{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"sport","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/scotland-s-greatest-golf-holes-revealed-1-4428769","id":"1.4428769","articleHeadline": "Scotland's greatest golf holes revealed","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493119127064 ,"articleLead": "It provides one of the world's most famous sporting backdrops and has played host to some of the historic game's most thrilling encounters.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428768.1493119613!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 18th at the Old Course in St Andrews has been named the nation's favourite golf hole."} ,"articleBody": "

Now the 18th at the Old Course in St Andrews has been named Scotland’s great golf hole.

It won more than a quarter of the votes in a poll of more than 3000 players.

Conducted by national tourism agency VisitScotland, the survey also found the famous “road hole” 17th at St Andrews as the nation’s favourite par four hole.

The Old Course attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world every week due to its regular hosting of the Open Championship and its 600 years of golfing heritage.

It also recognised iconic courses such as Royal Troon, which was voted to have the best par three hole, and Old Course neighbour Kingsbarns, in Fife, which was said to have the best par five.

However the survey also highlighted lesser-known courses, such as Cruden Bay Golf Club, in Aberdeenshrie, which was said to boast the best view in the country, from the ninth, and Machrihanish Golf Club, which was said to have the best opening hole, after notching up almost a third of the votes.

The most popular holes are being highlighted on VisitScotland’s dedicated golf website.

It states: “St Andrews is often regarded as ‘the home of golf’ and performed strongly across the poll. “The 18th hole is named after the former open champion Tom Morris, who lived in St Andrews.

“It is easy to see why this iconic golf hole was voted the best - it’s the most photographed golf hole in the world.

“As well as winning the title of best hole in Scotland, the 18th at the Old Course was also voted the best closing hole with almost a quarter of the votes cast.

“A tricky closing hole, home to the iconic ‘valley of sin’ at the Old Course, it narrowly pipped Moray Golf Club and Carnoustie to the post for best closing hole.”

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: “We’re thrilled that the golfing public

have taken the time to put their support behind their favourite courses in Scotland, from local

favourites to the home of golf itself, St Andrews.

“Every club plays it part in making Scotland the essential golfing destination, so we’re proud to honour such a diverse range of our spectacular courses.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "brian.ferguson@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Brian Ferguson"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428768.1493119613!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428768.1493119613!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The 18th at the Old Course in St Andrews has been named the nation's favourite golf hole.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 18th at the Old Course in St Andrews has been named the nation's favourite golf hole.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428768.1493119613!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428779.1493119614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428779.1493119614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Battery at Machrihanish was named the best opening hole in the poll.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Battery at Machrihanish was named the best opening hole in the poll.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428779.1493119614!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428780.1493119615!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428780.1493119615!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Golfers say the 9th at Cruden Bay offers the best view on a course anywhere in the country.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Golfers say the 9th at Cruden Bay offers the best view on a course anywhere in the country.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428780.1493119615!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/celtic/brendan-rodgers-will-join-celtic-greats-with-cup-win-1-4429029","id":"1.4429029","articleHeadline": "Brendan Rodgers will ‘join Celtic greats with cup win’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493129842000 ,"articleLead": "

Brendan Rodgers would be bracketed along with Celtic greats Jock Stein and Martin O’Neill by winning a domestic treble in his first season as manager, according to former Hoops boss Davie Hay.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4429028.1493129839!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Celtic player and manager David Hay launches the search for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame 2017 nominations. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Keep up to date with all our sport news on The Scotsman’s Sport page on Facebook

The Northern Irishman’s side are unbeaten domestically and will complete the clean sweep if they win the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen next month.

Stein completed the treble twice in 1967 and 1969 - in a hugely successful period during which Celtic won the European Cup and nine successive league titles - and O’Neill achieved the feat in 2001, before taking the club to the UEFA Cup final a couple of years later.

Hay, manager at Parkhead between 1983 and 1987, was speaking at the national stadium where he was helping launch this year’s nominations for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

Asked if it would be fair to mention Rodgers in the same breath as Stein and O’Neill should he clean up in Scotland, the former Celtic and Scotland player replied: “I would say this early, I can understand that and rightly so.

READ MORE - Why Rangers’ Andy Halliday should have been sent off against Celtic

“If you win the treble - history tells you it is not easy to achieve it.

“They are close to it. He still has to do it. Aberdeen will give them a game in the final, believe me. They will want to make amends for the League Cup final (defeat to Celtic this season).

“It is not done and dusted yet but if it were to happen, he goes down in history and I think it would be just the start of long-term legacy with Brendan in charge, of which 10-in-a-row is part of it.

“It is a bit away, still four years away, but you can’t see it changing in the domestic front although you never know, things can change in football.”

To add weight to his argument, Hay noted the difference at Celtic from a season ago when Rangers beat Ronny Deila’s Hoops side on penalties in the Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park.

The result is generally regarded to have prompted the Parkhead board to seek out the former Swansea and Liverpool boss, who signed a new four-year deal earlier in the month.

READ MORE - What Hibs will be getting in new signing Danny Swanson

Rodgers’ side reached this season’s final with an easy 2-0 win over the Ibrox club at the national stadium on Sunday.

“I would look back to a season ago to the semi-final, to where this Celtic team has come under Brendan Rodgers,” said Hay.

“They won the league last year but the style of football they are playing this season is one of the reasons they are undefeated, they almost look at times invincible in this league.

“It is difficult to compare with previous eras because people say the standard was better but that is not Celtic’s doing, they are playing winning football and attractive football and that is due to the guidance of Brendan Rodgers.

“He has committed himself with his contract with a view to maintaining this level of football and improving it, which is a worry for the rest.”

READ MORE - Unbeaten record doesn’t motivate me says Brendan Rodgers

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ronnie Esplin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4429028.1493129839!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4429028.1493129839!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Celtic player and manager David Hay launches the search for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame 2017 nominations. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Celtic player and manager David Hay launches the search for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame 2017 nominations. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4429028.1493129839!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/new-walking-trail-gives-stunning-views-of-peebles-valleys-1-4429007","id":"1.4429007","articleHeadline": "New walking trail gives stunning views of Peebles valleys","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493128935000 ,"articleLead": "

FOREST Enterprise Scotland has opened up a new section of a popular walking trail that now boasts amazing 360 degree views of the Tweed and Cademuir valleys.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4429006.1493128931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

An additional 2km of new trail has been added to the popular Pilots’ Trail at Cademuir Forest, near Peebles.

The 5km circuit trail will now take around two hours to complete and leads walkers high up to the hill tops.

READ MORE: Get off the beaten track: New guide reveals the best of wild Scotland

Katie Jarvis, Forest Enterprise Scotland’s recreation forester based in the Borders said: “This is a beautiful part of the Borders and on a clear day the views from the top of the hill are simply stunning.

“You can see for miles around, right over the Cademuir landscape and Tweed Valley all the way to Stobo Valley.

“The trail follows mature pine woodlands and open hill so you get a bit of everything to look at. If you are lucky you might also see red squirrels, badgers, deer and many birds from warblers to majestic ospreys.

“The investment in the new trail adds another visitor attraction to the popular Tweed Valley. We are very keen to ensure the National Forest Estate continues to support the tourism sector and provide an economic benefit to the local economy.”

Feedback from those who have walked the trail has been very positive.

READ MORE: Highlands gearing up for busy tourist season

Local walker, Mike McGrath from Peebles, sent a message from his mobile phone saying: “I’m sitting in the sunshine on the new bench on the newly opened path. What a superb job, well done.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4429006.1493128931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4429006.1493128931!/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/1.4429006.1493128931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/rangers-need-to-spend-50m-to-catch-celtic-says-ibrox-legend-1-4428859","id":"1.4428859","articleHeadline": "Rangers need to spend £50m to catch Celtic says Ibrox legend","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493122387000 ,"articleLead": "

Former Rangers winger Willie Henderson claims £50million is required for new players if the Ibrox club is to compete with Celtic.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428858.1493122385!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers and Scotland star Willie Henderson helps to launch the search for nominees to be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Keep up to date with all our sport news on The Scotsman’s Sport page on Facebook

The Light Blues were dismissed with ease in Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden Park by the Hoops whose 2-0 win was no reflection of their superiority in a season where they have not lost in five Old Firm meetings.

The Parkhead club secured their sixth Ladbrokes Premiership title earlier in the month and are gunning for the treble in their first season with Brendan Rodgers as boss.

Henderson, star of the Ibrox club in the 1960s and early 1970s, was speaking at the national stadium where he was helping launch this year’s nominations for the Scottish Football Hall of Fame.

The former Scotland player was scathing of Rangers’ efforts on Sunday and said: “The fans at least expect an enormous effort from players wearing the blue jersey.

READ MORE - Why Rangers’ Andy Halliday should have been sent off against Celtic

“They accept that Celtic are a better team just now but they shouldn’t be a better team with effort and that was disappointing for the fans who have put up with a lot for a long time.

“If Rangers are going to compete with Celtic, there has to be a huge investment in this club to purchase players who are going to be of a standard who can play for Glasgow Rangers and compete with Celtic.

“£50million, solely for players. It might be an idea for another investor, if there is another investor who could be brought into the club who is interested in putting money into football. It is certainly needed.

“I am not privy to anything that goes on in the business side of it but if it is going to take someone else to be added to what is already at Rangers, prepared to invest the money in the club, then maybe it is time that the board sit round the table and discuss it with other people.

READ MORE - What Hibs will be getting in new signing Danny Swanson

“You are going to have the same situation that you have just now if they don’t do that.”

Henderson believes it is over half a century since there was such a gulf between the two clubs.

Ahead of the last league meeting of the season between the clubs at Ibrox on Saturday, he said: “We played Celtic on the Saturday (1963 Scottish Cup final) and drew and on the Wednesday we beat Celtic 3-0 in the replay, in front of a quarter of a million people in total.

“At that stage there was a huge gulf between Celtic and Rangers.

“We were far in front but then along came the genius Jock Stein (Celtic’s European Cup winning manager). The gulf today is the same as before Jock Stein came.

“We were always very confident of beating Celtic. Today, I don’t think there is a Celtic player who if they are going out and putting a shift in, would fear getting beat by Glasgow Rangers.”

READ MORE - Unbeaten record doesn’t motivate me says Brendan Rodgers

Henderson believes that any manager, not only the recently appointed Portuguese coach Pedro Caixinha, would struggle with the Ibrox squad of whom he would keep only “three or four” for next season.

He said: “There are a lot of players at Ibrox who, for a considerable time, have had a chance to prove themselves to be of that class and I am afraid some of them are not that good.

“Kenny Miller has had a really good season. He would be the first to admit that he is getting on but with his experience I would keep him on,

“I would keep the goalkeeper (Wes Foderingham), Lee Wallace and the lad (Emerson) Hyndman.

“These are good players. But you would certainly need to add to the squad.

“It is all very well bringing managers in but as I said earlier, when Jock Stein came in, players like Jimmy Johnstone, Tommy Gemmell and Bobby Murdoch were there.

“We don’t have players of that calibre just now, for any manager coming in, to be able to improve the team that much.”

READ MORE - Patrick Roberts: Celtic was perfect loan move for me

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Ronnie Esplin"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428858.1493122385!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428858.1493122385!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Rangers and Scotland star Willie Henderson helps to launch the search for nominees to be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers and Scotland star Willie Henderson helps to launch the search for nominees to be inducted into the Scottish Football Hall of Fame. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428858.1493122385!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/odd/sir-chris-hoy-takes-up-bike-skiing-1-4428809","id":"1.4428809","articleHeadline": "Sir Chris Hoy takes up ‘bike skiing’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493120640000 ,"articleLead": "

AFTER switching cycling for motor racing, Sir Chris Hoy is back on two wheels again - but now with a ski attached.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428808.1493120637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Chris Hoy tries out the 'ski-bike'. Picture: Twitter/@chrishoy"} ,"articleBody": "

In an incredible new video, the six-time Olympic champion is seen travelling across thick snow on a bike with a ski attached to the front wheel.

Earlier this year the six-time Olympic champion announced plans to be the first person to ride across Antarctica, and travelled to Iceland two weeks ago to train.

In the clip, shared on Twitter on Sunday from Iceland, Sir Chris can be seen riding a fat bike - that is, an off-road bicycle with oversized tyres - with a green ski clipped on to the bottom of his front wheel.

The 9-second clip shows Hoy pumping the pedals against an almost completely white background with snow falling.

READ MORE - Le Mans debut just like winning gold, claims Sir Chris Hoy

His back wheel is seen sliding from side to side, but the front wheel, attached to a green ski, keeps him stable.

Sir Chris posted the footage on Twitter with the caption: “My first time skiing!”

Twitter users were impressed with the Scots cycling star’s latest exploits.

A user known as S McAvoy wrote: “Wow! So bikes, cars. Is this what comes next? Looks awesome though.”

Another, called @1953TheFlyingScot asked: “Is pedalling the fat bike on the snow as energy sapping as it looks?”

And Stuart Nelson said: “That looks like hard work! #legsercise.”

READ MORE - Interview: Sir Chris Hoy on fatherhood and taking on the 24 hour Le Mans race

Sir Chris told of his plans to cycle to the South Pole when he appeared on motoring show Top Gear earlier this year.

He also explained he was looking for a riding partner to complete the challenge with him.

He said: “It’s a strange and huge challenge.”

“I’m trying to find somebody stupid enough to do it with me. We’re chatting to a few people.”

Hoy and his team went to Iceland two weeks ago to test out a bike designed to withstand the horrible conditions.

Click here for more bizarre news from The Scotsman

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428808.1493120637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428808.1493120637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sir Chris Hoy tries out the 'ski-bike'. Picture: Twitter/@chrishoy","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sir Chris Hoy tries out the 'ski-bike'. Picture: Twitter/@chrishoy","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428808.1493120637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hibernian/danny-swanson-why-i-m-swapping-st-johnstone-for-hibs-1-4428763","id":"1.4428763","articleHeadline": "Danny Swanson: Why I’m swapping St Johnstone for Hibs","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493118774000 ,"articleLead": "

Danny Swanson has admitted it was a tough decision to leave St Johnstone but the chance to join Hibs was too good to turn down.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428762.1493118864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St Johnstone's Danny Swanson is joining Hibs next season. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Swanson, 30, has agreed a pre-contract deal to join the Easter Road club in the summer.

He is a lifelong Hibs supporter and says it was his ambition to play for the club.

The attacking midfielder had a short spell at Hearts last season but has flourished at St Johnstone and is the club’s top scorer for the current campaign with 13 goals.

Swanson said: “The opportunity to sign for Hibernian was one I couldn’t resist. I’m an Edinburgh boy and grew up supporting the Hibees. It’s always been an ambition of mine to play for the club and I am looking forward to this new challenge and to help achieve their goals back in the SPFL Premiership.

“The decision to leave St Johnstone has been a difficult one for me. I’ve felt settled at the Saints and really enjoyed my football, and my period at the club has been the most enjoyable and satisfying time of my career. So, it goes without saying, my decision to leave McDiarmid Park was not taken lightly. However, the pull of Hibernian was too much for me.”

Swanson began his career with Berwick Rangers before earning a move to Dundee United who he helped win the Scottish Cup in 2010. He had spells in England with Peterborough and Coventry City, before coming back to Scotland to join St Johnstone on loan. He then moved to Hearts before returning to Perth.

He has helped Saints secure a top six finish for this campaign and the club remain in the box seat to secure European qualification for next season.

However, the season has not been without its dramas and Swanson was involved in an on-field fight with team-mate Richard Foster during the recent defeat by Hamilton Accies.

The pair were both sent off and later fined by the club.

Swanson added: “I would like to thank my team-mates, the staff and the supporters at St Johnstone for making me feel very welcome. It’s a fine football club with good values.

“I also want to thank the manager, Tommy Wright, who has supported me in so many ways, on and off the field. His trust in me on the football park allowed me to flourish. The way he treated me like an adult off the park also helped me to mature and develop as a person.

“Now that we are in the top six yet again, which is yet another fine achievement, for the next five games, it’s my focus to make sure I play my part in helping St Johnstone qualify for a European place. Everyone at the club has worked extremely hard so far this season and it would be a fitting reward at the end of this campaign.

“Beyond that, I look forward to starting my new career with Hibernian in the summer.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428762.1493118864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428762.1493118864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "St Johnstone's Danny Swanson is joining Hibs next season. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "St Johnstone's Danny Swanson is joining Hibs next season. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428762.1493118864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/poll-should-scott-brown-s-red-card-be-rescinded-1-4428682","id":"1.4428682","articleHeadline": "Poll: Should Scott Brown’s red card be rescinded?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493114557000 ,"articleLead": "

Patrick Roberts believes Scott Brown’s red card, which he received for a heavy challenge on Ross County’s Liam Boyce, should be rescinded because his foul was not as bad as the challenge dished out by Andy Halliday on Sunday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428681.1493114554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Brown chops down Liam Boyce during Celtic's draw with Ross County. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

But what do you think?

SEE ALSO

Celtic loan move “perfect” for Patrick Roberts

Why Rangers’ Andy Halliday should have been sent off against Celtic

Patrick Roberts glad Andy Halliday did not injure him

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID GUNN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428681.1493114554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428681.1493114554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scott Brown chops down Liam Boyce during Celtic's draw with Ross County. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Brown chops down Liam Boyce during Celtic's draw with Ross County. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428681.1493114554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/18th-at-st-andrews-is-best-golf-hole-in-scotland-1-4428644","id":"1.4428644","articleHeadline": "18th at St Andrews is ‘best golf hole in Scotland’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493112458000 ,"articleLead": "

The closing hole on the Old Course at St Andrews has been voted as the best golf hole in Scotland, after a poll of 3,000 golfers chose it ahead of a formidable selection from the country’s world-class courses.

" ,"articleBody": "

The poll, undertaken by VisitScotland, set out to discover which golf holes in Scotland exhibited #ScotSpirit – a feature of the national tourism organisation’s Spirit of Scotland campaign. It asked golfers to vote for the best opening and closing holes, a best par 3, 4 and 5, as well as a best view and a best overall hole from a selection of shortlisted holes across the country.

Tom Morris, St Andrews’ iconic final hole and home to the Valley of Sin, took the award for the best hole and best closing hole, while its neighbouring 17th hole was voted the best par 4 in Scotland.

The 9th hole at Cruden Bay Golf Club on the Aberdeenshire coast claimed the award for best view.

The course, which boasts stirring views across the Bay of Cruden and Slains Castle, beat out competition from the Castle Course at St Andrews, Machrihanish Dunes and Gullane Golf Club.

The category included nominations for more than 300 individual holes, testament to the wealth of stunning views across Scotland’s courses.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “We’re thrilled that the golfing public have taken the time to put their support behind their favourite courses in Scotland, from local favourites to the home of golf itself, St Andrews.

“Every club plays it part in making Scotland the essential golfing destination, so we’re proud to honour such a diverse range of our spectacular courses.”

The Machrihanish Golf Club confirmed its status as the owners of the best opening hole in the world. The Battery, whose tee box already features a plaque to that effect, received over 1,000 votes as the best opening hole in Scotland.

Machrihanish and Cruden Bay weren’t the only local courses to perform better in the poll than some of their more well-known compatriots.

Moray Golf Club’s closing hole, overlooking the Moray Firth, came second in its category, ahead of both Carnoustie and Turnberry.

The 12th hole at neighbouring Hopeman Golf Club, received more than 120 votes for the best view, despite not being shortlisted.

The Postage Stamp (8th) at Troon was voted the best par 3 in Scotland, while the 12th hole at Kingsbarns Golf Club on the Fife Coast was voted the best par 5.

It finished ahead of holes from Castle Stuart (18th), 2014 Ryder Cup venue Gleneagles (16th) and the recently redesigned Ailsa course at Trump Turnberry (10th).

The final results of the poll were as follows:

Best Hole – Tom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (799 votes, 27% share)

Best Opening Hole – The Battery, 1st at Machrihanish Golf Club (1025 votes, 30% share)

Best Closing Hole - Tom Morris, 18th at the Old Course, St Andrews (825 votes, 24% share)

Best Par 3 – The Postage Stamp, 8th at Royal Troon (891 votes, 26% share)

Best Par 4 – Road, 17th at the Old Course, St Andrews (1176 votes, 36% share)

Best Par 5 – Orrdeal, 12th at Kingsbarns Golf Club (654 votes, 19% share)

Best View – 9th at Championship Course, Cruden Bay Golf Club (662 votes, 20% share)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARVIN COLLINS"} ,"topImages": [ ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/8am-round-up-nick-faldo-relieved-not-to-blow-major-at-muirfield-1-4428501","id":"1.4428501","articleHeadline": "8am Round-Up: Nick Faldo relieved not to ‘blow major’ at Muirfield","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493104824000 ,"articleLead": "

Nick Faldo has admitted that he still feels relieved that he managed to avoid “blowing a major” at Muirfield.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428500.1493104821!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nick Faldo is the last Englishman to have won the Open Championship - at Muirfield in 1992"} ,"articleBody": "

The Englishman was recalling the 1992 Open Championship at the East Lothian course, where he triumphed for a third and final time in the game’s oldest major.

That remains the last occasion a player from south of the Border claimed the Claret Jug, with the likes of Justin Rose, Paul Casey and local lad Tommy Fleetwood aiming to bridge a 25-year gap in the event’s 146th staging at Royal Birkdale on 20-23 July.

Faldo, who’d also won at Muirfield in 1987, was three shots clear of the field at halfway after opening rounds of 66 and 64.

He then stretched his advantage to four following a 69 on the third day before almost seeing all his good work undone in the final round.

“Yeah, it was,” replied the 59-year-old to being asked if that had been the most shattered he’d ever felt at the end of a major.

“I had a four-shot lead and then I frittered it all away. When I looked at the leaderboard on the 14th green I’m now two back.

“That was going to be the major that I had absolutely blown and I would probably have been scarred from it.”

In the end, he got the job done by a shot from American John Cook after producing some quality shots when it mattered most over the closing stretch.

“I said, ‘right, you’d better play the best four holes of your life’ - and I just about did,” he added, speaking from Florida in a teleconference to promote this year’s event.

“The 5-iron I hit on 15 was one of the best knock-down 5-irons ever and a drive and a 4-iron I hit up 17 was absolutely spot on, best I could do.

“The 3-iron at 18 probably stands as my best shot ever, because I needed a 4 to win and I took the paint right off the flag.

“I worked hard for that one and it’s a nice feeling to say, ‘wow, I hit three great iron shots’ as I managed to claw it back.”

***

Olympic champion Justin Rose is set to make his first appearance as a professional on Northern Irish soil.

It will come in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation at Portstewart Golf Club from 6-9 July.

Rose’s first appearance in the event in seven years probably means he is unlilely to play in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links the following week.

“I haven’t played the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open for a while so I’m excited about going back,” said the Englishman.

“With Rory’s involvement the last couple of years the event has gone from strength to strength and being part of the Rolex Series will give it an even bigger boost.

“It’s obviously great preparation for The Open Championship. I think it’s very good to get some links golf under your belt before The Open.

“Playing the Scottish Open (he won at Royal Aberdeen in 2014) the week before is a great idea and also playing two weeks before is great because you can have a week before to fine tune.

“The fact that we have these options running into The Open is fantastic and they are top quality events which will hopefully attract not just the top European players, but maybe some players from across the pond in the USA as well.”

***

Spectator viewing platforms look set to become part of the Open Championship landscape, as a feature first introduced at St Andrews in 2015 is expanded for this year’s event at Royal Birkdale.

The platforms are aimed at giving fans following certain groups a better chance of seeing the action as they move around the course, rather than having to stand in queues for grandstands.

For the 146th Open Championship, five such platforms will be located around the Southport course as it stages the world’s oldest major for a 10th time.

“The viewing platforms add a couple of thousand (vantage points) to the 14,500-15,000 grandstand seating that will be available,” said Michael Wells, the R&A’s director of championships - stagings, at a press briefing for the event.

It will mark the 21st year that kids are admitted free, with more than 300,000 youngsters having now taken advantage of that.

In another bid to make the event more appealling to a younger audience, a youth ticket, which costs £35, has been extended to people up to 25.

A “twilight ticket”, which was introduced for the first time at Royal Troon last year and offers entry from 4pm, is being repeated in Lancashire, where another strong audience is anticipated.

“This is traditionally one of our strongest venues and this is one of the fastest so far in terms of advance ticket sales,” reported Mike Woodcock, the R&A’s head of corporate communications.

“We are optimistic than the attendance for the week will be more than 200,000.”

As for the course, only minor changes have been made since Padraig Harrington made a successful defence of the Claret Jug in 2008. New tees have been built at both the 11th and 16th to provide better options in certain weather conditions while the green at the 17th has had its contours “softened” in the wake of some criticism the last time around.

Tributes will be paid at the event on 20-23 July to Arnold Palmer, both on the basis that it will be the first Open Championship since he passed away and also the fact he won the first of two Claret Jugs at Royal Birkdale in 1961.

***

Clarke Lutton and Jack Doherty both broke par in the opening round of the MENA Tour’s Ras Al Khaimah Classic.

The Scottish duo carded matching one-under 71s to sit five shots off the lead, held by four players at Tower Links in the UAE.

Three Englishmen - Daniel Owen, Max Williams and Paul Dwyer - set the pace in the 54-hole event along with Spaniard Francisco Perez.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN DEMPSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428500.1493104821!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428500.1493104821!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nick Faldo is the last Englishman to have won the Open Championship - at Muirfield in 1992","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nick Faldo is the last Englishman to have won the Open Championship - at Muirfield in 1992","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428500.1493104821!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/rumour-mill-halliday-tackle-should-help-clear-brown-aberdeen-want-half-interest-in-celtic-target-1-4428482","id":"1.4428482","articleHeadline": "Rumour Mill: Halliday tackle should help clear Brown | Aberdeen want half | interest in Celtic target","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493103690000 ,"articleLead": "

Patrick Roberts believes the wild foul on him by Andy Halliday should see Scott Brown’s red card lifted, Aberdeen want a 50-50 split for the Scottish Cup final, and Henry Onyekuru has been monitored by three EPL sides.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428480.1493104456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Roberts is hacked down by Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Keep up to date with all our sport news on The Scotsman’s Sport page on Facebook

Roberts: Halliday tackle should help Brown

Patrick Roberts believes Andy Halliday’s wild challenge on him in the Scottish Cup semi-final should help team-mate Scott Brown’s appeal. The Celtic captain was handed a two-game suspension for a hard foul on Liam Boyce at the end of his side’s 2-2 draw with Ross County. Roberts believes Brown’s tackle was nowhere near as severe as Halliday’s, which was only worthy of a booking in the eyes of Sunday’s referee Willie Collum. (Various)

- Roberts doesn’t know yet whether he’ll be able to play in next month’s Scottish Cup final as he’s due to be away with England for the under-20s World Cup. (Daily Record)

READ MORE - Why Rangers’ Andy Halliday should have been sent off against Celtic

Dons want half

Aberdeen are set to demand a 50-50 ticket-split for their Scottish Cup final meeting with Celtic next month. Derek McInnes’ side made it to the final after outlasting Hibs in a five-goal thriller on Saturday. With over 20,000 supporters expected to want tickets for the showdown with Celtic, Aberdeen are going to lobby the SFA in order to secure as many briefs as possible. (Daily Record)

Interest in Celtic target

Celtic target Henry Onyekuru has been watched by scouts from three English Premier League sides. It’s looking increasingly difficult for the Scottish champions to bag the Eupen striker this summer. Brendan Rodgers’ side had previously put in a bid of over £1million for the player, but with Southamption, Bournemouth and Liverpool all watching Onyekuru at the weekend in Belgium’s Europa League play-off, his value is surely to be driven up. (Daily Record)

Defender open to Rangers return

Former Rangers centre-back Dominic Ball has revealed he’s open to the idea of returning to Ibrox one day. The defender spent last season on loan from Tottenham Hotspur and became a regular in the starting XI by the season’s end. Ball admits there was a chance to rejoin Rangers in the summer transfer window, but he wanted to focus on getting into the first-team at White Hart Lane. By the time he was released by the North London club, Rangers had concluded their summer spending. (Daily Record)

READ MORE - What Hibs will be getting in new signing Danny Swanson

Lennon: Hibs are second best team

Neil Lennon has boldly claimed Hibs are “the second-best team in the country” – despite losing out to Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final at the weekend. The Dons currently sit in the runners-up spot in the Premiership and are widely regarded as second only to Celtic in Scottish football. But Lennon reckons his team can lay claim to being better than the Pittodrie outfit. (The Scotsman)

Rodgers happy to jeopardise unbeaten season

Brendan Rodgers has admitted he’s content to put Celtic’s unbeaten season at risk in an effort to help his side secure the treble. The champions have five games of their league season remaining before they take on Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final. With Celtic’s European campaign starting in mid-July, Rodgers is keen to get some of his big talents rested and ready to go for next month’s clash with the Dons. (Various)

READ MORE - Unbeaten record doesn’t motivate me says Brendan Rodgers

Hill happy to stay at Rangers

Clint Hill has said he’s happy to sign a new contract to stay at Rangers for at least another 12 months. The veteran centre-back sees his current deal expire in the summer and isn’t aware of whether Pedro Caixinha plans to keep him for a second season. Hill missed Sunday’s Old Firm derby semi-final as a recent injury limited his involvement to a place on the bench. (Scottish Sun)

Cathro: winning is all that matters

Ian Cathro admits winning is Hearts’ priority over performance during the final five games of the season. The Edinburgh club must overhaul a four-point deficit between themselves and St Johnstone to finish fourth in the Ladbrokes Premiership and qualify for Europe. Stylish victories are Cathro’s preference but, as he prepares his squad to face Partick Thistle at Tynecastle this weekend, the Hearts head coach acknowledged that winning is all that matters at this stage in the campaign. (Evening News)

Curran signs new deal

Craig Curran has signed a new 12-month deal at Ross County to stay until the end of the 2017/18 season. The 27-year-old striker has been a solid option up front for Jim McIntyre since the Staggies boss recruited the player in January 2015. His previous deal was due to expire in the summer. (BBC)

Stirling signs for Queens

Queen of the South have signed Andy Stirling on a two-year deal. The Dumbarton winger has put pen to paper on a new contract and will join up with Gary Naysmith’s men in the summer. In the meantime the 27-year-old is focused on helping Dumbarton survive the second tier relegation battle. (Dumbarton Reporter)

READ MORE - Patrick Roberts: Celtic was perfect loan move for me

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID GUNN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428480.1493104456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428480.1493104456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Patrick Roberts is hacked down by Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Roberts is hacked down by Rangers midfielder Andy Halliday. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428480.1493104456!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1493048486764"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/alan-pattullo-brilliance-of-lionel-messi-exceeds-genius-1-4428388","id":"1.4428388","articleHeadline": "Alan Pattullo: Brilliance of Lionel Messi exceeds genius","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493074800000 ,"articleLead": "

Were we doomed to continue the debate until Doomsday? This was the wearily sighed question posed by some commentators in the run-up to Sunday’s latest El Clasico and the pitching together once more of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428387.1493070012!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lionel Messi celebrates his match-winning performance against Real Madrid on Sunday. Pictrure: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

Who is better? It’s the context in which nearly every meeting between these sides has been framed over the last eight years. Even when the sides aren’t playing, the seemingly eternal wrangling seemed set to continue.

Are you for Ronaldo? Or are you for Messi?

But it finally felt like the debate was beginning to run out of steam last week. Ronaldo had just scored the 100th – as well as 99th and 
101st – Champions League goal of his career to earn Real Madrid a Champions League semi-final place at the expense of Bayern Munich. Messi, meanwhile, was as anonymous as he can be in his side’s lacklustre attempt to overturn a 3-0 first-leg reversal against Juventus.

Ronaldo was having airports named after him. Statues – however wonky – were being moulded in his image.

A heavily bearded Messi was beginning to look, and perhaps feel, his age – 30 in June.

Even in his side’s compelling Champions League comeback against Paris St Germain last month he had been reduced to something of a bit-part player. Team-mate Neymar took the plaudits for scoring twice and setting up the incredibly late, tie-winning goal.

Going into Sunday’s clash at the Bernabeu Stadium, Ronaldo and Real were in charge at the top of the La Liga table. Another win over Barcelona, or even a draw, would all but eliminate their rivals from the title equation. James Rodriguez’s equaliser for Real looked to have done just that after Messi had provided enough evidence to at least stir the debate over who’s better, him or Ronaldo, with his side’s opener.

Messi’s Portuguese rival helped tip the balance back in Messi’s favour by missing a golden opportunity to put his side back in front. But even so, it looked as if Ronaldo was going to end up having the happier night.

But Messi had other ideas. His first goal had all the elan we’ve come to expect. He managed to make a fool of Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal, whose leg was still dangling in the air as the striker, gauze still stuffed in his mouth after a painful elbow in the face from Marcelo had drawn blood, whipped the ball past Keylor Navas.

His timely winner, however, had the effect of not just stoking the debate, but ending it once and for all.

“It’s time to enjoy the best player in the world and of all time,” said Luis Suarez, his strike partner, afterwards.

It wasn’t an outlandish goal in terms of quality. Far better were scored over the course of the same weekend – Nemanja Matic for Chelsea against Tottenham Hotspur in Saturday’s FA Cup semi-final at Wembley for example. Even Callum McGregor’s side-footed opener for Celtic in their win over Rangers on Sunday was comparable in its calm execution.

But neither of them is supported by such a body of work as Messi’s 
latest strike. After all, this decisive goal against Real Madrid was his 500th for Barcelona in all competitions. There’s great and there’s genius. He has scored 29 goals against Sevilla alone – and now 23 versus Real Madrid.

And no other goal scored over the weekend came in anything like the same context as Messi’s winner. The clock read 91.33 when Sergi Roberto took possession of the ball just outside his own area.

Messi would be the first to compliment his team-mate for the slaloming run that opened up the Real defence and led to Jordi Alba’s intelligent cut-back after Andre Gomes held the ball up briefly.

These willing helpers are all vital cogs in the well-oiled machine that is Barcelona. But who else other than Messi could have provided the inspiration, the anticipation, to make a sweeping run to the back of the box, as if guided by angels?

He wrapped his left foot around the ball and sent a perfectly-placed shot into the corner of the net with the last kick of the game.

Messi’s celebration was just as deft. There was barely a smile on his face as he raised his shirt to display his name to the crowd.

Not for him the slightly tacky pose, adopted by Ronaldo, naturally, along with a number of others, of standing with back to the crowd, legs splayed, while pointing to their name with 
outstretched thumbs.

No, a seemingly emotionless Messi just stood there in the lair of his side’s greatest rivals as if about to pin his shirt to an imaginary clothes line.

It wasn’t an aggressive act. Rather than a challenge, or even a boast, it seemed more like a reaffirmation.

This is the name of the best there’s ever been.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428387.1493070012!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428387.1493070012!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lionel Messi celebrates his match-winning performance against Real Madrid on Sunday. Pictrure: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lionel Messi celebrates his match-winning performance against Real Madrid on Sunday. Pictrure: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428387.1493070012!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/scotland-under-18s-sign-off-with-mixed-fortunes-1-4428394","id":"1.4428394","articleHeadline": "Scotland Under-18s sign off with mixed fortunes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493074800000 ,"articleLead": "

The Scottish Schools’ FA Under-18s suffered heartache when two late goals snatched away a victory against Northern Ireland at the Solitude Stadium in Belfast.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428393.1493070371!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nathan Brown in action for Scotland Under-18s. Picture: Grenville Dawson."} ,"articleBody": "

But the boys did well to hit back with a win over the Republic of Ireland in the final match of the international season.

In Belfast, Scotland deservedly took the lead when in the 48th minute Adam Brown (Grove Academy, Dundee) scored a well worked goal.

Northern Ireland roared back and, despite two world class saves by keeper Ronan Fallens, the home team scored in the 88th and 90th minutes to break the Scots’ hearts.

The Scottish regrouped for the final Centenary Shield fixture against the Republic of Ireland at New Western Park in Renfrew and the reward was a 1-0 win.

A headed goal by captain Kyle Banner from a corner after ten minutes gave Scotland the victory. The skipper also led the defence in a well-organised display and he was aided superbly by the other defenders – George Stanger, Luc Bollan and John Kelly.

Keeper Ronan Fallens never really had a save to make in the first 45 minutes. In front of them was a hardworking midfield of Jamie Chapman, Cameron Ballantyne and local boy Calvin McGrory.

The other local lad, Matthew Reilly was a real box of tricks up front, along with Adam Brown and Euan O’Reilly whose strength and pace were a constant threat.

Substitute goalkeeper Ross Connelly made a great double-save midway through the second half.

Nathan Brown replaced George Stanger and his school-mate, Cieran Dunne, came on with 25 minutes to go to replace Adam Brown.

Robbie Bruce was a late replacement for Cameron Ballantyne and in the final minutes Adam Kirkwood had a run-out in replacing Mathew Reilly.

Possession in the second half was shared and as expected the visitors pushed forward for an equaliser. Scotland held firm and offered a threat on the counter but there was no chance they were going to allow a repeat of the
 previous week. They defended stoutly and with great control.

The game ended at 1-0 giving Scotland their first victory over the Republic of Ireland team in a Centenary Shield game since 1986.

The Scottish Schools squad met up for the final time last Friday when the cap presentation ceremony took place at Hampden Park.

The boys said their farewells and left with treasured memories of an excellent season representing the Scottish Schools’ FA in international 
football.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELSPETH BURNSIDE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428393.1493070371!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428393.1493070371!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Nathan Brown in action for Scotland Under-18s. Picture: Grenville Dawson.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Nathan Brown in action for Scotland Under-18s. Picture: Grenville Dawson.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428393.1493070371!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/more-in-sport/lucas-aims-for-commonwealth-games-standard-1-4428390","id":"1.4428390","articleHeadline": "Lucas aims for Commonwealth Games standard","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493074800000 ,"articleLead": "

When the 2014 Commonwealth Games were in Glasgow, Lucas Thomson had just taken up diving.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428389.1493070190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lucas Thomson competes at the Olympic diving pool in Barcelona"} ,"articleBody": "

Three years on, the Balerno High School pupil is now a GB medallist and aiming to be in Team Scotland for next year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast.

This month, Lucas competed in the Elite Junior National Championships in Plymouth and made finals in three events in the 16-18 years age-group. He collected the bronze medal in the 1m springboard.

Now the 16-year-old is looking forward to the Scottish Championships at Edinburgh’s Royal Commonwealth Pool when he will line up alongside 2014 Games competitor, James Heatly, in the 10m synchro.

“It will be our first competition together but we are hoping to make the Games qualification standard,” said Lucas. “We think we can do it, it is whether we are good enough to make it through in the six dives on the day.

“At the last Commonwealth Games I had just started and didn’t manage to get tickets for the diving. But I did get to see some other sports live.

“I started off as a gymnast – I did it for about seven years – but then I tried diving. I went along with some friends about three years ago and absolutely loved it.”

Lucas admits he couldn’t reach the high level without the help of his school.

“Everyone has been great,” said the fourth-year pupil. “I am even allowed to miss one period every Friday so I can go to afternoon training. I train six days a week, including twice on a Tuesday when we have a morning session – I have to get up at 4:30am.”

Lucas is also grateful for the recent financial support by way of a grant from Sports Aid Scotland. “It really helps with the travel costs,” he admitted.

With Heatly and 2016 Olympian, Grace Reid, as training mates in Edinburgh, and GB enjoying a boost in the Tom Daley era, Lucas has entered the sport at a ripe time.

“Diving is a great community,” he said. “I am now a member of the GB squad and we have get-togethers twice a year. At the moment, next year’s Commonwealth Games is the goal. But getting to an Olympics is the ultimate aim.”

And he won’t be shirking his school work. “The sciences are my favourite subject, especially biology. I want to go to university, and probably study biochemistry.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELSPETH BURNSIDE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428389.1493070190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428389.1493070190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lucas Thomson competes at the Olympic diving pool in Barcelona","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lucas Thomson competes at the Olympic diving pool in Barcelona","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428389.1493070190!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/celtic/unbeaten-record-doesn-t-motivate-me-says-brendan-rodgers-1-4428398","id":"1.4428398","articleHeadline": "Unbeaten record doesn’t motivate me says Brendan Rodgers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493071339000 ,"articleLead": "

Brendan Rodgers insists writing a remarkable new chapter in Scottish football history is “not the be all and end all” for Celtic as he prioritises winning the Scottish Cup over achieving the unprecedented feat of completing a domestic season unbeaten.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428397.1493071337!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates his side's 2-0 win over Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-finals."} ,"articleBody": "

he Scottish champions stretched their undefeated record in the current campaign to 41 matches on Sunday with the 2-0 Scottish Cup semi-final victory over Rangers. Celtic have five Premiership fixtures remaining before they face Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final on 27 May.

Since the introduction of professional league football in 1890, no team in Scotland has ever gone through a full domestic campaign undefeated in all major competitions. Celtic and Rangers have both previously completed unbeaten league seasons, in 1897-98 and 1898-99 respectively, but both lost in the Scottish Cup during those campaigns.

In Rodgers’ first season as Celtic manager, the club are now on the brink of matching a feat only previously achieved in top-level British football by Preston North End’s iconic “Invincibles” side of 1888-89 who remained unbeaten in winning the English league and FA Cup double.

Celtic face three away games in their top-six, post-split Premiership schedule, starting with Saturday’s trip to face Rangers at Ibrox. They also play Aberdeen at Pittodrie and Partick Thistle at Firhill, while they have two home games against St Johnstone and Hearts.

But Rodgers is adamant the prospect of remaining undefeated offers no additional motivation to his team in the build-up to the Scottish Cup final in which they could land only the fourth domestic 
treble in Celtic’s history.

“We won’t need that [unbeaten run] to keep our focus on the final,” said the Celtic 
manager.

“We go into the remaining games to try and produce the maximum and get us the wins. If it does? Great. If not, then fine.

“It’s not a massive priority of mine but that doesn’t say we don’t go into every game to win. We’ve shown that over the course of the season – but it’s not the be all and end all.”

Rodgers is considering resting some of his key players ahead of the cup final but only after this weekend’s sixth Old Firm showdown of the 
campaign. “You can’t do it so much ahead of Ibrox,” added Rodgers. “We want to go there and perform well and then there’s a bit of breathing space. I’ll sit down with the staff and see how we can periodise it. Clearly the final is the big focus and we will periodise the team to be ready for that one.

“We’re high in confidence and we have been all year. We want to finish the season as strong as we possibly can and we still have work to do.”

Rodgers stressed that he is not seeking to play down the historical context of Celtic’s season but is simply wary of the potential for his team to slip up over the coming few weeks if they spend too much time contemplating it.

“I am fully aware of it - I can’t get away from it,” smiled Rodgers. “I’m just going to put ear plugs in for the next month!

“Listen, I just don’t tend to think too much about it. When you win games there is a consequence of that, so if we beat Aberdeen in the final it’ll be ‘okay, it’s nice.’ But I’ve said before, it’s very dangerous to think otherwise. Never get too carried away in this game. I’ll repeat it, a slap on the back is only six inches from a slap on the arse.”

Celtic cruised to a 3-0 victory over Aberdeen in the League Cup final earlier this season and Rodgers expects Derek McInnes’ men to be highly motivated to improve on their display that day when the teams face off again at Hampden next month.

“Probably, probably,” said Rodgers. “Derek has done an amazing job there. He has got his team really organised and playing well. Of course, they will want to come down and make a better showing.

“But that’s three times we’ve played at Hampden now this season and we’ve played at a really, really good level. So the players are happy and have good energy. Thankfully they play the game like they know what they’re doing.

“When I came in to Celtic, everyone complained about the Hampden record. People said it wasn’t a good place for us. But I have to give credit to the staff at Hampden and say congratulations to them because I thought the pitch on Sunday was brilliant.

“That was our downfall in the home game against Rangers recently when we drew 1-1. But the pitch was perfect at Hampden and you could see the speed in the ball and how quickly we can move it. With the speed of the team it’s a much better tempo for us.

“When you come to Hampden and you want to win things you have to be able to play. You have to be able to perform and deal with pressure. As the season has gone on we’ve got better and better and better at that.”

to be ready for that one. We’re high in confidence and we have been all year. We want to finish the season as strong as we possibly can and we still have work to do.”

Rodgers stressed that he is not seeking to play down the historical context of Celtic’s season but is simply wary of the potential for his team to slip up over the coming few weeks if they spend too much time contemplating it.

“I am fully aware of it – I can’t get away from it,” smiled Rodgers. “I’m just going to put ear plugs in for the next month!

“Listen, I just don’t tend to think too much about it. When you win games there is a consequence of that, so if we beat Aberdeen in the final it’ll be ‘OK, it’s nice’. But I’ve said before, it’s very dangerous to think otherwise. Never get too carried away in this game. I’ll repeat it, a slap on the back is only six inches from a slap on the arse.”

Celtic cruised to a 3-0 victory over Aberdeen in the League Cup final earlier this season and Rodgers expects Derek McInnes’ men to be highly motivated to improve on their display when the teams meet at Hampden next month.

“Probably, probably,” said Rodgers. “Derek has done an amazing job there. He has got his team really organised and playing well. Of course, they will want to come down and make a better showing.

“But that’s three times we’ve played at Hampden now this season and we’ve played at a really, really good level. So the players are happy and have good energy. Thankfully they play the game like they know what they’re doing.

“When I came in to Celtic, everyone complained about the Hampden record. People said it wasn’t a good place for us. But I have to give credit to the staff at Hampden and say congratulations to them because I thought the pitch on Sunday was brilliant.

“That was our downfall in the home game against Rangers recently when we drew 1-1. But the pitch was perfect at Hampden and you could see the speed in the ball and how quickly we can move it. With the speed of the team it’s a much better tempo for us.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEPHEN HALLIDAY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428397.1493071337!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428397.1493071337!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates his side's 2-0 win over Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers celebrates his side's 2-0 win over Rangers in the Scottish Cup semi-finals.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428397.1493071337!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hibernian/hibs-are-second-best-team-in-scotland-says-neil-lennon-1-4428396","id":"1.4428396","articleHeadline": "Hibs are second-best team in Scotland says Neil Lennon","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493070789000 ,"articleLead": "

Neil Lennon has boldly claimed Hibs are “the second-best team in the country” – despite losing out to Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup semi-final at the weekend.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428395.1493070786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon believes his side are the second-best team in Scotland."} ,"articleBody": "

The Dons currently sit in the runners-up spot in the Premiership and are widely regarded as second only to Celtic in Scottish football.

But Lennon reckons his team can lay claim to being better than the Pittodrie outfit.

Hibs battled back from the concession of a goal to Adam Rooney after just 11 seconds and a second to Ryan Christie’s audacious free-kick 24 minutes later to restore parity after an hour at Hampden.

But they were denied the chance to defend the trophy they won in historic fashion last year when Jonny Hayes’ shot deflected fortuitously off Darren McGregor 
with just five minutes remaining. The exciting encounter gave the Easter Road side a glimpse into the competition they will face in the top-flight next season after winning the Championship this term.

And, despite labelling his side “pathetic” and accusing them of “hiding” during a calamitous opening half an hour, and ultimately crashing to defeat, Lennon is adamant Hibs are worthy of being considered superior to their weekend opponents.

Asked about going toe-to-toe with the nation’s “second-best team”, Lennon told Hibs TV: “We’re the second-best team in the country.

“We can play, and I think we’re the second-best team in the country. We should have won the game.

“If we add a couple of players we’ll be a real force to be reckoned with next season.

“We can mix it, we can play, we showed plenty of character to come back from 2-0 
down.

“We were definitely in the ascendancy, we scored the best goals, but we conceded and they let the game get away from them.”

Meanwhile, Lennon will be back at Hampden this afternoon to discover his 
punishment for his part in the 
ugly melee with Morton 
counterpart Jim Duffy last month.

The Hibs boss reacted angrily when Duffy stormed into his technical area after Lennon had remonstrated with Morton striker Kudus Oyenuga in the wake of his red-card challenge on Jordon Forster and a head-to-head clash with Darren McGregor.

Due to the “non-availability of Hibs’ solicitor”, the Northern Irishman had his case delayed until today after expressing frustration he could be banned from the touchline for Saturday’s semi-final against Aberdeen.

Instead, the former Celtic manager, who faces three charges of breaching disciplinary rule 203 by “adopting an aggressive attitude” to Oyenuga, Duffy and the match officials, is in danger of 
missing Hibs’ title party against St Mirren a week on Saturday.

Duffy was handed a three-match ban, one of which is suspended, for his part in the fracas.

Should Lennon be handed the same punishment he will be banished to the stand for tomorrow’s meeting with Raith Rovers and on Saturday against Ayr United but free to celebrate with his team on the last day of the campaign at Easter Road.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "IAIN COLLIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428395.1493070786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428395.1493070786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon believes his side are the second-best team in Scotland.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian head coach Neil Lennon believes his side are the second-best team in Scotland.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428395.1493070786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/celtic/patrick-roberts-halliday-got-yellow-so-why-was-brown-a-red-1-4428392","id":"1.4428392","articleHeadline": "Patrick Roberts: Halliday got yellow so why was Brown a red?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493070349000 ,"articleLead": "

The ability to go at a rate of knots and change tack deftly might have allowed Patrick Roberts to do more than help a supreme Celtic sink Rangers without a trace in Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final. The treatment meted out to the winger in the early stages at Hampden could also play a part in Brendan Rodgers’ men having captain Scott Brown on board when they set course for Ibrox at the weekend.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428391.1493109030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Roberts is sent flying by a challenge from Andy Halliday at Hamden on Sunday. Picture: Ian Sneddon/Universal News And Sport (Scotland)"} ,"articleBody": "

Inside three minutes the 20-year-old Manchester City loanee was wiped out when Andy Halliday flew in on him with a wild, late lunge that brought only a yellow from referee Willie Collum. Meanwhile, whether Brown plays on Saturday in the sixth and final Old Firm derby of the season will be settled by an SFA appeal on Thursday over the automatic two-match ban he received for the straight red card shown him by Don Robertson. That dismissal came for a challenge on Liam Boyce against Ross County the Sunday before that appeared to be a lesser offence than that committed by Halliday.

Roberts was asked if the difference in card colour for the two transgressions gave him hope that Brown might be successful in his appeal – the triggering of which at the Easter weekend allowed him to play in the semi-final.

“Yeah. If that’s only a yellow why was Scott’s a red card?” the Englishman said.

“I don’t want to say too much but it was a bad tackle and thankfully I didn’t get hurt. It’s an Old Firm game and maybe the ref thought about it like that and gave a yellow. I felt the ref was pretty good and thankfully we won.”

Roberts wasn’t interested in finger-pointing towards the officials or opponents in the wake of the most incisive displays of his 18-month loan period, something that was reflected in his assessment of the fact that it wasn’t just Halliday who could have walked for attempting to stop Roberts in crude fashion in the opening stages. Teenager Mylde Beerman was booked for a heavy challenge and then in the immediate aftermath was not penalised for deliberately tripping the winger.

“Beerman is only young and I know what it feels like to be young and playing in a big game under pressure like that,” Roberts offered in magnanimous fashion. “It’s tough and my job was to keep getting at him and force him into mistakes. I felt I did that at times, although he did pretty well against me. He showed good experience at times and he’s a good young player who can do well in the game.”

Sunday was Roberts’ first start against Rangers this season. The player has seen more action through the middle as an emergency striker of late than the flanks, with Scott Sinclair and James Forrest the preferred wing options. In the semi-final, though, Roberts was given the nod over Forrest, and fully capitalised on the opportunity.

“It’s tough to get in the team. We have had a great run this year and there is a lot of competition for places. The standard is high and whoever the manager puts in does a good job. It was a good team performance more than anything.

“It’s been the perfect loan move for me. I honestly couldn’t have asked for any more. I have come to a big club where there is a lot of expectation and you are playing under big pressure. It’s huge and we have managed to have a lot of success. It’s worked out really well for me.

“I see a big difference in myself. I am a lot more mature and I’m just really happy with my progress.

“Last year was good and I’ve now played over 50 games for the club. I have got three medals already and I now have a treble in mind too. I want to win everything and I want to finish the season really strongly. There is still a lot to play for. Winning the Scottish Cup would just top it all off. This season has been great under the manager. I’ve learned a lot, scored goals, created them and also played in a lot of big games. It’s been a great loan spell at Celtic.”

The greatest possible end seems certain to elude Roberts, though. He proved an integral member of the England under-20 squad that last month qualified for the World Cup finals that will take place in South Korea next month. Starting in the middle of May, England are scheduled to play their third and final group game against the hosts on 26 May – the day before Celtic will meet Aberdeen in the Scottish Cup final that is the one more victory they require to complete the club’s first domestic clean sweep since 2000.

The fact the Roberts is forever circumspect when asked about the scheduling clash tells its own story about where he sees himself in Scottish Cup final week – on the other side of the planet as a, by then, former Celtic player who received a good grounding before hoping for a crack at the highest level of the English game with parent club Manchester City.

“I can’t really say too much about that at the moment. We just have to see what happens. All I know is that it’s not up to me,” said Roberts, Celtic being obliged to release the player to the England FA for the Fifa tournament.

“I can’t really say anything more. I’m just glad that Celtic are in the final.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428391.1493109030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428391.1493109030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Patrick Roberts is sent flying by a challenge from Andy Halliday at Hamden on Sunday. Picture: Ian Sneddon/Universal News And Sport (Scotland)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Roberts is sent flying by a challenge from Andy Halliday at Hamden on Sunday. Picture: Ian Sneddon/Universal News And Sport (Scotland)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428391.1493109030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/guinness-pro12/glasgow-s-brian-alainu-uese-people-think-i-play-basketball-1-4428386","id":"1.4428386","articleHeadline": "Glasgow’s Brian Alainu’uese: People think I play basketball","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493069806000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow Warriors’ recent success has certainly raised the profile of the oval ball game in Scotland’s football-obsessed largest city but it remains the case that many of the team’s stars still enjoy an element of anonymity not afforded to their soccer counterparts.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428385.1493106451!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brian Alainu'uese has signed a new three-year deal at Scotsoun."} ,"articleBody": "

When it comes to recognisability, 6ft 8in, 21-stone lock forward Brian Alainu’uese would certainly stand out strolling down Buchanan Street and the man who has become a firm fans’ favourite at Scotstoun admits that he does get attention from the locals.

“They think I play basketball, so I just go for that and say ‘Yeah, I play basketball’,” revealed Alainu’uese with a broad grin yesterday as he faced the media for the first time since he agreed a new two-year contract last week.

Born and raised in New Zealand with Samoan heritage, the 23-year-old colossus said it was an easy decision to extend his stay after arriving in Glasgow on a short-term deal earlier in the season and that, after a few initial culture shocks, says he is settling into his new home.

“There’s a lot of people in the city. Like they say, ‘People make Glasgow’, and they definitely do. I enjoy the city. It’s nice,” said Alainu’uese.

The new contract raises the possibility that he could become eligible to play for Scotland on residency grounds at some stage and, although it is not something at the forefront of his mind, it is a prospect he has entertained.

It is likely that the residency rule will be extended from three to five years but the new regulations are expected to come into effect after the 2019 World Cup and not affect contracts signed before the change. Alainu’uese represented Samoa in the 2013 Under-20 World Cup, when he went head to head with his Glasgow co-captain Jonny Gray in both the pool and play-off stages and he said: “It [playing for Scotland at some point] has crossed my mind. You never know. I might.”

Alainu’uese, who has made 16 appearances this term, has fallen foul of the officials in the Guinness Pro12 a couple of times but the fans have taken him to their hearts and recently voted him Warrior of the Month. “I really enjoy the company of the boys and the fans, and that just made it an easier decision for me to stay here,” he said. “I come from a sunny place, big family [he is one of 15 siblings], and it was a big move for me. I came over here and I was all alone, by myself, and like I said the boys in the team made me feel very welcome.”

The former Waikato player is looking forward to being re-united with Chiefs coach Dave Rennie when he takes the Glasgow reins in the summer. “He’s a good coach. He’s won two Super Rugby titles, so that’s good,” said Alainu’uese, who made two appearances for the Chiefs first team under Rennie before making the move north. “More importantly, he’s a good man as well. I think he likes the culture and the environment of the team, and he makes teams play better. I think he’ll bring more of a culture. Glasgow’s already a culture team, but he’ll bring his own kind of style into the team and I think you’ll see it out on the pitch, the changes he’ll make.

“I trained for a couple of months as injury cover and managed to play two games for the Chiefs. I learned a lot from those two games and all the training. Back at the Chiefs we had a strong local culture. We were well connected with the community. It’s similar at the Warriors, although the style is different. The weather is different. The northern hemisphere is very strong on the set piece – scrums, lineouts – and they are very technical around that kind of stuff. In the southern hemisphere they like to play wide to wide and throw the ball around. Though that is similar to the Warriors.”

Alainu’uese has given his congratulations to the two club-mates who were selected for the British and Irish Lions last week and he said he is hoping to see Stuart Hogg and Tommy Seymour in action when he is back for holidays once the season is over.

Glasgow still have a remote mathematical chance of making the Pro12 play-offs but it is more likely that this Friday’s trip to Leinster and the visit of Edinburgh on 6 May will be their last two games.

“Everyone has been very happy for both Stuart and Tommy,” said Alainu’uese. “I hope I can go and watch them back home. I think the Lions have a chance.

“Since I have been here I have seen the big players in the UK and I think they will have a good shot.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428385.1493106451!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428385.1493106451!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brian Alainu'uese has signed a new three-year deal at Scotsoun.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brian Alainu'uese has signed a new three-year deal at Scotsoun.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428385.1493106451!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/nick-faldo-predicts-a-win-at-the-open-for-england-1-4428381","id":"1.4428381","articleHeadline": "Nick Faldo predicts a win at The Open for England","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493069593000 ,"articleLead": "

The record books point to Henrik Stenson being a man to watch. Five of the past nine winners of an Open Championship at Royal Birkdale, after all, have been repeat champions. Nick Faldo, though, reckons an Englishman could prevail in this year’s Claret Jug joust and take away one of his records.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428380.1493069591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Justin Rose is fancied by Nick Faldo as one of the favourites to win the Open. Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

Faldo is the last player from south of the Border to have tasted victory in the world’s oldest major, chalking up his third triumph in the event at Muirfield in 1992. But, with Justin Rose, Paul Casey and, of course, local lad Tommy Fleetwood in good form this season, the six-time major winner believes that drought could be about to end at the Southport venue in July.

“I regard myself as British as well and Rory [McIlroy] stepped in and Paul Lawrie,” replied Faldo, speaking in a teleconference from Florida to promote the event, when reminded of how long it had actually been since the Cross of St George had sat alongside the name of a Champion Golfer of the Year.

“But, if we are talking Englishmen, the time is really positive right now with Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey. Maybe this is the time for the 25-year run to end.”

Rose, of course, has history at this year’s venue. A 17-year-old amateur at the time, he chipped in at the last to finish joint fourth behind Mark O’Meara in 1988. That was followed by a torrid start to his professional career, but Rose is heading back to Merseyside with one major in the bag, having claimed the US Open in 2013, and come perilously close to adding a second one when he was pipped in a play-off by Sergio Garcia in the Masters earlier this month. “Rose is definitely a serious contender because of everything – where he is in his career and the fact he’s a major champion,” added Faldo, pictured. “Having come up short in the Masters, he’s going to be hugely inspired going back to Birkdale.”

Fleetwood even more so, perhaps. He was born in Southport and still lives locally. The 26-year-old will be heading into a first Open Championship on his doorstep in the form of his life, having won the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this year, finished second to world No 1 Dustin Johnson in the WGC-Mexico Championship and, most recently, closed with a 62 to just miss out on victory in the Shenzhen International in China.

“I think he’s progressing,” observed Faldo of Fleetwood. “I’ve heard the players talking and they say he is very much Stenson-style solidity and strength in ball-striking. They [the English player] will be inspired by Danny Willett [winning the Masters last year]. They have played with Danny a lot and they think, wow, if he can do that, I can do that. They play with Sergio; if he can do that, I can do that. I think European golf is good and I think the European guys can contend at the Open.”

As for Faldo, he’ll have a microphone in his hand in July rather than a golf club, having decided to stick with his decision to call time on 
his Open career at St Andrews in 2015. “I had the most wonderful send-off on the Swilken Bridge,” he recalled.

“I had just birdied 17. I’m in the sunshine. I’ve got my old Pringle from ’87 and I didn’t realise until I got there that week that was my 100th major, so I think it all made sense. I don’t think I can have a better send-off from the Open ever.

“So, I’m very happy to call it a day playing the Open Championship.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN DEMPSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428380.1493069591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428380.1493069591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Justin Rose is fancied by Nick Faldo as one of the favourites to win the Open. Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Justin Rose is fancied by Nick Faldo as one of the favourites to win the Open. Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428380.1493069591!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/tennis/ilie-nastase-has-no-regrets-over-abuse-to-johanna-konta-1-4428379","id":"1.4428379","articleHeadline": "Ilie Nastase has ‘no regrets’ over abuse to Johanna Konta","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493069633000 ,"articleLead": "

Ilie Nastase remains unrepentant over his sexist tirade which marred Great Britain’s Fed Cup defeat in Constanta at the weekend.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428378.1493069524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ilie Nastase awaits further sanctions from the ITF. Picture: AP."} ,"articleBody": "

The Romanian team captain was expelled midway through the World Group II play-off match after swearing at officials, GB captain Anne Keothavong and world No 7 Johanna Konta.

Nastase was heard to call Keothavong and Konta “f***ing bitches” after the British team complained about calls from the crowd during points, while he also launched an astonishing rant at a Press Association journalist.

On Sunday, the International Tennis Federation issued Nastase with a provisional ban under which he will not be allowed access to, or accreditation for, any ITF event.

With the ITF investigation ongoing, he awaits further punishment, but has insisted that he does not care what further repercussions may await him

The 70-year-old said: “I don’t regret it and they can send me to prison if they want – I don’t care.

“I was just trying to promote the interest of my girl. The English player just stormed off without even asking permission to leave the court and I admit that’s when I called her a bitch.

“She kept trying to keep the crowd quiet – but it’s not an opera, it’s a game. “I don’t need this b******t. I’m 70 years old. I don’t even get paid for being team captain. I don’t give a s**t if they fine me or don’t let me sit in the captain’s chair.”

Romanian gymnastics great Nadia Comaneci has sprung to the defence of compatriot Nastase.

A close friend of the two-time grand slam champion since they both peaked in their respective sports in the late 1970s, she warned he must accept any punishment imposed by the International Tennis Federation.

In Cluj for the European Gymnastics Championships, Comaneci, pictured above, said: “Ilie is very patriotic and sometimes he says things that he doesn’t really mean – it’s just Ilie, and he will always be my friend.

“Of course Ilie is responsible for what comes out of his mouth, and I think it is important in sport that you keep the respect and good behaviour.

“He will have to deal with it [the consequences], but he can survive whatever happens to him. People make mistakes. Everybody in Romania loves Ilie because he is Ilie.”

GB captain Keothavong appeared to question whether Nastase should ever have been appointed as Fed Cup captain given his notoriously volatile temperament.

She said: “His behaviour on court over the weekend and leading up to this tie was inappropriate and in hindsight maybe he shouldn’t have been put in the position that he was.

“You walk out on to court as a tennis player expecting to be in a safe environment and expecting to be playing against a partisan crowd – that’s understandable – but you don’t expect to be verbally abused when you’re just trying to do your job.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARK STANIFORTH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428378.1493069524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428378.1493069524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ilie Nastase awaits further sanctions from the ITF. Picture: AP.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ilie Nastase awaits further sanctions from the ITF. Picture: AP.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428378.1493069524!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/martin-dempster-better-times-ahead-for-scots-golfers-1-4428371","id":"1.4428371","articleHeadline": "Martin Dempster: Better times ahead for Scots golfers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493068973000 ,"articleLead": "

Admittedly up against two English victories –and it was almost three after Tommy Fleetwood’s flying finish in China – the past weekend provided more encouragement about a bright new future for Scottish golf than has been witnessed for some time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428370.1493109899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grant Forrest is one of the emerging Scots who promise a bright future. Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

Performances by Saltire standard-bearers in both the men’s and women’s game delivered real hope that better times lie ahead for our golfers in the professional ranks after a barren spell, certainly in terms of producing new talent at the top 
level of the game.

It still comes as a real shock to the system when people hear that the average age of Scotland’s current card holders on the European Tour is 37, the youngest person in that group being Scott Henry, who turned 30 in January.

In short, the home of golf is crying out for new blood on its main circuit, which is why the performances by both Grant Forrest and Bradley Neil in the Turkish Airlines Challenge in Belek last week was such a welcome sight.

Forrest finished fifth in just his second start as a professional on the Tour’s development circuit while Neil narrowly missed out on a top ten. One swallow doesn’t make a summer, of course, but it can be the start of exciting journeys for both these young players.

Forrest is 23, having turned professional towards the end of last year on the back of proving himself as a winner in the amateur game. Unlike some who have joined the paid ranks over the past decade or so, he’d earned the chance to see if he could cut the mustard where it really matters.

What was impressive was that he didn’t rush into taking that leap, either. He wasn’t firing on all cylinders when helping Great Britain & Ireland win the Walker Cup at Royal Lytham in 2015, so held on for a year. The experience he then gained from playing some Challenge Tour events last season as an amateur was invaluable.

The way Forrest went about his first outing as a professional was also impressive as he finished just outside the top 40 in the Dunhill Links Championship last October, since when he has finished second in the MENA Tour Qualifying School and, in general, sent out nothing but positive signals about what might lie ahead.

It is certainly going to be exciting watching Forrest’s progress this season on the Challenge Tour and the same goes for Neil, especially after he reminded us that he is one of those players capable of going really low with middle rounds of 64 and 65 in Turkey.

It was at the same event last year that I remember chatting to the Blairgowrie man at a time when his confidence had been totally drained after a sticky start in the professional ranks. He was at a low ebb then, but all credit to him for getting his career moving in the right direction again.

He looked destined for a bright future in the game long before winning the Amateur Championship in 2014, but the speed bumps he has hit since then could end up being the making of him. Neil is still just 21, so time is still very much on his side but, like Forrest, it would be great for Scottish golf if he could secure that step up to the European Tour sooner rather than later.

The same goes, I hasten to add, for the likes of Jack McDonald and David Law, two other players aged 25 and under to make the cut in just the second Challenge Tour event of the season, as well as Connor Syme, who further underlined his potential with an impressive five-shot success in the Battle Trophy at Crail in the amateur ranks on Sunday.

As for the women’s game, the last two events on the Ladies European Tour have featured lots of Saltires on the leaderboard, Kelsey Macdonald starting to show she is finding her feet in the pro game, Carly Booth returning to form and Pamela Pretswell looking as though 
she is getting close to a breakthrough win.

Pretswell’s progress on the circuit has been impressive, finishing top Scot for the past two years and, having got herself in the mix again in the Mediterranean Open in Spain at the weekend, it really does seem only a matter of time before that door opens.

Catriona Matthew continues to fly the flag admirably at the top level in women’s golf, but we need someone – and even better if it’s a few – to be backing her up and, at 27, Pretswell looks as though her best years can still lie ahead.

Let’s hope last weekend was just a taste of things to come for 
Scottish golf.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN DEMPSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428370.1493109899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428370.1493109899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Grant Forrest is one of the emerging Scots who promise a bright future. Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grant Forrest is one of the emerging Scots who promise a bright future. Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428370.1493109899!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/regions/glasgow-strathclyde/craig-whyte-told-rangers-board-that-he-would-fund-takeover-1-4427966","id":"1.4427966","articleHeadline": "Craig Whyte ‘told Rangers board that he would fund takeover’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493055575000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Whyte told Rangers bosses the money to fund his acquisition of the football club was “coming from himself”, a court has heard.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427965.1493055296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Whyte is appearing at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

The statement was said to have been made during a meeting with board members in Glasgow in March 2011 after Whyte put forward what seemed to be a “viable proposition” to buy the club, jurors heard.

The jury was also told the club’s bank wanted the deal with Whyte to go through.

Former Rangers owner Whyte is on trial at the High Court in Glasgow, where he is accused of acquiring the club fraudulently in May 2011.

Whyte, 46, faces two charges relating to the purchase of Rangers, one of fraud and another under the Companies Act. He denies both allegations.

Former Rangers finance director Donald McIntyre, 58, told the second day of evidence in the trial that he believed the board was informed in November or December of 2010 that Whyte “had an interest in acquiring the club”.

“It seemed a more viable proposition,” Mr McIntyre told the court, adding that an independent committee was formed to look at Whyte’s offer.

“We would be looking for someone with the wherewithal and financial background to take the club forward. That was crucial,” the witness said.

The court heard Whyte ultimately bought the club’s majority shareholding for £1.

The purchaser would also have to pay £18 million to Lloyds Bank - a creditor of Rangers - and a further £9.5 million for a “small tax case” and for buying players, the court heard.

The witness said he first met Whyte at a solicitors’ office in Glasgow in March 2011 to “find out a bit more” about him. Several other board members were also present.

Mr McIntyre, a chartered accountant, said Whyte spoke in broad terms about what he did and told of his involvement in “turning companies around and also trading in options or futures”.

Prosecutor Alex Prentice QC asked whether the directors spoke to Whyte about the source of funds for the acquisition.

Mr McIntyre said: “At the meeting, I think the question was asked, where the funds were coming from. I believe Mr Whyte said that the money was coming from himself.”

The court heard that, in minutes from a meeting on April 24 that year, Whyte was recorded as confirming funds for the transaction were coming from “Craig Whyte the individual”.

The Crown alleges in the fraud charge Whyte pretended to then Rangers owner Sir David Murray, and others, that funds were available to make all required payments to acquire a “controlling and majority stake” in the club - including clearing an £18 million bank debt, £2.8 million for the “small tax case” liability, a £1.7 million health-and-safety liability and £5 million for the playing squad.

Prosecutors allege Whyte had only £4 million available from two sources at the time but took out a £24 million loan from Ticketus against three years of future season ticket sales “which was held subject to an agreement or agreements being entered into between the club and Ticketus after said acquisition”.

Mr McIntyre said Ticketus would “provide up-front funds in order that any football club could smooth their cash flow throughout the season”.

Effectively, the firm would own the tickets which would then be bought by season ticket holders, he said.

Donald Findlay QC, representing Whyte, put it to the witness the club’s arrangement with Ticketus was “kept hush hush from the fans”.

“There was no need to disclose it,” Mr McIntyre replied.

During questioning by Mr Findlay, the court also heard Lloyds “threatened to withdraw” banking facilities if the board did not sanction a deal with Whyte.

Mr Findlay asked whether the bank was “putting the squeeze” on the company.

“Correct,” Mr McIntyre replied. The witness agreed that the bank, in Mr Findlay’s words, was “wanting out of the football business”.

The second charge under the Companies Act centres on the £18 million payment between Whyte’s Wavetower company and Rangers to clear a bank debt.

Whyte denies the charges against him.

The trial, before Judge Lady Stacey, continues on Tuesday.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4427965.1493055296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427965.1493055296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Whyte is appearing at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Whyte is appearing at the High Court in Glasgow. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4427965.1493055296!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/news/cyclist-injured-after-crash-during-loch-ness-cycle-race-1-4428017","id":"1.4428017","articleHeadline": "Cyclist injured after crash during Loch Ness cycle race","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493043273000 ,"articleLead": "

Thousands of cyclists took part in one of Scotland fastest growing sporting competitions, taking in the scenic 66-mile route around the iconic Loch Ness.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428016.1493057452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the great views during Etape Loch Ness 2017. Picture: Contrinbuted"} ,"articleBody": "

However one of the 5,200 competitors was rushed to hospital after a collision with another cyclist.

The 54-year-old man was taken to Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for treatment following the collision on the A82 and police said inquiries were ongoing.

Malcolm Sutherland, event director of Etape Loch Ness, said: “We are continuing to assist the police with their investigation into the incident.”

He added: “The fourth Etape Loch Ness has been the biggest yet, bringing thousands of keen cyclists to the Highlands to ride through our glorious countryside.

“Months of planning and many volunteers go into organising an event on this scale, and to see so many participants – many raising an incredible amount of money for charity – instils a great sense of pride in everyone involved.

READ MORE: Grandad with cancer to do 66-mile Loch Ness charity cycle

“We would like to offer a huge thank you to all of our partner agencies, communities along the route and the public, without whose support Etape Loch Ness would not happen.”

The fastest male rider around the 66-mile course was Andy Cunningham of All Terrain Cycling in a time of 2 hours, 48 minutes and 20 seconds. The fastest female cyclist was Carol Hinchcliffe from Stonehaven CC in 2 hours, 55 minutes and 06 seconds.

Many participants used the opportunity to raise much-needed funds for good causes across the country.

Official charity Macmillan Cancer Support has received a welcome boost from charitable riders, who have raised around £200,000 – a figure which will rise in the coming weeks. Local businesses – including hotels, restaurants and shops – have also enjoyed an off-season rise in trade.

Jessie Longhurst, challenge events programme manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, said: “We’d like to offer a massive thank you to all our riders for their fantastic support at Etape Loch Ness this year.

“As our biggest Etape team so far with almost 1,000 riders, we have raised around £200,000 to help people living with cancer – and this is set to rise. Thank you also to Caledonian Concepts for organising such an amazing event, and for allowing us to be a part of it.”

The first cyclists set off at 6.15am on Sunday, following a route which began and finished in Inverness, passing through Drumnadrochit, Invermoriston, Fort Augustus and Dores.

READ MORE: New Maggie’s centre in Larbert opens thanks to Moonwalk

The second fastest male was Lewis MacFarlane from Moray Firth CC in 2 hours, 48 minutes and 59 seconds, while the third was James Higgins from Moray Firth CC in 2 hours, 49 minutes and 05 seconds. Marie Meldrum from West Highland Wheelers was the second fastest female around the route in 3 hours, 02 minutes and 37 seconds, and Claire Connelly was third with a time of 3 hours, 13 minutes and 11 seconds.

Etape Loch Ness is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Stuart Turner, head of EventScotland, said: “Etape Loch Ness is a fantastic event and it’s great to see its continued success, with the closed-road sportive attracting thousands of keen cyclists again this year.

“Scotland is the perfect stage for cycling events and the 2017 Etape Loch Ness will no doubt deliver strong benefits to Inverness and the surrounding area.”

Registration of interest for the 2018 Etape Loch Ness can be made on the website at www.etapelochness.com

Macmillan Cancer Support works extensively across the Highlands and the rest of the UK, and is the official charity partner of Etape Loch Ness for the third year running.

Every day, 19 people in the north of Scotland receive the devastating news that they have cancer. Sadly, 10 people will die as a result of the illness. It is estimated that the number of people in the Highlands living with cancer will double over the next 20 years. For more information visit www.macmillan.org.uk

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4428016.1493057452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4428016.1493057452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "One of the great views during Etape Loch Ness 2017. Picture: Contrinbuted","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "One of the great views during Etape Loch Ness 2017. Picture: Contrinbuted","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4428016.1493057452!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/what-hibs-will-be-getting-in-new-signing-danny-swanson-1-4427993","id":"1.4427993","articleHeadline": "What Hibs will be getting in new signing Danny Swanson","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493041773000 ,"articleLead": "

Danny Swanson will join Hibs in the summer once his contract with St Johnstone expires. Joel Sked gives his take on the deal

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427992.1493041770!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson will move to Easter Road this summer. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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Hibernian have shown in their dealings with Premiership sides in the past three seasons that they are a top flight club in all but name. This year they saw off Heart of Midlothian with ease in the Scottish Cup before succumbing narrowly to Aberdeen in the semi-final. That defeat was only their second in 90 minutes across 14 games played against top-flight opposition. Hibs won an impressive 50 per cent.

Unlike their city rivals, Hibs need evolution rather than revolution. Lennon has a reliable and solid spine to make the jump from the second tier. Despite his error for Ryan Christie’s goal in the first half, retaining Ofir Marciano would be a coup. The defence is strong and versatile, there is an abundance of talent and balance in the midfield, and in attack they have a goal scorer.

As has been the case for three years, Hibs perhaps lack quality and creativity from wide areas. They’ve already begun to solve that particular issue with the savvy signing of Danny Swanson from St Johnstone on a pre-contract agreement. It was clear that this wasn’t going to become a saga, in fact it may just be the most predictable transfer of the summer. Swanson was pining for a move to join his boyhood heroes alongside good friend Darren McGregor. On the day of Hibs’ Championship win he posted a photo with McGregor accompanied by a ‘Leith Legend #ylt’ caption before a cryptic meme earlier in the week: “Good decisions come from experience, and experience comes from bad decisions.”

Enough of the preamble. This signing is good business for both parties. Andrew Shinnie will rejoin his parent club, while Martin Boyle is a completely different player who relies on his pace and one who has question marks hanging over his ability to step up to the top flight, though is still keeping the more accomplished Chris Humphrey out of the team.

Swanson is an experienced and proven Premiership talent. He impressed under Craig Levein at Dundee United, earning a move south of the border. In two spells at St Johnstone, Tommy Wright has extracted the best out of him, granting him the platform to create from midfield, the artist among the artisans.

The Perth Saints are renowned for their structure and organisation. It is about the collective rather than the individual. Wright and Swanson have spoken about the extra wiggle room afforded Swanson. He can move in from the wing, leave his position and scavenge for space before using his scalpel to break open the opposition.

He probably regrets rejecting the opportunity to make his move to Perth permanent after his first spell, opting to join Hearts where he wasn’t given the same focus, the same responsibility. He was just another player, rather than the player. It is every likelihood that it was the move to Gorgie he was referencing with his cryptic Instagram post.

Back at St Johnstone, his productivity has increased no end. There were nine goals and five assists by the end of October. While six were penalties, he was - and still is - a constant menace cutting in from his preferred left position before letting loose. One such fine strike came against Hearts in the League Cup, finding the postage stamp, first class.

Hibs will get the best out of him by playing him from the left. He is more than able on the right and can even play centrally but he is a stereotypical modern day wide man in that he wants to start from the wing than simply play on it. He is capable of finding those half-spaces which are so tricky to pick up: the box in front of the right-back and right centre-back and behind the midfield. There he can combine, shoot or play a devilish pass.

Much has been made of his scoring numbers this season, albeit goals have dried up of late with only one since 3 December, but his passing is very underrated. He can penetrate spaces and angles which others are too scared or incapable of doing. Like Ronnie O’Sullivan at the Crucible in his heyday, potting a difficult black, he can provide the difficult assist - around the corner or through the legs.

One of his favoured moves is the reverse pass across his body as he moves infield from the left flank. It would be no surprise if Lennon is already imagining the relationship developing between Swanson and Cummings: the madcap striker making a diagonal run behind the opposition defence latching on to a slick pass on his stronger left foot and firing across the goalkeeper.

The 30-year-old could provide flashbacks of a certain Derek Riordan. The current Edinburgh City forward liked the left flank so he could shift the ball and shoot with his right. Team-mates were understanding of his reticence in putting in the defensive yards, doing the running for him because they knew he could be the difference. It is hard to see Lennon letting Swanson off without graft but he is equally capable of game-defining moments.

Lennon is not the sort to allow players to drift. That has been proven vociferously by some of his comments about John McGinn and Cummings. It is something which even Swanson may admit to; drifting, not making the most of his talent. If he is not on top of his physique he can appear heavy, but he has spoken of becoming more professional in terms of his nutrition.

Then there is possible attitude problems, perhaps related to his professionalism. Those accusations would have taken more credence following the incident with team-mate Richard Foster at New Douglas Park. It seems he was accused of not working hard enough, such is St Johnstone’s collective effort in games. If that was the case it was likely only an isolated one. Wright, like Lennon, does not suffer fools gladly.

For Swanson, age shouldn’t be an issue, especially if he is more professional in his approach to nutrition and conditioning. He doesn’t rely much on his pace, although he is useful on the counter-attack, it is more his technique which allows him to cause danger. It is an exciting prospect for Hibs fans to add his creativity alongside the likes of McGinn and Cummings in a team which is likely to be more proactive.

Fans of St Johnstone may point towards his drop in form of late but what fans often forget is that off-field issues can have an effect. That could be the case with Swanson who has had a difficult time in recent months following the death of a close friend.

He now has five games to help St Johnstone cement a European spot before a new era in his career, at the club he supports, alongside his pal McGregor, in a team which should illuminate his talents.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOEL SKED"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4427992.1493041770!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427992.1493041770!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Swanson will move to Easter Road this summer. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Swanson will move to Easter Road this summer. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4427992.1493041770!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/scottish-cup/danny-wilson-rangers-gave-celtic-too-much-respect-1-4427939","id":"1.4427939","articleHeadline": "Danny Wilson: Rangers gave Celtic too much respect","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493039315000 ,"articleLead": "

Danny Wilson has promised the Rangers supporters his side will not make the same mistakes they made at Hampden when Celtic visit Ibrox on Saturday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427938.1493039312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Wilson, right, goes in for a challenge with Celtic midfielder Patrick Roberts. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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Gers were well off the pace as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat in the semi-finals of the William Hill Scottish Cup.

Defender Wilson admits the loss - their fourth from five Old Firm clashes this season - was self-inflicted, with the Light Blues guilty of failing to get in the faces of Brendan Rodgers’ men.

But the former Hearts skipper insists Rangers will be up for the fight when they host the Hoops in just five days’ time.

“It’s important we lift ourselves,” said Wilson. “We’re at home, we’ll go out and give everything we’ve got.

READ MORE - Why Andy Halliday should have been sent off against Celtic

“There wasn’t a lack of effort on Sunday. We did try, we were just too far off them and gave them too much respect at times.

“Next Saturday we’ll go in with a game plan and hopefully we can carry it out better than we did at Hampden.

“How do I view the gap between the clubs? It’s a gap we have to close. It’s as simple as that.

“Our league form hasn’t been good enough this year and Celtic have now put us out of two cups at the semi-finals.

“We need to close that gap as quickly as we can. It’s going to be difficult because they are a good team. We’ve had our difficulties both on and off the pitch this season, but we all need to come together and try to push forward.”

Gers fell behind inside 11 minutes after Callum McGregor scored the opener.

READ MORE - Five things we learned from Celtic 2 - 0 Rangers

Boss Pedro Caixinha had instructed his team to put Mikael Lustig and Scott Brown under pressure while Celtic built from the back, but Rodgers’ rampant side found it all too easy to work their way forward.

Andy Halliday and Joe Garner were sacrificed at the break as the Portuguese coach tried to inject some life into his line-up by throwing on Barrie McKay and Joe Dodoo.

But a penalty early in the second half, fired home by Scott Sinclair, clinched victory for Celtic.

“We’re all just massively disappointed,” confessed Wilson. “What frustrates the most is the fact we just didn’t get going at all.

“We gave them far too much time on the ball and when you do that to a quality team, they are going to punish you. That’s what we found.

“The way we set up was to try and frustrate them and then hit on the counter. But I think we ended up giving them too much time and too much space.

“We tried to make changes at half-time but the penalty five minutes into the second half kills the game.

READ MORE - Alan Pattullo: Rangers were a mere stepping stone for Celtic

“We had a go at the end but it was too little too late at that point. It’s easy to play when you’re 2-0 down. We had to show more before that but unfortunately for ourselves we didn’t do that.

“We need to try and move on from it as quickly as possible. We’re really disappointed not to get to the final but I don’t think we can have too many complaints after the 90 minutes that we didn’t go through.”

Wilson was partnered at the centre of defence by youngster David Bates, who like teenage left-back Myles Beerman was making his Old Firm debut.

As hard as defeat is to take, however, Wilson reckons the chastening loss can actually benefit the fresh-faced duo.

He said: “We had some young guys on the pitch today and hopefully they can learn from it and so can the rest of us.

“Myles and David will not play in a harder game than that one. They can only grow from the experience.

“I thought they handled themselves very well today, yet again. Hopefully it will stand them in good stead going forward.”

READ MORE - Rangers were just as bad as the 5-1 game says Kenny Miller

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDY NEWPORT"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4427938.1493039312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427938.1493039312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Danny Wilson, right, goes in for a challenge with Celtic midfielder Patrick Roberts. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Danny Wilson, right, goes in for a challenge with Celtic midfielder Patrick Roberts. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4427938.1493039312!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/scottish-cup/patrick-roberts-glad-andy-halliday-did-not-injure-him-1-4427909","id":"1.4427909","articleHeadline": "Patrick Roberts glad Andy Halliday did not injure him","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1493037862000 ,"articleLead": "

Celtic winger Patrick Roberts admits he is relieved he did not sustain serious damage after Andy Halliday’s wild lunge.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4427908.1493037859!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Patrick Roberts, right, is taken out by Andy Halliday, left. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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The on-loan Manchester City player was lucky to escape uninjured after Rangers midfielder Halliday launched himself at his opponent just three minutes into Sunday’s William Hill Scottish Cup semi-final at Hampden.

Referee Willie Collum showed Halliday mercy by only producing a yellow card but he could have had no complaints had it been red.

And Roberts confessed he was just glad he was able to walk away from the horror challenge.

Asked if he felt Halliday should have been dismissed, Roberts replied: “Looking back, Scott Brown did [a similar tackle against Ross County last week and was sent off] but I don’t know.

“It was a bad tackle. I’ve seen it back again and it was a terrible tackle.

“I’m just thankful I didn’t get hurt.”

READ MORE - Why Andy Halliday should have been sent off against Celtic

Having survived that early scare Roberts went on to play a crucial role in the Hoops’ 2-0 win, which booked them a May 27 final with Aberdeen.

It was the 20-year-old’s pass which sent Leigh Griffiths scampering into the box as he won a second-half penalty. Scott Sinclair tucked away the spot-kick to add to Callum McGregor’s 11th-minute opener.

It was a demoralising afternoon for Rangers, who have now lost four of their five Old Firm encounters this term to Brendan Rodgers’ undefeated side.

Rangers could have had no arguments if Tom Rogic had found the net in stoppage time rather than slamming the ball off the base of Wes Foderingham’s post, such was the grip the Parkhead men had on proceedings as they chase down the treble.

But the victory had all the more meaning for Roberts 12 months on from losing to the Ibrox club at the same stage of last year’s tournament.

His empty-net miss cost Celtic dear as Rangers went on to win on penalties but Roberts feels he has now had the last laugh.

“There’s always talk in the media [about the gulf between the two sides] but I thought we showed a real domination on Sunday,” he said.

READ MORE - Five things we learned from Celtic 2 - 0 Rangers

“That’s the way we’ve been playing all year, no matter who we’ve been up against.

“In Old Firm games, form goes out the window but we’ve forgot about them and played our own game. With the ability in our side we’re always going to create chances and finish them off.

“It was a real low last year, especially with me missing that chance and us going on to lose the game.

“But we picked ourselves up and this year we’ve been phenomenal. To top it all off with a Scottish Cup win would be brilliant, so we’re looking forward to the final.

“We had a clear mind this time about winning Sunday’s game. We began the week confidently and all memories of last year went out the window.

“We went into the game strong and confident and dominated the game from the start.”

Roberts is now just four weeks away from completing his 18-month loan spell from City.

Whether he has what it takes to break into Pep Guardiola’s star-studded line-up remains to be seen but he preferred to play it coy when quizzed about the possibility of spending another season north of the border.

READ MORE - Alan Pattullo: Rangers were a mere stepping stone for Celtic

The England Under-20 international said: “I don’t know what’s happening next year. Hopefully we can win the Scottish Cup and I’ll finish the season on a high.

“But after that, we’ll have to see. I’ll just take each game as it comes and when it comes to make a decision on my future, I’ll make that call then.

“Obviously it’s been brilliant being here at Celtic and I’ve enjoyed my time here.

“Everyone knows I love the club and love playing for them but who knows what can happen in football.

“But if I am to leave, a treble would be the perfect way to sign off. As a group we’ve been brilliant this season.

“The last game against Aberdeen will now be crucial and if we could win, it would top off a great campaign.

“Hopefully we can do that. We’ve definitely got the ability.”

READ MORE - Rangers were just as bad as the 5-1 game says Kenny Miller

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