{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"sport","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/dundee-utd-0-0-hamilton-thriller-leaves-all-to-play-for-1-4457503","id":"1.4457503","articleHeadline": "Dundee Utd 0-0 Hamilton: Thriller leaves all to play for","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495749257000 ,"articleLead": "

A night of incredible drama at Tannadice yielded nothing in the way of goals but enough talking points to keep everyone occupied until Sunday’s second-leg, at least.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457502.1495749249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Murray dives after tangling with Massimo Donati. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

Simon Murray stole the headlines from Wato Kuate, who might have been red-carded for tangling with team-mate Mark Durnan. Murray was indeed sent off after picking up a second yellow card for simulation, thereby replacing the agitated Kuate as the story of the evening.

Murray, a target for Hibs, was rightly booked in the first half for throwing himself to the ground in seeming anticipation of a challenge by Hamilton’s auxiliary defender Massimo Donati. But his second booking was hugely debatable after Hamilton defender Scott McMann seemed to swipe the legs from under the United striker on the corner of the box.

Referee Steven McLean seemed to motion towards the penalty spot before being advised against it by assistant referee Graham Chambers. The result was another booking for Murray and the need for United to play out the last 13 minutes with just ten men.

While depleted, United did what they have done every time bar once this season at Tannadice. They earned a result.

While it does not particularly favour them ahead of Sunday’s second leg, they would surely have taken a potential 90-minute shootout with Hamilton for promotion to the top flight just a few weeks ago.

This was tense, ragged, often exhilarating fare at Tannadice. A home fan was called away via the Tannoy during the first half because his wife had gone into labour. He probably exited while craning his neck to catch every last moment before he left – if indeed he did leave.

It was that kind of match on a night humid enough to frazzle people’s senses.

Kuate and Durnan were fortunate to avoid stricter punishment than being spoken to by the referee after raising hands to each other in the United box in the second half.

Ray McKinnon seemed to agree. The United manager wasted little time replacing Kuate with Charlie Telfer. But even then the drama didn’t end.

Durnan ran towards Kuate as he ambled towards the tunnel entrance rather than the dug-out, as is normal. The defender placed a hand on his team-mate, either to encourage him or simply speed up his exit given what was at stake, and with United still pressing for an opener.

Kuate was not having this either and flicked out a hand at Durnan, sparking some outrage among the home 
supporters.

United lost their way for a spell. Ali Crawford should have given Hamilton the lead shortly after Murray’s hugely controversial departure.

But as it stands there is everything to play for at the SuperSeal Stadium on Sunday after a fraught night on Tayside.

At one point Blair Spittal ended up in the front row of the Eddie Thompson stand after a barge from Ioannis Skondras.

To his credit, Spittal simply dusted himself down and got back into position. There was trickery from David Templeton, a livewire for Hamilton, and an attempt at deception by Murray, who was booked after going down too easily under a challenge by Donati.

Murray, the man of these play-offs so far, had already showcased the more admirable part of his game. Cutting in from the left, he sent in a shot that Remi Matthews clutched low to his right.

But United struggled to impose themselves against a side forced to line up with just one recognised centre-half. An injury to Giorgos Sarris compounded the fact Hamilton were missing fellow centre-half and skipper Mikey Devlin, who sustained ligament damage in Saturday’s 4-0 win over Dundee.

Martin Canning’s answer to this problem was to play three at the back, with Donati stepping back next to Scott McMann and Alex Gogic.

Given such alterations, it was not surprising that United looked more sure-footed in the opening stages.

But Hamilton fluffed the game’s first real chance after ten minutes when Daniel Redmond failed to make true enough contact at the near post with Rakish Bingham’s cross from the right.

Bingham should have scored a few minutes later after being sent clear by a neat through ball from David Templeton.

But the onrushing United keeper Cammy Bell kept the score level, saving with a boot.

The home side began to fall away. Kuate wanted too much time on the ball and threatened to become a hindrance to his team.

That he returned after half-time was a minor surprise. Not that he lasted much longer. Only 11 minutes of the second half had passed before he was heading for the tunnel, in seeming dialogue with himself as well as reacting to comments from home fans.

Matthews saved brilliantly from Thomas Mikkelsen. But it was Hamilton who will lament not returning to their home stadium with an advantage after Crawford, sliding in at the far post, prodded substitute Lewis Longridge’s cross past the post.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457502.1495749249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457502.1495749249!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Simon Murray dives after tangling with Massimo Donati. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Murray dives after tangling with Massimo Donati. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457502.1495749249!/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/motorsport/lewis-hamilton-trails-as-sebastian-vettel-sets-pace-in-monaco-1-4457490","id":"1.4457490","articleHeadline": "Lewis Hamilton trails as Sebastian Vettel sets pace in Monaco","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495747751000 ,"articleLead": "

Lewis Hamilton is uncertain whether he will be able to challenge championship rival Sebastian Vettel for pole position in Monaco.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457489.1495747747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Hamilton is six points behind Sebastian Vettel. Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

Hamilton, pictured, who is six points adrift of Vettel ahead of Sunday’s blue-
riband race, roared to the top of the order in the opening practice session in the 
principality.

But as Vettel, and indeed the rest of the field, improved during yesterday’s second running, Britain’s triple world champion and his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas slid down 
the field.

Hamilton was only eighth in the reckoning, more than one second adrift of Vettel, while Bottas was even further back in 10th.

Championship leader Vettel
ended a dominant session nearly half a second clear of Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo by recording the fastest lap ever seen in these parts.

Hamilton is one pole position shy of matching Ayrton Senna’s haul of 65 – 30 years after the Brazilian claimed his first of a record six victories at Monaco – but on yesterday’s evidence at least, he faces a tall order to emulate his childhood hero this weekend.

“I have no idea whether we will be on the pace for qualifying,” Hamilton, 32, said. “I can’t explain it because I don’t understand it. We didn’t have the greatest day.

“Practice one was actually really good and we were the quickest, but then in second practice we just struggled to extract the grip from the tyres and we were sliding around a lot.

“I’m not sure why the tyres weren’t working, but the difference between the two sessions was night and day, black and white. We’ve got some work to do ahead of Saturday, that’s for sure.”

Hamilton’s former McLaren team-mate Jenson Button was back behind the wheel of a Formula One car for the first time this season yesterday.

The 2009 world champion called time on his grand prix career last season, but has been drafted back in by McLaren for a one-off appearance 
following Fernando Alonso’s exploits at the Indianapolis 500.

Button finished the day a respectable 12th, four hundredths of a second slower than Stoffel Vandoorne in the sister car.

Canadian rookie Lance Stroll, meanwhile, crashed into the wall on his first grand prix appearance at Monaco. Only his pride and Williams car were damaged in the incident.

Jolyon Palmer’s poor season took another sorry twist when his Renault engine expired early in the second session.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PHILIP DUNCAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457489.1495747747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457489.1495747747!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lewis Hamilton is six points behind Sebastian Vettel. Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Hamilton is six points behind Sebastian Vettel. Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457489.1495747747!/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/ernie-els-is-happy-with-his-course-of-action-at-pga-1-4457465","id":"1.4457465","articleHeadline": "Ernie Els is happy with his course of action at PGA","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495746148000 ,"articleLead": "

Ernie Els believes he got two major decisions right after calling a penalty on himself in the first round of the BMW PGA Championship.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457464.1495746144!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ernie Els talks to rules official Simon Higginbottom on the 14th hole. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Els appeared to have chipped in for an eagle on the par-five 12th at Wentworth, but instantly realised he had not replaced his ball in the right place after checking to see if it was plugged.

The four-time major winner was therefore assessed a two-shot penalty (under Rule 20-7) and eventually signed for a one-under-par 71 to lie five shots off the pace set by 
Sweden’s Johan Carlsson.

“I pulled my second shot a bit left and hit it into the bank of the bunker,” Els explained. “I thought it was plugged, so I asked my guys [playing partners] if I could check it and they said, ‘Yeah’.

“I put it back and I hit my chip shot and I just felt uncomfortable by the way the ball came out. The ball came out way too good so I felt I didn’t quite probably put it exactly where I should have.

“Under the rules you try to put it back the way you think it should be, but I still felt uncomfortable with it, so we took a two-shot penalty. I know deep down the ball wasn’t quite where it should be and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself.”

Els at least had reason to celebrate the verdict on his latest redesign of the West Course, which has met with universal approval from competitors.

“The greens are absolutely as pure as you can find,” said the 47-year-old, who was upset by criticism of his original redesign in 2010. “Next week we’ll be playing the Memorial [at Muirfield Village] and I think these greens are running just as good or better than the Memorial, or Augusta for that matter.

“We listened to some of the players’ comments through the years since we started first changing and I think I feel we’ve got it right this time.”

The £5 million renovation programme started just eight days after last year’s event, with all 18 greens stripped of their old turf and reseeded with a new type of grass.

Four greens were completely reconstructed and another five partially rebuilt, with 29 bunkers removed and a sub-air system as used at Augusta National was installed.

“We had the best of the conditions, not a breath of air, and the greens are so good this year,” said Scott Jamieson, who was in the first group out at 7am and carded a flawless 67. “To be the first people on all 18 greens, they are just a great surface to putt on.”

The Scot’s score was matched by Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Francesco Molinari, with Open champion Henrik Stenson and Ryder Cup star Thomas Pieters part of a nine-strong group on four under.

Pieters, who bogeyed the last after finding the water with his approach, was making his first start since finishing in a tie for fourth at the Masters, having opted to miss the Players Championship in favour of a family holiday.

“There’s been some criticism on social media but that’s my decision and if you’re not happy with it that’s your problem,” said the Belgian, who won a record four points on his Ryder Cup debut at Hazeltine last year.

Asked if it would mean more to win this week than at Sawgrass, the 25-year-old added: “Yes, because it’s my Tour and all the history of Seve [Ballesteros] and all those guys winning this trophy.”

Stenson birdied four of his last eight holes after starting with 11 straight pars, while Lee Westwood carded a 70 on his 24th consecutive appearance.

Danny Willett, Justin Rose and defending champion Chris Wood all finished on level par, with Wood throwing his ball into the water on the 18th after a bogey six.

Players and caddies wore black ribbons as a mark of respect to the victims of the terrorist attack in Manchester.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PHIL CASEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457464.1495746144!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457464.1495746144!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ernie Els talks to rules official Simon Higginbottom on the 14th hole. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ernie Els talks to rules official Simon Higginbottom on the 14th hole. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457464.1495746144!/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/aberdeen-celtic-cup-final-will-not-faze-fereee-bobby-madden-1-4457452","id":"1.4457452","articleHeadline": "Aberdeen-Celtic cup final will not faze fereee Bobby Madden","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495745049000 ,"articleLead": "

Any abuse the comes the way of Scottish Cup final referee Bobby Madden from the stands, streets or cyberspace will never floor the 38-year-old. Not when the former runner kept his career in football on track even after developing thyroid cancer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457451.1495745046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Madden kept his refereeing career on track despite fighting cancer. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

“People are out longer with a calf strain,” said Madden of the illness. “That is how I looked at it, I was just so focused on coming back.” In no way should that diminish what he required to go through after a hospital check for a lump in his neck last March turned into a four-hour examination that ended with him being told he had cancer. Yet, after giving up his job as a distribution manager with a publisher in Bishopbriggs the year before to concentrate on being in the best possible shape for officiating duties at Euro 2016, he still made it to France.

“When it was confirmed in April it was thyroid cancer the prognosis was quite positive – after the surgery to remove the thyroid I had radioactive iodine. So, there was no chemo or radiotherapy. I delayed it until after the Euros.

“It was a shock and I didn’t tell my family for four weeks until it was confirmed because I didn’t want to alarm anybody. The doctor was unsure whether I would get back to refereeing because I would need to take drugs to replace the thyroid. But it became clear that I would return.”

He did, at Brechin, and ten days later refereed Portugal, Ronaldo et al, in a World Cup qualifier. “It went well and gradually I was put back in,” he said.

Madden requires a body scan to make sure that the cancer is gone and hasn’t spread, but has delayed this until after he travels to Poland for under-21 finals. There are many who would venture that Madden and his refereeing colleagues need their heads checked for involving themselves in a pursuit that puts them centre stage for only grief.

As happened after Madden did not give a penalty for a Clint Hill challenge on Leigh Griffiths as Celtic were held by Rangers in the side’s March meeting, with Brendan Rodgers’ men chasing a straight league win record.

He stands by his decision, despite the mountain of criticism his judgement attracted. “I couldn’t make a percentage call in there – was the contact with the man first? I definitely saw the ball move and I was comfortable with that.”

He is as comfortable as he can be with any possible stick. Madden even reads the papers, and raised an eyebrow afterreading claims by Griffiths that Madden had asked him if Hill touched the ball. “That’s incredible – you can see me on TV saying twice he played the ball,” said the man whose football career was a stint with East Kilbride YM. “I was adamant he played the ball. Leigh maybe misquoted me.”

Madden has been traduced in the foulest fashion. In football and media circles he is a popular referee because of a patently sensible, human approach. “I try to let them play as much as I can. Once they overstep the line then you need to step in. I think the statistics show that I give the least fouls and cards and I think players respect that and respond to that.”

Online, though, Madden has been called “Brother Madden” – a masonic reference – and faced accusations of being a Rangers season book holder. Any objective observer can see Madden referees without fear or favour, as will be the case when Celtic and Aberdeen meet at Hampden tomorrow. These observers, though, are in short supply on the web.

“It’s frustrating because unfortunately with social media one person says something and it becomes true.

“I don’t use it. Some of my friends will occasionally take a screen shot and forward it to me, if it’s funny. [One was] ‘He must not have had a hood on his pram’. I liked that, but some of the comments there are frustrating but what can you do?

“Someone says something and it’s accepted as the truth and someone retweets it and it serves as an endorsement. It’s frightening. I keep away from it. Some of my friends keep me abreast but some of the comments there are not even worth discussing, casting aspersions about your family and… better not to talk about it because some of these things are so factually incorrect. I tell my friends not to get involved, not to go in and try and correct it because they will only turn on you.

“Amazingly, they’ve said I have a son – I don’t have a son; that my dad was at a game – well, my dad has actually passed away. If someone corrects that, other abuse comes their way and that’s frightening. I’m a referee, I’m there to do a job and officiate and unfortunately social media supports this type of mentality, not just for referees but players too.

“It’s there and there are a lot of positives but unfortunately there are negatives, too.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457451.1495745046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457451.1495745046!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bobby Madden kept his refereeing career on track despite fighting cancer. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bobby Madden kept his refereeing career on track despite fighting cancer. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457451.1495745046!/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/heritage/people-places/national-museum-of-scotland-expertise-key-to-landing-viking-hoard-1-4457238","id":"1.4457238","articleHeadline": "National Museum of Scotland ‘expertise’ key to landing viking hoard","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495727299000 ,"articleLead": "

A museum director has defended the decision to assign a 1,000-year-old Viking hoard unearthed in Dumfries and Galloway to Scotland’s national museum in Edinburgh.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457237.1495727295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: TSPL"} ,"articleBody": "

Gordon Rintoul, director of National Museums Scotland (NMS), said only the capital had the expertise to restore and conserve the valuable 10th-century artefacts.

Earlier this month, the Queen’s and Lord Treasurer’s Remembrancer (QLTR) - the body which rules on ownerless goods and property - decided the 100 or so items should be allocated to NMS, provided it raises the funds to pay £1.98 million to metal detectorist Derek McLennan.

READ MORE: Bid launched to keep Viking hoard in Dumfries and Galloway

He discovered the hoard, which includes silver bracelets and brooches, a gold ring, an enamelled Christian cross and a bird-shaped gold pin, in a Dumfries and Galloway field in 2014.
A campaign has backed local council proposals for the treasure to have its permanent home in a specially-designed exhibition space at the new Kirkcudbright Art Gallery rather than in Edinburgh.
Mr Rintoul was pressed on the decision by South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine during a meeting of Holyrood’s Culture Committee.
He said: “The material is clearly of national and international importance, and that is one of our functions, to collect, preserve and make accessible material of that nature.
“Secondly, this particular hoard is going to require considerable expertise and resources to conserve it. A lot of it needs very skilled work over many years in fact.
“It also needs to have substantial research work undertaken to reveal its full significance.
“All of that is going to require resources, expertise, facilities, and in our view we are actually best-placed to provide that.”

READ MORE: Viking hoard found in Galloway will move to Edinburgh museum

Mr Rintoul said NMS was in dialogue with Dumfries and Galloway Council about proposals to lend a “representative portion” of the hoard to the Kirkcudbright Art Gallery.

“Our plans are not that we somehow acquire and keep it all in Edinburgh, that’s not the case at all,” he said.

He conceded it was “impossible” to say at the moment what items that might involve as significant conservation work was needed and it was unclear what material would be suitable for travel and display.

“Until we have actually gained possession of the hoard, which wouldn’t be until we raise the money, we cannot actually undertake the survey work, the conservation assessment, to determine what can be displayed where, when and for how long.”

Asked why that work could not take place outside Edinburgh, he added: “No-one else has the expertise.

“Dumfries and Galloway Council’s museum service over the past decade has been reduced in size significantly.

“They have no conservation laboratory, no conservators and they have no curators with expertise in Viking age material.”

He added: “In our view, what our proposal means is actually using our resources to benefit other museums and other communities, and that seems to be a right and proper approach for a national museum in a country like Scotland to undertake.”

Read more heritage news >>

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457237.1495727295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457237.1495727295!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Picture: TSPL","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Picture: TSPL","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457237.1495727295!/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/scotland/sean-kennedy-i-d-hate-to-see-scotland-lose-its-sevens-team-1-4457232","id":"1.4457232","articleHeadline": "Sean Kennedy: I’d hate to see Scotland lose its sevens team","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495727081000 ,"articleLead": "

Sean Kennedy believes Scotland will be making a big mistake if they allow their sevens side to be merged into a Great Britain outfit.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457231.1495727077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's Sean Kennedy. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU"} ,"articleBody": "

The Edinburgh scrum-half says his previous experience with the programme competing on the HSBC World Series was a major reason for his call-up this week to Gregor Townsend’s 15-man national squad.

And he is worried other youngsters will be denied the developmental opportunities he received if plans to unite England, Scotland and Wales under one banner are pushed through.

The controversial scheme has been put forward by World Rugby in order to placate rival nations who dislike the fact Team GB effectively has three goes at qualifying for the Olympics.

But Kennedy is keeping his fingers crossed the Scottish Rugby Union will palm off the plan.

He said: “I saw a headline about the British teams being merged but as far as I know there’s a Scottish sevens team next year.

“That’s great because the boys have been flying this year. Look at the last two tournaments - second in Paris, first in London, having won in London last year too.

“The sevens programme in Scotland is definitely working. Looking at the players who have gone there this season, we have a really good squad.

“I don’t see it as a development team any more. I’ve gone there this season and anyone who has done the same has definitely benefited from being involved.

“Their culture and work ethic is second to none. I’d hate to think they’d get rid of it.”

Kennedy was handed his ticket to Scotland’s Asia-Pacific summer tour after Myreside team-mate Sam Hidalgo-Clyne withdrew through injury.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDY NEWPORT"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457231.1495727077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457231.1495727077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's Sean Kennedy. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's Sean Kennedy. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457231.1495727077!/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/why-the-much-maligned-europa-league-matters-once-more-1-4457023","id":"1.4457023","articleHeadline": "Why the much maligned Europa League matters once more","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495718641000 ,"articleLead": "

Jose Mourinho had just been repeatedly tossed into the air by members of his backroom staff when the jubilant Manchester United manager beckoned his son, Jose junior, onto the field. They danced in each other’s arms before falling to the ground, where they shared a long, warm embrace.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457022.1495718638!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has grown to love the Europa League. Picture: Simon Hofmann/Uefa via Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Mourinho never could have thought that winning the Europa League, following United’s 2-0 victory over Ajax, would mean so much to him.

In 2013, Mourinho – newly hired as Chelsea manager for the second time – was dismissive of the competition, saying he didn’t want to win it and that doing so “would be a big disappointment to me”.

Fast forward four years, and the oft-criticised Europa League has saved his first season at United. For Mourinho and many other managers, the value of the Europa League has increased massively following Uefa’s decision to award a Champions League qualifying place to the winner. That took effect starting in the 2015-16 season and it is telling that the four finalists since then have been high calibre: Sevilla and Liverpool in 2016, and United and Ajax in 2017.

The Champions League’s poor relation can be a long slog of a competition – the winner will end up playing at least 15 games – but teams across Europe seem to be taking it seriously once again.

No more so than in England.

Premier League sides used to treat it with contempt by fielding reserve teams for matches. Quite simply, the competition wasn’t worth the effort, with the effects of playing on Thursday night - sometimes in far-flung locations - having an impact on league performances the following Sunday.

For English clubs, it was all about the Premier League and its vast riches on offer.

The mindset is changing, though. Qualifying for the Champions League via a top-four finish in the Premier League has never been tougher, with six teams – Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester City, Liverpool, United, and Arsenal – genuine heavyweights.

Two will always miss out, so qualifying for the Champions League through the Europa League is increasingly enticing. The fact a team can win a trophy while doing so adds to the lure, as Mourinho pointed.

“We go to the Champions League by winning a trophy, not by finishing second, third or fourth,” Mourinho said, aiming a little dig at Tottenham, City, and Liverpool.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEVE DOUGLAS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4457022.1495718638!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4457022.1495718638!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has grown to love the Europa League. Picture: Simon Hofmann/Uefa via Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has grown to love the Europa League. Picture: Simon Hofmann/Uefa via Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4457022.1495718638!/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/aberdeen/3-reasons-aberdeen-should-think-carefully-about-picking-ryan-jack-1-4456954","id":"1.4456954","articleHeadline": "3 reasons Aberdeen should think carefully about picking Ryan Jack","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495717433000 ,"articleLead": "

From Pedro Caixinha publicly stating his interest in the midfielder to the announcement earlier this week that Graeme Shinnie will take on the Aberdeen captaincy for Saturday’s Scottish Cup final against Celtic, Ryan Jack’s future has been placed firmly under the microscope of late.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456953.1495717429!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ryan Jack has stated his intention to leave Aberdeen this summer. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

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Derek McInnes has confirmed that Jack has revealed his intent to leave the club, but has not specified where his next destination will be. However, the silence has been deafening and to many it seems a stark possibility that the player, who has amassed some 248 appearances for the Pittodrie club, will make the switch to their Scottish Premiership rivals Rangers.

With this in mind, we take a look at the reasons why McInnes ought to think carefully about picking Jack to start Saturday’s Scottish Cup final as Aberdeen look to lift the trophy for the first time in 17 years.

Solving a problem like Scott Brown

The Celtic captain has been invigorated under the tutelage of Brendan Rodgers, to the point that there was uproar when it was revealed that his peers hadn’t nominated him for PFA Scotland Player of the Year.

Aggressive and combative, Scott Brown has the ability to bully his midfield counterparts into quiet submission. Whenever Jack has come up against Brown, he has come out second best. All of the things that he does well, Brown can do well, and in the areas he is lacking, whether that be breaking up play or tackling, the Celtic midfielder is not.

In the corresponding Scottish League Cup final fixture in November, Aberdeen mustered just 39 per cent of the possession. On that day, their midfield was unable to get near Celtic’s as Brown, Stuart Armstrong and Tom Rogic stroked the ball around with ease. Jack played as though he had an inferiority complex, unwilling to force the agenda with his passing and though not the only offender, his performance was yet another where he was overwhelmed by the quality of this particular opposition. McInnes is faced with a choice between persisting with a player who has struggled against Celtic in the past and opting for a different approach altogether.

READ MORE - Adam Rooney bidding to avoid cup final ‘double treble’

The team’s form in Jack’s absence

Since Jack’s last start in the 2-0 defeat to St Johnstone, Aberdeen have won three of their four games, despite concerns that another post-split capitulation was on the cards. In the process they lost to Celtic 3-1 at Pittodrie but a spirited display showed signs that they are capable of unnerving the champions.

While the exact personnel in the first 11 hasn’t remained constant in Jack’s absence, the performances have. Since the second half of the 2-1 win over Hearts, Anthony O’Connor has become the preferred option in a deep-lying midfield position alongside Shinnie and, based solely on his personal form, it would be harsh to drop the Irishman. As a footballer, O’Connor is not without flaws but his contribution, characterised by physicality and composure, suggests that, given a consistent run of games, he could become a reliable first team player.

McInnes then faces the dilemma of trading what O’Connor offers defensively in the position with Jack’s traits of switching play and recycling possession. Dropping the former would also sacrifice what he offers at set pieces, both defensively and offensively, an area that will be have to be executed effectively in order to have any joy against Celtic.

It is worth noting that in Jack’s return to proceedings in the second-half against Patrick Thistle, the evidence of a full recovery from injury was not conclusive. The midfielder’s movement was still slightly restricted, and McInnes confessed that he had previously had reservations about including him in the squad to travel to Firhill. Come Saturday, however, another six days will have passed, allowing Jack to do his work on the training ground in the confidence of having emerged unscathed from 45 minutes of football but it remains unclear whether his manager will gamble on the former captain.

READ MORE - Aberdeen and Celtic cancel Scottish Cup victory plans

A difficult relationship

The relationship between Aberdeen and Rangers is inherently complicated. The animosity bred during the Alex Ferguson era when the two regularly challenged for silverware has caused an aversion in the North East to all things light blue. As a result, footballers who have departed the Granite City in search of adulation in Govan have never fully recovered their reputation with the Red Army.

Jack could emulate names such as Sone Aluko, Ricky Foster, David Robertson, Theo Snelders and Stephen Wright in swapping Pittodrie for Ibrox and, while the move has yet to progress beyond speculation, Aberdeen supporters have already begun the process of moving on. Just as a difficult break-up would unravel, old photos will be thrown out and the memories of the good times purged. The notion of a player, who has captained the club for two years, deciding that the allure of a move to Rangers is too great to spurn will sting for supporters who have dreamt from childhood of experiencing the same opportunity.

Followers of the NBA might see correlations in Jack’s situation with that of LeBron James’ decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for Miami Heat in the summer of 2010. Cavs fans were incensed that someone born and raised in the area could turn his back on the loyalty and love showered upon him in search of a new professional challenge on the East coast. There is one significant difference, however, as James returned to Cleveland in 2014 and received forgiveness because simply put, he was a basketball great. Jack, a local Aberdonian, will not be able to look in the direction of his hometown again without provoking fury, such is the almost blasphemous nature of the move in question.

Therefore, if Jack starts the match on Saturday, it then becomes difficult for this not to be the dominant narrative. In the build-up to the game McInnes has stressed that the focus be placed on the team and not individuals, and while the fans will throw their weight behind whichever 11 takes to the Hampden pitch, it cannot be denied that his inclusion has the potential to detract from the task at hand.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Rangers want Jamie Walker | Ibrox club eye Fabio Cardoso | QPR watch McLean

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JACK THOMSON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456953.1495717429!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456953.1495717429!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ryan Jack has stated his intention to leave Aberdeen this summer. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ryan Jack has stated his intention to leave Aberdeen this summer. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456953.1495717429!/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/five-things-we-learned-on-celtic-s-march-to-the-title-1-4456928","id":"1.4456928","articleHeadline": "Five things we learned on Celtic’s march to the title","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495716081000 ,"articleLead": "

Andrew Smith looks back at a remarkable campaign for Celtic and first-year boss Brendan Rodgers

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456927.1495716077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic won the Ladbrokes Premiership without losing a single game. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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Never has a team operated on such a different level to all others in the Scottish top flight.

The 30 point winning margin - unprecedented, of course - for Brendan Rodgers’ men doesn’t begin to tell the whole story. Neither does the fact that they remain unbeaten across the entirety of a 38-game league campaign - unprecedented of course - with 34 wins and four draws either.

If we assume that your average league game is played over 92 minutes, with two minutes the standard added-on period, Celtic played 3458 minutes of Premiership football. Across this span remarkably they were only ever behind for 110 minutes, this total covering the mere four games this happened. They could easily have won the four games they drew, every one of them drawn from winning positions - with goals in the closing minutes costing them the victories against Ross County, Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Rangers.

Brendan Rodgers instilled a focus that was unrelenting

Even before a ball was kicked, Celtic were assured of winning their sixth consecutive title. It was a wonder that the formalities didn’t arrive until April 2. Yet after the 5-0 win away to Hearts that clinched them the title, they still had eight games to play. They did draw two of these, but the 2-2 scoreline against Ross County was only penalty awarded against them in error. All recent previous runaway champions have endured a form dip in games that didn’t matter. The closest parallel to Brendan Rodgers’ first season at Celtic is provided by Martin O’Neill’s treble-winning campaign of 2000-01. O’Neill’s team blitzed the title with the loss of only one game while it was a live issue. Yet, the subsequently lost their final two, meaningless, league games.

READ MORE - Aberdeen and Celtic cancel Scottish Cup victory plans

Celtic were an irrepressible attacking force with such variety in their goalscoring

Each and every one of the 13 outfield players with the highest number minutes on the pitch for the club in league games succeeded in find the net in the title romp... perhaps to be considered hardly a surprise with their Premier-era record 106 total scored. There seemed to be an endless number of goal sources in Rodgers’ squad, which is reflected in the fact that, across all competitions, no fewer than six players hit double figures: Moussa Dembele, Scott Sinclair, Leigh Griffiths, Stuart Armstrong, Tom Rogic and Patrick Roberts. Even in the free-scoring Martin O’Neill era, the best the squad could muster was five scorers in double-figures. Another respect in which Brendan Rodgers side have set new standards for recent times.

Continuity is not a concern when you can count on universal competence

The football mantra is that consistency of selection is key to success. This season, though, it didn’t seem to matter who Brendan Rodgers slotted into the team; results remained the same. Or, rather, they just kept winning. Certainly, there were integral performers such as Scot Sinclair, Scott Brown, Moussa Dembele, Stuart Armstrong and Tom Rogic. In some of the club’s best display, though, these big performers had no involvement. Rodgers rested eight players for a trip to Ross County during the club’s Champions League campaign. The outcome was a 4-0 victory. Dembele - scourge of Rangers after a derby debut hat-trick - was lost before the recent trip to Ibrox... only for Celtic to register their biggest ever win at the ground. Rodgers’ full-backs Kieran Tierney and Mikael Lustig are pivotal players in his system. Yet he has dropped in Emilio Izaguirre and Cristian Gamboa in for certain games without a notable loss of fluency. That is true of every area of the pitch. He has somehow franchised his full squad and rarely been let down when bringing in a player for the first time, or after months without an appearance. There was a near three month period earlier this year when he almost never played the same time two weeks running, which was cited as one of the downfalls of predecessor Ronny Deila. The belief bred by winning is important in shuffling your squad successfully, but the team structure for which Rodgers is responsible has been a more central component in allowing for such flexibility.

READ MORE - Celtic fans plaster Billy McNeil cut-outs around Glasgow

Brendan Rodgers as architect has also been a master builder

The transformative effect that Brendan Rodgers has had on Celtic despite only adding a couple of player has brought comparisons with Jock Stein, who turned Celtic into European champions after inheriting 10 of the players who made up the Lisbon Lions. We are talking apples and pears here with the Scottish football scene at one of its lowest ebbs in history. However, if this weekend Celtic complete the treble and become the first team to go through an entire domestic campaign without losing a game, the feat should be recognised for the extraordinary achievement it would be. And it is Rodgers ability to revitalise, remake or rapidly accelerate the talents of those at his disposal that has underpinned a remarkable first season for the Irishman in Scotland. There is unlikely to be a single player in the Celtic squad who would say they haven’t improved in the past 12 months. Figures such as Scott Brown, Stuart Armstrong, Dedryck Boyata and Callum McGregor are unrecognisable from the forlorn performers of 12 months ago. Others such as Patrick Roberts, James Forrest, Kieran Tierney, Jozo Simunovic and Leigh Griffiths just looked to have stepped their games up notably. That is a huge testament to the coaching prowess of Rodgers, who has hardly put a foot wrong on and off the field in how he has handled the challenges, the media and the requirement to be a leader to a squad and a support.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Rangers want Jamie Walker | Ibrox club eye Fabio Cardoso | QPR watch McLean

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456927.1495716077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456927.1495716077!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic won the Ladbrokes Premiership without losing a single game. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic won the Ladbrokes Premiership without losing a single game. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456927.1495716077!/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/aberdeen-and-celtic-cancel-scottish-cup-victory-plans-1-4456867","id":"1.4456867","articleHeadline": "Aberdeen and Celtic cancel Scottish Cup victory plans","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495713861000 ,"articleLead": "

Aberdeen and Celtic have each cancelled plans for a victory celebration in the event of a Scottish Cup final win.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456866.1495713858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen and Celtic will face each other in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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The move comes after Britain’s terror threat was raised to “critical” levels following Monday’s terror attack in Manchester, which left 22 people dead and 59 injured after a suicide bomber targeted crowds at an Ariana Grande concert.

With security services stretched across the country, both clubs have agreed to bin their plans following discussions with Police Scotland.

For clubs outside of Glasgow it is traditional to celebrate with an open top bus parade around the city, while Celtic were expecting to show off the trophy to supporters congregating around Celtic Park.

The Ladbrokes Premiership champions, who will be looking to clinch the treble with a win on Saturday, have also cancelled plans for a Heroes and Legends bus parade to help celebrate the Celtic FC Foundation match, which will take place at Parkhead on Sunday.

READ MORE - Celtic fans plaster Billy McNeil cut-outs around Glasgow

A statement on the Celtic website read: “Following the recent tragic events in Manchester, and further to liaison and discussion with Police Scotland, Celtic Football Club today outlined some important safety announcements in advance of this weekend’s matches.

“Clearly, with absolute respect to Aberdeen Football Club, we would not wish to pre-judge the outcome of the Scottish Cup final in any way. However, it is very important that supporters are fully aware of all organisational arrangements which may affect them.

“In the event of Celtic being fortunate enough to win the Scottish Cup, the club would like to confirm that the team would not be able to ‘present’ the trophy to supporters back at Celtic Park and there would be no supporters’ event there. “Therefore, we urge Celtic supporters not to travel to or congregate at Celtic Park following the match.

“Given the situation and the pressure on police and security resources, we are sure that our supporters will fully understand these measures which have been taken. We thank all our fans for their assistance and co-operation.”

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Rangers want Jamie Walker | Ibrox club eye Fabio Cardoso | QPR watch McLean

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456866.1495713858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456866.1495713858!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Aberdeen and Celtic will face each other in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Aberdeen and Celtic will face each other in the Scottish Cup final on Saturday. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456866.1495713858!/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/aberdeen-north-east/aberdeen-shops-gear-up-for-elite-cycling-event-1-4456817","id":"1.4456817","articleHeadline": "Aberdeen shops gear up for elite cycling event","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495712761000 ,"articleLead": "

A MAJOR cycling event kicking off in Aberdeen today has seen city centre shops playing their part to turn the streets into a cycling hub for the elite competition.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456816.1495712758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "O'Caykx won the window display competition for the Tour Series in Aberdeen. Picture: Supplied"} ,"articleBody": "

The Tour Series window dressing competition, organised by Aberdeen City Council, invited businesses to take part by dressing their windows in a cycling theme, to promote the arrival of the cycling showcase in Aberdeen for the first time.

The winners were O’Caykx, followed by Mr Dun and Kirkview Cafe.

READ MORE: Oban teen internet piping sensation lands first major gig

Prizes on offer were £2,000 advertising package on local radio, a three-month tier to an Aberdeen City Council roundabout worth £1,500 and a Union Street banner during Offshore Europe valued at £1,000.

Aberdeen Lord Provost Barney Crockett said “A fantastic effort has gone into the numerous display and some of the entries were incredibly creative.

“Congratulations to all the nominated businesses who got into the spirit of the event and took part in the competition.

“Their participation has added a vibrant element to the route and shopping precincts, and will also encourage customers to enjoy the spirit”.

The Tour Series is being brought to the city as part of the wider Aberdeen 365 Events Strategy, a City Centre Masterplan initiative.

The 1.2-kilometre circuit around the compact city centre will provide a stunning backdrop to a fast and furious night of racing, with the beautiful architecture and vocal Scottish crowds setting the perfect scene as the race is broadcast around the world.

READ MORE: Perthshire’s famous Enchanted Forest set to make a return

The elite athletes will tackle an hour-long race as they weave around a challenging combination of cobbled streets and tight turns, racing to the finishing line at Union Street, battling it out to be crowned Britain’s top team.

The Tour Series, Aberdeen Round 8, is being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALISTAIR MUNRO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456816.1495712758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456816.1495712758!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "O'Caykx won the window display competition for the Tour Series in Aberdeen. Picture: Supplied","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "O'Caykx won the window display competition for the Tour Series in Aberdeen. Picture: Supplied","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456816.1495712758!/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/celtic-fans-plaster-billy-mcneil-cut-outs-around-glasgow-1-4456784","id":"1.4456784","articleHeadline": "Celtic fans plaster Billy McNeil cut-outs around Glasgow","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495711212000 ,"articleLead": "

Cut-outs of Billy McNeil holding the European Cup trophy have been plastered around Glasgow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456783.1495711209!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Billy McNeil statue outside Celtic Park. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

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Posters of the club legend have been dotted around the city by Celtic supporters celebrating the 50th anniversary of their 1967 European Cup final win.

Fans have been sharing images of the cut-outs on social media, using the hashtag #cesar67.

Billboards heralding the accomplishments of the Lisbon Lions have also been seen about town.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Rangers want Jamie Walker | Ibrox club eye Fabio Cardoso | QPR watch McLean

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID GUNN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456783.1495711209!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456783.1495711209!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Billy McNeil statue outside Celtic Park. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Billy McNeil statue outside Celtic Park. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456783.1495711209!/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/scotland/wayne-rooney-dropped-from-england-squad-to-play-scotland-1-4456753","id":"1.4456753","articleHeadline": "Wayne Rooney dropped from England squad to play Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495710952000 ,"articleLead": "

Wayne Rooney has been left out of England’s squad for next month’s World Cup qualifier against Scotland.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456752.1495711153!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "England captain Wayne Rooney has been dropped. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

Rooney made a brief cameo in Manchester United’s Europa League final win over Ajax in Stockholm on Wednesday night, but was brought back down to earth with the news he has not been included in a 25-man party that will contest a World Cup qualifier in Hampden on June 10, followed by a frienly against France in Paris.

The door is not closed on an international return for the 31-year-old, who had hoped to end his England career by leading his country in Russia next summer, but Southgate has placed him firmly behind Marcus Rashford, Jermain Defoe, Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy in the pecking order.

Elsewhere in the squad, there is a recall for goalkeeper Jack Butland, back after a year of injury trauma dating back to his previous England appearance in Germany, a first call-up for Tottenham’s Kieran Trippier and nods for Middlesbrough’s Ben Gibson and West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell.

It is now hard to see a way back for Rooney, who is England’s record goalscorer with 53 as well as being the most capped outfield player with 119 appearances.

He has been quietly shunted down the Old Trafford pecking order this season and even a late-season return to the first team picture, a result of injuries and fixture congestion at United more than a compelling upturn in form, has not persuaded Southgate.

Instead he has placed his faith in 19-year-old Rashford, who started for United against Ajax, and will not now link up with the Under-21s for this summer’s European Championship.

Kane’s return also marks the first time Southgate has been able to select the Premier League golden boot winner, who has missed all six of the manager’s matches through injury.

ENGLAND SQUAD FOR NEXT MONTH’S GAMES AGAINST SCOTLAND AND FRANCE

Jack Butland (Stoke), Fraser Forster (Southampton), Joe Hart (Torino, on loan from Man City), Tom Heaton (Burnley); Ryan Bertrand (Southampton), Gary Cahill (Chelsea), Nathaniel Clyne (Liverpool), Aaron Cresswell (West Ham), Ben Gibson (Middlesbrough), Phil Jones (Man Utd), Chris Smalling (Man Utd), John Stones (Man City), Kieran Trippier (Tottenham), Kyle Walker (Tottenham); Dele Alli (Tottenham), Eric Dier (Tottenham), Adam Lallana (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Man Utd), Jake Livermore (West Brom), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal), Raheem Sterling (Man City); Jermain Defoe (Sunderland), Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Jamie Vardy (Leicester).

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456752.1495711153!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456752.1495711153!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "England captain Wayne Rooney has been dropped. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "England captain Wayne Rooney has been dropped. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456752.1495711153!/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/rangers/craig-whyte-took-1m-from-firm-to-fund-rangers-deal-1-4456532","id":"1.4456532","articleHeadline": "Craig Whyte ‘took £1m from firm to fund Rangers deal’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495704004000 ,"articleLead": "

A former colleague of Craig Whyte was “annoyed” after discovering that £1 million had gone from a company to apparently help fund the Rangers takeover.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456531.1495703998!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at the High Court. Picture: John Devlin"} ,"articleBody": "

David Gillespie recalled being “p***** off” when he found investment firm Merchant Turnaround had “less funds than expected” in 2011.

Mr Gillespie, 68, who had been a director of the business, told how he had never given authority for money to be used by Whyte in any Rangers buy-out. Mr Gillespie had earlier said he warned Whyte he did not want to be involved in a football club.

The evidence was yesterday heard at Whyte’s trial at the High Court in Glasgow. Whyte, 46, denies a charge of fraud and a second allegation under the Companies Act in connection with his takeover.

Mr Gillespie, a retired stockbroker, was a director of Merchant Turnaround PLC. Whyte was said to be company secretary.

The jury has heard how Whyte struck a £1 deal to purchase Sir David Murray’s controlling stake at Ibrox in May 2011. Around that time, another director asked for an analysis of investments. It was then found £1m had been sent to law firm Collyer Bristow, which was involved in Whyte’s takeover.

The trial continues.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Grant McCabe"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456531.1495703998!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456531.1495703998!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at the High Court. Picture: John Devlin","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Rangers owner Craig Whyte arrives at the High Court. Picture: John Devlin","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456531.1495703998!/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-rangers-want-jamie-walker-ibrox-club-eye-fabio-cardoso-qpr-watch-mclean-1-4456346","id":"1.4456346","articleHeadline": "Rumour Mill: Rangers want Jamie Walker | Ibrox club eye Fabio Cardoso | QPR watch McLean","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495696810000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers are keen to bring Hearts pair Jamie Walker and Callum Paterson to Ibrox and are also monitoring the Portuguese defender Fabio Cardoso, QPR are interested in Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean and Celtic target Henry Onyekuru appears to have a ruled out a move to the Scottish champions.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456345.1495701378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts top scorer Jamie Walker is wanted by Rangers."} ,"articleBody": "

Jamie Walker and Callum Paterson catch eye of Rangers manager

Rangers manager Pedro Caixinha is considering a double swoop on Hearts to land Jamie Walker and Callum Paterson. Winger Walker, who has a year remaining on his Tynecastle contract, was Hearts’ top scorer with 15 goals in the season just ended, 12 of them in the league. Paterson, who is recovering from a serious knee injury, is out of contract in the summer and free to deal with other clubs. Rangers would need to pay a transfer fee to land Walker and also stump up on compensation for Paterson who is also interesting Cardiff City. (Daily Express)

Ibrox club monitoring Portuguese defender Fabio Cardoso

Rangers are on the trail of the Portuguese under-20 international defender Fabio Cardoso. The centre back plays for Vitoria Setubal and has three years remaining on his contract. Rangers would be expected to shell out a fee in the region of £1.25 million to land 6ft 1in Cardoso who played previously for the Benfica B team.

Celtic target Henry Onyekuru keen on England

Nigerian winger Henry Onyekuru appears to have ruled out a move to Celtic. Onyekuru was heavily linked with a move to Glsagow during the January transfer window but he now says he will stay in Belgium or head to England. The 19-year-old scored 23 goals for Eupen in the Belgian league and now says he is eyeing a move to Anderlecht or Bruges, or to the English Premier League. Arsenal, Everton and Southampton are all thought to be interested. (Daily Record)

QPR consider £1m move for Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean

Aberdeen midfielder Kenny McLean is wanted by Queens Park Rangers who are considering a £1 million move for the former St Mirren man. McLean is entering the final year of his Pittodrie contract and is also attracting interest from Pedro Caixinha’s Rangers. QPR had McLean watched during Aberdeen’s recent win over the Ibrox side. He has been in fine form of late, earning a call-up to Gordon Strachan’s Scotland squad on Monday. (Daily Express)

Perry Kitchen on his way out of Hearts

Deposed Hearts midfielder Perry Kitchen is on his way out of Tynecastle. Kitchen has been replaced as skipper by returning defender Christophe Berra and the American international has been told he will not play regularly next season. He will now seek a new club. Kitchen, 25, joined Hearts from DC United in March 2016 and has a season remaining on his contract. (Edinburgh Evening News) Full story

Kilmarnock keen on Aberdeen striker Miles Storey

Aberdeen frontman Miles Storey is wanted by Kilmarnock. Storey, 23, is on the fringes of the Pittodrie first team and is looking for more regular football. Killie caretaker manager Lee McCulloch is keen to utilise the player’s pace. (Daily Express)

Derek McInnes favourite to be new Sunderland manager

Derek McInnes is the bookmakers’ favourite to replace David Moyes as Sunderland manager. The Aberdeen boss leads the betting for the post on Wearside, with one bookie making him evens to take charge at the Stadium of Light. Moyes resigned on Monday after a difficult season which saw Sunderland relegated after finishing bottom of the Premier League. (The Scotsman) Full story

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID GUNN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456345.1495701378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456345.1495701378!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts top scorer Jamie Walker is wanted by Rangers.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts top scorer Jamie Walker is wanted by Rangers.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456345.1495701378!/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/8am-round-up-tiger-woods-hasn-t-felt-this-good-in-years-1-4456332","id":"1.4456332","articleHeadline": "8am Round-Up: Tiger Woods ‘hasn’t felt this good in years’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495695463000 ,"articleLead": "

Tiger Woods has delivered an upbeat report on his progress following his fourth back operation since 2010, insisting: “I haven’t felt this good in years.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456331.1495695459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tiger Woods is feeling confident that he will be able to get back playing again after his latest back surgery. Picture: Brian Spurlock"} ,"articleBody": "

In a blog posted on his website, the 14-time major winner spoke positively about his chances of making a complete recovery from his last back operation in April.

“It has been just over a month since I underwent fusion surgery on my back, and it is hard to express how much better I feel. It was instant nerve relief. I haven’t felt this good in years,” he said.

“I could no longer live with the pain I had. We tried every possible non-surgical route and nothing worked.

“I had good days and bad days, but the pain was usually there, and I couldn’t do much. Even lying down hurt. I had nerve pain with anything I did and was at the end of my rope.

“The process leading up to my decision to have surgery was exhaustive. I consulted with a specialist, and after weighing my options, that’s when I decided to go to Texas to have surgery.”

The 41-year-old had already been forced to sit out The Masters before undergoing his operaton and will also miss the three remaining majors this season as he faces a lengthy recocery process.

“As for returning to competitive golf, the long-term prognosis is positive,” he added. “My surgeon and physiotherapist say the operation was successful. It’s just a matter of not screwing up and letting it fuse.

I’m walking and doing my exercises, and taking my kids to and from school. All I can do is take it day by day. There’s no hurry.

“But, I want to say unequivocally, I want to play professional golf again.”

***

Colin Montgomerie has revealed he was close to requiring surgery after damaging ankle ligaments earlier this year.

The injury forced the big Scot to sit out some Champions Tour events but he’s back and raring to go in this week’s KitchenAid Senior PGA Championship.

Montgomerie won this event in both 2014 and 2015 before narrowly missing out on a title hat-trick when he finished runner-up to Rocco Mediate 12 months ago.

“It was touch and go if I needed an operation,” he said. “I managed to get away with that. I’m not too bad now, I’m at about 90 per cent. It’ll be fine and every day it gets better. Having played two events, I’m getting back into things.

“I didn’t really perform too well, but I’m looking forward to getting back into things here, and I’ve performed well in this event over the last three years with two wins and a second, so it brings back good memories.

“I’ve done okay in the majors over here, I’ve won three and would love to add to that. I’m 54 next month and would love to add to that tally before I turn 60.”

Joining the eight-time European No 1 in the line-up at Trump National Golf Club in Washington D C are Sandy Lyle and Andrew Oldcorn.

***

Chief executive Blane Dodds is to outline his plans for Scottish Golf to people “working at the coalface” in the game across the country.

A series of meetings with club representatives throughout June is a follow up to Dodds consulting with Areas and Counties on a new four-year strategic plan for the sport in Scotland.

“I very much look forward to meeting and speaking with club representatives next month as part of our consultation process,” he said.

“I would like to get the appropriate feedback from our clubs in seeking input to help shape our four-year strategic vision for the organisation.

We have been working to a one-year plan this year, but now need to ensure we have a robust longer term plan in place for 2018-2022.

“This timeframe was designed to allow us greater consultation and input with Areas, Counties, Clubs and partners into the strategic direction and priority areas.”

The first meeting takes place in Inverness, with others being held at Haggs Castle, Newmachar, Auchterarder, Kirkcaldy, Ratho Park, Stonefield Castle Hotel in Argyll, Dumfries & County before Hilton Park hosts the final one.

“Having presented to a number of Area and County officials in the early part of the year and also stakeholders at our Annual General Meeting in March, I’m now looking forward to some good discussion on our future vision with those working at the coalface at club level,” added Dodds.

“There is no doubt that collectively we need to take a fresh look at our priorities and deliver more innovative solutions that will source greater investment in the game and deliver growth that we can all benefit from.”

***

Paul Lawrie Golf Centre player Sam Kiloh is in contention for a breakthrough win on the Pro Golf Tour.

He’s a shot off the lead with a round to go in the Reiffelson tournament at St Polten in Austria after rounds of 65 and 68 for a nine-under-par total.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN DEMPSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456331.1495695459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456331.1495695459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tiger Woods is feeling confident that he will be able to get back playing again after his latest back surgery. Picture: Brian Spurlock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tiger Woods is feeling confident that he will be able to get back playing again after his latest back surgery. Picture: Brian Spurlock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456331.1495695459!/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/one-final-step-for-dedryck-boyata-on-journey-back-to-glory-1-4456019","id":"1.4456019","articleHeadline": "One final step for Dedryck Boyata on journey back to glory","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

From invisible to invincible. It has been quite a journey for Dedryck Boyata at Celtic this season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456017.1495641560!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic's Dedryck Boyata emerges from the tunnel before the game against Hearts. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

During the first half of the campaign, the Belgian was so far off the radar it was difficult to imagine that he had any future under Brendan Rodgers’ management.

Since being surprisingly drafted back into the side after the winter break in January, however, the rangy defender has become a key component of the squad, which last 
Sunday became the first to complete an unbeaten top-flight Scottish league season since 1899.

“It feels great to be invincible,” says Boyata with a beaming grin. “It’s a big word, you know? A strong word, I’d say. At the start of the season, we didn’t really think about it. Then, with the results you get, the more you think about it. Now it’s done and it feels 
unbelievable.

“For myself, it was a little different. At the beginning of the season I was injured and I couldn’t get into the team. So I wasn’t even close to that, I wasn’t even thinking about that. I had other goals.

“But towards the end when I started playing it was good to be a part of the team and be back in the defence trying to get as many results as we could. Right now it’s just a great feeling to be in this 
position.

“Of course I feel proud about how my own situation has changed. It was difficult for myself and for the people around me too at the start of the season. So being in this position today feels good and something I’ve learned is you need to enjoy the moment.

“I’ve come from far away from the first team. I don’t really want to think about it again because there were some negative moments, some bad moments. I’m not pointing at anyone else, I did the injury myself then I came back and did it again.

“Mentally it’s hard but today things have changed and you can only go forwards. You learn from this moment. Mentally you get stronger and now I feel good. You look back at last season and then we had a new manager in the summer. To get this achievement, we needed a lot of work and a lot of changes. But, at the 
start of the season, no team would say they were going to go out and not lose any games in the league.”

One more hurdle now stands between Celtic and the unprecedented feat of going through an entire domestic campaign undefeated in all competitions. Boyata admits he and his team-mates simply cannot bear the thought of failure in Saturday’s William Hill 
Scottish Cup final against Aberdeen at Hampden.

“Obviously it would be very hard for us if we lost the final now,” added the 26-year-old. “It’s the last game we have to play and it’s a game where we will try to give 200 per cent. We want to finish on a high.

“We’ve been working so hard and have been invincible in the league. But we have got one more game now and I think we will forget everything else if we lose this final.”

Boyata has an FA Cup winners’ medal in his trophy 
cabinet but felt less than fulfilled by his role as an unused substitute for Manchester City at Wembley in 2011 when they defeated Stoke City in 
the final.

He experienced more frustration in the 2013-14 League Cup with City, playing in every round before being dropped from the squad for the final against Sunderland by manager Manuel Pellegrini. It is something which still clearly rankles with him.

“That’s another story and I can’t say anything about it,” he said. “It was disappointing but that’s life. It’s just how it was. It is hard. As a player you want 
to participate in every moment, every great moment for the team.

“You want to be a part of it, say you’ve been on the pitch or came on. If you manage to get a few games and get to the final and don’t play then you can still say you took part. It’s difficult not playing a minute but a team is not just 11 players, it’s a squad. Not everyone is involved.

“I also watched from the stand at Hampden in November this season when we beat Aberdeen 3-0 in the League Cup final. I had hurt my hamstring again and it was a hard moment.

“Of course it would be good to play in a final at last. It’s a great achievement. But it’s going to be nothing if we don’t win.”

Boyata has relished the matches he has played against Aberdeen over the past few months, scoring twice in league fixtures against them. But he has full respect for the potential threat they pose to Celtic’s treble ambitions.

“Our team played great in the League Cup final against them, we were on top for the full 90 minutes,” he said. “It’s going to be difficult to do the same this time because Aberdeen are a very good team.

“The game at Pittodrie a couple of weeks ago was hard, even though we won 3-1. We are definitely expecting another hard game but we’ll be up for it. This kind of game only happens once. We have 90 minutes or more but we are going to be there to give everything. I’ve managed to score twice against Aberdeen from set-pieces but it’s not really my job, scoring. It’s about defending.

“We know we are going for an unbeaten treble on Saturday and if you manage to make history it’s a great achievement for any player. It’s not like it came from nowhere because you’ve seen how the season has gone. If we make history it’s going to be something great for any player, to have it in your book.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEPHEN HALLIDAY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456017.1495641560!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456017.1495641560!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic's Dedryck Boyata emerges from the tunnel before the game against Hearts. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic's Dedryck Boyata emerges from the tunnel before the game against Hearts. Picture: Craig Williamson/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456017.1495641560!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456018.1495641566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456018.1495641566!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic defender Dedryck Boyata. Picture: Roddy Scott/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456018.1495641566!/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/aberdeen/adam-rooney-bidding-to-avoid-cup-final-double-treble-1-4456127","id":"1.4456127","articleHeadline": "Adam Rooney bidding to avoid cup final ‘double treble’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

Denying Celtic a treble is only a secondary motivation for Aberdeen striker Adam Rooney and his team-mates ahead of Saturday’s Scottish Cup final.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456126.1495646308!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam Rooney is anxious Aberdeen don't end the season with a 'treble' of second places. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The primary cause is to avoid an unwanted treble of their own by finishing another impressive season under Derek McInnes as merely runners-up in all three domestic competitions.

Rooney knows ending the campaign with a sixth straight defeat against Celtic would take the gloss off the achievement of reaching two cup finals and securing a club-record points haul in their second-place league finish.

For all the improvements since McInnes replaced Craig Brown four years ago Aberdeen still have just one trophy to show for it, the League Cup win against Inverness Caledonian Thistle when Rooney scored the decisive penalty in the shootout.

“You want to win things. It is okay finishing second, having a good season and setting records but the ones you remember are the ones where you pick up silverware at the end of the season,” said Rooney. “We want to win for ourselves and not to spoil somebody else’s party.”

“We would love to top off this season with a trophy,” added the Irishman. “There are enough lads here who played in the League Cup final [against Inverness]. We remember what the celebrations are like and we all want that again.”

Rooney didn’t start the most recent clash against Celtic, as McInnes preferred the aerial and physical power of Jayden Stockley up front.

Celtic seemed rattled for the last 79 minutes of the match at Pittodrie despite having raced into a three-goal lead in the first 11 on the way to seeing out a 3-1 win.

Rooney did join the action late on but what he observed from the dugout and during his subsequent involvement certainly increased his confidence for the Cup final.

“Definitely our last performance shows we can get at Celtic. It also shows we can cause them a lot of problems because we put a lot of balls into their box.

“But they also showed what they are capable of. We have to make sure we don’t give Celtic a three-goal lead because I don’t think anyone can do that.”

If Aberdeen do win on Saturday, it will be Graeme Shinnie and not his predecessor as captain, Ryan Jack, who lifts the trophy.

Injury denied Willie Miller the honour back in 1990 but the man who lifted 12 top trophies during his days as skipper believes McInnes has pulled off a “managerial masterstroke” handing Shinnie the job.

Jack’s is fit but his imminent move to Rangers couldn’t have come at a more sensitive time given the history between the clubs and Miller believes the Aberdeen manager deserves credit for taking strong action.

“It will allow them to forget all the speculation surrounding Jack’s future and fully focus on the job in hand at Hampden,” said Miller.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SCOTT DAVIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456126.1495646308!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456126.1495646308!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Adam Rooney is anxious Aberdeen don't end the season with a 'treble' of second places. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam Rooney is anxious Aberdeen don't end the season with a 'treble' of second places. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456126.1495646308!/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/hearts/christophe-berra-happy-to-moan-hearts-back-to-their-best-1-4456149","id":"1.4456149","articleHeadline": "Christophe Berra happy to moan Hearts back to their best","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

Christophe Berra has been appointed captain at Hearts for the same reason the club wanted to sign him in the first place – his character.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456148.1495648267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has been awarded the club captaincy by head coach Ian Cathro. Picture: Ian Georgeson"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scotland international confessed to being a bit of a whinger but claims that the odd well-timed grumble is a good way to get the best out of colleagues and prevent standards slipping or heads going down.

“Character is being in the changing room and when things are down you have to be thick-skinned and keep spirits high. On the pitch you have to be a moany bastard. The lads at Ipswich talk about Scots moaning but that’s fine. People might hate you, but that’s fine, it’s all about getting reactions.

“I’m not moaning because I don’t like people, I’m just being moany to get the best out of people. You learn who can take it and who can’t and you deal with things accordingly.”

Berra returned to the Tynecastle club eight years after his £2.3million move to Wolves to be close to his young daughter, but he said that he had always intended to return ‘home’ one day. Signed on a three-year deal, at 32 he is likely to be a pivotal figure in the coming seasons, with the club looking to fashion a team around him and rely on his on-field guidance as Cathro looks to turn around fortunes and opinions.

As a youngster coming through the ranks Berra had the likes of Steven Pressley and Paul Hartley to guide him and he wants to fulfill a similar role with the next crop of academy graduates. “I’ve not come here thinking it will be easy. But I have pride in my performance and I want to do well as an individual but also for the team. I want to help the team to do well and help younger players.

“Hearts are renowned for bringing young players through and I want to help them. I want to make Tynecastle a fortress again and make it difficult and intimidating for opponents.

“I remember good times but also tough times at Tynecastle and you get through them all. Last season was negative but our job is to make next season positive.”

The club has changed, with new people at the helm, superb training facilities and a refurbished ground to look forward to but Berra is well aware of the advances that need to happen on the pitch next term.

“I know Tynecastle can be a cauldron. When you’re winning it can be a great place to play. When you’re not winning it’s like anywhere. I played at Ipswich, played at Wolves, played for Scotland and if you’re not playing well, you get booed. Fans can be fickle. That’s just the way it is.

“I’ve come here, been made captain and it’s a big responsibility on and off the pitch. I live in Edinburgh and I want to be able to walk the streets with my head held high, having won games and done well – not shying away from people because we’ve lost. I’m ready for the responsibility.

“Even when I left Hearts, I kept in touch with results. Even in the changing room at Ipswich for a three o’clock kick-off, I’d be switching the telly over to Scottish football to see the derby. I would get stick for that. But I come from here, I know what it means to play in those games.

“Like any football club, be it Celtic, Rangers, Man United or West Brom, if you’re not winning games, you’re going to get stick. It’s our job to go and win those games, put in good performances.”

Which is where the character comes back into it. For a team that has been accused of missing backbone in recent months, with Don Cowie being asked to drag too many of his team-mates through games in the absence of Callum Paterson, John Souttar or Aaron Hughes, Berra is an indication of the spirit and understanding the club are seeking in their summer arrivals as they attempt to put last season well and truly behind them.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456148.1495648267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456148.1495648267!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christophe Berra has been awarded the club captaincy by head coach Ian Cathro. Picture: Ian Georgeson","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christophe Berra has been awarded the club captaincy by head coach Ian Cathro. Picture: Ian Georgeson","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456148.1495648267!/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/hearts/skipper-switch-casts-doubt-on-perry-kitchen-s-hearts-future-1-4456158","id":"1.4456158","articleHeadline": "Skipper switch casts doubt on Perry Kitchen’s Hearts future","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

Perry Kitchen’s future at Hearts remains in doubt after the American midfielder was replaced as captain.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456157.1495649597!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Perry Kitchen has lost the captaincy to Christophe Berra."} ,"articleBody": "

New signing Christophe Berra has been handed the armband, with head coach Ian Cathro stating that it is important to have greater continuity in that position. Despite the fact Kitchen is contracted to summer 2018, stripping him of the captaincy suggests there is little likelihood of him playing an integral part next season.

“Naturally he’s not had a great time personally, having not been in the side as often as any player would have liked, but that’s a personal thing,” said Cathro.

“These are things that happen as a team evolves, grows and moves on. It’s important that the role is a more constant role and it’s also important that we have a number of players who live their lives like that.

“My feeling is that we need more captains, we need more leaders, we need more players of stronger experience, of resilience, with more games in their background, good moments, bad moments, knowing they can go past a ten-minute spell in a game that is not going for us. We need more of those players.

“Throughout what was a very difficult five months or half a season, if you look at the performance level and the attitude and the influence level on the team Don Cowie has had then you see a leader. What we needed to be able to do is bring in more of those. It’s not something you switch on and off, it’s who they are and how they behave.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456157.1495649597!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456157.1495649597!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Perry Kitchen has lost the captaincy to Christophe Berra.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Perry Kitchen has lost the captaincy to Christophe Berra.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456157.1495649597!/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/stuart-barnes-tommy-seymour-has-claim-to-be-lions-wing-king-1-4456182","id":"1.4456182","articleHeadline": "Stuart Barnes: Tommy Seymour has claim to be Lions wing king","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

Stuart Hogg has been Scotland’s pride for the past few years, the nation’s undisputed star player whose brilliance has made pundits throughout the British Isles sit up and take notice. However, it could be that come that first clash against the All Blacks on 24 June it is wing Tommy Seymour rather than the swashbuckling full-back who becomes the first Scot to start a Lions Test since Tom Smith way back in 2001.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456181.1495650555!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tommy Seymour, left, Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg at at a British & Irish Lions training session in Ireland. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

That is the view of Stuart
Barnes, the former Bath, England and Lions stand-off turned journalist and commentator, who suspects coach Warren Gatland may prefer Welshman Leigh Halfpenny in the red No 15 jersey to the man who has been voted Six Nations player of the tournament two years on the trot.

“I sometimes think south of the border I’m the only person who knows who Tommy Seymour is,” said Barnes, who played for the Lions in the Gavin Hastings-skippered tour of New Zealand in 1993.

“The chat down here is all about Jack Nowell, Anthony Watson, George North and Elliot Daly. But from the second game of the season when Seymour got four tries against Leinster and I was there for that game I just thought this guy is getting better and better.

“I also remember back to when Scotland lost narrowly down in Wales in last year’s Six Nations and Tommy scored a try that day and he really caught my eye. George North scored an amazing winning try and got all the headlines but what I went away thinking was ‘that Seymour is a bloody good player’. Wales have a big aerial game but he caught and defused everything, the way he combined with Hogg in attack, his finishing. He’s unfussy and not flash but that ability to handle the kicking game will be so important in New 
Zealand.

“I think Seymour is the Lions best option on the wing, right now I’d play him on the right and move North to the left.”

Barnes has been a prominent advocate of Hogg in the past couple of years, but the man who earned ten England caps as Rob Andrew’s understudy in the 1980s and early 90s reckons his namesake has work to do in the early tour games to convince coach Warren Gatland he is the man to don that red No 15 jersey. “Although Stuart has been viewed as a Test Lion I think he still has a few questions to answer,” said Barnes.

“I love watching Hogg play but that doesn’t stop me from acknowledging some of his weakness. He is so expansive and exciting in his ambition that sometimes he overplays his cards. He’s sometimes looking for the counter before he’s caught the ball. New Zealand have a fantastic kick-chase game that can have the opposition at sixes and sevens. If Stuart Hogg is to be the Lions Test full-back he has got to be rock solid under a high ball.

“I much prefer him in most areas to Leigh Halfpenny but the Welshman is arguably a more secure pair of hands and a safer defensive bet.” Barnes was a midweek “dirttracker” 24 years ago and believes that will be a role that Greig Laidlaw, the Scotland scrum-half and captain who has joined Hogg and Seymour in the squad after the withdrawal for family reasons of Ben Youngs, will thrive in.

That said, he views Laidlaw’s game as suited to the gameplan that will be needed to beat the All Blacks and doesn’t rule out the possibility of Laidlaw forcing his way into the Test reckoning. As a No 10 who liked to play off the cuff himself, Barnes is also a big fan of Finn Russell and believes the Scot is ahead of George Ford on the standby stand-off list. The Sky co-commentator views Russell as a hugely promising talent but 
suggests he “goes for the 12-1 horse instead of the 2-1 favourite in his playmaking decisions a bit too much”.

As for the Lions’ chances, Barnes has a five-point plan for success. “The Lions have to win in the scrum, not just get parity as that’s an area they can dominate,” he said. “They have to match the All Blacks in the lineout, the centres have to get over the gain line as [openside and skipper Sam] Warburton has no chance going backwards. They’ve got to get their defence right, it will have to be a basic system as they haven’t got much time together.

“Finally I think they have to do an almighty rain dance. If it’s wet and windy, New Zealand can’t play their running game and it comes down to a battle of the packs and goalkickers then it’s 3-0 to the Lions. Beauden Barrett is the most exciting player in the world but if you were rating the top 20 Test stand-offs as kickers he’d probably be 20th.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456181.1495650555!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456181.1495650555!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Tommy Seymour, left, Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg at at a British & Irish Lions training session in Ireland. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Tommy Seymour, left, Greig Laidlaw and Stuart Hogg at at a British & Irish Lions training session in Ireland. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456181.1495650555!/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/duncan-smith-sevens-independence-worth-more-than-medals-1-4456225","id":"1.4456225","articleHeadline": "Duncan Smith: Sevens independence worth more than medals","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

When outgoing coach Calum MacRae and his triumphant side were piped into BT Murrayfield on Monday after their glorious defence of the London title at the weekend it seemed like a time to reflect on the merits of Scotland sticking with an elite sevens programme that had been threatened with termination a couple of years ago.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456224.1495657489!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland celebrate after winning the HSBC London Sevens tournament at Twickenham. Picture Charles McQuillan/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Despite exponential growth around the globe, the abbreviated form may not have the same profile as the 15-a-side top level of the game but the sight of a Scottish team beating England at Twickenham in a final and hoisting silverware was a moment to cherish. And yet, amidst the glow of glory, it seems a new threat to the nation that invented sevens is looming.

Reports this week have suggested the teams of England, Scotland and Wales are set to combine as Great Britain on the World Series from 2018-19 ahead of the Tokyo Olympics. They would remain as independent entities only for the Sevens World Cups and Commonwealth Games. The SRU response was: “We are preparing for next year’s World Series, Commonwealth Games [in Gold Coast, Australia] and World Cup Sevens [in San Francisco] competitions. We will not be commenting further at this time.”

World Rugby is looking to trim the World Series, which doubles as a qualifying event for the Olympics, from 16 to 12 teams and a GB merger would allow the combined squad more time to prepare for the Summer Games as a unified outfit.

Sevens enjoyed a successful introduction to the Olympics in Rio last year and GB surpassed expectations by taking a silver medal, with Mark Bennett and Mark Robertson the two Scots featuring in the combined squad. It appears that other nations around the world are unhappy with the situation which allows the three Home Nations – Ireland do not field a sevens team on the HSBC world series – to nominate a qualifying team for the Olympics while still holding another two slots on the World Series circuit. In the year ahead of Rio it was England, who achieved a top-four automatic qualifying position for GB.

This all opens the door to the kind of hornets’ nest that unfolded in terms of Olympic football, where Scotland have resisted participating in GB teams for fear of jeopardising their independent status within Fifa. In general, rugby is far different from football, with the British nations still holding considerable political weight in union that goes beyond the traditional, precariously protected IFAB status within Fifa. But the introduction of sevens to the Olympics, which has seen nations around the globe invest in programmes, heaps the pressure on non-sovereign nations without IOC membership who stand in the way of others.

Two years after deciding to stick with an elite sevens programmes despite losing their hosting status of a leg in the circuit, the SRU now faces another test of their faith in the merits of investing in sevens.

With only two professional teams, international sevens is one of the few other outlets to expose young Scottish prospects to top-level rugby and MacRae spoke earlier this week of the vital development work it has provided for promising players.

It seems clear that, in the absence of a third pro team, if Scotland is to pursue a sevens strategy it has to be all in. Having a second-rate programme that competes on the second-tier European grand prix circuit, retaining a token participation in the Commonwealth Games and Sevens World Cup, is barely worth it.

Rio was great but the Olympics boils down to a couple of days of competition within an every-four-years, multi-sport extravaganza. Had GB bombed in the pool stage would anyone remember it?

The sevens programme provides development opportunities, livelihoods and magical moments like Twickenham last weekend.

That kind of gold is worth much more than a couple of silver medals.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456224.1495657489!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456224.1495657489!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland celebrate after winning the HSBC London Sevens tournament at Twickenham. Picture Charles McQuillan/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland celebrate after winning the HSBC London Sevens tournament at Twickenham. Picture Charles McQuillan/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456224.1495657489!/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/willie-wallace-lisbon-celebrations-are-tinged-with-sadness-1-4456249","id":"1.4456249","articleHeadline": "Willie Wallace: Lisbon celebrations are tinged with sadness","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

The 50-year anniversary of Celtic’s European Cup triumph is a time for commemoration as well as celebration. Having lived in Australia for the past 35 years, Willie Wallace is, perhaps, made more acutely aware of the effects of time than any other Lisbon Lion. The 76-year-old is back in Scotland for a series of events to mark the half-century elapsing since the epic victory and it is the second time he has been back in his old country inside three months. Yet, in that intervening period, the Lions have been altered irrevocably.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456248.1495662259!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Willie Wallace with the European Cup trophy at the civic reception to mark the 50th anniversary of Celtic's victory in 1967."} ,"articleBody": "

“I love coming back but it saddens me that the team is falling apart due to ill health and those who have passed away,” Wallace said. “Every time I come back there are less members. I was with Tommy Gemmell about three days before he died but I had to go back as I was going down to New Zealand. I was in New Zealand when he passed away. I didn’t fly back. It’s a long way.”

That night in the Portuguese capital when Jock Stein’s side overcame the mighty Internazionale with an awe-inspiring display of attacking prowess Wallace calls “a fairytale”.

Yet the forward, signed by Stein in December 1966 for £30,000 from Hearts, just as readily places the feat in a more prosaic context.

“I’m not being blasé about it but at that time it was just another game in a way because we’d won the league and Scottish Cup final and, before I got there, lifted the League Cup. Within six months of joining Celtic, I won everything. If someone had said that to me when I signed I’d have phoned the asylum.

“It’s a fairytale, something you can’t write. To sit in and think about it now is unbelievable. I’d already won the League Cup with Hearts and missed out on the league championship by .04 of a goal when Kilmarnock beat us.”

Wallace can be set apart from his fellow makers of Scotland’s greatest football success. He is the lone Lion, the Lion who left – the only one of that fabled XI to be signed by Stein following the peerless manager’s appointment by Celtic in early 1965, and the only one of that group of men not to remain in Scotland for their adult lives. Wallace doesn’t see Stein’s decision to go and get him as making him different in his boss’s eyes. The fact that he actually only played in the second leg of the Dukla Prague semi-final victory and the Lisbon final itself might illustrate that point. Wallace’s signing, on 6 December, 1966, came only three weeks before the, by then, 30-goal Joe McBride was lost for the season with a knee problem.

“I just got treated the same. It wasn’t any different. He [Stein] bought me for as cheap as he could. It was amazing for me. I 
fitted in there within two weeks. I’d known most of them from Scotland. It wasn’t the wrench that moving from club to club normally is.

“Of course I felt sorry for Joe. I was good friends with him. I was quite surprised when you look back and count up the matches played in the European Cup that Joe only played in two. That surprised me as I always thought Joe had been a permanent member of the side until his injury. But that was the gaffer. You weren’t guaranteed to play. Jock Stein never played the same guys up front. The defence stayed stayed the same but you never knew who the front five would be.”

Wallace never knew Australia would become his adopted home even after he had played two years for APIA Leichhardt Down Under. Equally, though, he admits he would have expected other Lions to have travelled outside Scotland.

“It did surprise me [that I was the only one that left]. Bobby Lennox went to America for a couple of games but I think that was it.

“When I went to Australia I played for an Italian club, funnily enough, in Sydney and we won the league two years in a 
row and we won the cup two years in a row.

“I came back here and was at Ross County for a few months and then big TG [Tommy Gemmell] got Dundee, so I went there with him for three years.

“Then one winter’s night I came home from training and the president of my old club in Sydney told me they were moving into the national league and offered me the job.

“It was snow and ice outside. The kids wanted to go right away and that was it. So I’ve been down there 35 years now. I’ve never regretted it for a minute.

“I still phone the Lions up regularly. It’s mainly Bertie [Auld] and John Clark or wee Bobby sometimes. I phone more than I do e-mailing or texting and things like that.”

And Wallace is never far removed from the events of 1967, wherever he goes. “I go over to a little tournament in Brittany [France] with some under-13 teams in Australia and the guys I meet are all 
Celtic supporters.

“They were still showing me the newspapers from 1967 just last year – all the reports of the game. They were as 
happy that we beat the Italians as 
anybody. Throughout the world there are guys who walk up to you and tell you 
in Chinese that they are a Celtic 
supporter.”

Wallace yesterday attended a civic reception held in honour of the Lions at Glasgow’s City Chambers.

The grace and favour of the occasion inspired one enquiry to him about the knighthoods some believe the Lions should be awarded en masse for one of the supreme British sporting achievements.

“The knighthood issue has never bothered me,” Wallace said.

“I was born and bred in Kirkintilloch and didn’t have a penny to go to the cinema sometimes, so I don’t look for these things.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456248.1495662259!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456248.1495662259!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Willie Wallace with the European Cup trophy at the civic reception to mark the 50th anniversary of Celtic's victory in 1967.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Willie Wallace with the European Cup trophy at the civic reception to mark the 50th anniversary of Celtic's victory in 1967.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456248.1495662259!/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/celtic-2-1-inter-how-the-scotsman-reported-on-lisbon-glory-1-4456231","id":"1.4456231","articleHeadline": "Celtic 2-1 Inter: How The Scotsman reported on Lisbon glory","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495688400000 ,"articleLead": "

In old Lisbon tonight Celtic annihilated Inter Milan by a single goal. They were hailed uproariously as new champions of Europe and not since Real Madrid in 1960 has there been more decisive and satisfying winners of the European Champions Cup. They were great as they became the first club ever to win their National Championship, their National Cup and the European Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456230.1495698723!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scotsman's John Rafferty and journalist colleague Hugh McIlvanney lead Billy McNeill through the crowds to the trophy presentation."} ,"articleBody": "

If annihilated needs explaining it needs explained that Celtic – after losing a goal to a penalty kick and being pestered and frustrated by an unsatisfactory referee – destroyed the 
theorising of the alleged magician, Herrera, with refreshing attacking football. Had they won by four goals it would have been a fair reflection of the play.

Perhaps, however, it was appropriate that they should win by a single goal for that is how this defensive-minded Inter planned to win. The biter was bitten.

Jock Stein said before the game that Celtic would win with pace. Tonight he can add to that adventure, ball skill, courage and all the football phrases beloved by the spectators.

He has claimed, too, that Celtic could raise their game on the big occasion. That they did tonight with two glorious goals far above anything that Inter could have imagined. It was perhaps their finest game of the season. Stein did not play three forwards in the modern manner but instead there was not a player, apart from Simpson, who was not at one time or another committed to attack.

In modern football this was revolutionary.

In the second half Tommy Gemmell, a full back, was so committed to racing up the wing that he was on the point of collapse and sought refreshment from the trainer. Indeed, Stein’s answer to the massive defending of the Italians was to play the ball back to a defender running on to it.

The mightiest shooting came from Murdoch and Gemmell, but they were in the limelight doing the finishing and were no more important than Chalmers, Lennox and Wallace, who kept defenders committed and moving with them and making spaces for the big guns coming from the rear.

If football is a game like draughts then Stein out-thought and out-witted Herrera. If it is a game to entertain the masses then Celtic are the worthiest champions and the greatest thing to hit European football since the decline of Real Madrid.

All who sat in this great national stadium in the burning sunshine were happy that once more attacking football had won. Those of us who were Scots and indeed British were wildly emotional and ranged from those who had hitch-hiked across 1700 miles of Europe to those of us who thought we were blasé and had seen it all. We do not like to see a football field invaded, but when these Celtic supporters broke in at the end and took command of the field and knelt and kissed the turf, and some “howked” out souvenir clods, we could understand.

We watched proudly as Celtic struggled to their dressing-room, Murdoch crying unashamedly, Lennox was without a boot but he was not caring, Billy McNeill strode majestically as the winning captain should, and then there was the light relief when he had to be taken from the dressingroom when it was discovered that in the hectic enthusiasm they had forgotten the presentation of the Cup. He was on the point of collapse but finally he struggled up to get his hands on it.

The atmosphere was weird and wonderful and wildly Celtic from the moment Jock Stein took his players onto the field to test the turf. He came round to the dressingroom obviously deeply moved to see the crowd out there and he said: “They are ALL 
Celtic supporters, it is inspiring.”

Indeed they all seemed to be Celtic supporters and all around the great bowl green flags were waving and Celtic chants breached the air and hysteria raged when the teams came out of the hole in the ground that led from the dressing rooms.

The first Celtic burst looked promising. Johnstone skipped away and beat Burgnich three different ways. This early the Celtic approach was clear. Stein had turned Johnstone loose to prod all around the forward line. Herrera sent the tough little Burgnich to mark him.

There was a touch of luck for Celtic in the third minute. Mazzola headed Cappellini’s cross and the ball hit Simpson on the shins. Then 
Johnstone was near with a header before, in the seventh minute, calamity befell Celtic.

Craig tackled Cappellini in the 
penalty box and swept the legs from under him. Immediately the referee signalled a penalty kick. Mazzola took it and his low shot was 
unsavable.

Then there was an exciting spell of exhilarating Celtic attacking in which three chances were made and Inter were so rattled that Herrera was on the field beseeching Italian action and Sarti, the goalkeeper, was reprimanded by the referee for wasting time.

Auld glided through the defence and his well-hit shot looked a goal but the ball smacked against the crossbar.

Wallace had a shot brilliantly saved and then on his knees he headed just wide. In the attacking skills, Celtic, as their first half progressed, completely overwhelmed Inter. Their play out of defence was masterly, the build up of Murdoch and Auld devastating in the way their long passes sent men racing up the flanks.

Inter were crushed back on Sarti by the massive attacking, and the ball work of Johnstone and Auld seemed to surprise the defenders, who were obviously not used to such adventurous football. Celtic had often been less in command and had run up a string of goals.

In contrast to this Celtic approach, Inter looked miserably dull. Their man-to-man marking was shattered by the foraging of Craig and Gemmell, but, as Celtic pressed on, the goal refused to come.

There was another great try by Auld that was worth a goal, a drive from volley by Gemmell that would have been a goal any other day, but Sarti, diving to his left, saved instinctively.

As half-time approached, the game took on a farcical appearance, with standing room limited in the penalty area among the crush of bodies while Herrera screamed from the sideline. It was a relief when Mazzola had a shot at Celtic’s goal – from 30 yards.

Celtic might have had a penalty kick at the start of the second half but instead got an indirect free-kick inside the box and then, in the scramble from the kick, the ball seemed over the line but this unsatisfactory referee waved play on.

Gemmell was booked for a foul. Then, in the 60th minute, he scored one of the greatest goals ever seen on any football field. Craig’s pass rolled in front of him and he put everything into the shot – the most powerful in Britain. And all the way it was a goal, a memorable one and not before time.

What a beating Inter took then. If they had not been so dull one could have been sorry for the once great team taking such humiliation. There was a spell in the second half when one wondered how their goal held.

Shots rained on it. Gemmell struck the crossbar and a shot from 
Murdoch struck Picchi on the face. There was a blatant penalty kick denied when Wallace’s leg was felled near goal and then at last with five minutes to go Celtic had won it.

Murdoch drove the ball hard across the goal and Chalmers slid on to it and pushed it into the net. Justice had indeed been done and Inter knew it. There was no fight back as Celtic played out time.

Then came the whistle and emotions were 
let loose and the crowd came on and at last a British club were champions of Europe.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "JOHN RAFFERTY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4456230.1495698723!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456230.1495698723!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Scotsman's John Rafferty and journalist colleague Hugh McIlvanney lead Billy McNeill through the crowds to the trophy presentation.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Scotsman's John Rafferty and journalist colleague Hugh McIlvanney lead Billy McNeill through the crowds to the trophy presentation.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4456230.1495698723!/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/john-mcginn-neil-lennon-can-push-hibs-to-top-flight-heights-1-4456203","id":"1.4456203","articleHeadline": "John McGinn: Neil Lennon can push Hibs to top-flight heights","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1495658830000 ,"articleLead": "

John McGinn believes the high demands of Neil Lennon can propel Hibs to a lofty position in the Premiership next season.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4456202.1495658827!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hibernian's John McGinn with the Ladbrokes Championship Player of the Season award. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The Easter Road side are returning to the top flight after a three-year absence and their head coach, who has previously won the title while in charge of Celtic, has already intimated that he views his team as genuine contenders for second place.

Lennon wasn’t slow to lambast his players whenever performances or results slipped below his expectation levels over the past year. McGinn, who was yesterday named Ladbrokes Championship player of the season, believes the Northern Irishman’s in-built craving for success can shine through in the form of a strong campaign from Hibs.

“The manager wants the best out of us,” said McGinn. “He was very hard on us throughout the year. At times he got really frustrated with us, but he knows what we can do and that’s why we are so confident we can put down a real marker next season. It’s good the manager has got that faith in us and we need to go and prove him right.”

McGinn insists Hibs are strong enough to mount a challenge for second, although he acknowledges that they will face stern competition from their traditional rivals. “Yes, I think it is realistic,” he said. “It’s not going to be easy. As expectant as the manager is, I think we are understanding that there are still good teams up there. Aberdeen have been consistently strong over the past two seasons, Rangers will rebuild, a club that size always will. And so will Hearts. They’ve got rid of a few boys and they will recruit well, but so will we. We have already got a good nucleus of players who know what it takes to get results. The manager has raised his expectation levels, but we are confident we can go and do it.”

Reflecting on being named the league sponsor’s player of the season yesterday, McGinn, who was this week selected in the Scotland squad for the World Cup qualifier against England next month, said: “I’m delighted. It’s good to get personal recognition and after achieving what we’ve achieved over the past two seasons it’s good to top it off.”

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