{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"football","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-boss-neil-lennon-hoping-to-strengthen-his-attack-1-4662706","id":"1.4662706","articleHeadline": "Hibs boss Neil Lennon hoping to strengthen his attack","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516106090000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon is hopeful of bringing more new faces to Hibs in the current transfer window, with the emphasis on strengthening his attack.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662705.1516106088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon is looking for 'forward-thinking players'."} ,"articleBody": "

The Easter Road club have already added goalkeeper Scott Bain and striker Jamie Maclaren this month, and the manager is keen to bolster his squad further.

However, he explained that any new arrivals may require players to depart first, with out-of-favour striker Deivydas Matulevicius already having been told he is free to leave if he can find himself a new club.

“We are looking for forward-thinking players, although we may have to trim the squad first before we can bring anybody else in,” Lennon told Sky Sports today.

“It’s a question of ‘wait and see’ but we have already lined up some options in a number of positions.

“At this stage of the season, we are looking to strengthen but I am very happy with the core of the squad.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANTHONY BROWN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662705.1516106088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662705.1516106088!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon is looking for 'forward-thinking players'.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon is looking for 'forward-thinking players'.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662705.1516106088!/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-wants-to-have-striker-signed-by-hearts-hibs-clash-1-4661981","id":"1.4661981","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein wants to have striker signed by Hearts-Hibs clash","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516084204000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein has prioritised signing a new striker before Hearts’ Scottish Cup tie against Hibs on Sunday. Talks continue regarding the Scotland internationalist Steven Naismith, however the move for Dutchman Leon de Kogel has stalled.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661980.1516036103!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein is keen to beef up his attacking options ahead of Sundays derby. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

De Kogel failed to agree terms with the Tynecastle club after visiting Edinburgh last week. The deal is not totally dead at the moment but Hearts are looking at other options as they race against time to strengthen their attack for the Edinburgh derby.

A new left-back was Levein’s main target this month but the loan signing of Demetri Mitchell from Manchester United completed that task last week. The Tynecastle management team have now turned their attention to forwards, mindful that Kyle Lafferty can’t face Hibs due to suspension.

“I want to make sure we have at least one more player in before the derby game,” said Levein. “That is not always within my control but that’s what I want to do. We are trying our hardest to do it. With Kyle suspended, anyone who is coming in is more than likely to be involved because of that.”

Naismith is available for a permanent transfer or loan before the end of the month having fallen out of favour at Norwich City. Hearts are one of several clubs to enquire about him.

Kilmarnock are also interested but Rangers’ loan capture of Jason Cummings would appear to end any chance of Naismith moving to Ibrox. The 31-year-old forward scored twice and claimed an assist for Norwich Under-23s against Newcastle United on Sunday.

“Steven Naismith made it clear he is going to search for another club, another challenge. It could be in the next two weeks there is a solution. Not yet,” said the Norwich head coach Daniel Farke.

“I would have no problems to go further on with him but we have given him this space to search for something else. It could be there is a solution. If not, he will be here.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661980.1516036103!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661980.1516036103!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein is keen to beef up his attacking options ahead of Sundays derby. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein is keen to beef up his attacking options ahead of Sundays derby. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661980.1516036103!/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/football-coaches-demand-action-to-protect-players-from-dangerous-yobs-1-4662263","id":"1.4662263","articleHeadline": "Football coaches demand action to protect players from ‘dangerous’ yobs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516086000000 ,"articleLead": "

FOOTBALL coaches have called for immediate protection from “dangerous” yobs on motorbikes who are tearing through a park in Niddrie at speeds of up to 70mph.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662262.1516052588!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edina Hibs coach Brian Gunn at the Jack Kane Centre pitches"} ,"articleBody": "

Local side Edina Hibs said training pitches at the Jack Kane centre had been targetted by off-road bikers since they moved to the sports venue in April.

The club has warned that the out-of-control bikers are putting the lives of children who train there at risk.

They say motorbike yobs are regularly seen during training sessions and matches and have called for increased safety measures to protect the young footballers.

“Do we have to wait until a child dies before action is taken?” said club treasurer and coach Brian Gunn. “Serious concerns were raised as soon as we started training at the Jack Kane Centre.

“The bikers can reach speeds of up to 70mph. They do wheelies and doughnut manoeuvres and ride up close to the kids. They have no perception of risk, they think it is funny.

“We tried to speak to them but they just won’t listen.”

Following a risk analysis Mr Gunn, who is a chartered health and safety adviser, said the fencing around the pitches would help eliminate the majority of the risk.

“My five-year-old son has had two near misses with the bikers and it is completely unacceptable. We need to address this problem and I have asked for fencing to be installed but it seems to be bogged down in bureaucracy.

“Surely fencing is a small price to pay. It’s going to take a child to be seriously hurt or a fatality before something is done. We feel we’re not getting anywhere.”

The council plans to install new 3G pitches in the future and said they will consider securing these new pitches with fencing.

Cllr Donald Wilson, Culture and Communities Convener, said: “The damage to the pitches is of course disappointing and dangerous, and we understand the events over the weekend will be of great concern to the local club and the community.

“This type of antisocial behaviour is a real problem in some parts of Edinburgh, and, as we have seen recently, it can have dangerous consequences.

“Tackling this issue is a priority for the council and through our antisocial 
behaviour strategy, each locality has a Community Improvement Partnership in place where issues relating to anti-social behaviour and community safety are discussed. We will continue to work closely with Police Scotland on all anti-social behaviour issues in Craigmillar and across the city.”

Edinburgh Leisure staff who work at the Jack Kane Centre have also been exposed to violence from the bike gangs.

An Edinburgh Leisure spokesperson said: “What is hugely frustrating is that actions of a small minority of the community has such a negative impact on everyone else, making playing fields unplayable and causing potential danger to other people’s lives.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662262.1516052588!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662262.1516052588!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edina Hibs coach Brian Gunn at the Jack Kane Centre pitches","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edina Hibs coach Brian Gunn at the Jack Kane Centre pitches","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662262.1516052588!/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/ben-stirling-will-be-next-youngster-to-make-hibs-breakthrough-1-4661925","id":"1.4661925","articleHeadline": "Ben Stirling ‘will be next youngster to make Hibs breakthrough’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516084202000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs boss Neil Lennon has tipped 19-year-old midfielder Ben Stirling to become the next youngster to make the breakthrough at Easter Road after cutting short a loan spell at Cowdenbeath to push him into his first-team squad.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661924.1516029732!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ben Stirling"} ,"articleBody": "

Stirling was part of the travelling party which spent last week in the Algarve, using the winter break to prepare for the second half of the season, just one of five teenagers to make the trip.

Lennon has already watched striker Oli Shaw make the step-up along with defender Ryan Porteous and midfielder Fraser Murray, but now he has high hopes for both Stirling and Polish goalkeeper Kevin Dabrowski.

Stirling played the full 90 minutes against Excelsior Rotterdam and part of a second game against another Dutch side Willem II in Portugal and did himself no harm in the eyes of Lennon, who said: “It’s up to Ben, but we feel he could be the next one to make that next step.

“He has good attributes, good height and is well balanced in both feet. Again, like all of them physically he needs to develop a bit. They have youth on their side so that will come, but we are very pleased with their football intelligence.”

Shaw, of course, has been the one youngster who has caught the eye, scoring on his debut in the Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic and then repeating the feat as Hibs held the Hoops to a 2-2 draw at Easter Road.

Lennon is delighted not only with his progress, but that of the others. He said: “There’s a structure there for young players and Oli has taken that path. We hope for more of the same in the second half of the season.

“It’s great, really healthy and important for a club like Hibs. We also have one or two bubbling away that might come through next season. To have three at that level at the moment is very good.

“We are delighted with the progress of Oli, Ryan and Fraser, but Ben has done well and he’s one we feel we can progress.

“Kevin has been around for a while. Again, he is still a bit raw but he has good attributes for a goalkeeper, good size, good shot-stopper, good personality.

“I am delighted with the addition of them to the squad.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661924.1516029732!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661924.1516029732!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ben Stirling","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ben Stirling","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661924.1516029732!/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/scottish-amateur-cup-gordon-ramsay-brace-helps-sandys-through-1-4662050","id":"1.4662050","articleHeadline": "Scottish Amateur Cup: Gordon Ramsay brace helps Sandys through","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516084258000 ,"articleLead": "

Sandys booked their place in the last-32 of the RJM Sports Scottish Amateur Cup with a 2-1 fifth-round success over Ayrshire team Stewarton United in Craigmillar.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662049.1516034273!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

The Premier League outfit are now the last remaining LEAFA representative in the competition and will visit Bonnyrigg Rose conquerors Hurlford AFC next month to scrap it out for a last-16 spot.

The hosts caught a leggy Stewarton off-guard inside three minutes.

A threaded pass from midfield lynchpin Terry Carlin allowed Gordon Ramsay to run on to and cut the ball back for Paul Mercer, who ruthlessly hammered home from close range.

Sandys sat back looking to preserve their advantage which was to cost them on the half hour as Stewarton took advantage of a defensive mishap to draw level.

Determined to regain their lead, the home side upped the tempo once more and scored their second goal just before half-time when Ramsay headed in Johnny Robertson’s pinpoint cross.

Sandys remained on the front foot when proceedings got underway again and should have extended their lead but were denied by a fine save from the Stewarton goalkeeper.

Fresh legs in Robert McKenzie and Conor Spowart empowered the home side, with the former almost making an immediate impact with an effort from range which flew just wide.

Former Bonnyrigg Rose Juniors midfielder Andrew Kidd was denied as Sandys continued to look for a third goal to kill of the visitors’ hopes, while Steven Philip and Liam McCardle also went close.

Elsewhere, Edinburgh Caledonian strengthened their Sunday Morning Division 1 title hopes with a resounding 5-0 victory over Broxburn AFC.

Caley made it 27 league matches unbeaten spanning back to last season when they completed a league and cup double in Division 2.

Their transition to the top flight has been seamless as evidenced in this encounter as they dominated from start to finish.

Chris Dolan fired the hosts in front after seven minutes with a strike from the edge of the box after Michael McConnell teed him up. Striker Nick Byrne doubled their advantage midway through the first half by latching on to a Stevie Murray flick on.

Broxburn continued to struggle after the interval. It wasn’t long before Caley made it three as Dolan fired in off the post, before substitute’s Andrew Renton and Terry Pearson added further goals late on.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT THOMSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662049.1516034273!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662049.1516034273!/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/1.4662049.1516034273!/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/liam-fontaine-we-can-create-anfield-boot-room-at-hibs-1-4662063","id":"1.4662063","articleHeadline": "Liam Fontaine: We can create Anfield boot room at Hibs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516084246000 ,"articleLead": "

Liam Fontaine is laying plans to stay at Hibs long after his playing days are over, hoping to become part of an Easter Road “boot room” packed with former team-mates.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662062.1516034539!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Fontaine"} ,"articleBody": "

The defender is just one of five Hibs players who have been undergoing their UEFA B licence, joined in his studies by club captain David Gray, Paul Hanlon, Darren McGregor and Lewis Stevenson as they look to their long-term futures.

And having been in at the start of the Capital outfit’s recent renaissance, Fontaine revealed they’d all love to help driving the club forward.

While Stevenson and Hanlon have been long-term fixtures and McGregor is a life-long Hibs fan, Fontaine believes both he and Gray now have such a strong affinity with Hibs they want to hang around when it comes to hanging up their boots.

“You never know,” he replied, when asked if he could see a Liverpool-style boot room, that famous Anfield institution which produced legendary managers such as Bob Paisley, Joe Fagan and Roy Evans who brought huge success to Merseyside.

“We are playing here at a time when, in my opinion, the club is on the rise and as the years tick off on your career you want to stay part of that development.

“We know what the gaffer and the club are building so why not keep it in house if you can. We all have a connection to the club and want the best for Hibs, so you never know what might happen.”

Fontaine probably had more time on his hands than his team-mates in starting his coaching badges, the 32-year-old having spent the past ten months sidelined after picking up two serious ankle injuries which limited him to just a couple of Betfred Cup matches at the beginning of the season.

“It was a terrible 2017 for me,” he admitted. “It was a freak accident when I was initially injured. I wasn’t even involved in a tackle, I was shadowing the ball out when the boy behind me was tackled and fell on my leg.”

The upshot was a cartilage being torn from the bone, Fontaine nearing peak fitness again when he suffered almost exactly the same injury in his other ankle as he fine-tuned his sharpness in a game for the Hibs development squad.

However, that time was put to good use. He said: “I was just getting myself back when it happened again. It’s hard to deal with at times, 
but you have to do it as a footballer.

“It was very frustrating watching, but doing my B licence I was able to look at matches in a different way and learn a lot about the game because it was all I could do.

“Rather than beat myself up – which is what you can do quite easily – you have to try to find things that keep you positive.”

Fontaine is well aware that he only has a few months remaining on his contract but he’s determined to push his way back into boss Neil Lennon’s plans with the aim of winning himself a new deal.

The former Bristol City player said: “I’ve been back for a little bit now and played in a development game a few weeks ago and got through that fine but obviously we had a run of games through December.

“In the Algarve last week we were asked to do double sessions every day which, on a personal level, was good. It helped my fitness and I feel good.

“The gaffer has always said it’s a squad game. We have a great squad and the boys have been doing very well. You want to play, but all you can to is put a bit of pressure on, a bit of competition. That’s healthy.

“You never know what is going to happen. You see Dave pick up that injury in Portugal unfortunately. It’s not ideal, but that’s the reason you have a squad.

“Hopefully I can be like a new player in the second half of the season. I want to get back into the team, get a run of games and show what I can do. I’m going to work hard and 
hope to earn a longer stay at Hibs which I’d love to do.”

Fontaine was fit for the last Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle but didn’t make the 18 who stripped for the game, watching instead from a vantage point behind the away dug-out, admitting he was more than a touch envious of those playing.

Now, though, he has eyes on being more involved as Lennon takes his side back across the city for Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash with the Jambos at a venue which, Fontaine agreed, has become a happy hunting ground for Hibs in recent years..

Hibs will pitch up in Gorgie looking to extend a run of nine matches unbeaten against their arch-rivals having knocked them out of the cup in each of the previous two seasons, both times taking a draw at Tynecastle before completing the job on their own turf, the first occasion famously leading to that historic victory over Rangers at Ibrox.

However, as Fontaine pointed out, he and his team-mates have done well at Tynecastle not just against Hearts.

He said: “We’ve had a good runs in the cups in recent years.

“We beat St Johnstone there in the semi-final of the League Cup and then started our cup run last season by beating Bonnyrigg Rose at Tynecastle. Hopefully we can keep that run going.

“It’s a great atmosphere to play in with the stands being so close to the pitch although these games are always good no matter where they are played.

“Everyone is always up for them, players and fans alike. They are great occasions.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662062.1516034539!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662062.1516034539!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Liam Fontaine","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Liam Fontaine","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662062.1516034539!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/hearts-keeping-close-eye-on-dundee-united-s-scott-fraser-1-4661985","id":"1.4661985","articleHeadline": "Hearts keeping close eye on Dundee United’s Scott Fraser","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516055424000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts are interested in signing Dundee United’s Scott Fraser but are waiting to see how and when the midfielder recovers from injury.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661984.1516031943!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Fraser is currently recovering from a fractured foot"} ,"articleBody": "

A fractured foot suffered in last month’s away defeat by St Mirren has sidelined Fraser until the end of the season, when his contract at Tannadice expires.

Fraser has told United he will not sign a pre-contract agreement with another club at the moment because he is focused only on overcoming the injury. Hearts have watched him for some time and could make their move later this year.

The player is available for free this summer as he turns 23 in March. FIFA rules state that compensation is not due if a player leaves a club after the end of the season in which he turns 23.

Click here for the latest Hearts results, fixtures and stats>>>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661984.1516031943!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661984.1516031943!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scott Fraser is currently recovering from a fractured foot","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Fraser is currently recovering from a fractured foot","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661984.1516031943!/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/jon-mclaughlin-i-knew-hibs-had-scored-against-hearts-1-4661894","id":"1.4661894","articleHeadline": "Jon McLaughlin: I knew Hibs had ‘scored’ against Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516055400000 ,"articleLead": "

Jon McLaughlin recalls the thud of shot against crossbar before turning to look behind. He saw the ball bounce down from the underside of the goal frame and cross the line as it hit the turf. Hibs striker Oli Shaw and most others in the vicinity also witnessed it. However, referee Steven McLean and assistant Sean Carr remained impassive and play continued.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661893.1516028327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin looks back as Oli Shaws strike cannons off the bar and over the Hearts goalline in the last meeting with city rivals Hibs. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Three weeks since the last Edinburgh derby, the goal that never was remains the subject of fierce debate. Except there is no debate, really. It was a clear goal. Martin Boyle’s low cross was struck first time by Shaw and hit the underside of the bar before bouncing about a foot behind the line. McLaughlin, the Hearts goalkeeper, didn’t need the benefit of television replays. Nor did Shaw. They knew it was in.

The injustice denied Hibs victory at Tynecastle Park. Ironically, that goalless draw was the fifth in a six-game sequence which saw Hearts set a new clean sheet record. McLaughlin can allow himself a wry chuckle now, although not at the time.

“I knew it was over the line,” he admitted. “At the time, I just ran forward as far away from it as possible looking to boot the ball up the pitch. You just get the poker face on and get away from there. You are always told to play to the whistle and that’s what I did.

“It’s probably one that will sting the Hibs fans, especially with us going on to get the club record of clean sheets after it. Was I laughing? Later on I was, but I wasn’t the time. All I was thinking was ‘don’t blow’ and thankfully he didn’t.

“It was close but for the officials to give it they have to be sure. When it bounced I could see it was over the line but I think it was pretty harsh on the linesman because he didn’t have a great view of it.

“If he’s going to give it, especially looking through bodies, with the post in the way and the fact it happened so quickly, he has to be 100 per cent sure. He clearly wasn’t and in circumstances like that they can’t gamble. They can’t make the decision just thinking it might have gone over.

“That was in our favour and thankfully for us it wasn’t given. We got away with one and got a bit of luck there but I think we deserved it because there had been times, especially earlier in the season, where things went against us. It’s all in the past now, hopefully we can go out and win the game this Sunday.”

The Captial clubs meet again, this time in the Scottish Cup as opposed to the league, with Hibs aiming to stretch their unbeaten run against Hearts to ten games. That sequence includes a Scottish Cup victory over their neighbours in each of the last two seasons. McLaughlin is merely midway through his first season in Edinburgh after forging a career in England, but he knows what this rivalry means.

“I know about the past two seasons, we are all well aware of what this game means to the club and what the competition means,” said the 30-year-old. “Hopefully we will be able to get that derby record gone and make progress in the cup.

“It has been fantastic to be involved in the derbies since I came up here. What we need to do now is win one. It’s a prestigious fixture and they are great to play in, but from our point of view a draw and a defeat so far is disappointing. The fans are crying out for us to end this run Hibs have in the derbies, so we hope to do that this weekend.

“I felt in the 0-0 game last month we did a lot of things well. We were very secure and defended well but it was a game we thought we could win. While we have enjoyed playing in them, what will make it better is winning.”

McLaughlin would happily sacrifice his historic clean sheet statistic to achieve that aim. “It is something to be proud of. It’s fantastic to get records both personally and as a team. People try to give the goalkeeper the credit in those circumstances but it’s about everyone because there is no way you are getting a clean sheet unless each member of the team is pulling their weight.

“That’s why we were able to do it, so all the players involved deserve the praise. It has been great and I hope we keep it going. But I think everyone would take a 5-4 win over Hibs this weekend if it means we are through to the next round and the supporters are celebrating a derby win. We will still have it in the league regardless, so we will be aiming to extend it.”

Earning such an accolade should see Hearts offer their goalkeeper a contract extension before his current deal ends this summer. “We haven’t spoken yet, although the club have mentioned they want to sit down and do something. That’s always great to hear and I’m happy about that,” he explained.

“I have enjoyed it here so far, it has been a great experience. There will be a lot of factors which play into it from both sides, so we will sit down and see where we go.

“There was a change of manager when I came in, the old manager had gone and Jon Daly was in charge. So I was well aware of the situation, I was always aware a new manager would be coming in. The good thing was the gaffer, Craig Levein, was at the club and had the power to say who came and went at that stage.

“So from my perspective, I knew it wouldn’t be a case of someone coming in and saying: ‘Hang on a minute, I’m not having this guy.’ It’s always a different scenario when you sign for a club which doesn’t have a permanent manager in place. But the gaffer’s coaching staff were all there, Jon, Liam Fox and Austin McPhee – so nothing much has changed, really.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661893.1516028327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661893.1516028327!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin looks back as Oli Shaws strike cannons off the bar and over the Hearts goalline in the last meeting with city rivals Hibs. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin looks back as Oli Shaws strike cannons off the bar and over the Hearts goalline in the last meeting with city rivals Hibs. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661893.1516028327!/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/jason-cummings-completes-loan-move-to-rangers-1-4662210","id":"1.4662210","articleHeadline": "Jason Cummings completes loan move to Rangers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516048286000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers have completed the loan signing of Jason Cummings from Nottingham Forest, with Norwich City defender Russell Martin expected to agree a similar deal tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662209.1516048282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings in action for Nottingham Forest in a Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The summer signing from Hibs will spend the rest of the season at Ibrox after scoring just four goals in 18 appearances for Forest, and could join on a permanent basis in the summer.

Signed by former Rangers manager Mark Warburton, Cummings failed to hold down a regular starting berth at the City Ground and was understood to have held talks with Warburton’s successor Aitor Karanka last week.

The 22-year-old underwent a medical in Glasgow at the weekend before finalising his move to Rangers on Monday, and is the fourth player to join the Gers this month after Sean Goss and Jamie Murphy arrived on loan and Declan John signed a permanent deal.

Cummings told RangersTV: “I’m absolutely delighted to come to such a massive club. Once I knew they were interested, there was no question in my mind that I wanted to sign for them.

“It’s such a massive club and it’s a privilege to be here. I can’t wait to get out there at Ibrox and wear the blue.

“I can’t wait to get started now. I asked my agent to try and sort something out, and when I heard Rangers were interested it was just something I couldn’t decline.

“I have always enjoyed playing against Rangers, and hopefully I can enjoy playing on the other side this time.”

Scotland international Russell Martin could become Graeme Murty’s fifth signing of the January transfer window, wth the Norwich defender expected to put pen to paper on a loan deal later this week.

Martin hasn’t featured for the Canaries this season, and knows Murty well from the Rangers manager’s time as a youth coach at Carrow Road.

Terms have reportedly been agreed between the two clubs and Martin will likely undergo a medical in Glasgow in the next 24 hours.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662209.1516048282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662209.1516048282!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings in action for Nottingham Forest in a Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings in action for Nottingham Forest in a Carabao Cup tie against Chelsea. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662209.1516048282!/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/jamie-maclaren-what-brisbane-roar-fans-say-about-the-new-hibs-striker-1-4662191","id":"1.4662191","articleHeadline": "Jamie Maclaren: What Brisbane Roar fans say about the new Hibs striker","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516045293000 ,"articleLead": "

Jamie Maclaren is yet to kick a competitive ball for Hibs but the striker is targeting a place in Australia’s 2018 World Cup squad. Patrick McPartlin spoke to fans of Brisbane Roar to get their take on the loan signing from SV Darmstadt.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662190.1516045287!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Maclaren is aiming to recapture his Brisbane Roar form for Hibs, as he eyes a place in Australia's 2018 World Cup squad. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Hibs confirm loan signing of Darmstadt striker Jamie Maclaren

Former team-mate Steven McGarry described him as ‘quick, dynamic and [with] a real eye for goal... a penalty-box player’ while fellow Australia international Ryan McGowan added: “He runs in behind well, clever link-up play... given service would imagine he will score goals.’

Hibs fans are understandably excited about the arrival of Maclaren, especially with his first match for the Easter Road side likely to be a Scottish Cup derby against Hearts - who were also keen on the forward.

The Melbourne native scored 43 goals in 61 appearances for the Roar and picked up the Young Footballer of the Year award - for the second consecutive year - before agreeing a three-year deal with SV Darmstadt 98 in Germany’s second tier. However, Maclaren struggled for game time at the Merck-Stadion am Böllenfalltor and said following his arrival at Hibs that he was targeting a place in Australia’s 2018 World Cup squad.

Despite his struggles in Germany, Maclaren was nevertheless ranked at number 31 in Goal.com’s Top 50 Australian players of 2017. At the tail end of 2016 his form saw him linked with English Premier League side Stoke City, even if Roar boss John Aloisi played down the speculation.

It would be all too easy to brand Maclaren a ‘replacement for Jason Cummings’, but despite the strikers at Hibs’ disposal - the mercurial Anthony Stokes, leading scorer Simon Murray and the emerging talent of Oli Shaw - even the most ardent of fans would agree that the side has been missing a good old fashioned poacher up top.

READ MORE - Jamie Maclaren is just what Hibs need, says former team-mate

Roar fan Scott Owen, of the Brisbane Football Review, reckons Maclaren is exactly the sort of player Hibs need in attack.

“The majority of Jamie’s goals for Brisbane came from close range. In the 18-yard box he’s got the positional sense to get himself into good goalscoring positions.

“As a finisher, he’s equally adept with both feet and scored an equal number of goals from either side, making him an unpredictable quantity for oppoisition teams in the A-League.”

Hibs have, at times, struggled to put teams away this season but the arrival of Maclaren should give them an extra dimension up front. The 24-year-old was viewed as the leading Australian goalscorer in the country’s top flight prior to joining Darmstadt, after the striker shared the Golden Boot with Kosovan forward Besart Berisha. The pair scored 19 goals apiece.

A confident penalty-taker, Maclaren’s movement off the ball contributed greatly to Brisbane’s third-place finish, qualification to the AFC Champions League second preliminary round and their run to the A-League semi-finals, where they were edged out by Melbourne Victory.

Owen continues: “Jamie offers great movement and makes intelligent runs in behind the opposition defences, making him an effective weapon for Brisbane to hit teams on the counter attack or quickly in transition.

“During his time at Brisbane, the team was usually set up to enable him to make the most of this skill and a lot of goals scored by The Roar were as a result of Maclaren’s ability to stretch teams.”

Are there any areas of Maclaren’s game that he needs to work on?

“The biggest weakness in Jamie’s game during his time at Brisbane was his ability to score goals with his head,” says Owen.

“He scored just one headed goal in his two seasons with the Roar and it’s probably the part of his game which can be improved the most.”

READ MORE - Big interview: Jamie Maclaren on Hibs, Hearts, World Cup and his Darmstadt hell

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662190.1516045287!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662190.1516045287!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jamie Maclaren is aiming to recapture his Brisbane Roar form for Hibs, as he eyes a place in Australia's 2018 World Cup squad. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jamie Maclaren is aiming to recapture his Brisbane Roar form for Hibs, as he eyes a place in Australia's 2018 World Cup squad. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662190.1516045287!/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/talks-stall-between-hearts-and-dutch-striker-leon-de-kogel-1-4662172","id":"1.4662172","articleHeadline": "Talks stall between Hearts and Dutch striker Leon de Kogel","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516043334000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts’ move for Leon de Kogel has stalled after the Dutch striker failed to agree terms with Tynecastle officials.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662171.1516043330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts have been trying to striker a deal with Go Ahead Eagles striker Leon de Kogel"} ,"articleBody": "

Chances of the deal being resurrected are slim, although the Evening News understands it is not completely dead yet.

De Kogel, who is available for transfer from Go Ahead Eagles, visited Edinburgh last week and was shown round Tynecastle Park and Hearts’ Riccarton training base.

He held talks and remained in negotiations with Hearts over the weekend. However, no deal could be agreed and it remains to be seen if talks continue.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4662171.1516043330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4662171.1516043330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts have been trying to striker a deal with Go Ahead Eagles striker Leon de Kogel","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts have been trying to striker a deal with Go Ahead Eagles striker Leon de Kogel","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4662171.1516043330!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/our-region/edinburgh/anthony-stokes-given-penalty-points-after-driving-without-a-licence-1-4661768","id":"1.4661768","articleHeadline": "Anthony Stokes given penalty points after driving without a licence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516033608000 ,"articleLead": "

HIBS player Anthony Stokes collected an unwanted three points after he pled guilty to driving without a licence.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661767.1516033603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anthony Stokes collected 3 driving points in court. Picture; JP"} ,"articleBody": "

The ex Celtic striker admitted his guilt but wasn’t at Glasgow’s Justice of the Peace Court today - less than a week after being banished from training for breaking a curfew during a team trip to Portugal.

Stokes - who only has a provisional licence - illegally drove on Cumbernauld Road in the east of the city.

He was driving a Mitsubishi Shogun 4x4 on January 28, 2016 when stopped by police.

READ MORE: Hibs punish trio for breaking curfew on winter training camp

The 29 year-old was represented at court yesterday on the day he was due to stand trial.

Defence lawyer Michael Gallen said Stokes pled guilty to driving without a licence but not guilty to driving without insurance, which prosecutors accepted.

Stokes was given three points on his licence and a £160 fine reduced from £175.

Mr Gallen said: “He is originally from the Republic of Ireland, he holds a licence issued by the driving authority in Ireland.

“At the time of this particular offence his misunderstanding was that he was covered in the UK by virtue of that licence.”

Last week, Stokes and team mates Danny Swanson and Martin Boyle were ordered to train separately from the rest of the group for the last three days of their trip to the Algarve in Portugal.

It’s understood the three players failed to check in on time following a squad meal out last Tuesday evening.

In January 2016 he was loaned to Hibernian until the end of the season and signed a two-year contract with them in August.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ASHLIE MCANALLY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661767.1516033603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661767.1516033603!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Anthony Stokes collected 3 driving points in court. Picture; JP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anthony Stokes collected 3 driving points in court. Picture; JP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661767.1516033603!/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/kyle-lafferty-hits-out-again-in-twitter-spat-with-david-tanner-1-4661819","id":"1.4661819","articleHeadline": "Kyle Lafferty hits out again in Twitter spat with David Tanner","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1516024442000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty has continued his spat with David Tanner, branding the former Sky Sports presenter a “fame w***e”.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661817.1516024626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty has become involved in a war of words with the former Sky Sports presenter on Twitter. Picture: Alan Rennie"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Liverpool fans hail Andy Robertson after Manchester City performance

It was widely reported that the pair had an argument on Twitter yesterday over Tanner’s accusation that the Northern Irishman was a troublemaker while at Rangers.

Not keen to let things lie, Lafferty has today added fuel to the fire by saying: “Can’t believe my tweet to that bell has got his name in the paper. He’ll be loving it since nae one knows who the f*** he is. #famew***e.”

Social media users were loving the 30-year-old’s jibe and responded with praise.

One said: “Outstanding. Couldn’t believe it when I saw it. Fair play for sticking up for yourself and not letting a remark like that with no substance go unchallenged.”

Another said: “That ended me Kyle. Absolutely superb.”

Alan Hill added: “Well said.”

The original clash came after the TV presenter criticised Lafferty during a discussion with a fan.

READ MORE - Kyle Lafferty gets into Twitter spat with TV presenter David Tanner

Tanner had been discussing the possibility of Lafferty’s former Rangers team-mate Steven Naismith returning to Ibrox and tweeted : “Do you really want me to answer that? I guarantee you won’t like it. Embarrassing. Lafferty is lauded and he was causing bother even before Green got his claws in the club. Stop. Go back. Re-examine Naismith.”

The Hearts forward took exception with the accusation and said: “Causing bother within the club. Talk some s*** you do David. Jog on mate.”

Tanner replied: “Now, now. There was conflict, big man.”

Lafferty continued to refuse to lie down and hit back: “Once a bell always a bell.”

The Northern Ireland international scored 38 goals in 138 games for Rangers between 2008 and 2012, winning three league titles.

He left for Swiss side Sion after the club were liquidated and re-entered the bottom division of Scottish football.

This season he has hit seven league goals for new club Hearts, including one in the 4-0 win which stopped Celtic’s unbeaten run.

READ MORE - Hearts linked with move for Newcastle United defender Kyle Cameron

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Blair Meikle"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661817.1516024626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661817.1516024626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Lafferty has become involved in a war of words with the former Sky Sports presenter on Twitter. Picture: Alan Rennie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Lafferty has become involved in a war of words with the former Sky Sports presenter on Twitter. Picture: Alan Rennie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661817.1516024626!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5645993052001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/edinburgh-city/edinburgh-city-boss-cries-foul-but-to-no-avail-1-4661263","id":"1.4661263","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh City boss cries foul – but to no avail","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515997858000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh tempered his post-match comments following their 2-0 defeat by Montrose, but the hosts were clearly and understandably angry at the strange decisions that played a part in the result.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661262.1516010774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's Liam Henderson, right, challenges Connor McLaren"} ,"articleBody": "

First half-strikes from Michael Bolochoweckyj and Lewis Milne gave The Gable Endies the points and Farid El Alagui’s second half sending off rubbed salt into wounds, but there was controversy surrounding all three incidents.

“It’s hard to be honest in assessment as I’ll just get myself in trouble,” said McDonaugh. “The easiest thing when you get beat is to blame other people and for us we lost our way a bit in a 15-minute spell.

“We lose a goal and we’re aggrieved because we think it’s a free-kick. The first one I wasn’t sure but their second goal is definitely a free-kick to us. We don’t get the decision on either occasion, and I’m disappointed in the players but only for that spell.

“I think they deserve a lot of credit despite two key decisions going against them and even down to ten men we stuck at it. Credit to Montrose, they deserved to win, but we’ve hit the bar twice. The two goals are obviously the talking points but I don’t think we looked 30 points behind them.”

City started well and Allan Fleming was beaten all ends up after Scott Shepherd’s effort looped over him, the visiting keeper no doubt relieved to see the ball bounce off the crossbar.

The following corner eventually resulted in an opportunity for Ashley Grimes. He thought he’d scored, only for Fleming to pull off a stunning acrobatic stop, again with some help from the woodwork to keep the ball out.

Bolochoweckyj finished smartly with a volley soon after, but there looked a strong shout for a foul on Pat Scullion as a high ball was knocked down immediately beforehand.

It was two soon after, again City claiming for a foul as Shaun Harrison appeared to be tripped in his own box. Referee Lorraine Watson waved play on and Milne swept home, El Alagui receiving a caution for his protests.

The referee further angered City by awarding Montrose a penalty just before the break when Liam Henderson clumsily brought down Milne. Skipper Paul Watson stepped up, but Calum Antell produced a fine save to his right to keep City in it.

City should have halved the deficit just before the hour when a searching ball from El Alagui found Shepherd in space, but he could only fire in to the near side netting.

A mix up between Fleming and Shaun Dillon almost allowed El Alagui in for a simple finish, but the former Dundee United captain atoned by frantically scrambling the ball off the line. The resulting corner was met with a looping header from Jesus Garcia Tena, but again the visitors cleared off the line with Fleming beaten.

City were then down to ten, El Alagui’s earlier yellow coming back to haunt him after he was shown another for blocking Fleming’s attempt to kick from hand.

“You’re disappointed when anybody gets sent off, but it’s more the first booking for dissent,” said McDonaugh. “I don’t really know what happened at the second one. You shouldn’t be getting booked for dissent, but the players are that frustrated with things going against them.”

Montrose assistant Ross Campbell admitted City could feel hard done by. “I think we were certainly fortunate to get one of the goals,” he said. “Albeit we didn’t score the penalty which maybe evened it out, but the second goal they’ll feel aggrieved. I think it was a foul.”

Edinburgh City: Antell, Harrison (Thomson 88), Walker, Laird, Grimes (Donnelly-Kay 72), Hall (Blues 52), Henderson, El Alagui, Shepherd, Garcia Tena, Scullion.

Montrose: Fleming, McLaren (Masson 65), Steeves, Allan, Dillon, Bolochoweckyj, Milne, Watson (Callaghan 65), Johnston, Templeman (Fraser 78), Redman.

Referee: L Watson.

Attendance: 464.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661262.1516010774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661262.1516010774!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh's Liam Henderson, right, challenges Connor McLaren","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's Liam Henderson, right, challenges Connor McLaren","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661262.1516010774!/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/spartans-content-to-take-point-from-key-bsc-glasgow-clash-1-4661261","id":"1.4661261","articleHeadline": "Spartans content to take point from key BSC Glasgow clash","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515997849000 ,"articleLead": "

Spartans boss Dougie Samuel was quick to praise the efforts of his players as the Capital outfit were held to a goalless stalemate with Lowland League title rivals BSC Glasgow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661260.1515951043!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Spartans manager Dougie Samuel was pleased with his players' effort. Pic: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Chances were at a premium at the Indodrill Stadium in Clackmannanshire, the home side’s Jack Smith drawing a smart stop from Blair Carswell minutes after the restart, while Spartans’ Jack Nixon spurned a golden opportunity as he headed wide of the target with just seconds to spare.

With reigning champions East Kilbride running out 4-0 winners over Gretna 2008 at K-Park, Spartans are now three points off the pace but, crucially, have three games in hand. BSC, meanwhile, remain a point worse off than Spartans in third and have played two games more.

“We leave here with our destiny still in our own hands but with still a lot of football to be played,” Samuel explained afterwards. “I’m disappointed with our execution at the top end of the pitch because I think if we had shown that bit more quality then we could have won the game. But I’m not going to knock them for it because they put everything into the game and gave me everything they had.

“Our final ball could have been better but I think over the piece a draw was probably a fair result. I think that between them the goalkeepers made maybe made four or five saves so it was really tight and cagey.”

The visitors were forced into one change from last weekend’s 2-0 victory over Civil Service Strollers, Alan Brown replacing Jamie Dishington who missed out with a groin strain.

Former Partick Thistle winger Stephen Murray was first to try his luck after seven minutes but saw his curling effort clip the outside of Carswell’s right-hand post.

Striker Jack Smith was then booked for simulation as he tried to win the hosts a penalty but referee Grant Irvine wasn’t fooled by the youngster’s theatrics.

Spartans were forced into a reshuffle after half an hour, defender Blair Tolmie forced off with a hip injury and replaced by the returning Gavin Malin, who had only joined from Edinburgh City 24 hours beforehand.

Jason Stevens’ snapshot had to be turned around the post before Scott Maxwell’s cross-cum shot just after half-time was inches away from nestling in the top corner.

Carswell denied Smith a sure goal with an instinctive stop from six yards following Jamie Mills’ pinpoint delivery.

As the second half wore on both sides continued to press for the winner and from a Malin corner, Nixon couldn’t direct his header on target with just goalkeeper Stephen Barr to beat.

Midfielder Malin, who left Ainslie Park in 2012, revealed he is delighted to back again amongst some familiar faces.

“I’m happy to be back and looking forward to the challenge of trying to help the club win the league and into the play-offs,” the 29-year-old said. “There’s a lot of experience in that dressing room so I’m hoping to be able to add to that.

“I was pleased to get some game-time, although I probably got longer than I had expected. It’s definitely a better point for us than BSC but we go into every game wanting to win. There weren’t too many clear-cut chances for either side.”

Elsewhere, Whitehill Welfare ran out 2-0 winners over Civil Service Strollers at Christie Gillies Park.

Connor McGregor’s penalty midway through the first half gave the visitors a deserved lead at the interval before Gary Nicholson’s fine solo effort wrapped up the points with 15 minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Edinburgh University were edged out 2-1 by East Stirlingshire at East Peffermill.

BSC Glasgow: Barr, Tennent, Mills, Donnelly, McNab, McMillan, Redpath, Duncan, Smith (Stokes 85), Grehan, Murray (Stoney 66). Subs: McArthur, McStay, Kinnaird, McLean, Stokes, Cullen.

Spartans: Carswell, Herd, Stevenson, Nixon, Tolmie (Malin 30), Greenhill (Bremner 74), Brown, McFarland, Stevens, Corbett, Maxwell (Allum 77). Subs: Stobie, Atkinson, Guthrie, Khutsishvili.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NEIL McGLADE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661260.1515951043!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661260.1515951043!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Spartans manager Dougie Samuel was pleased with his players' effort. Pic: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Spartans manager Dougie Samuel was pleased with his players' effort. Pic: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661260.1515951043!/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/cole-stockton-hearts-ready-for-another-physical-hibs-clash-1-4661209","id":"1.4661209","articleHeadline": "Cole Stockton: Hearts ready for another physical Hibs clash","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515997847000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts return from Spain’s Costa Blanca tomorrow eager to switch focus from winter training camp to Scottish Cup tie. The feeling within Craig Levein’s squad is that Hibs’ unbeaten run in Edinburgh derbies has gone on long enough.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661208.1515945391!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Cole Stockton says the club are "due" a derby win. Pic: Lisa Ferguson"} ,"articleBody": "

Striker Cole Stockton expects a physical encounter and acknowledges Hearts must stand up to their neighbours. However, it matters not how they win Sunday’s fourth round encounter at Tynecastle Park. Ending Hibs’ nine-game sequence without defeat in this fixture is the absolute priority.

“Yeah, it’s due isn’t it? It’s got to be due, by the law of averages it’s got to be coming,” said the Scouser. “The physical side of it comes with it. You’ve got to have that in your head. It’s a battle first to earn the right to play.

“I live just outside the city but the derby is always at the back of your head. When we get back to training on Wednesday, that’s when you’ll know. Hibs are quite physical. Marvin Bartley is quite physical and so is Efe Ambrose. He’s physical but he’s not a big lad.

“Apart from that they’ve got a few good players. John McGinn is very good, Brandon Barker is quick and then Simon Murray, he’s all right. They’ve got good players but with the players we’ve got, I don’t think we should have a problem.”

Kyle Lafferty’s suspension gives Stockton and others the chance to earn a starting place for one of the biggest occasions on the calendar. “It’s a massive game. I’ll just keep myself ready for whatever is what. This is perfect for a game like that, get ready for it and come out of the blocks.

“At their place earlier in the season, it was one of them. It wasn’t the best and the 0-0 game last month was a typical derby, it was just a battle. I don’t think we created many chances but I’m confident we will. If you look at the last five games we’ve had some chances. Knowing we’ve got the defenders behind us is well is encouraging, knowing they’re doing their job.”

As an Everton supporter, Stockton is no stranger to derby difficulties. More than seven years have passed since the blue side of Liverpool last lorded it over the reds. He watched the recent FA Cup tie at Anfield from a cabin in the Highlands and went straight to bed when Virgil van Dijk headed the winning goal.

Defeat isn’t something he takes well, although he feels the Edinburgh rivalry is different to Merseyside. “There are so many foreigners playing in Merseyside now. The Edinburgh derby it’s different. There are a lot of local lads, Scottish and English lads, so it means more. You can feel it more.”

The impression Stockton gives is that he thrives on the intensity. At former club Tranmere Rovers, from whom he joined Hearts last summer, local rivals were conspicuous by their absence.

“When I was at Tranmere it was a bit of an awkward one because the only clubs are Liverpool and Everton and we didn’t play against them. It was more the Manchester clubs,” he said. “Derbies are all the same, you have to earn the right to play. You’ve got to roll your sleeves up.”

The Spanish trip gave Stockton much-needed game time, for his first season in Scotland thus far has been frustrating. Most of his time has been spent on the substitutes’ bench playing third fiddle behind Lafferty and Esmael Goncalves. He started both friendlies on the Costa Blanca against Vitesse Arnhem and FC Nurnberg.

“It’s good to get back into it again in the warm weather and playing against different teams. It was a good game against Vitesse. It’s about fitness as well, we had ten days off and it’s getting back into it. The winter break is a new thing for me, we didn’t have one at Tranmere.

“We had a few games over the festive period so it was good to get a rest but you want to get back into it, otherwise you’re in the house with the missus all day.”

He spent plenty time with girlfriend Lois at Lochgoilhead prior to the five-day stay near Valencia. “I went back home to see my family for a couple of days and went to Lochgoilhead. We got a log cabin with the missus and the dog. It was a mission to get there, it was up a mountain and bit scary but it was nice when we got there.

“There was no signal on my phone so it felt like being in a different world. It was lovely. There was a bit of sleet and it was freezing, minus seven, so I sat in and watched Everton against Liverpool on Friday night. I’m a Blue so I didn’t enjoy it. It had Van Dijk written all over it. I went straight to bed after he scored.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "BARRY ANDERSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661208.1515945391!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661208.1515945391!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts striker Cole Stockton says the club are "due" a derby win. Pic: Lisa Ferguson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts striker Cole Stockton says the club are "due" a derby win. Pic: Lisa Ferguson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661208.1515945391!/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/linlithgow-boss-embarrassed-after-5-5-draw-with-kennoway-1-4661222","id":"1.4661222","articleHeadline": "Linlithgow boss ‘embarrassed’ after 5-5 draw with Kennoway","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515997839000 ,"articleLead": "

Linlithgow Rose boss Mark Bradley labelled the five goals they conceded as embarrassing in their 5-5 draw with Kennoway Star Hearts, a match he described as the craziest he’s ever seen.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661221.1515957435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Strickland slides in to score the second for Linlithgow. Pic: Greg Macvean"} ,"articleBody": "

The Prestonfield men dropped points at home for the first time this season in a match they were expected to win to remain hot on the heels of leaders Bonnyrigg Rose.

Bradley’s post-match comments summed up a bonkers 90 minutes in which the home side never led. Their bungling defending would have made it into a footballing manual for how not to defend.

One of the visitors’ goals came straight from kick-off after Linlithgow had equalised, with home goalkeeper Darren Hill on his way back to his area when Chris Gay caught him off guard and found the net.

“I’ve never known five goals to be conceded at home, never mind the five craziest goals that we gave away. It was embarrassing to a certain point the goals we conceded,” fumed Bradley.

“I didn’t think we played badly, and that might sound crazy to people who weren’t here but the goals we gave away were shocking. Everything they done was from our mistake. The second goal after we had just equalised was criminal.

“For the boy to hit it from the half way line and Darren to be over at our side getting a drink or talking about something was his fault and the coaches fault because we should be organising that.

“I’ve never seen a goal like that in my life. I’m embarrassed a wee bit about it, because the boys fought so hard to get back in the game and we scored a good goal. We would’ve kicked on from there, I’m confident about that, because we were totally dominating the possession and we had them hemmed in our half.”

Rose were denied what looked to be a stonewall penalty in the final minute when Roddy MacLennan was wiped out by Kennoway goalkeeper Robbie Paterson, with Bradley questioning referee Duncan Smith’s bottle.

“Their boy went down, Darren touched him and it was a penalty,” said Bradley. “Fine, but what was different about ours? Not a thing was different – Roddy was actually going quicker and he did a forward roll somersault because the goalie took him out. How can one be a penalty and another one can’t? Is it because it’s the last minute of the game? You can’t give one without giving the other.

“It was a game in which we needed a strong referee and we never had one at the end there who could make a decision. Everybody in the ground knew it was a penalty apart from him.”

Second bottom of the Super League, Kennoway went into the lead after eight minutes. Hill’s save from Chris Gay’s free-kick fell to the feet of Liam Rolland who hammered home the rebound.

Record-breaking Rose striker Tommy Coyne, who became the club’s all-time leading goalscorer last weekend, made it 275 in maroon when he volleyed home in off the woodwork on 22 minutes.

They weren’t level for long, however, as quick thinking from Chris Gay saw him score direct from kick-off with a precision strike from 50 yards out.

Colin Strickland levelled once again for the home side when he prodded Roddy MacLennan’s ball in at the back post to complete the first half scoring.

Hill was caught out again though, just two minutes into the second half when striker Lee Bryce lobbed the experienced stopper from inside the area.

Rose’s hapless defending was exposed once more as Rolland made it 4-2 on 62 minutes. The visitors began to retreat and invite pressure, with the home side enjoying their best spell in the game.

A Gary Thom and then Ruari MacLennan’s neat finish made it 4-4 with ten minutes remaining. Rose looked the likelier to go on and win it, but Hill brought down substitute Lyall Shaw and Matthew Gay netted from the spot with minutes to spare.

Rose went straight up the other end and Strickland headed home to cap an enthralling 90 minutes, not before they were denied a strong penalty appeal and substitute Stewart Devine saw red for protesting after the full-time whistle.

Linlithgow Rose: Hill, Thom, Gray, MacKenzie, Leiper (Devine), Shields (Ronald), Batchelor, Ruari MacLennan, Strickland, Coyne, Roddy MacLennan.

Kennoway Star Hearts: Paterson, McGowan, Band, Partridge (Bremner), Brewster, C Gay, M Gay, Rolland, Bryce (Shaw), Craig, Collins.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT THOMSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661221.1515957435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661221.1515957435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Colin Strickland slides in to score the second for Linlithgow. Pic: Greg Macvean","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Colin Strickland slides in to score the second for Linlithgow. Pic: Greg Macvean","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661221.1515957435!/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/jack-hamilton-aims-to-win-back-hearts-no-1-jersey-1-4661213","id":"1.4661213","articleHeadline": "Jack Hamilton aims to win back Hearts No.1 jersey","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515997830000 ,"articleLead": "

A loan move in January does not interest Hearts goalkeeper Jack Hamilton. He intends to go nowhere, although he isn’t exactly happy about being second choice this season. His firm plan is to fight back into manager Craig Levein’s plans rather than develop an exit strategy.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661212.1515945580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack Hamilton in action for Hearts"} ,"articleBody": "

Hamilton was demoted as No.1 keeper when Jon McLaughlin arrived at Tynecastle in August. A 90-minute outing in Friday’s friendly against Vitesse Arnhem here in Spain was his first action with the senior side since August 26 at Fir Park.

Warming a seat on the substitutes’ bench for more than four months has been exasperating, particularly in light of his undisputed first-choice status last season and regular appearances in the Scotland international squad.

While a loan request might help secure much-needed game time elsewhere, Hamilton won’t entertain the idea. He is only 23 but played as a loanee for Forfar, East Fife and Stenhousemuir during his formative years. It is understandable if he feels that those times have come and gone.

The 23-year-old watched McLaughlin keep six successive clean sheets for the first time in Hearts’ history last month, but stressed he will stay and fight until he is back in the team.

“I would like to think my future is here. I’m not looking to go anywhere. I feel I’ve got a job to do here,” Hamilton told the Evening News. “This is a massive club with a massive fanbase and a great place to be. This is where I want to play football. It would be silly to say I want to go somewhere else.

“I’ve spoken with Craig from time to time and he just keeps feeding me little bits of information. It’s mostly things which will help me improve. I believe in myself. I believe I’ve got a lot to give and I believe I can get so much better. I’m still young and I’m still learning. Hopefully my future is at Hearts.

“This is the team I want to play for. This is where I want to be No.1. Things don’t always run perfectly. If you take a wee setback, you need to work harder and try to get back in. That’s what I’m trying to do now.

“If you’re going to throw the towel in, you might as well not be here.

“Jon, by coming to Hearts, has made me work even harder and it will make me better in the long run. I will definitely improve from taking that wee step back and watching from the outside.”

The 1-1 draw with Vitesse in the Costa Blanca sunshine was a test for all concerned. Not least for the man in goals, who had been limited to a handful of Under-20 appearances in the SPFL Development League. Facing top-level Dutch opposition was a considerable step up to run-outs on the indoor pitch at Oriam.

“It was good to get a game, a bit different from playing Under-20s for the past couple of weeks. It was a good run out against a good side and I enjoyed it,” continued Hamilton.

“Jon has been excellent. He’s set a new clean-sheet record for the first time in the club’s 143-year history. You can’t really argue with that. His performances on the park have been good and he’s a great guy. He is someone I’m looking to learn from while I try to get back in the team.

“I came out of the team, we’re doing really well and Jon is playing well. I just need to try and get better myself. I’ve been watching Jon and trying to pick things up. I’m working as hard as I can to try and get back in. That’s my main aim. This is where I want to play football. I’m desperate to get back into the team so hopefully the hard work will pay off.”

Sitting in the technical area does have a few small advantages. Footballers often speak about gaining a different perspective of the game when they are not on the field. Hamilton is no different and, to his credit, is using the experience to accelerate the learning process.

“I’d much rather be playing but when you’re watching you see things happen from the side of the pitch,” he said. “It’s a different perspective. I’m learning things all the time that I want to use when I get back on the park.”

Not if. When. There is no doubt in Hamilton’s mind that he will re-establish himself. His Hearts contract runs for another two and a half years, so time is certainly on his side.

“It’s difficult but there’s nothing I can do about it, apart from get the head down and work hard,” he explained. “Jon has played in the English Championship with Burton Albion and won things in his career. These guys can help me make myself better.

“It’s not only Jon. Even since Christophe Berra came back to the club, I’ve learned from speaking to him. He’s a Scottish internationalist who played in the English Premier League. Then there’s Aaron Hughes and guys like that. We have a lot of experience to call upon.”

Hamilton is now waiting for the day he can call upon his experience as second-choice goalkeeper – and use it to ensure he does not ever again suffer demotion.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661212.1515945580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661212.1515945580!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jack Hamilton in action for Hearts","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack Hamilton in action for Hearts","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661212.1515945580!/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/junior-wrap-bonnyrigg-extend-lead-bo-ness-edge-points-1-4661182","id":"1.4661182","articleHeadline": "Junior wrap: Bonnyrigg extend lead | Bo’ness edge points","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515997830000 ,"articleLead": "

Bonnyrigg Rose strengthened their lead at the top of the Super League with a 6-0 thrashing of Jeanfield Swifts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661181.1515957553!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose are flying high at the top of the Super League. Pic: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Manager Brian White packed his midfield with the experienced Neil Janczyk, Adam Nelson and Lee Currie and they were soon tearing the Perth side apart.

Ross Gray opened their account in two minutes followed by a Wayne McIntosh effort ten minutes later. Currie delivered the third with a 30-yard free kick before Dean Brett grabbed a fourth before the break. Goals from sub Kieron McGachie and a deflected Dean Brett completed the rout. Results elsewhere helped the Rose’s cause with Linlithgow drawing and Penicuik losing at Sauchie.

Broxburn travelled to Fife for their game against Dundonald who sit four spots above them in the table, but gave their opponents a lesson in finishing with a 4-0 win. Goals from Zander Miller, Kieron Anderson with a double and a single from Gordon Donaldson completed the lesson. Boss Brian McNaughton is stamping his ideas on the team and they are paying dividends now.

In a rearranged game between Bo’ness and Camelon, the BUs came out on top with a 1-0 win thanks to a great goal from Connor Kelly. Bo’ness could also afford the luxury of a penalty miss from Andy Shirra in front of new boss Steve Kerrigan.

Musselburgh lost 1-0 away to Angus side Kirriemuir, with Alan Cruikshanks scoring the only goal of the game.

Haddington moved up to second spot in the table with a 3-2 win at Glenrothes. Goals from Frazer Paterson, Gavin Brown and an early own goal from Gary Pearson gave the Millfield side all three points.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOHN GILMOUR"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661181.1515957553!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661181.1515957553!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bonnyrigg Rose are flying high at the top of the Super League. Pic: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnyrigg Rose are flying high at the top of the Super League. Pic: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661181.1515957553!/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/ben-stirling-makes-most-of-surprise-call-to-hibs-trip-1-4661227","id":"1.4661227","articleHeadline": "Ben Stirling makes most of surprise call to Hibs trip","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515997802000 ,"articleLead": "

Up until a few days ago, Ben Stirling was looking at a Saturday night spent on the Cowdenbeath team bus heading back south from the League Two clash with Elgin City.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661225.1515951429!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs squad train on their winter break in the Algarve"} ,"articleBody": "

Instead the Hibs youngster found himself jetting home from the Easter Road outfit’s winter training camp in Portugal, a surprise call-up to Neil Lennon’s squad which spent a week in the Algarve.

Having been farmed out to the Blue Brazil on a development loan, the 19-year-old had his time at Central Park cut short, paving the way for him to join fellow teenagers Oli Shaw, Ryan Porteous, Fraser Murray and Kevin Dabrowski in heading for a bit of sunshine.

“It was a bit of a shock,” he confessed. “George [Craig, Hibs head of football operations] phoned me on Wednesday and I was delighted. I didn’t have a clue I’d be going but I couldn’t wait.”

As he boarded the flight bound for Faro, Stirling was only too aware of how much his journey home would differ to the day he’d have spent had he remained with Cowdenbeath, having made the trip to Borough Briggs for his very first appearance for the Fife side.

He said: “We reported about eight in the morning, got there around 12.30pm for our pre-match meal, played the game and were back at ten at night. It was a very long day.

“So it was a bit different to find myself on a plane heading for home instead. At least I was back before ten!”

No doubt Stirling spent a bit of those three hours in the air contemplating the previous few days, not least being handed his shirt complete with his squad number, 45, and, for the first time, with his name on the back as Lennon’s players played out a hastily arranged match against Dutch side Excelsior Rotterdam who were based nearby.

The midfielder said: “At Cowdenbeath and Berwick, where I was on loan last season, the shirts were numbered one to 11, so it was a special moment to be given a jersey with both a squad number and my name on the back.

“Playing against Excelsior was a real step up but I feel I handled it well. It was another challenge. I got the full 90 minutes and I really enjoyed it. I played centre mid first half then left-back in the second.”

Stirling got a further piece of the action, playing for the final 25 minutes as he replaced Darren McGregor as Hibs took on another Dutch side, Willem II on Friday. And while, like everyone else in the Hibs camp, he was disappointed to have lost 3-1 despite taking the lead through Simon Murray early in the second half, it was an experience he thoroughly enjoyed.

He said: “Dutch football has a different style, they like to get the ball down and play. That’s how I like to play.”

However, it was being around Lennon’s squad on an extended basis which Stirling really enjoyed. He said: “I’ve trained with the first team squad a few times. The first couple of sessions you hold back, but the gaffer is good telling you to relax and enjoy it and then you feel you are part of it.

“You watch players in your position, watch what they do learn off that and try to mirror what they do in training.

“They are a great bunch of lads who make you feel welcome and don’t leave you out. Being away for a week like that gives you a chance to bond with them, to hear what they have to say about different things.”

And although his time with Cowdenbeath ended on a disappointing note – his last game for them was at the end of October – Stirling believes both his spell in Fife and at Berwick can play a pivotal role in his push for a first-team place at Easter Road.

He said: “It’s very much different to the development football you are playing which is not really about the result, whereas with Cowdenbeath the win comes first and then the style. But it’s good, again different ways of playing and different experiences.”

Stirling scored in his second game for Cowdenbeath, his strike giving them the three points against Edinburgh City and what remains their only league win of the season, their defeat by Elgin at the weekend making it 19 games without a victory, a record which leaves them firmly rooted to the bottom of the table.

He said: “It was strange, at the start I was flying but then they started dropping down the league and it wasn’t working out for me. The last game I started was Berwick at the end of October and that was it.

“The boss, Billy Brown, left then the new manager [Gary Bollan] came in. It was the typical football story, that change of manager no matter what level you are playing at. If they like you they like you, if they don’t they don’t

“Billy was playing me in central midfield, my favourite position. But then there was a lot of games from the end of November and beginning of December so I didn’t really get a chance to show what I can do. As a result Eddie [May Hibs head of academy coaching] and George cut it short. Then, fortunately I got the call to go to Portugal and I hope I haven’t done myself any harm.

“Oli and Co are the standard bearers. I’m a wee bit jealous, but it just makes you want to work harder to get about the first team and hopefully it won’t be too long until that happens.

Now Stirling has his sights set on forcing his way into Lennon’s thoughts just as Shaw, Porteous and Fraser Murray have done.

Agreeing it is great to see youngsters coming through – arch-rivals Hearts getting plenty of plaudits at present for giving the likes of Harry Cochrane, Jamie Brandon and Anthony McDonald an opportunity – Stirling believes Hibs, who sit top of the SPFL development league, have just as good youth players, if not 
better.

However, as he pointed out, it’s about getting that chance and taking the opportunity, goalkeeper Dabrowski up against Israeli internationalist Ofir Marciano and Scott Bain and, when fit again, Ross Laidlaw, while hot-shot Shaw has had to force his way in alongside Anthony Stokes and Simon Murray while the arrival of Australian striker Jamie Maclaren will add further competition.

And in his own area, both he and Fraser Murray face the toughest test of all as they seek to get their noses in front of Scotland internationalist John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Marvin Bartley.

Stirling added: “Look at the first-team squad. It’s very strong and in midfield it’s going to be hard to put them out of the team, but you have to keep working hard, looking for that opening and then 
taking it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661225.1515951429!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661225.1515951429!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Hibs squad train on their winter break in the Algarve","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hibs squad train on their winter break in the Algarve","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661225.1515951429!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661226.1515951431!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661226.1515951431!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ben Stirling","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ben Stirling","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661226.1515951431!/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-punish-trio-for-breaking-curfew-on-winter-training-camp-1-4661176","id":"1.4661176","articleHeadline": "Hibs punish trio for breaking curfew on winter training camp","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515969000000 ,"articleLead": "

Three Hibs first-team players have been punished for a breach of discipline during the Easter Road outfit’s winter training camp in the Algarve,

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661174.1515942136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anthony Stokes, left, and Martin Boyle, right, have been disciplined by Hibs. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Striker Anthony Stokes, midfielder Danny Swanson and winger Martin Boyle all broke a curfew at the squad’s luxury base near Portimao.

It is understood that while the breach wasn’t serious, it was enough for the trio to be banished to train by themselves for the remainder of the trip. They also missed the friendly match against Dutch side Willem II which wrapped up the week-long stay in Portugal, although all three were said to have been nursing injuries in any case.

Individually they were summoned to a showdown meeting with boss Neil Lennon and George Craig, Hibs’ head of football operations, before the travelling party left for home and were dealt with “in line with the club’s disciplinary procedures” – although the details of how each was dealt with remain private.

However, it is understood a line has now been drawn under the affair, with all three due to rejoin their team-mates at the club’s East Mains training centre on Monday to begin preparing for Sunday’s Scottish Cup derby against Hearts at Tynecastle.

It is the second time in a matter of months that Republic of Ireland internationalist Stokes has fallen foul of Lennon, ordered off the training ground in late November after a row and left out of the side which faced Hamilton the following day.

At the time Lennon – who was also Stokes manager at Celtic – insisted it was “an isolated incident”, saying: “We had a difference of opinion but it’s been dealt with. I was not going to tolerate it and he understands that.

“He did not need to apologise. He just has to understand there are certain codes of conduct and a level of discipline you cannot cross with me.

“He knows that, it’s done now. He should have known that having worked with me before. He accepted he was in the wrong and he is getting on with it now.”

However, Stokes has since insisted that earlier incident was no more than “a misunderstanding”, adding: “To be honest, in my opinion it was nothing.

“The gaffer has spoken about it. I am not going to go into detail but as far as I am concerned, I did nothing wrong.”

Stokes also claimed Lennon was not one for holding grudges, that he could quickly move on and not dwell on things, but he will surely be wary of testing his manager’s patience again any time soon.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661174.1515942136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661174.1515942136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Anthony Stokes, left, and Martin Boyle, right, have been disciplined by Hibs. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Anthony Stokes, left, and Martin Boyle, right, have been disciplined by Hibs. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661174.1515942136!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661175.1515942138!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661175.1515942138!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Swanson, right, pictured alongside Stokes, was also involved in the incident. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson, right, pictured alongside Stokes, was also involved in the incident. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661175.1515942138!/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/rangers-to-sign-jason-cummings-as-part-of-triple-swoop-1-4661274","id":"1.4661274","articleHeadline": "Rangers to sign Jason Cummings as part of triple swoop","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515954665000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers are poised to make a triple signing swoop this week as Graeme Murty puts his own mark on the squad for a serious challenge in the second half of the season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661273.1515954214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings is poised for a switch to Rangers. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey"} ,"articleBody": "

• READ MORE: Kyle Lafferty gets into Twitter spat with TV presenter David Tanner

The Light Blues are set to bring in Jason Cummings and Russell Martin on loan and will also make a firm offer for Hamilton’s Greg Docherty.

It is a sign of intent from Murty who has already secured Jamie Murphy from Brighton on a loan to permanent transfer deal as well as midfielder Sean Goss, who has joined on loan from Queen’s Park Rangers.

Former Hibs star Cummings has fallen out of the plans at Nottingham Forest since the arrival of Aitor Karanka, who replaced former Rangers boss Mark Warburton who was sacked on December 31 after just nine months in charge.

Murty believes Cummings can supply fresh firepower to the Rangers frontline where Alfredo Morelos has been burdened with getting the goals, especially as Kenny Miller is injured.

He knows Scotland star Martin well from his days as a youth coach at Norwich City and feels the 32-year-old’s experience could be vital when the action resumes.

• READ MORE: Corinthians 2 - 4 Rangers: Alfredo Morelos deadly against Brazilians

And dynamic midfielder Docherty is someone he feels can offer Rangers some drive in that area and will increase his options.

Cummings has only managed one goal for Forest this season, starting just seven Championship games.

But he blasted 23 for Hibs last season, proving he has what it takes at Premiership level and Murty is hoping he can replicate that form.

The arrival of Martin will increase speculation that Bruno Alves will seek to cut his ties with Rangers to ensure a slot in Portugal’s squad for the 2018 World Cup.

Alves has been in Portugal rehabilitating from a calf injury and is due to return to the Rangers Training Centre tomorrow.

• READ MORE: Rangers linked with Burnley midfielder Scott Arfield

Martin has also suffered from a lack of game time at Carrow Road and has not featured since a 4-0 defeat by Millwall back in August.

The Norwich club captain can also play right back, offering competition to James Tavernier who has been attracting interest from English Championship sides.

Rangers returned from their Florida Cup trip and training camp yesterday and will begin their preparations tomorrow for Sunday’s William Scottish Cup tie at Fraserburgh.

200 Voices: find out more about the people who have shaped Scotland

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Lindsay Herron"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661273.1515954214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661273.1515954214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jason Cummings is poised for a switch to Rangers. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jason Cummings is poised for a switch to Rangers. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661273.1515954214!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1506970123506"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hearts/kyle-lafferty-gets-into-twitter-spat-with-tv-presenter-david-tanner-1-4661147","id":"1.4661147","articleHeadline": "Kyle Lafferty gets into Twitter spat with TV presenter David Tanner","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515939646000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty has became involved in a Twitter spat with former Sky Sports presenter David Tanner.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661146.1515939770!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hearts striker was unimpressed with comments made by David Tanner on social media. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Hearts new boy Demetri Mitchell in line for cup debut v Hibs

The Northern Irishman responded to a comment by the broadcaster which insisted Lafferty had been causing trouble behind the scenes prior to his exit from Ibrox in 2012.

Tanner had been debating with supporters over the perception of Steven Naismith, who also left Rangers at the time of the club’s financial implosion.

Responding to one Twitter user, Tanner wrote: “Lafferty is lauded and he was causing bother even before Green got his claws in the club. Stop. Go back. Re-examine Naismith.”

Lafferty discovered the tweet and shot back: “Causing bother within the club [laughing emojis] talk some s*** you do David. Jog on mate.”

Tanner then attempted to diffuse the situation, saying: “Now, now! There was conflict, big man!”

However, the striker was having none of it, ending the back-and-forth with: “Once a [bell emoji] always a bell.”

READ MORE - Rangers to complete loan deal for Russell Martin - reports

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID GUNN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661146.1515939770!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661146.1515939770!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Hearts striker was unimpressed with comments made by David Tanner on social media. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Hearts striker was unimpressed with comments made by David Tanner on social media. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661146.1515939770!/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-offer-midfielder-dylan-mcgeouch-a-new-three-year-deal-1-4661035","id":"1.4661035","articleHeadline": "Hibs offer midfielder Dylan McGeouch a new three-year deal","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515928234000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs head coach Neil Lennon has confirmed that the club has offered Dylan McGeouch a new three-year deal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661034.1515949040!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dylan McGeouch is out of contract at the end of the season. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

he former Celitc midfielder is out of contract in the summer and Lennon is keen to tie down the 24-year-old, who has established himself as one of the key players in the Hibees squad.

“It is not in writing yet, but is verbally there,” said Lennon.

“The ball is firmly in Dylan’s court and he is taking a bit of time to think about things — I’ll be pushing him a little more as the weeks go on.

“He is an important player, he is having a fantastic season and we are seeing the best of him. It’s something we will look to pursue very quickly. It is very high up on our list of priorities.

“It’s his prerogative to think things over and he hasn’t said no. He’s in a good place at the moment and we don’t want to upset that. But we want to get him tied down to a longer-term contract if we can.

“We’ll speak to him and his representative as soon as possible.

“He is in a position where he can go — but I think he owes a bit to the club as well.

“I would like more goals from him because he has got that in his game.

“Aside from that, his all-round game is superb, his fitness levels, his reading of the game, his passing, his drive and robustness. We are seeing the best of him now.”

Lennon also admitted that he is an admirer of Barnsley’s 21-year-old midfielder Stevie Mallan, who moved to Yorkshire from St Mirren last year but has found game-time limited. The player has been linked with a move to Hibs this transfer window.

“We are interested in a lot of players,” added Lennon. “We like him, we liked him at St Mirren, and if there’s a possibility there then it’s something we might look at.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PETER WALES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4661034.1515949040!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4661034.1515949040!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dylan McGeouch is out of contract at the end of the season. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dylan McGeouch is out of contract at the end of the season. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4661034.1515949040!/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/stokes-hibs-cup-win-surpassed-all-i-achieved-at-celtic-1-4660835","id":"1.4660835","articleHeadline": "Stokes: Hibs cup win surpassed all I achieved at Celtic","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1515909600000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s fair to say Anthony Stokes has been round the block a few times, leading the nomadic life of a professional football player but inevitably it seems, he always winds his way back to Easter Road.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660834.1515880057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "With 11 goals already this season, Anthony Stokes is maintaining the scoring form that has earned him hero status at Hibs. Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

His return to the green and white of Hibs last summer signalled the start of his third spell with the Edinburgh club, a decision made in the face of opportunities to take up far more lucrative offers from as far afield as India and China.

There was, of course, a familiarity to be had closer to home, not only the comfort of bedding in again at a club where he will forever be regarded as a legend thanks to his two goals in that historic Scottish Cup triumph, but the presence of Neil Lennon, his manager for much of a medal-laden spell with his boyhood favourites, Celtic.

However, as far as Stokes was concerned, it represented a chance to simply enjoy his football again having fallen out of favour in Glasgow under Lennon’s successor Ronny Deila before switching to Blackburn when the Norwegian was replaced by Brendan Rodgers, who made it clear the Dublin-born player wouldn’t feature in his plans.

The move to Lancashire, though, proved such a disaster his contract was terminated, leaving Lennon to persuade him of the merits of rejoining a club which was reacquainting itself with Premiership football following a three-year exile in the Championship.

Declaring himself settled at last to the extent he wouldn’t rule out the notion of ending his career at Hibs, the 29-year-old said: “I could have gone to different clubs for more money but I wanted to come back because I know the environment, all the players and I am settled in Scotland.

“I wanted to come back. It was more for the personal side to come back to Edinburgh, be happy, get back playing my football. I’ve been in and out pretty much since Ronny Deila came in, I went to Blackburn, it didn’t work out and I just wanted to get back enjoying my football.”

While he is doing so, Stokes admitted he wasn’t entirely happy with how he had performed so far this season even if Hibs have taken many by surprise, going into their winter break training camp on the Algarve sitting in fourth place.

He said: “I don’t think I’ve set the world alight. I have always said look at my stats, 20 [goals] is a minimum for a season and I already have 11, so I am reasonably happy. But I think I should have more to be perfectly honest.

“It’s been a bit of a mixed season. There are games where I have played really well and not scored, others where I have not been too happy with my performance but nicked a goal here and there. Hopefully I can push on in the second half of the season.”

In a chequered career which has also taken him to Arsenal, Falkirk, Sunderland and a number of points in between, Stokes insisted he has always been willing to roll with the punches, saying: “It’s difficult, but sometimes things happen for a reason. It was not ideal for Hibs not being promoted but capping it off by winning the Scottish Cup was.

“I went to Blackburn, it didn’t work out for a couple of reasons but that’s football, You just have to pick yourself back up and get on with it. I have been in this situation before.

“It was similar to the first time I signed for Hibs. I’d gone to Sunderland, done reasonably well and I was out of the team for a year, maybe a year and a half, but I got my career back on track and moved on from there.”

Although it is obvious Lennon and Stokes have a healthy mutual respect, they have had their moments, a training ground spat a few weeks ago ending with the player being ordered home and dropped for a trip to Hamilton.

Stokes, however, made light of the incident, revealing the history between the pair goes back to the days when he began making a name for himself while on loan at Falkirk, one of his first encounters with Lennon ending with the Celtic midfielder being sent off.

“To be honest, in my opinion that was nothing,” he claimed of their most recent falling out. “The gaffer has spoken about it. I’m not going to go into detail, but as far as I am concerned I didn’t do anything wrong, it was a misunderstanding. The gaffer has his own way and like any manager he’s not going to change his mind.

“He’s the type of person who will have it out with you and then it’s done, and people respect that. I think I am a bit like that myself. I can have an argument but then you move on, don’t dwell on it.

“The gaffer is a bit like that but he is the manager and you have to respect every decision he makes. He makes the call and you have to get on 
with it.”

Lennon has claimed to have mellowed since quitting the pressurised life of being Celtic boss, but Stokes insisted if that’s the case then it hasn’t changed his approach to management.

“He sets high expectations for himself and everyone else,” he said. “ I think he looks at every player performing at his best and if you are not there he’s going to tell you although I think he understands you can’t play to your maximum every week.

“You’d have to ask him, but I’d imagine it’s a different job coming from Celtic where you are expected to win every week to a team newly promoted from the Championship. We have done reasonably well but his expectations are so high he probably wants to see us finishing third or second.

“He was at Leicester, a team that did reasonably well, won cups there, went to Celtic and won everything in sight, played in big games in Europe. It’s just a mentality as a player he’s brought through as a manager.

“It’s different, but I think the mentality has to be the same. We go out and play Celtic or Rangers, and with the squad we have we feel we can beat anyone on our day.

“The standards are very high, we are sitting fourth in the league and could be a place or two up if we’d seen games out a bit better. There were games we let get away from us. There are plenty of examples, 2-0 up against Motherwell with 20, 25 minutes left and we end up drawing.

“Hopefully that’s something we can rectify in the second half of the season.”

Hibs, of course, will swing back into action with a visit to Tynecastle to face arch-rivals Hearts in the Scottish Cup for the third season in succession, club captain David Gray having already gone on record to say he sees no reason why they can’t replicate that memorable May day of 2016 – one which, Stokes revealed, more than matched anything he had achieved at Celtic.

He said: “Celtic are going to win the title – they have the strongest squad and the best players in the league – so the cup has to be the target for the rest of us. In the past few years Hibs have had great runs in the cups and I think this year will be no different. We’ll be striving to win the Scottish Cup again.

“Winning the cup with Hibs probably surpassed everything I achieved with Celtic. The background to it all with the club having waited so long and the scenes afterwards when you saw what it meant to the fans.

“The open top bus parade was unbelievable, something I could never do in Glasgow and something I will never forget, and it was definitely the highlight of my career above all else.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID HARDIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4660834.1515880057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4660834.1515880057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "With 11 goals already this season, Anthony Stokes is maintaining the scoring form that has earned him hero status at Hibs. Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "With 11 goals already this season, Anthony Stokes is maintaining the scoring form that has earned him hero status at Hibs. Photograph: Ross Parker/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4660834.1515880057!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}