{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"sport","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/hockey/dollar-academy-girls-make-it-three-scottish-senior-cups-in-a-row-1-4404975","id":"1.4404975","articleHeadline": "Dollar Academy girls make it three Scottish Senior Cups in a row","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490655600000 ,"articleLead": "

It’s the end of season and 
Dollar Academy has plenty to celebrate.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404974.1490651035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dollars Jenny Walls, left, is in the Scotland Under-18 squad."} ,"articleBody": "

The school has just claimed the Scottish Schools’ Senior 3 Cup for the third time in a row – and seven players have been named in the Scotland youth squads.

Erin Stevens, Georgia Smith and Jenny Walls – all members of the 1st XI – have been selected in the under-18 
squad.

The Scottish under-18s will have international tests against Spain and Ireland in July with the Futures Cup and UK School Games taking place in August.

Dollar’s Amy Salmon, Lucy Smith, Eve Pearson and Kara Shiels are in the Scotland under-16 squad. They were all in the victorious 3A squad.

The Scottish under-16 squad have games against Wales in April, Ulster in June and 
Ireland in July.

“I am delighted for all the girls,” said Lynsey Allan, Dollar Academy’s director of hockey. “Their hard work and commitment has been rewarded and I would like to wish each individual every success.”

Allan was a member of the PE department at the school before becoming the first director of hockey.

“This is the fourth year and, when I took on the job, I said it would be five years before it fully bore fruit,” she coninued.

“Next season will be the first when all the 1st X1 have been in the winning third-year side.”

The hockey girls all train three times a week, and the school elite sports pupils also benefit from working with a specialist strength and conditioning coach, Stevie Wilson.

“The hockey and rugby players all get individual sessions and that has been a real help,” Allan added.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELSPETH BURNSIDE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404974.1490651035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404974.1490651035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dollars Jenny Walls, left, is in the Scotland Under-18 squad.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dollars Jenny Walls, left, is in the Scotland Under-18 squad.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404974.1490651035!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/more-in-sport/george-watson-s-duo-keep-on-winning-national-badminton-titles-1-4404973","id":"1.4404973","articleHeadline": "George Watson’s duo keep on winning national badminton titles","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490655600000 ,"articleLead": "

At last year’s Scottish Schools’ Championships, George Watson’s College’s Rachel Maclean and Aafreen Khan won the Junior (under-14) girls’ 
doubles.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404972.1490650871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rachel MacLean, left, and Rachel Andrew."} ,"articleBody": "

This year, again at Bell’s Sports Centre in Perth, they were in different age-groups, but both continued winning ways. Rachel, a senior three pupil, teamed up with Scottish internationalist Rachel Andrew to take the Intermediate (under 16) doubles, while Aafreen Khan won the Junior 
mixed doubles with Ben 
Richmond.

In the team event, George Watson’s won the Scottish Junior title – the Gibb Memorial Quaich – for the first time since 2001.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELSPETH BURNSIDE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404972.1490650871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404972.1490650871!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rachel MacLean, left, and Rachel Andrew.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rachel MacLean, left, and Rachel Andrew.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404972.1490650871!/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/merchiston-b-team-are-kings-of-the-castle-1-4404979","id":"1.4404979","articleHeadline": "Merchiston ‘B’ team are kings of the Castle","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490655600000 ,"articleLead": "

It was an in-school battle, and it was Merchiston Castle’s B team that came out on top against Merchiston A in the Scottish National area final at Kings Acre.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404978.1490651547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Merchiston Castle B team, left to right, Papon Sawatyanon, Cameron Adam and Lyle Murdoch"} ,"articleBody": "

The B team of Papon Sawatyanon, Cameron Adam and Lyle Murdoch, pictured left ro right have now qualified to play in the ISGA UK National Schools final at the Open Championship venue, Royal
St George’s in Kent. The top 20 schools will play a 36-hole strokeplay event at the end of April. This was a fantastic achievement by the junior golfers to win the 
Scottish Area final.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELSPETH BURNSIDE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404978.1490651547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404978.1490651547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Merchiston Castle B team, left to right, Papon Sawatyanon, Cameron Adam and Lyle Murdoch","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Merchiston Castle B team, left to right, Papon Sawatyanon, Cameron Adam and Lyle Murdoch","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404978.1490651547!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/more-in-sport/kyle-academy-maintain-seven-year-winning-run-1-4404977","id":"1.4404977","articleHeadline": "Kyle Academy maintain seven-year winning run","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490651319000 ,"articleLead": "

Aberdeen Grammar, Queensferry High and Kyle Academy all celebrated victory doubles at the Scottish School Cup finals at the newly refurbished Kelvin Hall in Glasgow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404976.1490651307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Academys Ross Bulloch in action at Kelvin Hall. Picture: \\nLynne Marshall/www.volleyballphotos.co.uk"} ,"articleBody": "

Kyle has won a Schools’ Cup every year since 2010, and the run was maintained in the youngest section.

The Ayrshire school did the double in the Primary seven/Senior one finals. The boys defeated newcomers Kinross High, while the girls overcame Queensferry High.

Kyle was also in the final of the Senior 2/3 boys’ Cup, but it was Aberdeen Grammar – a school with string contacts to Beacon Blaze – that claimed the top prize.

Amazingly, Kyle has won 14 Schools Cup category titles in the past eight seasons, a tremendous achievement and a very fitting one for the key 
driver behind the school’s thriving volleyball programme, Mr Gerry Phillips, who retires this year.

In the girls Senior 2/3 final,it was Queensferry High v Aberdeen Grammar. All of the Queensferry side featured in the under-16 Junior SVL title winning team for City of 
Edinburgh and they confirmed their favourite stage with a 2-0 win.

The girls senior final also featured the same teams as last year – holders Marr College versus Aberdeen Grammar – and it was sweet revenge for the north-east side.

Aberdeen started strongly with some strong scoring by Shona Fraser, who won her first Scotland cap just two days prior to the match.

There wasn’t a huge amount between the sides but it was first set to Aberdeen.The second was nip and tuck all the way and some very impressive defensive play by Marr squared the match.

But the Granite City girls were stronger in the decider and lifted the cup.

In the senior boys’ final, James Gillespie’s High School was trying to maintain a 
30-month unbeaten record, but they lost the first set to Queensferry High.

It was a strong run by Fraser Glass that helped the Queensferry side raise hope of an upset.

But the Edinburgh team, coached by last year’s winning captain, Sean Platts Stobie, showed real gutsy spirit to fight back and dominate the second set, with setter Hector Friend going on a remarkable serving run of 12 points.

So it was into a decider, and Queensferry High saved three match points and James Gillespie’s saved five.

But, on the sixth match point, the Queensferry boys secured a nailbiting victory. A strong serve by Queensferry captain Logan Darling did the 
business.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELSPETH BURNSIDE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404976.1490651307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404976.1490651307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Academys Ross Bulloch in action at Kelvin Hall. Picture: \\nLynne Marshall/www.volleyballphotos.co.uk","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Academys Ross Bulloch in action at Kelvin Hall. Picture: \\nLynne Marshall/www.volleyballphotos.co.uk","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404976.1490651307!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4221775.1490651313!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4221775.1490651313!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4221775.1490651313!/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/kieran-tierney-urges-scott-brown-to-carry-on-for-scotland-1-4404963","id":"1.4404963","articleHeadline": "Kieran Tierney urges Scott Brown to carry on for Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490650231000 ,"articleLead": "

Kieran Tierney is desperately hoping that skipper Scott Brown will not retire from the national team for a second time after the World Cup dream was re-awakened in Sunday’s vital victory over Slovenia at Hampden.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404962.1490649173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kieran Tierney played a starring role in the 1-0 win over Slovenia. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

It is no secret that Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers would undoubtedly prefer Brown to have a break this summer to come back fully refreshed for the Champions League qualifiers that begin on 11-12 July in the quest to reach the hugely lucrative group phase.

However, Scotland’s next qualifier is, of course, the small matter of England in Glasgow on 10 June and an already glamorous fixture now has added 
significance with Scotland’s hopes of reaching Russia next summer alive again.

Brown announced his international retirement in the summer of 2016 but was convinced by Gordon Strachan to return for the last meeting with the Auld Enemy, which was lost 3-0 at Wembley in November last year.

He led the nation again on Sunday night and certainly exuded the body language at the end of someone fully committed to the cause and unlikely to step aside again.

Parkhead team-mate Tierney certainly hopes that’s the case after enhancing his own burgeoning reputation with an accomplished performance at right-back when he is more natural on the other side of defence.

Tierney said: “I hope he doesn’t retire again now. You saw him the other night, he was brilliant again. He was keeping us going, being a real leader and captain.

“The England game is absolutely massive now. It was always a massive game. But it’s one we are looking forward to. It’s smack bang in the middle of the holidays but I am sure Broony will look forward to it. He’s been absolutely brilliant for me since day one when I was with the under-20s. He’s helped me on the way up, all the way to the Scotland squad.”

Boss Gordon Strachan had hinted in the build-up to the must-win Slovenia game that he would 
utilise one of his left-backs on the right side and Tierney filled the role with great aplomb.

The 20-year-old worked on it all week in training and he got his rewards. Now he would be more than happy to play there again against Gareth Southgate’s side, who are the runaway Group F leaders.

Tierney said: “I don’t know if I’m Scotland’s new right-back. I was asked to do a job in there and I worked hard all night. That’s all I could do.

“It was good. It’s just defending. It’s a bit harder for me on my weaker side but I worked hard all week in training to get used to it.

“The gaffer and the coaching staff were giving me a lot of tips and pointers all week. 
It’s not completely natural as you’re on the opposite side but, hopefully, I did my bit for the team.

“The manager spoke to me in training and he wanted me to go over to the right side so I’d get used to it. Hopefully, I did well.

“It was a good battle. That’s what you want. It was a competitive match and a huge game for both teams.

“It gives us a great confidence going in to the next game and, hopefully, we can show the same spirit. We always have the belief. Going in to the Slovenia game we had a lot of pressure on us but I thought we dealt with it.

“It wasn’t really a 1-0 game with a last-minute winner. I thought we were the better side for the 90 minutes.

“I’m glad we got the win for the manager. The gaffer’s been brilliant and I have a lot to thank him for. He’s trusted me at a young age, and he trusted me again on Sunday to play out of position.”

Tierney’s positional switch mirrors Celtic legend Danny McGrain, pictured left, who regularly moved from right back to left back in the early 1970s. It was particularly prevalent in the 1974 World Cup Finals when Rangers rival Sandy Jardine played on the right and McGrain comfortably played on the left as, under 
Willie Ormond, the Scots competed in their first major tournament after a 16-year gap.

Tierney will get some insight this week from McGrain, who is on the coaching staff at the Celtic training centre and has already been a great help to the youngster in his development.

He added: “I’ve not really had a chance to speak to Danny about it yet but I’m sure he’ll have a few things to tell me when I get back to Lennoxtown. “It doesn’t really matter where I play, whether it’s left or right back or in 
midfield. I’ll just do my best.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LINDSAY HERRON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404962.1490649173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404962.1490649173!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kieran Tierney played a starring role in the 1-0 win over Slovenia. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kieran Tierney played a starring role in the 1-0 win over Slovenia. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404962.1490649173!/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/gordon-strachan-showed-bravery-in-selecting-scotland-line-up-1-4404959","id":"1.4404959","articleHeadline": "Gordon Strachan showed bravery in selecting Scotland line-up","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490650231000 ,"articleLead": "

Gordon Strachan, speaking last week, described his dilemma over which striker to pick on Sunday night against Slovenia as his most significant decision to date as Scotland manager.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404958.1490648822!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An animated Gordon Strachan directs from the touchline during Scotlands \\n victory over Slovenia.Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

But, unusually frank as this admission seemed, Strachan was keeping something back. His biggest call has been percolating in his mind for some time.

Rumours of his exceptionally brave decision in switching Celtic’s Kieran Tierney to right-back began to spread during the day on Sunday, hours before kick-off in the must-win Group F clash. The reason he had not selected a right-back in his squad, something met with disbelief in some quarters, was now becoming apparent. It turns out he had sounded Tierney out about the positional change before the squad was announced just over a 
fortnight ago.

Strachan was preparing to risk playing a left-back at right-back in a game he knew was likely to define his managerial reign. Now he must decide whether to stick with this, on the evidence of Sunday, successful arrangement when England visit on 10 June, the next date his position as Scotland manager is due to be in jeopardy. With a right-back fulfilling Strachan’s criteria unlikely to emerge before then, the noises are he will.

Strachan certainly deserves this next chance to prolong his tenure after succeeding with so many key personnel choices against Slovenia. The decision to hand the in-form Stuart Armstrong his debut in midfield was a popular one so could not be described as particularly courageous. But Strachan’s choice to send on match-winner Chris Martin while surely alert to the likely reaction proved defiantly inspirational. His ploy with regards to Tierney, meanwhile, was audacious in the extreme.

The decision over which striker to play was actually dwarfed by this judgment call. Most accepted that whichever currently misfiring and inactive striker he chose up front was a gamble to some degree – and in Leigh Griffiths, for whom he opted, the manager’s decision also seemed vindicated, even if the Celtic forward’s lively first-half performance did not quite produce the goal he craves.

But being so bold as to play a teenager completely out of position? The consequences were potentially ruinous for Strachan, who would be made to look unforgivably cruel as well as foolish had the experiment blown up in his face.

The rumours circulating earlier in the day on Sunday were actually slightly misinformed. Some were reporting that Andrew Robertson, not Tierney, was being asked to re-locate to right-back. This assumption was understandable once it became clear one of Scotland’s two impressive left-backs was being shifted across to the opposite flank.

Robertson, at 23, is more experienced and playing with Hull City in the English Premier League, where he encounters brawny, athletic opponents every week.

Tierney is just 19. He has only featured twice for Scotland at his favoured position of left-back, never mind endured playing out of position in an area of the pitch where scrutiny is always fierce.

Switching him to the other side is something you would imagine even his Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, might feel was taking too many liberties.

But Strachan, who constantly stresses how he must strive to ensure players feel good about themselves when returning to their club sides, was prepared to take a chance with Tierney’s
welfare.

“I had it in my mind for ages and I didn’t want to change because I knew what they were like on the physical side and how they would attack through the middle,” he explained yesterday. “People were thinking that Kech (Ikechi Anya) did well in midweek (v Canada). But I had it in my mind for ages to do it.”

Tierney was admirably keen to give it a go even if in an interview earlier this month, after the subject came up about a potential positional move, he admitted to reporters he might struggle if an opponent were to show him down the outside.

But such is the impetuosity of youth Tierney, who hasn’t played right-back since his early teens, betrayed no such fears to Strachan.

“He said: ‘No problem’,” reported the manager. “The boys have been calling him Danny McGrain for the last two days. Listen, he was just superb.”

Strachan felt no anxiety he claimed and stuck to his guns, reasoning how it had been done before with the aforementioned McGrain. So Strachan was building an annex on a grand tradition.

But McGrain, crucially, switched from right-back to left. Moving from left to right is generally felt to be a tougher challenge.

“I didn’t think it should be any different really,” claimed Strachan, with the wonderful benefit of hindsight. “There are loads of the guys who have gone to the other side, but when you have got two players like that you have to try and play them both. You have to try and get your best players on the pitch.”

Not everyone is in agreement about the identity of these best players, as was made clear by the reaction to Martin’s entrance with just under ten minutes left. It was another brave call by Strachan, who ought also to feel good about himself when he heads home to the Midlands this week, job prospects intact – for now.

But it is clear he was unhappy with the response to Martin’s introduction by a section of the crowd, whose grumbles and throaty jeers were embarrassingly loud.

“I have my own thoughts about that, but I will keep them to myself,” said Strachan, having had longer to ponder just what kind of supporter boos one of their own players. His comments immediately after the match about Kenny Dalglish and Gary McAllister also receiving such harsh treatment from Scotland fans were well-judged attempts to play down the furore. But it is clear he found the reaction unacceptable. “He is a hero in our eyes, that’s for sure,” he added with reference to the on-loan Fulham striker.

Who knows whether Martin’s neat finish will re-ignite Scotland’s World Cup campaign? A defeat by England will be a likely fatal setback. But Strachan deserves his chance to plot a famous victory in June after his brave calls helped secure such a vital one on Sunday.

He later explained to reporters that he couldn’t tell you what makes a good cricketer, with the point being that, when it comes to football, he knows what he is doing and to leave the major decisions to him. People often find him hard to love. But he is easy to admire for his ability to know his own mind.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404958.1490648822!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404958.1490648822!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "An animated Gordon Strachan directs from the touchline during Scotlands \\n victory over Slovenia.Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "An animated Gordon Strachan directs from the touchline during Scotlands \\n victory over Slovenia.Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404958.1490648822!/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/chris-martin-s-perfect-answer-to-scotland-boo-boys-ikechi-anya-1-4404971","id":"1.4404971","articleHeadline": "Chris Martin’s perfect answer to Scotland boo boys – Ikechi Anya","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490650225000 ,"articleLead": "

Ikechi Anya has praised the character of Derby team-mate Chris Martin after the striker was abused by a section of the Tartan Army before scoring the vital winner against 
Slovenia.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404970.1490650219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ikechi Anya almost scored with his first touch against Slovenia. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

Boos could be heard ringing around a half-full Hampden when Martin, on loan at Fulham, came on in 82 minutes
but, six minutes later, the same fans were rejoicing as the 28-year-old latched onto Stuart Armstrong’s pass to 
re-ignite the World Cup qualifying campaign.

Anya praised his club 
colleague, perhaps not least because it rendered 
unimportant his missed opportunity with 15 minutes remaining.

The 29-year-old utility player said: “It’s never nice for a player to experience that but I think Chris answered in
the best way by scoring the goal.

“And at least for the night he was the hero and he enjoyed that. I’m sure that will put him in good stead for when we meet back up again for the game against England.

“It shows his character but we all know that about Chris and that’s the reason he has scored so many goals at Championship level.

“His job is to score goals and luckily he came up with one on Sunday night.

“You could see the emotion when Chris scored the goal. We made enough chances to win a couple of games on 
Sunday night.

“We started from minute one and we kept going until we got the last-minute winner – and that’s why you play football, for moments like that. I could have been the hero with my first touch. I tried to just pass it into the corner but instead I passed it into the keeper.

“It was unfortunate but, thankfully, we got the three points at the end.”

The Scots are now back in the mix with Slovakia and Slovenia for second place in Group F which will, in all likelihood, be one of the eight best 
runners-up spots needed for the play-offs.

Anya added: “We feel this is a turning point .

“We all said before the game that we had to win this game – the gaffer came out and said it and we all said it, too.

“So we delivered on 
that aspect and, hopefully, it makes up for the indifferent start we have had to the 
campaign.

“Now we need to have a 
positive result against England in a few months’ time to make this result against 
Slovenia really count.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "LINDSAY HERRON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404970.1490650219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404970.1490650219!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ikechi Anya almost scored with his first touch against Slovenia. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ikechi Anya almost scored with his first touch against Slovenia. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404970.1490650219!/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/gordon-strachan-my-scotland-can-beat-england-at-hampden-1-4404965","id":"1.4404965","articleHeadline": "Gordon Strachan: My Scotland can beat England at Hampden","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490650201000 ,"articleLead": "

Gordon Strachan is confident Scotland can end England’s long unbeaten run in qualifying matches when international football’s oldest rivals meet at Hampden on 10 June.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404964.1490649423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gordon Strachan is confident of victory over England. Picture: Jane Barlow."} ,"articleBody": "

The Scotland manager, buoyed by his team’s display in the 1-0 win over Slovenia on Sunday night, believes a repeat of that performance level could be sufficient to further revive their 2018 World Cup qualifying hopes with victory over Group F leaders England.

The size of the challenge facing the Scots is illustrated by England’s remarkable undefeated sequence in World Cup and European Championship qualifiers which they stretched to 34 games with their 2-0 win over Lithuania at Wembley on Sunday.

England have not lost a qualifying fixture since October 2009 when they went down 1-0 in Ukraine.

At the halfway point of the current campaign, Scotland are now fourth in Group F. They trail England by six points but are just two points behind second-placed Slovakia and only one point adrift of Slovenia.

Strachan’s squad still face an uphill task even to claim runners-up spot in the section which could earn a place in the play-offs to reach next year’s World Cup finals in Russia. But with three of their remaining five fixtures at Hampden, the Scots are at least back in contention.

It was widely accepted that Strachan’s time as Scotland boss would have come to an end if he had failed to oversee a win against Slovenia. The 60-year-old, who has won 16 of his 35 games in charge of the national team, now has no doubts Scotland are capable of claiming all three points against England this summer.

“Yeah, we can beat them here if we achieve that standard of performance,” said Strachan whose main concern between now and 10 June is that the strikers in his squad are given more regular playing time at their clubs.

He was satisfied with the contribution of Leigh Griffiths, despite the Celtic striker missing one glorious chance before limping out of the action just after half-time with a back injury. He feels Griffiths’ lack of involvement with the 
Scottish champions, where he has not started a match since December, was a mitigating factor.

“What I would like is for players to get a regular game now, a real regular game, in the up front area,” added Strachan.

“I think a Leigh Griffiths who has played in the last 10 games for Celtic scores those chances for us on Sunday. I think he does that. But it is not easy when you aren’t playing regularly to come out and hit the crossbar and hit the post and keep going, but he did it.

“He won’t be downhearted by missing the chances, not at all. How can you get down-hearted by leading the line and leading a performance that is as good as we have seen here for a long time? I think Leigh should be very proud of that.

“To be fair, it was a big call whichever striker we played. We have five and only one of them gets a game for their club at the moment. Even then, Jordan Rhodes has only been getting that in the last four weeks. So Leigh did a lit of good things for us. You could see the size of Slovenia’s centre-halves. He was getting knocked and shoved but he got back up again.

“When you see that from further behind on the pitch, the other guys will say ‘Oh, I’ll join in here’. That’s what happened. I don’t think anyone in our team played badly. Everybody was fantastic.

“It was a strange, strange feeling for me during the game. There was no real stress for it. When they started off playing I thought ‘that’s what we’re trying to achieve, that’s what we used the game the other night against Canada for, to find out who could run, who was fit and who could play with each other’. Was it the most satisfying win of my time as manager? I think the satisfying bit comes when you go in the dressing room and they are all leaping about, jumping and singing. It is a pity we don’t see each other for a long time now.”

Hampden is certain to be a sell-out for the visit of England, in stark contrast to Sunday night when just over 20,000 were inside the national stadium. Strachan was not surprised by the degree of apathy his team’s previous results in the campaign had created among the support.

“It’s understandable,” he said. “It’s not like I am sitting around saying ‘Och, I can’t believe they haven’t turned up’. Of course I can understand that. If you aren’t playing well at anything then nobody really wants to go and see you. If you play well, they do. But I don’t feel it’s offensive to me or the players. That’s just life. At any stadium in the world, if you don’t play well people don’t turn up. There have been stadiums in Scotland in the last couple of years which haven’t been full. If you get the right stuff, then you’re fine.”

Strachan, meanwhile, would not be drawn on the international future of Scott Brown who was captain against Slovenia. The Celtic skipper reversed his decision to retire from Scotland duty earlier this season but has so far not committed himself to being available for the England match which takes place just two weeks before the Scottish champions resume pre-season training ahead of their Champions League qualifiers next season.

“Listen, we will just get over this game just now,” replied Strachan. “I thought Scott was back to his best as well. We could be here all night talking about good players. No, the guys want to play, that’s the thing. If anybody wants to play, it’s not a problem.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEPHEN HALLIDAY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404964.1490649423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404964.1490649423!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gordon Strachan is confident of victory over England. Picture: Jane Barlow.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gordon Strachan is confident of victory over England. Picture: Jane Barlow.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404964.1490649423!/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/championship/simon-murray-wants-another-dundee-united-party-1-4404967","id":"1.4404967","articleHeadline": "Simon Murray wants another Dundee United party","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490650200000 ,"articleLead": "

Simon Murray enjoyed a special celebration having helped Dundee United secure silverware – but insists the real party will come if they can clinch promotion.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404966.1490649659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Murray hopes the Irn Bru Cup win will revive Dundee United's promotion bid. PictureL: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

Murray played a starring role for Ray McKinnon’s men in Saturday’s 2-1 Irn Bru Cup final win over St Mirren at Fir Park as his inch-perfect cross set up supersub Thomas Mikkelsen for his 75th minute headed winner.

The 25-year-old Dundonian savoured a family party following their victory which the Tangerines hopes can kick-start their promotion push ahead of tonight’s visit of Ayr United to Tannadice.

Murray admits he found a little time to relax while they soaked up the feeling of being cup winners, but all eyes are on trying to spark a promotion party come the end of the season in their quest to seal a Championship play-off place at least.

Murray said: “It was a nice day. So they got the barbecue on and I had some food. But we were training on Sunday so that was it for me.

“Ayr’s another big game and we want to build on winning the cup by getting back to winning in the league between now and the end of the season so we can get promotion.

“We’ve been going through a tough run in the league for however long, but this can give us the big lift we need.

“It gets our confidence back and we know we can push on from here. It’s something I can look back on in the years to come and be proud of.

“As long as we can get Dundee United back into the top division, I’ll be delighted.”

Murray moved to United three years ago from Arbroath and the local lad says he will treasure Saturday’s triumph in Lanarkshire.

Murray said: “People go through their whole career and have not won a thing.

“I’ve only been in the senior game for three years and I’ve played in the Premiership and won a cup.

“It’s a great feeling for me.”

Murray’s classy cross was perfect for Danish hitman Mikkelsen, who supplied the all-important finishing touch and the red-haired striker was more than happy with his vital contribution.

He said; “The gaffer moved me out wide on the left for the second half to drive forward.

“I did, but Charlie Telfer and Tony Andreu must have got the ball out to me four or five times in the space of about ten minutes and I didn’t get it into the middle the way I wanted.

“I just thought in my head, keep going, keep going.

“When Tony put the ball out to me again my touch took it behind me a bit, but all I was thinking was I had to get the cross in because if I did I knew Thomas would be on the end of it.

“I just whipped it in with pace and he did the rest.

“It would have been a dream come true if I had scored the winner myself but putting the cross in for it was just as good.

“I’ll definitely settle for that.”

Meanwhile, manager McKinnon, pictured, is urging his side to use Saturday’s win as a catalyst for a return to form in the Championship having lost their last three league outings to leave them sitting fourth in the table.

McKinnon said; “This has given everyone a big boost.

“It’s a great feeling.

“We wanted to win the cup all along and have done so.

“Now we have to focus on the league campaign again starting with Ayr 
United.

“It will be a tough match but hopefully we can get back to winning ways.

“The lads are all determined to get a positive result and we just want to get back to passing the ball like we did earlier in the season.”

United have no fresh injury worries with trio Scott Fraser, Sean Dillon, and Blair Spittal all still out.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "EUAN MCARTHUR"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404966.1490649659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404966.1490649659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Simon Murray hopes the Irn Bru Cup win will revive Dundee United's promotion bid. PictureL: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Simon Murray hopes the Irn Bru Cup win will revive Dundee United's promotion bid. PictureL: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404966.1490649659!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/martin-dempster-has-lydia-ko-made-too-many-changes-1-4404969","id":"1.4404969","articleHeadline": "Martin Dempster: Has Lydia Ko made too many changes?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490649869000 ,"articleLead": "

The problem with being so good is that blips can be blown out of proportion. At the same time, though, it will be very interesting indeed to see how Lydia Ko responds to a rare disappointment in her incredible career.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404968.1490649864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lydia Ko changed her caddie, coach and equipment all at the same time. Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

The Kiwi’s missed cut in last week’s Kia Classic was only the second time she had suffered that fate in 95 LPGA starts, a stretch that began in 2012, when she was 14. It certainly shouldn’t be cause for Ko, pictured, to be reaching for the panic button, but was it partly her own fault?

Ko, after all, made all sorts of changes – caddie, coach and equipment – heading into the 2017 campaign and it makes you wonder if she has taken on more than she can chew at the one time.

We’ll see in this week’s ANA Inspiration, the first women’s major of the season. Ko is the defending champion and has another incentive to bounce back to form. Her world No 1 tag is under threat from Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn, who will leapfrog Ko with a victory

The event in the California desert will provide a tasty appetiser for Ko & Co heading here for both the Ladies Scottish Open and Women’s British Open back-to-back at Dundonald Links and Kingsbarns this summer.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN DEMPSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404968.1490649864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404968.1490649864!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lydia Ko changed her caddie, coach and equipment all at the same time. Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lydia Ko changed her caddie, coach and equipment all at the same time. Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404968.1490649864!/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/gordon-strachan-hails-his-best-yet-for-scotland-1-4404040","id":"1.4404040","articleHeadline": "Gordon Strachan hails his ‘best yet’ for Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490635491000 ,"articleLead": "

Gordon Strachan hailed what he regards as Scotland’s best performance of his managerial tenure so far after they defeated Slovenia 1-0 at Hampden to revive their 2018 World Cup qualifying hopes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404039.1490635485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chris Martin celebrates with team-mates after scoring Scotland's winning goal. Picture: Alan Rennie/Sportpix"} ,"articleBody": "

Substitute Chris Martin scored the only goal with two minutes remaining on a night when anything less than victory would almost certainly have spelled the end of Strachan’s time in charge of the national team.

“It was probably the best they have played under me,” said Strachan. “Everything went very well, considering we were giving away height and strength. They had to be at their best. We got that.

“I think you play pressure games quite a few times in your life. This was a big one. We were honest about that, we didn’t hide it, we knew how big it was. It’s not like we were hiding behind a cloak. We told the truth and dealt with it.

“I’m quite calm now and I was quite calm during the game. You get a bit emotional when things are not going well for your team. I can’t complain about that at any time.

“All you can ask as a manager is they go and do certain things. They did everything they were asked. They pushed themselves to another level out there.

“So I was calm enough – whatever will be, will be. I was enjoying their performance – the technical performance, the fitness performance and the mental strength. It could have been another hard luck story but I was okay because whatever happened, I was proud of what they were doing.”

Strachan was thrilled by Celtic midfielder Stuart Armstrong’s impressive Scotland debut and also had special praise for goalscorer Martin, who was jeered by some of the home fans when he replaced James Morrison in the closing stages.

“Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen and Gary McAllister used to get booed playing for Scotland – so it’s a great club to be in!” said Strachan.

“It was a sweet moment for Chris in particular, and the players. Because I think everybody knows we deserved to win that game tonight so it was a sweet moment for anybody who wanted to enjoy the victory with us.

“Stuart Armstrong was the best Scottish debut I’ve ever seen. He did well, but there were others who were special as well. We needed special performances because we were up against a very good and very physical side.”

The victory has intensified the race for second place in Group F with Scotland up into fourth spot, a point behind Slovenia and two points adrift of Slovakia, who themselves are 
four points adrift of leaders and likely automatic qualifiers England.

It was only Scotland’s third victory in their last ten competitive matches, the previous two having come against Gibraltar and Malta.

Slovenia coach Srecko Katanec had no complaints about the outcome, which saw his side suffer their first defeat of the campaign. It was the first time in four games they had conceded.

“Scotland deserved to win the game,” said Katanec. “We didn’t do what we were supposed to do tonight. I pick the team and I take responsibility for that. It was a poor performance from our team.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEPHEN HALLIDAY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404039.1490635485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404039.1490635485!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Chris Martin celebrates with team-mates after scoring Scotland's winning goal. Picture: Alan Rennie/Sportpix","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Chris Martin celebrates with team-mates after scoring Scotland's winning goal. Picture: Alan Rennie/Sportpix","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404039.1490635485!/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/19-moments-from-the-hope-igniting-scotland-1-0-slovenia-1-4404771","id":"1.4404771","articleHeadline": "19 moments from the hope igniting Scotland 1 - 0 Slovenia","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490632097000 ,"articleLead": "

Maybe it would have been better if Chris Martin had dragged that shot wide of the post. Maybe it would have been better, in the long run, if we were just put out of our misery.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404770.1490632092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ""What you gonnae dae, eh?" Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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But we weren’t and, for the first time in a long time, it feels damn good to be a Scottish football supporter. Even if we are just getting our hopes up for no reason, at least we can feel something.

Following on from last week’s article, here’s a live timeline of all the memorable moments as Scotland produced a campaign-saving performance to defeat Slovenia at a half-empty Hampden.

0.00 The regular inspection of who and who isn’t singing Flower Of Scotland is interrupted when the Sky broadcast cuts away to Gordon Strachan. Just as the anthem comes to a close, the director cuts back and holds the focus on captain Scott Brown. His vacant stare is a thing of wonder. Opposition fans give him a bit of stick for it, seeing as “vacant” is not usually a compliment when you look into a man’s eyes, but he uses it so well. Other players must surely be unnerved by it. The eyes are where you read someone’s emotion. You can tell if they’re scared, angry, fired-up or have admitted defeat. How must it feel to look at Scott Brown staring right back at you and see... nothing. That must be unnerving. A man showing no emotion is possible of anything.

0.32 Scotland win a corner right away as Leigh Griffiths puts pressure on the opposing goalkeeper. It’s great seeing a Scotland team line up with a striker who can actually move.

6.27 For the second time Robert Snodgrass whips in a dangerous cross to Russell Martin again and... it’s in the back of net! We’re winning. We’re actually winning. Oh ya fu... nope. Never mind. it’s been disallowed for a push on the defender. We should have known. It was never going to be this straight-forward.

22.06 A rare sight as a referee actually books a player for intentionally trying to steal ten yards at a free-kick deep inside his own half. Boštjan Cesar angrily complains about his booking, presumably arguing that literally every other player in football has tried this at one point or another and got away with it.

24.02 James Morrison waves imaginary card after Josip Iličić goes down theatrically on the edge of the area. The commentators don’t criticise him for such an action because his name isn’t Jaime Morrisano.

27.11 Morrisano strikes narrowly wide of the post from edge of the area. It’s another fine Scotland move. Where has this team been hiding the rest of the campaign?!

34.01 Again we look like a coherent football team as Andy Robertson and Snodgrass combine, before the latter crosses for Griffiths who rattles the bar from four yards. It’s ok, though, a goal must be coming shortly.

35.26 Griffiths hits the woodwork again, this time hitting the post. This is becoming horribly familiar.

41.28 Robertson tries his best to remind everyone that this is Scotland and, it doesn’t matter how well we are playing, we can slit our own throats at a second’s notice, as he nods the ball down inside his own six-yard box. Thankfully Charlie Mulgrew is alert and the danger is cleared.

Half-time In the Sky studio, James McFadden breaks character to laugh after unintentionally rhyming of “Russell” and “tussle”. Nope, me either.

46.57 After twice going down holding his back in the opening two minutes of the half, Griffiths is forced from the action. In his place comes Steven Naismith. You could make a joke about Strachan still thinking it’s still 2014, but looking along the bench, the choice of substitute is fair enough.

54.47 Tierney squares up to Roman Bezjak after he’s fouled. It’s a little jarring to see Tierney giving it the hardman act. He seems like such a nice boy. Don’t be letting that mean Scott Brown be a bad influence now, Kieran.

63.25 It’s past the hour mark. It’s still 0-0. Scotland have not created a chance since the first half. Welcome back doubt and cynicism, we’ve missed you old friends.

74.41 Brief hope flickers and dies in a flash when Ikechi Anya fluffs a shot right at the goalkeeper shortly after coming on as sub. Why do we ever get our hopes up? Why do we constantly do this to ourselves? Red from Shawshank Redemption was right. “Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.” Apparently, it can drive a nation insane as well.

78.22 James Forrest goes down the byline but can’t find anyone with the cutback. The commentators take this opportunity to really drive home the disappointment by announcing that Chris Martin will be coming on, confirming Scotland’s failure to qualify for Russia 2018.

81.25 There’s actual booing of the Chris Martin substitute. Incredible. He’s officially Scotland’s Conor Sammon.

84.20 Brown passes the ball straight out of the park. This may be his last meaningful action in a Scotland shirt - until we draw Italy in the next qualifying campaign and he fancies having a game in Rome.

87.29 Stuart Armstrong picks up the ball, he moves it into the penalty for Chris... CHRIS MARTIN! WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT? The least likely hero in Scottish international football since Lee Wilkie scored the winner against Iceland! Looking at the replay, the ball seems to slalom into the back of the net via the covering defender’s right boot and the goalkeeper’s left boot before hitting the inside of the post. It almost seemed preordained. That ball was destined to find the goal. Martin had to suffer for his art. He had to prove himself capable of taking the wrath of the football gods and never losing his faith. Six minutes after booing met the very mention of his name, and he’s the hero. Chris Martin is the hero. It will never, ever get any less weird writing that sentence.

94.10 Full-time. It’s all over. We refuse to go quietly in the night. We refuse to give up believing that this is our time. This time.

“You were wrong, Red. Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Mancini would like to manage Celtic | ‘Bring on England’ | Ciftci criticised

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404770.1490632092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404770.1490632092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": ""What you gonnae dae, eh?" Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": ""What you gonnae dae, eh?" Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404770.1490632092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/martin-dempster-dustin-johnson-favourite-to-master-augusta-1-4404738","id":"1.4404738","articleHeadline": "Martin Dempster: Dustin Johnson favourite to Master Augusta","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490629052000 ,"articleLead": "

To borrow a line from a Robbie Williams song: When’s it gonna stop, DJ? That’s three victories in a row now for Dustin Johnson. The last 
two – a brace of World Golf Championships – have come since he took over as world No 1. Make no mistake, the 32-year-old is heading into The Masters as a justified clear favourite.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404737.1490635608!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dustin Johnson, with the WGC Dell Match Play trophy, is beginning to look invincible. Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

History is against him. The last player to head to Augusta National as world No 1 and win was Tiger Woods back in 2002. His current red-hot form isn’t the only reason, though, that Johnson will be bounding up Magnolia Lane in a week’s time with a spring in his step. He has finished tied sixth and tied fourth in the season’s opening major the past two years.

“I really like that golf course, have played good there the last two years and I’m excited to go back when the game is in good form. I feel like everything is working pretty well,” said Johnson in something of an 
understatement.

Nine titles have now fallen to the man from South Carolina in the past nine months. He has never looked back, in fact, since making that long-awaited breakthrough in the majors when winning the US Open at Oakmont last June.

How many of those coveted crowns had slipped from his grasp before that? Three or four, possibly even five.

As an American colleague pointed out in the wake of Johnson becoming the first player to win all four WGCs, the difference these days is that he has developed a knack for not beating himself.

Whereas we once knew that he would shoot himself in the foot when a big event reached the business end, Johnson now looks almost invincible.

It was the same with Rory 
McIlroy when he went on his hot streak in 2014, winning the Open Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and the US PGA Championship in successive starts. Jason Day, too, when he hit a purple patch in the second half of the 2015 
season. And, of course, Woods more than once when he was at the peak of his career.

So, can Johnson, who has decided to scrap a scheduled appearance in this week’s Shell Houston Open, justify that favouritism in The Masters? There is no reason why not. He is driving the ball as though it is on a piece of string. And his length, of course, is an advantage on almost every golf course these guys play.

It is always fascinating listening to the likes of Tom Watson and Sandy Lyle, two guys who can still get the ball out there a fair distance, talking about the difficulty they face at Augusta National trying to hit greens with a 4-iron when they used to be going in with an 8-iron at the same hole. Johnson is in that fortunate position of being so much closer to greens off the tee and now has a wedge game to take full advantage.

If he still has one slight weakness, it is probably his putting. A really poor effort at the tenth in the final of the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club opened a door for Spaniard Jon Rahm, though it is probably unfair to pick out one putt when Johnson has holed countless others during his dazzling run of form.

The scary thing is that the man himself believes there is better still to come. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m playing really well and I’m not surprised with the number of wins I’ve had in the last, whatever, ten months or however long it’s been. But I don’t feel like I’m playing my best,” he declared in the wake of eventually winning on the last green against Rahm. “I definitely have what it takes to win out here. I’ve got a lot of confidence in my game and confidence in myself, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. And being No 1, it kind of drives me to work harder and to get better.”

While Rahm himself can feel confident about getting in the Masters mix on his debut in the event, the 22-year-old Spaniard has no doubts whatsoever about who is going to be the man to beat next week. “Man, I mean what’s to say,” he said of his conqueror.

“His power off the tee, it’s amazing how he’s able to keep cool the entire round. And he’s just a perfect, complete player. Honestly, he doesn’t really make mistakes. I think he’s learned from what he’s done in the past and he’s embracing it now and that’s why he’s winning tournaments.”

To answer that question posed at the start of this column, maybe not for some time.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404737.1490635608!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404737.1490635608!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dustin Johnson, with the WGC Dell Match Play trophy, is beginning to look invincible. Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dustin Johnson, with the WGC Dell Match Play trophy, is beginning to look invincible. Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404737.1490635608!/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-i-want-to-win-the-world-title-more-than-ever-1-4404731","id":"1.4404731","articleHeadline": "Lewis Hamilton: I want to win the world title more than ever","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490628567000 ,"articleLead": "

A determined Lewis Hamilton has said he wants to win the world title more than ever before, and claimed his hunger has doubled this season as he prepares for a battle royale with Sebastian Vettel.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404730.1490628561!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Hamilton is confident he has got what it takes to win the Formula One world championship despite Sebastian Vettel romping to victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

The Mercedes driver is on the back foot in the early knockings after he failed to match Vettel and his resurgent Ferrari team in Australia as the Prancing Horse delivered on their pre-season potential to take the chequered flag on Sunday.

It means three-time world champion Hamilton is facing a new challenge this year following both Ferrari’s return to form, and the departure of his long-running rival and former childhood friend Nico Rosberg, who headed for retirement after winning last year’s title.

But the 32-year-old Briton appears to be revelling in both dynamics - the tension-free atmosphere at Mercedes following the arrival of Valtteri Bottas, and the task of what he described as the “best versus the best” in reference to his title showdown with Vettel.

It is not a tag line Hamilton would have used for the past three seasons in which his sole competitor was Rosberg, the reigning champion who watched events from Melbourne unfold at home in Monte Carlo.

“I had a fantastic fight the last few years and obviously last year was the closest that I had,” Hamilton, who lost out on the title to Rosberg despite winning a greater number of grands prix than his Mercedes team-mate, said.

“But I want to win the world championship more than ever before, and while you would think that the hunger could not be any more it has frickin doubled.

“I am going home after this – usually I stay out in Asia and train in the hot weather – but I will get my head down, rest and make sure I come back fighting for the next race in China. I believe I can win and I want to win for the team and the fans.”

Hamilton’s showbiz lifestyle and interests outside of the sport have naturally led to question marks over his focus, drive and long-term commitment to Formula One.

The Englishman is now in his 11th season in the sport and he has repeatedly said he will not outstay his welcome.

But Hamilton, who boarded a flight back from Melbourne in the hours after Sunday’s curtain raiser – with his residence in Monte Carlo the apparent next stop – insists his motivation is at an all-time high.

“My discipline has definitely gone up in terms of my training and how specific I am with my diet, sleep, and all of these different things,” Hamilton added.

“Every year you try to improve but I would say I have taken a good step this year. For example, I trained myself this year. That was a challenge I set myself. Can you have the motivation to do it yourself and get yourself ready and turn up? I have and I am going to continue to work because there is going to be some really tough races this year.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PHILIP DUNCAN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404730.1490628561!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404730.1490628561!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lewis Hamilton is confident he has got what it takes to win the Formula One world championship despite Sebastian Vettel romping to victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Hamilton is confident he has got what it takes to win the Formula One world championship despite Sebastian Vettel romping to victory at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Picture: David Davies/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404730.1490628561!/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/the-17-most-improved-players-in-scottish-football-this-season-1-4404623","id":"1.4404623","articleHeadline": "The 17 most improved players in Scottish football this season","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490621866000 ,"articleLead": "

Which players have shown tremendous improvement from last season to the current campaign, catching the eye and winning hearts of supporters across Scotland?

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404628.1490622117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "12/03/17 . GLASGOW. CELTIC PARK. PARKHEAD.\\nSCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP. Celtic v Rangers. Celtic�"s Scott Brown in action."} ,"articleBody": "

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There will be some left out of this list who’ve made a noticeable improvement, but just not as huge a leap as the guys who were included

We’re talking about players that went from having a poor campaign to a great one, or an average one to a fantastic one. Going from good to great just wasn’t going to cut it.

16 of the 17 players have been placed in alphabetical order, before we name the single most improved player over the course of the season.

READ MORE - Last year’s list

Scott Brown (Celtic)

He’s only narrowly defeated as the winner of this made-up award. Brown’s transformation has been remarkable. Make no mistake about it, he was poor in 2015-16. Approaching his 31st birthday, with injury issues interrupting recent seasons, he looked finished at the highest level. Even now, with the acclaim for his improvement having died down, he continues to shine in the centre of the park for Celtic. He’s actually unlucky to be on such a great team in terms of personal accolades, because the likes of Moussa Dembele have taken the limelight away from what’s been a memorable year for the club captain. Not that he’ll care about that too much if/when he completes the treble.

Alan Cook (Stenhousemuir)

A winger with the skills to win games by himself, Cook just needed to recognise how best to utilise his talents and do so on a consistent basis. While he may not be the finished article just yet, he’s taken massive strides this season. His inventive play has helped a struggling Stenhousemuir side who’ve needed his creative spark on more than a few occasions.

Liam Dick (Stranraer)

The full-back was solid for the Dumfries and Galloway club while on loan from Falkirk, and he’s really managed to take his performance up a couple of notches since making his move permanent this past summer. Capable of contributing in both attack and defence, it’s fair to say the 21-year-old has been his side’s best player this campaign as they fight to remain in the third tier.

Ryan Edwards (Partick Thistle)

It was clear to see last season that Edwards had the enthusiasm - he must be one of the fittest players in the league - he just needed to impose himself more on games when Thistle were in possession. This campaign he’s been more disciplined and it’s reflected in his performances. Instead of running around like a headless chicken, he’s letting his technique shine more, and brings a real drive from midfield whenever he’s in the side.

Ross Forbes (Morton)

Forbes has always been capable of producing moments of magic, even when he was a youngster at Motherwell. However, the reason he failed to continue playing at the highest level (and dropped from sight when promoted with Partick Thistle a few years later) was his lack of mobility. Last season it was beginning to become a problem even in the second tier with some Morton fans wondering if the 28-year-old had already reached his peak. Thankfully for them, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Forbes has been incredible this season, netting 12 times from midfield and should surely be awarded with a Player of the Year award nomination for his trouble.

James Forrest (Celtic)

This is probably the first season where Forrest has been consistent throughout the campaign - well, at least since his breakout year of 2011-12. There were flashes last season when he started off excellently under Ronny Deila, but the same issues returned to haunt him: he was injured, struggled to find his confidence upon returning and slipped out of the team. When Celtic signed him to a new contract in early August, fans were not best pleased. They expected to see more of the same from the academy graduate. Instead, he’s been in fine form, even managing to keep Patrick Roberts out of the team for long periods.

Myles Hippolyte (Falkirk)

He could produce moments of magic, such as his goalscoring contribution in Falkirk’s tremendous 3-2 comeback over Rangers. However, all in all, he was mainly used as an impact sub, and when he did get the chance to start he’d usually fail to impress. Like all good wingers he can still be a bit consistent, but when he’s on his game he’s a match-winner on his own, and has arguably been the club’s best attacker this term.

Cammy Kerr (Dundee)

The young right-back has went from promising youngster to arguably Dundee’s best player this season. He’s already among the country’s best full-backs. His foraging runs down the right provide his team with a consistent out-ball while he’s improved his defensive game as the campaign has gone on.

Liam Lindsay (Partick Thistle)

Improvement from a 20-year-old (as he was at the outset) was not entirely unexpected. Young defenders make mistakes, learn from them and become better players as a result. However, nobody foresaw the rapid rise the centre-back has experienced this campaign. He is, without question, among the ten best centre-halves in the country, arguably even in the top five. His continued omission from the Scotland under-21 set-up is simply ridiculous. In addition to his solid defensive play, he’s also banged in seven goals this term. The sky is the limit.

Darian McKinnon (Hamilton)

Often viewed as a liability due to a tendency for throwing himself into ill-advised challenges and generally get wound up by the opposition, McKinnon has managed to channel his aggression this season and Hamilton are much tougher in the middle of the park because of it. He’s gone from a divisive player among the fans to a near-unanimous choice for the club’s player of the year.

Kenny McLean (Aberdeen)

For the second year in a row McLean finds himself on this list. After improving on his sluggish start to his Aberdeen career last term, he’s kicked on further this campaign. Jonny Hayes called him the best player in Scottish football since the turn of the year, and it’s hard to argue too much with the assessment. He’s found an extra gear to his play, which is helping him dominate matches.

Mark O’Hara (Dundee)

Not only has O’Hara improved, we now look at him as a completely different player. Often used at right back or centre back at Kilmarnock (big lads play at the back) he’s been used exclusively by Dundee in midfield, usually in an attacking role. While he’s not yet one of the league’s top playmakers, he’s now a respected and recognised opponent, having played as a back-up defender for most of his time at Rugby Park.

Gary Oliver (Morton)

The ex-Hearts striker largely flattered to deceive during his year with Queen of the South last term, often used on the wing instead of through the centre as he wasn’t trusted by James Fowler to fire the club into the playoffs. His record for Morton this term, eight strikes in 33 games, is by no means a great record for a striker, though his contribution cannot be measured in pure goals. Oliver is a scrapper who works tirelessly for the team and has been the club’s most consistent performer this term.

Andy Ryan (Airdrieonians)

Having failed to set the heather alight in League Two last season, Airdrie fans were hardly bowled over by the addition of the former Hamilton youngster. Safe to say, any cynicism has since been proven wrong. Ryan has been a revelation. Easily the club’s best player, it’s hard to image where the inconsistent Diamonds would be were it not for their talismanic striker. He’s netted 20 goals in 34 games and continues to almost single-handedly lead the club’s promotion push.

Sam Stanton (Dumbarton)

Arguably the best player in the second half of Hibs’ relegation campaign, Stanton’s progression stalled at Easter Road and he didn’t do all that much to impress at Livingston last season either. Since signing for Dumbarton, though, Stanton has rediscovered his prior form. The attacking midfielder acts as the creative spark for the part-timers as they fight bravely against relegation.

Ross Stewart (Albion Rovers)

This entry is a bit of a cheat because Stewart didn’t play in the SPFL last season, but he did play in Scottish football. Stewart joined from Kilwinning Rangers in the summer, having helped the Ayrshire club to the West of Scotland Super League in junior football. It’s difficult to sometimes tell comparative levels between junior football and lower league clubs, but there’s definitely a gulf in quality between League One and the West of Scotland First Division. Knocking in 12 goals so far this campaign, the towering centre forward has impressed the Cliftonville faithful with his mix of size and technique. He’s been widely touted for a move into full-time football next season.

And the single most improved player of season 2016/17 is...

Stuart Armstrong (Celtic)

Armstrong made 39 appearances for Celtic last season. It’s a surprising and, quite frankly, damning statistic of his campaign, because it’s difficult to think of any highlights. With the exception of the famous double against Inter in the Europa League knockout stages, Armstrong underwhelmed in his first 18 months at Celtic Park. Although, in fairness to the former Dundee United hitman, he was played mostly on the left-wing. It is a role he was used to at United, but it’s clear from his form this campaign that using him in the centre is a far better use of his talents. He impacts the game so much more when playing at the heart of it. His ability to drive with the ball from deep, make late runs into the penalty area, and get after the opposition with his boundless energy all combine to make him one of the league’s better players. From someone Celtic fans would happily have driven to his next club to a Player of the Year candidate. It’s safe to say Armstrong has made the biggest leap of them all.

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Mancini would like to manage Celtic | ‘Bring on England’ | Ciftci criticised

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404628.1490622117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404628.1490622117!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "12/03/17 . GLASGOW. CELTIC PARK. PARKHEAD.\\nSCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP. Celtic v Rangers. Celtic�"s Scott Brown in action.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "12/03/17 . GLASGOW. CELTIC PARK. PARKHEAD.\\nSCOTTISH PREMIERSHIP. Celtic v Rangers. Celtic�"s Scott Brown in action.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404628.1490622117!/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/henrik-stenson-confirms-scottish-open-appearance-1-4404359","id":"1.4404359","articleHeadline": "Henrik Stenson confirms Scottish Open appearance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490610041000 ,"articleLead": "

Open champion Henrik Stenson will make his first appearance on Scottish soil since securing the greatest victory of his career, when he tees it up at the 2017 Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open at Dundonald Links from 13-16 July.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404358.1490610229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Henrik Stenson is heading to Dundonald Links - closeto where he became Open champion at Royal Troon last summer. Picture: Brian Spurlock"} ,"articleBody": "

Stenson has a special affinity for Scotland, the Home of Golf, after breaking a plethora of long-standing records to win his first Major Championship title at Royal Troon last summer.

The Swede will return to the Ayrshire coast - just six miles from the scene of that memorable victory - for his tenth Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open appearance as the tournament once more assumes prime position in the week before The Open Championship.

This year Scotland’s national open will also be the third event in the European Tour’s new Rolex Series, a premium category of tournaments each with a minimum prize fund of US$7million.

Scottish golf fans will be hoping that Stenson will bring his 2016 Open Championship form to Dundonald in July after his unforgettable battle with five-time major winner Mickelson at Royal Troon.

Stenson went toe-to-toe with Mickelson in a thrilling final round, carding a Sunday 63 to equal the lowest round in Major history and also set the lowest aggregate score ever recorded in a Major.

The battle drew comparisons with the legendary ‘Duel in the Sun’ between Tom Watson and Jack Nicklaus just along the coast at Turnberry in 1977.

Scotland’s national open has been an invaluable part of Stenson’s preparations for The Open in recent years.

A third-place finish at Castle Stuart Golf Links in 2013 propelled him to runner-up spot at The Open, just behind a certain Phil Mickelson. Then, after a two-year absence from the Scottish Open, a 13th place finish in 2016 preceded a role reversal as he came though that famous battle to lift the Claret Jug. Stenson said: “I’m looking forward to coming back to Scotland and to playing at Dundonald, which is just down the road from Troon. Obviously it is going to make it a special week for me at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open. It’s a tournament which has helped me prepare really well for The Open and I’m looking forward to the new venue at Dundonald.

“I played the Scottish Open in 2013 and went on to finish second to Phil in The Open the following week. Then I missed Scotland for a couple of years and didn’t do that well the following week. I played last year the week before Troon and we all know how that turned out, so playing in the Scottish Open definitely helps to fine tune the links game.”

* Fans can buy tickets to see some of the world’s best golfers competing on the Ayrshire coast - including official Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open hospitality packages - at www.aamscottishopen.com/tickets

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARVIN COLLINS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404358.1490610229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404358.1490610229!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Henrik Stenson is heading to Dundonald Links - closeto where he became Open champion at Royal Troon last summer. Picture: Brian Spurlock","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Henrik Stenson is heading to Dundonald Links - closeto where he became Open champion at Royal Troon last summer. Picture: Brian Spurlock","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404358.1490610229!/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/leigh-griffiths-takes-to-twitter-to-thank-chris-martin-1-4404200","id":"1.4404200","articleHeadline": "Leigh Griffiths takes to Twitter to thank Chris Martin","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490603035000 ,"articleLead": "

Leigh Griffiths has thanked Scotland team-mate Chris Martin for getting him “out a hole” after the substitute scored a late winner in the 1-0 win over Slovenia.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404199.1490603029!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leigh Griffiths sees his volley cannon off the crossbar. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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Griffiths had passed up a gilt-edged opportunity earlier in the game, when he fired off the crossbar from inside the six-yard area with the goal gaping.

The Celtic striker was forced off early in the second half with a back injury, rendering him unable to atone for the miss.

Martin was introduced with eight minutes remaining as he replaced James Morrison. Even though he was booed by the Hampden crowd as he took to the field, the striker would fire in the winner with two minutes remaining.

After the match, Griffiths thanked the Fulham striker for his winning strike.

He wrote: “Delighted big Chris pulled me out a hole, I should be scoring chances inside 6 yard box! Delighted for the fans who made the journey!”

READ MORE - Rumour Mill: Mancini would like to manage Celtic | ‘Bring on England’ | Ciftci criticised

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "CRAIG FOWLER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404199.1490603029!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404199.1490603029!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Leigh Griffiths sees his volley cannon off the crossbar. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Leigh Griffiths sees his volley cannon off the crossbar. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404199.1490603029!/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-dustin-johnson-completes-wgc-grand-slam-1-4404093","id":"1.4404093","articleHeadline": "8am Round-Up: Dustin Johnson completes WGC Grand Slam","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490598203000 ,"articleLead": "

Dustin Johnson held off a brilliant fightback from Jon Rahm to become the first player to win all four World Golf Championships and just the second to claim back-to-back victories in the coveted events.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404092.1490598197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dustin Johnson shows off the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy after his win in Texas. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The world No 1 also claimed his third tournament victory in a row as he beat Spaniard Rahm by one hole in a thrilling title tussle at Austin Country Club, where Johnson never trailed at any point in his seven matches.

“There’s a lot of great players and I’m the first one to win all four WGCs,” said Johnson, who emulated Tiger Woods as he made it consecutive World Golf Championship wins, having also claimed the Mexico Championship earlier in the month. “I’m very, very pleased with it.”

The American now heads into The Masters as the favourite to claim his second major when the season’s opening major gets underway at Augusta National on Thursday week.

“I’ve got a lot of confidence in the game right now, feel like I am driving the ball great, I’m wedging it well,” he added.

“I can work on the mid-irons a bit, but we can work on those next week after I take a couple of days off.

“Being the No 1 player in the world kind of drives me to work harder and to get better.”

Rahm, who was making just his second WGC start, mounted a spirited fightback from five down after eight holes in the final to take Johnson all the way to the 18th.

Indeed, extra holes looked on the cards when Rahm drove to the back edge of the 18th green only for a poor chip from the 22-year-old to allow Johnson to secure the title with a par.

Rahm later blamed a loud noise, reported as a slamming portable toilet door. “That’s absolutely why I missed it,” he told the Golf Channel. “I lost focus with my head, chunked it and left it short.”

The Spaniard has now finished third and second in his two WGC appearances since joining the European Tour at the beginning of this month.

He is projected to jump from 26th to 14th when the world rankings are updated today and is now second in the Race to Dubai Rankings behing England’s Tommy Fleetwood.

“I’m really proud of what I did, it was a great week,” he said. “I’m thrilled I’m going to have a chance to maybe play in the Ryder Cup. It’s just the beginning of the season, so it’s all good to come.”

Since his maiden PGA Tour victory in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in California two months ago, Rahm has finished 16th, fifth, third and second.

Praising his opponent, Johnson said: “He played tough. He’s a great player, he’s going to be a great player out here for a long time.”

***

South Korea’s Mirim Lee stormed to a six-shot success in the Kia Classic in California.

The world No 21 carded a closing seven-under par 65 to finish well clear of compatriot So Yeon Ryu and American Austin Ernst.

Lee’s winning total of 20-under 268 matched the tournament record set by Cristie Kerr in 2015, when Lee finished runner-up.

“It’s been a long time to be winner of the tournament, so I kind of nervous before I start of game. But I try to focus and then gives me good result,” Lee told lpga.com through a translator.

“When I practiced this course I think tee shot was most important thing, so I focused on good tee shot so that makes this good result.”

Scottish No 1 Catriona Matthew closed with a 71 for a five-under-par 283 total, tying for 35th and winning $10,176.

Edinburgh-based American Beth Allen signed off with a 70 for 286, earning $5,956 as she ended in a share of 49th in her hometown event.

***

America D.A. Points claimed his third PGA Tour victory with a two-shot success in the Puerto Rico Open.

Points opened the final round with five straight birdies en route to carding a six-under 66 for a 20-under-par 268 aggregate.

Two-time US Open champion Retief Goosen (64), Bill Lunde (68) and Bryson DeChambeau (67) tied for second at Coco Beach Golf and Country Club..

***

Former Walker Cup player Casey Wittenburg won the Web.com Tour’s Chitimacha Louisiana Open.

He finished on 21-under after a last-round 69, winning by three shots from China’s Xinjun Zhang (65).

It was a first victory in close to five years for Wittenburg, who played in the Walker Cup at Ganton in 2003.

Jimmy Gunn missed the cut after rounds of 72 and 70.

***

Bradley Neil was probably the player out of five Scots in the field to take most out of the opening Challenge Tour event of the season - the Barclays Kenya Open.

It followed the 21-year-old from Blairgowrie climbing up 10 spots on the final day after a closing 68 at Muthaiga Golf Club in Nairobi.

The five-birdie effort saw Neil finish joint-29th on six-under in an event won by Aaron Rai.

The Englishman signed off with a 65 to finish three shots clear of the field on 17-under in claiming his breakthrough success on the circuit.

Neil ended up alongside Chris Doak (70), the pair finishing two shots ahead of Craig Lee (72) with David Law (70) four shots further back.

***

A glorious day produced some low scoring in the opening round of the Scottish Students Championships at Moray.

Matching three-under 67s on the New Course at the Lossiemouth venue saw Stirling’s Laird Shepherd and Ricardo Cellerino (University of Highlands and Islands) set the pace in the men’s event.

And, in the women’s tournament, defending champion Gemma Batty opened with a four-under 71 on the Old Course, as did her Stirling team-mate Sinead Sexton.

***

A closing five-under 66 secured a top-10 finish for Philip McLean in the Pro Golf Tour’s Ocean Open in Morocco.

The Peterhead player finished joint-eighth in an event in Agadir won by Dutchman Dylan Boshart.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN DEMPSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404092.1490598197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404092.1490598197!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dustin Johnson shows off the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy after his win in Texas. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dustin Johnson shows off the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy after his win in Texas. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404092.1490598197!/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-chelsea-to-sign-rangers-wonderkid-mancini-wants-to-manage-celtic-bring-on-england-1-4404091","id":"1.4404091","articleHeadline": "Rumour Mill: Chelsea to sign Rangers wonderkid | Mancini wants to manage Celtic | ‘Bring on England’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490598141000 ,"articleLead": "

Chelsea have won the race to sign highly-rated Rangers teenager Billy Gilmour, Italian football great Roberto Mancini says he’d like to manage Celtic one day, and all the reaction as Scotland defeat Slovenia at Hampden.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404543.1490617991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Billy Gilmour, right, could be about to join Chelsea this summer. Picture: Michael Gillen"} ,"articleBody": "

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Chelsea win Gilmour battle

Chelsea have won the battle to sign 15-year-old Rangers prospect Billy Gilmour, according to the Scottish Sun. The midfielder will turn 16 this summer and will be able to sign his first professional contract. Though he is signed to Rangers, he’s free to chose any club of his pleasing for his first pro-deal and it appears the English Premier League leaders have beaten off competition from Arsenal to land the youngster. It is being reported that Chelsea will pay Rangers £500,000 in compensation. (The Sun)

Mancini open to managing Celtic

Former Manchester City and Inter boss Roberto Mancini has said he’d like to manage Celtic one day - as long as the Glasgow club continue to qualify for the Champions League every season. The Italian is looking for Celtic to take the next step and show they belong among Europe’s elite. He also believes Pedro Caixinha to be a good choice of manager for rivals Rangers. (Scottish Sun)

Ciftci urged to get fit

Celtic loanee Nadir Ciftci has been criticised for his lack of fitness amid a disappointing start for Polish side Pogon Szczecin. The striker has failed to find the back of the net in any of his first six games, with the club going winless over that spell. Manager Kazimierz Moskal still has faith the signing will come good once he gets more games under his belt. (Daily Record)

‘Bring on England’

James Forrest believes Scotland are ready for their 10 June clash with England after beating Slovenia 1-0 at Hampden. The Celtic winger insists Scotland were unlucky to lose the first encounter between the sides and feels the renewed confidence can help the Tartan Army avenge the earlier defeat by the Auld Enemy. (Evening Times)

Strachan hails best display yet

Gordon Strachan hailed what he regards as Scotland’s best performance of his managerial tenure so far after they defeated Slovenia 1-0 at Hampden to revive their 2018 World Cup qualifying hopes. Substitute Chris Martin scored the only goal with two minutes remaining on a night when anything less than victory would almost certainly have spelled the end of Strachan’s time in charge of the national team. “It was probably the best they have played under me,” said Strachan. (The Scotsman)

Armstrong debut among ‘best ever’

Stuart Armstrong might have had the best debut of any Scotland player ever, according to national team boss Gordon Strachan. The Celtic midfielder came straight into the starting XI for his first cap against Slovenia and looked completely at home in his surroundings. The 24-year-old completed a man-of-the-match performance in front of a half-full Hampden by providing the assist for Chris Martin’s winning-goal. (The Scotsman)

Strachan on Martin criticism

Scotland boss Gordon Strachan believes goalscorer Chris Martin to be in “great company” after the striker was booed by the Hampden Park crowd. The Fulham striker came off the bench to replace James Morrison with eight minutes remaining and would later go on to score the winning goal. When asked about the reception the player received when he first entered the park, Strachan compared him to Scotland greats of the past who found themselves on the receiving end of criticism from the Tartan Army. (The Scotsman)

Bell happy to wipe away bad memories

Goalkeeper Cammy Bell insists he’s wiped away the bad memories of Fir Park after helping Dundee United to lift the Irn-Bru Cup on Saturday. Bell was playing at the same ground where he made the most infamous error of his career during the play-off final second-leg against Motherwell while playing for Rangers. He now feels that moment has been laid to rest after lifting the lower league trophy following United’s 2-1 victory. (Daily Record)

Taunts inspired Keatings

James Keatings today revealed how taunts that he was “all left foot” led to his stunning winner against Falkirk, a victory which sent Hibs ten points clear at the top of the Championship. The game was two minutes into added-on time when the striker cut in from the left and hit an unstoppable shot with his supposedly weaker right foot to clinch a 2-1 win which Bairns boss Peter Houston said all but guaranteed the Capital club the title. (Edinburgh News)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID GUNN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4404543.1490617991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404543.1490617991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Billy Gilmour, right, could be about to join Chelsea this summer. Picture: Michael Gillen","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Billy Gilmour, right, could be about to join Chelsea this summer. Picture: Michael Gillen","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4404543.1490617991!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1490367716030"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/stirling-county/melrose-shine-against-stirling-county-to-reach-bt-cup-final-1-4403916","id":"1.4403916","articleHeadline": "Melrose shine against Stirling County to reach BT Cup final","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490569200000 ,"articleLead": "

Melrose will be back at BT Murrayfield in April for a second successive cup final after a performance that personified the players’ attitude and commitment on a hot afternoon at The Greenyards.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403915.1490545337!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Russell Anderson cant find a way past Stirlings Alex Taylor and Chris Fusaroy. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

The hosts were able to give Stirling 11 points of a start after ten minutes then turn this semi-final round with an exciting display of open rugby by scoring seven tries on the perfect day for running rugby.

Robert Chrystie, in his first season as Melrose head coach, said that he was delighted with his side’s display, which he hoped would continue as the season reaches a climax.

“Stirling put us under a lot of pressure at the start and their plan worked well,” he said. “But to finish at 48-18 is very satisfying. The performance is not just about me. We have a great support team on and off the field. Competition is keen for places and we have to strike the right balance,” he said.

“These were perfect conditions and we scored some excellent tries. We recovered well from the bad start, but we hit back well and Currie [play-off tie] is now in our focus and we have to kick on.”

It was Melrose’s second win in two weeks over Stirling, who were able to recall Scotland under-20 players and field professionals Chris Fasaro and Sam Johnson, although the early injury to full-back Johnny Hope did not help their cause.

Coach David Adamson had admitted: “Melrose are a very good side. We are trying to develop young club players. We started well and the momentum was with us. But we conceded a try on the restart.”

It was uphill from then on after a positive start when Logan Trotter ran on to a delicate chip by Alex Black to touch down in just two minutes and Ross Thomson kicked penalties for an 11-0 lead.

However, Melrose clicked into gear as an air of confidence filtered through the side. Fraser Thomson and Grant Runciman, both in sparkling form, linked well to send Sam Pecquer over and Thomson scored to put Melrose ahead for the first time.

Melrose were now dominant and Russell Anderson was driven over the line and Jason Baggott converted for a 19-11 half-time lead.

It was one-way traffic after the break as Nick Beavon scored a brace of tries with Nyle Godsmark and Ruairdh Knott forcing their way over the Stirling line, Baggott finishing with five conversions and a penalty. Adam Sinclair scored a consolation try for Stirling midway through the half, Thomson converting.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ATHOLL INNES"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403915.1490545337!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403915.1490545337!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Russell Anderson cant find a way past Stirlings Alex Taylor and Chris Fusaroy. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Russell Anderson cant find a way past Stirlings Alex Taylor and Chris Fusaroy. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403915.1490545337!/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/james-keatings-turns-villain-to-hero-for-hibs-against-falkirk-1-4403926","id":"1.4403926","articleHeadline": "James Keatings turns villain to hero for Hibs against Falkirk","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490569200000 ,"articleLead": "

James Keatings’ last two Hibernian performances have exhibited some of the traits of his team’s season. Underwhelming one minute, peerlessly brilliant the next, with costly lapses of concentration thrown into the mix.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403925.1490546253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings celebrates scoring his goal in added time to seal Hibs 2-1 victory over Falkirk. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

The striker came off the bench for the injured Andrew Shinnie in Saturday’s Ladbrokes Championship visit of second-placed Falkirk and won the game for his side.

His laser-guided free-kick was headed in by Efe Ambrose as the leaders went ahead, and he then conjured up a moment of sheer quality to net a 92nd-minute winner.

Keatings let himself down in between, however, although no-one would probably have noticed had he not owned up.

The former Hearts player candidly admitted that he should have been marking Craig Sibbald when the midfielder nodded in a 77th-minute equaliser.

In his own words, Keatings endured a personal horror show in the previous weekend’s 2-2 draw with Dumbarton, admitting head coach Neil Lennon was fully justified in demoting him to the bench.

Just like his side, it is difficult to know what to expect on any given day.

Lennon has not been shy in berating below-par performances by his team, and there have been a few. But Saturday was significant. Allied to Morton’s loss to Dunfermline, Hibs moved ten points clear at the summit with seven games left. Jim Duffy’s Ton, who are third on goal difference having played a match less, are the visitors to Easter Road on Wednesday. Hibs have the finishing line in sight.

Keatings gave an honest account of his day’s work. “I was kicking myself when they scored because Craig Sibbald was my runner from the corner,” he said. I’d just set up the goal for Efe Ambrose and I had let a goal in at the other end.

“I said straight away after the game when I went in that it was my mistake at the corner. A few of the boys were having a go at (goalkeeper) Ross Laidaw but I told them it wasn’t Ross’s fault, it was that I lost Sibbald.”

Keatings’ contribution in the attacking third was priceless, however. Climbing off the bench just seconds before the break, his pinpoint delivery was guided into the net by the head of on-loan Celtic defender Ambrose in the 75th minute.

After Sibbald stole in at the near post to head home Fraser Aird’s corner two minutes later, Keatings came up with a moment of magic deep into stoppage time.

Falkirk defender Aaron Muirhead’s body shape at the corner of the box suggested that he envisaged Keatings trying to whip in a left-footed cross. Suddenly the forward shifted the ball to create space on his right. There was still much work to do but the 25-year-old curled an exquisite shot beyond the outstretched Robbie Thomson into the top corner. “That may be a huge goal in the context of the season,” remarked Hibs head coach Neil Lennon.

The winning strike was all the more satisfying for Keatings given the belittling comments he received on the pitch. “I heard them saying that ‘he’s all left foot’ and it stuck in my head,” he said. “I don’t know who it was but they were saying I was all left foot so that made my mind up.

“The next time I got the ball I went on my right and caught it with my bad foot and it’s flown in. I couldn’t believe it – but I don’t think they could believe it either. It was as good and as important a goal as I’ve scored in my career.

“I couldn’t argue with the manager leaving me out. I drove home with my dad, who is the worst person I could go home with after having a bad game.

“I told him it was my worst game since I signed for Hibs. I had a chance to make amends and I’m delighted I did that.”

Falkirk have been a tough nut to crack for Hibs at Easter Road. This was the Leith side’s first victory over them at home in eight matches. Peter Houston’s side remain second on goal difference but Morton have two games in hand.

Midfielder Mark Kerr, pictured, admits finishing runners-up and avoiding an additional play-off round is now their main focus.

He said: “Last year Hibs got battered off the park by Raith Rovers in two (play-off) games and then came to us days later.

“In the first ten minutes at our park, in the second leg, two of their boys went off injured, or one went off injured and the other was signalling that he was toiling. That’s down to the amount of games so it is big.

“Of course you want the easiest route possible and that is obviously having two less games, but if we don’t it will be our own fault. We need to win the games from now to the end of the season.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DARREN JOHNSTONE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403925.1490546253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403925.1490546253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James Keatings celebrates scoring his goal in added time to seal Hibs 2-1 victory over Falkirk. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James Keatings celebrates scoring his goal in added time to seal Hibs 2-1 victory over Falkirk. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403925.1490546253!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/guinness-pro12/glasgow-warriors-hope-tim-swinson-ok-for-champions-cup-tie-1-4403922","id":"1.4403922","articleHeadline": "Glasgow Warriors hope Tim Swinson OK for Champions Cup tie","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490569200000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow centre Peter Horne admits it will be “a big blow” if Tim Swinson is suspended for the club’s historic first-ever European Champions Cup quarter-final at Saracens on Sunday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403921.1490545624!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Peter Horne gets away from Connachts Tiernan OHalloran as Tim Swinson looks on. Picture: SNS/SRU"} ,"articleBody": "

The in-form lock was red carded for what looked to be a swinging arm on replacement hooker Dave Heffernan in the 65th minute of this compelling 35-24 win over champions Connacht which kept the Warriors alive in the Guinness Pro12 play-off hunt.

Warriors coach Gregor Townsend strongly indicated there would be an appeal this week, arguing that his player was aiming to dislodge the ball at the ruck and the Welsh referee Ian Davies flashed the card without examining the incident from multiple angles.

“We’ll wait and see what happens,” said Horne after the game. “Swinno’s been on fire this whole season, to be honest; he’s been brilliant. It will be a real big blow if he misses out, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed and see what happens.”

Swinson’s sending off was the only downside to what was otherwise an almost perfect tune up for that massive meeting with the European champions at Allianz Park at the weekend. On a glorious evening, the Warriors got their groove back with a fine bonus-point victory over an enterprising Irish side who contributed hugely to an excellent match.

The reigning champions, whose back-to-back wins over Glasgow at the end of last season opened the door to their surprise title triumph, utterly dominated possession in the first half but only led 15-13 at the break.

Niyi Adeolokun and John Muldoon crossed for the visitors but Finn Russell’s boot and a try for home hooker Corey Flynn kept Glasgow in it.

With more ball to play with after the break the momentum gradually shifted and tries by Russell, man of the match Ali Price, pictured, and veteran wing Sean Lamont, in the week he announced he would be retiring at the end of the season, sent the Scotstoun crowd home happy.

The electric Price also pulled off a match-defining try-saving tackle on Adeolokun in the final quarter as Glasgow showed admirable resolve to push on for the bonus despite the setback of losing Swinson.

With ten points still separating them from fourth-placed Ulster, the Warriors’ hopes of reaching the play-offs for a sixth successive season remain touch and go with no room for error and a testing trip to Munster next up.

For now, though, all focus turns to Saracens and Townsend was happy a number of internationals got a good run-out, with the likes of Jonny Gray, who was rested, and the injured Tommy Seymour, Zander Fagerson and Ryan Wilson all hopeful of being available.

“The type of rugby that Connacht play is very different to Saracens,” said Townsend. “We’ve got to prepare for different opponents, look at ways we can impose our game and ways that we can stop the Saracens’ game.

“There were a lot of positives against Connacht but also areas where we have to get better. Just to have Finn and [Stuart] Hoggy and other guys playing again is really good mechanism for us to give feedback on the things we have to work on, so the calls become second nature again. Another week of preparation will help us a lot.”

As well as the cloud over Swinson, prop Gordon Reid is now in the head injury assessment protocols, though Townsend said “he seems okay”. As for Horne, who started at centre and moved in to finish the game at stand-off when Russell was replaced by Alex Dunbar on the hour mark, he admitted this Saracens match took on huge significance in his comeback from injury as it became clear that playing a part in the Six Nations was looking unlikely.

“I said that when I got injured. We kind of ruled out the Six Nations, but I said my goal was to try and get back involved for this quarter-final,” said the 27-year-old. “Every day of my rehab it was in the back of my mind.

“We’re getting there. That’s me had four games in a row now – four 80 minutes for the first time since last season. I’m feeling better. Every week I’m improving. I’ll be looking to work my nuts off this week and put my hand up for selection again.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403921.1490545624!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403921.1490545624!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Peter Horne gets away from Connachts Tiernan OHalloran as Tim Swinson looks on. Picture: SNS/SRU","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Peter Horne gets away from Connachts Tiernan OHalloran as Tim Swinson looks on. Picture: SNS/SRU","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403921.1490545624!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"http://www.scotsman.com/sport/more-in-sport/eve-muirhead-fights-back-for-world-curling-championship-bronze-1-4403924","id":"1.4403924","articleHeadline": "Eve Muirhead fights back for World Curling Championship bronze","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490569200000 ,"articleLead": "

Eve Muirhead’s Scottish women are bringing bronze medals home from China, following their 6-4 win over Sweden in yesterday’s bronze play-off game of the CPT World Women’s Curling Championship, here in Beijing.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403923.1490545957!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland coach Howard Glenn and players Kelly Schafer, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Eve Muirhead. Picture: AFP/Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

It was Sweden who took the early advantage when, after blanking the first end, their skip Anna Hasselborg tapped back with her last stone to score two points in the second. The Scots blanked the third and then scored one in the fourth end when Muirhead drew her last stone inside three Swedish counters.

In the fifth end, Hasselborg played a hit and stay to add one more point for a 3-1 half-time lead. Then, in the sixth, Muirhead took out a Swedish stone with her own last, but had to settle for two points to level the score at 3-3 rather than score a possible three when her own stone slid on just too far after the hit.

The umpire’s measure was called into service in the seventh end and it denied Sweden a second shot in this end, the Swedes moving into a 4-3 lead.

After this, it was Scotland all the way. Muirhead drew for one in the eighth end to level the score again and, in the ninth, Muirhead produced a well-judged draw which Hasselborg could not better. The Swedish last stone was heavy and wide to give Scotland a steal of one and the lead in the game for the first time.

In the tenth end, after getting an early stone on the button, the Scots played guard after guard. Hasselborg’s attempted take-out with her last stone did not come off, giving Scotland another single steal and a 6-4 win.

Afterwards, Muirhead said: “That was a strong team performance. We really wanted that medal. It’s been a tough week with a lot of ups and a lot of downs, so to come away with a medal is really quite satisfying. That was a tough game – the ninth end was the first time we’ve been up on them all week and we played a fantastic last end. I’ve got world gold, silver and bronze now, so I’m delighted. It’s good to have a solid Worlds going into the Olympic Games.”

She added: “We deserved something because we fought hard all week. OK, it’s bronze and that’s not the colour you want. It takes a lot to come back and win bronze. It’s one of the toughest medals for a team to win. But we’d be too greedy if we thought we should have had more this week because I think the two best teams are in the final.”

Canada beat Russia by 8-3 in the final to complete a week-long undefeated campaign.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MIKE HAGGERTY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4403923.1490545957!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4403923.1490545957!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland coach Howard Glenn and players Kelly Schafer, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Eve Muirhead. Picture: AFP/Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland coach Howard Glenn and players Kelly Schafer, Lauren Gray, Vicki Adams, Anna Sloan and Eve Muirhead. Picture: AFP/Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4403923.1490545957!/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/scotland-1-0-slovenia-how-the-scotland-players-rated-1-4404049","id":"1.4404049","articleHeadline": "Scotland 1 - 0 Slovenia: How the Scotland players rated","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1490567825000 ,"articleLead": "

How every Scotland player rated out of ten during the 1-0 victory over Slovenia

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4404048.1490567820!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robert Snodgrass (left) battles for possession. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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GK - Craig Gordon - 7

Not severely tested but stood up well to block shot when Roman Bezjak had free run on goal and had to be alert to deal with Russell Martin’s backpass which caused a scare.

RB - Kieran Tierney - 8

The 19-year-old continues to show immense talent for one so young. Tenacious in defence and made intelligent use of the ball going forward.

CB - Russell Martin - 7

Dangerous in Slovenia’s box from set-pieces. Denied by goalkeeper Oblak’s excellent save after only two minutes, then had a headed goal ruled out for a push.

CB - Charlie Mulgrew - 7

Although Slovenia’s attack lacked bite, the Blackburn Rovers man’s partnership with Martin gave the central defence a more solid look than we have seen for some time.

LB - Andy Robertson - 8

Made a crucial early tackle to deny Birsa inside Scotland’s penalty area. Provided a constant threat with strong running down the left flank.

RM - James Forrest - 6

A frustrating performance by the Celtic winger. A few early flashes, but flitted in and out of the game and eventually ran out of steam altogether.

CM - James Morrison - 7

Linked up well with rest of midfield. Came close to scoring on a couple of occasions in the first half. Replaced late on.

DM - Scott Brown - 6

As usual, the skipper took no prisoners. His presence helped Scotland dominate territory in the first half but he tired in the second half.

CM - Stuart Armstrong - 9

A very impressive debut. Scotland’s best player. Busy display in midfield, provided probing passes and good support to forwards with strong forward running and set up the winning goal.

LM - Robert Snodgrass - 8

His delivery from both set-pieces and open play was excellent. Team-mates could not have asked for better service.

FC - Leigh Griffiths - 6

Lively up front until forced to come off shortly after the interval, but missed a sitter when hitting the bar from five yards in the first half. Unlucky with shot which hit the post minutes later.

SUBSTITUTES

Steven Naismith (for Griffiths 48 mins) Worked hard but struggled to lead the line before Chris Martin’s introduction.

Ikechi Anya (for Snodgrass 74 mins) Had a real go, but spurned great chance to score just after coming on.

Chris Martin (for Morrison 81 mins) Couldn’t have made a more telling impact than when accepting Armstrong’s pass and scoring the 88th-minute winner.

READ MORE - Scotland 1 - 0 Slovenia: Martin keeps World Cup hopes alive

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Chris Martin’s late winner handed Scotland a crucial 1-0 win over Slovenia to breath fresh life into their World Cup qualifying campaign. Craig Fowler and Angus Wright give their take on the match

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There’s fight in this team after all

The nation’s faint hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup appeared to be slipping away as the seconds ticked down at Hampden. But Chris Martin’s late winner means Scotland can now look forward to June’s clash with England with, if not renewed optimism, then at least something to play for other than national pride.

It will also prolong Strachan’s reign by another three months. The boss was expected to resign if his side failed to claim victory, but his position remains safe for now. Whether that’s ultimately a good or bad thing we shall wait and see, but no-one wants to see their side lose a game of football and, who knows, maybe this is the turning point we’ve been searching for ever since the malaise started after the 2014 victory over Ireland.

Boo a player on and you’ll only look foolish

The Derby striker, on loan at Fulham, has struggled to win over the Tartan Army since making his debut three years ago but however they may feel about the 28-year-old, he did not deserve to be booed as he made his entrance with nine minutes remaining. But Martin shoved his detractors’ sneers back down their throats as he fired home the precious late winner.

Scotland supporters have been frustrated by what they’ve witnessed in the past two years, not to mention the extortionate ticket prices, both of which combined to leave Hampden half-empty. Therefore, they have every right to voice their displeasure, but there are ways to go about doing so. There’s very little to be gained from booing a player on to the park.

Stuart Armstrong looks the part

The Celtic midfielder won his first Scotland cap just four days shy of his 25th birthday but he looked as though he had been playing international football for years. Composed on the ball and full of energy, he carried on in the same impressive manner to that of his recent club performances. The former Dundee United playmaker capped an encouraging debut by laying on the pass which led to Martin’s decisive strike.

It shows how much the midfielder has come in such a short space of time. When he replaced Tom Rogic in Celtic’s Champions League contest with Manchester City earlier in season, the drop-off in technical quality was striking. And yet, here we are six months on, and against a reasonable international side he looked the most accomplished player on the park. It’s remarkable, and also very pleasing. For there are few players more likeable than Armstrong.

Kieran Tierney is on the right track

With no natural right-back in Strachan’s squad, the 19-year-old Celtic left-back was asked to fill in on the opposite flank as he collected just his fourth cap. Defensively he was solid, adapting his position well while also coping impressively with the physical challenge brought by the visitors.

In attack, there is little doubt his movement and passing was curtailed, especially in the first half, by the new role. That’s not a knock on Tierney, he still played well. We just know how good he can be and he looked short of that for the first hour, appearing uncomfortable with his role once he crossed the halfway line and hesitant to do what would come naturally on the left, and that’s hit the byline. However, he gained confidence as the game went on and in the closing stages you could have been forgiven for thinking he was a natural right-back. It’s certainly an experiment worth trying again.

Leigh Griffiths needs to relax

The striker admitted on the eve of the match that his desperation to break his scoring duck for Scotland was having a negative effect on his usual deadly eye for goal. But he was once again guilty of snatching at a golden chance when he smashed against the crossbar from just three yards midway through the first period.

It’s an issue for Griffiths even at club level. You’d think of him as the perfect striker to bring off the bench, but he plays with such urgency that he sometimes needs a couple of sights at goal to settle himself down and get into his rhythm. It’s a harder thing to do at international level when chances are at a premium. That being said, he was desperately unlucky when he rifled against the post from 18 yards shortly after his miss.

You have a feeling once Griffiths gets his first, he’s going to go on a tear. This game should have provided that moment.

READ MORE - Scotland 1 - 0 Slovenia: Martin keeps World Cup hopes alive

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