{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"football","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/martin-boyle-makes-debut-as-hibs-trio-feature-for-australia-against-south-korea-1-4831347","id":"1.4831347","articleHeadline": "Martin Boyle makes debut as Hibs trio feature for Australia against South Korea","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542457034469 ,"articleLead": "Hibs winger Martin Boyle made his Australia debut while Jamie Maclaren and Mark Milligan also featured as the Socceroos drew 1-1 with South Korea in Brisbane.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831348.1542457086!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

Milligan, who was named as the country’s new captain following Mile Jedinak’s retirement from international football, said ahead of the game: “I am extremely humbled by the opportunity.

“I acknowledge it is a significant responsibility and it is one which I look forward to.”

The 33-year-old played the full match in central defence, while Maclaren lined up as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

South Korea took the lead against the run of play on 22 minutes, with Ui-Jo Hwang sending a fierce effort past Mat Ryan in the Australia goal after latching onto a long ball forward from Min-Jae Kim.

The home side pressed for an equaliser, and had the ball in the net on 54 minutes only for the linesman’s flag to rule it out for offside.

Maclaren made way for his Easter Road team mate Boyle on 71 minutes, and the debutant had his first attempt on goal on 83 minutes.

Tom Rogic attempted to release the 25-year-old, but the Celtic midfielder delayed his pass and South Korea blocked Boyle’s effort from outside the box.

Moments later Boyle had another chance but his header from Awer Mabil’s cross lacked power and was comfortably saved by Seung-Gyu Kim.

Milligan was cautioned for a foul on Hyun-Jun Suk on 88 minutes, with Boyle picked up a booking 60 seconds later, after catching Sang-Ho Na with a stray arm.

Boyle then had a glorious chance to grab a debut goal, but his shot deep into injury time was deflected behind.

From the resulting corner, Massimo Luongo fired home to earn the hosts a deserved point.

Australia: Ryan, Risdon, Sainsbury, Milligan, Behich, Mooy, Luongo, Leckie (Juric 85), Rogic, Kruse (Mabil 55), Maclaren (Boyle 71). Subs not used: Jeggo, Vukovic, Langerak, Irvine, Amini, Gersbach, Degenek, Jurman, Nabbout.

" ,"byline": {"email": "patrick.mcpartlin@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Patrick McPartlin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831348.1542457086!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.png","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831348.1542457086!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.png","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831348.1542457086!/image/image.png_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.png","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831344.1542457039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831344.1542457039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Maclaren battles for the ball with South Korea's Min-Jae Kim. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Maclaren battles for the ball with South Korea's Min-Jae Kim. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831344.1542457039!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831346.1542457041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831346.1542457041!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Boyle and Mark Milligan congratulate Massimo Luongo on his goal. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Boyle and Mark Milligan congratulate Massimo Luongo on his goal. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831346.1542457041!/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/scotland-will-kick-off-crucial-nations-league-tie-with-untried-back-four-1-4831295","id":"1.4831295","articleHeadline": "Scotland will kick-off crucial Nations League tie with untried back four","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542436200000 ,"articleLead": "

The city of Shkoder that will host Scotland’s Albanian assignment this evening was once a foremost Islamic seat of learning. The seven mosques dotted across it bear witness to that.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831293.1542404888!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex McLeish consults with his captain Andy Robertson, left. McLeish has not had his troubles to seek this week"} ,"articleBody": "

The midnight and dawn calls to worship projected out loudly from the minarets within these structures account for Alex McLeish’s squad holing up two hours away in Tirana the night before their Nations League encounter. However, the feeling persists that Scotland will arrive at the Loro Borici Stadium on a wing and a prayer anyway.

Crucially, it appears McLeish what will not do is offer meditations on wing-backs ahead of his team taking to the field for a game they can afford to lose without fatally wounding Euro 2020 play-off ambitions; yet daren’t do so.

Winging it will be forced by personnel issues, exacerbated by a shed-load of call-offs that yesterday cost him the presence of Kieran Tierney. The sheer paucity of numbers in defence following the loss of Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen O’Donnell, Mikey Devlin and even potential auxiliary right-back Ryan Jack ahead of being denied the Celtic left-back is likely to force his hand.

The result won’t just be dispensing of the 3-5-2 formation he set as his “dynamic” default formation when in February he was placed in charge of his country for a second time. It will be selecting a back four that is untried in any environment.

A debutant in David Bates will surely partner Scott McKenna in the central roles. One plus of that is the fact it will allow Andrew Robertson to be berthed in the left-back role he occupies so winningly for Liverpool. The negative is that Callum Paterson is probably going to be deployed at right-back despite his Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock’s pushing of him into attack this season because he entirely doubts his defensive qualities.

The needs-must elements to these modifications is entitled to cause a degree of fretting. If these might be assuaged by the fact the game is not a must-win, there remains a desperate need to produce a performance ahead of Scotland – baring a three-goal thumping in Albania – facing a victory-or-vanquished confrontation with Israel at Hampden on Tuesday evening.

Following the tousing in Haifa last month, frankly McLeish has few backers to lead Scotland to the top placing in the Nations League C Group 1 that carries the prize of a Euro 2020 play-off slot.

Scotland players dropping like flies for the climax to a qualifying campaign that was supposed to open up new frontiers will be taken as a slight on the man in charge. It is impossible to determine whether that is fair or not. McLeish would argue he has simply been a victim of circumstance.

“We’ve had a lot of injuries and these are the things that as a manager or coach you can never legislate for,” he said. “Injuries are part and parcel of the game that you can’t control. OK, you can sometimes control the input of a player when it comes to resting but when it’s freak injuries, you don’t have a leg to stand on…oops, that was a pun.”

Little credit is given to McLeish for any developments that may have occurred on his watch. His moulding of Scott McKenna, though, has suggested that the historic problems Scotland have suffered in central defence may not prove so pronounced in coming years. There is an entitlement to have faith in him over his willingness to throw in Bates, whose assimilation into German football since joining Hamburg from Rangers in the summer has been impressively smooth.

“Well, I’m not scared to throw the young ones in,” the Scotland manager said. “I’ve done it in the past and I’m not scared to throw them in and sometimes you have to bite the bullet and say ‘you’re in’. You can’t find the perfect player to slot into the position and there’s a young very, very good one coming up in David Bates. “His form at Hamburg has been excellent. I’ve watched the games. He did get sent off a couple of weeks ago. They got a credible result, I think it was a draw, and the coach kept faith with the guy who took his place. Which is normal. Sometimes you keep the same team. He’s now looking to get back in the team but he’s slotted in here as if he’s been here with us for the last six months.”

At the other end of the pitch, McLeish has been forced to re-assimilate Steven Fletcher, pictured, into the international fold with Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths sidelined. It is more than two years since the Sheffield Wednesday man score in a competitive international for his country. None of the XI that McLeish is going to send out in Albania this evening can boast a goal for Scotland in the past year. Fletcher’s undoubted craft has never translated into a capacity for consistent goalscoring – of his nine strikes for Scotland in the course of 31 caps, Gibraltar account for six and Malta one.

“He’s vastly experienced – I’ve worked with him before and I know his holding abilities,” McLeish said. “Look at the French team with [Olivier] Giroud – he hasn’t scored that many but he’s integral to the system of the team. There’s not a lot of people who can play with that holding skill that Fletcher has – that’s just one of his traits.

“We are short of goals in terms of other players in the team so it’s something we’re looking to change and Steven might not score but he might set up for others. To be fair, the form he’s in he’s looking likely to get on the international scoresheet again.” Someone has to in order that the debate does not become where McLeish ought to have a Scotland future beyond the next week.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831293.1542404888!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831293.1542404888!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex McLeish consults with his captain Andy Robertson, left. McLeish has not had his troubles to seek this week","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex McLeish consults with his captain Andy Robertson, left. McLeish has not had his troubles to seek this week","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831293.1542404888!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831294.1542404891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831294.1542404891!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Hearts star Callum Paterson, and Ryan Fraser at Edinburgh Airport","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Hearts star Callum Paterson, and Ryan Fraser at Edinburgh Airport","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831294.1542404891!/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/maroon-memories-danny-digs-deep-just-like-true-fans-1-4830681","id":"1.4830681","articleHeadline": "Maroon Memories: Danny digs deep – just like true fans","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542435935000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts 1, St Mirren 1. SPL. Saturday, November 17, 2012

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830680.1542315137!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts celebrate with Danny Grainger, second from right"} ,"articleBody": "

HEARTS rewarded their fans for a week of rallying and fundraising with a hard-earned three points in front of Tynecastle’s first capacity crowd for five years. Danny Grainger’s 63rd minute strike deflected off Kenny McLean and spun into the top corner of the net to win the game and give thanks to supporters of the Edinburgh club.

It was announced before kick-off that Hearts followers have raised £500,000 so far through the recently-launched share issue. That brought players and staff out on to the pitch at 2.50pm to applaud those whose efforts are keeping the club alive. It was an emotional moment on a poignant day.

Grainger’s goal settled a stuffy encounter in which Hearts enjoyed the bulk of possession but, as so often this season, could not convert control into goals. They also survived a tortuous end to the game, with a Marc McAusland header cleared off the line as St Mirren pressed relentlessly for an equaliser. It didn’t arrive despite the best efforts of the Paisley side.

Team news announced first Hearts starts for Dylan McGowan and Jamie Walker and a first Tynecastle start for Jason Holt. With Dylan and Ryan McGowan in the same side, it was the first time two brothers had started a match for Hearts since Frank and Hugh O’Donnell in the 1940s.

Amid a spine-tingling atmosphere, Hearts enjoyed an inspired opening to the game as they kicked off at a ferocious tempo. Their dominance of the ball did not yield goals, however, and the pace dropped. Grainger’s free-kick was blocked by the legs of St Mirren’s goalkeeper Craig Samson and that was the closest the hosts came to scoring. Steven Thompson was the visitors’ most dynamic forward, although he lacked support and was restricted to shots from distance.

It was, in truth, a poor first half overall. The second period didn’t start much better although St Mirren were happy retreating towards their own 18-yard line, where they conceded free-kicks regularly as Hearts attacked.

They paid the penalty for that on 63 minutes when Grainger broke the deadlock in emphatic fashion. After Jim Goodwin fouled Andy Webster, substitute Arvydas Novikovas rolled the free-kick to Grainger and his drive spun off McLean and over Samson into the top corner. The cheer which erupted as ball reached net was evidence of the kind of backing Hearts have had all week.

Home fans appealed for a penalty on 72 minutes, claiming another Grainger shot had struck Goodwin on the arm. St Mirren’s attacks had been rare until that point but the closing stages proved to be their best period of the afternoon. McLean volleyed over Jamie MacDonald’s crossbar and then arced a free-kick goalwards which the goalkeeper could only parry. McAusland’s header was then cleared off the goal line by Jason Holt on 79 minutes.

Andy Driver, on as substitute, ought to have put the result beyond doubt after sprinting in behind the St Mirren defence, however he guided a low shot wide of target. The final minutes became increasingly nervous but the final whistle sounded to chants of “we’ll support you evermore” from the Hearts fans. Three points certainly sent them home happy.

Hearts (4-4-1-1): MacDonald; R McGowan, Webster, Zaliukas, Grainger; Paterson (Novikovas 62), Barr, D McGowan, Walker (Driver 76); Holt (Taouil 85); Stevenson. Subs: Enckelman, Sutton, G Smith, King.

St Mirren: (4-1-4-1): Samson; Van Zanten, Mair (Robertson 74), McAusland, Dummett; Goodwin; Teale (Imrie 71), Reilly (Parkin 71), McLean, Carey; Thompson. Subs: Smith, Barron, McGinn, Brady.

Referee: Bobby Madden.

Attendance: 16,443.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830680.1542315137!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830680.1542315137!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts celebrate with Danny Grainger, second from right","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts celebrate with Danny Grainger, second from right","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830680.1542315137!/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/in-pictures-how-hibs-summer-signings-have-rated-so-far-1-4831118","id":"1.4831118","articleHeadline": "In pictures: How Hibs’ summer signings have rated so far","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542387690000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs made eight signings during the summer to bolster the Easter Road squad. We’ve marked each addition out of ten so far.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831108.1542387674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A general view of Hibs' Easter Road stadium. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

Charalampos Mavrias and Miquel Nelom are omitted due to a lack of game time and the fact they were free agents who joined outwith the summer window.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831108.1542387674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831108.1542387674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A general view of Hibs' Easter Road stadium. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A general view of Hibs' Easter Road stadium. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831108.1542387674!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ {"gallery": {"id":"1.4831117","galleryImages":[ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831109.1542387679!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831109.1542387679!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Adam Bogdan - The Hungarian 'keeper arrived on a season-long loan from Liverpool and has made the No.1 spot his own. Had a few shaky moments to begin with but that could be put down to a long time on the sidelines as he recovered from serious injury. Has chipped in with some key saves and his performance in the 1-1 draw away to Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League was inspired. 7/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam Bogdan - The Hungarian 'keeper arrived on a season-long loan from Liverpool and has made the No.1 spot his own. Had a few shaky moments to begin with but that could be put down to a long time on the sidelines as he recovered from serious injury. Has chipped in with some key saves and his performance in the 1-1 draw away to Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League was inspired. 7/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831109.1542387679!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831110.1542387680!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831110.1542387680!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mark Milligan - The veteran Australian arrived as an unknown quantity but soon won fans over with his calmness and presence in the middle of the park. Hibs have noticeably missed his drive and determination in midfield since his shift to defence to cover for injuries but he remains a key player. 7/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mark Milligan - The veteran Australian arrived as an unknown quantity but soon won fans over with his calmness and presence in the middle of the park. Hibs have noticeably missed his drive and determination in midfield since his shift to defence to cover for injuries but he remains a key player. 7/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831110.1542387680!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831111.1542387681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831111.1542387681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Daryl Horgan - The Irish winger has been on Neil Lennon's radar for some time and this summer the Hibs boss got his man. Bagged an assist and the winner on his home debut and has pace and trickery to bamboozle opponents. Hasn't seen much action recently but is a clear threat for Hibs either out wide or through the middle. 6/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Daryl Horgan - The Irish winger has been on Neil Lennon's radar for some time and this summer the Hibs boss got his man. Bagged an assist and the winner on his home debut and has pace and trickery to bamboozle opponents. Hasn't seen much action recently but is a clear threat for Hibs either out wide or through the middle. 6/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831111.1542387681!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831112.1542387683!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831112.1542387683!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Maclaren - Hibs fans rejoiced when the Australian striker arrived back on a season-long loan but the 25-year-old has struggled with injuries and match fitness. Has still managed a goal and two assists however and more is expected of him once he rekindles the double act with Florian Kamberi. 5/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Maclaren - Hibs fans rejoiced when the Australian striker arrived back on a season-long loan but the 25-year-old has struggled with injuries and match fitness. Has still managed a goal and two assists however and more is expected of him once he rekindles the double act with Florian Kamberi. 5/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831112.1542387683!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831113.1542387684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831113.1542387684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stevie Mallan - The dead ball expert has chipped in with some stunning free kicks since arriving from Barnsley during the close season. Stepping into the gaps once filled by Scott Allan, Dylan McGeouch and John McGinn is no mean feat and while Mallan still has a bit to go to completely win over some fans, the former Buddie has made a solid start to life at Easter Road. 6/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stevie Mallan - The dead ball expert has chipped in with some stunning free kicks since arriving from Barnsley during the close season. Stepping into the gaps once filled by Scott Allan, Dylan McGeouch and John McGinn is no mean feat and while Mallan still has a bit to go to completely win over some fans, the former Buddie has made a solid start to life at Easter Road. 6/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831113.1542387684!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831114.1542387685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831114.1542387685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thomas Agyepong - The tricky winger has shown in flashes what he's capable of, with a fine goal against Dundee and some energetic performances on the flanks. Has struggled with injury and hasn't featured as much as he, or the coaching staff, would like. 4/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thomas Agyepong - The tricky winger has shown in flashes what he's capable of, with a fine goal against Dundee and some energetic performances on the flanks. Has struggled with injury and hasn't featured as much as he, or the coaching staff, would like. 4/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831114.1542387685!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831115.1542387686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831115.1542387686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Emerson Hyndman - The on-loan Bournemouth man is no stranger to Scottish football, having enjoyed a spell with Rangers in recent years. Has flitted in and out of the team, contributing one goal and showing some nice touches. Due to return to his parent club in January but it remains to be seen if Hibs will look to extend his stay. 5/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Emerson Hyndman - The on-loan Bournemouth man is no stranger to Scottish football, having enjoyed a spell with Rangers in recent years. Has flitted in and out of the team, contributing one goal and showing some nice touches. Due to return to his parent club in January but it remains to be seen if Hibs will look to extend his stay. 5/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831115.1542387686!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831116.1542387687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831116.1542387687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Florian Kamberi - Yet to replicate last season's form, but has often had to play up front on his own or with a different partner than Maclaren. The pair have started just one league game up top together, but if they can recreate last season's magic, the goals could soon be flowing again. 6/10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Florian Kamberi - Yet to replicate last season's form, but has often had to play up front on his own or with a different partner than Maclaren. The pair have started just one league game up top together, but if they can recreate last season's magic, the goals could soon be flowing again. 6/10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831116.1542387687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ]}} ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/mccrae-s-battalion-trust-issue-statement-after-tommy-robinson-s-hearts-photo-1-4831038","id":"1.4831038","articleHeadline": "McCrae’s Battalion Trust issue statement after Tommy Robinson’s Hearts photo","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542383785000 ,"articleLead": "

McCrae’s Battalion Trust has issued a statement in response to the emergence of a group of men wearing Tommy Robinson masks in front of a McCrae’s Battalion Hearts flag.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831036.1542383780!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "McCrae's Battalion Trust released a statement in response to Tommy Robinson's Instagram photo and pledge. Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Right-wing activist Tommy Robinson promises Hearts visit after masked group photo

The right-wing activist shared the picture to his more than 100,000 followers on Instagram with the message: “You will be seeing me at a hearts game soon.”

The photo was believed to be have taken at a charity event for autism which raised thousands for charity in Edinburgh recently.

A video that Robinson, real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, also shared showed the men chanting in front of the flag.

Hearts are closely connected with the McCrae’s Battalion, the name given to the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots during the First World War. Sixteen Hearts players and hundreds of the club’s fans were among its ranks.

The trust released a statement stating that it has no association to any political groups and that the battalion embraced “all religions”.

• READ MORE: Who is Tommy Robinson? The former EDL leader and right-wing figurehead

It read: “McCrae’s Battalion Trust wishes to emphasise in the strongest possible terms that we, McCrae’s Battalion Trust, have no association whatsoever with any and all groups with a political agenda; McCrae’s Battalion Trust has no political affiliation or agenda.

“Since the inauguration of the memorial cairn in the Somme village of Contalmaison in 2004, thousands of people have made the pilgrimage to commemorate the sacrifice of all who served. McCrae’s was Scotland’s sporting battalion. They represented their mother country with courage and pride, and it is our opinion that everyone should return that pride and resist at every opportunity any attempt to politicise or desecrate their memory.

“The battalion was a broad church, embracing all religions, numerous nationalities and the widest possible variety of occupations. They were all pals together and that is not the least of their enduring legacies.”

Robinson’s pledge to come to a Hearts game provoked fierce debate with some fans welcoming him to Tynecastle, while others condemned any association with the co-founder of the English Defence League.

The 35-year-old, a political activist and journalist for Rebel Media, has received multiple criminal convictions, including fraud and assault,

• READ MORE: Tommy Robinson’s previous with British football fans

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831036.1542383780!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831036.1542383780!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "McCrae's Battalion Trust released a statement in response to Tommy Robinson's Instagram photo and pledge. Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "McCrae's Battalion Trust released a statement in response to Tommy Robinson's Instagram photo and pledge. Picture: DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS/AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831036.1542383780!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831037.1542383781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831037.1542383781!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The photo shared by Tommy Robinson on Instagram showing a group wearing masks in front of a McCrae's Battalion Hearts flag. Picture: Instagram/Tommy Robinson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The photo shared by Tommy Robinson on Instagram showing a group wearing masks in front of a McCrae's Battalion Hearts flag. Picture: Instagram/Tommy Robinson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831037.1542383781!/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/hearts-jimmy-dunne-added-to-republic-of-ireland-squad-to-face-denmark-1-4831030","id":"1.4831030","articleHeadline": "Hearts’ Jimmy Dunne added to Republic of Ireland squad to face Denmark","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542380415000 ,"articleLead": "

Jimmy Dunne has been called into the Republic of Ireland squad to face Denmark.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831028.1542380411!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jimmy Dunne has been rewarded for his performances for Hearts. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The Hearts defender, on loan from Burnley, was included in Martin O’Neill’s provisional group for the match against Northern Ireland on Thursday night but failed to make the final squad.

However, the 21-year-old has been aded to the squad to face Denmark in Copenhagen.

He joins Tynecastle team mate Colin Doyle in the squad, and could win his first senior cap for the Republic.

He played twice for the under-21s last month while defensive colleague Michael Smith played 75 minutes of the 0-0 draw between the two Irish sides.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4831028.1542380411!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4831028.1542380411!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jimmy Dunne has been rewarded for his performances for Hearts. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jimmy Dunne has been rewarded for his performances for Hearts. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4831028.1542380411!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5785066117001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/scottish-football-live-hearts-star-returns-rangers-want-ex-liverpool-ace-tierney-latest-scotland-casualty-1-4830754","id":"1.4830754","articleHeadline": "Scottish Football Live: Hearts star returns | Rangers want ex-Liverpool ace | Tierney latest Scotland casualty","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542368238000 ,"articleLead": "

Follow The Scotsman’s daily blog as we keep you updated with all the latest news, views, rumours and much more from around Scottish football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830752.1542368234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic's Leigh Griffiths is back in training. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey"} ,"articleBody": "

Refresh for live updates.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830752.1542368234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830752.1542368234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic's Leigh Griffiths is back in training. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic's Leigh Griffiths is back in training. Picture: SNS/Alan Harvey","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830752.1542368234!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5795175013001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-captain-christophe-berra-returns-to-training-three-months-early-1-4830870","id":"1.4830870","articleHeadline": "Hearts captain Christophe Berra returns to training three months early","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542367191882 ,"articleLead": "Christophe Berra resumed training with Hearts today a full three months earlier than scheduled.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830869.1542367637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has resumed training ahead of schedule. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "


The club captain's rapid recovery from a torn hamstring has cut his rehabilitation period in half after he was told in August that he would miss six months of football.

He began light exercises with the first-team squad at Riccarton and is targeting a comeback against Rangers in two weeks' time. Manager Craig Levein explained that game is a realistic target provided Berra suffers no setbacks.

"Christophe is joining in with the warm-up and passing today," Levein told the Evening News this morning. "This is his first day joining in.

"His view was that he might be ready by the Rangers game. If he trains fine today then we've got a fortnight. If he trains constantly during that fortnight, I don't think he will be 100 per cent but he won't be far away.

"I'm not going to risk him at all so he'll have to be right. By that I mean that he will need to have trained through the next two weeks. He's had no issues with his hamstring at all so far, so I don't expect anything.

"All his strength tests are really good and he has been closely monitored. He is back in training today because he's ready to go back to training. If he does two weeks training, I think he will be ready for a match."

Berra, 33, tore his hamstring off the bone during August's win against Celtic at Tynecastle Park. The initial prognosis stated he would be out until late January or early February, but the player has made quick progress and is ready to push for a first-team return.

" ,"byline": {"email": "barry.anderson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Barry Anderson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830869.1542367637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830869.1542367637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra has resumed training ahead of schedule. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has resumed training ahead of schedule. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830869.1542367637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"3000000001661476"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/edinburgh-city/edinburgh-city-boss-glad-board-s-vision-is-paying-off-ahead-of-irn-bru-tie-1-4830642","id":"1.4830642","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh City boss glad board’s vision is paying off ahead of Irn-Bru tie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349852000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh City boss James McDonaugh is delighted that the club’s board of directors are finally seeing their vision come to fruition.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830641.1542311281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James McDonaugh visited Edinburgh Castle esplanade to promote the competition"} ,"articleBody": "

The Citizens take a break from Ladbrokes League Two duty for the next fortnight starting with tomorrow’s visit of Alloa in the Irn-Bru Cup before fellow Championship outfit Inverness Caley Thistle descend on Ainslie Park for next Saturday’s mouthwatering William Hill Scottish Cup third-round clash.

However, it’s this weekend’s encounter that, should City win, will see them in the last four of a national cup competition for the very first time.

It’s a remarkable journey for a club that has staved off the threat of relegation twice since earning promotion from the Lowland League in April 2016.

And City also returned to the summit of Scottish football’s fourth tier following a 2-1 win at Albion Rovers six days ago.

“It’s great for Edinburgh City to be in a quarter-final at this level,” said McDonaugh, who took over from Gary Jardine 13 months ago. “We’re well aware our next two games are against Championship clubs, who are going well, so they’ll be really difficult matches. We’ll have a go and try and play our way. If we are as good as we were against Arbroath in the last round of the Irn-Bru Cup then who knows what can happen.

“It’s great for the chairman and the board to see the club in the last eight for everything they have put in place these last few years. The guys work really hard at the top level so it’s great to see how far the club has come.”

Given City’s remarkable start to the league campaign that has taken them two points clear of nearest challengers Peterhead, McDonaugh revealed this season’s Irn-Bru Challenge Cup has always been down the pecking order in terms of priority.

“It’s still the least of our priorities,” McDonaugh admitted. “In saying that, we’ve treated every game in every competition we’ve played with respect and have never put out a weakened side. We want to win every match.

“We’ll only have about 13 or 14 tomorrow. We’re down to the bare bones so we’ll need to call upon a few of the 20s. But it will be great experience for the ones that are involved. We have got a right good 11 that start so that’s why we’ve done so well. But we do lack bodies.

“I’ve spent the last couple of days watching footage of Alloa. They’ve got a really good balance to their team. I know their full-backs well, Liam Dick I worked with at Falkirk and Scott Taggart at Hibs, so they’ve got good players all over the park. It’s a free hit for us really. A Championship team will be expected to beat a League Two side almost every time.”

McDonaugh was delighted with the response he received from his players following their first defeat in almost three months – a 1-0 loss to Clyde a fortnight ago.

The former Falkirk coach, who will be without Danny Handling and Adam Watson, not to mention long-term absentees Josh Walker and Kieran Stewart, said: “I got the response I wanted last week. It was a game that everyone expected us to win but it was a very hard-fought match. We’ve been struggling the last few weeks with numbers so we’ve not really had the chance to change or tinker with things.

“The bonus was going back to the top of the league. But it’s not just us and Peterhead that will be there, we’re just lucky to have opened up a wee gap. Having back-to-back cup ties is a good psychological boost for us.

“It’s been a real squad effort. Even the guys that haven’t been starting have been waiting patiently and they’ve stepped up in recent weeks. We don’t carry a big squad but when you’re missing six or seven it can show. We’ve continued to win though so that’s huge credit to the players.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NEIL McGLADE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830641.1542311281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830641.1542311281!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James McDonaugh visited Edinburgh Castle esplanade to promote the competition","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James McDonaugh visited Edinburgh Castle esplanade to promote the competition","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830641.1542311281!/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-ex-hearts-coach-robbie-neilson-on-bouncing-back-from-the-sack-1-4830667","id":"1.4830667","articleHeadline": "Big interview: Ex-Hearts coach Robbie Neilson on bouncing back from the sack","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349851000 ,"articleLead": "

St Andrews University sports fields are bathed in sunshine as laughter from Dundee United’s training session fills the air. It is an idyllic setting.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830665.1542313906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robbie Neilson now takes it game by game"} ,"articleBody": "

Robbie Neilson looks on in silence knowing he doesn’t need to say anything. His galvanising effect is staring him in the face.

United have four wins and a draw since naming Neilson head coach. It already looks a sound appointment nine months since the first sacking of his managerial career at MK Dons. The former Hearts coach has learned to take a hit and early evidence suggests he is recovering well after much reflecting.

“I was at Rangers as a kid, got emptied,” he says, recalling his playing career sitting inside the University Sports Centre. “I went to Hearts and eventually got into the team, then I was sent to Queen of the South because I wasn’t good enough for Hearts. I went back to Hearts and did fine in the end.

“Then I went down to Leicester, got emptied. Went to Brentford, got emptied. Went to Dundee United and did alright. Went to Falkirk, got emptied. Went to East Fife and did alright. Started managing at Hearts and did alright, then I went to MK Dons and got emptied.

“I don’t think I’ve even got a 50 per cent success rate in my whole career, but that’s the key. You have to accept that you will fail. Coming back from it is the most important thing. When you take that hit, a lot of people don’t come back. If you believe in yourself, you’ll get going again.”

He is helping United using what he learned during two very different previous managerial spells. He enjoyed a record-breaking Championship title win and promotion with Hearts before leading them into European competition as a newly-promoted club. The move to MK lasted 13 months.

“I probably learned more at MK than from the successful period at Hearts,” explains Neilson. “You go on these coaching courses with other managers and they say: ‘You’re not a real manager. You don’t understand it and you won’t gain real experience until you’ve been sacked.’ And all the guys who haven’t been sacked go: ‘Nah. That’s not right. I’ll be fine. I know what I’m doing.’ I’ll be honest with you, it’s completely true.

“The initial period at MK was really good. They were in the relegation zone, we got them into the top half of League One, recruited in the summer, had a good pre-season, then played Wigan, Blackpool and Blackburn early in the season and lost. From there, the wheels started coming off.

“I had a couple of chances to go right back into management in England after MK. I’m glad I didn’t because I needed time to reflect, or recover. The first month was really difficult but then it became more enjoyable. You spend time with the family and then get ready for your next job. It probably wasn’t until the summer that I became really keen to get working again. Dundee United was a very appealing job. There were a couple of other jobs but I didn’t think they were right for me.

“You want your next job to tick all the boxes. You want a good training ground, good squad, good board, good fanbase, good budget. The longer you’re out of the game, the less ticks you will accept. This job ticks everything except it’s not in the Premiership. So it’s my job to get them back there. The fanbase is great. We took 1,800 supporters to Dunfermline and 1,000 up at Dingwall, which is phenomenal in the Championship.”

This is United’s third season in Scotland’s second tier. They are third, five points behind leaders Ayr in a league Neilson excelled in just four years ago. He won’t set many long-term aims at Tannadice – another lesson he learned in England – although he is aware he is guiding a Premiership club in all but name.

“The pressure I have is to win on every Saturday. That’s it. There is no point focusing on six months, a year or two years down the line. I learned that the hard way at MK. I went down there with a three-year plan and didn’t last three years. I was working in the background with the academy, trying to get structures in place, bringing in different departments, trying to get a training ground built and looking at plans for that, all that stuff. To be honest, you deal with the moment nowadays.

“We play Alloa on Tuesday so our sole focus is on that. Our two games after that are against Ayr United and Morton, who both play each other tomorrow. That’s probably the game I should go and watch because it’s the chance to see two teams up the top end of the league, but I’ll go and watch Alloa against Edinburgh City. I know that if we don’t win on Tuesday, the following week doesn’t matter.”

Neilson bears a contented look. Players come and go around him. They are enjoying training and winning matches. “Football is easy when you’re winning. It’s when you don’t win that you need to stay stable,” says the 38-year-old. The need for stability was behind his move back to Scotland with his wife and three daughters.

“My oldest daughter is 13 and she’s in her fifth school. I just felt I had to make a decision. They were in a good school and enjoying it down in MK. They’ve moved about a lot so we decided to go back to Glasgow and stay there.”

He lives in rented accommodation in Elie. His wife and kids visit at weekends, allowing for total football focus midweek. After replacing Csaba Laszlo, his impact has been immediate at United.

“I felt the players had to be here enjoying themselves. Firstly, you have to want to be inside the training ground. The atmosphere wasn’t as good as it could’ve been. I tried to give them a bit of structure and stability. We decided on a system to play and train with and I told them to come and speak to me if they had any issues.

“I’ve been very lucky with the timing because we had [Fraser] Fyvie, [Sam] Stanton, [Callum] Booth and [Billy] King all coming back from injury. They lifted standards. I looked from the outside and thought I could change a few things with them coming back.

“I’m really happy with the squad. There’s a lot to be said for continuity, keeping a group together and backing them. I made a lot of changes at MK Dons. I moved 14 players out and 14 or 15 in. I moved out a group who had been together a long time and maybe I should have kept a few.

“Look at Livingston. On Sunday, they drew 0-0 against Celtic with eight players who were with them in League One. They kept those lads in the Championship, and now into the Premiership. They know each other, the club, the philosophy, everything.”

As a former United player, he knows his remit well. Football’s fickleness hit him hard but Robbie Neilson is back fighting for promotion again.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830665.1542313906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830665.1542313906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Robbie Neilson now takes it game by game","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robbie Neilson now takes it game by game","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830665.1542313906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830666.1542313909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830666.1542313909!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neilson won the Championship title with Hearts in season 2014-15","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neilson won the Championship title with Hearts in season 2014-15","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830666.1542313909!/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/robbie-neilson-hearts-fans-plane-stunt-was-good-thing-for-me-1-4830595","id":"1.4830595","articleHeadline": "Robbie Neilson: Hearts fans’ plane stunt was good thing for me","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349848000 ,"articleLead": "

Robbie Neilson admits Hearts fans who flew a plane over Tynecastle to try and force him out actually did him a favour.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830594.1542304035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The banner flown above Tynecastle during the match against Partick in March 2016. Pic: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The Dundee United manager says he now fears nothing in football after seeing people go to extremes to have him sacked as he led Hearts into Europe.

An aircraft carrying a banner with the words, ‘no style, no bottle, Neilson out’ appeared in the Gorgie sky in March 2016 during Hearts’ 1-0 win over Partick Thistle. The following month, the Edinburgh club secured a Europa League qualifying place despite being a newly-promoted club in that season’s Scottish Premiership.

Only a small section of the support were responsible as the majority were behind Neilson at the time. He feels the incident steeled him for the rigours of management in what was only his second season in charge of Hearts.

“At the time I didn’t know anything about it. One of the staff told me about it after the game. It wasn’t great,” he told the Evening News.

“You ignore it by winning the next week. That’s football management. You simply have to win. You have to prepare your team properly, get your players right, your environment right and win on a Saturday. Nobody is interested in anything else. That’s just the way it is.

“When something like the plane incident happens, it’s probably a bit of a compliment that somebody has gone to all that expense. Looking back on it, it has helped me. Anything that’s going to happen now - whether somebody puts something on the internet or does something inside a stadium - I’ll think: ‘That’s not really anything to fret about until they start flying a plane to get you out.’ Once it gets to that level, then it’s decent.

“Seriously, it was actually a good thing for a young manager to have to deal with something like that. We won the game 1-0. If we’d lost, the questions and the intensity afterwards would have been different. It’s just the fickle nature of football.

“I didn’t think too much about it. It’s just background stuff. I was the same as a player. When you’re getting stick off the fans, you can either crumble or dig it out. I’ve always been like that.

“It’s the same now at Dundee United. We’ve had a great start but there will be a wee sticky patch. There always is.

“We’ll lose a game, maybe two or three. You can crumble or take it on the chin and move on to the next week. You can get over things very quickly in football.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830594.1542304035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830594.1542304035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The banner flown above Tynecastle during the match against Partick in March 2016. Pic: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The banner flown above Tynecastle during the match against Partick in March 2016. Pic: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830594.1542304035!/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/callum-mcgregor-s-versatility-could-be-key-to-scotland-s-fortunes-1-4830644","id":"1.4830644","articleHeadline": "Callum McGregor’s versatility could be key to Scotland’s fortunes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349841000 ,"articleLead": "

Callum McGregor is a jack of all trades and, it appears, master of them all.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830643.1542311428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's Callum McGregor, right, with Matt Phillips"} ,"articleBody": "

And his versatility could come in very handy for Scotland manager Alex McLeish as he surveys those left standing from his injury-depleted squad.

The Celtic star played three different positions the other week as he helped orchestrate a 4-2 win over Hibs but, he has revealed, his talents extend much further than that.

Sure to be a key figure in McLeish’s team which faces Albania in Shkoder tomorrow in a crunch UEFA Nations League match, McGregor insists he’ll be more than ready to fulfil any task placed on his shoulders.

“I’ve played everywhere,” disclosed the 25-year-old. “When I was younger I had a season at centre-back, then one at 
left-back, then I was back in midfield. Off the front, I’ve played every position.”

However, while McGregor has been a mainstay at Celtic throughout their two treble winning seasons, he only earned the first of his seven caps a year ago, playing in a friendly against the Netherlands having been on the bench for the World Cup qualifiers with Slovakia and Slovenia a month earlier.

And waiting for the call had, he admitted, been a source of huge frustration.

“You have ups and downs in football and, obviously, just over a year ago, that was the case. I was disappointed. I was desperate to play.

“I was doing well at club level and scoring goals. Sometimes football has a funny way of working in that you can chuck a player in there and he can do something.

“You know when you are doing well and there was a bit of talk about it at the time, but managers have players they trust and the team were doing well at that point. They were right up towards qualifying.

“You don’t have an argument when that’s the case, it was just a matter of me biding my 
time.”

However, as frustrated as he might have been back then, McGregor is candid enough to admit the time might not have been right for him to take his bow on the international stage.

“I had just sort of burst on to the Celtic scene at that time, scoring goals and playing well in big games so to go straight into the internationals might have been a jump too much.

“You just never know in football. I was getting to that stage and really building on my Celtic career then. Now I feel established so I try to kick on and be part of the Scotland stuff.”

McGregor revealed he is concentrated on bringing a consistency to his game but agreed that being adaptable also helped. “It helps that you can play in different positions.

“When boys are injured, you can slot into different positions. It helps that I can do that and the fact the manager trusts me in those positions gives me 
opportunities.

“The top, top players are playing 65 or 70 games a season. If you want to be considered as a top player, that’s what you have to do. Football moves so quickly and you have those ups and downs so you have to keep yourself on a level playing field and make sure you do not get too up or down when things are going well or against you.

“You try to stay at a consistent level and get where you want to be. That’s what I’ve done since my debut and kept trying to push myself to be better.”

To that end McGregor is an avid spectator, watching as much football as he can, particularly big Champions League games, as he attempts to broaden his knowledge and understanding of the game.

He said: “I watch players in different positions and see how good they are. I’ve always had a tactical idea in terms of watching football and trying to understand it. With the amount of games I’ve played and the number of positions, you start to realise what it takes to play in each position.

“For example, the controlling position.

“It’s not all about going forward and scoring goals. You are looking behind you and seeing what you have to pick up as opposed to going forward. Different positions require different attributes and I’m always watching games to see what else I can do, how else I can help.”

As he has said, McGregor may have had his ups and downs, but he is someone who plays with a smile – he simply enjoys playing.

“Sometimes it gets almost too serious at times and people get down about it. But I’ve played football all my life, it’s all I wanted to do.

“I never had any other job on my mind.

“From when I was four I wanted to play football for that genuine enjoyment of football, and to have a career in the game at the highest level means you sometimes don’t know how lucky you are.

“You are living the dream. To not have a smile on your face doing that would be incredible.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830643.1542311428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830643.1542311428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's Callum McGregor, right, with Matt Phillips","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's Callum McGregor, right, with Matt Phillips","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830643.1542311428!/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-penicuik-left-reeling-by-departure-of-three-key-players-1-4830572","id":"1.4830572","articleHeadline": "East of Scotland: Penicuik left reeling by departure of three key players","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349813000 ,"articleLead": "

Penicuik Athletic may be riding high at the top of East of Scotland Conference A with a 100 per cent record, but it has been a far from perfect few weeks for the club.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830571.1542301254!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Somerville, right, is one if Kevin Milne's most senior players"} ,"articleBody": "

If losing the man who guided them to their highest-ever finish in the Super League and silverware in their final season in the Juniors wasn’t hard enough, three key players then walked out of the club last week, choosing to activate a release clause in their contracts.

Newly-installed captain Aaron Somerville describes the past few weeks as one of his toughest in football, with manager Johnny Harvey leaving for Berwick Rangers followed by previous captain Craig Hume, Lewis Barr and Andy Forbes opting to exit on a free. Two of the three played as trialists for Berwick in their 4-2 defeat of Elgin City last Saturday.

“It was a big shock for the boys,” said 31-year-old Somerville. “It’s a tough one. Personally, I think you can’t stand in boys’ ways that want to go on and play in a bigger league and, on paper, a better club but at, the same time, there’s ways and means to go about it. I think it was handled really badly, just with timings and the way it happened; that’s not just with the three players that are away but with the manager as well [Johnny Harvey] – it’s been a tough few weeks for the club.

“We didn’t find out until the Tuesday night that they were gone. I never got the chance to say anything to them face-to-face, group chats and stuff followed. Credit to Lewy Barr, when he left, he came round all the boys and wished everybody all the best and vice versa. All the boys explained their decisions after training.

“I’ve seen it all before, boys move on. You can’t stand in people’s way that are looking to move on. I just think that timing and the situation could have been a lot better. Personally, I think it is madness that they have left at the start of November when they can only play their next three games as trialists. It doesn’t take a rocket 
scientist to know that that doesn’t benefit anybody.

“If you look at the three players, their performances over the last couple of years have earned them that right to go to 
Berwick.

“I wouldn’t say the rest of us are disappointed with the players on an individual level.”

Striker Somerville, who has netted 16 goals so far this season, was asked by new boss Kevin Milne to take over as captain in the wake of Hume’s exit. It is a role he isn’t familiar with and one he would have refused had circumstances been different.

Ahead of hosting in-form Newtongrange Star tomorrow, he continued: “It was a bit of a shock to be asked, but I think Kev and Tony [Begg, assistant manager] wanted one of the senior boys, one of the boys that have been about the club for a few years to take it on, I think that was the reasoning behind them asking me.

“Normally I would’ve turned it down; I’ve been asked a couple of times in the past and I just don’t think it’s really me – I didn’t wear an armband on Saturday.

“With the changes at the club the last couple of weeks, I felt like once I was asked I couldn’t really say no. We’ll see how that goes, I am sick of the boys calling me skip already; that’s got to change or I’ll be handing my resignation in! I think a captain is meant to be central figure, there is a lot of responsibility there. I’ve just never done it before, so I’m a wee bit apprehensive about it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT THOMSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830571.1542301254!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830571.1542301254!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aaron Somerville, right, is one if Kevin Milne's most senior players","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aaron Somerville, right, is one if Kevin Milne's most senior players","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830571.1542301254!/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/czech-break-gives-hearts-bound-david-vanecek-early-chance-to-settle-1-4830621","id":"1.4830621","articleHeadline": "Czech break gives Hearts-bound David Vanecek early chance to settle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349809000 ,"articleLead": "

David Vanecek will decide next month whether to travel to Edinburgh early and prepare to begin his Hearts career.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830620.1542360598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek will officially join up with Hearts in January"} ,"articleBody": "

With the Czech winter break starting on December 14, the FK Teplice striker will have the opportunity to come to Scotland before officially joining up at Tynecastle Park in January. Vanecek signed a pre-contract with Hearts in July but cannot play in maroon until the New Year, with his Teplice contract expiring on December 31. Hearts would need permission from Teplice for him to train at Riccarton at any point before January 1.

The 27-year-old is currently focused on his remaining five games with Teplice, who are sitting tenth in the 16-team Czech top flight. He will make a decision over the next few weeks about whether to come to Edinburgh to settle in once the winter break starts in his homeland.

Hearts are not expecting him officially until early January, although manager Craig Levein is aware that the player would have the option of arriving earlier.

“If he is finished in Czech Republic and wants to come over here to watch the games or look for accommodation, then I’d imagine he could do that. However, we aren’t expecting him here until the beginning of January,” Levein confirmed to the Evening News.

Vanecek’s arrival will come at a good time for Hearts, who are currently without injured strikers Steven Naismith and Uche Ikpeazu. Naismith is expected back before the end of December but Ikpeazu will not return until after Scotland’s winter break.

Vanecek’s first game for his new club would likely be in the William Hill Scottish Cup fourth round on the weekend of January 19-20.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830620.1542360598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830620.1542360598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Vanecek will officially join up with Hearts in January","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek will officially join up with Hearts in January","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830620.1542360598!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5795246155001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/lowland-league-whitehill-welfare-urged-to-roll-up-their-sleeves-1-4830579","id":"1.4830579","articleHeadline": "Lowland League: Whitehill Welfare urged to roll up their sleeves","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349800000 ,"articleLead": "

Attacking midfielder Kyle Mitchell believes it is time for Whitehill’s group of players to stand up and be counted as they desperately look to drag themselves off bottom spot.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830578.1542300672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Mitchell, right, knows any points won before Christmas could be vital"} ,"articleBody": "

The Rosewell club are languishing at the foot of the Lowland League, three points adrift of second bottom Dalbeattie Star, and are still yet to register a domestic victory under new boss Jock Landells.

Mitchell knows picking up just five points from their opening 13 league games isn’t good enough, but insists they have had time to re-group following an enforced two-week break from competitive action.

Ahead of welcoming Civil Service Strollers to Ferguson Park this weekend, the 21-year-old said: “Hopefully we can pick up another positive result like we did against Vale of Leithen a few weeks ago.

“Obviously, the club has gone through a bit of a rough patch of late but getting three points on Saturday could go a long way to lifting us off the bottom.

“We’ve had a couple of team meetings recently and spent some time working on a few things in training since our last game.

“The manager has addressed our weaknesses this season and put across some points he feels we can improve on, which we’ll be looking to build on for the remainder of the season.

“Jock (Landells) has a good bit of fight about him. We’ve got a lot of young players like me, so naturally it’s going to be difficult in this league playing against experienced opposition, but every game is a learning curve.”

The former Cowdenbeath man, who admitted working under Jimmy Nicholl previously at the Blue Brazil has brought out the best in his game, is wary of Welfare’s tough forthcoming run of fixtures, whichpits them against the likes of Kelty, East Kilbride and BSC before the turn of the year.

Mitchell reckons the importance of tomorrow’s encounter with Civil has been heightened as a result, admitting it is vital they start to put some much-needed points on the board.

He continued: “Our main priority is just to get out of the relegation zone. We’ve got two games against Civil and Dalbeattie coming up, which we should realistically be looking to take points from.

“We know we’re capable of picking up points against the bigger teams, so it’s time to dig deep and get out of the position we find ourselves in.

“It’s maybe a good thing that we’ve got unexperienced players because it gives them a chance to develop and gel together a lot quicker.

“There is a responsibility on the more senior figures in the team to bring them on and encourage them as much possible when we’re under pressure.

“The gaffer has brought in experienced guys like Ryan Gay and Nicky Faulds and you can see their professionalism in training. Their work ethic is good and it’s rubbing off on the younger lads.”

Meanwhile, Edinburgh University will be looking to put their disappointing South Challenge Cup defeat last weekend behind them when they face East Stirlingshire at the Falkirk Stadium tonight.

Dorian Ogunro’s men crashed to a 4-0 loss against Sauchie, but the Students will be aiming to make amends against a Shire side who sit 11th in the table.

Tomorrow, title-chasing Spartans return to action at the Indodrill Stadium against BSC Glasgow on Saturday after enjoying a free weekend.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LEWIS ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830578.1542300672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830578.1542300672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Mitchell, right, knows any points won before Christmas could be vital","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Mitchell, right, knows any points won before Christmas could be vital","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830578.1542300672!/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/sean-mackie-s-hibs-debut-joy-six-years-after-release-by-easter-road-club-1-4830587","id":"1.4830587","articleHeadline": "Sean Mackie’s Hibs debut joy – six years after release by Easter Road club","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542349755000 ,"articleLead": "

Sean Mackie thought his world had fallen apart when he was told as a 14-year-old he wasn’t good enough to play for Hibs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830586.1542360700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Mackie received a surprise promotion to the Hibs bench at Pittodrie before being handed his debut"} ,"articleBody": "

Today, though, the young defender is all smiles having made his Premiership debut for the Easter Road club. It may only have been for the final five minutes against Aberdeen but, the youngster revealed, it was a totally unexpected opportunity having resigned himself to watching the game from the stand at Pittodrie.

He said: “I’d travelled hoping to get a seat on the bench only to discover I was the one who’d missed out. But Marvin Bartley was struggling with his foot and decided it was too sore to play.

“The rest of the boys were already warming up for the game at that time. I wasn’t kitted so I had to quickly get changed and had to do my own warm-up.”

As a left-back, the 20-year-old knows he faces one of the toughest tasks in Scottish football in trying to oust Lewis Stevenson from the Hibs side, pointing out the club’s longest-serving player is “never injured”.

But it was a rare knock for Stevenson which presented Mackie with his chance. He said: “Lewis picked up a dead leg in a tackle and you could see he wasn’t moving properly and he told the gaffer he was 
struggling.

“It wasn’t long for me to make an impact, but I felt I did okay in the time I was on.”

Now, naturally, Mackie is hoping for more game time with the first team but knows he’ll have to keep impressing Neil Lennon, the Hibs boss and his assistant Garry Parker – two of the most avid spectators at the development squad’s matches. He said: “They are always there so you know you have to do your best every time. It’s not as if a whisper goes round that he’s there and you up your game for that afternoon. So you have to constantly be looking to improve.

“I think the gaffer has shown he’s willing to give young players their chance. Ryan Porteous and Oli Shaw are the leading lights at the moment but others have been given an opportunity.

“But it’s a case of having that consistency and him believing he can have that trust to put you on.”

Having been released by Hibs all those years ago, Mackie joined Raith Rovers where Grant Murray – now first-team coach at Easter Road – was manager. He soon found himself a wanted man with both Capital clubs keen for his signature, the Easter Road outfit winning the race and forking out £25,000 nearly three years ago.

He said: “I wasn’t long into a two-year contract with Raith when the manager Ray McKinnon told me Hearts were interested and the following day he said Hibs also wanted me. I went to Hearts for three days, it was good, and Robbie Neilson said he wanted to sign me but I told him I was also going into Hibs.

“He said to make my mind up, that the offer might not be there but, having been at Hibs as a kid, I want to go back there.

“I’m from Elphinstone, just five minutes away from East Mains, and I’d been with Hibs since I was a wee boy. I wasn’t even told directly that they were letting me go. I went in for training and my dad was pulled in the other door and told I was not big enough, that there was someone better in my position. I was devastated, in tears. I thought that was it, that I was finished.”

Mackie was, however, prepared to let bygones be bygones. He said: “It was sort of at the back of my mind that I had a point to prove but I also felt I could develop as a player.

“I could have done that at Hearts but, despite being released, I still had a lot of memories of good times at Hibs and it helped some of the people I knew were still here and some of the boys I’d played with.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830586.1542360700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830586.1542360700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Mackie received a surprise promotion to the Hibs bench at Pittodrie before being handed his debut","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Mackie received a surprise promotion to the Hibs bench at Pittodrie before being handed his debut","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830586.1542360700!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5795237598001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/tommy-robinson-s-previous-with-british-football-fans-1-4830528","id":"1.4830528","articleHeadline": "Tommy Robinson’s previous with British football fans","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542295369000 ,"articleLead": "

If Tommy Robinson was to attend a Hearts game it wouldn’t be the first time he has watched a game in Scotland. He’s had previous with clubs north and south of the border.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830526.1542295365!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tommy Robinson has had previous with football clubs north and south of the border. Picture: CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Right-wing activist Tommy Robinson promises Hearts visit after masked group photo

Luton Town

Earlier this season the CEO of Luton Town called on fans to stop chanting Robinson’s name at games.

A small number of the club’s fan showed support for the 35-year-old at away games in August, around the time of his contempt of court case in Leeds after the activist breached reporting restrictions.

The statement said: “Apart from the result, our experience was blemished, for the second away game running, by hearing the chanting the name of a political figurehead by a small number of Hatters supporters. This is hugely disappointing for us, as a board, because the individual in question wasn’t playing or involved in the squad or staff.

“Everyone at the club has worked extremely hard and will continue to work tirelessly to create an environment – whether that be Kenilworth Road or any away game – for our community of supporters to support their team and enjoy a football match knowing that all prejudice – whether that be political, religious, cultural or racial – can and should be left for another day.

Robinson is a fan of the club having been born in the town. He chose the alias ‘Tommy Robinson’ after the Luton football hooligan of the same name.

In 2011 he was found guilty of leading 100 Luton football fans into a brawl against Newport County fans and handed a 12-month suspended sentence.

Aidrieonians

Earlier this year Robinson attended an Airdrie match as they drew 2-2 with Alloa Athletic in a Ladbrokes League One fixture.

The former English Defence Leader was in Scotland to attend the trial of Mark Meechan who was convicted of a hate crime after filming a pug responding to him as he said ‘gas the Jews’ and ‘Sieg Heil’ with the dog raising its paw as if giving the Nazi salute.

At the game Robinson filmed Scottish fans chanting his name.

• READ MORE: Who is Tommy Robinson? The former EDL leader and right-wing figurehead

Rangers

Robinson was pictured working wearing a Rangers top as he held a book signing in an off-licence in Sunderland last year. It was the same day Celtic played a friendly in the city.

He tweeted ahead of the fixture that he was “ready for the Celtic game”, while he also filmed a video where he branded Celtic supporters group Green Brigade “muppets” and said “we are the people, God Save the Queen”.

It led to skirmishes after a small group of Celtic fans attempted to confront Robinson at the shop.

One fan of the Parkhead side was fined for his part in the confrontations, while he also suffered injuries after being beaten and bruised.

Celtic

Despite his previous with Celtic fans in 2017, Robinson said he “got a great reception from Rangers and Celtic fans” when out in Glasgow last month.

He was drinking in the city centre when he was confronted by what he claimed were “antifa morons”.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830526.1542295365!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830526.1542295365!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tommy Robinson has had previous with football clubs north and south of the border. Picture: CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tommy Robinson has had previous with football clubs north and south of the border. Picture: CHRIS J RATCLIFFE/AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830526.1542295365!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5967364874001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/snooker-legend-stephen-hendry-reveals-favourite-hearts-player-1-4830505","id":"1.4830505","articleHeadline": "Snooker legend Stephen Hendry reveals favourite Hearts player","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542293722000 ,"articleLead": "

Scottish snooker legend Stephen Hendry has revealed his favourite ever Hearts player and it is a fan favourite from the 1970s.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830503.1542293715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Prentice is Stephen Hendry's favourite player. Picture: Gareth Reid"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Hearts accounts: Publicity-shy benefactors simply want club to thrive

The seven-time World Championship winner was answering questions on Twitter and one Hearts fans asked him if it was true he supported the Gorgie side.

Hendry confirmed his allegiances to Hearts and said that he was born in Gorgie.

He also added that his favourite player was Bobby Prentice.

The left winger played more than 200 times scoring 20 competitive goals between 1973 and 1979.

One of his most memorable moments arrived in Europe has Hearts famously overcame a 2-0 first-leg defeat to win 5-1 at Tynecastle in 1976.

Prentice became a favourite of the Tynecastle terraces for his dribbling and ability to take on players and even had his own song: “Bobby, oh Bobby Prentice, oh Bobby Prentice on the wi-hing”.

Speaking to The Scotsman last year Prentice said: “I just loved beating folk. I could run and I had a wee bit of skill. There were times when I held onto the ball too long. There were times when I beat myself. I’d get a chance myself and balloon it over the bar. But I was young and didn’t care. I thought I could take on the world and nothing scared me. Now everything scares me!”

• READ MORE: Gary Mackay: Tynecastle rebuild costs rise – but so does Hearts fans’ pride

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

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830503.1542293715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830503.1542293715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bobby Prentice is Stephen Hendry's favourite player. Picture: Gareth Reid","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Prentice is Stephen Hendry's favourite player. Picture: Gareth Reid","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830503.1542293715!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830504.1542293718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830504.1542293718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bobby Prentice battles with 'Hibernian's John Brownlie. Picture: 'Gareth Reid","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Prentice battles with 'Hibernian's John Brownlie. Picture: 'Gareth Reid","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830504.1542293718!/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/news/politics/right-wing-activist-tommy-robinson-promises-hearts-visit-after-masked-group-photo-1-4830448","id":"1.4830448","articleHeadline": "Right-wing activist Tommy Robinson promises Hearts visit after masked group photo","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542292965000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts fans have expressed their concern after Tommy Robinson announced that he plans to attend a fixture of the Gorgie side soon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830491.1542295687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A group pose with Tommy Robinson masks in front of a McCrae's Battalion Hearts flag. Picture: Instagram/realtommyrobinson"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Who is Tommy Robinson? The former EDL leader and right-wing figurehead

The right-wing activist announced his intention of taking in a Hearts game on his Instagram account which has more than 100,000 followers.

Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, posted a picture of a group of men wearing masks standing in front of a Hearts flag commemorating McCrae’s Battalion, the name for the 16th (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots during the First World War. Sixteen Hearts players and hundreds of the club’s fans were among its ranks.

The message accompanying the picture reads: “You will be seeing me at a hearts game soon.”

It has been liked by around 3,000 people with comments urging him to make an appearance at Tynecastle.

One Hearts supporter said: “You’ll be more than welcome”.

Another follower suggested the part of the ground he should watch a game from: “Section N Tommy boy.”

The photo was reportedly taken at a charity event for autism in Edinburgh on Saturday evening which raised thousands of pounds.

The masks worn by the men are very similar to ones that can be purchased from Tommy Robinson’s online shop.

Some Hearts fans took to social media and fans’ forum to note their unease with the situation and the concern of Robinson’s named linked in any way to the club.

• READ MORE: Tommy Robinson’s previous with British football fans

“Robinson’s Instagram has a lot of followers, and that’s our club’s name, and the name of McCrae’s Battalion being dragged through the mud to all of them,” wrote one, while another added: “Having that flag behind them is the most repulsive desecration of the fine name of McCrae’s Battalion”.

One supporter said: “Grim. We need to actively denounce this sort of association.”

Another stated: “Keep him as far away as possible. Whatever your opinion on him, he has absolutely 0 business being anywhere near our club. Leave all politics at the door.”

Hearts owner Ann Budge recently released a statement in which she condemned the “unacceptable behaviour” by fans at the Edinburgh derby last month in which Neil Lennon was hit by a coin thrown from the Main Stand at Tynecastle, while Hearts goalkeeper Zdenek Zlamal was struck by a Hibs fan.

In the statement Budge said there would be indefinite bans for fans “singing or chanting of any song or flying of any flag which is recognised as being sectarian, racist or political in its intent.”

Robinson, a journalist for Rebel Media, is the former leader of the English Defence League which he co-founded. The 35-year-old has received multiple criminal convictions, including fraud and assault, and was sentenced to 13 months in prison earlier this year for contempt of court.

He went against the reporting restrictions ordered by a the judge during a court case against a grooming gang and live-streamed events outside Leeds Crown Court.

Two months ago Robinson won his challenge against the contempt of court and was released on bail.

He has previous with Scottish clubs having attended an Aidrieonians game in March this year, while he has been pictured wearing a Rangers top.

Hearts have been approached for a comment.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830491.1542295687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830491.1542295687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A group pose with Tommy Robinson masks in front of a McCrae's Battalion Hearts flag. Picture: Instagram/realtommyrobinson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A group pose with Tommy Robinson masks in front of a McCrae's Battalion Hearts flag. Picture: Instagram/realtommyrobinson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830491.1542295687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830445.1542290878!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830445.1542290878!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Far-right figurehead Tommy Robinson has promised to come to a Hearts game. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Far-right figurehead Tommy Robinson has promised to come to a Hearts game. Picture: Jack Taylor/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830445.1542290878!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830492.1542295688!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830492.1542295688!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tommy Robinson put the image of his supporters on his Instagram. Picture: Instagram/realtommyrobinson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tommy Robinson put the image of his supporters on his Instagram. Picture: Instagram/realtommyrobinson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830492.1542295688!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5967364874001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-charalampos-mavrias-on-prospect-of-first-team-debut-1-4830364","id":"1.4830364","articleHeadline": "Hibs’ Charalampos Mavrias on prospect of first team debut","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542283343000 ,"articleLead": "

Charalampos Mavrias believes regular games for Hibs’ Development Squad can help him reach full fitness as he targets a first team debut.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830362.1542283339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charalampos Mavrias says his fitness levels are improving. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The five-times capped Greek defender joined the Capital club in October but is yet to make his first team bow, despite an injury to David Gray limiting Neil Lennon’s options on the right side of defence.

He has, however, featured in a friendly match against Dundee in which he registered an assist, and was part of the defence that kept a clean sheet in the SPFL Reserve Cup match at Kilmarnock earlier this week.

The former Sunderland and Panathinaikos full back told Hibs TV that he is “getting his rhythm back” after a lengthy period without a competitive match.

He said: “It’s very important that I got a few games with the Reserves as they have helped me a lot.

“I played in the last two games and it is good for my fitness and getting my rhythm back because I had not played a full game in a long time and got that in my legs.

“Slowly, I am feeling the development in my fitness and my condition, which is the most important thing.”

Mavrias, who had spells with Karlsruher and Fortuna Dusseldorf in Germany, before joining Croatian side Rijeka last year, is working hard in training in the hopes of getting the nod for the senior squad in the near future.

“I am trying to improve everything that I need to improve on so that I can help the team when I get my chance,” he added.

“My team-mates are all really friendly. Straight away I felt that I had become part of the family – this is all because of the lads.

“They help me in training and also outside if I need something. Everyone has been available for me and it’s been great.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830362.1542283339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830362.1542283339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Charalampos Mavrias says his fitness levels are improving. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Charalampos Mavrias says his fitness levels are improving. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830362.1542283339!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5775052899001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/john-mcginn-withdraws-from-scotland-squad-with-calf-injury-1-4830224","id":"1.4830224","articleHeadline": "John McGinn withdraws from Scotland squad with calf injury","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542275011000 ,"articleLead": "

Scotland’s personnel worries ahead of the crucial double header against Albania and Israel have taken another turn for the worse, with John McGinn now out of the UEFA Nations League matches.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830222.1542275033!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn was all smiles in training at the Oriam but may miss the games against Albania and Israel. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The Aston Villa midfielder is reportedly struggling with a calf injury, and has withdrawn from the squad. It’s a further blow for the national team following Mikey Devlin’s withdrawal yesterday.

The Aberdeen defender, who had been expected to partner club colleague Scott McKenna in the centre of defence, has damaged a foot tendon and misses both Nations League games and could also miss the Betfred Cup final in early December.

Celtic’s Jack Hendry was called up as an urgent replacement for the former Hamilton stopper, although it remains to be seen if Alex McLeish adds to his squad if McGinn drops out.

• READ MORE - Michael Devlin becomes latest player to drop out of Scotland squad

• READ MORE - Henry McLeish: We can fix Scottish football - and here’s how

• READ MORE - Scotland no-show stars warned they may not play for country again

The ex-Dundee defender could now be pitched into action from the start, despite playing just 25 minutes of club football since the last international break.

McGinn’s expected withdrawal adds to a lengthy list of unavailable Scots.

Christophe Berra, Leigh Griffiths, Steven Naismith and John Souttar are all out injured, while Tom Cairney, Mikey Devlin, Craig Gordon, Ryan Jack, Kevin McDonald, Jon McLaughlin, Charlie Mulgrew, Stephen O’Donnell, Matt Ritchie and Robert Snodgrass all pulled out through injury or asked not to be considered for selection.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830222.1542275033!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830222.1542275033!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John McGinn was all smiles in training at the Oriam but may miss the games against Albania and Israel. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John McGinn was all smiles in training at the Oriam but may miss the games against Albania and Israel. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830222.1542275033!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790964474001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/mackay-steven-aberdeen-have-made-me-a-better-player-1-4830127","id":"1.4830127","articleHeadline": "Mackay-Steven: Aberdeen have made me a better player","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542263455000 ,"articleLead": "

Gary Mackay-Steven says shouldering the responsibility of creating and scoring goals for Aberdeen is bringing out the best in him as he looks to reproduce his sparkling form in the dark blue of Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830126.1542232017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary-Mackay Steven"} ,"articleBody": "

The winger took his goals tally for the season to six as he claimed the Dons winner against Hibs, pouncing on a mistake by Ryan Porteous to then rifle a low shot past goalkeeper Adam Bogdan, filling him full of confidence for the UEFA Nations League double-header with Albania and Israel.

He said: “I’m feeling good, scoring goals. So it’s obviously a great opportunity for me coming here. I’m really happy to be part of the squad. There’s always pressure, but it’s how you deal with it.

“I feel great at Aberdeen, I’m comfortable and just enjoying my football. Playing every week is key, you build confidence and get into a rhythm.

“I try things, tricks and stuff like that. It doesn’t always come off. But ultimately you want to be trying things, to create situations. I’m looking to impress for Scotland this week. There are really good players here, but you’ve got to have faith in your own ability.”

The Tartan Army may be a bit short in numbers in Shkoder on Saturday but Mackay-Steven anticipates a healthy backing from his hometown of Thurso when Israel arrive at Hampden on Tuesday night.

He said: “I’ve still got family there, my Dad’s still in Thurso and a lot of my friends.

“There’s a bus that goes to all the home games and quite possibly there will be a few guys going who went to the pub I once worked in.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830126.1542232017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830126.1542232017!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gary-Mackay Steven","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary-Mackay Steven","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830126.1542232017!/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/former-hearts-star-callum-paterson-could-lead-scotland-s-attack-1-4830022","id":"1.4830022","articleHeadline": "Former Hearts star Callum Paterson could lead Scotland’s attack","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542263436000 ,"articleLead": "

Steven Naismith and Leigh Griffiths are unavailable. Scotland desperately need a striker now to reach the Euro 2020 play-offs. One Scot has scored three goals in his last four games playing as a No.9 in England’s Premier League. Perhaps it is time to unleash Callum Paterson.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830019.1542216856!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson scores for Cardiff in their win over Brighton last weekend"} ,"articleBody": "

Events have aligned to create an opening up front for the vital Nations League ties against Albania in Shkoder and Israel at Hampden Park. Paterson’s form, physicality and pace make him a serious candidate for the role.

The Cardiff manager Neil Warnock converted Hearts’ home-grown right-back into an attacking midfielder after signing him in summer 2017. For the last four games, Paterson has led their forward line with distinction by scoring against Fulham, Liverpool and Brighton. Indeed, he is the only away player to net at Anfield in the Premier League this season.

Steven Fletcher, Matt Phillips, Oliver McBurnie and Johnny Russell are the other attackers in Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad. None can claim such potent goalscoring form in one of the world’s top leagues.

One coach who helped rear Paterson at Riccarton believes now is the time to let him flourish at international level.

“Callum has been involved in more than 20 Scotland squads and he’s got nine caps. I know what he’s like. He will be frustrated,” explained Darren Murray, head of coach education at Hearts. “This is now the opportunity. There is no Griffiths, no Naismith. When is he going to have a better chance?

“I think Callum deserves the opportunity. He has taken very well to the English Premier League. He’s scoring goals, he will be confident and in a good place mentally.

“We all want to get the ball down and play nice football, but sometimes we have to remember what Scotland are good at. That’s playing with heart, desire and aggression. Callum is a quick, aggressive player.

“Is he a brilliant No.9 in terms of linking play? No, he isn’t. But you can get somebody in around him to do that. He will always give everything for the cause. He is scoring goals at the top level in England and Scotland don’t have anyone else doing that right now.

“I’m sure the Scotland management will get the team playing good football, but if we get the ball wide and into the box, then with Callum Paterson in there you will have a chance of scoring goals.”

Paterson played as an emergency striker on several occasions for Hearts, one of them ironically coming at Anfield in a European tie. He also lashed a spectacular overhead-kick for Scotland Under-21s six minutes from the end of a 1-1 draw with Georgia in 2013 after being thrown on as an attacking substitute.

He now finds himself thrust into that position again due to Cardiff’s desperation for Premier League points. His goal in the 4-2 win over Fulham helped the Bluebirds record their first win of the season last month to move off the bottom of the table. He struck again the following week in a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool.

On Saturday, he and Sol Bamba claimed the goals as Cardiff secured another three points with a 2-1 victory over Brighton. The job of “crisis” striker seems to suit the 24-year-old.

“Callum has a real physical presence. The way Cardiff play, it suits him playing up front. They try to get the ball wide and then fire it into the box,” said Murray, arguing that Scotland could use him in a similar way.

“Ryan Fraser is on fire in the Premier League, getting to bylines and putting crosses into the box. James Forrest goes past defenders and delivers balls on the other side. So who is attacking them when they arrive? You could have Callum as No.9 with Matt Phillips just beside him.

“Set-plays is another thing. Set-plays are a massive part of the game. Surely having Callum in there to attack free-kicks and corners would be a good thing.

“The coaches need to get him to do what they want. If he isn’t going to get a chance now, when does he get a chance? If you ask Callum, he will probably tell you needs to get better linking the play. That becomes the job of the coaches.

“Steven Fletcher might link the play better. Is he more aggressive than Callum? No. Will he attack the ball better than Callum? I don’t think so. If Scotland are going with a No.9, give Callum a chance. He is still a young player and he is a coachable lad. He has played centre-back, right-back, wide right, No.10 and centre-forward. That tells you he is coachable.”

It is quite some time since Scotland had a bustling centre-forward barging his way through opposition defences. Paterson’s rare attributes offer something fairly unique in the modern game.

“I’ve actually thought about this a lot,” added Murray. “Who is the last top No.9 Scotland produced? You have to go way back. The reason for that is: There are too many No.10s running about getting in their way. Honestly, that’s true. There are too many of these tens running about.

“I’ve looked at it so many times. We used to develop No.9s but we don’t now. I understand football has changed but we have to think about producing No.9s again. I would go back to Joe Jordan as Scotland’s last out-and-out No.9. Ally McCoist was probably a centre-forward but he was slightly different. Mo Johnston was more like a No.10 because he drifted.

“If you’re looking for a real, solid No.9 who attacks the ball in the box, you need to go back to Jordan. Now, it’s difficult to compare Callum to him because Joe Jordan was so good. However, he is that type of player who is aggressive and attack balls in the penalty area. He anticipates things in the box very well and always has done. That’s a really good attribute to have.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830019.1542216856!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830019.1542216856!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callum Paterson scores for Cardiff in their win over Brighton last weekend","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson scores for Cardiff in their win over Brighton last weekend","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830019.1542216856!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830020.1542216858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830020.1542216858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callum Paterson scored regularly for Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Paterson scored regularly for Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830020.1542216858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830021.1542216862!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830021.1542216862!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Darren Murray","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Darren Murray","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830021.1542216862!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5800712439001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/gary-mackay-tynecastle-rebuild-costs-rise-but-so-does-hearts-fans-pride-1-4830009","id":"1.4830009","articleHeadline": "Gary Mackay: Tynecastle rebuild costs rise – but so does Hearts fans’ pride","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542263431000 ,"articleLead": "

There is no way Hearts fans can be impatient with the redevelopment of Tynecastle Park.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830008.1542269837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ann Budge wants Tynecastle to be fitted out to the 'highest standard'"} ,"articleBody": "

The positivity within the stadium now, what Hearts have to hang on to for years and years to come, can only be applauded. It wasn’t all that long ago that we thought the club might lose its spiritual home and we are all grateful for how it has been retained and regenerated.

Anything making Tynecastle a better home for the football club, and a higher quality home at that, we must be thankful for. That is definitely the case with the Evening News’ revelation earlier this week that the whole rebuilding project would cost £18m, be fitted out to the highest standard, and take a little longer than expected.

People talk about the new main stand but look at the improvement in the undercroft of the Wheatfield Stand. Myself, Craig Levein and John Frame were involved in fundraising for that with the old 500 Club. We spoke to the powers-that-be at the time and asked if we could do anything with that area, but each time we literally got nowhere despite our very best efforts.

We were told we couldn’t get planning permission amongst a host of other obstacles, but these issues have all been overcome now. That’s down to the persistence, stubbornness, due diligence and everything else that Ann Budge and other people inside the club have shown over the last few years.

It’s a great feeling going to Tynecastle now when you see the stadium we’ve got. Yes, we’re land-locked a bit in amongst the houses and everything else, but everybody you speak to has said how good a stadium Tynecastle was.

For me, it’s enhanced now. The work in the undercroft, the Memorial Garden and everything else that’s there, it all adds to the great history of our club.

READ MORE: Hearts accounts: Tynecastle club record £1.8m profit

There has been barrier after barrier put in people’s way over the last 25 years. Anyone who has looked to redevelop Tynecastle has encountered problems, going way back to Chris Robinson when stands first started going up in the mid-1990s.

We are now seeing what happens when these issues are totally removed. The result is that we have a stadium which, at this moment in time, is just magnificent to look at and sit in. According to what Ann Budge said in this paper on Monday, it’s going to get even better in the not-too distant future.

When Scott Crabbe, Jimmy Sandison and myself decided to start up the 1874 Fighting Fund, that was about the history of Heart of Midlothian Football Club from 1874 to the present day – and ensuring it had a future.

Now Ann is talking about the Eighteen 74 Fans’ Bar at Tynecastle, which has been created as part of the new main stand. That’s great for us all to hear.

Loads of people believe their football club has a special history and that’s how it should be. Everybody has their own feeling for their club and rightly so.

Hearts supporters know that feeling well. When you get an announcement like the one Ann gave this paper on Monday, the day after thousands and thousands of people turned out at Haymarket to pay their resepects to those who went before us, then it enthuses you for the future generations who are going to follow us.

When it’s all finished, Tynecastle will be a legacy left for future generations of Hearts fans and players. They can play in the finest surroundings knowing the club will be on a stable footing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830008.1542269837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830008.1542269837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ann Budge wants Tynecastle to be fitted out to the 'highest standard'","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ann Budge wants Tynecastle to be fitted out to the 'highest standard'","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830008.1542269837!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5966878728001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-accounts-publicity-shy-benefactors-simply-want-club-to-thrive-1-4830091","id":"1.4830091","articleHeadline": "Hearts accounts: Publicity-shy benefactors simply want club to thrive","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1542263400000 ,"articleLead": "

Supporters have been busy speculating about who Hearts’ benefactors are after it emerged that the club have benefited from £5.5 million of mystery investment over the past two years.

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However, football finance experts insist that, while it is an unusual scenario, there are entirely logical reasons why those ploughing their cash in may choose to remain anonymous.

“Most benefactors are publicity-hungry whereas these ones seems to be publicity-shy,” said Kieran Maguire, a lecturer in football finance at Liverpool University.

“Hearts have said that £4.5 million has gone towards stadium development and £1m has gone towards wages. These appear to be very precise amounts of money given by people who are clearly fond of the club but want to keep themselves to themselves. It’s clearly somebody who has done well for themselves, seen the nature of the developments of the ground and presumably wanted to help the team compete a bit more.

“There’s nothing untoward about it at all. If I won the lottery I’d stick a couple of million into my club. It’s probably somebody who’s sold a business or inherited money. Basically someone who has had some kind of windfall and wants to show their appreciation for their club but doesn’t want to get involved in the day-to-day running of it.”

Some have speculated that Ann Budge herself could be a ‘mystery’ benefactor but, while there would be no legal obstacles to such a move, observers doubt the Hearts owner would feel the need to act under a cloak of secrecy.

Meanwhile, Neil Patey, a finance expert from Ernst and Young, believes Hearts’ position in Scotland’s capital benefits the club.

“It’s the exception rather than the rule for this to happen. The more formal route for fans to invest in their club is via shares, but if there are wealthy individuals who want to support their club, then it’s not unheard of for this sort of things to happen. I don’t know where the benefactor is from, but Hearts benefit from being in a pretty wealthy city in a UK context. Clearly in this situation we have someone with a lot of money who wants to support the club and all the good things they’re doing under Ann Budge.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4830090.1542269749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4830090.1542269749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "�4.5 million has been donated towards Hearts' stadium redevelopment","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "�4.5 million has been donated towards Hearts' stadium redevelopment","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4830090.1542269749!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5795246155001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}