{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"sport","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/english/rumour-mill-mcginn-target-for-sunderland-rangers-still-chasing-goldson-jordan-ayew-to-celtic-1-4745579","id":"1.4745579","articleHeadline": "Rumour Mill: McGinn target for Sunderland | Rangers still chasing Goldson | Jordan Ayew to Celtic?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527410052000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs star John McGinn attracting interest from Sunderland, Rangers prepare third bid for Connor Goldson and Celtic are linked with Swansea City striker Jordan Ayew.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745187.1527410048!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Connor Goldson: Rangers have reportedly already had a six-figure bid rejected but bidding a million or thereabouts could tempt Brighton into selling the defender"} ,"articleBody": "

Hibs star John McGinn is a transfer target for Sunderland


Jack Ross wants John McGinn as his first major signing at Sunderland. Hibs have slapped a £3million price tag on the Scotland midfielder as he enters the final year of his contract. (Scottish Sun)

Celtic want Stoke midfielder Joe Allen

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers is chasing the signature of Stoke midfielder Joe Allen after the English club was relegated from the Premier League, according to reports. (Daily Mirror)

Steven Gerrard prepares third bid for Rangers defender Connor Goldson

Steven Gerrard is still chasing the signature of Brighton defender Connor Goldson – as the Rangers boss prepares to make a third bid this week. (Daily Record)

Morelos looking for move to Turkey

Alfredo Morelos is looking for a move to Turkish club Besiktas after the Rangers striker took to Twitter to retweet a story linking him with the Turkish club. However, there has been no offer made for the 21-year-old yet. (Daily Express)

Swansea city striker on Celtic’s radar

Jordan Ayew is attracting “serious” interest from Celtic, according to Nana Oduro Sarfo, director of football at Ghanaian club Berekum Chelsea and who is a close friend of the Swansea City striker. (Daily Record)

READ MORE: 11 players linked with Rangers

Aberdeen to part ways with Tansey

Midfielder Greg Tansey has been told he will not be part of manager Derek McInnes’ plans at Aberdeen, despite the 29-year-old having two years remaining of his three-year contract. (Press and Journal)

Australian international snubs Ibrox move

Australian midfielder James Jeggo snubbed a move to Rangers before swapping Sturm Graz for Austria Wien, according to reports in local media. (SBS)

Rangers to look again at Bayern defender

Rangers are to take another look at young defender Thomas Isherwood after he impressed in a recent trial. (Ibrox Noise)

Celtic face off against European giants in hunt to sign Tottenham striker Griffiths

Celtic are in the hunt to sign Tottenham centre-forward Reo Griffiths, according to reports. The Daily Mirror claim that Juventus, Barcelona and Roma are also keeping close tabs on the prolific 17-year-old, who may quit North London if Spurs fail to meet his contract demands. (Daily Mirror)

Andy Robertson proves he belongs at football’s top table

Andrew Robertson shone for Liverpool in last night’s Champions League final, proving to critics the Scottish defender is worthy of a place in football’s top tier, writes Andrew Smith. (The Scotsman)

Erik Sviatchenko set to leave Celtic, player keen to go

Celtic defender Erik Sviatchenko is said to want to remain in Denmark, where he has been on loan since January, according to Danish media. (Ekstra Bladet)

Hibs manager Neil Lennon admits ‘I get a bit cranky’

The heart-on-his-sleeve approach to management was exhibited to the max by Neil Lennon in the aftermath of his Hibernian side losing to Hearts the other week. The Easter Road manager insists that his outburst did not lead to his board requiring to have a heart-to-heart with him and there are few better jobs in Scottish football than his current one. (The Scotsman)

Neil Lennon delighted with Lewis Stevenson’s Scotland call-up

International recognition has arrived late on for Lewis Stevenson. The Hibernian full-back’s inclusion in the Scotland squad for next week’s friendlies in Peru and Mexico comes after 12 years as a pro. However, in a pep talk Neil Lennon had with Stevenson recently, the Hibs manager sought to impress on the player that he’s not as far on in his career as might be thought. (The Scotsman)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745187.1527410048!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745187.1527410048!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Connor Goldson: Rangers have reportedly already had a six-figure bid rejected but bidding a million or thereabouts could tempt Brighton into selling the defender","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Connor Goldson: Rangers have reportedly already had a six-figure bid rejected but bidding a million or thereabouts could tempt Brighton into selling the defender","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745187.1527410048!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5746037443001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ {"gallery": {"id":"1.4745196","galleryImages":[ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745185.1527260786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745185.1527260786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fernando Torres - Wages would surely be an issue for the free agent but has been linked with Rangers as a former team mate of Steven Gerrard.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fernando Torres - Wages would surely be an issue for the free agent but has been linked with Rangers as a former team mate of Steven Gerrard.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745185.1527260786!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745186.1527260788!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745186.1527260788!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Brett Pitman: Jersey-born Portsmouth striker was in prolific form last season for Pompey. Rumoured to want to leave after the club failed to get promoted","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Brett Pitman: Jersey-born Portsmouth striker was in prolific form last season for Pompey. Rumoured to want to leave after the club failed to get promoted","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745186.1527260788!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745187.1527410048!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745187.1527410048!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Connor Goldson: Rangers have reportedly already had a six-figure bid rejected but bidding a million or thereabouts could tempt Brighton into selling the defender","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Connor Goldson: Rangers have reportedly already had a six-figure bid rejected but bidding a million or thereabouts could tempt Brighton into selling the defender","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745187.1527410048!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745188.1527260791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745188.1527260791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dominic Solanke: Has found it tough going at Liverpool behind Firmino, Mane and Salah so a loan deal could be an option to build up game time","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dominic Solanke: Has found it tough going at Liverpool behind Firmino, Mane and Salah so a loan deal could be an option to build up game time","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745188.1527260791!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745189.1527260793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745189.1527260793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jack Marriott: Has been scoring for fun for Peterborough in League One, and has understandably attracted attention. A bid has reportedly been submitted already","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jack Marriott: Has been scoring for fun for Peterborough in League One, and has understandably attracted attention. A bid has reportedly been submitted already","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745189.1527260793!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745190.1527260794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745190.1527260794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "James McArthur: Scotland international was on the Ibrox club's radar but appears to be staying at Crystal Palace","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "James McArthur: Scotland international was on the Ibrox club's radar but appears to be staying at Crystal Palace","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745190.1527260794!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745191.1527260796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745191.1527260796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Jermain Defoe: A one-year loan deal has been mooted, with Bournemouth playing a sizeable chunk of his wages","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Jermain Defoe: A one-year loan deal has been mooted, with Bournemouth playing a sizeable chunk of his wages","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745191.1527260796!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745192.1527260798!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745192.1527260798!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lucas Leiva: Another of Gerrard's former Anfield team mates, Lucas is currently with Lazio but could be tempted to reunite with his ex-colleague","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lucas Leiva: Another of Gerrard's former Anfield team mates, Lucas is currently with Lazio but could be tempted to reunite with his ex-colleague","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745192.1527260798!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745193.1527260800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745193.1527260800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Martin Skrtel: Any potential deal appears dead in the water for financial reasons, despite various conflicting reports to the contrary","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Martin Skrtel: Any potential deal appears dead in the water for financial reasons, despite various conflicting reports to the contrary","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745193.1527260800!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745194.1527260802!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745194.1527260802!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Oli McBurnie: Linked with a loan move in January, the Scotland striker is again on the club's radar","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oli McBurnie: Linked with a loan move in January, the Scotland striker is again on the club's radar","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745194.1527260802!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745195.1527260803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745195.1527260803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Reece Burke: Young West Ham defender could join on loan or a fee could be agreed. Much will depend on how new Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini feels about the youngster","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Reece Burke: Young West Ham defender could join on loan or a fee could be agreed. Much will depend on how new Hammers boss Manuel Pellegrini feels about the youngster","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745195.1527260803!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ]}} ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/still-got-that-pvc-cross-of-st-george-we-ve-got-to-cheer-for-england-again-1-4745456","id":"1.4745456","articleHeadline": "‘Still got that PVC Cross of St George? We’ve got to cheer for England again","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

I loved the story last week of the first Englishman to lift the World Cup. Not Bobby Moore, but Sidney Cugullere, or “Mr Crafty” as he was known in London’s gangland, who stole the Jules Rimet trophy a few months before the 1966 tournament.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745455.1527344290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The recovered World Cup arrives at Cannon Row police station, London in 1966. Photograph: PA."} ,"articleBody": "

Mr Crafty didn’t have to be crafty at all that day. A “little Woolworth’s padlock” was the sum total of the security around the winged statuette at the Methodist Central Hall in Westminster where it was being exhibited by the Stanley Gibbons stamp company.

(Did you feel that? Were you transported back to your childhood just there, to a world of tweezers, magnifying glasses, adhesive hinges, first editions and the futile quest for a Penny Black? Don’t lie!).

Outside the hall was Cugullere’s brother Reg. “’Ere you are, Reg, look at this,’ he said, opening his jacket. “F*****g hell, Sid, what the f*** do you think we’re going to do with that?”

The rest is World Cup history. The cup was found in the street by Pickles, the fourth most famous dog in England after John Noakes’ Shep, Dam Buster Guy Gibson’s Nigger and the talking mutt in the Master McGrath adverts, though the cross-bred collie later died when he was strangled by his lead chasing a cat. Then the cup was lifted by Moore, passing to Carlos Alberto when England had to put Peter “Tiddles” Bonetti in goals – understood to be a different cat from the one to be pursued by the tragic Pickles – and so began a long association with the quarter-finals of the competition, interspersed with the occasional nosebleed visit to the semis and dismal, two-games-and-out failure like last time.

And now? Harry Kane thinks England can triumph in Russia and a “top Conservative politician” wants Scots to rally round the Cross of St George and cheer the whiteshirts to glory. We’ve been here before, many times. The surprise is we’re here again. England captains and politicos seeking to demonstrate the common touch can’t seem to help themselves on a quadrennial basis. Who should know better? The politicians, definitely.

“I believe we can win it,” These were Kane’s words when he was unveiled as England’s youngest World Cup captain since Moore. Brave or foolish? He actually said that bravery, or lack of it, was an issue with the team in the past, going into World Cups. “I feel like the mentality [is] maybe [that] we’re a bit afraid we want to win stuff because we worry about the fans’ or the media’s reaction. We go into our shells. But I want us to not be afraid to say we want to win it. We have to be brave.”

See what Kane did there? He went from saying he believed England could win the World Cup to saying they shouldn’t be scared to say they want to win it. Did he have a wobble? Ever so slightly edge backwards into his shell? It wouldn’t be surprising. Footballers frequently contradict themselves in the space of a single sentence. Kane, pictured, might have adopted a mantra of positivity, upbeatness, big smiles, only to ****: “Aagh! What have I done? Have I given the hacks the line of lines, the Rosebud of quotes, the one that’ll have been painted on lorryloads of T-shirts, jellied eels and sunbathing slapheads’ hankies before I get home tonight?”

Maybe that was him retreating into his shell when he turned up on corner-kick duty at Euro 2016 – that was weird. And seasoned England-watchers are still wondering if he has the requisite toughness to be skipper when recently he seemed over-sensitive to teasing about his claims to a Tottenham goal that was never his.

Well, I don’t think he is a fool for apparently putting his neck on the line like this. He obviously wanted to disassociate himself from a certain lily-liveredness and fair play there. I don’t mind Kane, which as regards England football captains might be as close as a Scotsman can get to professing undying love. He is not a perisher like John Terry or a ponce like David Beckham. Good luck to Kane in Russia, then, though I won’t be supporting his team.

When are politicians going to stop trying to score points via football with fatuous statements like: “Every Scot should be ra-ra-ra-ing for England at the World Cup since, ha ha, they haven’t qualified yet again”? This is not a verbatim quote from Brandon Lewis, the Tory Party chairman, but it’s what he means.

Where was he in 2006 when Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Jack McConnell all used the sport as a political football? When there was a ridiculous row over what Scots should do when handed a regulation-issue PVC Cross of St George, the assumption being they should wave it vigorously, when – that patronised, that provoked – there really was only one place they were going to want to shove that stupid wee flag?

Why the heck should we have felt obliged to cheer for a team featuring Terry, Beckham and – christ – Ashley Cole? The “golden generation” who’d all signed big book deals in anticipation of triumph? Who needed those advances after their Wags melted designer-shop tills in Baden-Baden? Whose captain (Becks) rush-announced his retirement before the successor to a manager with a man-crush on him (Sven-Goran Eriksson) could drop him in a hilarious echo of Radio 1 buffoons Smashie & Nicey trying to beat the sack by quitting? Honestly, how could a Scottish football fan reasonably get behind any of this?

That’s the nub: it’s a matter for true supporters. I know nothing about Brandon Lewis, save the Wikipedia factoid that he entered parliament four years after the World Cup in Germany, but I’m willing to bet my near-complete set of two decades’ worth of my dear club’s match programmes that he’s not a fan in the old-school sense, otherwise he’d recognise that a Scot declining to favour our neighbours the other side of Hadrian’s Wall does not make him anti-English and it certainly doesn’t make him racist.

It’s rivalry, pure and simple, and if Lewis doesn’t get it, then he should seek guidance. Maybe not from David Cameron, though. The latter couldn’t remember whether he supported Aston Villa or that other team in that terribly nice Farrow & Ball-style colourway… ah yes, West Ham 
United.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "AIDAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745455.1527344290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745455.1527344290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The recovered World Cup arrives at Cannon Row police station, London in 1966. Photograph: PA.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The recovered World Cup arrives at Cannon Row police station, London in 1966. Photograph: PA.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745455.1527344290!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/scotland/bryan-redpath-i-can-t-keep-playing-my-son-flower-of-scotland-1-4745452","id":"1.4745452","articleHeadline": "Bryan Redpath: I can’t keep playing my son ‘Flower of Scotland’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

The knee injury which has ruled Cameron Redpath out of the England tour to South Africa gives his dad another chance to push the case for Scotland but he insists he won’t be going for the hard sell.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745451.1527343389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Scotland captain Bryan Redpath is keen for his some Cameron to follow him into a dark blue jersey. Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

Bryan Redpath is in France preparing his Scotland Under-20 squad for the junior World Cup which starts this week and knows that, by the time he returns, his eldest son will still have the option of following him into a dark blue jersey after suffering the blow of an anterior cruciate ligament knee injury.

It is a huge setback for the 18-year-old Sale Sharks academy stand-off/centre who was a surprise inclusion in Eddie Jones’s touring squad and his main priority will now be a lengthy rehab process. But the old man knows that it gives more time for the youngster to weigh up his international options.

“He was born in France and he spent most of his childhood down in England when I was playing there,” said the former Scotland captain and scrum-half, who won 60 caps and played in three World Cups.

“The key thing is that it’s his life, it’s not my life, and nobody else’s life either. Whatever decisions get made, parents, dads, mums, whatever it may be, we all make decisions based on what the kids will be happy with.

“I would love for him to play for Scotland, I would love him to be with Gregor [Townsend]. I know he is a good kid. He would fit in exceptionally well here.

“But also I can’t keep playing him Flower of Scotland when he goes to bed at night. I can’t keep buying him tartan pyjamas and all that!”

Being in the south of France brings back happy memories for Redpath, who left Melrose for Narbonne, one of the World Under-20 Championship venues, in the late 1990s. It was where Cameron was born and Redpath snr was back in that neck of the woods earlier this year to watch his son play for England Under-20s against France in Béziers, where the young Scots will open their campaign against Italy on Wednesday.

“It was beautiful to go back and I caught up with some old friends,” he said. “I said to Cam ‘imagine being back in Narbonne where I played and you were born. And you are potentially playing for England, and me coaching against them’?”

Events have unfolded to scupper that but Redpath hopes to get back to Narbonne in the latter stages after the final pool games against Argentina in Perpignan and back to Béziers for that auld enemy crunch against England.

Redpath is relishing his stint coaching a squad which includes eight additions from the junior Six Nations campaign, but is adamant that it is not a toe-dipping exercise with a view to a full-time return.

The former Gloucester, Sale and Yorkshire Carnegie boss walked away from rugby last summer to embark on a new financial career with foreign exchange specialists AFEX and he couldn’t be more clear that he isn’t in the market for another head coach role.

“No, no, Jesus Christ. I have been there, had the angry mentality about it all. It takes up your life,” he said. “When you become a director or a head coach it takes your life and it becomes very lonely. You sometimes have to sack staff, move good friends on. If I don’t change them the chairman changes me so it is not necessarily the best way of keeping very good friends.”

Preparing with these Scotland Under-20s at the state of the art Oriam centre, where they have enjoyed training sessions with the senior squad, prompts Redpath to recall his own vastly contrasting age-grade days.

“We didn’t have any World Cups then and it was under-21s,” he said. “I was quite lucky with it all and played 18s, 19s and 21s. A lot of the guys I played with and against back then went on to full international honours.

“I remember playing Wales Under-21s with Rob Howley, Neil Jenkins, Scott Gibbs and Scott Quinnell. It was different because it was all amateur. I’d be on the building sites as a joiner and then going off to play for the Under-21s on a Friday night.

“The opportunity to play in a World Cup every year is great for these kids coming through. If you can get two years with the Under-20s you learn a lot. You start to get a notice of the players coming through and build a little portfolio of familiarity. And with our boys too, someone like Gregor can watch them closely and pick out the potential. Training with the national team is good, it should inspire them.

“So the training is better, better kit, better food, good hotels, they get looked after a lot better than in my day.”

The Scots recently played two of their three pool opponents in the Six Nations, beating England but losing to Italy.

“Obviously Italy are tough. Big and physical with an aggressive blitz defence so we’ve got to manage that well. We have to be willing to take the physical contest head on,” said Redpath. “Argentina will be the same but have more of a chop tackle mentality. They are a bit more unknown for us but we will have one game to watch them when we’re out there before we play them.

“England are England aren’t they? We did well here against them in the Six Nations. I’m sure the English will respect us and won’t switch their squad around so much from the Wales game before they played us earlier in the year. They made 11 changes back then and it bit them on the backside. I don’t think they will. If they do then great but I’m not really thinking about that.

“It’s going to be tough. Three games in ten to 12 days. In the heat. No matter how fit and well conditioned you are that’s going to take its toll. Especially when you’re a small team. Our training will have to be smart.”

It is a tough, competitive section and the young Scots face a tough task to emulate last year’s excellent best-ever fifth placing in Georgia.

“Top eight obviously the target,” said Redpath. “If we can win two out of three, then the fourth game, we’ll see where that fifth game rocks up.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745451.1527343389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745451.1527343389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Former Scotland captain Bryan Redpath is keen for his some Cameron to follow him into a dark blue jersey. Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Former Scotland captain Bryan Redpath is keen for his some Cameron to follow him into a dark blue jersey. Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745451.1527343389!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/scotland/residents-tell-sfa-hampden-must-remain-home-of-football-1-4745541","id":"1.4745541","articleHeadline": "Residents tell SFA Hampden must remain home of football","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

The matters requiring the urgent attention of Ian Maxwell mean the new SFA chief executive has been met with a stuffed in-tray. In it, shortly, there will be a letter from Mount Florida Community Council making the case for retaining Hampden as the home for Scotland internationals and the closing stages of cup competitions that is rarely considered.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745540.1527363409!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The majority of local residents would oppose a move away from Hampden by the SFA. Picture: John Devlin."} ,"articleBody": "

Mount Florida Co-Co member Judith Pollock has become tired of the dissing of Hampden as a venue when set against its rival Murrayfield for housing major Scottish football occasions post-2020. She and her fellow council members are also keen to challenge the perception of Hampden being tolerated under duress by local residents. The attitude of the majority of those that live within the environs of Hampden appears to be the very opposite of nimbyism.

“It would be an absolute disaster for our area if we lost Hampden,” she said. “It is a hugely important part of the fabric of Glasgow’s southside, and supports many businesses. We carry out local surveys and one conducted a few years ago found that the attitude to Hampden was generally positive.

“There is a buzz when a major Scotland game or a concert is held there. These concerts, which wouldn’t be able to be held in Glasgow if Hampden wasn’t operational because the length of the football season would rule out them going to Celtic Park or Ibrox, are worth up to £10 million for the local economy.

“I sometimes think that people don’t realise how much work has gone into improving the protocols and arrangements that mean local residents aren’t overly-inconvenienced.

“You always hear about parking issues and problems with how people conduct themselves going to these events, but we have worked closely with Hampden Park Ltd to get good systems in place. That ranges from parking permits for local residents introduced when football was played there during the London 2012 Olympics, to an increase in Portaloos in the vicinity of the stadium.

“We only hear about how great Murrayfield is but it has never been tested in terms of dealing with the security issues involved in ferrying rival fans there by public transport. Unlike in Edinburgh, we have two train stations – Mount Florida and Kings Park – which can ensure separate entry points. There is only one tram line to Murrayfield.

“Hampden is part of our neighbourhood, I’ve watched many great games in great atmospheres there and I think the people that run it have really developed their event management.”

These views are echoed by Mount Florida Community Council chair Chris Carus. In a letter setting out the measures that have been taken to ensure the summer concerts by Ed Sheeran and Beyonce and Jay-Z are “the best they can be for both fans and residents alike” he said. “MoFloCoCo reflects the majority view of local residents that Hampden Park is a valuable asset for Mount Florida due to the economic benefits and our pride in its heritage.

“The local shopping area would find it even harder to survive without the turnover they get from events.

“We support efforts to retain Hampden as the home of Scottish football and as Scotland’s fixture on the global stadium concert circuit. We view with concern the SFA’s deliberations regarding its potential relocation away from Hampden.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745540.1527363409!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745540.1527363409!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The majority of local residents would oppose a move away from Hampden by the SFA. Picture: John Devlin.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The majority of local residents would oppose a move away from Hampden by the SFA. Picture: John Devlin.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745540.1527363409!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/scotland/it-s-time-for-daniel-harvie-to-shine-for-scotland-under-21s-1-4745476","id":"1.4745476","articleHeadline": "It’s time for Daniel Harvie to shine for Scotland Under-21s","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

In deciding to say his farewells to Aberdeen, Daniel Harvie knows he may have to take a step back. But the hope is that it will afford him the platform to take two steps forward.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745475.1527348910!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Daniel Harvie knows there will be lots of scouts at the Toulon tournament. Photograph: Ross MacDonald/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

A brave decision to cut himself loose from the relative financial security and the associated kudos of being at a club that has finished second in the Premiership for as long as he has been a senior player, the 19-year-old defender says that the time is right to challenge himself elsewhere if he wants to chase his dreams.

Harvie is a member of the Scotland Under-21 squad that will contest the prestigious Toulon tournament this week. They begin their campaign this evening against Togo in the Stade de Lattre in Aubagne, before facing France on Wednesday and South Korea on Saturday, and hope they can extend their involvement and progress to the next phase.

Honoured to be given the opportunity to represent his country, and happy to postpone a planned holiday to Thailand to be part of Scot Gemmill’s squad, the full-back is also hoping to use the coming week as a shop window.

“My contract was up this year and the manager [Derek McInnes] offered me a new one and asked me what I wanted to do. I told him I needed to play regular football, every week. I can’t lose any more time sitting on the bench and playing in a couple of games a season. I need to be playing every week, especially at this age. If I’m looking to go forward with the Scotland Under-21s, I need to be playing and impressing.

“I wasn’t getting that opportunity at Aberdeen and we agreed that I needed to go and play somewhere.”

Harvie made his breakthrough with the Pittodrie side in March 2016, with an injury-time appearance against Partick Thistle but, following a successful season on loan at Dumbarton in 2016/17, which earned him the club’s Young Player of the Year award, he spent the past term kicking his heels back in the north-east, managing just 16 minutes of first team action despite several appearances on the bench.

“I’d say it’s been a frustrating season for me. After being on loan the previous campaign and playing all those games, to come back and be on the bench so much and then suffer an injury, it didn’t work out in my favour or the way I would have planned it. But that’s football, nothing is ever straightforward. I’m looking forward to next season.

“I could have stayed there, been comfortable for another year and sat on the bench and just bided my time, but I’m looking forward to the challenge because that is what football is all about and I’m looking forward to seeing what else is out there.

“There are a few clubs I spoke to but I had a chat with my agent and we decided I would come over here [to France] without agreeing anything and see what happens. If we have a good tournament and maybe I have a few good games, that will maybe open the door a bit more and get my name out there. That’s the plan.

“People take notice of these tournaments, there are a lot of scouts, a lot of people searching for the next big thing. But it’s also about enjoying yourself and not put too much pressure on my back. We can just see what happens after that.”

The level of interest is currently lower Premiership and into the Championship. It’s a step down from the heights occupied by Aberdeen in recent seasons but Harvie sees it as a strategic move rather than a lowering of his ambitions.

“Hopefully it’s a step back to take two forward. It’s a tough decision to leave a great club with great people, like Aberdeen, but I need to play. I was worried about it when I first made the decision, thinking ‘what if it doesn’t go to plan’, but I’m happy now and know there are more clubs out there for me.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745475.1527348910!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745475.1527348910!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Daniel Harvie knows there will be lots of scouts at the Toulon tournament. Photograph: Ross MacDonald/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Daniel Harvie knows there will be lots of scouts at the Toulon tournament. Photograph: Ross MacDonald/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745475.1527348910!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/scotland/alex-mcleish-sees-peru-and-mexico-as-a-challenge-for-scotland-1-4745474","id":"1.4745474","articleHeadline": "Alex McLeish sees Peru and Mexico as a challenge for Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

The desperate hope of Alex McLeish will be that when his Scotland team play Peru on Tuesday he avoids the technicolour trauma that befell him when the national side met the South Americans at the 1978 World Cup.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745473.1527348731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex McLeish recalls watching the dire defeat by Peru at the 1978 World Cup on television. Photograph: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The 3-1 pasting suffered by the Scots in their opening game of those ill-starred finals in Argentina was a jolt to the nation’s footballing psyche which had developed delusions of grandeur about the possibilities awaiting them in the jamboree.

For McLeish, watching on television as a fan, it was even worse than seeing England lift the trophy 12 years earlier, a dose of monochrome misery delivered to his living room.

“I’ve been watching the World Cups since 1966,” said the Scotland manager. “I think that was my first one in black and white. It was probably worse watching us getting gubbed by Peru. We had gone with high expectations and then you realise that they [Peru] are not too bad a team actually. We find that out the hard way. I think everybody wanted to buy the Peru strip after that.”

The danger is that the understrength Scotland side that McLeish will be forced to field in Lima this week could be flogged in a manner akin to 1978.

In only the third game of his second spell in charge, McLeish cannot afford to think like that, even as he acknowledges his men will be the warm-up act for a Peru team bound for the World Cup finals,as they will be again on 2 June when Scotland face a Mexico side also heading to Russia.

“We are playing against two highly motivated teams,” the Scotland manager said. “There are a lot of new guys in the squad that I have. The motivation for them is obviously to win a Scotland cap, for some of them again, for some of them for the first time. I am sure that there will be immense pride in the guys that I am taking with me. We want the young guys to be as comfortable as possible, for them to feel the way they feel at their clubs.

“There’ll be a lot of new faces but it’s a fantastic experience and we’ll ask them to embrace it. We’ll be working with them in terms of their confidence levels and their approach to the game.

“The challenge is for the guys to show they can compete with two teams going to the World Cup. Spoiling their party. That is the motivation. We are Scots and when we are backed into a corner we look to come out battling and scrapping. If the guys grab their opportunity then it is a win, win.”

To do so, they have to adapt to heat and altitude and the unfamiliar approaches that follow from operating in such environments. These are among the myriad aspects that make the trip appear entirely ill-advised. Forced on McLeish, he is now obliged to talk up the tour. He at least appears on safer ground talking up the teams Scotland will be facing.

“They are highly skilful, they play at slow tempos in terms of possession, but in a flash they can turn the tide in terms of the speed aspect,” he said. “So, yeah, they have a different style of play. It is a fantastic opportunity for the new guys to learn from a different experience.”

If there is any plus to the near two-week stint that the Scotland squad will have together, it is the opportunity for bonding. “I’ve got an ida for one or two things that I hope we can bring off,” McLeish said on that front.

These tour games will be meaningful to many players afforded opportunities that wouldn’t have presented themselves in normal circumstances. Johnny Russell is firmly in that bracket, the 28-year-old having experienced a career renaissance after moving to Sporting Kansas City in the MLS at the turn of the year. Russell has yet to start for his country, the last of his four substitute appearances for the Scotland senior side coming in October 2015.

“He’s got a maturity and experience now and he’s setting the place alight over there – and it’s no easy division he’s playing in in MLS,” said McLeish. “Some of the Mexicans are in there with him. Johnny joins us right in the middle of his season as well, he’s at his peak right now so I’m excited to see him in training and when he plays in one of the games. He’ll be a great option – he has good good feet, he’s quick and lively and I’m sure he’ll bring his confidence into the camp.” It will be much needed.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745473.1527348731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745473.1527348731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex McLeish recalls watching the dire defeat by Peru at the 1978 World Cup on television. Photograph: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex McLeish recalls watching the dire defeat by Peru at the 1978 World Cup on television. Photograph: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745473.1527348731!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/tennis/brave-new-world-begins-for-cameron-norrie-at-french-open-1-4745485","id":"1.4745485","articleHeadline": "Brave new world begins for Cameron Norrie at French Open","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

It has been a quiet year in the absence of Andy Murray. Grand slam tournaments have come and gone and still there is no sign of the former world No.1 as he continues his recovery from a hip injury. Life has just not been the same.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745484.1527349244!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Edmund, ranked world No.17 with Cameron Norrie, 68 places behind him, have ambitious plans for Roland Garros. Photograph: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

But as the French Open bursts into life today, the third consecutive Murray-less major, Cameron Norrie and Kyle Edmund have every right to believe they can fill the gap in the nation’s hopes and expectations.

Both men are in Paris on a career high ranking (Edmund is the world No.17 and Norrie should be No.85 when the new list is published tomorrow), both have had an impressive clay court run so far – Edmund reached his first ATP tour final in Marrakech last month and Norrie reached his first tour semi-final in Lyon two days ago – and together they won the doubles title in Estoril three weeks ago. Such results may not have the same wow factor as Murray’s CV but the career paths of both Norrie and Edmund are on an upward trajectory.

Norrie has only ever won one main draw match at a grand slam event before (to be fair, he has only ever played three) and until February of this year, he had not played a tour level match on the red clay. No matter – Edmund, his senior in age by nine months, believes that the 22-year-old Scot (and his occasional doubles partner) is ready to start winning on his Roland Garros debut.

“It’s similar to me when I was growing up,” Edmund said. “You improve, you get confidence from beating better guys and anyone who got to the semi-final of a tour event is capable of winning grand slam matches. Davis Cup is a great example of that as well. It’s that first hurdle: you see where you’re at. But sure, he’s capable.

“We practised a lot together and we have a good understanding of each other’s games. We practised together a week before Estoril at Queen’s, and obviously at Davis Cup, so it was good to play with him in doubles and not against him.

“I find it makes it a lot easier because you are more relaxed, when you get on with the other person, you can talk about things, not worry about that first communication like you do with a new partner. I found that really helpful, we just kept it relaxed and struck up a good balance that week.”

Norrie should, weather permitting, open his account tomorrow against Pete Gojowczyk, the world No.49 from Germany. Edmund, meanwhile, has to face Alex De Minaur, the 19-year-old Australian who set local hearts racing prior to the Australian Open by reaching the finals in Sydney and the semi-finals in Brisbane. Come the Open, he ran out of gas in the first round but he had proved that he was ready to ruffle a few feathers on the main tour.

Edmund was doing likewise at the sharp end of the Aussie Open, muscling past the likes of Kevin Anderson and Grigor Dimitrov to reach his first major semi-final. It was a great run and a huge fillip for his confidence but such success brings with it new pressures: now he is expected to do it all over again at Roland Garros and beyond.

Yet for all his quiet and understated demeanour, Edmund has a rock-solid belief in his own abilities. The outside pressures are just that – outside and, as such, not a concern of his.

“I guess there was expectation from the outside,” he said. “I always have expectation on myself to do well but of course when you are going up the rankings, it’s just the way it works and there’s more expectation to do well and win.

“It’s natural but I realise that so it’s just trying to focus on not letting that get in the way and playing good tennis as much as I can. It’s finding that balance. But I’ve found that since the Australian Open that has been the case: you want to do well yourself and build on that, but others want you to do well, media and stuff, so I’ve had a few months of that I guess.

“It’s just part of it, really. I wouldn’t say it changes what I do in terms of my routine or process or how I go about things, but it’s a positive in the fact that I’m going in the right direction, because if you’re going in the other direction you’re not going to get talked about. It’s going in the right direction and things are positive.”

Those positives include beating Novak Djokovic and David Goffin in Madrid and just coming out on the losing side of a tight two-setter against Alexander Zverev, the world No.3, in the third round in Rome. Having marched into the world’s top 20, Edmund is proving that not only does he belong there but that he not so very far away from the men at the top of the rankings.

“I knew that already,” he said in his quiet but confident way. “I know I’m improving and had some good results. But you want to see improvement in the rankings as well. It’s nice to have some results to show that.”

With no Murray to follow, the French Open may not have quite the same appeal this year but Britain’s new No.1 and Scotland’s latest hope are determined to change all that. Their brave new world begins today.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALIX RAMSAY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745484.1527349244!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745484.1527349244!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kyle Edmund, ranked world No.17 with Cameron Norrie, 68 places behind him, have ambitious plans for Roland Garros. Photograph: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kyle Edmund, ranked world No.17 with Cameron Norrie, 68 places behind him, have ambitious plans for Roland Garros. Photograph: Carlos Rodrigues/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745484.1527349244!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/scotland/scot-gemmill-relies-on-instinct-as-scotland-u21s-face-the-unknown-1-4745461","id":"1.4745461","articleHeadline": "Scot Gemmill relies on instinct as Scotland U21s face the unknown","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

A year ago Scotland Under-21s defeated Brazil at the Toulon Tournament to make it through the group stages and although they lost to eventual champions England in the semi-finals, they redeemed themselves to win the third-place play-off against Czech Republic.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745460.1527345081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scot Gemmill has been unable to study footage of Scotland's opponents from Togo. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

Twelve months on, coach Scot Gemmill heads to France with a younger, new-look squad. But, if some of the Scottish players are untried at this level, some of the opposition are simply unknown.

Drawn in a group with Togo, France and South Korea, Gemmill admits that the first fixture, this evening, has been a tricky one to prepare for, with no available footage of the Togo side to pore over.

“There is none and, believe me, I’ve tried,” said the Scotland coach, pictured. “Normally we would split the preparation into what we do and then really focus on the opposition, watching videos. But we haven’t got the opportunity to do that on this occasion so the focus has had to be on us.”

Without the required detail on Togo, Gemmill says he is relying on the instincts of his young side and their ability to adapt quickly. But having played for Nottingham Forest under Brian Clough, who shied away from detailed analysis of the opposition and simply pinned the team lines on the wall, he is used to going in blind.

“[At Forest] you only knew which position you were playing by which shirt number you were wearing!” he recalls. “But I certainly don’t perceive this to be an easy game. I see Togo – and obviously I am only guessing – as a strong team, very physical, who will compete for everything, and if it is a hot day that won’t be a problem for them.

“So, there is no doubt in my mind that we have a really difficult game coming but that is why we are going, to challenge our players.

“We will still prepare properly and regardless what Togo do we have to trust our own system. Defensively our team will be organised and we will quickly assess how Togo are playing and what shape they are playing, what they are trying to do and how they are trying to hurt us and we hope our players will be big enough to react to that.

“That is the test. They have to prove that they are good enough and clever enough to play at the top level against the top players and still defend our goal as if our lives depend on it, which is how it should be every time they play.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745460.1527345081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745460.1527345081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scot Gemmill has been unable to study footage of Scotland's opponents from Togo. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scot Gemmill has been unable to study footage of Scotland's opponents from Togo. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745460.1527345081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/boxing/lee-mcgregor-relishing-chance-to-shine-in-world-title-bout-1-4745465","id":"1.4745465","articleHeadline": "Lee McGregor relishing chance to shine in world title bout","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

Every cloud has a silver lining, doesn’t it? Until a couple of months ago, boxer Lee McGregor remained largely unconvinced.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745464.1527345501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lee McGregor is keen to win a belt to show to his yet-unborn child. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

Outside the ring his world was falling apart right before his very eyes. The death of his mother, Elizabeth, last year was the first of three tragedies in a short space of time, his grandmother and cousin both passing away only a couple of weeks later. Devastation struck again at the turn of the year when the 21-year-old lost his grandfather. How much more devastation could one family take?

His boxing, though, has given him a form of escapism that he has grasped with both hands. He is now relishing his next bout that will pitch him against Tanzania’s Goodluck Mrema for the vacant IBF Youth World bantamweight title at the SSE Hydro on Saturday, 23 June.

“It’s a big step up, that’s for sure,” said McGregor, who is 3-0 as a pro. “The guy’s had 24 fights with 22 wins and 12 knockouts. I’ve never been beyond the second round in my professional career but it shows the belief my team have in me with this being a ten rounder. We know what I can do and people are going to see the best of me. I’m really looking forward to it.

“Let’s be honest, you’re going to see me get hit in this fight. When I have to dig deep that’s when I really come out on top. I’ve been in camp seven weeks now so by the time the fight comes around I’ll have had 12 weeks behind me. I’m not going to let this opportunity slip.

“I’m only 21, so I’ve got a lot ahead of me. This is a massive fight for me and it’s not Mickey Mouse. What a belt this would be to win. I’m then looking to have the British title by the end of the year.”

McGregor, who is chief support to Cyclone stablemate Josh Taylor’s WBC super lightweight world title eliminator against Viktor Postol, revealed he and girlfriend Amber are expecting a baby in November.

“Things are finally looking up so I’ve now got a focus,” he said. “I want to provide for my girlfriend and our son or daughter. It’s down to me now to bring all the happiness I can to my family. I really can’t wait to be a dad and hopefully I’ll have a couple of belts to show the baby at the end of the year.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "NEIL MCGLADE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745464.1527345501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745464.1527345501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lee McGregor is keen to win a belt to show to his yet-unborn child. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lee McGregor is keen to win a belt to show to his yet-unborn child. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745464.1527345501!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hibernian/hibs-manager-neil-lennon-admits-i-get-a-bit-cranky-1-4745504","id":"1.4745504","articleHeadline": "Hibs manager Neil Lennon admits ‘I get a bit cranky’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

The heart-on-his-sleeve approach to management was exhibited to the max by Neil Lennon in the aftermath of his Hibernian side losing to Hearts the other week. The Easter Road manager insists that his outburst did not lead to his board requiring to have a heart-to-heart with him.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745503.1527354225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon considers his position after every season but admits it would be hard to find a better job than the one he has. Photograph: Alan Harvey/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

With the close season now upon us, Lennon can relax for the next three weeks ahead of reassembling his squad to begin preparations for their Europa League qualifiers. He knows, though, that – as he did when defeat by Hearts put paid to hopes of Hibs finishing runners-up in the Premiership – in the heat of battle next season, his nature means his emotions will sometime come pouring out.

That night at Tynecastle, he questioned whether he had the appetite to stay on at the club, questioned his players’ professionalism and questioned whether the ambition would be shown to move the club in the right direction. He says there were no questions asked of him by Hibs chief executive Leeann Dempster or club chairman Rod Petrie as a result of this outburst, nor indeed his propensity to earn touchline bans in recent months.

“There wasn’t a problem with the board post-Hearts, not really,” Lennon said. “It was just my own personal frustrations being let out because we’d blown any chance of second place. There’s no question we’ve got a bit of work to do on the squad but I know the nucleus will still be there. The club are doing what they can to bring the loan players back on a permanent basis. We’ll need to freshen it up in the summer.

“I think Leeann and Rod know what to expect from me now, they know what I’m like. They probably just roll their eyes now. Especially at that time of the season when I’m tired and winding down. I get a bit cranky.

“I said I was considering my own position. But there hasn’t been a season gone by when I haven’t done that. In the four years I had at Celtic, certainly the year I had at Bolton and also last year at Hibs – I looked at my own position – you always do. I probably just never said it publicly before. You always take stock, see how you’re feeling yourself. You need time to rest and recuperate. I have to re-energise myself.

“Is it cathartic or do I wish I hadn’t done it? Probably a bit of both. Sometimes I think I shouldn’t have said it. But other times, when it’s building and building, I need to let off a bit of steam. It’s not all about me. That’s the crux of it, I shouldn’t be talking about myself publicly when I have my own thoughts and values – not just on my profession – but on my life.

“I appreciate what I’ve got at Hibs. You won’t get many better jobs than the one I’ve got, in terms of enjoyment and comfort. There’s no real pressure. I’m left to get on with the football side while in the background the club ticks along nicely. The fact we’ve got European football will bring in finances and hopefully we’ll get decent gates if we negotiate the first round. And it gives me something to get my teeth into as a manager. There’s excitement there already.”

Lennon puts himself under pressure by constantly striving for outcomes that are at the upper end of what might be considered achievable. That extends to the summer Europa League qualifiers. Hibs would have to negotiate four rounds to make it to the group stages but the Hibs manager says his team are targeting that “absolutely”.

No Scottish club has ever been able to overcome those four sets of qualifiers in Europe’s second-tier tournament. The fact that Dundalk and Shamrock Rovers have made it to the Europa League group stages, though, means Lennon refuses to accept that Scottish teams outside of Celtic should give up to having European football right up until Christmas.

“When you see some of the clubs who are in it – it’s tough but not insurmountable,” he said. “It’s not impossible but the timing makes it hard. A lot of teams are already well up to speed. We’re back in on 18 June and hopefully the main business will be done by then. The Irish clubs did it on a summer season, they caught a few teams cold. There’s no doubt it’s an advantage.

“If it was September we’d be rubbing our hands because five or six games into the league season, you’re bang at it. Because it’s early, it’s difficult and you’re going to all corners of Europe in different weather and time zones. You have to acclimatise very quickly and it’s interesting for a manager.

“My team surprised me against Brondby two years ago when we beat them [away]. I knew I had a right good group then. Unfortunately we went out on penalties but they were a very good side. Hopefully that experience will stand us in good stead this year.”

◆ Neil Lennon was speaking at the SPFL Trust’s Annual Golf Day at The Carrick. All proceeds raised will be used towards mental health first aid training in Scottish football in partnership with the Chris Mitchell Foundation. For more information visit www.spfltrust.org.uk.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745503.1527354225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745503.1527354225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon considers his position after every season but admits it would be hard to find a better job than the one he has. Photograph: Alan Harvey/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon considers his position after every season but admits it would be hard to find a better job than the one he has. Photograph: Alan Harvey/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745503.1527354225!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hibernian/neil-lennon-delighted-with-lewis-stevenson-s-scotland-call-up-1-4745506","id":"1.4745506","articleHeadline": "Neil Lennon delighted with Lewis Stevenson’s Scotland call-up","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

International recognition has arrived late on for Lewis Stevenson. The Hibernian full-back’s inclusion in the Scotland squad for next week’s friendlies in Peru and Mexico comes after 12 years as a pro. However, in a pep talk Neil Lennon had with Stevenson recently, the Hibs manager sought to impress on the player that he’s not as far on in his career as might be thought.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745505.1527354504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Stevenson has been assured by Neil Lennon that he still has a long way to go in his career. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

“I pulled him in a few weeks ago and told him he’s only 30. I didn’t go to Celtic until I was 29 and people thought I was there for a lifetime,” said Lennon, who played at Parkhead for five-and-a-half years. “So he’s got a lot still in front of him if he looks after himself. He’s defended well this season and he’s very comfortable on the ball for us.

“It’s great that he’ll get a cap. It’s an opportunity for him. These trips can be difficult but it’s important for the Hibs boys who are there to make a mark. It’ll be tough against quality sides, who will be hungry, so it will be an eye opener for a lot of them. But a good one. They’ll see football in a different culture.”

Lennon believes the more cultured environment of the top flight that Hibernian were berthed in last season for the first time in four years has allowed Stevenson to force his way into the plans of Alex McLeish. The absence of Kieran Tierney, Andrew Robertson and Barry Douglas for the end-of-season excursion to the Americas has enhanced the Scotland prospects of the Hibernian stalwart, but Lennon would contend Stevenson has done his bit to earn international favour.

“He’s had a great season and has improved a lot,” said the Irishman. “The Premiership suits him more than the Championship, believe it or not. He’s been really consistent and it’s a great honour for him. It means a lot to him. Lewis is so easy to manage. He’s a model pro, he trains every day and never gets injured. He’s a constant 7 out of 10 every week. He can still improve on things like his delivery. When I first came in he was hitting the first man too often. But it’s got better this season.”

Hibernian have John McGinn, Dylan McGeouch and Stevenson in Peru. No club has more with a host of senior players either excused or declaring themselves unfit to travel.

“I’m sure that’s a source of frustration for Alex. A lot has been made of this trip, in terms of the timing of it,” said Lennon. “But Alex is building. Scotland aren’t in a massive transitional phase, they’ve got a good nucleus to the squad.

“He’ll want to look at different players but I understand the frustration at players pulling out. I can also understand from some of the players’ point of view, who’ve played non-stop football for a number of years. But if there are some pulling out who haven’t, they might need to take a look at themselves.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745505.1527354504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745505.1527354504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lewis Stevenson has been assured by Neil Lennon that he still has a long way to go in his career. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Stevenson has been assured by Neil Lennon that he still has a long way to go in his career. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745505.1527354504!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/cycling/callum-skinner-wants-tougher-sanctions-on-drugs-cheats-1-4745512","id":"1.4745512","articleHeadline": "Callum Skinner wants tougher sanctions on drugs cheats","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

Callum Skinner has again spoken out against drugs cheats, urging the authorities to come down tougher on those who try to circumnavigate doping rules in sport. But the Olympic cyclist has also appealed to those who are losing faith with sport not to give in to scepticism.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745511.1527355162!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Skinner wants to see change"} ,"articleBody": "

The 25-year-old sprinter, who won team sprint gold for GB at the Rio Olympics and bronze for Scotland in the kilo time trial at this year’s Commonwealth Games, is a vocal advocate of competing clean and is a member of the UK Anti-Doping committee.

But, in 2016, he was the focus of some negativity after Russian hackers leaked a list of athletes who had been given permission to use asthma medication and cast doubts on the validity of the claims. The Scot’s name was included but, determined to prove his innocence, Skinner took the unusual decision to publicly release his medical records which showed that he had been treated for the disease since childhood.

Speaking during Clean Sport Week, he acknowledged that he is just one of a growing number of elite sportspeople citing the medical condition as the reason for using certain drugs, the levels of which are restricted by the World Anti Doping Agency, and said he understands why some fans are becoming jaded and unsure about who is and isn’t cheating.

In 2016, English cyclist Simon Yates was banned for four months after his team say they forgot to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) and he was treated with a more powerful asthma medication, which showed up in a drugs test.

Tour de France winner Chris Froome also has a cloud hanging over him after he was found to have around double the permitted level of 1000mg per millilitre of asthma drug salbutamol in a urine sample on 7 September last year, while fellow yellow jersey winner Bradley Wiggins has spoken out about his asthma and the use of TUEs before several significant races. Insisting that everything was above board, he has conceded that it may appear unethical to the ill-informed, which is where Skinner wants things to change. For the good of everyone and for sport. Speaking this week, he has asked that athletes work to help educate followers and pleaded for the public to gain greater insight before assuming the worst.

“I can see it from the sceptics’ side and I think it’s time athletes were more open and honest about asthma. But I think some athletes don’t talk about it because they’re worried about getting tripped up or saying the wrong thing – you can get nervous talking about it because the pitfalls are so serious.

“There is a lot of misinformation out there, pushed by people with their own agendas, but if you can appeal to the vast majority of people who are open to listening to a reasonable argument then that’s fine.”

While there is some cynicism at the increasing numbers of asthmatics in sport, Skinner says that is probably due to the condition being under-diagnosed for years.

In 2015, studies show that 358 million people globally had asthma, up from 183 million in 1990 and that tally is rising. One in 11 British adults is reported to be asthmatic but the issue is even more prevalent in elite sport.

Studies have been conducted to explain those discrepancies, though. With top athletes putting their airways under far more stress than the average man or woman, with their exertions causing rapid, heavy breathing, in atmospheric conditions, the difference is perhaps unsurprising.

Recent tests at Kent University’s school of sport and exercise sciences found that of 33 UK-based members of the British swimming squad 70 per cent had some form of asthma, against a national asthma rate of about 8 per cent to 10 per cent. It is believed the chlorinated atmosphere of a pool could be a factor in this. Similar tests on Team Sky cyclists found that a third have the condition.

For them it is believed that the rapid gulping in of cold, dry air could be a trigger, which would also explain why Paula Radcliffe and around half of elite cross-country skiers also suffer from the disease.

With that statistic behind them, Skinner says that athletes with asthma have to be more open about the condition and the treatments to dispel distrust and allow the focus to switch to the real drug cheats.

“I say to all athletes with asthma start having a bit more dialogue about it.

“Too often you see athletes shut down that question, not be willing to talk about it, but the more people talk about it the more at ease they’ll get with it.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745511.1527355162!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745511.1527355162!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Callum Skinner wants to see change","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Callum Skinner wants to see change","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745511.1527355162!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/scotland/sfa-s-ian-maxwell-vows-to-do-it-the-right-way-1-4745553","id":"1.4745553","articleHeadline": "SFA’s Ian Maxwell vows to ‘do it the right way’","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

Whatever comes Ian Maxwell’s way in the SFA chief executive job that he took up this week, it is unlikely to prove as onerous as the issues that beset his predecessor.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745552.1527366478!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Maxwell wants to see every Scottish club performing to its maximum. Picture: Getty,"} ,"articleBody": "

Stewart Regan must curse the fates that he was forced to deal with the disintegration of Rangers on his watch. Yet, however difficult it was to deal with the Ibrox club’s liquidation in 2012, Regan did not help himself by tacitly admitting the commercial importance of the Rangers brand meant requiring to play fast and loose with sporting fairness.

This was evidenced in Charles Green’s Rangers newco being granted a temporary SFA licence in order to fulfil a Challenge Cup fixture against Brechin City in July 2012 – an unprecedented move necessitated because Green then wouldn’t agree to the transfer of oldco’s membership if it meant the newco being liable for any sanctions arising from the pre-liquidation Ibrox club’s use of EBTs.

Maxwell would not criticise the calls Regan made and the latitude given to Green’s Rangers in 2012 but insisted that were any similar scenario ever to arise again then his approach would be grounded in serving the rules.

“I think that Scottish football needs every club to be performing at its maximum, commercially off the park and on the park too,” he said. “That’s what we all want to see, a competitive league. There will be challenges within that and it’s about making the right decisions at the right time. It’s not one for me to say that we did this when we should have done that, it’s more about looking forward. I’m comfortable that if there are situations that arise going forward, then we will deal with them in the right way.”

That will extend to how the SFA deals with the findings from the independent review into child abuse in Scottish football that are expected to be published imminently.

“My son Christopher played at Cumbernauld Colts, and as a parent first and foremost, you want to make sure that if your son is going to be involved in football at any level it is absolutely safe. That’s got to be fundamental,” said Maxwell.

“In all the time that Christopher has been playing I’ve never seen or heard any reports, it does seem to be mostly historical. The review that we have coming out might contradict that, but I don’t think it will. But, you have to play in a safe environment. The report is going to be a massive issue and a sensitive issue. It’s one that we have to deal with properly. It is going to have an impact right across the game, and we have got to be prepared to manage that in the right manner, and we are.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745552.1527366478!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745552.1527366478!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ian Maxwell wants to see every Scottish club performing to its maximum. Picture: Getty,","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ian Maxwell wants to see every Scottish club performing to its maximum. Picture: Getty,","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745552.1527366478!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/andy-robertson-proves-he-belongs-at-football-s-top-table-1-4745565","id":"1.4745565","articleHeadline": "Andy Robertson proves he belongs at football’s top table","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527397200000 ,"articleLead": "

There was one striking example of Andrew Robertson bringing it all back home for Scots desperate to feel a sense of Champions League occasion.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745564.1527372459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Robertson makes a saving tackle to stop Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Among the oodles of articles devoted to the Glaswegian going forward into club football’s greatest game with Liverpool, a headline in one newspaper declared that the full-back’s “heart” would be in “Maryhill” as he faced up to Real Madrid in Kiev, this down to the fact his beloved grandparents reside there.

Surely not since former Partick Thistle centre-back Alan Hansen was forming the bedrock of the all-conquering Liverpool side during the late 1970s and early 1980s have there been any attempts to even tangentially link the gritty north-west outpost of Glasgow with the grand occasion that draws the glitziest of the glitterati.

Mind you, since that period, opportunities to even bring a tartan tinge to the decider of the Big Cup, once known simply as European, and since 1992 the Champions League, have been rarer than hens’ teeth.

Rightly, there was much proud boasting in these parts over Robertson last night becoming the first Scot to play in the final for 21 years – Paul Lambert the previous man to do so with his never-to-be-forgotten in these borders contribution to Borussia Dortmund’s 1997 victory over Juventus. In itself, though, this didn’t do full justice to the Scottish success story that is the ascent to the pinnacle of the game by a 24-year-old who only five years ago was an amateur player at Queen’s Park.

Robertson became only the third Scot to be active on the grandest club football stage in 32 years – Steve Archibald doing so for a Barcelona in their penalty shoot-out defeat by Steaua Bucharest in 1986 – and the 40th in the entire 63-year history of the competition.

In recent decades we stopped believing that anyone with Scottish genes could belong in such exalted company. But Robertson has shown otherwise.

And for that there should have been toasts to his guid health last night.

Robertson’s team may have lost, and the Celt that stamped his name all over the final may have been a Welshman by the name of Gareth Bale – with arguably the most glorious strike in such a final – but the Scotland international practically never put a foot wrong.

If only the same could have been said of the feet, and more pointedly the hands, of his hapless goalkeeper Loris Karius.

Robertson’s marauding runs down the left flank were crucial in the Anfield side’s run to the final.

But last night, Madrid’s regular encroachment into the Liverpool half gave the Scotland international few outlets to go forward.

That meant Robertson had to be disciplined, alert and decisive. Whenever there was a sniff of a threat down Liverpool’s left – and by turns he only had, er, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric, Isco, Dani Carvajal and Novo for company there – Robertson stepped up and stepped in.

He hustled Ronaldo out of danger early on, and produced a headed clearance to prevent the ball falling for the Portuguese phenomenon, before covering the ground like a whippet to form an unpassable wall for a Modric shot.

Later, as Liverpool sought to hang in and hope for a late rally as they trailed by only one goal entering the closing quarter of an hour, Robertson produced his finest intervention by back-tracking and then sliding in to nick the ball from the toe of Ronaldo just as the Real demigod was winding up to shoot inside the penalty area. His efforts ultimately were in vain.

But in Maryhill, and everywhere from Galloway to Shetland, they are certain to have been acknowledged and appreciated.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745564.1527372459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745564.1527372459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Andy Robertson makes a saving tackle to stop Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Andy Robertson makes a saving tackle to stop Cristiano Ronaldo from scoring. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745564.1527372459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/auchinleck-fan-travels-from-shanghai-for-junior-cup-final-1-4745454","id":"1.4745454","articleHeadline": "Auchinleck fan travels from Shanghai for Junior Cup final","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527361550000 ,"articleLead": "

Tales of returning exiles crossing the world to see their team contest the Scottish Junior Cup final are a hardy annual, but this afternoon, as they attempt to stretch their record number of Scottish Junior Cup wins to 12, in their 15th final, Auchinleck Talbot have put a new twist on this old tale.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745453.1527361545!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gornley celebrates Auchinleck's Scottish Junior Cup triumph in 2015. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

Because Shiyu Ji has made the 20-hours long trip from his home in Shanghai, to watch the club he fell in love with while studying at the famous Glasgow School of Art. The 27-year-old was enthralled by the story of Queen’s Park, even before he arrived in Glasgow in 2014, and he began to follow the Spiders everywhere – until the afternoon of 14 March, 2015, when, feeling a bit under the weather, he passed on a trip to Elgin.

Instead, he accompanied a Japanese fellow student to Greenfield Park, Shettleston, to watch Shettleston take on Talbot. He was, he admits, instantly captivated by Talbot’s style of football, and the passion and colour of their fans. It was Hampden no more, particularly after his first visit to Beechwood Park, then, after watching the Bot beat Musselburgh in that 2015 final, he was hooked.

Back in Shanghai, where he works as a designer of interactive systems for a technology company, he watches Scottish Junior football matches on YouTube, and is particularly keen on Talbot TV. “The atmosphere at Rugby Park when we won in 2015 was magical,” says Shiyu, who is looking forward to the same experience this afternoon when Auchinleck take on Hurlford United in Kilmarnock.

But neither he, nor any of the other Talbot fans who will swarm up the A76 to Rugby Park, thinks that 12th win will be easy. And that view is endorsed by manager Tommy Sloan, as he seeks his sixth win in his eighth final, and his 25th trophy as Bot boss.

“I didn’t know that about the number of trophies, I don’t bother too much with stats,” said Sloan. “All I know is, we’ve got a final to win, and I must admit, I’m a bit happier about this one than I was last season [when Talbot lost to Glenafton].

“I think we’ve got a stronger squad than last season, certainly we carry more of a goals threat, and the two or three newcomers this season have all blended in well. We have a slight worry over Ross Harvey, who missed our last two games, but, other than that, we’re fine.

“Hurlford are a good side, they’ve got a mix of experience and skill, and a bit of flair; they’re on a good run of form, but, so are we – so I am looking forward to a really good game. We are taking nothing for granted.”

Opposite number Darren Henderson, a former team-mate of Sloan at Stranraer, whose only previous final was in 2014, when United beat Glenafton to see Hurlford, a dormitory village next to Kilmarnock, holding both the Scottish Amateur and Junior Cups, is quite happy in the role of underdogs.

The Hurlford squad contains one or two veterans of that 2014 campaign, plus some new boys, including the venerable Mark Roberts.

Roberts, the former “Golden Child” as a Kilmarnock player, and one-time Ayr United player-manager, is relishing his first experience of junior football and, even though he is doubtful for the final with a niggling injury, a win would be the icing on the cake of a career that has also included spells with Partick Thistle, St Mirren, Falkirk and Airdrie. Now 42, he was voted Hurlford’s Player of the Year this season, proving class is indeed eternal.

Last season United boss Henderson was on TV duty with BBC Alba but he makes no secret of the fact he prefers the technical area to the TV gantry.

“It’s the biggest game of the year, we’re facing Talbot, who wouldn’t want to be involved?” is his take on the day.

“We’ve got half a dozen survivors from 2014, so nerves will not be an issue, and we beat Talbot in the league recently, but this is the final. However, it’s a great day for Ayrshire football, which is certainly on a high just now, and I can hardly wait,” he said.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MATT VALLANCE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745453.1527361545!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745453.1527361545!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "David Gornley celebrates Auchinleck's Scottish Junior Cup triumph in 2015. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "David Gornley celebrates Auchinleck's Scottish Junior Cup triumph in 2015. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745453.1527361545!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/cricket/grange-edge-ahead-in-capital-rivalry-as-heriot-s-slip-1-4745569","id":"1.4745569","articleHeadline": "Grange edge ahead in capital rivalry as Heriot’s slip","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527372972000 ,"articleLead": "

Champions Heriot’s suffered their first defeat of the campaign as neighbours Grange grabbed pole position in the Eastern Premier title race yesterday.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745568.1527372968!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Grange's Nick Farrar hit a half-century against Carlton. Picture: Jon Savage"} ,"articleBody": "

The two capital rivals had home advantage in their quest to make it five straight wins and, while Grange made no mistake against Carlton, Heriot’s went down by three wickets to a resurgent Aberdeenshire at Goldenacre.

Only Peter Ross showed the necessary resolve for the home side with a battling half-century as ’Shire’s bowlers restricted the hosts to 206-8, Hirupam Doley leading the way with 3-38. Sri Lankan Akshu Merengnage and Craig Knight then both stroked 53 to secure a win that keeps the Mannofield men firmly in contention.

Grange took advantage to justify their status as title favourites with a commanding 72-run win over Carlton at Portgower Place.

They suffered an early setback when Gordon Goudie fell to his old Scotland team-mate Ali Evans but a century stand between Nick Farrar and Dylan Budge put Grange firmly in control.

Farrar, pictured, made 50 before former Durham youngster Budge showed his class with a superb century while cameos by Preston Mommsen and Neil McCallum hoisted the hosts’ tally to 249-8, despite 4-41 by Evans.

That effort was trumped by home spinner Andrew Brock who claimed a match-winning 6-26 while former Grange man Arun Pillai top-scored for Carlton with 38.

Forfarshire were eight-wicket winners in the Tayside derby at Lochlands where Scotland duo Michael Leask (66no) and Craig Wallace (47no) made light work of the run-chase after Christian Robertson’s devastating 5-20 had restricted Arbroath to 180.

Three RH Corstorphine players hit half-centuries in a total of 289-6 against Stewart’s Melville at Inverleith before Callum Dutia (5-14) and Majid Haq (3-12) spun the visitors to a huge 203-run win.

StewMel remain winless as do Glenrothes who went down as Watsonians broke their duck at Myreside.

Safyaan Sharif hit the game’s top score of 78 as the Fifers posted 230-8 but Mike Carson and Ewan Chalmers responded with 71 and 67 as ’Sonians eased home with six wickets in hand.

THE season may only be five weeks old but already Ferguslie have the look of Western Premier champions after brushing aside Poloc to extend their winning start to the campaign.

They did it the hard way in the Meikleriggs sunshine where, after electing to bat, they lost their first three batsmen with only 20 runs on the board.

However, former Saltires star Omer Hussain led the recovery with an 85-ball half-century before Taimoor Ahmad top-scored with 69.

Ahmad, who defected from Ferguslie to spend last season with yesterday’s visitors, was firmly back in the affections of home fans with yesterday’s display.

Not only did his runs help post a healthy 246-8, he then went on to claim 3-19 as the Paisley team triumphed by 104 runs.

Elsewhere, champions Prestwick flexed their muscles to end the three-game winning run of second top West of Scotland at Henry Thow Oval.

West never recovered from the loss of three early wickets and were bundled out for 107 as Sachin Chaudhary, the league’s leading wicket-taker, added another four to his haul.

Fazal Jawad’s 54 then helped Prestwick cruise home by six wickets with plenty overs in hand.

Uddingston remain poised to launch their own challenge after Mo Awais and Ross Lyons each claimed three wickets in a comfortable 103-run success against winless Dumfries at Bothwell Castle.

Scotland coach Grant Bradburn’s son Tom top-scored with 36 and claimed three wickets as Stirling dug deep to win their second game of the campaign at the expense of Ayr at New Williamfield while Greenock fell ten runs short in a high-scoring thriller at Clydesdale.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "WILLIAM DICK"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745568.1527372968!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745568.1527372968!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Grange's Nick Farrar hit a half-century against Carlton. Picture: Jon Savage","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Grange's Nick Farrar hit a half-century against Carlton. Picture: Jon Savage","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745568.1527372968!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/athletics/laura-muir-makes-impressive-return-in-diamond-league-meeting-1-4745567","id":"1.4745567","articleHeadline": "Laura Muir makes impressive return in Diamond League meeting","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527372721000 ,"articleLead": "

More than two months spent in the library and in exam halls have not diluted Laura Muir’s raw speed. The Scot returned to action with an impressive second place in the 1500 metres at last night’s Diamond League meeting in Oregon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745566.1527372718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Laura Muir finished second following a late surge. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

The 25-year-old, who this week formally qualified as a veterinarian at Glasgow University, produced one of her trademark late surges on the closing straight for a time of 3:59.30 as the USA’s Shelby Houlihan grabbed a surprise victory in a world lead of 3:59.06.

Elsewhere, in-form Reece Prescod, who finished third, ran the second-quickest 100 metres ever by a British male in a wind-assisted time of 9.88 seconds.

Meanwhile Mark Dry could sit out the rest of the year after coming 11th in the hammer at the Halle Throws International in Germany.

With Scottish rival Chris Bennett pulling out injured, the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist threw 70.04 metres, Poland’s Pawel Fajdek taking victory in a world-lead of 80.70m with Nick Miller third.

The prestigious event might be the last of Dry’s season – or indeed his career – as he looks at a potential hip reconstruction surgery to repair the damage which has left him struggling to walk.

Scots rivals Jake Wightman and Chris O’Hare will go head to head in today’s Westminster Mile in London.

“After a month at altitude I hope to be in the sort of shape to run under four minutes,” said Wightman, who landed 1500m bronze at the Commonwealths.

“With the passing of Sir Roger Bannister, this year it would be nice for that to happen. It will be added motivation.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARK WOODS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745566.1527372718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745566.1527372718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Laura Muir finished second following a late surge. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Laura Muir finished second following a late surge. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745566.1527372718!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/slavisa-jokanovic-admits-fulham-need-ambitious-recruitment-1-4745563","id":"1.4745563","articleHeadline": "Slavisa Jokanovic admits Fulham need ‘ambitious’ recruitment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527368816000 ,"articleLead": "

Slavisa Jokanovic recognises Fulham will have to invest in their team to ensure survival after winning promotion to the Premier League.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745562.1527368813!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Promotion has strengthened Slavisa Jokanovic's position as Fulham manager: Picture: PA."} ,"articleBody": "

A 1-0 victory over Aston Villa in the Championship play-off final secured their return to the English top flight after an absence of four years.

With Scots pair Kevin McDonald and Tom Cairney in the heart of their midfield Fulham have played consistently entertaining football since the Serbian’s appointment in 2015. It was again on display at Wembley, particularly when Ryan Sessegnon created Cairney’s first-half goal, but at a higher level it could yet leave them vulnerable.

If Jokanovic’s future had also been the subject of speculation, Fulham’s promotion makes him significantly likelier to remain as manager.

The on-loan Aleksandar Mitrovic and Matt Targett similarly did much to inspire his team’s improvement following their arrivals in January and the 49-year-old said: “I personally must be satisfied. This is our project, this Fulham is my club, my staff. We needed two and a half years.

“We must adapt ourselves; we know what is ahead of us. The Premier League is the most competitive league and we must be clever. That (January) transfer window was successful and gave an important push for the team. We must show ambition to be a Premier League team, show ambition with (transfer) money too.

“We believe we can play this way, but we must know what characters and what players we need. We must try to dominate against teams we believe we can dominate.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DECLAN WARRINGTON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745562.1527368813!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745562.1527368813!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Promotion has strengthened Slavisa Jokanovic's position as Fulham manager: Picture: PA.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Promotion has strengthened Slavisa Jokanovic's position as Fulham manager: Picture: PA.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745562.1527368813!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/real-madrid-3-liverpool-1-bale-double-secures-third-straight-champions-league-title-1-4745561","id":"1.4745561","articleHeadline": "Real Madrid 3 Liverpool 1: Bale double secures third straight Champions League title","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527368704000 ,"articleLead": "

Real Madrid substitute Gareth Bale scored twice - including a brilliant overhead kick - to win a Champions League final which ended in tears for Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah in Kiev.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745560.1527368777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gareth Bale's incredible second goal. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

That’s three Champions Leagues in a row for Real Madrid, the first side to achieve that feat since Bayern in 1976, and their fourth in five years, yet a sense lingers that they are not truly great.

That is partly rooted in the fact that they stand for no obvious philosophy other than being rich enough to buy a lot of very good players, and by the feeling that luck has been with them – sometimes in the bounce of the ball or the propensity of opponents to make mistakes and sometimes with refereeing decisions.

But they also have undisputed individual quality. Gareth Bale’s overhead kick, moments after coming off the bench, was preposterous, one of the great final goals, a reminder of the talent of a player who has spent much of this season in the shadows.

But the luck was there as well as a game billed as Cristiano Ronaldo against Mohamed Salah was robbed of one of its stars within half an hour before two goals were gifted them by goalkeeping errors.

Mystifyingly the Serbian referee Milorad Mazic saw no offence as Sergio Ramos pulled down Salah. The defender then landed on Salah’s upper arm, causing him a shoulder injury that, after a brief attempt to play on, forced him off. There may not have been a deliberate attempt to injure Salah, but the offence was clear.

That was followed five minutes later by the departure of Real Madrid defender Dani Carvajal. The full-back had only returned in the final league game of the season after a month out.

The injuries disrupted what had been an extremely bright opening to the game for Liverpool. Having had 111 touches in the Madrid half in the first 30 minutes; Liverpool had seven in the remainder of the half.

The attitude revealed by Marcelo’s comment after Real Madrid had survived a Juventus fightback in the quarter-final that “Real Madrid is Real Madrid” and so does not suffer the sort of collapse Barcelona had in Rome the previous night, has characterised everything about them around this final. The idea that Salah might be in anyway be approaching the level of Cristiano Ronaldo has been treated – at least in public – with scorn, while their approach, again and again under Zinedine Zidane, has been rooted in the conviction that if a game comes to a shoot-out, they will win it. And here, surely enough, they did find a way, once again to win, despite a distinctly uncomfortable opening half hour.

Perhaps it was an act, perhaps Madrid thought they could lure Liverpool into a frenzy that would burn them out, but in the early stages they were clearly unsettled by the intensity of the Liverpool press. Both sides misplaced passes and wasted opportunities to break, and there was an awkward sense the longer the first half went on that if one of a number of loose balls in the Madrid box didn’t break for Liverpool, their opportunity might have passed. Only once did one of those chances break for a Liverpool player, but Roberto Firmino’s initial shot was blocked and then Keylor Navas made an excellent save to keep out Trent Alexander-Arnold’s follow-up.

That seemed like it would be as good as it got for Liverpool. Karim Benzema had an effort ruled out after Ronaldo had strayed offside and Isco hit the bar before Madrid took the lead with a farcical goal.

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Sven Ulreich had made an almost incomprehensible mistake to gift Benzema a goal in the semi-final, and Karius’s gaffe was every bit as bad. As the Liverpool keeper attempted to roll the ball out Benzema stuck out his foot, diverting the ball into the net.

At that stage the suspicion was that Liverpool were mentally gone, but four minutes later a right-wing corner brought an equaliser, Virgil van Dijk heading down for Mane to stab in. Thoughts of a fightback, though, lasted less than ten minutes. Marcelo crossed and Bale leapt and hooked a brilliant overhead kick looping beyond the dive of Karius.

Much, much worse was to come for the German as he allowed a Bale strike from range to squirm through his grasp.

One magnificent goal, two goalkeeping mistakes and an injury to a key opponent; for Madrid, it seems, it was ever thus.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745560.1527368777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745560.1527368777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Gareth Bale's incredible second goal. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Gareth Bale's incredible second goal. Picture: Peter Byrne/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745560.1527368777!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/guinness-pro14/leinster-40-32-scarlets-leo-cullen-s-men-are-double-tops-1-4745559","id":"1.4745559","articleHeadline": "Leinster 40 - 32 Scarlets: Leo Cullen’s men are double tops","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527368241000 ,"articleLead": "

Leinster completed an historic Guinness Pro14 and Champions Cup double with a free-flowing 40-32 final victory over Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745558.1527368238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Blue is the colour as Leinster celebrate winning the Guinness Pro14 final in Dublin. Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Leo Cullen’s men ran in five tries and Jonathan Sexton kicked 13 points as they became the first Celtic side to win the domestic and European Cup titles in the same season.

Leigh Halfpenny booted Scarlets into an early 6-3 lead and Johnny McNicholl’s well-taken try cancelled out a Devin Toner effort, but James Lowe’s deftly-finished score on the stroke of half-time had Leinster 21-11 to the good.

Man-of-the-match Sexton stepped up as captain after injury unfortunately ended Isa Nacewa’s 185th and final Leinster appearance in the 18th minute, while Scarlets also lost Aaron Shingler to a knee injury.

The Conference B table toppers put the game beyond Scarlets’ reach with third quarter tries by Sean Cronin and Jordan Larmour, coupled with a further score by Jack Conan.

Time ran out on the defending champions’ late comeback, although the classy McNicholl finished with a hat-trick and replacement prop Werner Kruger also crossed late on.

Wayne Pivac’s charges were much improved compared to their most recent visit to Dublin – last month’s 28-13 Champions Cup semi-final defeat by the same opposition – and an early poach by James Davies offered encouragement. Yet, Sexton gave Leinster a sixth-minute lead from the tee, before Halfpenny, who shrugged off a hamstring injury to start, responded with two penalties by the 12-minute mark – rewarding flanker Shingler’s restart work 
and punishing a James Ryan 
offside.

Rob Kearney raised the decibel level among the 46,092 crowd by beating Halfpenny to a Sexton garryowen, the latter turning forward pressure into three points, but Nacewa was taken off soon after.

His replacement, Rory O’Loughlin, broke through a gap in the lead-up to Sexton’s third successful kick, which crept over via the right-hand post.

Leinster finally made their 80 per cent share of possession count on the half-hour mark, No.8 Conan launching a prolonged attack from deep. Lowe and Tadhg Furlong also had key involvements before lock Toner was driven over for an unconverted try.

Scarlets soon found joy in the outside channels, moving the ball at pace for Steff Evans and Gareth Davies to go close and set up winger McNicholl to snipe over in the 34th minute.

Halfpenny failed to convert at 14-11 and Leinster showed their champion quality, twice kicking for the corner before soft hands from McGrath and Sexton sent Lowe diving over on the short side. Sexton’s conversion wormed its way over for a ten-point split at the interval.

Despite Scarlets defending Leinster’s first wave on the resumption, Sexton found a superb touch after Scott Williams’ high tackle on the Ireland man and hooker Cronin sprang over in the right corner from the resulting maul. Sexton bent his touchline conversion through the uprights for a 28-11 advantage, and young gun Larmour’s chasing down of his own kick and terrific pick-up served up the Irish province’s fourth try.

Scarlets worked the ball wide for McNicholl to acrobatically touch down in the 64th minute, Halfpenny’s well-struck conversion giving them some hope at 33-18 down.

However, Conan slammed the door shut four minutes later, replacement Joey Carbery’s slick footwork taking him past Hadleigh Parkes before the supporting McGrath sent Conan in under the posts.

Carbery’s conversion had Leinster counting down the minutes to their first Pro14 title success since 2014, yet Scarlets deserve immense credit for their finish.

Kruger muscled over from close range for the Welsh side, then McNicholl added an injury-time seven-pointer, created by centre Williams’ barnstorming run.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SIMON LOVELL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745558.1527368238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745558.1527368238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Blue is the colour as Leinster celebrate winning the Guinness Pro14 final in Dublin. Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Blue is the colour as Leinster celebrate winning the Guinness Pro14 final in Dublin. Photograph: Donall Farmer/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745558.1527368238!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/exeter-chiefs-10-27-saracens-slick-sarries-claim-title-1-4745551","id":"1.4745551","articleHeadline": "Exeter Chiefs 10 - 27 Saracens: Slick Sarries claim title","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527366430000 ,"articleLead": "

Saracens were crowned Aviva Premiership champions for a third time in four seasons after ending Exeter’s title reign at Twickenham.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745550.1527366428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Saracens' Sean Maitland and Nick Isiekwe are both hands-on. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

First-half tries by No.8 Billy Vunipola and wing Chris Wyles sent Saracens on the way to a 27-10 victory.

Wyles added a second touchdown after 47 minutes and there was no way back for Exeter after that as Saracens collected Premiership silverware for a fourth time in their history.

Saracens stand-offf Owen Farrell kicked two conversions before going off 15 minutes from time, with Ben Spencer adding a late penalty and Nathan Earle a 79th-minute try.

Exeter’s points came through an early Joe Simmonds penalty and a Gareth Steenson try that Steenson converted but despite finishing well clear of Saracens over the 22-game regular Premiership season, they could not withstand their opponents’ superior pace and power that was driven by man-of-the-match Mako Vunipola.

England head coach Eddie Jones looked on as Billy Vunipola opened Saracens’ account following an initial 15 minutes that Exeter dominated.

And when Wyles, making his farewell appearance before retiring from professional rugby, struck four minutes later, Exeter were left chasing the game before ultimately suffering a first defeat since mid-February.

Exeter forced the final’s first mistake when Saracens wing Sean Maitland spilled Chiefs scrum-half Nic White’s high kick, and then the defending champions did what they do best – keep possession and go through numerous phases.

There was also a high-risk element to Exeter’s passing game, which they continued with after Simmonds kicked them into a fifth-minute lead.

It took Saracens 15 minutes to move inside Exeter’s 22, but they struck from their first opportunity after Farrell’s clever kick into space found full-back Alex Goode, who kept the ball and set up an imposing attacking platform.

Billy Vunipola touched down from close range for a try that Farrell converted.

Saracens then cut Exeter’s defence wide open. Goode was again heavily involved, firing an overhead pass to Maitland, and he committed Exeter’s final defender before sending an unmarked Wyles in at the corner, securing a nine-point advantage.

Exeter lost captain Don Armand for a head injury assessment, with Thomas Waldrom going on.

Exeter managed to avoid further damage when Farrell sent a touchline penalty wide, meaning Saracens led 12-3 midway through an absorbing contest.

Wyles’ second try early in the second period, converted from wide out by Farrell, gave Exeter a mountain to climb.

Exeter rallied early in the final quarter, piling on pressure either side of Saracens’ replacement hooker Schalk Brits being sin-binned for pulling down a maul in his last game before retirement.

It proved only a short reprieve for Saracens as Steenson pounced from close range before converting his own try and giving Exeter a glimmer of hope, although ultimately it did not transpire.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW BALDOCK"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745550.1527366428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745550.1527366428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Saracens' Sean Maitland and Nick Isiekwe are both hands-on. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Saracens' Sean Maitland and Nick Isiekwe are both hands-on. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745550.1527366428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/aston-villa-0-1-fulham-cairney-fires-cottagers-to-top-flight-1-4745547","id":"1.4745547","articleHeadline": "Aston Villa 0 - 1 Fulham: Cairney fires Cottagers to top flight","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527365662000 ,"articleLead": "

Fulham are back in the big time after winning a thrilling Sky Bet Championship play-off final against Aston Villa, with Scotland international Tom Cairney ending their four-year Premier League absence in a pulsating encounter.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745546.1527365658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fulham's Tom Cairney celebrates scoring the goal which defeated Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship final at Wembley. Photograph: Nigel French/PA."} ,"articleBody": "

The Champions League final may have dominated the sporting agenda yesterday but the financial implications of the English second-tier showpiece – worth at least 
£160 million of additional revenue to the victor – dwarfed the Kiev showpiece in monetary terms at least.

Fulham were favourites with the bookmakers – and perhaps the neutrals – on their first trip to Wembley since 1975, and emerged 1-0 winners against Steve Bruce’s Aston Villa after clinging on to Cairney’s first-half strike.

Denis Odoi’s sending-off 20 minutes from time led to a jittery end for Slavisa Jokanovic’s side, but they dug deep to secure the biggest financial prize in world football.

The decisive blow came midway through the first half as Fulham offered a glimpse of the football that has earned so many plaudits this term, with 18-year-old Ryan Sessegnon superbly threading through for Cairney to fire home.

Villa looked ripe for the taking as skipper John Terry struggled but Bruce, a man who knows a thing or two about promotion, got them firing in the second half. Jack Grealish was a constant thorn in the side and a mazy run was ended by a fine save, before he was taken down by a clumsy Odoi challenge that led to a second yellow card and an anxious conclusion.

Yet Fulham showed grit to match their skill to win and leave Villa, on the 36th anniversary of their European Cup triumph, facing another season in the Championship – and the financial ramifications that brings.

Villa worked hard during the opening stages as Robert Snodgrass found Albert Adomah and Conor Hourihane’s half-hearted penalty appeal was ignored. But Fulham managed to contain Villa and burst into life two minutes after Aboubakar Kamara’s deft touch and looped effort went over the bar.

Sessegnon showed awareness and a maturity that belied his years to thread through for Cairney, whose low first-time finish beat Sam Johnstone.

Villa started the second half on the front foot as Hourihane charged down a Fredericks clearance to get the claret and blue hordes on their feet. Grealish raced to head just over with the goal gaping before Hourihane’s cross-shot threatened.

Grealish looked Villa’s biggest threat and came close to drawing his side level in the 60th minute, jinking inside and out on a run before Marcus Bettinelli denied the attacking midfielder.

The 22-year-old and the Villa fans were incandescent when handball appeals against Odoi were ignored – anger that bubbled over as he launched into an over-zealous challenge on Cairney that led to a booking and on-field commotion.

Odoi missed the ball and instead wiped out Grealish, collecting a second booking to leave Fulham a man light. The west London club were running out of energy as the clock wound down, with Snodgrass and Scott Hogan having attempts before a late Grealish penalty claim and the welcome sound of the full-time whistle.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SIMON PEACH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745546.1527365658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745546.1527365658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Fulham's Tom Cairney celebrates scoring the goal which defeated Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship final at Wembley. Photograph: Nigel French/PA.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Fulham's Tom Cairney celebrates scoring the goal which defeated Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship final at Wembley. Photograph: Nigel French/PA.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745546.1527365658!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/cricket/jos-buttler-and-dom-bess-to-the-rescue-for-england-1-4745539","id":"1.4745539","articleHeadline": "Jos Buttler and Dom Bess to the rescue for England","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527360854000 ,"articleLead": "

Jos Buttler and Dom Bess saved England from a three-day defeat against Pakistan with a memorable rearguard stand at Lord’s.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745538.1527360851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mohammad Amir celebrates dismissing Jonathan Bairstow during day three of the first Test. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

Buttler, fresh back from the Indian Premier League for this NatWest Series opener after 18 months out of the Test reckoning, joined forces in the unlikeliest of circumstances with debutant No.8 Bess to give England hope where there was none.

Realistically, after being previously outplayed in every department, the best outcome for the hosts is surely still only respectability – but following a determined 68 by captain Joe Root, the unbroken century stand for the seventh wicket has at least ensured Pakistan must bat twice to prevail.

A stumps total of 235 for six, and still-vulnerable lead of only 56, looked fanciful in the extreme when Buttler (66no) and Bess (55no) were thrust into damage limitation still 69 runs behind on 110 after England had lost four wickets for 19 runs.

After their first-innings 184 all out, the hosts were in danger of faring even worse second time round.

Buttler found himself batting with the 20-year-old new boy, chosen here only after fellow Somerset spinner Jack Leach’s injury and who doubtless grew up watching his senior partner thrilling the crowds in Taunton before his move to Lancashire.

It was great credit to Bess that increasingly he was able to match Buttler shot for shot, as both scored freely off either foot through the off-side especially on the way to respective 93 and 89-ball half-centuries.

England’s evening well-being was a far cry from their previous struggles after they began their second innings 179 runs adrift once Mark Wood bounced out Pakistan’s last man Mohammad Abbas early on a sunny morning.

Immediately, the hosts were in trouble again. This time, Abbas made short work of Alastair Cook.

The opener battled hard to top-score with 70 on Thursday but had managed only a single at his second attempt when Abbas had him missing some late movement to go lbw on the front-foot defence.

Both openers were gone by lunch, Mark Stoneman failing to snap out of his poor early-season form for Surrey and looking out of touch before going back to a Shadab Khan leg-break which scuttled through out of the rough to bowl him off-stump.

Root and Dawid Malan avoided mishap in the first hour of the afternoon.

But after a stand of 60, the stoic Malan fell to Mohammad Amir straight after drinks – with an edge behind, where Sarfraz Ahmed took an excellent catch diving one-handed low to his left.

Jonny Bairstow was then bowled for a second-ball duck through the gate by a beauty that snaked back up the slope in the air from the left-armer.

By tea, the game appeared almost up after two more big wickets – Root once again continuing his uncanny and unwelcome knack of failing to turn 50s into hundreds, taking the sequence to nine in succession since his 136 in last summer’s day-night victory over the West Indies at Edgbaston.

Ben Stokes hit two of his first three deliveries for four, only to then pick out the hands of midwicket as he tried to stab another boundary off Shadab.

Then the captain’s determined contribution foundered as the returning Abbas took another up the slope to have him lbw.

At that point, England were down and out – but no one had told the prides of Taunton and Sidmouth.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DAVID CLOUGH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745538.1527360851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745538.1527360851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mohammad Amir celebrates dismissing Jonathan Bairstow during day three of the first Test. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mohammad Amir celebrates dismissing Jonathan Bairstow during day three of the first Test. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745538.1527360851!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/luck-plays-a-big-part-in-rory-mcilroy-sharing-lead-at-wentworth-1-4745537","id":"1.4745537","articleHeadline": "Luck plays a big part in Rory McIlroy sharing lead at Wentworth","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527360793000 ,"articleLead": "

Rory McIlroy admitted he rode his luck after hitting two spectators and a marshal in an eventful 71 which kept him on course for a second BMW PGA Championship title.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745536.1527360790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rory McIlroy made no bones about feeling fortunate to have stayed in the hunt for victory today. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

McIlroy took a three-shot lead into the third round at Wentworth and was an odds-on favourite to win the £5.2 million event at European Tour headquarters, but struggled to get to grips with a swirling wind which made scoring difficult.

The four-time major winner was already one over par for the day when he attempted a risky recovery shot on the sixth following a wayward tee shot, but succeeded only in crashing his ball into the crowd and hitting a young woman directly on her right hand.

As she received treatment, McIlroy went on to run up a double bogey six and fall out of the lead, but he bounced back immediately with a birdie on the seventh and picked up further shots on the 12th, 17th and 18th.

McIlroy’s second shot on the 17th clipped a marshal who was also hit by playing partner Sam Horsfield, but it was the Northern Irishman’s errant drive on the 18th which did the real damage, hitting a woman on the head and drawing blood.

Asked why he had not shouted the traditional warning of “fore”, McIlroy said: “I didn’t think it was going to carry that far. It was into the wind and it’s 275 (yards) to the bunker with a three wood. I thought it was going to pitch in the bunker so I didn’t think anyone was in danger.

“When you see blood, the one on 18 shook me a little bit but she reassured me she was okay. It’s never nice. I remember playing 
the final round here in 2014 and Pablo Larrazabal hit a lady on the left-hand side of 11 and basically didn’t hit a shot for the rest of the round.

“It’s tough. You can say sorry and maybe give them a glove but that’s not going to do anything for them. I’m just thankful my ball didn’t go where it was heading and I just hope they’re okay.

“I got lucky today, I got very fortunate. I got good bounces off spectators and I rode my luck and I’m just going to have to play better to have a chance.”

On 13 under par, McIlroy shares the lead with former Ryder Cup team-mate Francesco Molinari, whose 66 was the lowest score of the day by two shots. Molinari was runner-up to Alex Noren 12 months ago and has recorded four other top-ten finishes at Wentworth in the last six years, but was not about to take anything for granted.

“I am going to be ready. I am going to do my best, obviously whatever is in my control,” Molinari said. “There are a lot of really, really good players up there so it won’t be easy, but I need to do what I did today, just keep in the moment and hit shot by shot and see if that will be enough.”

The leading pair are four shots ahead of Noren, Horsfield – who shot 72 after being four over par for the first ten holes – Ross Fisher and Branden Grace, with Lee Westwood among a four-strong group on eight under.

Westwood is trying to win the title for the first time at the 25th attempt, although he did win the World Match Play title at the same venue in 2000.

Asked what it would mean to do 
so at the age of 45, Westwood joked: “It would mean there’s a picture of me at Wentworth with a few less chins. I came very close in 2011 and Luke Donald pipped me in a play-off but this course seems to suit my game.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "PHIL CASEY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745536.1527360790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745536.1527360790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Rory McIlroy made no bones about feeling fortunate to have stayed in the hunt for victory today. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Rory McIlroy made no bones about feeling fortunate to have stayed in the hunt for victory today. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745536.1527360790!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/st-mirren/robbie-neilson-feels-st-mirren-have-good-momentum-1-4745535","id":"1.4745535","articleHeadline": "Robbie Neilson feels St Mirren have good momentum","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1527358793000 ,"articleLead": "

By andrew smith

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745534.1527358789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robbie Neilson believes St Mirren are a club that are 'going places'. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Neilson, who spoke warmly yesterday of St Mirren as a side with “lots of positives” and “good momentum”, features on the club’s possibles list but the board is prepared to take its time in picking a successor to Ross, who steered Saints back to the top flight.

Out of work coaches Alan Stubbs and Jim McIntyre are also being considered, along with Alloa Athletic manager Jim Goodwin. But reports that Celtic coach John Kennedy and Paul Lambert could be in the frame are believed to be wide of the mark. Neilson is available after leaving MK Dons in January.

“There’s a lot of positives in St Mirren at the moment, the training ground’s great, they’ve got good momentum,” Neilson told Radio Scotland. “But there are also a lot of things that have to be looked at. What are the expectations of the fans? What are the expectations of the board? What is the budget? Do they match each other? Does it give someone coming in the opportunity to really drive the place forward, or are you going to be scrapping at the bottom of the league again?

“If it’s a club that are really going places, then they have to make sure they finance it and to get someone who is coming in to give them that opportunity to build a squad. They’ve lost quite a few players over the last 18-20 months. Lewis Morgan’s away, [Stevie] Mallan and [Kyle] McAllister before. Three young players you would probably have looked to build your team roundabout when you get into the Premiership.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4745534.1527358789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4745534.1527358789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Robbie Neilson believes St Mirren are a club that are 'going places'. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Robbie Neilson believes St Mirren are a club that are 'going places'. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4745534.1527358789!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}