{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"football","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/hearts-are-s-e-fans-on-both-sides-applaud-hibs-fan-s-first-words-after-stroke-1-4891543","id":"1.4891543","articleHeadline": "‘Hearts are s***e’: Fans on both sides applaud Hibs fan’s first words after stroke","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552933265000 ,"articleLead": "

Football fans on both sides of the Edinburgh divide have applauded a Hibs fan who shocked nurses by uttering his first words in four months after a stroke - by mocking his rival club Hearts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891541.1552933261!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs fan, 22, was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Darren Thomson, 22, lost all feeling in the left side of his body just 15 minutes after he developed a blinding headache.

The Hibs fan, who is from Galashiels, was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin.

He had two operations to help drain the excess fluid in his brain, but he still couldn’t speak for three months due to a tube down his throat then brain damage.

But when Darren heard his nurses talking about how they supported rival team Hearts - and shocked them by blurting out his first words: “Hearts are s***e”.

READ MORE: ‘Hearts are s***e’: Hibs fan who had stroke utters first words in four months

Fans with alliances to both teams have been wishing Darren well with his recovery.

One Evening News reader, Gillian Harvey, said: “As a hearts fan, I love this! Well done cheeky. Speedy recovery and best wishes.”

Neil Tough said: “Maybe Hearts could have you as a guest at a future game !! Wishing you a speedy recovery”

Ann Dickinson said: “Haha brilliant. And I’m a Jambo. Wishing you a very speedy recovery.”

Greig Pow said: “After yesterday’s performance I have to agree with him. Speedy recovery.”

Graeme Gifford said: “Brilliant, from a jambo, hope you continue to improve.”

Amanda Jenkinson said: “Give that boy a lifetime season ticket!”

Denni Brown wrote: “What really caring comments from hearts fans... proud of you! From a hibs supporter!....& speedy full recovery Darren.”

More than 400 readers have posted comments wishing Darren well with his recovery.

Five months since his first words, Darren’s speech is getting better every day.

He’s still in a wheelchair but hoping to be on his feet to be his dad’s best man at his wedding later this year.

To keep up-to-date with all our stories from across Edinburgh and the Lothians like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter.

Sign up to our newsletter: enter your email in the box at the top of this article to get daily updates straight to your inbox.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891541.1552933261!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891541.1552933261!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Hibs fan, 22, was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs fan, 22, was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891541.1552933261!/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/hibs/hibs-marvin-bartley-i-thought-hearts-had-won-league-now-we-are-ready-to-catch-them-1-4890914","id":"1.4890914","articleHeadline": "Hibs’ Marvin Bartley: I thought Hearts had won league ... now we are ready to catch them","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552908802000 ,"articleLead": "

Marvin Bartley has claimed Hibs are ready to chase down city rivals Hearts, having closed the gap to the “team that he thought had won the league earlier in the season” to just two points.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890913.1552850054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs' Marvin Bartley competes with Gboly Ariyibi during the 2-0 win over Motherwell. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Goals from Marc McNulty and skipper David Gray earned the Easter Road side a 2-0 victory over Motherwell, a win which appears to have all but secured a place in the Premiership’s top six for Paul Heckingbottom’s side.

But having learned of Hearts’ surprise defeat by Hamilton only minutes after making it five league games without defeat and 13 points out of 15 since Heckingbottom took over from Neil Lennon, Bartley insisted they are intent on going even higher.

He said: “You chase the team above you and it just happens to be Hearts. They lost to Hamilton so we are closing the gap on them. There are enough games for us to catch them and go beyond them, so that’s our next aim.

“I thought they had won the league earlier in the season, the amount of messages I was getting from their fans, so it’s quite surprising that we are only two points behind them. That’s interesting, isn’t it?

“You can’t really get too excited until all the games are gone or you are mathematically too far ahead of another team. Maybe that shows the mindset of some people to think, ‘we’ve had a good start, they haven’t, so we’re miles ahead of them’. Now, we’re two points behind. We’ll see what happens but that is our next aim – to go ahead of them.”

Although Hibs endured that miserable run of just two league wins in 14 matches which sent them spiralling down the table, Bartley was adamant no-one at Easter Road had lost the faith, saying: “We have never been negative.

“We have always known what we could do. We are on a good run at the moment. You never get too high with the highs and too low with the lows. We believe in ourselves as a squad and as a club and we always think we are going in the right direction. I think we are showing that on the pitch.”

And that, he said, was underlined by the win over Motherwell, a side with just one defeat in eight games and only two points behind Hibs before they met at the weekend.

He said: “It was a brilliant win. We knew before the game that if we won we would be five points ahead of them. The lads were brilliant. They dug in deep at the end to keep a clean sheet. There were people throwing their bodies on the line. We were really delighted to get the win.

“But we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves and then next minute we have slipped up, finished seventh and it’s like ‘what happened?’

“We go to Livingston after the international break. It’s another big game, but we are in a healthy position at the moment.”

Everyone, however, is well aware that the final game before the split is the third Edinburgh derby of the season, a chance for Heckingbottom to further enhance his growing standing with the Hibs support.

Bartley said: “The first thing the manager said was that he wanted to be in the top six. That’s his aim. He very much puts building blocks in place. The first step is to be in the top six and then it’s always to chase the team above you.

“That’s the way he looks at it. That’s the mindset we have at the moment. When we do finish above them, I’m sure he will get a pat on the back and maybe a pint.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890913.1552850054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890913.1552850054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs' Marvin Bartley competes with Gboly Ariyibi during the 2-0 win over Motherwell. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs' Marvin Bartley competes with Gboly Ariyibi during the 2-0 win over Motherwell. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890913.1552850054!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6014353024001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/trialist-midfielder-named-in-hibs-squad-for-reserve-match-with-hamilton-1-4891370","id":"1.4891370","articleHeadline": "Trialist midfielder named in Hibs squad for reserve match with Hamilton","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552921016000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs have named trialist Kosta Sparta in their squad for the Reserve League match with Hamilton this afternoon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891378.1552921968!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kosta Sparta is currently on trial at Hibs from AFC Wimbledon. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The right-midfielder is currently with AFC Wimbledon in League One.

Although he is listed as a first-team player, the 19-year-old is yet to make a senior appearance for the Wombles.

Australian-national Sparta was attached to Reading’s academy before making the move to Kingsmeadow in May 2018. He featured in 13 games for the Royals’ Under-18 side.

Following Sparta’s signing, AFC Wimbledon Development Squad and Academy boss Alan Reeves told the club’s website: “Kosta is technically a very good player.

“He does not give the ball away much and he showed a good attitude in training. He did not look out of place in first-team training, which is very important. Physically, he has things to work on, but he looks like a talented boy.

“Hopefully, Kosta will have that bit of hunger to do well after being allowed to leave Reading and he will hit the ground running when pre-season training starts.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891378.1552921968!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891378.1552921968!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kosta Sparta is currently on trial at Hibs from AFC Wimbledon. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kosta Sparta is currently on trial at Hibs from AFC Wimbledon. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891378.1552921968!/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/hibs/the-two-hibs-scottish-cup-heroes-locked-in-a-promotion-battle-1-4891287","id":"1.4891287","articleHeadline": "The two Hibs Scottish Cup heroes locked in a promotion battle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552916093000 ,"articleLead": "

Nothing lasts forever, so the old adage goes, and by the time the 2016/17 Scottish Premiership season began, five of the players who had helped Hibs to their first Scottish Cup victory in 114 years had left Easter Road.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891280.1552917055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two former Hibees could be battling it out for promotion at the end of the season. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

Goalkeeper Mark Oxley, who had played a part in victories over Raith Rovers and Hearts and his fellow ‘keeper Conrad “Polar Bear” Logan - whose heroics in the semi-final had secured Hibs’ passage to the final - left for Southend and Rochdale respectively.

Anthony Stokes, man of the match in the final thanks to his double, along with Liam Henderson, who notched the assists for Stokes’ second goal and David Gray’s winner returned to Celtic and Niklas Gunnarsson to Valerenga, following the end of their loan spells.

Fast-forward two and a half years, and Gunnarsson and Henderson’s paths are about to cross once again, but in very different circumstances.

Henderson was a bit-part player under Brendan Rodgers on his return to Celtic, with the midfielder featuring just 13 times, mostly from the bench, during the 2016/17 campaign - although he played enough games to pick up a league medal.

The following season he played just 23 minutes of football as a substitute and by January 2018, he had joined Italian side Bari on trial and signed a permanent deal later that month.

At the end of the 2017/18 season, Bari were declared bankrupt and Henderson became a free agent. He signed for Serie B side Hellas Verona in August last year.

Gunnarsson left his native Norway and joined Swedish Allsvenskan side Djurgardens in August 2016, making 55 appearances over three seasons and scoring three goals. He also tasted cup glory for a second time, helping Djurgardens to a 3-0 win over Malmo in the Swedish Cup final in May 2018.

Earlier this month, he signed an 18-month deal with Palermo in Italy’s second tier.

A point separates Verona and Gunnarsson’s new club going into the business end of the season, but a quick glance at the second-tier table reveals a number of teams are in the mix.

Brescia sit top of Serie B, with 50 points from 27 matches. Palermo are in hot pursuit, with 49 points from 27 matches. Verona lie in third with 46 points from 28 games. Three teams win promotion to Serie A - the league-winners are automatically promoted, along with the runners-up. But the third-placed side faces a play-off battle unless it commands at least a ten-point margin over the team that finishes fourth - currently Lecce, with 45 points from 27 games. Pescara could also enter the equation, currently sitting on 45 points from 28 games while Benevento (43 points from 27 matches) can’t be ruled out either.

Verona play Brescia the week before, and before April is up must play Benevento and Pescara. Palermo, on the other hand, face trips to Pescara on April 3 and Benevento on April 14.

On April 8, the two teams face off at Palermo’s Stadio Renzo Barbera in what could be a crucial game in the promotion run-in. There’s also the very real possibility that both players could be playing Serie A football next season.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891280.1552917055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891280.1552917055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Two former Hibees could be battling it out for promotion at the end of the season. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Two former Hibees could be battling it out for promotion at the end of the season. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891280.1552917055!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891284.1552917057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891284.1552917057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam Henderson and Gunnarsson celebrate the latter's goal against Queen of the South. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Henderson and Gunnarsson celebrate the latter's goal against Queen of the South. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891284.1552917057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891282.1552917061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891282.1552917061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gunnarsson is presented by Palermo after signing an 18-month deal with the Serie B title-chasers. iIcture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gunnarsson is presented by Palermo after signing an 18-month deal with the Serie B title-chasers. iIcture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891282.1552917061!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-make-it-six-wins-on-the-trot-in-reserve-league-1-4891483","id":"1.4891483","articleHeadline": "Hibs make it six wins on the trot in Reserve League","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552928630000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs made it six wins on the trot as they beat Hamilton 3-1 in the Reserve League.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891482.1552928626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Allan was on target for Hibs at Hamilton"} ,"articleBody": "

Goals by Fraser Murray, Lewis Allan and Jamie Gullan gave the Hibees full points at the Hope CBD Stadium.

Hibs, who named AFC Wimbledon midfielder Kosta Sparta on the bench as a trialist, got off to the perfect start after just two minutes 
when the ball struck Fraser Murray on the back before crossing the line. Allan made it two on the half-hour, firing home the rebound after Ben Stirling’s shot was saved.

Accies pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time as Alex Penny smashed a shot home.

Gullan restored Hibs’ two-goal advantage six minutes after half-time following a fine passing move and the visitors held on to that lead.

Hibs: Dabrowski, Stirling, Donaldson, Waugh, Sadiki, Campbell, I Murray, Block, Allan, Gullan, F Murray. Subs: Martin, Paton, O’Connor, Woods, Shanley, Trialist.

• This article was compiled using updates on the offical Hibs Twitter account.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891482.1552928626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891482.1552928626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lewis Allan was on target for Hibs at Hamilton","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Allan was on target for Hibs at Hamilton","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891482.1552928626!/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/craig-levein-explains-why-hearts-fans-were-right-to-boo-team-off-at-hamilton-1-4890874","id":"1.4890874","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein explains why Hearts fans were right to boo team off at Hamilton","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552908887000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein admitted Hearts were as poor as they have been in Saturday’s first half at Hamilton and could not complain about supporters jeering. A laboured first 45 minutes cost the Edinburgh club in Lanarkshire as they succumbed to a 1-0 defeat, with travelling fans audibly upset at full-time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890873.1552908883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein gives out orders from the sidelines. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Manager Levein was as annoyed as supporters with the performance, particularly an insipid first half in which the Hamilton defender Aaron McGowan struck the game’s only goal. Hearts dominated the second period but did not test Gary Woods in the Accies goal.

Levein told the Evening News he was struggling for positives afterwards and conceded supporters were entitled to criticise. “We get booed from our supporters when we don’t do well. On Saturday, we didn’t do well. They are entitled to do that. I’m not happy with the performance so they are entitled not to be happy with it as well,” he said.

“I’m struggling to find things that are really positive. A few players played alright, like Arnaud Djoum and Peter Haring. Craig Wighton was okay when he came on.

“We didn’t do enough to cause Hamilton problems and that’s what annoyed me. The first half was as poor as we have been. The second half was much better, we had more control of the match and moved the ball a bit quicker.

“We did cross the ball but the accuracy was off and Hamilton defended like a team who really needed the points.

“The game had 0-0 written all over it with the way we played. I can’t remember our goalkeeper, Bobby Zlamal, doing anything apart from coming off his line sharply once or twice. It was hell of a frustrating watching the slow tempo we had, particularly in the first half.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890873.1552908883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890873.1552908883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein gives out orders from the sidelines. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein gives out orders from the sidelines. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890873.1552908883!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6014352967001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/lower-leagues/east-of-scotland-league-craigroyston-in-hunt-for-new-manager-1-4891384","id":"1.4891384","articleHeadline": "East of Scotland League: Craigroyston in hunt for new manager","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552921991000 ,"articleLead": "

East of Scotland League outfit Craigroyston are inviting applications for their manager’s position following the departure of Alan Miller.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891383.1552923213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

Interested parties should contact chairman Gordon Bruce on 07527 124512. The closing date for applications is Monday, March 25.

Craigie, who currently sit tenth in Conference C, are looking for a manager to lead them next season now Miller’s short-term agreement has ended.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891383.1552923213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891383.1552923213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891383.1552923213!/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/scottish-football-live-former-rangers-midfielder-pena-joins-new-side-ex-england-striker-wants-old-firm-move-celtic-to-hit-financial-target-thanks-to-rodgers-1-4891147","id":"1.4891147","articleHeadline": "Scottish Football Live: Former Rangers midfielder Pena joins new side | Ex-England striker wants Old Firm move | Celtic to hit financial target thanks to Rodgers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552906939697 ,"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/1.4891146.1552918962!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic will receive a financial boost with the cash earned from Brendan Rodgers' move to Leicester City. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Refresh for live updates.

" ,"byline": {"email": "joel.sked@JPress.co.uk" ,"author": "Joel Sked"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891146.1552918962!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891146.1552918962!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic will receive a financial boost with the cash earned from Brendan Rodgers' move to Leicester City. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic will receive a financial boost with the cash earned from Brendan Rodgers' move to Leicester City. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891146.1552918962!/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/the-major-football-rule-changes-that-will-impact-hearts-and-hibs-next-season-1-4891038","id":"1.4891038","articleHeadline": "The major football rule changes that will impact Hearts and Hibs next season","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552898922000 ,"articleLead": "

A number of changes have been made to the laws of the game ahead of the 2019/2020 season which will impact the Edinburgh clubs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891036.1552900181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian's Florian Kamberi and Hearts' Zdenek Zlamal exchange words as referee Andrew Dallas intervines. Picture: SNS/Ross Parker"} ,"articleBody": "

The International FA Board (The IFAB) met earlier this month in Aberdeen for their AGM where they outlined the amendments, including three which were approved following two years of experiments and consultation.

The changes and clarifications range from handball to over celebrating as The IFAB seek to give players, coaches and supporters greater clarity.

Handball

The handball rule is one which provokes plenty of confusion and controversy. Now more situations have been outlined where handball should and should not be penalised.

A deliberate handball remains an offence, and now the following situations, even if accidental, will be a free kick:

• the ball goes into the goal after touching an attacking player’s hand/arm

• a player gains control/possession of the ball after it has touches their hand/arm and then scores, or creates a goal-scoring opportunity

• the ball touches a player’s hand/arm which has made their body unnaturally bigger

• the ball touches a player’s hand/arm when it is above their shoulder (unless the player has deliberately played the ball which then touches their hand/arm)

The following will not usually be a free kick, unless they are one of the above situations:

• the ball touches a player’s hand/arm directly from their own head/body/foot or the head/body/foot of another player who is near.

• the ball touches a player’s hand/arm which is close to their body and has not made their body unnaturally bigger

•if a player is falling and the ball touches their hand/arm when it is between their body and the ground to support the body (but not extended to make the body bigger)

•If the goalkeeper attempts to ‘clear’ (release into play) a throw-in or deliberate kick from a team-mate but the ‘clearance’ fails, the goalkeeper can then handle the ball.

Goal kick

One of the biggest changes is to the goal kick. No longer will the ball have to be played outside the box before it is deemed in play. Players from either side can touch the ball inside the box.

IFAB said: “The experiment that at a goal kick the ball is in play once it is kicked, and does not have to leave the penalty area, has created a faster and more dynamic/constructive restart to the game. It has reduced the time ‘lost/wasted’ including stopping the tactic of ‘wasting’ time when a defender deliberately plays the ball before it leaves the penalty area knowing that all that will happen is the goal kick will be retaken.”

Opposition players have to be outside the box when the kick is taken, however.

Substitutions

Another of the big changes sees substitutions required to leave the field of play by the nearest point on the touchline/goal line - unless the referee indicates the player can leave quickly/immediately at the halfway line or a different point because of safety, injury etc.

The alteration will stop players from time-wasting.

Drop ball

The IFAB have sought to do away with contested drop balls. If play is stopped inside the penalty area the ball will be dropped to the goalkeeper, while outside the box it will be dropped to a member of the team who last touched the ball at the point it was played.

In all cases players from both sides need to be at least 4m (4.5 yards) away from the player who receives the ball.

It was felt that the “current dropped ball procedure often leads to a ‘manufactured’ restart which is ‘exploited’ unfairly (e.g. kicking the ball out for a throw-in deep in the opponents’ half) or an aggressive confrontation”.

Celebrating

Players will continued to be booked for over celebrating, for example removing the shirt. A yellow card will be shown even if the goal is disallowed.

Goalkeeper position on penalties

Goalkeepers are required to have at least part of one foot on/in line with the goal line when the kick is taken and cannot stand behind the line.

They are not allowed to be touching the goalposts/crossbar/nets.

Quick free kicks

Teams are now able to take a quick free-kick even if the offence is to be penalised by a yellow or red card. The referee can show the card at the next stoppage in play.

The IFAB state: “Occasionally, an attack is stopped by a cautionable (YC) or sending-off (RC) offence and the attacking team takes a quick free kick which restores the ‘lost’ attack; it is clearly ‘unfair’ if this ‘new’ attack is stopped to issue the YC/RC. However, if the referee has distracted the offending team by starting the YC/RC procedure, the quick free kick is not allowed.”

Walls at free kicks

Attackers are not allowed to be within 1m (1yd) of a defensive wall of three or more. An offence from the attacker will result in an indirect free kick.

The IFAB believe that attackers can “often cause management problems and waste time. There is no legitimate tactical justification for attackers to be in the ‘wall’ and their presence is against the ‘spirit of the game’ and often damages the image of the game”.

Cards for coaches

Management staff can now be shown a yellow or red card if guilty of misconduct. If the “offender cannot be identified, the senior coach who is in the technical area at the time will receive” the card.

Kick-off

Teams who win the toss can choose to either take the kick-off or which goal to attack. Previously the only choice was which goal to attack.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4891036.1552900181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4891036.1552900181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibernian's Florian Kamberi and Hearts' Zdenek Zlamal exchange words as referee Andrew Dallas intervines. Picture: SNS/Ross Parker","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian's Florian Kamberi and Hearts' Zdenek Zlamal exchange words as referee Andrew Dallas intervines. Picture: SNS/Ross Parker","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4891036.1552900181!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1489591877499"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/we-weren-t-at-the-races-hearts-lament-slow-start-at-hamilton-1-4890872","id":"1.4890872","articleHeadline": "‘We weren’t at the races’: Hearts lament slow start at Hamilton","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552890600000 ,"articleLead": "

If Hearts are to reach the Europa League qualifying rounds, it will most definitely be via the hard route. A nonchalant start at Hamilton led to an insurmountable deficit and ultimately a defeat the Edinburgh club could ill-afford as they chase the Ladbrokes Premiership’s top four.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890871.1552837248!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein, clearly frustrated, delivers orders"} ,"articleBody": "

“Everyone said it before the game: If you want to qualify for Europe, you’ve got to be winning these games. We haven’t done that,” said defender John Souttar. “I thought we did start too slowly. We tried to pass it, which worked at times. It’s one thing passing the ball but as a Hearts team you’ve got to win second balls, play better than your man and be more aggressive than your man. A lot of people didn’t do that on Saturday.

“If you get beat, it’s hard to get it out of your system. That will be tough now with the international break. It’s done now and we have to deal with it. We are getting down to the business end of the season and Saturday was a big chance for us.”

By full-time, Edinburgh rivals Hibs had closed to within two points of Hearts, who also lost ground on fourth-placed Kilmarnock in the league table. One thing normally guaranteed from Hearts is aggression, energy and a competitive edge at the beginning of a game. Those commodities were conspicuous by their absence in Lanarkshire. A tame opening handed Hamilton the initiative and they executed head coach Brian Rice’s gameplan perfectly.

“It’s the same every time at Hamilton,” explained Souttar. “They will fight and scrap and they’ve got a bit of quality, as you saw from the goal. We weren’t at the races. There were a number of things. We will have a look at the game and see where we thought it went wrong.”

Wing-back Aaron McGowan’s looping first-time finish nine minutes before the break settled this encounter. It was the Englishman’s first goal for Hamilton and helped their quest to avoid relegation.

Hearts’ passive start gave Accies encouragement and, when McGowan hooked Lennard Sowah’s cross home first time, it was no more than the hosts deserved. Rice has the team he inherited from Martin Canning playing decent football and they switched play swiftly from right flank to left before Sowah crossed for McGowan near the back post.

Hearts assumed control of the second half and introduced three forwards from the substitutes’ bench. David Vanecek had been recalled to the starting line-up and struck the crossbar near the interval. That wasn’t enough to prevent him being replaced by Uche Ikpeazu during the break.

Aidan Keena and Craig Wighton followed as manager Craig Levein threw every available weapon at the hosts. Cross after cross arrived in the Hamilton penalty area, where a three-man defence of Alex Gogic, Matt Kilgallon and Ziggy Gordon remained defiant. Hearts did plenty probing but did not test the opposition goalkeeper Gary Woods to any real extent. They managed only one shot on target all afternoon.

“It was frustrating,” admitted Levein. “We were never under any real pressure at all in the match. In the first half, we didn’t do enough to get into the last third. We started the game very slowly and the tempo of our passing wasn’t enough to cause Hamilton any problems. Our passing was off and the level of competitive edge that we normally have was missing for some reason.

“In the second half, we controlled the game much better but didn’t create enough opportunities. Our final cross or final pass was lacking in quality. Hamilton had something to protect, which made it easier for them. We gave ourselves a mountain to climb.

“I don’t know why we started the game in a fashion that gave Hamilton some hope. We spoke before the game about second balls and things that are important when you go to Hamilton. We had been doing that stuff really well so it was frustrating.”

There were 1025 fans from Edinburgh. They let their displeasure be known during the match and at full-time. “That happens at home and away if we don’t play well. That’s something we will accept. I’m not going to make any complaint about that,” said Levein

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890871.1552837248!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890871.1552837248!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein, clearly frustrated, delivers orders","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts manager Craig Levein, clearly frustrated, delivers orders","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890871.1552837248!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-reaction-marvin-bartley-hails-paul-heckingbottom-for-turning-hibs-season-around-1-4890910","id":"1.4890910","articleHeadline": "Hibs reaction: Marvin Bartley hails Paul Heckingbottom for turning Hibs’ season around","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552890600000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s scarcely believable that, a month ago, Hibs were sitting eighth in the Premiership table, five points off a top-six finish in a season which appeared to be drifting away from them.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890909.1552841214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom issues instructions"} ,"articleBody": "

Today, not only is that place in the top half of the league not only firmly in their grasp, all eyes are now now on catching Capital rivals Hearts, who previously had looked out of sight.

To put it down to a “new manager bounce” following the arrival of Paul Heckingbottom would be wrong. The turnaround has been going on far too long for that to be the case, 13 points out of a possible 15 testament to the work that’s gone on behind the scenes but also the fact he had inherited a decent squad of players who had been under-performing.

“You have to get used to managers coming and going,” said midfielder Marvin Bartley of the departure of Neil Lennon and Heckingbottom replacing him. “It’s just part of the game. The manager has set us up the way he wants to play. They are both very good managers in their own right. The hard work we are putting in on the training pitch is now starting to show on match days. It’s good.

“It’s not been disruptive because we have got a good bunch of lads there. The changing room and the mindset of the players is massive. If you have the wrong sort of people in there, they almost down their tools if the manager changes.

“That’s not happened. Everybody has taken on board what he has said. We have to continue to do that. We’ve not done anything yet. We have had a good start but, as you know, good starts don’t mean anything. The team down the road [Hearts] had a good start and now we’re two points behind them.”

In his early days in charge, Heckingbottom insisted he’d adopt a “slowly, slowly” approach for fear of overloading his players with too much detail as to what he wanted implemented, but it’s clear that even after only a few weeks his ideas are taking hold.

“Tactically, on the training pitch,” answered Bartley when asked what was the biggest thing the former Barnsley and Leeds United boss had brought to Easter Road. “He lets you know exactly what he wants from you. You run through different things that could happen in the match and it’s very much driven into players daily. If your mate goes there, where do you need to go? His organisation is very, very good.”

All of which was all too evident as Hibs dealt with the very real threat of Motherwell, the Premiership’s in-form team with only one defeat in eight matches and just two points behind before this game kicked off.

There was a structure and understanding despite a new 4-5-1 formation with Flo Kamberi operating wide on the left, Mark Milligan and Paul Hanlon composed and controlled in central defence, Stephane Omeonga adding a verve and energy in the middle of the park while Marc McNulty and Daryl Horgan linked together superbly to stretch the visiting defence time and again.

It was that combo which brought the opening goal, an exchange of passes seeing Horgan hit the bye-line for McNulty, whose shot struck the hands of Tom Aldred, the in-form striker dispatching the resulting penalty to celebrate his Scotland call-up with his seventh goal for Hibs.

Skipper David Gray powered home a header two minutes from the interval leaving the home side, who had survived a first minute scare when Lewis Stevenson turned a Gboly Ariyibi cross onto his own post, to manage the game out, content to keep Motherwell at arm’s length while looking to hit on the break.

Horgan should have finished it but goalkeeper Ofir Marciano, who had been rarely troubled, earned his clean sheet as he got down superbly to turn away Aldred’s late header.

But perhaps what has been all the more impressive fact behind Heckingbottom’s transformation is that it’s been done with a threadbare squad, his numbers further depleted for this one by Darren McGregor’s suspension leaving a bench which, other than Bartley, comprised of academy players.

“I was flipping baby-sitting wasn’t I?” said Bartley who himself is just back from an injury lay-off. “I was a grandad. I was looking across at them thinking, ‘there is not a beard in sight’. I haven’t got much of a beard myself.

“We will be in a better place after this break and a few of the boys are back. Big Daz was suspended and he will be available also. The squad might look a bit older.”

Having comfortably moved into the top six with three games to go before the split, Heckingbottom insisted targets have changed, revealing his players now have Hearts very much in their sights having heard of the Jambos’ surprise defeat at Hamilton as they arrived back in the changing room.

He said: “When we first came in we were quite a bit behind and the short term goal was the top six and it still is. The bigger picture is trying to get better all the time and we are displaying really good form at the minute. And if that becomes the norm our targets might be better next season.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890909.1552841214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890909.1552841214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom issues instructions","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom issues instructions","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890909.1552841214!/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/gary-jardine-my-civil-service-strollers-never-know-when-they-are-beat-1-4890916","id":"1.4890916","articleHeadline": "Gary Jardine: My Civil Service Strollers never know when they are beat","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552890600000 ,"articleLead": "

Gary Jardine admits his battle-hardened Civil Service Strollers players have surprised several onlookers this season including himself at their rate of improvement.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890915.1552842318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary Jardine is proud of his squad"} ,"articleBody": "

The Muirhouse club boosted their top-four credentials after edging a seven-goal thriller against East Stirlingshire on Friday night.

Strollers were defeated 4-3 when the sides last met in October, but Jardine’s men claimed the bragging rights this time around in a pulsating contest at the Falkirk Stadium.

“We’re glad our game was on a Friday for a change and the boys are oozing with confidence just now,” said the former Edinburgh City manager. “They never know when they’re beat and keep surprising everybody. For us to go there and come away with three points speaks volumes of my players. East Stirling are a top side and were one of maybe five teams who had aspirations of winning the league. They’ll be a bit disappointed with how their season has panned out, but they’ve got some really good players.

“I said to their manager that both games this season could easily have been draws but in the end, we’ve come away with three points each! They have been cracking games and it’s great for Guff to come off the bench and grab the winner.

“To finish in the top-four would be a massive achievement. We’ve got a talented group of players that play well together and have a tremendous spirit. We set ourselves a tally of 30 points that would be enough to keep us in the league and when we reached that target it was just about the boys enjoying their football, which they seem to be doing.”

Jordan Hopkinson opened the scoring after 11 minutes when he pounced on a goalkeeping error to slot into an empty net before David Churchill arrowed a shot beyond Jamie Barclay to double Civil’s lead.

The home side pulled one back when Paul McCafferty converted a spot-kick in the 38th minute after shot-stopper Josh Donaldson brought down frontman Ross Allum.

Shire were level ten minutes into the second half when Andy Grant’s header from a corner sailed past Donaldson.

Churchill regained the lead with 20 minutes left after connecting with an Andrew Mair cross, but David McCaughie set up a tense final quarter after making it 3-3. The winning goal arrived in the 87th minute when substitute Ross Guthrie prodded home following a stramash in the box to end Shire’s unbeaten start to the new year.

Guthrie admitted: “We’re not looking too far ahead of ourselves. We’ve still got some difficult games before the end of the season, so we’ll just take them as they come.

“Before Gary came in, we probably weren’t playing as consistently as we are now. He’s helped everyone and brought us on a great amount. That’s been reflected in our performances and the gradual improvement we’ve seen since he took over. The boys enjoy working under him, but we know we’ve still got things we need to work on.”

The remaining three fixtures involving Lothian teams were postponed due to the bad weather. Spartans’ trip to Stirling University, Whitehill Welfare’s home clash with Gala Fairydean Rovers and Edinburgh University’s encounter with Edusport Academy all failed morning pitch inspections.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LEWIS ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890915.1552842318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890915.1552842318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gary Jardine is proud of his squad","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gary Jardine is proud of his squad","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890915.1552842318!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/edinburgh-city/edinburgh-city-s-league-two-title-bid-comes-down-to-one-game-peterhead-this-saturday-1-4890912","id":"1.4890912","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh City’s League Two title bid comes down to one game – Peterhead this Saturday","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552890600000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh City’s brave title bid is now entering the last-chance saloon. Victory over leaders Peterhead this Saturday is deemed essential if they are to keep the dream alive.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890911.1552841481!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Shepherd and Edinburgh City found Annan Athletic tricky opponents at Galabank"} ,"articleBody": "

With the Blue Toon’s match at Berwick Rangers on Saturday having fallen victim to the weather, the Capital outfit had the opportunity to chop their advantage at the summit to two points ahead of this weekend’s top-of-the-table showdown at Ainslie Park.

They were unable to grasp the chance, however, as they succumbed to a 3-1 defeat away to on-form Annan. City remain five points adrift of the leaders, who also now have a game in hand. “When we saw their game at Berwick had been called off earlier in the day, we were all in the changing room knowing that if we beat Annan it would have been down to two points and we’d have had a chance of going top of the league on Saturday,” said City keeper Calum Antell. “Peterhead will now be coming to our place under less pressure than what they would have if we’d beaten Annan. We could really have done with getting a win so we’re all disappointed.

“Saturday is now a must-win for us if we want to win the league. They’ve still got some hard away games so it’s not over if we can beat them this weekend. It’s a huge game. If they win, it will be very hard for us to peg it back but if we win, it’s back on again.”

City fell behind to a first-half penalty from Aidan Smith but Antell kept them in it by saving another spot-kick from the home hitman soon after. Top scorer Blair Henderson hauled City level after the break but Annan won it with headers from Steven Swinglehurst and former Hearts striker Christian Nade.

Even though the title is now looking unlikely for City, Antell insists this season has been a huge success. The former Hibs keeper said: “Whether we win the league or not, we’ve done unbelievably well this season. Compare it to last year. I am one of the few boys still here from last season and it was rotten, it was horrible. It’s a totally different pressure being up at the top to being down the bottom, worrying about relegation. I’d rather be in this position than where we were last year anyway. At this time last year we only had 20-odd points, now we’ve got 61. That’s credit to the boys who’ve come in and the boys who are still here as well as the gaffer.

“Whatever happens, we can hold our heads high. Even if we don’t finish top, we’ve still got the play-offs, so there’s no doom and gloom here. We’ve still got plenty to play for.”

City led the title race for much of the season but manager James McDonaugh believes injuries to key players like Danny Handling, Danny Galbraith, Jack Breen, Kieran Stewart and Josh Walker, who was due to start on Saturday but pulled out in the warm-up, haven’t helped his team’s hopes of an unlikely title triumph.

“We had a wee chance to put pressure on Peterhead ahead of next week but it probably shows where we are,” said McDonaugh. “I’m not one for making excuses but we’re missing nine players, including six who would start for most teams in this league. It’s difficult.

“We have to win all our games now and hope Peterhead lose two or three. The season’s not over though – no matter what happens, we’ll surely be in the play-offs which means our season will go down to the very last game.”

Annan: Mitchell, Hooper, Strapp, Swinglehurst, Watson, Bradley, Wilson, Johnston, Moxon (Wallace 85), Smith, Nade (Muir 90). Booked: Swinglehurst.

Edinburgh City: Antell, Thomson, McIntyre, Black, Balatoni, Laird, Shepherd (Diver 83), B Henderson, Taylor (Lumsden 83), Rodger, Watson (Macdonald 85). Booked: Rodger.

Referee: C Napier

Attendance: 341

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890911.1552841481!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890911.1552841481!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scott Shepherd and Edinburgh City found Annan Athletic tricky opponents at Galabank","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Shepherd and Edinburgh City found Annan Athletic tricky opponents at Galabank","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890911.1552841481!/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/another-tough-game-is-done-and-dusted-for-broxburn-athletic-1-4890922","id":"1.4890922","articleHeadline": "Another tough game is done and dusted for Broxburn Athletic","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552890600000 ,"articleLead": "

Leaders Broxburn took advantage of every other East of Scotland game being postponed when they travelled to St Andrews looking to maintain the pressure on Linlithgow at the top of Conference C.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890921.1552843931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Binnie scored the second goal for Broxburn"} ,"articleBody": "

A fabulous 4-0 win for Brian McNaughton’s men saw them come back over the bridge with all three points to increase their lead to eight points with only three games remaining.

Boss McNaughton was delighted with the result, saying: “We had a tough game recently against them winning 2-1 at home so we were looking for a response from them on their own patch, but we racked up a terrific three-goal lead at the break and the game looked over as a contest.

“An own goal sealed the win and the overall performance from the players was super. We played some great football in very poor conditions but the players dug in and got the result we deserved.”

Broxburn pressed from the kick off and took the lead within 15 minutes, Jack Beasley turning his marker in the box and firing home. They doubled their lead with a strike from Greg Binnie just before the half hour and, with Beasley scoring his second just before the break, the game was virtually over.

And, indeed, after 52 minutes the game was won.

The visitors won a corner from the right with St Andrews centre-half Paul Quinn forced into heading the ball high into his own net for Broxburn’s fourth.

This is a huge result for Broxburn as the season’s league games draw to a conclusion. They now have three league games left against Craigroyston, Ormiston and Stirling while Linlithgow, who have two games in hand, trail in second spot with some very difficult games coming up. They have Jeanfield home and away with Jeanfield in third spot in the table so the pressure is on the Prestonfield Park side. For Broxburn though, it’s another tough game done and dusted.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890921.1552843931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890921.1552843931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Greg Binnie scored the second goal for Broxburn","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Binnie scored the second goal for Broxburn","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890921.1552843931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/hearts-are-s-e-hibs-fan-who-had-stroke-utters-first-words-in-four-months-1-4890933","id":"1.4890933","articleHeadline": "‘Hearts are s***e’: Hibs fan who had stroke utters first words in four months","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552849321000 ,"articleLead": "

A Hibs fan who had a stroke has told how he shocked nurses by uttering his first words in four months - mocking rival club Hearts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890932.1552849728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs fan, 22, was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin. Picture: SWNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Darren Thomson, 22, lost all feeling in the left side of his body just 15 minutes after he developed a blinding headache.

The Hibs fan was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin.

He had two operations to help drain the excess fluid in his brain, but he still couldn’t speak for three months due to a tube down his throat then brain damage.

Darren heard his nurses talking about how they supported rival team Hearts - and shocked them by blurting out his first words: “Hearts are s***e”.

And five months since his first words the young man’s speech is getting better every day.

He’s still in a wheelchair but hoping to be on his feet to be his dad’s best man at his wedding later this year.

Darren said: “It was so scary not being able to speak.

“It’s so hard to put into words what it’s like not being able to speak.

“I was so confused, I didn’t even know what was happening or anything.

“But when I had a Hearts doctor looking after me, someone had said ‘what’s Hearts’ and I just said ‘Hearts are s***e’.

“It just came to me, I was so happy that I spoke out, everyone laughed.

“It felt so good to just hear my own voice again.”

Darren was at home on June 5 last year watching YouTube videos with his friend when he started to feel a headache at the back and right side of his head.

The Hibs fan thought nothing of it until minutes later when he couldn’t feel the left side of his body.

His friend, Michael Alison, 21, lifted up Darren’s left arm but when he let it go it fell to his side.

He called Darren’s dad Phil, 55, who rushed to the scene and took Darren to Borders General Hospital where medics discovered he had suffered a stroke and had severe bleeding in his brain.

He was transferred to the Edinburgh Western General were medics drained the cerebrospinal fluid - a clear and colourless body fluid found in the brain and spinal cord.

Phil, from Galashiels, Scottish Borders, said medics did not think “he would make it”.

He said: “His face had not dropped and he didn’t have slurred speech.

“I was just confused about what was actually happening because he was also struggling to stand up.

“That’s why I ended up taking him to the local hospital.

“But when he was finally rushed to the Edinburgh Western General Hospital no one knew if he would make it and even medics didn’t have faith in the operation going well.

“It was so frightening to hear all of these negative thoughts.”

After the operation, Darren was put into intensive care with a life support machine for around 12 weeks.

He was taken off life support but needed a second operation to fix the tubes in his brain that would help his body drain the excess fluid naturally.

This is because if the fluid builds up in the brain it could put pressure on the brain, which can damage it.

He went under the knife again in August and a few weeks after the operation the tube running down his throat was removed.

But he still couldn’t speak due to the brain damage.

He was then transferred to the stroke ward at the Borders General Hospital in October.

This is where Darren shocked nurses when he said his first words after the two operations.

Phil explained: “He made a funny comment about how terrible Hearts were.

“This was because most of the nurses there were all Hearts fans.

“We all couldn’t believe it, I just laughed.”

He was there for five weeks before he returned home in early December last year.

Darren uses a wheelchair and requires a carer 24/7, but said he remains positive due to his dad’s support.

Darren said: “My dad’s been unreal. I just think if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here today.

“I thank him so much for everything he has done”.

Phil, who is Darren’s full-time carer, said his son hopes he will be able to walk again for his wedding on June 15.

He said: “It’s difficult being a full-time carer but I’m a positive person.

“He does get frustrated when he can’t go out and see his friends but his brilliant, he doesn’t get down.

“He wants to stand at my wedding so we’ll see.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890932.1552849728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890932.1552849728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Hibs fan, 22, was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin. Picture: SWNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs fan, 22, was rushed to hospital where scans revealed he had suffered a stroke and had a bleed on the brain caused by a blood clot the size of a 10p coin. Picture: SWNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890932.1552849728!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-boss-paul-heckingbottom-s-message-to-hibs-fans-on-twitter-1-4890840","id":"1.4890840","articleHeadline": "Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom's message to Hibs fans on Twitter","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552827656106 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom took to Twitter to praise the team and thank the fans ahead of the international break.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890839.1552827787!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Heckingbottom has overseen an upturn in form. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The Englishman led the Easter Road side to a crucial 2-0 home win over Motherwell on Saturday.

The victory saw Hibs open up a five point gap on their opponents in sixth place and subsequently close the gap to neighbours Hearts to two points.

Heckingbottom tweeted: \"Enjoyed my first month at @HibernianFC. In football it’s rarely plain sailing but hopefully you can see the hard work the team are putting in. Thanks for the support and see you after the internationals #Hibees\"

It has been largely positive introduction to life at Hibs and in Scottish football in general. Under the former Barnsley and Leeds United coach the Hibees have won four of their five league matches - more than in the 17 games which preceded his appointment.

They also defeated Raith Rovers in the Scottish Cup before exiting to Celtic.

Hibs are now only seven points from third place with Europe a possibility if they continue their current trajectory.

However, Heckingbottom is focusing on securing a top six berth and overtaking Hearts.

\"The lads are talking about it in there [the dressing-room] after seeing the [Hearts] result,\" he said. \"Being really clinical about it, they are the next team in front of us. Whoever it is, we ask can we catch them. We'll try our best.

\"We spoke about the top six when we first came in and that we were quite a bit behind. Short-term goal is top six and it still is - that's what we're aiming for.

\"The bigger picture is trying to get better all the time and we're displaying really good form at the minute.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "joel.sked@JPress.co.uk" ,"author": "Joel Sked"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890839.1552827787!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890839.1552827787!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Paul Heckingbottom has overseen an upturn in form. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Heckingbottom has overseen an upturn in form. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890839.1552827787!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"3000000001858428"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/celtic-legend-billy-mcneil-s-family-address-upsetting-rumours-surrounding-his-health-1-4890837","id":"1.4890837","articleHeadline": "Celtic legend Billy McNeil’s family address ‘upsetting’ rumours surrounding his health","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552827319000 ,"articleLead": "

Celtic legend Billy McNeill’s family have issued a statement to address rumours surrounding his health.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890834.1552827314!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic legend Billy McNeil."} ,"articleBody": "

The Lisbon Lion is currently battling dementia and receiving treatment in hospital.

But false rumours have been circulating on social media regarding the 79-year-old’s health.

And his family have been forced to set the record straight in a statement issued on the official Celtic website.

It says:“Further to speculation circulating on social media we would like to confirm the following. As is widely known, our father, Billy, has been battling dementia for some time.

“He is currently in hospital receiving treatment for an illness. However, at no time have the family been called to his bedside and reports of his death are untrue.

“Whilst we appreciate the love and appreciation shown towards our father, the current rumours are upsetting to us as a family.

“We would appreciate if people would refrain from spreading such stories and respect our request for privacy in this matter.”

The former Hoops captain enjoyed a glittering career at the Parkhead club, where he became the first Briton to lift the European Cup after a 2-1 win over Inter Milan in Lisbon in 1967.

McNeill also led Celtic to nine successive league titles and won seven Scottish Cups and six League Cups, before having two spells as manager.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890834.1552827314!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890834.1552827314!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic legend Billy McNeil.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic legend Billy McNeil.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890834.1552827314!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890835.1552827316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890835.1552827316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Statue of Billy McNeill putside Celtic Park. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Statue of Billy McNeill putside Celtic Park. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890835.1552827316!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5801470690001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/what-hibs-are-getting-in-former-orlando-city-defender-jonathan-spector-1-4890833","id":"1.4890833","articleHeadline": "What Hibs are getting in former Orlando City defender Jonathan Spector","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552827023814 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs completed the signing of former Manchester United, West Ham and Birmingham defender Jonathan Spector on Friday night following his release from MLS side Orlando City. Here’s what the Easter Road side can expect…

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890831.1552827269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jonathan Spector plays the ball during an MLS clash between Orlando City SC and New York City FC at the Orlando City Stadium in March 2017"} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Versatile

A centre-back by trade (although he started life as a striker), Spector has filled in at left-back for West Ham as well as defensive midfield for the Hammers and Birmingham while the majority of his games for the Blues came at right-back. Orlando utilised Spector as a centre half, with the former US international starting a handful of games at left-back during an injury crisis.

With Ryan Porteous and Steven Whittaker currently sidelined for the foreseeable future, and on-loan Leicester defender Darnell Johnson nursing an ankle injury, Spector’s ability to fill any role in the backline as well as in front of the back four provides Hibs with some much-needed, experienced cover.

He would also allow Hibs to operate with three at the back without sacrificing Mark Milligan from midfield and would be able to step in in the event of injury or suspension to Paul Hanlon or Darren McGregor.

He’s had his injuries

Orlando were tipped for greatness in the 2018 MLS season, with Spector captaining the side, but a series of injuries for the 33-year-old and his team-mates forced the Lions to endure a nightmare campaign. The former Manchester United kid played just 13 times, missing ten matches in the opening part of the season through concussion, while a muscle injury sidelined him for six games in July and early August.

A knee injury kept him out of action for a month in the 2017 season while he suffered a series of injuries that disrupted his spells at West Ham and Birmingham, including tearing a thigh muscle on two separate occasions with the latter.

However, prior to agreeing a short-term deal with Hibs, Spector was boosting his fitness levels at the club’s East Mains training complex and an extended period of time out will have helped his recovery.

He’s highly-rated and well-respected

Journalists covering Orlando City’s exploits in the 2017 and 2018 seasons spoke highly of Spector’s ability and what he brought to the team. Writing for The Maneland blog, Ben Miller said he felt the Lions’ defence “tended to look more settled” when Spector played, and that he “plays hard, smart soccer and makes the players around him better”.

Spector was reportedly the fourth-highest paid player at Orlando, earning a base salary of around £432,000 a year - about £8300 a week - rising to £478,000 with bonuses or “guaranteed compensation”. This put him on a higher base wage than former Arsenal and Manchester City defender Bacary Sagna and ex-Arsenal and Chelsea full-back Ashley Cole, hinting at how highly Orlando rated him.

Spector has worked under a string of well-known managers - Sir Alex Ferguson gave him his debut as a youngster at Manchester United, while Alan Pardew brought him to West Ham for around £500,000, where he was later coached by Alan Curbishley, Gianfranco Zola and Avram Grant.

Chris Hughton, current Brighton boss, took him to Birmingham and at international level he was part of squads picked by Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley and Jurgen Klinsmann.

He’s got plenty of experience

As well as spells in MLS and more than 250 appearances combined in the English Premier League and English Championship, Spector has European experience from his time at Birmingham and West Ham, appearing in the UEFA Cup and its successor the Europa League. He played in wins over Portuguese side Nacional, as well as wins over NK Maribor (twice), and Club Brugge.

On the international stage, Spector missed out on the 2006 World Cup but did help the USA to Gold Cup glory in 2007 and was part of the team that reached the final of the 2009 Confederations Cup before losing to Brazil in the final. He registered an assist - his second of the tournament - for Clint Dempsey’s opener.

He also featured in three of America’s 2010 World Cup qualifiers, but was an unused sub for all four matches in South Africa. His last involvement with the national team came in friendly matches against Brazil and Costa Rica in September and October 2015.

Stand-out moments

As mentioned, Spector won the Gold Cup in 2007 and a runners-up medal in the 2009 Confederations Cup with the US, but he also scored a memorable double for West Ham against former club Manchester United - his first goals in English football - in a 2010 League Cup quarter-final. Coincidentally, the United 'keeper was Spector's future Birmingham team-mate Tomas Kuszczak.

Spector was also a recipient of the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award during his time at Manchester United, following in the footsteps of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Wes Brown and Phil Neville.

" ,"byline": {"email": "patrick.mcpartlin@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Patrick McPartlin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890831.1552827269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890831.1552827269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jonathan Spector plays the ball during an MLS clash between Orlando City SC and New York City FC at the Orlando City Stadium in March 2017","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jonathan Spector plays the ball during an MLS clash between Orlando City SC and New York City FC at the Orlando City Stadium in March 2017","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890831.1552827269!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890832.1552827270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890832.1552827270!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jonathan Spector keeps a close eye on Lionel Messi during a friendly match between the USA and Argentina in New Jersey, March 2011","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jonathan Spector keeps a close eye on Lionel Messi during a friendly match between the USA and Argentina in New Jersey, March 2011","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890832.1552827270!/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/talking-point-hearts-need-to-stop-undoing-all-their-good-work-1-4890792","id":"1.4890792","articleHeadline": "Talking point: Hearts need to stop undoing all their good work","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552821468904 ,"articleLead": "

Neil McGlade looks back at what was a disappointing afternoon for Hearts in Hamilton.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890791.1552821687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra is deflated after Hearts' defeat at Hamilton. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

There have been some really good performances by Hearts this term, but they are starting to fade into the distant memory. You could look at the 1-0 win over Celtic, the 3-0 victory at Dens Park, the 1-0 derby defeat of Hibs or more recently a fine 2-1 triumph at Kilmarnock. Then there's the 4-1 skelping they gave Hamilton on the opening day of the season. However, they are all being diluted by recent insipid displays, not least in South Lanarkshire on Saturday when they meekly lost 1-0 to the same side they obliterated back in August.

Yes, Steven Naismith was unavailable yesterday and Hearts were playing their third match in a week, but It was a tepid start from the visitors that didn’t get much better as the match wore on. Hearts didn’t show nearly enough in the final third to trouble a side who are scrapping it out to preserve their top-flight status.

Despite Craig Levein electing to play an attacking 4-3-3 against the club with the worst defensive record in the league – 61 goals conceded in 30 matches – opportunities were at a premium with just one shot on target registered in 90 minutes, David Vanecek seeing his close-range effort come back off the crossbar just minutes after Accies had got their noses in front.

But it was the manner in which his players started the match at Hamilton that really struck a chord with Levein. The Hearts boss was at a loss to explain his side’s display as he dissected the key moments of the contest afterwards. Following a battling 1-0 win at Dundee last weekend, not to mention a hard-fought 2-1 replay win over Partick Thistle to set up a Scottish Cup semi-final showdown with Inverness next month, Hearts were expected to build on those morale-boosting victories that have reignited their season and kick on.

Disappointingly, it was nowhere near the gung-ho attitude Hearts had shown on their last visit to the Hope CBD Stadium when they ran out deserved 4-1 winners. The likes of Peter Haring and Arnaud Djoum – two of the Capital side’s key performers this term – didn’t assert themselves nearly enough and came up short in their key individual battles.

Levein was unfazed by the chorus of boos following referee Willie Collum’s full-time whistle and insisted supporters were justified in airing their dismay.

But with the next game – the visit of Aberdeen – not until the end of the month, the international break will afford Levein and his players an opportunity to put the hard work in on the training ground as they bid rediscover some tempo and a high-octane performance. However, while some supporters appear to have thrown in the towel, it’s important to note Hearts are within 90 minutes of a place in this season’s Scottish Cup final and are just five points adrift of third-placed Aberdeen. Performances do need to improve and results like Saturday need to be eradicated, but it's still all to play for. A big April awaits ...

" ,"byline": {"email": "neil.mcglade@JPress.co.uk" ,"author": "Neil McGlade"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890791.1552821687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890791.1552821687!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra is deflated after Hearts' defeat at Hamilton. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra is deflated after Hearts' defeat at Hamilton. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890791.1552821687!/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/the-players-need-to-take-a-long-hard-look-at-themselves-hearts-fans-react-to-defeat-to-hamilton-1-4890690","id":"1.4890690","articleHeadline": "'The players need to take a long hard look at themselves' - Hearts fans react to defeat to Hamilton","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552768078000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts fans were not impressed with their side’s defeat at lowly Hamilton…

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890689.1552763290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare cut a dejected figure at full-time. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

@KevinFraserPP: “Humiliating defeat. Getting worse by the week”

@marsh_ross: “If we didn't have such a good (lucky?) start to the season we'd be fighting relegation. Points dropped to St Mirren, Dundee and Hamilton is nowhere near good enough.”

@littlegoldfish8: “The players need to take a long hard look at themselves and ask themselves \"do I want to play for Hearts?\" because at this moment they don't deserve to wear the Jersey. They can't just turn up for the big games, fans pay hard-earned money to see them turn up in every game”

@tay_callum: “Not had a convincing result in months, struggled to beat a team near bottom of championship, can't beat tinpot clubs in Premiership, our scouts think signing has-been players who have no fitness is a great idea and we play the most boring football in the league”

@chewbaaarker: “Levein was let down by the players... Naisy wasn’t there to scream at ppl - need more like him (plus change payments structure to incentives of bonus)

“Wee Robo once said that “players can suffer from 4 bedroom detached house syndrome” ... cold day or not need to try harder!!”

@zicos1874: “We were better last season watching Harry and Anthony now I'm watching Mulraney and Vanecek. Put both keepers together and they still wouldn't get close to McLaughlin not got 1 player in the team that can play a pass to split their defence”

@crawf1980: “St Mirren - Loss * Dundee - Loss * Livingston - Pumped * St Mirren - Draw * Hamilton - Loss - can’t beat 4 of the bottom 5”

@supernashwan84: “Hearts’ result has such a major impact on everyone’s weekends. To lose so tamely is just not good enough”

" ,"byline": {"email": "neil.mcglade@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Neil McGlade"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890689.1552763290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890689.1552763290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sean Clare cut a dejected figure at full-time. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sean Clare cut a dejected figure at full-time. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890689.1552763290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6014352967001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/talking-point-paul-heckingbottom-deserves-so-much-credit-for-hibs-revival-1-4890696","id":"1.4890696","articleHeadline": "Talking point: Paul Heckingbottom deserves so much credit for Hibs revival","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552765953000 ,"articleLead": "

Wednesday, January 23. 9.37pm. Fir Park. Referee Bobby Madden blows for full time and Motherwell earn a 1-0 win over Hibs.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890695.1552765936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Heckingbottom congratulates Marc McNulty at the end of Hibs v Motherwell. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "


The Easter Road players trudge off the pitch, digesting a damaging defeat that appeared to terminate their Europa League qualification hopes and jeopardise their top six ambitions. The result left Hibs languishing eighth in the Ladbrokes Premiership.

Two days later and we learn that Madden's whistle also blew time on then head coach Neil Lennon's Hibs tenure, his final match at the helm turning out to be that insipid 1-0 defeat in Lanarkshire as he was suspended by the club.

Fast forward to Saturday night and Hibs skipped off the Easter Road turf celebrating a 2-0 win over the very same Motherwell, a result that moves them five points clear in sixth place. Arithmetically, Hibs haven't secured their place in the top six, but they are almost there. One more win before the split should do it.

A lot has happened in the period between that aforementioned night in January and a much more merrier March date from a Hibs perspective. Lennon's exit, a couple of player departures, some fresh recruits and, the largest of them all, a new boss in Paul Heckingbottom.

The amiable Yorkshireman has reinvigorated Hibs. He's dragged the club up from its bootstraps. Make no mistake, Hibs were floundering under Lennon. The spark had gone. Trouble was in the air. Heckingbottom has galvanised a squad shorn of numbers and confidence. He's found a system that suits the players at his disposal. He has created an environment in which his players can flourish. Remember, Hibs are yet to lose in the league under him, beating Hamilton, Dundee, St Johnstone and Motherwell, while drawing with Rangers. His only defeat came to Celtic in Scottish Cup.

Hibs were five points off the top six when he arrived; now they have a five point cushion with three games remaining before the league halves. He's getting the best out of Florian Kamberi, Daryl Horgan, Mark Milligan and Vykintas Slivka, men who were losing their way under the previous regime. He's instilled tactical discipline to the squad. Okay, he's had Marc McNulty and Stephane Omeonga to work with - Lennon put the wheels in motion for those deals - but he's also operating without Ryan Porteous, Ryan Gauld and Martin Boyle. There is a positive air around the club.

Heckingbottom will tell you that his work has just begun and he's right. His unbeaten run in the league won't last forever. However, he's laid some pretty solid foundations. He's got Hibs playing again. They are now taking dead aim at Hearts, only two points clear of the Hibees in fifth. They are only seven points behind Aberdeen, who occupy third place. Talk of a Europa League spot seemed far-fetched a few weeks ago but it's not totally beyond the realms of possibility now.

Heckingbottom now has 12 days to continue his good work with the squad before they travel to Livingston on March 29. Then they host Kilmarnock, before a derby at Hearts. That trio of fixtures appeared daunting a few weeks ago, but such is the atmosphere around the club right now, Hibs will approach them with some relish.

Hibs now have a lot of play for as the season enters its denouement and that is largely down to Heckingbottom. It may still be early days in his stewardship, but he's given Hibs their mojo back in a pretty short space of time, and for that he deserves immense credit.

" ,"byline": {"email": "mark.atkinson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Mark Atkinson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890695.1552765936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890695.1552765936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Paul Heckingbottom congratulates Marc McNulty at the end of Hibs v Motherwell. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Paul Heckingbottom congratulates Marc McNulty at the end of Hibs v Motherwell. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890695.1552765936!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6014353024001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/three-things-we-learned-from-hamilton-1-0-hearts-1-4890687","id":"1.4890687","articleHeadline": "Three things we learned from Hamilton 1 - 0 Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552761971435 ,"articleLead": "

Neil McGlade picks out three Hearts-related observations from a disappointing defeat at Hamilton

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890686.1552762109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek has still to get off the mark for Hearts. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Vanecek desperately needs a goal

The Czech striker was given another opportunity by Craig Levein to get off the mark in a maroon jersey since joining from Teplice in January. However, after another underwhelming 45 minutes in Hamilton, the wait for a goal rumbles on. Vanecek started through the middle and was flanked by Jake Mulraney and Callum Morrison, both players also struggled to impose themselves in what was a lacklustre opening from the visitors across the board. Vanecek did come agonisingly close to bulging the net just minutes before the half-time interval when his close-range effort came back off the crossbar. However, that was to be his last taste of the action as he failed to reappear for the second half. Confidence is key, something Vanecek is bereft of since arriving in the Capital.

No end product

Hearts threw caution to the wind in the second half with Levein electing to put on Aidan Keena and Craig Wighton – to support Ikpeazu up top – as the visitors sought an equaliser. But despite having so many forward-thinking players on the pitch at the one time – Sean Clare, Arnaud Djoum and Morrison were the other attacking outlets – Hearts failed to test Gary Woods, who couldn’t have envisaged his opponents’ lack of firepower prior to kick off. This must be a huge concern for the Hearts head coach given Hamilton’s well-documented defensive vulnerabilities, not to mention the Gorgie side's high hopes of a successful end to the season.

International break to gather thoughts

Hearts are now entering a make or break point in their season with four colossal games to come after the international break. Despite the defeat to Hamilton, both Aberdeen and Kilmarnock, third and fourth respectively, only gained a point in the race for a European spot. That is the one crumb of comfort Hearts can take.

However, with city rivals Hibs now breathing down their necks, things are really hotting up in the top six with just three Premiership matches to play before the split. With the visit of Aberdeen and Hibs and a trip to Ibrox beckoning in the next three weeks, Hearts must rediscover their mojo and start picking up points again or run the risk of their season petering out. There’s also the small matter of a Scottish Cup semi-final against Inverness to negotiate next month. The Jambos won’t want to go into that match at Hampden in poor form.

The international break may just have come at a good time for Levein and his players. Only time will tell.

" ,"byline": {"email": "neil.mcglade@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Neil McGlade"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890686.1552762109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890686.1552762109!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Vanecek has still to get off the mark for Hearts. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Vanecek has still to get off the mark for Hearts. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890686.1552762109!/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/i-m-feeling-very-optimistic-about-things-right-now-hibs-fans-react-to-win-over-motherwell-1-4890681","id":"1.4890681","articleHeadline": "'I’m feeling very optimistic about things right now' - Hibs fans react to win over Motherwell","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552760722790 ,"articleLead": "Hibs fans were delighted after the 2-0 win over Motherwell ...","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890680.1552760876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano takes the ball during the game against Motherwell. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "


Fans were purring on Facebook with the performance ...


Alistair Rae: "Great today, should've been more than two, never under any pressure."

Lenny Toshack: "Excellent performance and a comfortable 3 points, well done Heck and the boys."

Kevin Urquhart: "We are looking goooood."

Mike Elliott: "Brilliant game by the hibees GGTTHS"

There was also a lot of love for the display on fans forum hibs.net ...

Mango Man: "It really was night and day compared to the last game against them, we controlled it really from start to finish, great team performance."

HFC_NYC: "It was excellent. That's exactly what football is all about. Solid defending and flowing football. You really can't ask for more. The only downside I can see would be that McNulty and Omeonga are unlikely to be here next season. Also, special mention to Marvin Bartley....absolutely solid."

Ozhibby: "Great performance all round. Milligan and Hanlon excellent at the back, omeonga busy in midfield and McNulty class up front. Stand out for me was Mallan though. Best performance for a while."

There was some strong praise for Paul Heckingbottom too ...

howdenthehibby: "PH sure knows how to set up a team , his philosophy is now starting to catch on.Can't wait to see what he can do with some of his own signings added to this squad."

HFCEighteen75: "I’m feeling very optimistic about things right now and whatever happens next he’s earned the right to build his own squad this summer and give the league a real crack next season."

Mcpakeisgod: "Always a wee lift when someone new comes in , but for some reason this chap is filling me with confidence . There’s no doubt Lennon had to go so looking forward to this new chapter!"

Sean1875: "Night and day to how things were when Lennon left, very very encouraging start and that’s with a team that is still depleted with injuries too!"

" ,"byline": {"email": "mark.atkinson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Mark Atkinson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890680.1552760876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890680.1552760876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano takes the ball during the game against Motherwell. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano takes the ball during the game against Motherwell. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890680.1552760876!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-2-0-motherwell-mcnulty-and-gray-strikes-tighten-hibs-grip-on-top-six-finish-1-4890622","id":"1.4890622","articleHeadline": "Hibs 2-0 Motherwell: McNulty and Gray strikes tighten Hibs grip on top six finish","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552759516000 ,"articleLead": "

Marc McNulty celebrated his first Scotland call-up with his seventh Hibs goal to send the Easter Road side on the way to victory over Motherwell.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890621.1552755198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marc McNulty turns away in celebration after opening the scoring for Hibs against Motherwell"} ,"articleBody": "

The on-form striker netted from the penalty spot after his shot had been blocked by the hands of Motherwell defender Tom Aldred. Captain David Gray powered home a header to double Hibs lead before half-time, those goals proving enough to give the Capital outfit a five point advantage over the Steelmen in that battle for a top six finish.

Not only that, it sees them now hot on the heels of city rivals Hearts who sit a place above them in the table.

Hibs endured a huge scare within 30 seconds of the start, Gboly Aiyibi racing past David Gray to make the bye-line before drilling over a low cross which Lewis Stevenson turned against his own post.

Having enjoyed that escape Hibs almost conjured up a goal of their own, Stephane Omeonga's run and pass finding McNulty who fed it wide for Daryl Horgan to deliver an inviting cross which found the striker's head. McNulty, barely six yards out, directed it downwards but the legs of goalkeeper Mark Gillespie came to Motherwell's rescue.

And it was that McNutly-Horgan partnership which brought the opening goal, the striker's clever flick setting his team-mate free. Horgan made good ground before cutting it back into the path of McNulty who saw his shot hit the arm of Aldred, leading referee Kevin Clancy to point to the spot, McNulty stepped up to apply his usual accomplished finish to give Gillespie no chance even although the goalkeeper had gone in the right direction.

Even although they only had that solitary goal, Hibs looked well in control and added to their tally six minutes before the interval, Gray getting his head to Stevie Mallan's corner to bullet the ball beyond Gillespie.

Hibs, however, lost Gray to injury only two minutes into the second half. The club skipper had been struggling after picking up an early knock and his departure resulted in Lewis Stevenson switching to right back as Sean Mackie took over on the left.

With that two goal cushion there was no real demand for Hibs to go seeking a third - as welcome as that would have been - Paul Heckingbottom's players content to keep Motherwell at arm's length while waiting for that opportunity to hit on the break.

And Horgan should have done exactly that when Macie's cut-back came to his feet, the winger dragging his shot horribly wide with the goial gaping.

Hibs goalkeeper Ofir Marciano had hardly been troubled but the Israeli internationalist pulled off a terrific save eight minutes from time, getting down low to knock away Aldred's header.

Hibs: Marciano, Gray (Mackie 47), Milligan, Hanlon, Stevenson, Slivka (Bartley 72), Mallan, Omeonga, Horgan (F Murray 85), Kamberi, McNulty,

Substitutes not used: Dabrowski, Shaw, I Murray, Allan.

Motherwell: Gillespie, Grimshaw, Aldred, Dunne, Tait, Campbells (Frear 66), Rodriguez, Turnbull, Hastie, Main (Scott 66), Ariyibi (Johnson 76)

Substitutes not used: Ferguson, McHugh, Hartley, Donnelly.

Referee: Kevin Clancy

" ,"byline": {"email": "david.hardie@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "David Hardie"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890621.1552755198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890621.1552755198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marc McNulty turns away in celebration after opening the scoring for Hibs against Motherwell","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marc McNulty turns away in celebration after opening the scoring for Hibs against Motherwell","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890621.1552755198!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6014353024001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/three-things-we-learned-from-hibs-2-0-motherwell-1-4890673","id":"1.4890673","articleHeadline": "Three things we learned from Hibs 2-0 Motherwell","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1552759098395 ,"articleLead": "

Mark Atkinson picks out three Hibs-related observations from Saturday's clash with Motherwell ...

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890672.1552759194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs celebrate their second goal. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Awesome Omeonga

Stephane Omeonga put on midfield masterclass against Motherwell. It was probably the best individual performance from a Hibs midfielder since the halcyon days of John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Scott Allan last season. He did everything you want from a central midfielder - snapping into tackles, crisp, accurate passing and surging runs through the heart of the pitch. He was called into the Belgium Under-21 squad this week and it's clear Hibs have a classy operator on their hands. Head coach Paul Heckingbottom tried him out on the wing to begin with as he sussed the player out early in his tenure, but he soon realised he is best used in the centre. The only downside for Hibs is that he's not their player as he's on loan from Genoa. For now, it's best to enjoy his performances on the pitch - and off it, with regular piano-playing posts Instagram. He'll be a huge asset for the Hibees between now and the end of the campaign.

Maestro Milligan

Veteran Australian midfielder Mark Milligan was asked to move from central midfield to defence to help cover for the suspended Darren McGregor. It's not an altogether alien role for Milligan - he has played at centre-half for his country - but with Hibs, he's been used there sporadically. Up against the aggressive and lively Curtis Main, Milligan did not put a foot wrong alongside Paul Hanlon. He was sound with his positioning and won most aerial duels. After a sticky winter, Milligan is starting to blossom again as spring arrives. His manager now knows he has a dependable centre-half as well as a midfielder.

Hibs' discipline

Hibs deserve a lot of credit for the way they shut Motherwell up in the second half. Despite losing right-back and captain David Gray to injury on 48 minutes, the defence was rock-solid and the whole team kept their shape. The midfield tracked the visitors' runs forward, while Florian Kamberi and Daryl Horgan made sure that Well's wingers were not allowed a free pass at the full-backs too often. Heckingbottom has his team well-drilled and disciplined and it paid off in securing the points here.

" ,"byline": {"email": "mark.atkinson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Mark Atkinson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4890672.1552759194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4890672.1552759194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibs celebrate their second goal. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibs celebrate their second goal. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4890672.1552759194!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}