Thursday headlines: Hearts blow; Hibs progress; Edinburgh top; Spartans boost; Tranent comeback; Ukraine World Cup bid; ‘P***** off’ Ronaldo
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Hearts Halkett blow
Craig Halkett is out of Hearts’ Europa Conference League tie against Fiorentina on Thursday and could also miss next week’s trip to Italy. Manager Robbie Neilson confirmed that the defender will not be ready for the match at Tynecastle Park. Fiorentina arrive in poor form and have just one point from two Group A matches. Hearts are second in the table with three points from two games. The match is a sellout, but is live on BT Sports, with an 8pm kick-off.
Hibs Euro progress
Hibs Under-19s will face Nantes in the the second round of the UEFA Youth League after knocking out Molde on penalties at Easter Road. Goals in each half from Jacob Blaney and Malik Zaid put Hibs in front on aggregate after their first leg defeat in Norway, but a late Molde goal took the tie to penalties. Hibs scored all their spot-kicks with goalkeeper Murray Johnson saving one to send Steve Kean’s youngsters through.
FC Edinburgh hit top
FC Edinburgh have gone top of League One after two goals in the final ten minutes secured a 2-0 victory over Peterhead at Meadowbank. Innes Murray and Danny Handling scored in the 83rd and 88th minute to move Alan Maybury’s men two points clear of Dunfermline, who have a game in hand. In the Premiership, Danny Armstrong scored twice in Kilmarnock’s 2-1 win over St johnstone.
Tranent edge out Hearts B
Tranent Juniors have moved up to fourth in the Lowland League after coming from behind to record a 3-2 victory away to Hearts B at Ferguson Park in Rosewell. Martin Maughan put Tranent in front before a Makenzie Kirk double turned the game in the young Jambos’ favour. But Kris Renton headed an equaliser before half time and Euan Bauld fired home the winner for Colin Nish’s team in the 76th minute. Elsewhere, Cammy Fraser scored the winner for Penicuik Athletic as they won 2-1 at Syngenta to reach the third round of the East of Scotland Qualifying Cup. Edinburgh United lost 2-1 at St Andrews in the East of Scotland Second Division, while Armadale beat Edinburgh College 6-3 in the Third Division.
Celtic’s Champions League blow
Celtic are bottom of their Champions League group with just one point from three games after losing 3-1 away to RB Leipzig. Despite Jota's second-half equaliser, an error from goalkeeper Joe Hart turned the match in Leipzig’s favour, gifting Andre Silva the first of his two goals for the Germans. Callum McGregor also had to be taken off with an injury. Elsewhere, Erling Harland scored twice and was then subbed at half time as Manchester City hammered FC Copenhagen 5-0. Chelsea beat AC Milan 3-0 at Stamford Bridge and Sevilla sacked manager Julen Lopetegui after losing 4-1 at home to Borussia Dortmund.
Scots’ Euro hopes fade
Scotland are up against it in their bid to qualify for the UEFA women’s under-19 championship after a 6-0 defeat by Spain in the first of three qualifying round games at Ainslie Park in Edinburgh. The Scots face Finland on Saturday and Switzerland on Tuesday, but only the group winners will reach the finals in Belgium next summer. Hearts pair Lisa Maher-Rogers and Aimee Anderson both started the match alongside Hannah Jordan of Spartans and Hibs striker Elidh Adams.
Spartans women boost
Spartans chairman Craig Graham has welcomed a new era for women and girls' football after the club agreed a bumper two-year sponsorship with global wealth management platform FNZ. The deal – three times bigger than anything the men or women’s team have secured previously – means all the clubs women’s and girls' teams will be sponsored by FNZ. Graham said the deal would “help us be more competitive and it is important because our strategy is to continue to giving young girls opportunities to play in the first team.”
Losa’s bravery plan
Scotland boss Pedro Martinez Losa has encouraged his team to be “brave and fearless” in their crucial Women's World Cup play-off with Austria. The Austrians come to Hampden on Thursday with the winners then going on to face the Republic of Ireland in Glasgow on Tuesday. In what is widely regarded as Scotland’s biggest game since the World Cup opener in 2019, SFA chiefs will be hoping the national team can eclipse the current 7,804 record attendance for a competitive match at Hampden. The match will also be live on BBC Alba & iPlayer, with kick-off at 7.35pm.
Ukraine’s World Cup bid
Spain and Portugal's football federations have confirmed Ukraine has been added to their joint bid to host the men’s 2030 World Cup. The three nations announced their collaborative bid at a media conference at UEFA's headquarters in Nyon. The 2030 World Cup will be a 48-team tournament and it has been reported that Ukraine intends to host one of the groups if their joint bid is successful. Other 2030 World Cup bids include a four-nation South American proposal from Uruguay, Argentina, Chile and Paraguay, while another three-nation bid from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Greece is expected. Morocco previously said they would bid for the 2030 World Cup in a possible joint-venture with Tunisia and Algeria.
‘P***** off’ but happy Ronaldo
Erik ten Hag says Cristiano Ronaldo is happy at Manchester United but understandably "p***** off" when he does not play, like against Manchester City on Sunday. The 37-year-old could start his fourth match in all competitions when United take on Neil Lennon’s Omonia Nicosia in the Europa League on Thursday. When asked again about Ronaldo's happiness, Ten Hag said: "He's not happy that he wasn't playing Sunday, don't get me wrong, but that wasn't the question. The question was about how he is on the training pitch, his mood when he's around and he's happy. But of course he wants to play and he's p***** off when he's not playing. Clear."