{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"sport","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/celtic/the-spfl-players-who-have-scored-the-most-goals-against-celtic-1-4894183","id":"1.4894183","articleHeadline": "The SPFL players who have scored the most goals against Celtic","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553264299989 ,"articleLead": "Here are the players who have given Celtic fans the most headaches in recent seasons","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894165.1553264938!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kenny Miller has been the source of agony for Celtic fans through the years"} ,"articleBody": "

Some players enjoy playing certain teams more than others, and every club has an opposition striker that they dread playing against. Click and scroll through the gallery to see who has caused Celtic's defence the most trouble since the 2005/2006 season.

" ,"byline": {"email": "Finlay.Greig@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Finlay Greig"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894165.1553264938!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894165.1553264938!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kenny Miller has been the source of agony for Celtic fans through the years","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kenny Miller has been the source of agony for Celtic fans through the years","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894165.1553264938!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894166.1553264941!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894166.1553264941!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Goals: 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10","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Goals: 10","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894182.1553264979!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/rangers/the-spfl-players-who-have-scored-the-most-goals-against-rangers-1-4894119","id":"1.4894119","articleHeadline": "The SPFL players who have scored the most goals against Rangers","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553258487933 ,"articleLead": "Here are the players who have given Rangers fans the most headaches in recent seasons","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894096.1553259027!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Before Jason Cummings joined Rangers he was a constant thorn in the Glasgow club's side"} ,"articleBody": "

Some players enjoy playing certain teams more than others, and every club has an opposition striker that they dread playing against. Click and scroll through the gallery to see who has caused Rangers' defence the most trouble since the 2005/2006 season.

" ,"byline": {"email": "Finlay.Greig@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Finlay Greig"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894096.1553259027!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894096.1553259027!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Before Jason Cummings joined Rangers he was a constant thorn in the Glasgow club's side","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Before Jason Cummings joined Rangers he was a constant thorn in the Glasgow club's side","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894096.1553259027!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894097.1553259030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894097.1553259030!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Goals: 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7","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Goals: 7","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894117.1553259099!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894118.1553259101!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894118.1553259101!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Goals: 8","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Goals: 8","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894118.1553259101!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/they-underestimated-us-kazakh-press-and-players-react-to-crushing-win-over-awful-scotland-1-4893992","id":"1.4893992","articleHeadline": "'They underestimated us': Kazakh press and players react to crushing win over awful Scotland","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553253257092 ,"articleLead": "

The Kazakh press and squad have been reacting to a \"historic\" victory against a miserable Scotland side.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893991.1553253459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kazakhstan strolled to a victory over Scotland on Thursday (Photo: Adam Davy / PA Wire)"} ,"articleBody": "

The Kazakh media - like the Scottish press - were in unanimous agreement that the Central Asian side thoroughly deserved their victory.

Newspaper Aikyn attributed the victory to the Hawks' \"strong pressing and organisation\", noting that \"the pace of the game changed\" following a threatening start from the Scots.

KZ Football meanwhile expressed surprise at the lack of Scottish response.

In their match report they wrote: \"It seemed that the second half would start with the onslaught of the Scots, but this did not happen, the Kazakhs did not give up the initiative and again grabbed a goal, Baktier Zaynutdinov converting a cross with a header - 3: 0.\"

\"The Scots could not do anything, and time ran down slowly, ending 3-0 - a victory, just fantastic.\"

'They made a mistake underestimating us'

Members of the heroic Kazakh eleven, also commented on the unlikely result claiming that the Scots underestimated them.

Speaking to Sportz.kz, midfielder Yan Vorogovsky said: \"they made a mistake by underestimating us, but we will build on our game.\"

Alexander Merkel added: \"We played compactly and fought to the end. I think the Scots were surprised . We started well, we scored right away and we played a good game.

Evgeny Postnikov, also interviewed by Sports.kz claimed that the Scottish players' star quality was no match for the Kazakhs' \"team effort\".

He said: \"Everyone understood that Scotland is a British style team. All players are qualified. It was hard, but once again I will say that due to team efforts we have achieved victory.\"

" ,"byline": {"email": "Finlay.Greig@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Finlay Greig"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893991.1553253459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893991.1553253459!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kazakhstan strolled to a victory over Scotland on Thursday (Photo: Adam Davy / PA Wire)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kazakhstan strolled to a victory over Scotland on Thursday (Photo: Adam Davy / PA Wire)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893991.1553253459!/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/gibson-and-fear-qualify-for-world-championship-free-skate-as-mckay-gives-season-s-best-performance-1-4893930","id":"1.4893930","articleHeadline": "Gibson and Fear qualify for World Championship free skate as McKay gives season's best performance","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553250963517 ,"articleLead": "Scottish ice dancer Lewis Gibson and his partner Lilah Fear today qualified for the free dance final in the World Figure Skating Championships in Japan - despite a minorerror which saw them fall short of their personal best score.","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893929.1553251112!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Gibson, pictured with partner Lilah Fear, said he was pleased with the couple's score in the rhythm dance in Japan."} ,"articleBody": "

The couple, who placed sixth in the European championships in Minsk, Belarus, in January, are currently standing 16th in a strong field of competitors from North America and China, as well as Europe.

Meanwhile, Natasha McKay from Dundee, placed 21st in the ladies's competition, achieving a season's best of 95.16 in he free skate and an overall score of 151.56. She was first to skate in the competition, which was won by Alina Zagitova from Russia, with an overall score of 237.5. Teammate Evgenia Medvedeva was third and Kazakhstan's Elizabet Tursybaeva second.

She said: "I was delighted to qualify for the free skate and to maintain my 21st place after the free skate was great. I have had a wonderful experience and gained valuable experience at these championships. Now I am looking forward to a small break and then preparing new programs and new elements for next season."

In the ice dance competition, current European and World champions, Gabriella Papadakis and Guillome Cizeron, who train with Gibson and Fear under coach Romain Haguenauer in Montreal, stand in first place after the short programme.

They were awarded 68.46 for their rhythm dance programme - just short of their personal best of 69.77, which they achieved in Minsk. Gibson slipped on the twizzle section of the programme, which consists of a sequence of one foot turns, but told The Scotsman he was pleased with the score. The ice dance competition will conclude with the free dance tomorrow. Gibson, from Prestwick and Fear have been praised by judges and fans alike for their free dance this season, which is performed to a medley of disco tunes by Donna Summers.

Gibson said: "We are really happy with our skate. Despite the mistake on my twizzle, we are pleased with the score. We're looking forward for the free dance tomorrow."

The ice dance free dance competition will take place tomorrow in Saitama, Japan.

" ,"byline": {"email": "jane.bradley@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Jane Bradley"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893929.1553251112!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893929.1553251112!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Lewis Gibson, pictured with partner Lilah Fear, said he was pleased with the couple's score in the rhythm dance in Japan.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Lewis Gibson, pictured with partner Lilah Fear, said he was pleased with the couple's score in the rhythm dance in Japan.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893929.1553251112!/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/competitions/premiership/how-the-scottish-premiership-table-would-look-based-on-current-form-1-4894454","id":"1.4894454","articleHeadline": "How the Scottish Premiership table would look based on current form","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553277377000 ,"articleLead": "

What the Ladbrokes Premiership table would look like based on form over the past six games.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894438.1553277927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image"} ,"articleBody": "

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894438.1553277927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894438.1553277927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "editorial image","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "editorial image","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894438.1553277927!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894439.1553277931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894439.1553277931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 16. GF 10, GA 2.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 16. GF 10, GA 2.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894439.1553277931!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894440.1553277934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894440.1553277934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 13. GF 11, GA 6.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 13. GF 11, GA 6.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894440.1553277934!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894441.1553277939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894441.1553277939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 12. GF 15, GA 4.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 12. GF 15, GA 4.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894441.1553277939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894442.1553277942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894442.1553277942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 10. GF 9, GA 7.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 10. GF 9, GA 7.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894442.1553277942!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894443.1553277947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894443.1553277947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 9. GF 7, GA 6.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 9. GF 7, GA 6.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894443.1553277947!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894444.1553277950!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894444.1553277950!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 9. GF 5, GA 11.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 9. GF 5, GA 11.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894444.1553277950!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894445.1553277952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894445.1553277952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 8. GF 6, GA 5.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 8. GF 6, GA 5.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894445.1553277952!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894446.1553277959!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894446.1553277959!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 5. GF 4, GA 6.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 5. GF 4, GA 6.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894446.1553277959!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894447.1553277962!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894447.1553277962!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 5. GF 3, GA 5.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 5. GF 3, GA 5.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894447.1553277962!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894448.1553277963!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894448.1553277963!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 5. GF 5, GA 10.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 5. GF 5, GA 10.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894448.1553277963!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894449.1553277966!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894449.1553277966!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 4. GF 5, GA 12.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 4. GF 5, GA 12.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894449.1553277966!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894453.1553277970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894453.1553277970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Points: 1. GF 3, GA 11.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Points: 1. GF 3, GA 11.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894453.1553277970!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hibernian/3-reasons-hibs-striker-marc-mcnulty-has-been-even-better-than-advertised-1-4894370","id":"1.4894370","articleHeadline": "3 reasons Hibs striker Marc McNulty has been even better than advertised","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553270712000 ,"articleLead": "

For Hibs fans who also religiously follow the national side, there was one slither of silver lining to take from Thursday night’s debacle in Kazakhstan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894368.1553271487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marc McNulty has been in excellent form since joining Hibs in January. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Hibs tickets for next Edinburgh derby with Hearts sell out

Scotland may have embarrassed themselves and their long-suffering supporters on an unprecedented scale with the 3-0 defeat, but there was a little bit of joy for the Easter Road faithful to see one of their own making his international bow.

Marc McNulty was rewarded (if you can call it that) for his excellent form in recent weeks with the final nine minutes against the Kazakhs. It was far too late to do anything about the result, but it will have been a proud moment for the 26-year-old and those who adore him nonetheless. Since January, that adoration has extended past his friends and family to include several thousand Hibbies.

There was a fair bit of excitement when the club were able to force over a loan deal for the striker on transfer deadline day, a move that was completed despite Hibs being without a manager at the time. Other than a barren loan spell at Bradford City in 2016, and his struggles this season breaking into the Reading side in the Championship, he’s scored goals wherever he’s been. When Jamie Maclaren failed to replicate the form of last season after rejoining from Darmstadt in the summer - with his loan ultimately cut short in January - there was a void Hibs needed to fill. McNulty was advertised as the elusive scorer who could play alongside Florian Kamberi and be the perfect foil for the broad, technically strong target man. In actuality, he’s been even better than that.

His link-up play

With all due respect to Maclaren, you cannot imagine the former striker operating as the lone forward in a 4-5-1 and performing as masterfully as McNulty did in last Saturday’s 2-0 win over Motherwell. The Australian impressed in the latter half of last season, and could easily have rediscovered his form like several first-team stars have under new manager Paul Heckingbottom, but he didn’t have as many strings to his bow as his replacement.

As well as being a threat in the opposing penalty area, McNulty also excels at dropping deeper to link with team-mates. Watching him closely, what immediately stands out is his ability to think and move the ball quickly. You don’t realise how much strikers can dither in possession with their back to goal until you see someone like McNulty do the opposite. His touch is sharp and he gets it to a team-mate before the pressure can arrive. Often he’ll play a first-time pass, sometimes even when he’s not looking at his target - as he did in the build up to the penalty he won and converted against Motherwell. It’s the skill of a chess-master thinking several moves ahead.

He also uses his body well. He’s not a towering behemoth, though he’s broad and sturdy in the 5ft 10in frame he’s listed at. He gets the most out of that by angling himself into defenders, winning fouls or spinning around the corner. This allows him to be an effective hold-up option despite his lack of height.

His movement

As expected, he’s got the instinct to sniff out a chance or two every game inside the penalty box, but it’s been his off-the-ball movement outside the area which has been a pleasant surprise to supporters.

Like a small child who’s uncovered the hiding place of his nan’s sweetie box, McNulty is constantly on the move. No pouting, no taking a breath, and none of the posturing you see when a player stands back for a second to marvel at the impressive pass they’ve just made (forwards do this more than you would think). No, he just gets on his bike and looks for the next position in which to hurt the opponents. This includes running the channels when the situation presents itself.

Even when Hibs don’t have the ball he’s useful as he’s eager to close down defenders and put them under pressure as they seek to pass it out from the back.

His predatory instinct is even better than assumed

Through seven starts and two substitute appearances, McNulty has thus far bagged seven goals, and it hasn’t been a fluke.

At the risk of coming across as an, erm, “football hipster” with advanced statistics, Expected Goals (xG) is a decent tool for judging a striker’s menace in the final third. It quantifies the quality of chance rather than the end result. McNulty, in the Ladbrokes Premiership to this point, has the highest xG mark of any active player in the league per 90 minutes - only Moussa Dembele has better for the entire season. His 0.97 average means over the course of an entire league campaign he should score 37 goals. This number is obviously inflated by a small sample size and the three penalties he’s taken thus far, but considering top goalscorer Alfredo Morelos is at 0.62, it’s impressive nonetheless.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894368.1553271487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894368.1553271487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Marc McNulty has been in excellent form since joining Hibs in January. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Marc McNulty has been in excellent form since joining Hibs in January. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894368.1553271487!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5982159125001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/celtic/scottish-football-live-morelos-impresses-for-colombia-heckingbottom-praises-new-hearts-signing-aberdeen-loan-star-keen-on-permanent-move-1-4893898","id":"1.4893898","articleHeadline": "Scottish Football Live: Morelos impresses for Colombia | Heckingbottom praises new Hearts signing | Aberdeen loan star keen on permanent move","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553264927000 ,"articleLead": "

Follow The Scotsman’s daily blog as we keep you updated with all the latest news, views, rumours and much more from around Scottish football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893897.1553264924!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex McLeish's Scotland were humiliated at the hands of Kazakhstan"} ,"articleBody": "

Refresh for live updates

" ,"byline": {"email": "finlay.greig@jpress.co.uk" ,"author": "Finlay Greig"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893897.1553264924!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893897.1553264924!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alex McLeish's Scotland were humiliated at the hands of Kazakhstan","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alex McLeish's Scotland were humiliated at the hands of Kazakhstan","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893897.1553264924!/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/celtic-and-rangers-should-be-ashamed-presenter-blames-old-firm-for-scotland-woes-1-4894147","id":"1.4894147","articleHeadline": "‘Celtic and Rangers should be ashamed’: Presenter blames Old Firm for Scotland woes","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553261676000 ,"articleLead": "

Jim White has launched an astonishing attack on Celtic and Rangers as he blames them for Scottish football international’s woes.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894145.1553261673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oliver Burke hides his despair as Scotland lose to Kazakhstan in Euro 2020 qualifying. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - The 9 worst things about Scotland’s 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan

The national team suffered what was arguably the biggest embarrassment in its history on Thursday, losing 3-0 to Kazakhstan in the opening match of their Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Manager Alex McLeish has come under some intense pressure following the result, while the players have also taken their share of criticism.

White, though, believes the two biggest clubs in Scotland should carry the burden.

The TV and radio presenter said on Talksport: “Celtic and Rangers should be ashamed of themselves in terms of what they’re doing or not doing in the international scene.

“Celtic are too busy, they’re too preoccupied in trying to dominate Rangers, keeping them at arms length... Rangers trying to get back, competing with Celtic.

“Celtic and Rangers are too busy undercutting each other in terms of tickets for away fans at Old Firm games... ‘give them that, that will suit them’.

“It’s pathetic. And then they’re still trapped in sectarian bile. Rangers fans, quite recently again, the finger pointed at them for verbally abusing Steve Clarke. Once they come out the dark ages and realise they have a duty to serve Scotland, they might well progress.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894145.1553261673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894145.1553261673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Oliver Burke hides his despair as Scotland lose to Kazakhstan in Euro 2020 qualifying. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Oliver Burke hides his despair as Scotland lose to Kazakhstan in Euro 2020 qualifying. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894145.1553261673!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6016566988001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/cricket/cricket-derbyshire-sign-scotland-spinner-mark-watt-for-2019-season-1-4894089","id":"1.4894089","articleHeadline": "Cricket: Derbyshire sign Scotland spinner Mark Watt for 2019 season","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553257159000 ,"articleLead": "

Derbyshire have signed Scotland spinner Mark Watt on a six-month contract for the 2019 season, the Pattonair County Ground side have announced.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894087.1553257157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mark Watt, right, celebrates a wicket against England with Matthew Cross. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

The left-arm bowler is available for all formats this summer, subject to his international commitments with Scotland.

The 22-year-old has played more than 50 times for Scotland and has taken more than 50 wickets since his debut in 2015.

Watt has taken 29 T20 International wickets and 22 wickets from 18 One-Day Internationals, including 3-55 in Scotland’s historic six-run win over England in June last year.

His performances for Scotland saw Lancashire acquire his services and he featured in four Vitality Blast games for the Red Rose County.

Watt will be available for Derbyshire’s season opener against Durham, starting on April 5.

Derbyshire head of cricket Dave Houghton told the club’s website: “It’s great to have Mark here at Derbyshire. He’s a clever bowler who bowls tightly and has excellent white ball skills.

“He’s still young but has got plenty of international experience already and I’m pleased to get another talented cricketer on board and continue our relationship with Cricket Scotland.”

Watt added: “I’m really looking forward to getting the season started and hopefully I can take my opportunities and do well for the club.

“There are experienced coaches and a good squad here, so I’ll be trying to learn and improve my game in every aspect.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4894087.1553257157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4894087.1553257157!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Mark Watt, right, celebrates a wicket against England with Matthew Cross. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Mark Watt, right, celebrates a wicket against England with Matthew Cross. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4894087.1553257157!/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/six-nations/alun-wyn-jones-named-2019-six-nations-player-of-the-championship-after-leading-wales-to-grand-slam-1-4893939","id":"1.4893939","articleHeadline": "Alun Wyn Jones named 2019 Six Nations player of the Championship after leading Wales to Grand Slam","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553251511000 ,"articleLead": "

Alun Wyn Jones has been named 2019 Guinness Six Nations player of the Championship after leading Wales to the third Grand Slam of the Warren Gatland era.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893938.1553251507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alun Wyn Jones, who led Wales to a third Grand Slam of the Warren Gatland era, has been named the 2019 Six Nations player of the Championship. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

Jones polled higher in the public vote than team-mates Hadleigh Parkes, Josh Adams and Liam Williams, while England duo Jonny May and Tom Curry were also on the six-strong shortlist drawn up by the media.

The 33-year-old second row was at the heart of Wales’ first tournament clean sweep since 2012.

“I’m very flattered. For me as Wales captain it’s a validation of what we’ve done as a squad throughout the campaign,” said Jones, who received a newly-sculptured trophy.

“To be up there as a nominee with three other Welsh players and two outstanding players from England would have been more than enough and I’m very grateful to the people who have taken the time to vote.”

It was during the recent Grand Slam march that Jones broke the previous milestone of 61 for most Test wins in a Wales jersey by any player and he has amassed 134 caps for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, equalling Gethin Jenkins’ record combined total for the same teams.

He is now only the fourth Wales player to win three Six Nations Grand Slams, following in the footsteps of Jenkins, Ryan Jones and Adam Jones.

Jones succeeds Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale as winner of player of the year and becomes the fifth Welshman to be acclaimed since Gordon D’Arcy - also of Ireland - landed the inaugural award in 2004.

England finished runners-up hence the inclusion of May, who finished top try scorer with six, and the Six Nations’ outstanding openside in Curry.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893938.1553251507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893938.1553251507!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Alun Wyn Jones, who led Wales to a third Grand Slam of the Warren Gatland era, has been named the 2019 Six Nations player of the Championship. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Alun Wyn Jones, who led Wales to a third Grand Slam of the Warren Gatland era, has been named the 2019 Six Nations player of the Championship. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893938.1553251507!/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/sue-strachan-named-cricket-scotland-s-first-woman-president-in-140-year-existence-1-4893935","id":"1.4893935","articleHeadline": "Sue Strachan named Cricket Scotland’s first woman president in 140-year existence","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553251217000 ,"articleLead": "

Sue Strachan has been elected the new president of Cricket Scotland, becoming the first woman to head up Scottish cricket in its 140-year history.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893934.1553251213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sue Strachan (right) will succeed Willie Donald as Cricket Scotland president. Picture: Donald MacLeod"} ,"articleBody": "

Ms Strachan was elected by members at the Annual General Meeting on March 20, and after 12 months as President-Elect will assume her role as President in March 2020, for a two-year period.

She succeeds former Aberdeenshire CC captain and Scotland international Willie Donald as President.

Ms Strachan, 54, was first elected onto the Cricket Scotland Holdings Limited (CSHL) board in 2016, and has served on the Scottish Women’s Football Association board.

She is one of the founder-members of Scottish Women in Sport, and comes from a cricketing family - her father, brother, husband and children all play the sport - as well as turning her hand to hockey with Dumfries HC.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893934.1553251213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893934.1553251213!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Sue Strachan (right) will succeed Willie Donald as Cricket Scotland president. Picture: Donald MacLeod","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Sue Strachan (right) will succeed Willie Donald as Cricket Scotland president. Picture: Donald MacLeod","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893934.1553251213!/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/scotland-accused-of-treating-kazakhstan-like-village-idiots-after-underestimating-hosts-1-4893906","id":"1.4893906","articleHeadline": "Scotland accused of treating Kazakhstan like ‘village idiots’ after underestimating hosts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553247894000 ,"articleLead": "

Former Kazakhstan manager Alexander Borodyuk has accused Scotland of treating the former Soviet nation like ‘village idiots.’

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893904.1553252468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kazakhstan's Baktiyor Zainutdinov celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Euro 2020 qualifier. Picture: Alexei Filippov/AP"} ,"articleBody": "

Scotland flew in early to Astana and insisted they stayed on British time as part of their preparations.

But instead of getting their Euro 2020 campaign off to a good start, the Scots suffered abject humiliation after they were destroyed 3-0.

And Borodyuk - predecessor to current manager Michal Bilek - reckons the Scots treated their hosts with contempt.

He said: “The result came as no surprise to me whatsoever. We have worked towards a score like this for many years and it was totally deserved.

“When you arrive in a country like Kazakhstan overconfident - which is exactly what Scotland were - then you usually suffer embarrassment and get punished.

“I read some of the interviews before the game of the Scottish players and staff and you would think they were facing a team of village idiots.

“But I don’t want this result to be about the failings of Scotland - it was all about how good Kazakhstan were.

“There is a new generation of talented players from Kazakhstan and Scotland found that to their cost.

“Michal Bilek has clearly done an excellent job already and I wish him nothing but the best of luck.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARK WALKER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893904.1553252468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893904.1553252468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Kazakhstan's Baktiyor Zainutdinov celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Euro 2020 qualifier. Picture: Alexei Filippov/AP","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Kazakhstan's Baktiyor Zainutdinov celebrates after scoring his side's third goal during the Euro 2020 qualifier. Picture: Alexei Filippov/AP","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893904.1553252468!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6016566988001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/scotland/gordon-strachan-shock-favourite-to-return-as-scotland-boss-as-alex-mcleish-sack-odds-tumble-1-4893885","id":"1.4893885","articleHeadline": "Gordon Strachan shock favourite to return as Scotland boss as Alex McLeish sack odds tumble","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553243675000 ,"articleLead": "

Gordon Strachan is the 3/1 favourite to be the next Scotland boss with odds on Alex McLeish getting the sack before the next round of Euro 2020 qualifiers plummeting.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893883.1553243672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Is Gordon Strachan set for a shock return as Scotland boss? Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

A defiant McLeish last night refused to address his position following the 3-0 reversal in Kazakhstan.

The 60-year-old has led Scotland to a play-off place thanks to finishing top in their UEFA Nations League qualifying group but losing to a team ranked 117th in the world prompted questions from the media wondering if the strong reaction from fans to the defeat in Nursultan meant he would consider his position.

“I will just continue to do my job,” he said. “Suffice to say I’m not going to get drawn into that question.”

But odds on McLeish getting the boot ahead of fixtures against Cyprus and Belgium have tumbled from 50/1 to just 7/4.

Strachan, who quit as boss after failing to qualify for the World Cup, is priced at 3/1, with former Manchester United and Everton boss David Moyes at 5/1.

Steve Clarke is at 6/1 while the Scottish FA’s performance chief Malky Mackay is at 15/2.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893883.1553243672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893883.1553243672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Is Gordon Strachan set for a shock return as Scotland boss? Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Is Gordon Strachan set for a shock return as Scotland boss? Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893883.1553243672!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6016566988001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/celtic/rumour-mill-old-firm-blow-for-celtic-rangers-given-boost-in-attacker-hunt-ex-scotland-boss-lined-up-for-shock-return-1-4893881","id":"1.4893881","articleHeadline": "Rumour Mill: Old Firm blow for Celtic | Rangers given boost in attacker hunt | Ex-Scotland boss lined up for shock return?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553241914000 ,"articleLead": "

The latest Scottish football news, gossip and transfer rumours...

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893879.1553266775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon could be without a key player for the Old Firm clash. Picture: SNS Group"} ,"articleBody": "

Tierney misses San Marino, doubts over Old Firm

Celtic’s Kieran Tierney has been ruled out of Scotland’s second Euro 2020 qualifier against San Marino, casting doubt over his fitness for the Old Firm clash next weekend.

The left-back is suffering from a groin problem, although he played for Celtic in their victory over Dundee last weekend with the issue.

There were claims that Celtic had put pressure on Tierney to sit out the qualifier but he is understood to be nursing a calf knock and will fly back to Scotland for treatment. (The Sun)

Rangers boost from Liverpool transfer plans

Liverpool scouts have been asked to keep an eye on several wingers, including Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, suggesting that Rangers’ hopes of keeping Ryan Kent are looking good.

The on-loan Reds wideman has been in fine form for the Ibrox side and Steven Gerrard is keen to extend Kent’s stay in Glasgow. (Various)

Bookies slash odds on McLeish getting sacked

Bookmakers have drastically shortened the odds of Alex McLeish being sacked as Scotland head coach, with predecessor Gordon Strachan primed for a shock return.

Odds on McLeish being emptied before the next round of qualifiers in June have plummeted from 50/1 to just 7/4.

And Strachan is the 3/1 favourite to assume control in the event of McLeish getting his jotters. (Daily Record)

Hatters boss admits Shinnie interest

Luton boss Mick Harford has admitted Aberdeen’s out-of-contract captain Graeme Shinnie has caught his eye.

He said: “We have a scout up in Scotland, he gives us great information about the players up there. Graeme Shinnie is just someone that’s been alerted to us.

“There’s nothing in it at the moment, but we always have an interest in good players. I know him very well, I’ve watched him numerous times.” (Luton Today)

McLeish: I won’t quit

Alex McLeish insists he is determined to continue doing his job after Scotland’s first Euro 2020 group qualifier ended in embarrassment and calls for him to be dismissed.

Such was the nature of the 3-0 defeat that McLeish already faced questions about his future. The manager was asked if the strong reaction from fans to last night’s defeat meant he would consider his position.

“I will just continue to do my job,” he said. “Suffice to say I’m not going to get drawn into that question.” (The Scotsman)

International call for Hibs kid

Hibs kid Yrick Gallantes has been handed a shock international call-up by the Philippines before even making his first team debut at Easter Road.

The youngster has been invited to join a 40-man training camp in Thailand as the Azkals look to the future having enjoyed playing in the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Steve Marsella - head scout at Easter Road under Terry Butcher - was handed the task of scouring the globe for players and saw enough in Gallantes to include him. (Evening News)

McGregor plays down bust-up as frustration

Stand-in Scotland captain Callum McGregor has brushed off his final whistle bust-up with assistant boss James McFadden.

The Celtic midfielder clashed with Faddy and looked to be furious at Scott McTominay racing off the pitch at full time instead of applauding the travelling Tartan Army.

But McGregor said: “It’s massive frustation. You come away and want to start the campaign well. But you’ve got to play better than that if you want to gather points.” (Sky Sports)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "Tierney misses San Marino, doubts over Old FirmCeltic’s Kieran Tierney has been ruled out of Scotland’s second Euro 2020 qualifier against San Marino, casting doubt over his fitness for the Old Firm clash next weekend. The left-back is suffering from a groin problem, although he played for Celtic in their victory over Dundee last weekend with the issue.Rangers boost from Liverpool scouting missionsLiverpool scouts have been asked to keep an eye on several wingers, including Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi, suggesting that Rangers’ hopes of keeping Ryan Kent are looking good.The on-loan Reds wideman has been in fine form for the Ibrox side and Steven Gerrard is keen to extend Kent’s stay in Glasgow. (Various)Bookies slash odds on McLeish getting sackedBookmakers have drastically shortened the odds of Alex McLeish being sacked as Scotland head coach, with predecessor Gordon Strachan primed for a shock return.Odds on McLeish being emptied before the next round of qualifiers in June have plummeted from 50/1 to just 7/4.And Strachan is the 3/1 favourite to assume control in the event of McLeish getting his jotters. (Daily Record)Hatters boss admits Shinnie interestLuton boss Mick Harford has admitted Aberdeen’s out-of-contract captain Graeme Shinnie has caught his eye. He said: “We have a scout up in Scotland, he gives us great information about the players up there. Graeme Shinnie is just someone that’s been alerted to us.“There’s nothing in it at the moment, but we always have an interest in good players. I know him very well, I’ve watched him numerous times.” (Luton Today)McLeish: I won’t quitAlex McLeish insists he is determined to continue doing his job after Scotland’s first Euro 2020 group qualifier ended in embarrassment and calls for him to be dismissed. Such was the nature of the 3-0 defeat that McLeish already faced questions about his future. The manager was asked if the strong reaction from fans to last night’s defeat meant he would consider his position. “I will just continue to do my job,” he said. “Suffice to say I’m not going to get drawn into that question.” (The Scotsman)https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/scotland/alex-mcleish-i-won-t-quit-as-scotland-boss-1-4893790International call for Hibs kidHibs kid Yrick Gallantes has been handed a shock international call-up by the Philippines before even making his first team debut at Easter Road. The youngster has been invited to join a 40-man training camp in Thailand as the Azkals look to the future having enjoyed playing in the Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates. Steve Marsella - head scout at Easter Road under Terry Butcher - was handed the task of scouring the globe for players and saw enough in Gallantes to include him. (Evening News)Read more at: https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/sport/football/hibs/hibs-kid-yrick-gallantes-wins-philippines-call-up-1-4893639McGregor plays down bust-up as frustrationStand-in Scotland captain Callum McGregor has brushed off his final whistle bust-up with assistant boss James McFadden.The Celtic midfielder clashed with Faddy and looked to be furious at Scott McTominay racing off the pitch at full time instead of applauding the travelling Tartan Army.But McGregor said: “ “It’s massive frustation. You come away and want to start the campaign well. But you’ve got to play better than that if you want to gather points.” (Sky Sports)"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893879.1553266775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893879.1553266775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Neil Lennon could be without a key player for the Old Firm clash. Picture: SNS Group","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Neil Lennon could be without a key player for the Old Firm clash. Picture: SNS Group","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893879.1553266775!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"6016566988001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/kazakhstan-defeat-scotland-still-has-europe-s-best-football-fans-leader-comment-1-4893782","id":"1.4893782","articleHeadline": "Kazakhstan defeat: Scotland still has Europe’s best football fans – leader comment","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553234400000 ,"articleLead": "

Was it Scotland’s worst-ever result? It was certainly one of them. Kazakhstan are currently ranked the 117th best team in the world, but they strolled to a 3-0 win in Astana.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893781.1553197869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnie Scotland, Bonnie Scotland, we'll support you ever more (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)"} ,"articleBody": "

To put that in context, during their unsuccessful 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign, the Kazakhs scored six goals and conceded 26 in ten games.

They have won just three out of the last 40 competitive games.

If they can dispatch Scotland so easily, we really are in trouble and the 21-year quest to qualify for a major tournament is likely to stretch far into the future.

Callum McGregor, the Scotland captain, admitted “we never did our jobs” and the players “have got to hold their hands up”.

READ MORE: Kazakhstan 3-0 Scotland: Shockingly bad start to Euro 2020 qualifiers

But the national side’s football malaise is, unfortunately, much deeper than just one bad result.

Scotland is home to Europe’s most dedicated fans with the highest attendances per head of population.

That kind of passion deserves a decent national side. But, actually, we have one – the women’s international team, which will make their debut at the World Cup in France this summer.

Time to turn the Champs-Élysées tartan.

READ MORE: Scottish football attendances ‘highest in Europe’ based on population

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893781.1553197869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893781.1553197869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Bonnie Scotland, Bonnie Scotland, we'll support you ever more (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Bonnie Scotland, Bonnie Scotland, we'll support you ever more (Picture: Lisa Ferguson)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893781.1553197869!/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/youth-and-enthusiasm-help-gareth-southgate-survive-england-gauntlet-1-4893869","id":"1.4893869","articleHeadline": "Youth and enthusiasm help Gareth Southgate survive England gauntlet","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553207746000 ,"articleLead": "

It never gets any easier, being England’s manager.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893868.1553207742!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thinking time for Gareth Southgate as he contemplates his team to face Czech Republic during training at St George's Park yesterday. Picture: PA."} ,"articleBody": "

In the eight months since reaching the third-place playoff at the World Cup in Russia, Gareth Southgate has had to watch the Football Association’s technical director, Dan Ashworth – one of the organisation’s key figures – leave for Brighton and Hove Albion. He has faced uncertainty around whether his trusted assistant Steve Holland would take over at Chelsea. This week it has emerged that the future of psychologist Dr Pippa Grange, the FA’s head of people and team development, who is widely credited for her work with the England squad last summer, is also up in the air.

“England” the concept – the camp, the players, the staff, the fans, the media – is a constantly moving beast, which can bite your hand at any moment and sometimes in unexpected ways. In recent history, it has been a gauntlet of newspaper stings and sex scandals.

One slip and the job can be over, and Southgate could have easily slipped up along the way. Yet during the two and a half years of his time in charge, he has smoothly navigated questions about politics, racism and bullying, at the same time as single-handedly convincing people to start wearing waistcoats on a daily basis again.

This week has been more of the same: he had to share his views on the dual nationality debate, after convincing defensive midfielder Declan Rice to choose England instead of Republic of Ireland, with whom the West Ham player had won three caps in friendlies (Southgate pointed out, quite rightly, this is an issue that nations and players will increasingly have to deal with). Only yesterday he had to quickly shape an opinion about the 20-year-old midfielder’s pro-IRA posts on social media, made in 2015 but circulated widely on the eve of his potential debut.

It is just as well that Southgate is the sort of guy who, away from football and over dinner and a drink, is happy not to talk only about football incessantly, like some in the game. He is obsessed with football, obviously, but he has interests and opinions elsewhere.

Yet after all that has come before and for all the popularity he has earned, in front of Southgate and his England team stand two relatively straightforward opponents in their Euro 2020 qualifiers who, in the space of four days, could make a savage dent in everything.

The saying goes that you’re never more than six feet away from a rat and, equally, the England manager is never more than two defeats away from having a shower of the unprintable poured all over him.

Lose to Czech Republic and Montenegro and it’s back to the old England, and the same old problems. That is the pressure and expectation of being England manager, of being manager of a nation who were not even in the top ten best in the world when Southgate took over.

Still, just as an alarming number of people in the UK seem to think the UK has the divine right to leave the EU yet retain all of the benefits of the EU without any of the EU’s downsides, so the England team are expected to have a divine right to win every game and travel far in every tournament.

So there really is no rest for the England manager.

It is a culture of pressure that has seen off more experienced England managers and a “golden generation” of players, so Southgate has combated it with his own counterculture infused with youth and enthusiasm and some fun.

There is an aura around talented young English teenagers at the moment that Southgate is central to. England fans are desperate to see players who have barely kicked a ball in their club’s first team, or have been doing so away from the Match of the Day cameras in the Bundesliga, about whom they know little until they see their name in England’s squad and Google it.

It will certainly be exciting when Callum Hudson-Odoi, pictured, comes on as a substitute for his first England cap? The forward has not even started a Premier League game for Chelsea – played only 119 minutes in total, less than a match and a half – yet his surprise inclusion, after Luke Shaw pulled out with injury, has been a major story of the past week.

Marcus Rashford is injured but that makes the likelihood of Jadon Sancho starting even greater, and who doesn’t want to see that?

There is a constant pressure to giving these younger players a go, and putting your future in the hands of the unknown, that Southgate seems to enjoy.

It never gets any easier, but then nothing worth having ever was.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "SAM CUNNINGHAM"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893868.1553207742!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893868.1553207742!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Thinking time for Gareth Southgate as he contemplates his team to face Czech Republic during training at St George's Park yesterday. Picture: PA.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Thinking time for Gareth Southgate as he contemplates his team to face Czech Republic during training at St George's Park yesterday. Picture: PA.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893868.1553207742!/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/scotland-s-graeme-shinnie-fears-axe-against-san-marino-1-4893863","id":"1.4893863","articleHeadline": "Scotland’s Graeme Shinnie fears axe against San Marino","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553207400000 ,"articleLead": "

Graeme Shinnie admits he let himself down on a chastening night in Kazakhstan after the midfielder was pushed into service at left-back by Scotland manager Alex McLeish.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893862.1553207128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's Callum McGregor (left) exchanges words with assistant coach James McFadden after the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group I match at the Astana Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 21, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Kazakhstan. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the Scottish FA."} ,"articleBody": "

The Aberdeen player is enjoying a superb season for his club in midfield but circumstances meant he was asked to deputise for Andy Robertson and Kieran Tiernan at left-back.

But his efforts to prove his versatility got off to a bad start when Kazakhstan scored twice in the opening ten minutes, the second goal coming from a pass that was played inside Shinnie. He now fears he has played himself out of the team after his first competitive international start. An ignominious night for every Scot involved, the visitors eventually fell to a 3-0 defeat.

“I am just gutted,” he said. “I didn’t think we were great as a team, but I look at myself more than anything. To get that chance to let the team down was disappointing. I don’t think I played well. It was frustrating on a personal note.”

The player, who started his career at left-back for Inverness Caledonian Thistle, admitted his positional sense might have been suspect as he sought to reacquaint himself with the role. He has only played there briefly this season with Aberdeen.

“I maybe got caught a bit cold at left-back in terms of my positioning, especially for their second goal,” he said. “It was a tough night. They played well, they were on the front foot putting pressure on us. It was a hard game.”

With Robertson set to return at left-back on Sunday against San Marino, Shinnie fears he might be overlooked for a midfield role and relegated to the bench again. “I can’t see myself getting back into the team now,” he added. “Like I said, on a personal note I am gutted in myself. I know I am so much better. I’ve waited so long to get a chance. Two of the top players in Andy and KT being out gave me that opportunity. Andy is going to come back in against San Marino no matter what I did tonight, but it was a chance for me to show what I can do and I let myself down.”

Callum McGregor was similarly mortified. He wore the captain’s armband for the first time but was helpless as plans went awry in the opening minutes. The Celtic midfielder reflected on how quickly things can change. One minute he was being invited to McLeish’s hotel room to be informed he had been chosen as captain, one of the highlights of his career, the next he was leader of a team that were being accused of heaping fresh shame on the Scottish nation.

“It shows you how quickly things can change in football,” said McGregor, who was involved in a post-match confrontation with coach James McFadden. “On Wednesday I was buzzing, getting the chance to captain my country with everybody sending text messages through. To go to such a low with the performance and result, it just shows you how cruel football can be sometimes.” Having played in Astana on two previous occasions with Celtic, McGregor was one of the few who had some idea what to expect. But there was still an onus on Scotland to take something from the game.

“It’s embarrassing in terms of performance and result,” he said. “For the ones who have been here before [we know] it is a difficult place to come but everyone will be looking at this as a game on paper we should have won and it should have been comfortable. However, there are never any givens in football and having played so many games now I realise that.

“You’ve got to be at it and be on the front foot and start the game aggressively to make it an easier night for yourselves. But when you don’t do that anyone can cause you problems and credit to Kazakhstan because they did exactly that.”

“It’s really poor,” he added. “We didn’t start the game well enough. When you come here you’ve got to give yourself half a chance by getting through the first ten to 15 minutes, but we conceded twice and that killed us. We never really recovered from that at all. There is not much else to say, it’s just so disappointing. We were trying to come here on a high and start the campaign on a positive. When you get hit with a result like that, it’s so disappointing. Everyone in there is devastated. We can only hold our hands up and try to put it right in the next couple of games.”

Scotland play San Marino on Sunday and then Cyprus in June, three days before coming up against group favourites Belgium.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893862.1553207128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893862.1553207128!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's Callum McGregor (left) exchanges words with assistant coach James McFadden after the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group I match at the Astana Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 21, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Kazakhstan. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the Scottish FA.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's Callum McGregor (left) exchanges words with assistant coach James McFadden after the UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying, Group I match at the Astana Arena. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday March 21, 2019. See PA story SOCCER Kazakhstan. Photo credit should read: Adam Davy/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. Commercial use only with prior written consent of the Scottish FA.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893862.1553207128!/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/john-barclay-and-matt-scott-line-up-for-edinburgh-after-long-absences-1-4893859","id":"1.4893859","articleHeadline": "John Barclay and Matt Scott line up for Edinburgh after long absences","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553207400000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh coach Richard Cockerill insists he had no qualms about putting John Barclay straight in from the start as he makes his long-awaited debut for the capital team in tonight’s vital Guinness Pro14 clash with Conference B-topping Leinster at 
BT Murrayfield.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893858.1553206428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Barclay is fit again after long-term injury and will line up for Edinburgh against Leinster tonight. Picture: SNS."} ,"articleBody": "

Barclay was Cockerill’s big signing for this season but hasn’t had the opportunity to utilise the 32-year-old’s vast experience and pedigree after a ruptured Achilles tendon forced the then Scotland captain into a ten-month lay-off.

After such lengthy injuries it is often the case that players are eased back in with a stint off the bench but Cockerill has thrown the 71-times capped forward the No 6 jersey at the earliest opportunity.

“The best thing for Barcs is to have a good training week, do everything, start the game and get his head round starting and just go as hard and as long as he can,” said the coach.

“He has trained well and you can see his experience and what he brings to the group. But, obviously, he hasn’t played so we will see how he goes. There’s no doubt he’s a good enough player, it’s just whether this late in the season his match fitness is going to be up to it. I’m pretty convinced he’s ready to deliver a decent performance.”

Cockerill, who knows there is no more room for error if Edinburgh are to return to the Pro14 play-offs, has named a strong side, featuring four of those who took part in the weekend’s Calcutta Cup classic – Darcy Graham, WP Nel, Ben Toolis and Hamish Watson.

There is also a welcome return for Scotland centre Matt Scott, who has not featured since suffering a head injury in the home European win over Toulon back in October. “He’s obviously been a little bit frustrated,” said Cockerill. “We’ve been very cautious in looking after him, for all the right reasons. I think Chris Dean has played very well, but this is a good opportunity to give Matt a run.

“To get two guys like Matt and John who haven’t played is good. Matt is a big powerful centre and it will be a good contest. [Opposite number] Joe Tomane has been out for a little while for them as well so both sides have guys coming back from injury who need game time.

“I’m delighted Matt’s back in because it gives him an opportunity to get some minutes under his belt and see if he can push for a spot for the business end of the season.”

Leinster have the luxury of resting most of their big Test stars for this one, which opens the door for Edinburgh to look to climb back from the fifth-place spot they currently occupy in the Conference after struggling during international windows this season.

“To be fair, if we hadn’t put ourselves in a hole around qualifying for the play-offs then I would probably have made different decisions,” explained Cockerill. “Working alongside [Scotland coach] Gregor [Townsend] and [director of rugby] Scott Johnson, looking at resting guys and game time over the season, we’ve been able to put a good side out that should see us be more than competitive.

“The union realise the importance of the next five, six, seven weeks for what Edinburgh are playing in.”

With that in mind, Cockerill was unequivocal when asked if he will be in a position to pick his best team for next weekend’s huge Heineken Champions Cup quarter-final at home to Munster. “100 per cent I’ll be picking my best team,” said the Englishman.

“Leinster are already top of the conference, so they can pick and do whatever they wish, because they’ve earned the right to do it. They’ve got a huge [European quarter-final] game against Ulster next week, they’ve had a lot of guys playing Test matches who they can look after,

“They’ve got a very deep squad and they’ve still got some experience in the team that they’ve picked, and we’ll treat them with the respect that Leinster should be treated with.

“We know how important it is for us, and the psychology of Leinster will be up to them to decide, but I’m sure there’s a few guys in that team that want to prove themselves.

“But we’ve just got to get on. I expect the team that’s been picked to perform. We need to win more than they do: that doesn’t mean we will win, we need to make sure we play as well as we can. We need the points. If we lose, it’s going to be very hard to qualify for the play-offs and it’s going to be a struggle to get into Europe [Champions Cup].”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893858.1553206428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893858.1553206428!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "John Barclay is fit again after long-term injury and will line up for Edinburgh against Leinster tonight. Picture: SNS.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "John Barclay is fit again after long-term injury and will line up for Edinburgh against Leinster tonight. Picture: SNS.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893858.1553206428!/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/hearts/equality-is-key-for-ann-budge-and-the-hearts-women-s-academy-1-4893849","id":"1.4893849","articleHeadline": "Equality is key for Ann Budge and the Hearts women’s academy","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553204979000 ,"articleLead": "

Roger Arnott, the Hearts academy director, says a commitment to equality, and not a financial return, is what prompted the club’s owner, Ann Budge, to instigate the women’s academy. It will take in its first players after the end of the current women’s season in November.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893848.1553204976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts owner Ann Budge. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

“Our model on the boys’ and men’s side is to work really hard at developing young players to create pathways to get to the first team,” Arnott pointed out. “Then to play 100 games in the first team and to absolutely earn, when they’re ready, an opportunity to go and forge a career in England or abroad.

“It’s the same for the girls. We need to mirror what we have on the boys’ side in terms of the academy to develop the girls to first team level. When they are at 100 games, after three or four seasons, they’ll probably do the same and move on.”

“That’s the model we need to have in this country – to develop talented girls for the nation and then let them go because at the moment the Scottish game has a long way to go to become professional.”

As transfer fees are minimal in women’s football, and compensation payments for developing players have yet to be introduced, the obvious point is that Hearts will get no financial return for their investment, at least in the short term.

“This is not about money,” Arnott responded. “I agree that the same compensation rules and regulations for the men should be in place for the women – and they will be soon because Fifa and Uefa are looking at it now. That will come, but we’re not going into this because we want a return. We’d be in the wrong game if that’s what we were doing.

“We’re going into it to give an opportunity for girls to develop with the same resources thrown at them, and the same support from the club, so they can reach their potential. That way the game can move forward. If it happens we’ll all be in a much better place, and then we’ll get closer to professionalism. If we say let’s not do it, because we’re not going to get a return on our investment, we’ll never move 
forward.

“Ann has been pushing for this from day one, five years ago. It’s always been something she wanted to do. The foundations of the club had to be put back on a sure footing first, and the new stand built, but she spoke to me a year ago and said she really wanted to go for this now.

“I’ve got to be honest and say I’m excited about having a set-up that’s different and new in the girls’ game. I was tasked with putting a plan together and finding the right person to head it up – and Kevin is absolutely the right person.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN CAMPBELL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893848.1553204976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893848.1553204976!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts owner Ann Budge. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts owner Ann Budge. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893848.1553204976!/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/hearts/one-club-vision-aims-to-put-hearts-in-the-vanguard-of-women-s-game-1-4893847","id":"1.4893847","articleHeadline": "One-club vision aims to put Hearts in the vanguard of women’s game","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553204963000 ,"articleLead": "

Kevin Murphy admits he was sceptical when Hearts approached him to become the club’s first women’s academy director. He had an enviably similar role at Manchester City, the first side in the UK to fully embrace a “one club” philosophy towards its male and female players – quite a statement given the status in world football of Pep Guardiola and his squad.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893845.1553204953!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Megan Paterson. 'Picture: Craig Foy/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

“Man City absolutely do that, 100 per cent,” confirms Murphy, who has also worked at Hamilton Accies and Rangers. “You see it in their social media and having worked there for over two years it’s not smoke and mirrors.”

It wasn’t leaving a club which is on course for the men’s and women’s league double in England this season which concerned Murphy so much as the status of the sport in his home country. Glasgow City, a stand-alone women’s club, have sailed to 12 consecutive league titles and regular Champions League appearances despite having a fraction of the resources of Scotland’s top men’s clubs.

Their nearest domestic competitors, Hibernian, have won the last six domestic knockout competitions, but very little of this is down to Easter Road. The women’s first team and academy are part of the Hibernian Foundation, not the club itself. It is the unstinting efforts of the coaches and players which, along with the best young talent in Scotland gravitating to the club because the national performance academy is based in Edinburgh, has delivered the trophies.

Not until the last few months have clubs such as Motherwell, Hearts, Aberdeen and Rangers started to make more positive noises about their women’s teams. Celtic stated in November that theirs would be the first in Scotland to go full time – but no indication of what that might mean is expected until after this summer’s World Cup.

By contrast, the top league in England is fully professional and the one below it semi-professional. On Wednesday, the FA announced a £10 million, three-year, sponsorship from Barclays which will only further widen the gulf between the two countries.

Although Murphy was keen to return to Scotland for personal reasons, the opportunity seemed unlikely in the circumstances. Then he was approached by Roger Arnott, the Hearts academy manager.

“I’ve told Roger this before, but when he spoke to me about the job I genuinely thought it would be the usual lip service, as in: ‘We’re trying to do this to tick a box’,” Murphy admits. “But when I met up with him he bamboozled me with his presentation and all the detail that was going into this programme.

“They had almost this finished plan, with a great deal of work put into it, which was exciting. The project, and the vision of this club, was what really sold it to me.”

Anybody expecting a full-time Hearts women’s team any time soon is going to be disappointed. The aim is to build the club from the bottom upwards by putting the girls’ and women’s academy on exactly the same footing as the male one.

“We would love to have the same financial clout as the clubs down south but the money isn’t the same in Scotland,” Murphy says. “If clubs here want to go professional it’s going to take a significant investment. Things would have to change in terms of sponsors and television – so it’s chicken and egg.

“For me it’s about small steps and the next logical one would be semi-professional football to mirror the second tier in England. See how that goes and maybe five years after that see where we’re at. There is nothing wrong with being really good at what you do, rather than reach too far ahead with something that is not sustainable.

“As a country and as a club we have to make sure we do it for the right reasons, not for the sake of going professional. It has to be right for the players and the set-up.”

When the girls’ and women’s academy starts at the end of this year, the players will train three nights a week at Oriam, the same as the boys. The very best will also be offered the opportunity to attend the Hearts performance school at Balerno and access further football and coaching.

While it is an approach based on first ensuring the base of the pyramid is strong, the obvious aim will be for Hearts to be promoted from SWPL2 this year if possible. A place in the top eight would enable the club to compete with Hibs for the best young players attending the national performance academy.

“I’m not setting any targets, and as far as I’m aware I haven’t been given any,” Murphy says. “We have a good chance of promotion this season, but it’s a really exciting and competitive league. We want to be competing at the highest level and winning 
trophies, as well as producing lots of youth international players.

“I was doing the same job at Man City as I will be doing here. The term was technical director, pretty much overseeing the reserves to the under-10s. I was implementing coach recruitment and making sure the philosophy of the club was met, among other things.

“There’s a lot I learned there which I can take here – but this club in its own right is pioneering and trying to do things the Hearts way. You can see the job Roger is doing in the boys academy, and how we can try to replicate that.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN CAMPBELL"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893845.1553204953!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893845.1553204953!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts' Megan Paterson. 'Picture: Craig Foy/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Megan Paterson. 'Picture: Craig Foy/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893845.1553204953!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893846.1553204960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893846.1553204960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "New Hearts women's academy director Kevin Murphy, right, with Roger Arnott, the club academy manager.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "New Hearts women's academy director Kevin Murphy, right, with Roger Arnott, the club academy manager.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893846.1553204960!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/round-up-russell-knox-makes-albatross-in-opening-67-in-florida-1-4893842","id":"1.4893842","articleHeadline": "Round Up: Russell Knox makes albatross in opening 67 in Florida","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553203972000 ,"articleLead": "

A historic albatross sparked Russell Knox into life as the Scottish No 1 made a promising start in the Valspar Championship, the final leg of the PGA Tour’s Florida Swing.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893841.1553204422!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Russell Knox's albatross was the first in the history of the Valspar Championship. Picture: Getty."} ,"articleBody": "

Knox turned in 38, two-over, after taking a double-bogey 6 at the ninth before storming home in 29, six-under, on the Copperhead Course at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbour.His 67 left him sitting a shot off the lead, held by American Joel Dahmen and Austrian Sepp Straka.

The highlight of Knox’s round was undoubtedly his second at the par-5 11th as he holed a 3-wood from 275 yards for the first albatross in the history of the event, which is being staged for the 19th year.

Boosted by that, the Invernesian then birdied the 13th, 14th and 16th to turn his day around in spectacular fashion.

“I mean, a massive bonus, obviously,” Knox told pgatour.com afterwards. “It’s really cool to have an albatross.

“I think it’s a bigger deal to have a hole-in-one, to be honest – even though it (an albatross) is more under par.

“It’s great to go from plus-two to minus-one in one hole. That changes your outlook of the day real quick.”

It was the second albatross of his career, the first one having coming at Nairn Dunbar playing in a junior medal.

“It was a shortish par-5, just under 500 yards,” he added. “But you couldn’t see, you kind of hit up over a hill and there’s a huge gully in the green and it went in.

“I actually looked out of bounds over the green before I even looked into the hole then, so that was nice to go in.

“I think I actually won the little tiny tournament by one shot, too.”

Knox needs a big finish in either this event of next week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Texas to climb into the world’s top 50 in time to secure a spot in the Masters in three weeks’ time.

Former world No 1 Luke Donald matched the Scot’s opening effort, as did American Kevin Kisner.

Dustin Johnson had a 69, as did Jim Furyk as last year’s US Ryder Cup captain took up where he left off when finishing second to Rory Mcilroy in The Players Championship last weekend.

***

Ryder Cup captain Padraig Harrington was delighted with his return to competitive action in the Maybank Championship in Malaysia.

Playing his first event since November after breaking a bone in his wrist, Harrington carded a two-under 70 in in Kuala Lumpur to lie five shots off the lead shared by Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Spain’s Nacho Elvira.

“I didn’t hit it very well, especially off the tee I really struggled, so it was a really good score. I’m delighted,” said Harrington.David Law, the Vic Open champion, signed for a 73, a shot better than compatriot Stephen Gallacher, leaving the two Scots in the field with work on their hands in the second round to make the halfway cut.

***

Gemma Dryburgh produced a confidence-boosting opening effort in the LPGA’s Bank of Hope Founders Cup in Arizona.

The Aberdonian carded a two-under-par 70 to sit in a tie for 46th, two shots inside the projected cut.

She had three birdies, with her only dropped shot coming at the par-3 17th.

Catriona Matthew birdied that hole but the Solheim Cup captain had a triple-bogey 7 on her card, as well as two bogeys.

She had to settle for a three-over 75 and is tied for 128th heading into the second round.

Frenchwoman Celine Boutier leads on 64, a shot ahead of a group that includes England’s Charlotte Thomas and Dane Nanna Koerstz Madsen.

***

Scottish international Ryan Lumsden has been named one of five finalists for the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Byron Nelson Award.

The Northwestern senior is up against Braden Bailey (Baylor), Nick Ludka (Kalamazoo), Collin Morikawa (Cal) and Brandon Wu (Stanford) for the prestigious prize.

Candidates for the award must be a graduating senior, with the selection committee considering a nominee’s entire collegiate academic and golf career in equal measure, aswell as his character and integrity while in college.

Lumsden, runner-up to Sam Locke in the 2017 Scottish Amateur, is the fifth golfer from Northwestern to be under consideration for the award.

He qualified for last year’s US Open at Shinnecock Hills before representing Scotland in the Eisenhower Trophy at Carton House in Ireland.

***

Aboyne’s Shannon McWilliam sits eight shots off the lead in joint-ninth after opening rounds of 72-76 in the Italian International Ladies Amateur at Golf Is Molas in Sardinia.

Hazel McGarvie is next best among the Scots in the field sitting just outside the top 40 on 12-over (78-78), with Connie Jaffrey (82-78) and Louise Duncan (82-80) on 16-over and 18-over respectively.

England’s Lily May Humphreys carded a second consecutive 70 to lead on four-under, a shot ahead of home player Alessia Nobilo.

***

Jane Turner, winner of the Superport Ladies Challenge at the end of last month, has secured another pay-day on the Sunshine Ladies Tour in South Africa.

The Dalmahoy player made the cut in the latest event on the circuit, the Jabra Ladies Classic at Glendower Golf Club, following rounds of 76 and 77.

***

Action for Children and Perthshire Women’s Aid are to be the “official charity partners” of this year’s Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.

With its Scottish HQ in Glasgow, Action for Children has been appointed following a selection process led by the Scottish Government.

Perthshire Women’s Aid, based in Perth, was nominated by Perth & Kinross Council and Gleneagles as the host region.

“Charity should be a hugely important component of any socially responsible major event and I’m delighted that the 2019 Solheim Cup will be raising funds for these two deserving charitable organisations,” said Joe FitzPatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MARTIN DEMPSTER"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893841.1553204422!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893841.1553204422!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Russell Knox's albatross was the first in the history of the Valspar Championship. Picture: Getty.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Russell Knox's albatross was the first in the history of the Valspar Championship. Picture: Getty.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893841.1553204422!/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/how-the-scotland-players-rated-during-3-0-defeat-to-kazakhstan-1-4893738","id":"1.4893738","articleHeadline": "How the Scotland players rated during 3-0 defeat to Kazakhstan","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553201356000 ,"articleLead": "

Ratings out of ten for every Scotland player as Alex McLeish’s men go down 3-0 to Kazakhstan.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893685.1553191903!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's players line up before the defeat to Kazakhstan. Picture: PA"} ,"articleBody": "

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893685.1553191903!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893685.1553191903!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland's players line up before the defeat to Kazakhstan. Picture: PA","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland's players line up before the defeat to Kazakhstan. Picture: PA","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893685.1553191903!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893724.1553191906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893724.1553191906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "On his competitive debut the Celtic keeper had no chance with the goals and made a superb block from Kuat on the half hour to prevent the humiliation being any deeper. If that were at all possible. (5/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "On his competitive debut the Celtic keeper had no chance with the goals and made a superb block from Kuat on the half hour to prevent the humiliation being any deeper. If that were at all possible. (5/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893724.1553191906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893725.1553191908!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893725.1553191908!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Sheffield Wednesday debutant wasn't the worst. Might have closed down better to prevent the cross that led to the third but the ball was firmly on the slates by then with the right-back area not the cause of that fact. (5/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Sheffield Wednesday debutant wasn't the worst. Might have closed down better to prevent the cross that led to the third but the ball was firmly on the slates by then with the right-back area not the cause of that fact. (5/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893725.1553191908!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893726.1553191911!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893726.1553191911!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Left back was supposed to be second nature to him, despite having not played there at all this season. It looked as if he had never played there in his life as Kazakhstan cut their visitors apart in that first 10 minutes. (2/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Left back was supposed to be second nature to him, despite having not played there at all this season. It looked as if he had never played there in his life as Kazakhstan cut their visitors apart in that first 10 minutes. (2/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893726.1553191911!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893727.1553191914!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893727.1553191914!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Dynamism and some dazzling digs have framed his recent impressive outings for Aston Villa. They were out of the picture as he was one more player in the Astana Arena who offered next to nothing. (4/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Dynamism and some dazzling digs have framed his recent impressive outings for Aston Villa. They were out of the picture as he was one more player in the Astana Arena who offered next to nothing. (4/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893727.1553191914!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893728.1553191916!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893728.1553191916!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "As Kazakhstan led Scotland a merry dance, the Hamburg centre-back seemed one of those visiting players that succumbed to the jitterbug. Just never looked comfortable. Played his part in a backline appearing to lack backbone. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "As Kazakhstan led Scotland a merry dance, the Hamburg centre-back seemed one of those visiting players that succumbed to the jitterbug. Just never looked comfortable. Played his part in a backline appearing to lack backbone. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893728.1553191916!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893729.1553191918!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893729.1553191918!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Aberdeen centre-back was beaten in the air by Zainutdinov for the third goal. His positioning seemed suspect as Alex McLeish's men were opened up for that early, deadly double salvo. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Aberdeen centre-back was beaten in the air by Zainutdinov for the third goal. His positioning seemed suspect as Alex McLeish's men were opened up for that early, deadly double salvo. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893729.1553191918!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893730.1553191921!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893730.1553191921!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "He could not find any means to catch alight on the darkest of evenings. Passed up a glaring opportunity on the hour when he scuffed the sort of effort from close in that he feasted on in the Nations League. Subbed. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "He could not find any means to catch alight on the darkest of evenings. Passed up a glaring opportunity on the hour when he scuffed the sort of effort from close in that he feasted on in the Nations League. Subbed. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893730.1553191921!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893731.1553191924!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893731.1553191924!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A captain without an impact, the Celtic man must share the blame for the ignominious outcome. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A captain without an impact, the Celtic man must share the blame for the ignominious outcome. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893731.1553191924!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893732.1553201245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893732.1553201245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The 22-year-old was given no platform to stake his claim for the lone forward role but did create openings for Armstrong and Forrest. Might have been relieved to be hauled off for Russell in 61 minutes. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The 22-year-old was given no platform to stake his claim for the lone forward role but did create openings for Armstrong and Forrest. Might have been relieved to be hauled off for Russell in 61 minutes. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893732.1553201245!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893733.1553191929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893733.1553191929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The one player who raised him above the morass of that cataclysmic opening, it was no coincidence the midfielder fashioned his side's first effort on target - in 54 minutes. Generally played at a level above his sorry team-mates. (5/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The one player who raised him above the morass of that cataclysmic opening, it was no coincidence the midfielder fashioned his side's first effort on target - in 54 minutes. Generally played at a level above his sorry team-mates. (5/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893733.1553191929!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893734.1553191932!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893734.1553191932!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A couple of surging runs in the opening minutes suggested the on-loan Celtic striker could be a game-changer in the wide left role. Then the game changed and the 22-year-old was rarely witnessed again. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A couple of surging runs in the opening minutes suggested the on-loan Celtic striker could be a game-changer in the wide left role. Then the game changed and the 22-year-old was rarely witnessed again. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893734.1553191932!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893735.1553191937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893735.1553191937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "There must have been part of him going 'I came 6,000 miles from the US for this' when he replaced McBurnie on the hour with his team 3-0 down. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "There must have been part of him going 'I came 6,000 miles from the US for this' when he replaced McBurnie on the hour with his team 3-0 down. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893735.1553191937!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893736.1553191939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893736.1553191939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Manchester United youngster did more than go through the motions after replacing McGinn. Credit to him for that level of professionalism, which required taking some kicks, during a rank amateurish display. (3/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Manchester United youngster did more than go through the motions after replacing McGinn. Credit to him for that level of professionalism, which required taking some kicks, during a rank amateurish display. (3/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893736.1553191939!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893737.1553191941!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893737.1553191941!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A thankless task to play out the final minutes of a game that was long gone, you wonder if the Hibernian on-loan Reading forward won't just put his first cap in a drawer and never open that drawer again. (1/10)","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A thankless task to play out the final minutes of a game that was long gone, you wonder if the Hibernian on-loan Reading forward won't just put his first cap in a drawer and never open that drawer again. (1/10)","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893737.1553191941!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/rugby-union/injury-prevention-underpins-new-cycle-of-rugby-law-amendments-1-4893809","id":"1.4893809","articleHeadline": "Injury prevention underpins new cycle of rugby law amendments","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553201175000 ,"articleLead": "

It was JPR Williams who suggested it, a quarter of a century ago. Rugby union will one day need to remove two players from the field, the great Wales full-back said, or it will run out of space. In 2019, that sanction remains off the table, but World Rugby have acceded to an alarming injury rate with a new mission statement underpinning its latest conference to look at improvements to the laws, held over three days near Paris this week: “The future shape of rugby will be determined by evidence-based injury-prevention initiatives“.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893808.1553201171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland winger Sean Maitland hands off England's Henry Slade. Picture: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

If the motto is clinical, it fits the widespread anxiety over the rate of injuries including concussion, prompted by evidence from four players at various levels in France losing their lives in the last 12 months, to the severity of injury rising in the professional game. It is not unusual when you see Northampton missing 11 players for tonight’s Premiership derby with Leicester.

The eight proposals formulated at the conference for possible trials in the next cycle of law amendments, which begins after this year’s World Cup, has excited plenty of debate.

One included a review of a yellow-card offence while the player was spending 10 minutes in the sinbin, to consider an upgrade to red. Another was to continue an existing experiment with issuing a post-match warning to a defender whose upright tackle had resulted in head contact. The greatest focus is on statistics showing the tackle accounts for 50 per cent of match injuries, and for 76 per cent of concussions, while 72 per cent of concussions sustained in the tackle occur to the tackler.

One idea that has immediately got players, coaches and pundits talking was a “50-22 kick”, inspired by rugby league’s 40-20 rule. A team whose player kicked the ball into touch in the opposition 22 from inside his or her own half, with a bounce before the ball went out, would be awarded the throw-in to the resulting lineout – in what would become a great attacking position. The theory is the fear of being driven back like this would persuade the defending team to take one or more players out of the defensive line which is often strung out in front of their opponents’ attack, so there would be more space and fewer damaging 
collisions.

The 40-20 rule in league generates excitement when the crowd sees the kick unleashed, and watch the defender scurrying madly to prevent the ball going out. There was just such an instance at Twickenham last Saturday, when Scotland’s Sean Maitland kicked on the counter although, of course, under the current laws, England had the subsequent throw-in.

Toby Flood, the Newcastle and England stand-off, said: “Is that more attractive to the viewer, or is it 1970s rugby stuff – whack the ball and go after it?

“Hypothetically, will a team like Exeter, who play a lot, now play less around their opponents’ 30 or 40-metre point, taking fewer risks, because they are worried about a kick going back behind them? There could be more ball in play, and fewer tackles, but less attractive play,

“I totally understand what they [the lawmakers] are trying to do, but I don’t know how much you can fight the evolution of the sport. People are bigger, faster and stronger than they were.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "HUGH GODWIN"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893808.1553201171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893808.1553201171!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland winger Sean Maitland hands off England's Henry Slade. Picture: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland winger Sean Maitland hands off England's Henry Slade. Picture: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893808.1553201171!/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-i-won-t-quit-as-scotland-boss-1-4893790","id":"1.4893790","articleHeadline": "Alex McLeish: I won’t quit as Scotland boss","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553198102000 ,"articleLead": "

Alex McLeish has insisted he is determined to continue doing his job after Scotland’s first Euro 2020 group qualifier ended in embarrassment and calls for the manager to be dismissed.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893789.1553199492!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish shows his frustration during his side's humiliating 3-0 defeat by Kazakstan at the Astana Arena. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire"} ,"articleBody": "

Optimism over Scotland’s latest campaign evaporated inside ten minutes after Kazakhstan took a shock 2-0 lead in the Astana Arena.

Such was the nature of the defeat – striker Baktiyor Zainutdinov added a third shortly into the second half – that McLeish already faced questions about his future.

The manager has led Scotland to a play-off place thanks to top spot in their Nations League qualifying group but losing to a team ranked 117th in the world saw him asked if the strong reaction from fans to last night’s defeat meant he would consider his position.

“I will just continue to do my job,” he said. “Suffice to say I’m not going to get drawn into that question.”

He sought to clear up what happened following the final whistle when Scott McTominay headed straight down the tunnel rather than head to the area where 600 disillusioned Scots stood following the 4,000-mile trip through six time zones to Astana. Skipper Callum McGregor appeared to row with coach James McFadden after displaying unhappiness with McTominay. McLeish revealed the Manchester United midfielder “had a stomach upset” and was heading straight to the bathroom.

McLeish pointed out there are still nine games to be played and 27 points on offer. Losing the first match certainly counts as a setback but McLeish maintained it doesn’t necessarily have to be a fatal blow to Scotland’s ambitions. He said: “It’s never finished until it’s finished.

“We bounced back from a poor performance in Israel [in the Nations League] and that’s what we must do after this game.

“We have other players to come back, players with more experience who have to come back to the Scotland squad. Obviously we need to have as strong a squad as we can if we’re going to be strong in qualification.”

The team McLeish picked was Scotland’s youngest for a competitive fixture since the 1970s.

“There is a lot of inexperience in the squad,” he said. “We have introduced a few new names in the last year or so and it’s a process where it can take time but I know we don’t have any time. I want to get these lads playing to the level that we demand on the international scene but it’s not easy for players to come from no experience straight into the international team.”

McLeish refused to consider whether the 3-0 reversal was his worst-ever defeat as a manager. Some believe it registers as Scotland’s worst-ever loss. Last year’s 2-0 defeat to Israel, ranked at 94, was the previous lowest point, at least officially in terms of Fifa rankings. Kazakhstan were winless in all ten of their 2018 World Cup qualifiers and only gained a single victory – 1-0 in Latvia – in their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016.

“I don’t really rank defeats,” said McLeish. “I just feel in terms of losing I have to bounce back. I always feel low after a game but as I’ve said I’m pretty good at bouncing back.”

Scotland will aim to do so against San Marino, who, at 211, are the lowest ranked team in world football. McLeish will be desperate that Andy Robertson’s travel plans run smoothly. The Liverpool left-back is due to join up with the squad today in Italy, where Scotland are based prior to Sunday’s night next Group I fixture.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893789.1553199492!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893789.1553199492!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish shows his frustration during his side's humiliating 3-0 defeat by Kazakstan at the Astana Arena. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scotland manager Alex McLeish shows his frustration during his side's humiliating 3-0 defeat by Kazakstan at the Astana Arena. Picture: Adam Davy/PA Wire","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893789.1553199492!/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/club-rugby/super-6-decision-time-for-which-league-second-xvs-will-play-in-1-4893786","id":"1.4893786","articleHeadline": "Super 6: Decision time for which league second XVs will play in","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1553197920000 ,"articleLead": "

Tonight’s SRU Special General Meeting at BT Murrayfield is the latest chapter in the ongoing Super 6 saga, with the vexed question of where the second XVs of the winning ‘franchises’ will play in the domestic structure next season to be decided.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893785.1553197916!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Super 6 teams for season 2019/2020 but where will their second teams play? Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

When the SRU launched its new part-time professional league, which is due to start later this year contested by Melrose, Ayr, Watsonians, Boroughmuir, Heriot’s and Stirling County, the stated intention was for these clubs’ second strings to drop down to the second tier National League 1.

However, a motion passed at last year’s AGM gave back control to clubs to have the final say in any changes to national competitions. That presented a loophole which could allow the status quo to remain unless amended by an SGM or AGM.

If the motion presented by SRU president Dee Bradbury passes tonight then the four Premiership clubs not involved in Super 6 – Hawick, Edinburgh Accies, Glasgow Hawks and Currie Chieftans – will be joined by the top six from National League 1 to form next season’s top club division.

The main points of the SRU motion are that the “Club XVs” of the Super 6 teams will play in National 1 next season.

At the end of seasons 2019-20 and 2020-21, one club will be relegated from the Premiership to National 1, and one club promoted from National 1 to the Premiership, where there will be no relegation this season.

Relegation will take place from National 1, 2 and all lower leagues in accordance with the presently operating competition rules.

Three amendments have been successfully added to the SGM agenda, with one from Falkirk RFC calling for the Super 6 second XVs to be excluded completely from the national domestic structure, form their own competition or play in reserve leagues.

Currie will argue that the top flight retains the name Premiership and cannot be altered “on a whim” by the SRU.

Finally, Haddington propose that if the motion is passed the Super 6 second XVs are ineligible for promotion back to the top flight for three seasons.

The meeting opens at 6pm in the President’s Suite at BT Murrayfield tonight. A quorum of one third of eligible clubs is required, with a simple majority needed to carry the motion.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4893785.1553197916!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4893785.1553197916!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Super 6 teams for season 2019/2020 but where will their second teams play? Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Super 6 teams for season 2019/2020 but where will their second teams play? Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4893785.1553197916!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}