial ligament in his knee in the final league game of the season, the club had been impressed enough to offer him a two-year-deal.

The arrival of Neil Lennon was a staging post in Boyle’s career. The Northern Irishman’s presence provided Boyle with an extra focus, minus one or two incidents. The Hibs boss has an aura as a ranter and raver, but he has an undoubted ability to inspire, knowing which players to give the stick and which players to offer the carrot.

“The gaffer has given me real belief,” Boyle said in December. “He’s one man you don’t want to let down – he has that fear factor – but he’s brought more to my game. He’s told 
me to take the ball down the line and if I lose it 100 times to go again.”

Lennon noted Boyle’s propensity to spend a lot of time on the ground last season, the winger needing to find the required balance to match his pace. But he was awarded with a two-year contract extension, even if there was a scepticism about his ability to make the transition to Premiership level.

A goal and assist in an opening day win over Partick Thistle was a portent for what was to come. Before the year was out Lennon has revealed the player had been awarded with a further contract extension, this time until 2021.

On the player signing the deal, Lennon said: “He made the step up to the Premiership without any issues. On his day he can be one of the most dangerous players in the league – he brings real pace and power.”

Boyle may have been overshadowed by team-mates with a better reputation, a more refined style, but what he brings to the team cannot be undervalued. Hibs are an excellent counter-attacking team and Boyle is crucial in the transition, turning defence into attack within a matter of seconds, and sits second in the league for dribbles and one-v-one situations.

Speed has always been Boyle’s key asset and it would not be awry to suggest he would not have got anywhere in the Premiership without it. Dundee fans will attest to his level of inefficiency when in dangerous areas. He is still prone to missing big chances for Hibs, specifically one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he is continuing to improve in the final third and become more reliable.

Aside from his numbers, Boyle, more than anyone else in the squad, epitomises the balance of the Hibs team. He is able to play through the middle, he can play on the wing of a 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-2, as a wing-back and right-back. His versatility and adaptability gives Lennon options to shape his side and make changes during games without confusing the team.

Boyle won’t feature on many player of the year shortlists. But if there were awards handed out for most improved or most underrated players in the Scottish Premiership, he would be flying high. His importance should not be underestimated.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOEL SKED"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711568.1521836241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711568.1521836241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Boyle recently signed a new Hibs contract until the summer of 2021. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle recently signed a new Hibs contract until the summer of 2021. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711568.1521836241!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711569.1521836245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711569.1521836245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boyle's Hibs career has flourished under current head coach Neil Lennon. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boyle's Hibs career has flourished under current head coach Neil Lennon. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711569.1521836245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711570.1521836249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711570.1521836249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boyle won over a lot of Hibs fans with an excellent performance against Hearts in April 2015. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boyle won over a lot of Hibs fans with an excellent performance against Hearts in April 2015. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711570.1521836249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711571.1521836253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711571.1521836253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Boyle started off his career with Montrose, winning numerous accolades including this Irn-Bru Ginger Boot award in 2012. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Boyle started off his career with Montrose, winning numerous accolades including this Irn-Bru Ginger Boot award in 2012. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711571.1521836253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/ann-budge-admits-ian-cathro-mistake-and-targets-permanent-naismith-deal-1-4711379","id":"1.4711379","articleHeadline": "Ann Budge admits Ian Cathro mistake and targets permanent Naismith deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521804022000 ,"articleLead": "

Ann Budge has conceded that appointing Ian Cathro as the club’s head coach was a mistake, as the Hearts owner revealed she would “love” to have Steven Naismith at the club next season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711376.1521804015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro addresses the media as Ann Budge looks on. File picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

In an interview with BBC Radio Scotland, Budge opened up over Cathro’s seven-month tenure at Tynecastle, as well as Craig Levein’s future, club finances and the chances of signing the on-loan Norwich City striker on a permanent basis.

Cathro was axed by Hearts after just seven months in post, with the club taking action after the Jambos exited the Betfred Cup at the group stage, after defeat to League Two Peterhead and losing on penalties to Dunfermline.

But despite winning just seven games out of 30 at Tynecastle, Budge remains convinced that Cathro will taste success in his future career.

“We all know what happened and therefore it’s difficult for me to say it wasn’t [a mistake],” Budge said.

“It was new, it was different, it was taking a risk, taking a chance - but everybody was behind it. I think it was something that we all bought into,” she added.

Budge believes that one of Cathro’s weaknesses was his inability to adequately explain himself in interviews.

The former Valencia and Newcastle United coach was criticised for a TV interview he gave following a 1-1 draw with Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup.

READ MORE - Ian Cathro explains cringeworthy TV interview after Raith-Hearts draw

Asked if the result was hard to take, Cathro said: “It’s okay. It’s okay. It’s a situation where... How is it difficult? What’s difficult? We’ve just got to beat them again, don’t we?”

Cathro admitted in the following days that he needed to work on his communication skills - an issue highlighted by the Hearts owner.

“I think it was one of the bigger problems, the communication,” Budge said.

“He is a highly intelligent young man and I still believe he will go on to be very successful.

“But it was his ability to communicate across different levels that caused the biggest problem.”

Cathro managed just seven wins in 30 matches in charge at Tynecastle, and Budge admits that the alarm bells started ringing towards the end of the 2016/17 season.

Hearts failed to win any of their last six matches, drawing two and losing four.

READ MORE - Robbie Neilson: I’d like to return to Hearts one day

“Towards the end of last season, you could see things weren’t going quite as we hoped,” Budge recalled.

“Not a controversial statement but, the kind of coverage he was getting in the media... I was concerned for him. There’s only so much people can take, quite frankly.”

The decision to relieve Cathro of his duties was “a very difficult decision, reluctantly made” according to a club statement.

Budge also told the BBC she hopes Levein will resume his director of football duties if his second stint in charge of Hearts goes awry.

“I don’t know if he will still be loving [the managerial role] in three or four years. If for whatever reason it didn’t work, I would certainly want him back as director of football. I think he did very well,” Budge said.

The Hearts owner also revealed that the club’s financial planning doesn’t involve cup games.

She explained: “We wanted to get to Hampden, and finish no lower than fourth. Those were the targets - we don’t budget on anything from cup games, so anything we’ve earned from the cup is a bonus.”

And with FC Sion open to holding talks with Hearts over a further loan deal, or even a permanent move for Joaquim Adao, Budge is hopeful of retaining another on-loan player for next season.

“I would love to think Steven Naismith will be here next season. It’s up to him and the clubs - if we can, we certainly will.”

READ MORE - FC Sion open to Hearts deal for Joaquim Adao

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711376.1521804015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711376.1521804015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Cathro addresses the media as Ann Budge looks on. File picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Cathro addresses the media as Ann Budge looks on. File picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711376.1521804015!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711377.1521804017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711377.1521804017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Budge is hopeful of hanging onto Steven Naismith, while Sion are ready to discuss extending Joaquim Adao's Hearts stay. Pictures: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Budge is hopeful of hanging onto Steven Naismith, while Sion are ready to discuss extending Joaquim Adao's Hearts stay. Pictures: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711377.1521804017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5644148758001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-season-ticket-sales-continuing-to-soar-1-4711170","id":"1.4711170","articleHeadline": "Hibs season-ticket sales continuing to soar","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521793281000 ,"articleLead": "

Season-ticket sales at Easter Road are continuing to soar following a record number being snapped up by fans for this campaign.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4702832.1521790296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fans have been packing out Easter Road, with some of the largest crowds since the 1950s. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

After selling 13,500 for this season, Hibs launched their campaign for 2018/19 at the end of last month and today the club revealed sales are already running ten per cent ahead of the same point 12 months ago.

With Neil Lennon’s side battling for a second-place finish on their return to the Ladbrokes Premiership, attendances at Easter Road are averaging more than 18,000, the highest since the 1950s, with crowds pushing towards the ground’s 20,400 capacity on a number of occasions – four times the gate has exceeded 20,000.

Such has been the demand for tickets that Hibs have opened sections of the South Stand – which traditionally houses away fans – to their own support to cope while they’ve also launched a scheme under which season-ticket holders who can’t attend certain matches can release their seats for others to use.

Prices have been increased for the first time in several years although they’ve been described as “modest” with the exception of children tickets, held at only £25 in the Famous Five lower family section.

Urging fans to take advantage of the reduced “Early Bird” prices and a payment plan option under which Hibs will pick up the interest costs on the 11 instalments, both of which are available until Friday, April 6, Laura Montgomery, head of sales and sponsorship, said: “We are delighted with the number of supporters who have committed to a season ticket already. We are enjoying our highest-ever number of season ticket holders this year, so to be almost ten per cent up on the equivalent stage is very 

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4702832.1521790296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4702832.1521790296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fans have been packing out Easter Road, with some of the largest crowds since the 1950s. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fans have been packing out Easter Road, with some of the largest crowds since the 1950s. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4702832.1521790296!/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":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/charlie-mulgrew-i-thought-it-was-rovers-and-out-but-now-i-m-skipper-1-4711174","id":"1.4711174","articleHeadline": "Charlie Mulgrew: I thought it was Rovers and out – but now I’m skipper","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521790458000 ,"articleLead": "

Charlie Mulgrew revealed that he feared he had put his international career on the line when he decided not to jump ship as Blackburn Rovers plunged into the third tier of English football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711173.1521790453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charlie Mulgrew"} ,"articleBody": "

But tonight he’ll put all such concerns behind him as he leads Scotland out to face Costa Rica at Hampden as captain when Alex McLeish takes charge of the national side for the second time around.

Following the announcement that Scott Brown wouldn’t be pulling on a dark blue jersey again, there’s been plenty of speculation as to who would be handed the armband.

McLeish insisted Mulgrew, capped 31 times, was the “standout” candidate for the job given his experience, someone who could help the younger players in the experimental squad he has named for both tonight’s friendly and Tuesday’s trip to face Hungary in Budapest.

But, even so, Mulgrew admitted it was an honour he never expected, revealing he was only told before yesterday’s training session. The 32-year-old said: “I didn’t have an inkling but when the manager told me I was absolutely delighted. You grow up hoping to get the chance to play for Scotland so to be captain for a game is absolutely massive for myself and my family.

“He maybe looked at the amount of caps I have got, I have quite a lot in comparison to a lot of the other boys.

“There are a lot of captains in the changing room, a lot of leaders and hopefully we can get the right result.”

Mulgrew was something of a latecomer to the international scene, a full four years passing before he made the step-up from Under-21 level to the ‘A’ squad, that lapse in time leading to speculation he may throw in his lot with the United States for whom he qualified thanks to his grandmother.

But, insisted Mulgrew, he never gave up hope and Craig 
Levein finally realised the former Celtic man’s dream, giving him his international debut in a 1-1 draw with Slovenia. Mulgrew said: “I always tried to keep believing in my ability. I always believed I could play for my country. I played all the way through the age groups and then I didn’t play for the full squad until I was 24.

“You do doubt yourself at times and worry it won’t come, but thankfully it did. That’s why I cherish each time I’m called up and I try to treat every training session as if it is my last. I never take being called up for granted, I always check each squad to make sure I am there and I am always delighted when I am.”

However, with Blackburn dropping into League One, Mulgrew did worry that his time as a Scotland player may be at an end. He said: “Of course I was concerned. There were chances to maybe move on, but I felt I owed Blackburn something.

“I was part of the squad which went down so I wanted to stay and try to get them back to where the club should be. But there are obviously those doubts in your mind that it might not happen.”

With former Hibs boss Tony Mowbray in charge, Blackburn currently sit top of League One, a single point ahead of Shrewsbury Town in the race for the title with Mulgrew facing the classic club v country conundrum next week.

Rovers are due to play Bradford City at Ewood Park barely 48 hours after Scotland are in action in Budapest and, it is understood, McLeish and Mowbray have already been in discussions about the situation.

“You know better than me,” insisted Mulgrew. “I am aware of the fact we (Rovers) play next Thursday night but my full focus coming away is Scotland. I will be doing everything I can for Scotland.

“When Tuesday’s finished and we get back here, then I can deal with Thursday. It’s still a long time – 36 hours before the next game. At centre-back you don’t maybe do as much running as you would elsewhere so we’ll see what happens. My focus is on Scotland.”

Similarly, Mulgrew refused to dwell on the question of whether he might become Scotland captain on a permanent basis, McLeish revealing he “quite likes” having a defender leading the team while insisting the armband won’t be “bandied about”.

“I will take it one game at a time,” said Mulgrew. “The manager just said I would be captain against Costa Rica. That’s as far as it went really.

“I’ve captained Celtic and, growing up as a fan, that was massive for me. It was a proud moment and I was very honoured. This is right up there with that, it’s a massive honour.”

Mulgrew doesn’t expect the fact he’ll skipper the side to swell a Hampden gate which, in line with previous friendlies at the national stadium, looks as if it will fall short of 25,000, claiming: “I think whoever is coming to the game is coming regardless of whether I am captain. I’m playing for my country, if they want to be there they want to be there. There are family members who choose not to be there as they’re too nervous, that’s fine.”

What is clear, however, is that everyone in the Scotland camp regards tonight’s match as a fresh start, the chance to begin preparing for the UEFA Nations League matches later in the year against Israel and Albania which will, hopefully, lead to an appearance at the finals of a major tournament for the first time since France 98 when the European Championships of 2020 come round.

Mulgrew said: “It has felt like the start of something new, there’s a new staff and players. Everyone is eager to impress. We all want to be playing, to get that jersey and to win.”

Scotland have only faced Costa Rica once, suffering a shock 1-0 defeat in their opening game in Italia 90, an unhappy memory for McLeish who was part of Andy Roxburgh’s side that day.

“I remember the headline on a national paper,” he said. “It was the globe on the front paper saying ‘Stop The World We Want To Get off’. I didn’t think it was funny, but I can see the humour in it now.

“It’s that old one when Scotland are expected to win the game; the psyche of the players is that we expect to win here, we should be giving a big display here, the goalie is meant to be hopeless, we’ll bombard him with crosses’ - I think he took 17 out of 20 ...

“Costa Rica are a decent side, they’re going to the World Cup again this summer and that’s our goal, to get to finals.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711173.1521790453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711173.1521790453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Charlie Mulgrew","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charlie Mulgrew","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711173.1521790453!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1489591877499"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/fc-sion-open-to-hearts-deal-for-joaquim-adao-1-4710820","id":"1.4710820","articleHeadline": "FC Sion open to Hearts deal for Joaquim Adao","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521790341000 ,"articleLead": "

Prospects of Joaquim Adao staying at Hearts grew today when FC Sion revealed they are open to a deal for the midfielder.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710819.1521746093!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sion are happy with the progress Joaquim Adao has made in Scotland"} ,"articleBody": "

Sporting director Marco Degennaro told the Evening News that the Swiss club would consider another loan or a permanent transfer, although they would want a fee to facilitate the latter.

Adao has two years remaining on his Sion contract and is on loan at Tynecastle Park until May. He revealed in this newspaper last month his desire to stay in Edinburgh beyond the summer. Supporters have taken to his combative style and remain hopeful an agreement can be reached.

Degennaro plans to speak with the Angolan internationalist next month to determine where he wants to play next season. An extended stay at Hearts is a realistic option for all concerned.

“We are happy to discuss if the Scottish club want to buy him or take him on loan again,” said Degennaro. “We are open to all the possibilities. It’s a great market in Scotland and it’s a good league. To have a player who can play in the Scottish league is a big plus so we are very happy with Adao being there.

“We also get the opportunity to follow the league so we have already seen Hearts games. Adao is getting much more attention there so it is definitely a good thing for us. At the beginning of next month we plan to hold talks and then have a chat with Hearts.”

Finances remain tight at Tynecastle, where the new £15million main stand has still to be completed. Hearts could afford to pay a small fee for Adao but any Sion demands for a significant amount would be a stumbling block to a permanent deal.

“We don’t have a price in our mind at the moment. It is probably too early,” said Degennaro when asked about Sion’s valuation of their player. “In a month or so, after a couple of discussions with some clubs, maybe then. We have not talked about a fee so far. At the moment we are open to any of the possibilities.

“In two or three weeks, we will have our discussion. Also, we will see if some offers come from Scotland or the UK in general. If there are no offers or no interest in the player, then he has to come back to Sion at the beginning of next season. If there are some clubs interested in him, then absolutely we can discuss things in a fair way.

“We have not had any interest from Scotland or the UK so far. We have other teams in other countries asking about him. That’s why we have to talk to Joaquim to understand what he wants and what he would like to do next season.”

Adao thrives on the intensity of Scottish football and is already something of a cult hero amongst Hearts fans. His popularity has soared in only eight appearances since he arrived in January. He earned a yellow card in each of his first six games before settling down to show his true capabilities.

In the last two matches against Hibs and Partick Thistle, he was one of Hearts’ better players. Last month, just three weeks into his stay in Scotland, he revealed he was already contemplating a permanent move here. He was waiting on his family jetting across to join him at the time.

“If I have the chance to come back here, then why not? I am enjoying Edinburgh and I am enjoying Hearts,” said the 25-year-old.

“I have a good relationship with Sion. I was a young player there and I have been with the club for more than eight years. The president [Swiss architect Christian Constantin] is like my father. If I speak and say, ‘I want to go,’ I think Sion can make it possible. They would not want to block me.”

They are unlikely to simply let him walk from his contract for free, however. Not when other teams are showing interest, and not when he has made a good impression in the Scottish Premiership in a very short space of time.

It is critical for Adao to ensure he plays regularly next term after falling out of favour at his formative club.

His last Sion appearance was on August 6 last year, meaning he arrived at Hearts on a four-month loan deal drastically short of match practice and sharpness.

The decision to send him to Scotland was made out of necessity to get him playing regular first-team football. According to Degennaro, it was also a good fit.

The physical nature of the SPFL is well known across Europe and Sion officials felt this was where Adao would function best.

His performances in the holding midfield role for Hearts confirm their prediction was correct.

“We know the player can have good results in the Scottish league with the skills he has,” said Degennaro.

“We still don’t have any direct contact or any discussions about what will happen in the future. We will wait until next month to decide what can happen. Adao has two more years on his contract here. As I said, everything is still open.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710819.1521746093!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710819.1521746093!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sion are happy with the progress Joaquim Adao has made in Scotland","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sion are happy with the progress Joaquim Adao has made in Scotland","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710819.1521746093!/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":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/whitehill-welfare-s-run-in-leaves-them-in-danger-of-drop-1-4711097","id":"1.4711097","articleHeadline": "Whitehill Welfare’s run-in leaves them in danger of drop","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521786655000 ,"articleLead": "

Despite targeting a top-half finish at the turn of the year, Whitehill Welfare boss Gary Small has admitted his side now have a fight on their hands to stay in the Lowland League.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711096.1521744826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Whitehill Welfare manager Gary Small"} ,"articleBody": "

A host of postponements, coupled with four straight defeats, has left the Roswell club in trouble ahead of tomorrow’s visit of title-chasing Spartans.

The recent upturn in fortunes of bottom club Hawick Royal Albert won’t be enough to save the Borders club from relegation, but Small insists his players must start grinding out wins because there is the threat of demotion for the side that finishes 15th – currently Vale of Leithen.

That’s easier said than done for the Rosewell outfit who are set to meet the league’s top four teams over the next three weeks. Whitehill are 12th but are nine points better off than Vale who, Small insists, have the more favourable run-in.

“There’s no two ways about it we’ve got a really tough few weeks coming up,” Small said. “We’ve got seven league games still to play and out of those games we’ve got the top five to play. As far as I’m concerned it’s irrelevant who we play as we need to go and pick up some points.

“There’s nothing you can do about the weather but we’ve got to face all the top teams back-to-back now. We’re not safe from that second-bottom place make no mistake about it and because of the cancellations it’s worked against us. Am I confident of us being safe? No, I’m not. We need to start picking up points fast. I thought at the start of the season you’d need 30 points to guarantee safety but now I’m not so sure.

“I think we could have a big say in who wins the league but I don’t really care to be honest. It’s all about what Whitehill do and us getting points. The league title will take care of itself and good luck to whoever does win it. We haven’t beaten a team in the top five yet but I believe we are more than capable of doing it.”

Given Whitehill are just eight points adrift of Cumbernauld Colts in sixth underlines the competitiveness of the league. However, Small has been frustrated by his side’s inability to go toe-to-toe with the big guns this year.

“We haven’t beaten anyone in the top five and that has to change,” Small explained. “If you can win your games in hand then you can shoot right up the table. However, with the fixtures we have, you can also find you lose all of them.

“I’m not naive enough to know that you aren’t safe until it’s mathematically impossible. But we’re only eight points off sixth place and I think for the first time in quite a while I might have my strongest squad available tomorrow. Our last game against Dalbeattie Star I had to play some of the fringe players, three under-20s and a trialist. We just don’t have the resources if you take out our big players to go to places like that and win.

“We know how good a team Spartans are and the form that they are in but we have to try and match them. We have to stick to our own agenda and I shouldn’t have to fire the players up for this one.”

With East Kilbride idle this weekend, Dougie Samuel’s men know that a win at Ferguson Park will see them move level on points with their South Lanarkshire rivals with a game in hand.

Meanwhile, Civil Service Strollers visit Alloa’s Indodrill Stadium where hosts BSC Glasgow are their opponents.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711096.1521744826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711096.1521744826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Whitehill Welfare manager Gary Small","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Whitehill Welfare manager Gary Small","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711096.1521744826!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/edinburgh-city/edinburgh-city-determined-to-win-their-mini-league-1-4711095","id":"1.4711095","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh City determined to win their ‘mini-league’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521786651000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh is continuing to look up rather than down the table ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Shielfield to take on Berwick Rangers, even after Cowdenbeath gained ground on both earlier this week.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711094.1521744621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Clyde celebrate scoring their second goal against City on Tuesday night"} ,"articleBody": "

City’s 3-0 home loss to Clyde – their first league defeat in five games – coupled with Cowden’s 2-1 win at Stenny and Berwick not playing meant the Blue Brazil cut the gap to the two sides above them to nine and ten points respectively.

While it still remains an outside bet that the Fife club will overhaul either City or Robbie Horn’s Rangers, another win for Gary Bollan’s men at the weekend could make for a more interesting final few weeks of the Ladbrokes League Two season.

McDonaugh prefers to see tomorrow’s encounter as an opportunity to move further ahead of Cowden and Berwick, who still have two games in hand on the visitors. With the Wee Rangers being the only side not to have beaten City this term, he and his players will head down the A1 with a justified confidence, despite the heavy midweek defeat.

“I’ve always tried to look up the way,” he said. “It’s more of a positive thing rather than always looking down and being negative – even if you say the words ‘looking down’ you’re thinking negatively, aren’t you?

“As I’ve said to the players, I’ve always thought Cowdenbeath were going to start winning games. They’ve got a good manager, some good players and not many teams go through the season only winning one game, so they were going to come good at some point.

“We’ve still got that gap, though, and by and large, we’ve both got the same teams still to play so it’s still in our hands. Tuesday night was our first defeat in five games. It seems like a disaster because of the manner in which it happened, but we’ve got to look at the bigger picture.

“We dress ourselves down and while there’s no point in being downbeat about it, we’ve got to be serious about it.”

A win at Shielfield would go some way to restoring the positive vibes that had been emanating from Ainslie Park in recent weeks. “It’s a bit of a six-pointer,” admitted McDonaugh. “If Berwick win and Cowdenbeath win again then we’re closer to Cowdenbeath and Berwick go back above us.

“All the teams will be saying the same thing, though. Cowden and Berwick will be saying ‘we can catch Edinburgh City’ and we’re saying we can stay above them. It’s that sort of mini league of three, isn’t it?”

To ensure they finish top of it, McDonaugh’s players will need to perform far better than they did in the midweek defeat at the hands of Clyde. The Broadwood side ran out comfortable winners, even looking the more accomplished side when down to ten men for the latter stages.

“It was a bad night,” McDonaugh reflected. “I think we got what we deserved on Tuesday. Clyde thoroughly deserved the win and by that margin as well.

“I said to the boys that we’ve seen teams before with leads in terms of points crumble a wee bit. I don’t think we’ve crumbled.

“Clyde deserved their win, but with the score being at 3-0 and until about five or so minutes after that goal, we’ve missed chances and they’ve taken chances. I don’t think there’s been that much between the teams at that point.

“After that, though, I thought we were really poor. After it went 3-0, I thought we just generally defended poorly, attacked poorly, passed it poorly, pressed poorly – everything really. Up until that point, the difference was at both ends of the pitch.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711094.1521744621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711094.1521744621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Clyde celebrate scoring their second goal against City on Tuesday night","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Clyde celebrate scoring their second goal against City on Tuesday night","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711094.1521744621!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/keiran-mcgachie-s-goal-is-to-score-more-goals-for-bonnyrigg-1-4711090","id":"1.4711090","articleHeadline": "Keiran McGachie’s goal is to score more goals for Bonnyrigg","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521786642000 ,"articleLead": "

Keiran McGachie hopes his return to the scoresheet can aid Bonnyrigg Rose’s Super League title bid.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711089.1521744168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose forward Keiran McGachie"} ,"articleBody": "

The Rose frontman was back amongst the goals last weekend as he netted a double in a 3-0 away success over Dundonald Bluebell.

It was a long time coming for the one-time Motherwell youngster, so much so that neither he or his team-mates could remember the last time he hit the back of the net, while dad Robert was beginning to get on his case.

Scoring goals is something McGachie recognises he needs to do more of, alongside the ‘dirty work’ he prides himself on as he create opportunities for his Rose buddies.

“I was surprised to score myself,” said McGachie. “I don’t think anyone could remember the last time I properly scored. I’ve assisted a few and won a few penalties but not scored enough.

“The gaffer [David White] has said it’s something I need to be doing more of, although he’s happy with my all-round contribution. My dad gets on at me anyway; he says I’m not selfish enough and he’s said that since I was wee. I’ve never been the one that wanted to score the goals.

“I did feel a bit of pressure, but it came mostly from myself. The boys know that I contribute in other ways and I hold the ball up and lay it off, get in behind and make runs and stuff.”

Last week’s victory was welcome for Rose after losing their unbeaten Super League record to Broxburn Athletic just a week after they were knocked out the Scottish Junior Cup at the last-16 stage by Beith.

Focus now is very much on securing their second title in three seasons, with tomorrow’s match away to Linlithgow Rose key as both sides battle it out for the league crown.

McGachie continued: “It’s a massive game. It’s the perfect time to play each other knowing that it would give you that wee bit of an extra kick for either team if you got a result. If we could get three points, we’d have that instant advantage.”

Bo’ness United are on the road to Ayrshire as they visit Hurlford United in their Scottish Junior Cup quarter-final replay after a 2-2 draw at Newtown Park last weekend.

Manager Stevie Kerrigan is hopeful his side can play to their full potential to secure a semi-final place.

“Last week’s game, for a quarter-final, didn’t have much about it,” said Kerrigan. “When you get to the latter stages you are beginning to look at teams to win it, and I don’t think 
either side looked that way.

“Hopefully, tomorrow’s game will be better. It’s another chance for us to do it again, hopefully there will be better quality.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711089.1521744168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711089.1521744168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bonnyrigg Rose forward Keiran McGachie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose forward Keiran McGachie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711089.1521744168!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-christophe-berra-not-finished-for-scotland-mcleish-1-4711172","id":"1.4711172","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Christophe Berra not finished for Scotland – McLeish","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521786609000 ,"articleLead": "

Alex McLeish has assured Hearts skipper Christophe Berra that his Scotland career is far from finished after leaving the 33-year-old out of his first squad for the friendlies against Costa Rica and Hungary.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711171.1521752966!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra was left out of Alex McLeish's first squad"} ,"articleBody": "

Berra, capped 41 times over the past ten years, was disappointed to be overlooked as McLeish took charge of the national side for a second time although fellow defenders Charlie Mulgrew (Blackburn Rovers), a year younger, and Russell Martin, also 32, were called up although the on-loan Rangers player later withdrew through injury.

McLeish phoned Berra, who has had an outstanding season at Tynecastle, to tell him he was intending to go with younger players for these two games, revealing “three or four” who are uncapped could face the South Americans tonight while that number could increase to ten by the time Tuesday’s match is over.

The former Hibs boss said: “I haven’t closed the door on the likes of Christophe Berra or these guys. They are maybe hurting a bit that they aren’t in the squad, but they aren’t out of the plans – nobody is.

“But we have to do it this way. I want to use as many players as I can, but I don’t want to sacrifice a good performance by sending on too many players at one time. We’ll do it in a tactical way, as much as possible.

“We can use six subs. FIFA stopped the huge number of subs when it became a farce. But it’s about the team. It’s not about saying ‘go and get a run-out’. We have a duty to win. There could be three or four playing against Costa Rica but we will try to pick a team to beat Costa Rica.

“They are a decent side, they scored a lot of late goals in their qualifying campaign and they have good players and strength. They are a tall team and we have to stifle that. But they also have that ability like all teams from that part of the world to control and use it well. That’s why they have dumped the USA out, held their own against Mexico and deservedly qualified for the World Cup.

“We could lose. It’s what do you get out of it. There could be ten new caps in the two games. We could blood a few young guys. Did they handle it? You have to analyse it all.

“It’s important to win, but it’s also very important that I see these players can handle this as well. A lot of them have already been at this level, but there will be an introduction of younger players and my message to them is ‘go for it’. The gauntlet is down, go and seize your chance.”

McLeish admitted he’d love to restore the fervour which once surrounded Scotland matches but insisted that would come not just with good performances but by winning consistently.

He said: “It’s about winning. We had a good unbeaten run with Gordon [Strachan] and we just missed out on the play-offs.

“We need to find a way to win consistently, it’s about getting a winning mentality. We are the ones who can change things. I’m not a player, but I can help to change the perception [that people don’t care] as well. It’s about getting people excited and it’s about winning as well.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711171.1521752966!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711171.1521752966!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra was left out of Alex McLeish's first squad","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra was left out of Alex McLeish's first squad","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711171.1521752966!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/east-of-scotland-league-lothian-look-to-cut-gap-on-leaders-1-4710958","id":"1.4710958","articleHeadline": "East of Scotland League: Lothian look to cut gap on leaders","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521786605000 ,"articleLead": "

There’s only one fixture in the East of Scotland League this weekend as Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale host Ormiston at Saughton Enclosure.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710957.1521734103!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The reigning champions, who overcame Lowland League opposition Vale of Leithen 3-0 to book their place in the Football Nation Qualifying Cup final on Wednesday night, are playing catch-up on Kelty Hearts, who are 15 points clear at the summit.

Victory tomorrow afternoon for Raymond Carr’s men would see that gap narrow to 12 points with four games in hand over their Fife rivals.

Meanwhile, the King Cup gets underway tomorrow with Preston Athletic making the trip to play Peebles Rovers at Whitestone Park.

The Panners secured a hard-fought victory at Burntisland Shipyard six days ago. It was the first time Paul Riley and Jack Lynch’s side had played since the middle of last month.

Elsewhere, there’s a League Cup final spot up for grabs as Leith Athletic welcome Capital rivals Tynecastle to Peffermill.

The two clubs faced one another in October’s Alex Jack Cup final in October, with Tynie prevailing 3-0.

However, Leith, sitting second in the league, have been going well this season and will fancy their chances of revenge.

The winner of tomorrow’s tie will face Lothian in next month’s final.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710957.1521734103!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710957.1521734103!/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/1.4710957.1521734103!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/bonnyrigg-rose-to-consider-move-into-east-of-scotland-league-1-4711164","id":"1.4711164","articleHeadline": "Bonnyrigg Rose to consider move into East of Scotland League","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521751069000 ,"articleLead": "

Bonnyrigg Rose are exploring the possibility of leaving the Juniors and joining the East of Scotland League.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711162.1521751065!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose could line up in the East of Scotland League next season"} ,"articleBody": "

The East Super League outfit held a special general meeting on Wednesday night to discuss the club’s future direction and 82 per cent of members backed the committee to consider change. Two per cent were against, while 16 per cent abstained.

Although no final decision has been made, Bonnyrigg are considering joining the sixth level of Scottish football’s senior pyramid as a path to full SFA membership and guaranteed entry to the William Hill Scottish Cup. Joining the pyramid system would also support ambitions of becoming a fully-fledged SPFL club.

Bonnyrigg’s profile was raised significantly last season when they made the fourth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup before losing 8-1 to then holders Hibs. It is understood that the East of Scotland League would welcome them into their division.

The New Dundas Park side now have until March 31 to make their application to the East of Scotland League for the 2018/19 campaign if they wish to go down that route although the Evening News understands that deadline could be extended due to an unprecedented level of interest from junior clubs considering making the switch.

The news comes as a blow to the East Region Juniors, who lost current top-flight champions Kelty Hearts to the East of Scotland League last year and could also lose Premier Division outfit Dalkeith Thistle, who are also planning to switch. Bonnyrigg are one of the bigger organisations in the Juniors and were Super League winners two years ago.

A statement on the Bonnyrigg Rose website read: “A special general meeting was held last night on proposals made by the committee in respect of the club’s future direction. The meeting was well attended and there was a Q&A session after the proposals were made and all questions asked, which were valid, as with any periods of change there is uncertainty, were answered to the best of the committee’s ability. We will take the mandate given to us by our members to set the wheels in motion in order to make the recommended proposal a reality over the course of the next few months. We would like to thank everyone who attended the meeting and for giving us an overwhelming vote of confidence, reinforcing the notion that we have, which is what we are trying to implement is for the future benefit for the club in the long term.”


The news that Bonnyrigg could apply for East of Scotland membership, despite not being wholly unsurprising, will send shockwaves through the Juniors.

Bonnyrigg are one of the biggest clubs in the East Region – they’ve won the Super League three times, have won the Scottish Junior Cup twice and once had Sir Sean Connery on their books. There is no doubt that the Juniors will not want to lose one of their marquee names, especially after last season’s Super League conquerors, Kelty Hearts, went across to the East of Scotland League, but the harsh reality is that the Scottish pyramid structure is becoming more and more attractive to ambitious clubs. The Juniors, despite being a competitive and entertaining set-up, is a closed shop in terms of progression. Fleeting forays into the William Hill Scottish Cup is often as good as it gets for many teams and Bonnyrigg, having tasted the financial and sporting feasts of playing then-holders Hibs last season in the aforementioned competition, want more.

The East of Scotland League is not going to turn away teams like Rose. Only a few years ago it was almost left behind by the creation of the Lowland League, but next season it looks set to thrive. Where that leaves the Juniors – and its remaining “big fish” such as Linlithgow and Bo’ness – is more questionable. The next few months will be fascinating. The lower leagues in this area are going to change dramatically.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711162.1521751065!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711162.1521751065!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bonnyrigg Rose could line up in the East of Scotland League next season","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose could line up in the East of Scotland League next season","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711162.1521751065!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-kyle-lafferty-to-miss-international-through-injury-1-4711054","id":"1.4711054","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Kyle Lafferty to miss international through injury","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521740624000 ,"articleLead": "

HEARTS star Kyle Lafferty has pulled out of the Northern Ireland squad for Saturday’s friendly with South Korea due to a thigh injury.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711053.1521740619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty has scored 17 goals for Hearts this season"} ,"articleBody": "

The striker, who has scored 20 goals in 67 caps, had been called up along with Tynecastle team-mate Aaron Hughes.

Lafferty is one of four players to withdraw from Michael O’Neill’s squad.

Aberdeen attacker Niall McGinn is out with a groin issue, while midfielders Steven Davis (hamstring) and Stuart Dallas (thigh) are also ruled out.

It means boss O’Neill could turn to the Northern Irish Under-21s to swell his squad for the game at Windsor Park as the youngsters have home fixtures with Spain and Iceland on Thursday and Monday.

However, O’Neill is unsure if he would actually select any of Ian Baraclough’s players to feature given the seniors’ game is sandwiched between two huge qualifiers in the Under-21s’ bid to reach Euro 2019.

Explaining his injury situation, O’Neill said: “We have to be careful with the players given the time of year it is and the nature of the game.

“The game will provide an opportunity for some of those players like (Kilmarnock’s Jordan Jones) and Jamal Lewis and one or two others.

“The Under-21s play on Thursday so there is always the opportunity to add one or two of those players from that squad into the senior game as well.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4711053.1521740619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4711053.1521740619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Lafferty has scored 17 goals for Hearts this season","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty has scored 17 goals for Hearts this season","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4711053.1521740619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/jambo-groom-trolled-by-hibee-father-of-the-bride-at-own-wedding-1-4710712","id":"1.4710712","articleHeadline": "Jambo groom trolled by Hibee father of the bride at own wedding","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521725444000 ,"articleLead": "

A video that shows a father dancing to Hibee Hibernian to celebrate his daughter’s wedding to a Hearts fan has racked up more than 8,000 views in less than 4 hours

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710711.1521725440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "George Hotel. George Street, Edinburgh"} ,"articleBody": "

The clip, from TLC media shows a snippet from Hayley & Nicky’s amazing wedding at the George Hotel in February this year.

READ MORE: Marvin Bartley and Martin Boyle troll Hearts players after derby win

Her die hard Hibs supporting father picks Hibee Hibernian as the first song to dance to with his daughter.

And it appears that the song choice, while maybe not appreaciated from the grooms family, went down well at the reception.

The song, a fan favourite at Easter Road, was released in the early 90s.

Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710711.1521725440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710711.1521725440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "George Hotel. George Street, Edinburgh","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "George Hotel. George Street, Edinburgh","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710711.1521725440!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-fans-react-to-season-ticket-prices-for-2018-19-campaign-1-4710579","id":"1.4710579","articleHeadline": "Hearts fans react to season ticket prices for 2018/19 campaign","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521714375000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts fans were quick to react to the news that season ticket prices for 2018/19 campaign will go up by five per cent.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710578.1521714370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Most fans will have to pay a little bit extra to watch Hearts at Tynecastle Park next season. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

A poll conducted on the Edinburgh Evening News website shows that 64 per cent of supporters would renew, while 36 per cent feel it is too much.

READ MORE – Hearts unveil season ticket details for next season

We’ve collated some of the best comments made over the past 24 hours on the subject:

• “Whilst fans continue to make donations through the foundation, I think season ticket prices shouldn’t change. Fans already pay a bit extra on their own accord, if anything season ticket prices should reflect that fact.” – Jamie Gray

• “Not bothered TBH. Won’t stop me renewing. Nor will the current state of affairs. It’s not great at the minute granted but form is cyclic. The club is forever.” – Vic Weddell

• “Considering the work that has went on/ongoing, we should be thankful it’s not more. Support the team.” – Stuart King

• “5% increase considering the prize freezes in the past few seasons is to be expected. The same people that say it is greedy are the same that will moan if there is no improvement in the team.” – Greg Hoehle

• “Think it’s pretty fair considering they have introduced better tariffs for kids rather than taking a big hike after 13 years.” – Tracey Wilson

• “It’s a reasonable increase. Hearts have consistently tried to keep their ST prices at very affordable levels even long before admin. The capital projects that Hearts have embarked upon recently not withstanding the absolutely essential pitch upgrade have to be funded somehow. £20-25 (about a quid a game) extra is not unreasonable.” – Robert Allen

• “Bit steep but as long as it helps the infrastructure of Hearts and helps the club improve I will be renewing.” – Iain Watt

• “Think it will affect the foundation of hearts donations. Five per cent so soon after the fans saved the clubs a bit cheeky/greedy.” – Craig Mcclelland

• “Football is already overpriced, especially with the quality of the product. Perhaps the focus should on enhancing that before considering price increases. Football clubs act almost as bad as rail companies ... no matter how dreadful the service is, they increase the price.” – Graham Le Tissier

• “Five per cent is greater than inflation and the reality is it will hit the pockets of the fans. My FoH payment may have to be amended to reflect the increase. Ditto with all above in form – there comes a point where you have to see football for what it is – entertainment – and when the expectations fall below the effort in the pitch in conjunction with the cost to see the games then that’s when it becomes a question of renew or don’t renew - the drivers for this is individual based on earnings/expenditure/family size etc.” – Graham Walker

• “Big increase from 11 years to 16 years rather than 13 to 16, especially if you have two or more kids.” – Tracey Davidson

• “All the fans who say they wont renew will be the ones screaming for a ticket for a derby or a cup final.I pay my contribution to the club and happy to do so.” – Heather Anderson

• “Since Neilson left we’ve been hard to watch. Any increase will push some fans away and you can’t blame them.” – Dougie Robertson

• “Annoyed at being told that if I don’t renew by the end of the season I lose the seats me and my boy have sat in for years. Mrs Budge, you will find a good few people chose to pick and chose games instead of being told to fork up before the seasons even finished (even of we do need a new pitch) and you may have noticed there’s a big new stand so there’s ALWAYS plenty empty seats for the walk up fans to sit on.” – Stu McNally

• “The season tickets have been frozen for years it goes up £25 and Heart of Midlothian are the bad ones again. Anybody that thought it would stay the same sorry living in dreamland. Well done Hearts, can’t please everybody.” – George Downie

• “I’ll be buying but to ask fans to buy for next season when some are still paying for this season is a bit much. I think the club think we have a limitless amount of money. Bit of a kick in the teeth of you ask me. We give plenty, but still trying to get more out of us.” – Keith Carlyon

• “The U-13 season ticket is gone? It’s bad form that people who are due to renew U-13 tickets haven’t been told in advance. Big price increase for my family. Have to think hard to juggle costs and cover the extra.” – Tim Burns

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710578.1521714370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710578.1521714370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Most fans will have to pay a little bit extra to watch Hearts at Tynecastle Park next season. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Most fans will have to pay a little bit extra to watch Hearts at Tynecastle Park next season. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710578.1521714370!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/robbie-neilson-i-d-like-to-return-to-hearts-one-day-1-4710552","id":"1.4710552","articleHeadline": "Robbie Neilson: I’d like to return to Hearts one day","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521712810000 ,"articleLead": "

Robbie Neilson is open to the possibility of returning to Hearts, but insists he’ll only consider coming back to Edinburgh with more top level experience under his belt.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710551.1521714694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robbie Neilson, pictured during his MK Dons tenure, has said he'd like to return to Tynecastle one day. File picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The 37-year-old left English League One side MK Dons in January, just over 12 months after departing Tynecastle, but told the BBC that “one day” he would consider going back to Hearts.

“I had a phenomenal time [at Hearts]. But I’d like to go back there in a position where I’m at a top level and can really push the place on.”

Neilson spent ten years as a player with Hearts, and also had spells with Dundee United, Leicester and Brentford in 2011. He played a handful of games for Falkirk and East Fife before returning to Hearts to coach the Under-20s in August 2013.

He was appointed head coach the following summer, and returned Hearts to the top flight at the first time of asking as he led the Jambos to the Scottish Championship title.

A third-place finish the following season secured European football at the start of the 2016/17 season.

Hearts occupied second spot in the Scottish Premiership when MK Dons eventually made their move.

Under Neilson, the Dons avoided relegation and finished 12th last season, but were languishing in 21st in the division when Neilson left by “mutual consent” earlier this year.

Despite that, Neilson is adamant he made the right call in leaving the Capital for Milton Keynes, insisting it was important that he tested himself in a challenging environment.

“I wanted to take myself out of my comfort zone and progress as a coach. You have to keep pushing yourself,” he told BBC Scotland.

“I knew the potential and ambition at MK Dons and I hoped I could be the one to drive it forward. I still think it was the right decision because I’ve come back far more experienced.

“I’ve come back in a far better place as a manager because I had to deal with so much down there.”

Admitting he had learned from his experience, Neilson continued: “Ive had the success of being cherry-picked to go down, and also the negativity of being slapped back up the road again.

“My next job will hopefully be the right one for me; whether that’s in Scotland or England or further afield, I don’t know.”

Neilson also rubbished claims that current Hearts manager Craig Levein had interfered in first-team matters during his role as director of football.

“Craig at no point came into the dressing room and spoke to the players when I was there,” insisted Neilson.

“I had loads of conversations with him - any coach would be out of their mind not to listen to, and take advice from, somebody who has managed in England, in Scotland and has managed the national team.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710551.1521714694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710551.1521714694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Robbie Neilson, pictured during his MK Dons tenure, has said he'd like to return to Tynecastle one day. File picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robbie Neilson, pictured during his MK Dons tenure, has said he'd like to return to Tynecastle one day. File picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710551.1521714694!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-star-john-mcginn-reveals-his-wish-to-captain-scotland-1-4710361","id":"1.4710361","articleHeadline": "Hibs star John McGinn reveals his wish to captain Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521700247000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs midfielder John McGinn has revealed he dreams of captaining Scotland – even if it is only for ten minutes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710360.1521660543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn hopes to add to his five Scotland caps"} ,"articleBody": "

McGinn has been widely touted as the natural successor to Scott Brown in the middle of the park following the Celtic skipper’s announcement he is stepping down from international football.

Brown’s decision has left Alex McLeish to name a replacement as national captain with the new Scotland head coach set to announce who will lead his team out in tomorrow night’s friendly against Costa Rica at Hampden later today.

McGinn has already captained Scotland at Under-21 level and he hopes one day to skipper the full side.

The 23-year-old said: “It’s something you dream about when out playing in the back garden. It’s only normal, something you aim for and sometimes it happens.

“You always hope but the main thing is being involved for your country – that’s amazing in itself. If one day I managed to get it, even for ten minutes if the captain was substituted, I’d be happy.”

McGinn is hoping to win his sixth cap against the Central American country almost two years since enjoying a man-of-the-match performance against Denmark as he made his Scotland debut. He knows tomorrow night’s game and Tuesday’s match against Hungary in Budapest – along with the controversial end-of-season tour to face Mexico and Peru – could afford players like him the chance to force their way into McLeish’s long-term plans.

Joking that as a boy from Clydebank he used to spend his summer holidays in Arbroath, McGinn told the Official Scotland Podcast: “I’ve never played against a South American team or been there so I’m looking forward to it.

“It’s a massive privilege to play for Scotland whenever called upon – whether it’s in January or June. I’m sure a lot of the boys will be raring to go. It’s an opportunity maybe for guys that are not playing Champions League football and have a bit more time in the summer to try to hold on to a jersey – that’s what we will be looking to do.”

Having won his first cap despite Hibs then being in the Championship, McGinn believes the fact the Easter Road side are now back in the top flight and challenging for second place has helped his cause no end.

He said: “I remember the team getting announced that morning and the shock that I was playing but it was a good chance for the manager to experiment. Things went all right that night. I think Christian Eriksen had the handbrake on which helped me and I’ve managed to stay in the majority of squads since.

“I’m aware midfield is a very strong area for Scotland so I have to try to keep impressing and I feel I have to take every chance I get. I think I have got better [since the Denmark game] and it’s helped me that there’s been a lot of success at club level.

“We are moving on so much as a club and playing in bigger games you learn a lot from that so it’s been great for me playing a lot of games for Hibs and to have kept developing.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710360.1521660543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710360.1521660543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGinn hopes to add to his five Scotland caps","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn hopes to add to his five Scotland caps","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710360.1521660543!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/big-interview-callum-paterson-on-wales-winning-and-warnock-1-4710354","id":"1.4710354","articleHeadline": "Big interview: Callum Paterson on Wales, winning and Warnock","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521700243000 ,"articleLead": "

Describing himself as a “punt-and-run kind of guy”, Callum Paterson seems suited to Neil Warnock’s old-school management style.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710352.1521660049!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson warms up at Oriam"} ,"articleBody": "

The Yorkshireman is threatening to drive the Cardiff City juggernaut all the way into England’s Premier League using traditional methods, and Paterson is loving the ride in his first season down south.

He left Hearts last May on freedom of contract despite being months away from fitness. An anterior cruciate ligament injury sidelined him for ten months in total, but he has recovered and reinvented himself in the Welsh capital.

Playing as an attacking midfielder in the No.10 role, the 23-year-old is a key component of Warnock’s athletic and industrious Cardiff team. That will read strangely for Tynecastle regulars used to seeing him at right-back, but then he did have spells at centre-forward and on the wing with Hearts. There was even an emergency appearance at centre-half.

His enthusiasm typifies Warnock’s side as they maintain an unexpected promotion tilt. Sitting second in the English Championship, they are seven points clear of Fulham and Aston Villa in joint third. Paterson’s eight goals, including three in his last three games, have played a part as the holy grail of British football beckons.

Interest from West Ham United hinted at a straight jump for the player from Scotland’s top league in December 2016. Then injury struck, obliterating any chance of a move in the January transfer window. However, he has taken warmly to Wales, Warnock and winning.

“Like you say, he’s old school,” Paterson said of his manager. “All the other teams around us are playing the new-style football with wing-backs and pass-and-move. But the old school seems to be working at the moment so he’s not going to change that any time soon.

“It’s going well for me at the moment but everyone knows the Championship is a funny old league and anything can happen. We’ve got to be positive and look to go up.

“The Championship is a massive league. It is tough to play there week in, week out. I didn’t get much of a sniff at the start. The team was doing well and I was just coming back from injury. I have shoehorned my way into a position that I am doing well in and I want to try and keep hold of that. The team is doing well at the minute. It is good to be part of it.”

His goal celebrations are surely worthy of a grander platform. Cardiff fans have grown fond of Paterson’s antics after hitting the net as he comes up with different quirky ways of celebrating each strike. “They are going down really well, actually,” he smiled. “My mum sent me a text saying : ‘Keep the celebrations going son!’ I play a game on the PS4. That gives me ideas for my celebrations. I am just trying to rattle them off.”

Warnock will also favour the light-hearted approach. The manager has jokingly questioned Paterson’s ability to defend and even his dress sense.

“I had my kilt on and he wasn’t happy! I’m just happy to have a smile on my face. It doesn’t matter what I wear at the end of the day. It’s nice to know that he’s thinking about me and talking about me. I’m not a material guy. I’m delighted just to be there.”

Likewise the Scotland squad. Paterson arrived back in Edinburgh this week hoping for his sixth and seventh full caps in friendlies against Costa Rica tomorrow and Hungary on Tuesday. His last international appearance was against England at Wembley back in November 2016.

“He [Warnock] is obviously happy enough for me to get involved with the national team. It reflects well on him and how Cardiff are doing as a team. He is more than happy to get the boys away and get some time with the national team.”

It is just reward for Paterson’s persistence during that enforced ten-month absence. He was two weeks away from a life-changing transfer when he suffered a devastating ACL injury two days after Christmas. The stress bore heavily on him, his relatives and even family pets.

“Everything happens for a reason,” said the player. “I have said that in the past. Things can go well at other parts of the season. I am doing really well at the moment. I am happy to be part of Cardiff and happy to be back in the national fold and back playing. It keeps my mind positive and everything else positive.

“It shows that I’m strong-minded and am always positive. Even when I was injured I was always positive. I had a smile on my face and I just got on with it. You play the hand you’ve been dealt. I am happy to back playing and back doing well.

“Right away when I did the injury, that was a low point. Everyone knows a cruciate is nine months to a year. I only had six months left on my contract. It wasn’t a good situation for me, my girlfriend, my family. Even my cat was stressed! I’m kidding. My cat is a good guy. Like I said, you’ve got to be positive. Everything happens for a reason. It wasn’t meant to be.”

It is only natural to wonder how exactly a cat would demonstrate stress. “He tells me. He talks to me,” smirked Paterson. “I am a dog person. My missus likes cats. She tells me it’s stressed.”

Perhaps the tension made the Scot forget which big English clubs were circling Tynecastle at the time. Or perhaps he deliberatley blanked the information out. “I’m not sure. I think it was West Ham. There was a bit of paper stuff, but nothing was set in stone. Thankfully, Neil took a chance on me and I have repaid him for that.”

The next, arguably final, phase of Paterson’s rehabilitation is to repay Alex McLeish for naming him in his first Scotland squad. If that happens to involve a return to right-back, so be it.

Left-back Kieran Tierney has filled in there for Scotland but Paterson is the obvious choice to play the position long-term. McLeish stated he intends to use the Celtic defender on the left.

“Kieran did well there. Obviously it’s not his natural position. If he’s not playing in that position it leaves an opportunity for me. Some of the young boys who have come in are playing in the English Premier League and it’s great to have them as a country. That’s a positive for us. We’ve just got to get off on the right foot.”

Paterson should be able to help on that front given his instant impact with Cardiff.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710352.1521660049!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710352.1521660049!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callum Paterson warms up at Oriam","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson warms up at Oriam","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710352.1521660049!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710353.1521660054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710353.1521660054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710353.1521660054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/irn-bru-cup-has-put-fizz-back-into-danny-handling-s-career-1-4710326","id":"1.4710326","articleHeadline": "Irn-Bru Cup has put fizz back into Danny Handling’s career","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521700235000 ,"articleLead": "

He’s played in the Scottish Cup final and been on the bench for the League Cup equivalent, but former Hibs midfielder Danny Handling insists winning the Irn-Bru Cup would be the highlight of his career – so far.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710325.1521659311!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Handling leapfrogs former Hibs team-mate Tom Taiwo"} ,"articleBody": "

Still just 24, Handling has been blighted by serious knee injuries for the past two-and-a-half years, resulting in him quitting Easter Road for Championship outfit Dumbarton.

But he hopes by taking a step backwards he can begin to realise the potential which propelled him to become the fourth youngest Hibs player ever when he enjoyed his debut against Aberdeen seven years ago. And the chance to win a trophy in what will be Dumbarton’s first national final for 127 years when they face Inverness Caley at McDiarmid Park on Saturday excites him just as much as his days in the green and white.

He said: “It’s a great achievement for everyone involved at Dumbarton. It’s a great opportunity for the club.

“I played in the Scottish Cup final when Hibs were beaten by Celtic in 2013 and I was on the bench when Ross County won the League Cup in the last minute in 2016.

“I was actually in the squad for the Scottish Cup win that year but I didn’t make the bench. So Saturday is a chance for me. It doesn’t matter what cup it is, a final is a final.”

The fact Handling again found himself facing another lengthy spell on the sidelines after picking up yet another knee injury in his first game for Dumbarton will, he admitted, make the moment all the better.

He said: “I’ve now had three big operations and one minor one. I’d moved to Dumbarton because, although there was interest elsewhere there was nothing concrete.

“Dumbarton wanted me to play, the manager Stevie Aitken is a top guy and what he has done in keeping the club in the Championship is testament to how good he is.

“When I heard of their interest I called Sam Stanton – who had been on loan with them from Hibs last season – and he told me it’s a great club and that the manager and his assistant Ian Durrant are brilliant with the players.

“The only downside is it’s part-time and, being from Haddington, I am on the other side of the country.

“But I just wanted to get myself up and running again but it was unfortunate I picked up that injury straight away. Being part-time, Dumbarton can’t afford the luxuries of clubs like Hibs, Celtic, Rangers and Hearts. I knew there was something wrong so I paid for a scan myself.”

Dumbarton picked up the bill for the operation that was needed but he was out of action for four months, tentatively returning with a series of appearances as a substitute before being pitched in against Welsh champions The New Saints in the semi-final of the Irn-Bru Cup. Handling recalled: “I wasn’t sure if I was going to play or not. We were being cautious because we didn’t know if playing on the astroturf would be good for me.”

Play he did, a decision which was rewarded with a stunning goal, his first for Dumbarton and his first in three years as he pulled the Sons level on the night before Dimitris Foxylias claimed the winner just six minutes from time. Handling said: “It was a special feeling that I won’t forget for a long time. It was right up there with the goal I scored for Hibs at Ibrox, my favourite two.

“It was a bit of a novelty going down to Wales to play the game but I think the result against their top club shows what we are capable of.

“People might decry the Irn-Bru Cup but ask any player and they’ll tell you they want to be involved in finals. They’d bite your hand off to play in one.”

Dumbarton and Caley have enjoyed a win apiece against each other this season, John Robertson’s side four points ahead although both clubs are precariously close to the bottom of the Championship table.

Handling said: “We’ve had a tough season but we’ve enjoyed back-to-back wins over Brechin and are very focused on Saturday.

“Hopefully we can carry that on into the final although it’s going to be a tough game as Caley are a strong side with good players.

“But it’s a final, anything can happen on the day. It’s whoever wants it most. Scoring in the semi-final was a release of energy for me after being out injured for so long but to win the trophy would be the best thing I’ve done in my career.”

Having to go part-time has resulted in Handling having to find another job to supplement his wages and that, he admitted, has proved to be a wake-up call – quite literally.

Thanks to a friend, he’s working in local chicken farm with his days starting at 7am, a time he concedes few football players probably know exists.

He said: “As a full-time player at a club like Hibs, you perhaps tend to take everything for granted, you are pampered. I’ve been in football since I was 15 and didn’t really have anything to fall back on but I’m enjoying it. It’s a good job and keeps me active.

“Obviously, I’d love to go back into full-time football but that’s outwith my control.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710325.1521659311!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710325.1521659311!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Handling leapfrogs former Hibs team-mate Tom Taiwo","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Handling leapfrogs former Hibs team-mate Tom Taiwo","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710325.1521659311!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/callum-paterson-i-ll-play-any-position-for-scotland-1-4710359","id":"1.4710359","articleHeadline": "Callum Paterson: I’ll play any position for Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521700220000 ,"articleLead": "

Callum Paterson insists he will play anywhere for Scotland after being converted from right-back to attacking midfield by Cardiff City.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710358.1521660278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson has been playing in midfield for Cardiff City"} ,"articleBody": "

The former Hearts defender hopes to earn his sixth and seventh caps against Costa Rica and Hungary, and will happily line up wherever national coach Alex McLeish needs him.

Paterson made his name at Tynecastle as a marauding right-back but also filled in at centre-forward, right-wing and even centre-back. Last summer he joined Cardiff, where manager Neil Warnock is using him as a goalscoring midfielder in the Welsh club’s push for promotion to England’s Premier League.

He has scored eight times in 26 games for City, mostly in the traditional attacking midfielder’s No.10 role. However, Scotland are well covered in that area and Paterson may find himself returning to right-back.

He explained today he would have no problem playing any position for his country, admitting he may not succeed as a No.10 at international level. “I’d love to play there but I’m not the most technical No.10 in the world. I’m more of a punt-and-run kind of guy, so it probably won’t suit me,” said the 23-year-old.

“There are also some great players in the squad who’ve been doing really well in their respective leagues for their respective clubs. You’ve got to take it on the chin and play where you are played. I’d love to play anywhere.

“I’ve got three goals in my last three games for Cardiff, which is all right. I’m playing in a different role, a little higher up the park. It’s down to the team making opportunities. I’ve been in the right place at the right time for the past few games so will hopefully keep it going.

“It’s attacking midfield I’ve been playing, just off the striker. I run about and press as many people as I can and then get in the box as much as I can. I’ve played in lots of different positions in the past. It doesn’t do me any damage to play in different positions. You get to learn different things about the game as you see it from different angles. I’m enjoying it. If I keep scoring and doing well, it’s only going to be a good season for me.

“In my opinion there’s no point in pigeon-holing yourself into one position on the pitch. If someone else is doing well, you might not get in the team. So I’m happy to get in anywhere at the moment. I can play right-back and everywhere else. I’m just happy to play. If that’s where people want to play me, I’ll try and do a job for them. I’ve not had a conversation with the manager yet about where he sees me playing.”

Warnock stated publicly that Paterson has the attributes to play as a right-sided centre-back, which the player would be more than happy with. “I’d love to play there,” he said. “Everyone knows I’m not the best in one-on-one situations but I love defending and I love getting up and heading the ball and running about. It could be an ideal position for me but I’ll play anywhere that’s asked of me.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710358.1521660278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710358.1521660278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callum Paterson has been playing in midfield for Cardiff City","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson has been playing in midfield for Cardiff City","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710358.1521660278!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/lothian-thistle-to-meet-east-kilbride-in-football-nation-cup-final-1-4710420","id":"1.4710420","articleHeadline": "Lothian Thistle to meet East Kilbride in Football Nation Cup final","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521669931000 ,"articleLead": "

Lothian Thistle Hutchison Vale are through to the Football Nation Qualifying Cup final after seeing off Lowland League side Vale of Leithen 3-0 at Saughton Enclosure.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710419.1521669926!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam O'Donnell put Lothian ahead against Vale of Leithen"} ,"articleBody": "

Raymond Carr’s men will now meet Lowland leaders East Kilbride in the final at New Murrayfield Park, Blackburn on Saturday week.

Liam O’Donnell gave the East of Scotland League outfit the advantage before second-half strikes from Grant Munro and Louis Swanson sealed the win.

“We played some good football,” Carr said afterwards. “But the boys did exactly what we asked of them and we can now look forward to another cup final appearance. It will be a difficult tie but one we can approach with some confidence.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4710419.1521669926!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4710419.1521669926!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam O'Donnell put Lothian ahead against Vale of Leithen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam O'Donnell put Lothian ahead against Vale of Leithen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4710419.1521669926!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/here-s-what-you-can-get-for-the-same-price-as-the-new-scotland-kit-1-4709944","id":"1.4709944","articleHeadline": "Here’s what you can get for the same price as the new Scotland kit","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1521641147000 ,"articleLead": "

Members of the Tartan Army have lashed out over the cost of the new Scotland away kit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709931.1521641142!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The cost of the Scotland kit has resulted in a backlash. Picture; SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Sold only from JD as part of the merchandise agreement, fans will need to pay £103 for the full kit.

Here’s what you could get instead...

Join our Facebook group Our Edinburgh to share images and news from and around the Capital

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Picture; SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4709931.1521641142!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ {"gallery": {"id":"1.4709942","galleryImages":[ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4709933.1521640965!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709933.1521640965!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "3 tickets to Alton Towers (pre-booked �33 each)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "3 tickets to Alton Towers (pre-booked �33 each)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4709933.1521640965!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4709934.1521640967!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4709934.1521640967!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Flights to Paris in April. 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