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Shaun Maloney is mobbed after his effort is bundled into the net courtesy of Akaki Khubutia. Picture: SNS

Shaun Maloney is mobbed after his effort is bundled into the net courtesy of Akaki Khubutia. Picture: SNS

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Strachan hails ‘best ever 60 minutes’ as Scotland beat Georgia; Alan Stubbs blasts officials after penalty KO; Eckersley reckons Hearts can stay top and Cristiano Ronaldo ‘worth £785m’

Strachan hails ‘magnificent performance’

GORDON Strachan last night paid tribute to his Bravehearts after they defeated Georgia 1-0 at Ibrox.

The former Celtic boss said: “That was the best hour we’ve had as a football team since I’ve been here. You need to win, you need to get points and you imagine when you go to your bed on a Friday night how are we going to get them?

“I imagine it might be hard, I imagine it might be a scrappy goal, I imagine we might have trouble breaking them down.”

The Scots triumphed thanks to Akaki Khubutia’s own goal in the first half but Strachan’s main pleasure came from the crispness and cohesion shown by his players in giving Georgia the runaround not reflected in the final result. (Scotland on Sunday)

Stubbs blasts officials as Hibs held to draw

ALAN Stubbs pointed the finger at referee Barry Cook after his Hibs side were held to a 0-0 draw at home to Dumbarton yesterday.

Dominique Malonga was fouled in the box as he shaped to shoot in the first half, and from the resulting penalty the striker saw his effort saved by Sons ‘keeper Danny Rogers, before the ball appeared to trundle over the line.

And furious Stubbs said: “It’s disappointing. There is nothing we can do about it but when you have tow officials close by, you would think one of them would give it.”

In a one-sided contest, Hibs had a second penalty shout for handball waved away while Paul Heffernan had a goal ruled out for offside. (The Sun)

We’ve got one ‘Eck of a team

ADAM Eckersley fired Hearts nine points clear at the top of the Scottish Championship yesterday at Alloa - and proclaimed that the Jambos have the staying power to maintain their lofty position.

The former Manchester United youth needed the help of a deflection to see his late free kick nestle in the bottom corner of the net, but admitted: “I don’t usually hit free kicks but I just had a little feeling and stepped up.

“I couldn’t tell from where I was standing whether it went straight in or deflected off someone. I’m claiming it. Goals don’t come round very often so I have to take that one.”

And Eckersley reckons that Hearts’ barely-deserved victory is the sign of future champions, insisting: “It doesn’t matter how we got the points.” (Sunday Mail)

Ronaldo worth £785m, says agent

CRISTIANO Ronaldo will retire in Madrid after his agent revealed his buyout clause - of £785 million.

To put that in perspective, Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi’s buyout clause is the comparatively modest £331 million.

Ronaldo has been loosely linked with a return to Manchester United but the Old Trafford club will not break the bank for him.

And the Portuguese forward’s agent, Jorge Mendes told the Daily Mail: “I no longer get calls from anyone asking about Cristiano because they know that it is impossible to get him out of Madrid, so it’s not worth them calling to ask for it.

“The price is that stated in his release clause – €1bn (£785m).

“United are in his heart and he is very respectful of people who show him affection but he is in Madrid to the end.” (Daily Mail)

News in brief

• Clyde boss Barry Ferguson has urged the Bully Wee to put together a winning run after defeating East Fife 1-0 yesterday

• Robbie Keane scored a hat-trick in just 12 minutes as the Republic of Ireland coasted to a 7-0 win over Gibraltar in Dublin

• Poland defeated Germany 2-0 last night, stunning the World Cup winners and sending a warning to Scotland ahead of the mid-week clash

Match reports

Scotland 1-0 Georgia: Fortune favours brave set-up

Alloa Athletic 0-1 Hearts: Better late than never

Hibernian 0-0 Dumbarton: Hibs and referee fluff lines

Poland 2-0 Germany: Poles stun World Cup winners

Rep. Ireland 7-0 Gibraltar: Keane rocks minnows with hat-trick

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