{"JP":[ {"NewsSection":{"name":"sport","detaillevel":"full", "Articles": {"count":25,"detaillevel":"full","articlesList":[ {"article": { "url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/celtic/rumour-mill-steven-gerrard-rules-out-lallana-move-aberdeen-nick-in-for-greg-stewart-donald-findlay-blames-rangers-kitman-for-call-off-1-4859163","id":"1.4859163","articleHeadline": "Rumour Mill: Steven Gerrard rules out Lallana move | Aberdeen nick in for Greg Stewart | Donald Findlay blames Rangers kitman for call off","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547887200000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard rules out Adam Lallana move; Aberdeen nick in to steal Greg Stewart; David Vanecek ‘not 100 per cent fit’ but is set to start for Hearts in cup; Donald Findlay blames Rangers kitman for Cowdenbeath call off and more in Saturday’s Rumour Mill...

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859161.1547887195!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven Gerrard says Rangers won't be going for Adam Lallana. Picture Michael Gillen."} ,"articleBody": "

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard rules out moves for Adam Lallana and Ravel Morrison

Rangers boss Steven Gerrard has ruled out a move for Adam Lallana, while adding that the Glasgow club won’t be signing Ravel Morrison either.

When questioned about rumoured moves for both players, Gerrard responded: “There’s no truth in either.” (Express)

Donald Findlay blames Rangers kitman for Cowdenbeath call off

Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay has named Rangers kitman Jimmy Bell as the “driving force” behind the controversial decision to call-off his club’s Scottish Cup tie with the Ibrox side.

He said: “A referee was summoned but apparently the driving force behind the decision appears to be the Rangers kitman, which, to me, seems a bit odd. I don’t know all the facts but that is the story that is kicking about.” (ET)

Aberdeen nick in to steal Greg Stewart from under noses of Kilmarnock

Dons boss Derek McInnes has beat Kilmarnock to sign Greg Stewart on loan from Birmingham.

McInnes said: “Greg had offers from elsewhere but he chose us, which says a lot about him and about Aberdeen.” (Record)

Scott Allan wants to play for Hibs right now, says Lennon

Neil Lennon believes Scott Allan is desperate to start playing for Hibs again straight away rather than wait until the start of next season.

The Capital club have agreed a pre-contract deal with Celtic for the midfielder and now Lennon hopes he can begin a third spell at Easter Road before the transfer window shuts.

He said: “We’re hoping something can get done before the window shuts. If not, we look forward to welcoming him in the summer.” (EEN)

• READ MORE: Ryan Gauld interview: Hibs’ persistence, future plans and Lionel Messi comparisons

David Vanecek ‘not 100 per cent fit’ but is set to start for Hearts in cup

Craig Levein has confirmed that new striker David Vanecek is set to lead the Hearts attack in tomorrow’s Scottish Cup showdown with Livingston.

The 27-year-old Czech is short of match fitness as he hasn’t played since his last game for former club Teplice seven weeks ago. However, Levein is ready to throw the target man in from the start in this weekend’s Tynecastle clash with the Lions. (EEN)

Jordan Jones explains Rangers social media post

Jones told The Scottish Sun: “I wasn’t surprised by the fans’ reaction. It’s part and parcel of football. Some of it’s a bit over the top, the threats and things, but that’s social media.

“I was a bit over-excited, but to go from being told I had no future in football three years ago to this was a proud day.” (Sun)

NEWS IN BRIEF:

• Anton Ferdinand has agreed to extend his stay to St Mirren until the end of the season. (The Gazette)

Alloa Athletic have signed Jack Aitchison on loan from Celtic until the end of the season. (BBC)

• Liverpool have £61m bid for Benfica wonderkid Joao Felix rejected (Various)

• Genoa’s Stephane Omeonga is jetting into Edinburgh to complete Hibs loan switch (EEN)

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859161.1547887195!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859161.1547887195!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Steven Gerrard says Rangers won't be going for Adam Lallana. Picture Michael Gillen.","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Steven Gerrard says Rangers won't be going for Adam Lallana. Picture Michael Gillen.","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859161.1547887195!/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/rugby-union/scotland/allan-massie-glasgow-deserve-some-luck-against-saracens-1-4859067","id":"1.4859067","articleHeadline": "Allan Massie: Glasgow deserve some luck against Saracens","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow players this morning may have reason to either be happy and relaxed or grim and determined, depending on the result at Murrayfield last night. Sticking my neck out I reckon that Edinburgh will have beaten Montpellier, and so their friends in the West can head for Allianz Park in the knowledge that they have already qualified for the Champions Cup quarter-final. So then they can enjoy themselves while –of course – being aware that beating Saracens with a four-try bonus point and denying them a losing one would give them, like Edinburgh, a home quarter-final, improbably as this may seem. On the other hand if Edinburgh have stumbled at the last hurdle in the pool, it’s a very different kettle of fish.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859066.1547837906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Glasgow's Matt Fagerson suffered an early injury against Cardiff. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU"} ,"articleBody": "

Glasgow do deserve a bit of luck. They have been unfortunate in their three home matches in the pool. Saracens beat them at Scotstoun, scoring the only try of the game, but that try should have been disallowed and would surely have been disallowed if the TMO had been asked to look back to an earlier phase in the build-up . Then their home match with Lyon was played in atrocious conditions, so bad that it was unlikely they would score the four tries needed for a bonus point. If they had got a bonus point that day they would already be on 20 points and securely in the quarter-final. Even last week their last home game against Cardiff was played in a howling gale and they lost both their captain Callum Gibbins and their young No 8 Matt Fagerson to injury before the match was ten minutes old. It says much for their character that they did contrive to secure the necessary win with a bonus point, though one has to admit that some of their defence was truly lamentable. If it is not very 
much better this afternoon, 
Saracens are likely to win by an embarrassing margin.

There can’t be many surprises in a Six Nations squad of 39 players, especially when you consider that we could all have already drawn up a rather long list of the absent injured. Indeed a couple of missing names may have attracted more attention that any of the inclusions. It’s not so long since Alex Dunbar was an essential member of the Scotland three-quarter line at either 12 or 13. Sadly he has suffered so many injuries to both head and body, rarely finishing a match he has started that, short of game-time, form and fitness, he finds himself out of the squad – which nevertheless includes six centres: Peter Horne, Huw Jones, Sam Johnson, Nick Grigg, Chris Harris and Chris Dean. I’m very pleased to see Dean included for the first time; he’s a player who has been making steady improvement over the last couple of years. It’s unlikely he will start against Italy, or even be in the match-day squad, but then it’s anybody’s guess who will be in the 12 and 13 jerseys that day, and not only because reading Gregor Townsend’s mind isn’t easy.

Some may, with reason think Dean’s Edinburgh colleague James Johnstone unfortunate not to be in the squad, for he has been in sparkling form. But how many centres do you need?

The most significant and, to me, surprising absence is Ross Ford. Of course the man with more than a 100 caps is approaching the end of the road. He missed most of last year on account of injury, and had made only a few appearances for Edinburgh this season. Indeed he is not even on the Edinburgh bench as first reserve to Stuart McInally, that position going to David Cherry who, in the absence of the injured Fraser Brown and George Turner, finds himself in this Scotland squad along with two other uncapped hookers, Glasgow’s Grant Stewart (man of the match against Cardiff Blues last week) and Jake Kerr of Leicester Tigers, of whom most of us, I guess, know very little. Townsend, as coach of Glasgow and now of Scotland, has never hesitated to extend his trust to the young and untried – how do we know if he can swim till we’ve tossed him into the pool? All the same, given the inexperience of this trio, one would have thought there was much to be said for having Ford on hand. It’s too soon to write his rugby obituary, but appropriate to say two things. First, his has been a remarkable career. Nobody plays more than a 100 Tests without being an exceptionally committed and consistent player. Second, the sad thing is that before he suffered the injury that removed him from the game for more than a year, he was, in the spring and summer of 2017 playing some of the best rugby of his long and distinguished career.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALLAN MASSIE"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859066.1547837906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859066.1547837906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Glasgow's Matt Fagerson suffered an early injury against Cardiff. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Glasgow's Matt Fagerson suffered an early injury against Cardiff. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS/SRU","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859066.1547837906!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hibernian/hibs-recruit-ryan-gauld-on-his-struggles-with-mini-messi-hype-1-4859091","id":"1.4859091","articleHeadline": "Hibs recruit Ryan Gauld on his struggles with ‘Mini Messi’ hype","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

There was so much hype as Ryan Gauld burst on to the Scottish football scene and when he swapped Tannadice for Sporting Lisbon in a 
£3 million, six-year deal, pundits saw it as a significant step for the teenage starlet who 
had already been christened Mini Messi.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859090.1547841869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ryan Gauld is expected to make his Hibs debut in Saturday's Scottish Cup tie against Elgin. Picture: Bruce White/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

But after a promising start, a change of manager and several loan spells saw the creative midfielder step into the shadows. But buoyed by the lessons learned, he has returned to the SPFL with some catching up to do and hoping for some eye-catching performances to catapult him back into the national consciousness and into the thoughts of the national boss.

Former Dundee United team-mates and friends, like Andy Robertson, Stuart Armstrong and John Souttar, have already made the Scotland breakthrough and while the task of emulating them is not foremost in his mind, the 23-year-old who earned a call up in 2014 but has been overlooked since, revealed it did play a role in him joining Hibernian in a loan deal until the end of the season.

“I felt like my profile had gone down a bit in the last couple of years,” said Gauld. “But that’s something that 
the Scottish Premiership can give you. If you look at the last couple of Scotland squads, there has been a lot of guys from the SPFL in the squad. I’m not giving too much thought to it just now. My main thoughts are on getting my head down, working hard, playing. But, if the opportunity did come back along, I would be really grateful.”

Having departed these shores in 2014 in a deal that included a £50m buyout clause and emphasised the promise he possessed, he admits he had difficulty dealing with the early hype but accepting that there will be a residual degree of expectation, he says he is determined to put that to the back of his mind and help Hibs move up the league table and the latter stages of the Scottish Cup.

“It’s still there. It was made difficult from day one. When I would go out for a coffee, sitting in a shopping centre, nobody would even know my name – but they’d be saying: ‘Mini Messi, Mini Messi …’ That kind of stuff isn’t nice. I didn’t enjoy it.

“I had a sharp rise because of a good young team at United,
then signing for Sporting. And that brought huge expectations. But I knew it wasn’t going to be quite the way everyone expected. I kept my feet on the ground and worked as hard as possible, to hopefully provide myself with the best career possible.

“I’ve seen quite a few Hibs games this season and they’ve been playing well, just not getting the points they deserve. But hopefully I can help to 
provide a bit of creativity and push Hibs up the league.”

The initial goal is to help the Leith side, whose two-month chase to sign him up has bolstered his confidence, through today’s tie against League Two Elgin City and into the next round of the Scottish Cup.

But recent experience has taught him not to underestimate any opposition. On loan to Desportivo Aves last season, he helped them win the Portuguese Cup but he says they almost came unstuck against a side from a lower tier.

“[Winning the cup] was a great experience. There were a couple of games where no one gave us a chance and there was one game as well when we were 3-1 down with two minutes left and we managed to draw and take it to extra-time and then win on pens. I scored the first pen. Then in the semi finals we were playing a third division team and everyone expected us to walk all over them but it went to extra-time in the second leg before we managed to score two goals.

“It is such a huge game for lower league teams if they are playing a Premiership team. They are going to give it everything so we need to do the same. We need to be as physical as them, as hard working and we need to treat it like we would a regular league game.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859090.1547841869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859090.1547841869!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Ryan Gauld is expected to make his Hibs debut in Saturday's Scottish Cup tie against Elgin. Picture: Bruce White/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Ryan Gauld is expected to make his Hibs debut in Saturday's Scottish Cup tie against Elgin. Picture: Bruce White/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859090.1547841869!/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/scottish-cup/stephen-dobbie-s-happiest-moment-came-against-today-s-foes-dundee-1-4859093","id":"1.4859093","articleHeadline": "Stephen Dobbie’s happiest moment came against today’s foes Dundee","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

When you are a 36-year-old striker and producing such a goal blitz that a season-best return of 32 has been achieved at little over halfway into a campaign, there is no need to look back to yesteryears for glory days in Scottish football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859092.1547842065!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephen Dobbie's phenomenal scoring has helped Queen of the South to fourth in the Championship. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

Yet Stephen Dobbie does so. It can be considered indicative of his humility and his enduring affinity for Queen of the South that he is enjoying a remarkable late career surge.

Dobbie had spells with Hibernian and St Johnstone before his Dumfries days provided the springboard to enjoy unforgettable English top-flight play-off success at both Swansea and Blackpool. In his first stint with Queens, Dobbie helped the club power to the 2008 Scottish Cup final, the only time they have contested that 
showpiece.

They did so by ousting Dundee in the quarter-finals – the Premiership team whom the Championship side will face in the fourth round at Dens Park this afternoon.

That 2-0 quarter-final success of 11 years ago was notable for an 84-yard strike. Looking through the prism of Dobbie’s predatory instincts today, the wonder of that goal is that the Glasgow-born plunderer didn’t bag it.

“I actually scored quite a good goal that day but no-one remembers it because of Ryan McCann’s goal,” he said. “What a feeling that was after the game, it was brilliant. In terms of playing in Scotland that was my happiest time. It was a great achievement [to reach the final].

“A lot of the boys we had then have retired now but we still keep in contact with each other.

“When you have an achievement like we had you become friends for life and it would be great to do something like that with this team.”

Dobbie might believe he is stepping up a level in pitting his mature predatory instincts against a top-flight side but his goal return should in no way suggest that the player is some sort of flat-track bully. He is, instead, a phenomenon, his efforts central to Gary Naysmith’s side having edged up to fourth in the Championship.

That has been achieved by a fine run of form that included last week’s 4-0 thrashing of leaders Ross County.

Dobbie, naturally, claimed a double. Such feats are why he would easily walk into many Premiership sides. Only the pull of finishing his career with a Queens team he is determined to haul to the highest level prevents that.

After all, today he will be up against Kenny Miller who isthree years his senior – he jokes the pair have a combined age of 90 – and who he first faced “another lifetime ago”.

It is many lifetimes since Scottish football had a player in his late-30s breaking the 30-goal mark in a season for the first time in his career.

“It is not too bad, is it?” Dobbie said of his haul. “I always get asked if I have set a target and all I say is that I am out to beat last season’s [27 goals]. Next season might not be achievable but I will keep going. There are 15 or 16 games at least still to go so if I can rack up a few more.”

There is, Dobbie says, no secret. “I just get on wth my work. There is a good group of boys here who work hard and as long they are making chances hopefully I will keep scoring them.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ANDREW SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859092.1547842065!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859092.1547842065!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stephen Dobbie's phenomenal scoring has helped Queen of the South to fourth in the Championship. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephen Dobbie's phenomenal scoring has helped Queen of the South to fourth in the Championship. Picture: Alan Harvey/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859092.1547842065!/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/dundee-united/interview-dave-bowman-on-red-mist-red-cards-and-jim-mclean-1-4859106","id":"1.4859106","articleHeadline": "Interview: Dave Bowman on red mist, red cards and Jim McLean","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547877600000 ,"articleLead": "

Midway through my chat with Dave Bowman, a woman from the Tannadice staff approaches
with a greeting card. Someone is leaving and she wants one of the toughest-tackling players ever to wear the tangerine of Dundee United to sign it. Then, spotting my recorder, she apologises for interrupting the interview by letting slip a wee swearie word.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859105.1547846333!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Now 54 years of age, Dave Bowman is a scout at Dundee United. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

“Aw naw,” says Bowman pointing at me, “this guy here’s a good Christian and we’ve been nattering about God. How’s you blaspheming like that going to help me get into the ministry? I’m hoping to become club chaplain here.”

“Aye right,” laughs the woman as she beetles away. “Do you want me to tell your friend whit you’re really like?”

Dave Bowman, whit’s he really like? Well, United fans dubbed him Psycho and before a city derby the local constabulary thought they should have a reassuring word with him as a death threat had been issued.

He was once sent off four times. No, the number of red cards in a single match totalled five. Actually, both are true. Two separate conflagrations in the fag-end of his career at Forfar Athletic are often mixed up.

But could you meet a nicer, friendlier, funnier, mellower, more self-effacing, less macho fellow? I doubt it. Every Saturday afternoon Bowman, now 54, would try to win the ball in the middle of the park and sometimes – quite often, actually – that would involve him kicking people. “Then every Saturday evening I would go home and play with my daughters – I’ve got five of them – before they went to bed. It was always exciting when their Barbie
dolls got new outfits. And I’ll never forget when Cindy took delivery of her fantastic caravan…”

On fourth-round day in the Scottish Cup, he’s testament to the virtues of trying and trying and trying again. Three times in five years he helped the Arabs reach the final and three times they lost. “The first of them [1987] was sandwiched between the two legs of our Uefa Cup final – thanks a bloody lot, SFA – and St Mirren beat us. The following year we were one-nil up against Celtic and Eamonn [Bannon] was about to score with a header
only we were made to play with a new kind of ball, the Derby Star, and because it was much bouncier it scudded into the turf and cleared the bar. Roy Aitken – who should have been sent off earlier, by the way – led the charge for their comeback. Then in 1991 against Motherwell I scored a goal, which didn’t happen very often, but still we couldn’t win. So yet again during the presentation we had to walk past the cup with the other team’s ribbons on it. I’ve always thought that was a cruel trick to play on the losers. And to twist the knife some more that year we got given the winners’ medals by mistake and had to hand them back later!”

But, in 1994, United at last lifted the trophy. With the scruffiest, sclaffiest goal but who cares? It ruined Rangers’ double treble. The trick this year will be to stop Celtic’s treble treble. This afternoon the Arabs, for whom Bowman now scouts, make the short but potentially hazardous journey up the north-east coast to Montrose. Ever been the victim of a cup shock, Dave?

“At United there were a couple of close shaves, East Fife and Forfar. When I was at Hearts, though, Forfar managed to cause an upset [1982]. There’s a poignant story 
to that game. Two days before it their 
striker John Mitchell, who lives along the beach from me in Broughty Ferry, stopped his car to change a tyre when this lorry hit him. He was in an awful bad way but the Forfar boys won the tie for him. I think they backed themselves to do it with their win bonuses.”

For the United heroes of ’94 there will be a 25th anniversary reunion. “I haven’t seen some of them for a while. Welshy [Brian Welsh] is in Washington although I did bump into Gordy [Gordan Petric] at a charity match. What a size he is now – he must have eaten half of Belgrade!” That team were managed by Ivan Golac, who hippyishly reasoned that smelling the flowers might circumvent United’s cup hoodoo. “Ivan was great. He made you feel like the best player in the world. He said Jerren Nixon was worth £14 million. But, although I was pleased to have finally won the cup, I was sad for guys like Luggy [Paul Sturrock], Heggy [Paul Hegarty] and big Dave Narey, the best player I ever saw, whose time had gone. By ’94 there was only Jimmy Mac [Jim McInally], Mo [Maurice Malpas] and myself left from the previous attempts. And of course I was sad for wee Jim.”

Bowman has lots of stories about Jim McLean, pictured inset above, some funny, some touching. And he begins with an impassioned defence of the great grumpy potentate’s methods. “Folk used to say he put too much pressure on us – rubbish. Pretty much everything I achieved in football was down to him. Yes, he was a bit of a tyrant. Yes, he was never satisfied. But I wouldn’t have played for Scotland if wee Jim hadn’t pushed me all the way.”

He pushed everyone, and now the sons of wee Jim push themselves. Every year United legends set off from Tannadice on a charity cycle round the four Angus clubs. It’s a 75-mile slog and Bowman recalls how last time in the teeth of a biting Arbroath gale he was pedalling but not actually moving. “There was an electric bike for those who got too tired and Raymie [Ray McKinnon] had to resort to it. Now, he had more ability in his little toe than me but I was under wee Jim’s command for a bit longer and so were big Dave, Heggy, Mo, Hamish [McAlpine] and Holty [John Holt], who organises the cycle. We all managed to keep going.”

Now Bowman is laughing because he’s remembering possibly the most unintentionally funniest of McLean’s half-time explosions. “There was an old washing basket full of shinpads and wee Jim was 
so angry he tried to kick it across the 
dressing-room and got his foot stuck.” As lobsters will tell you, reversing out of a creel is almost impossible. “Our speed coach was on the floor trying to free wee Jim’s foot while he carried on bawling at us. Did we laugh? No way!

“I was used to wee Jim by then but when I made my United debut I wasn’t. After that game he was roaring at big Dave: ‘That’s it. You’ll never play for this club again.’ I thought he was serious. Then Heggy got it. Was there going to be anyone left for the next match? But wee Jim was light years ahead of other managers. We had a speed coach. We knew about nutrition. We had psychologists. One of them, on our recommendation, suggested to wee Jim there should be a cooling-off period after games so he shouldn’t march straight into the dressing-room and rant. So what happened? He stripped off and jumped in the shower and ranted. As far as he was concerned he hadn’t contravened the agreement.”

A bollock-naked bollocking, indeed, and McLean was a difficult man to gag. Banned from the dugout he would resort to using a walkie-talkie to stay in touch with his staff, only this wheeze came unstuck at Tynecastle. “We could see him in the stand and didn’t know why he was using hand signals and getting more and more agitated. His walkie-talkie was stuck on a frequency used by a local taxi firm so wee Jim was probably getting cabbies asking for their next pick-up. He had quite a few problems with technology. During video analysis he’d press fast-forward instead of rewind. But, as I say, no one ever laughed.”

The sons of wee Jim are saddened by his poor health. A few years ago McLean confided in Bowman he wished he’d enjoyed a more convivial relationship with the players. Bowman quickly disabused him of this notion, stressing that tough love, not having favourites and treating star men and kids equally amounted to a good formula – and that when Bowman later went to Raith 
Rovers and received special treatment it didn’t do him any good.

McLean in reflective mode said something else which Bowman cherishes. After McLean retired, Bowman’s father Andy and McInally’s dad Archie called on him to offer thanks for progressing their sons’ careers all the way to the national team. “Wee Jim told me that meant more to him than winning leagues and cups, which is an incredible thing for him to have said.”

Andy Bowman was a player, too, a Hearts legend from the golden era no less but an extremely modest one, and young Dave had to find about these late 1950s/early 1960s exploits by himself. Born in Tunbridge Wells where his father finished his career, the lad couldn’t work out, on early trips to Tynecastle to watch Donald Ford in action, why so many fans wanted to shake the old man’s hand. “Then I found a suitcase in the eaves of our house. It was full of newspaper cuttings about Dad’s team winning the title and the League Cup. One of his medals was mounted on a plaque showing that Hearts were champions having lost just one game [1957-58]. Some achievement.”

In common with many of his generation the kind of fatherly encouragement Bowman received was quiet and undemonstrative. “High praise was ‘You played okay’.” But on the public parks of Edinburgh some bonnie talents were skipping round the dog poo and broken glass. Bowman’s exact contemporaries at his famous juvenile club Salvesen and great rivals like Hutchie Vale included John Robertson, Gary Mackay, John Hughes, Keith Wright, Darren Jackson, Ian Westwater and Gordon Marshall. “Robbo and I go even further back, to Parsons Green Primary. I used to tell folk that between us we scored 300 goals for the school, not mentioning that I only got ten of them.” At Portobello High his guidance teacher was rugby guru Jim Telfer. “He asked me: ‘What do you want to be?’ ‘Footballer,’ I said. ‘You’ll need a fall-back if that doesn’t work out.’ he said. I told him I didn’t have one. He kept on at me about that until eventually he said: ‘You know what? I think you’ll probably make it in football.’

Tap “Dave Bowman” into YouTube and the first clip is of him as a teenage Jambo tangling with future team-mate Narey. “That was my first sending off so I like to blame the big man for how my career panned out. I tell him: ‘I was a top playmaker, dead flamboyant, then you turned me into a monster’.” The truth is Bowman has always been ferociously competitive, even at board games, even in such a female-dominated household.

I mention TV’s The Fast Show and the Competitive Dad sketch where the father resorts to calling up his lawyer on Christmas Day to ask if he can sue his son over non-repayment of Monopoly debts. “I think my girls might have some horror stories like that. Whatever I’m playing I have to win.” Marshall and his other golfing buddies can testify to that, too, and have taken to winding up Bowman when putts are missed by mimicking his response to all those red cards. “I didn’t realise until they pointed it out but I used to haul my shirt out of my shorts before storming off.”

Hearts liked Bowman’s competitiveness right up until the moment they needed to cash in on it. “Robbo, Gary and I knew, with the state of the club’s finances, that one of us would be sold.” At Coventry City Bowman enjoyed teaming up with Cyrille Regis but was frustrated by the club’s lack of ambition. “They seemed happy just avoiding relegation and going a couple of rounds in the FA Cup. The year after I left, what happens? They go and win the FA Cup. Meanwhile I get involved with these eternal runners-up.” Until United’s pumpkin turned into an open-top bus and they became winners, too.

Later Bowman fancied venturing abroad, ending up in a place where public executions happened. This was China during a hair-raising year at a club called Yee Hope, although there wasn’t much of that on display. “I was at a golf driving range where there were these deep gouges in a wall. I thought to myself ‘Jings, they can batter a ball here’ but then was told they were bullet holes.” The owner of Bowman’s Hong Kong-based club was a bit of a lunatic. “He thought all Scotsmen drank whisky for breakfast and was always plying me with the stuff. But he looked after us, not letting us fly to away games. ‘Planes just disappear,’ he told us, so we were sometimes 16 hours on a bus instead. The food was a challenge. ‘What’s that?’ I’d ask. ‘Beef,’ I was told. ‘And that?’ ‘Beef.’ ‘But this doesn’t look like that!’ There were often cats and dogs in cages outside the restaurants. If something tasted all right I’d eat it.”

Forfar was the last hurrah for this serial tackler and frustrations often boiled over. “I knew I was coming to the end. Wee clubs are brilliant but at that level guys would train pre-season then go on holiday for a fortnight. They’d lose four-nil then fret about their coupons. They’d be brickies who, understandably, couldn’t afford to be off work if they got injured so wouldn’t tackle hard.” Bowman still tackled hard, the only way he knew how. The four-red card game was against Berwick Rangers. Some dismissals were completely justified; other times his thundering reputation went before him. “I was told by [Dundee-based referee] Bob Valentine that my name would already be written down in most books before games with only the time of my offences needing added. I don’t know if he was joking!”

The five reds came against Stranraer in 2001 and followed a professional foul where he wasn’t even the culprit. “I protested, got a card, flicked it with a finger, got another. This went on and on. The fifth, for kicking the ref’s door, was on behalf of all officials everywhere: ‘We’d like you to retire now!’

“Listen, I wasn’t proud of some of my tackles. Two of my girls came to see me play for United and were a minute late in getting to their seats, by which time I’d already been sent off for kicking [Hibs’] Keith Wright. My wife used to tell me off for embarrassing my daughters when they were old enough to read about my red cards in the papers, but what can I say? At the time I thought all those tackles had to be made. The fund for a statue for wee Jim needs £70,000. Didn’t I fork out that in fines? And here’s a funny thing: my eldest girl Jemma has gone and married a ref – Craig Hicks – who’s in the English Championship. Lovely chap, but I’d much rather he was a bloody traffic warden!”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "AIDAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859105.1547846333!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859105.1547846333!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Now 54 years of age, Dave Bowman is a scout at Dundee United. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Now 54 years of age, Dave Bowman is a scout at Dundee United. Picture: Sammy Turner/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859105.1547846333!/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/scottish-rugby-history-as-both-sides-reach-euro-elite-quarter-finals-1-4859159","id":"1.4859159","articleHeadline": "Scottish rugby history as both sides reach Euro elite quarter-finals","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547852145000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh coach Richard
Cockerill described the achievement of securing a home quarter-final in the Heineken Champions Cup as “a big step forward” after watching his side defeat French giants Montpellier 19-10 at BT Murrayfield.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859160.1547852332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celebration time for Edinburgh pair Blair Kinghorn and Grant Gilchrist. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The victory, which clinched top spot in Pool 5 of Europe’s elite competition, means that Glasgow are also now assured of progressing to the knockout stages before they kick off against Saracens in London today. Having both sides in the last eight is a historic first for Scottish rugby.

Darcy Graham scored Edinburgh’s crucial try in the second half as Cockerill’s side got the better of Vern Cotter’s Montpellier in front of 11,802 – a record Scottish crowd for a European pool match.

“It is a big step forward for us as a club,” said the coach. “It was a big win for us.” Asked if he had received a grateful call from Glasgow coach Dave Rennie, Cockerill quipped; “There’s always one down side to the evening isn’t there?”

The Englishman added: “Look, I enjoy the rivalry [with Glasgow] and the rivalry is going to get stronger and better. It’s great for Scottish rugby. We’ve got two teams in the quarter-finals, there’s a lot of good things happening in the Scottish game. So let’s enjoy it.”

Cockerill admitted that the prospect of a home tie in the last eight, with Exeter or Munster looking the most likely opponents, at the end of March was a prospect to savour.

“Seventy five per cent of teams win their quarter-finals when they’re at home. Simple as that,” Cockerill said. “Hopefully we’ll get a bigger crowd. It was a great crowd tonight. We want to get a big team, bring them here. So 30-40-50,000 people here for a quarter-final. Why not? We’ve got a team worth watching. Come and support us. The boys deserve it.”

Cockerill played down Edinburgh’s chances of winning the tournament but added with a smile: “We win the next three games, we are champions of Europe and I am retiring.”

The only sour note for Edinburgh was that flanker Hamish Watson is thought to have suffered a broken hand and will miss at least the start of Scotland’s Six Nations campaign.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859160.1547852332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859160.1547852332!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celebration time for Edinburgh pair Blair Kinghorn and Grant Gilchrist. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celebration time for Edinburgh pair Blair Kinghorn and Grant Gilchrist. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859160.1547852332!/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/scottish-cup/livingston-s-butcher-chairman-hoping-to-slaughter-hearts-once-more-1-4859097","id":"1.4859097","articleHeadline": "Livingston’s butcher chairman hoping to slaughter Hearts once more","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547850600000 ,"articleLead": "

Robert Wilson is as straightforward as his team are often portrayed as being. “I have two passions,” he says, over coffee yesterday morning (we settle on a pub, having bypassed the local vegan café). “Livestock and football.”

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859096.1547842637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston chairman Robert Wilson, whose side face Hearts in the Scottish Cup, at his butchers shop in Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna"} ,"articleBody": "

These two interests combined in spectacular style on Friday 14 December: Livingston 5 Hearts 0. The visitors fell like lambs to the slaughter at the hands of the supposedly agricultural West Lothian side. Wilson made sure he was in at work bright and early the following morning. As well as being chairman of Livingston and the second biggest feeder of sheep in Scotland, the 63-year-old owns Mathieson, the renowned butcher’s shop in Edinburgh’s southside.

Getting up has never been a problem for someone who’s been involved with animals all his working life. But that particular morning after Livingston shocked Scottish football he threw back the covers with extra gusto.

“I was in at 8am the next morning,” he says. “Stony silence. The staff is three Hearts fans, one Hibs fan. I never elaborated, until the Hibs fan came in and said: how good were you last night! The Hearts staff were in complete silence. Eventually I started ribbing them.”

Wilson and his employees, one of whom, a Hearts supporter, has been serving customers in the shop since Drew Busby was leading the line at Tynecastle, are preparing for one of the busiest weeks of the year in the run-up to Burns night.

But first comes tomorrow’s re-match between Hearts and Livingston in the Scottish Cup and before that there’s a trip to Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, where Wilson’s football education took place. He and thousands of others will welcome new manager Martin O’Neill back to the club against Bristol City this afternoon.

Despite being brought up in Berwickshire and moving to Edinburgh in 1972, he developed a love affair with Brian Clough’s side. He travelled to every home game for a spell, attended both European Cup finals in 1979 and 1980 and, far less happily, was present at Hillsborough for 1989’s FA Cup semi-final with Liverpool that was abandoned minutes in.

He has the routine down pat: “8am train, Nottingham for 12.30, couple of pints, game. I have been going there since the mid-70s. I know a lot of people. Train at half past five back. Change at either Doncaster or Sheffield.”

Clearly Wilson’s Livingston duties means Nottingham Forest must take a back seat unless helpful fixture-scheduling throws up the chance to attend both games, as has happened this weekend. In the late 1970s and 1980s, when he wasn’t watching Forest, he would often be at Meadowbank Thistle (he also had a later spell as chairman of Berwick Rangers).

Even the second tier of English football is ripe for global investment and is now too rich for a butcher to get involved. Scottish football, mercifully, is still within the means of a local businessman.

He’ll be back in good time to take his seat at club sponsors Tony Macaroni’s restaurant in Edinburgh for a pre-match meal as Livingston aim to keep Hearts out for the third game in succession. A 0-0 draw at Tynecastle in September was when Wilson began to think Livingston could really pull off the once unthinkable and survive their maiden season back in the top flight. Now, of course, his ambitions are higher. They currently lie seventh.

He sees little difference between the two worlds he inhabits. It’s about buying and selling livestock: either four-legged or two. He also rents players – like the fields in which up to 20,000 sheep he feeds roam. There was a spring in Wilson’s step yesterday: Ryan Hardie, who scored twice against Hearts last time around, has just returned on loan from Rangers.

“In the livestock business, there are good and bad times,” he says. “It’s the same in football. Just don’t get carried away.”

Recruitment is important and Wilson believes they are getting it right more often than not at Livi. Kenny Miller did not last long as player-manager after his appointment in the summer.

“He just wasn’t a proper fit for the football club – you could see it from fairly near the start,” he says. “We moved on. Gary Holt had applied for the job prior to Kenny getting it. He has done remarkably well. Hard working, honest.”

The club believes in second chances. David Martindale is an influential coach but once served a six-and-a-half-year sentence for a drugs offence. “All the players love him,” 
Wilson says.

“We do run a tight ship,” he adds. “Our wage structure will be the lowest in the Premier League. Without a doubt. Crowds are small. We have to live within our means. We cannot go back to another administration episode.

“Last year, it was continuous. Can someone pay the wages? Can someone pay 20 or 30 grand to cover it this month? I was doing it. Or one of the other owners was [there are four in total, including Wilson]. But this time the money is there.”

Livingston’s surprise promotion to the comparative riches of the top flight means there’s no pressure on them to sell in this window, with players such as skipper Craig Halkett and Shaun Byrne attracting interest from elsewhere. “Hopefully there are no big sales in January – other than haggis sales, that is,” says Wilson.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ALAN PATTULLO"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859096.1547842637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859096.1547842637!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Livingston chairman Robert Wilson, whose side face Hearts in the Scottish Cup, at his butchers shop in Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Livingston chairman Robert Wilson, whose side face Hearts in the Scottish Cup, at his butchers shop in Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859096.1547842637!/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/scottish-cup/ben-garuccio-aims-to-put-things-right-in-cup-after-hearts-mauling-by-lions-1-4859131","id":"1.4859131","articleHeadline": "Ben Garuccio aims to ‘put things right’ in cup after Hearts’ mauling by Lions","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547850600000 ,"articleLead": "

Hearts full-back Ben Garuccio is not masking his feelings. Humiliated by the 5-0 drubbing dished out by Livingston the last time they faced the Tynecastle outfit, the Gorgie side are looking for revenge when Gary Holt’s team head to the capital tomorrow.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859130.1547845693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Ben Garuccio speaks to the press ahead of his side's William Hill Scottish Cup match against Livingston. Picture: Bruce White/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

“I’m sure that’s what’s in everyone’s mind,” said the Australian, who joined the club this season. “We haven’t really spoken about the desire for payback but as a footballer you remember those results. It was embarrassing for us, we want to put things right..”

The result was a sore one but since then there have been wins over Hamilton and rivals Hibs, while several key players have started their migration from the physios room to the first team, bolstering confidence and performances.

“If anything the break maybe came at the wrong time after that Hibs result,” said Garuccio, pictured. “You want to keep going. You feel like you could take on the world, you feel king of the world after a result like that. So we just want to continue where we left off.

“To get a good result like that was great. I live right in the city centre so people would stop me and say ‘well done’. Obviously when you are on the other end of it you just want to stay in the house but it’s nice to be able to pop your head out and know you’ve done your team proud and the fans are proud to say you’re a Hearts player.”

That victory also helped convince him that Hearts have weathered their storm and are now ready to shine again.

“It shows how football can change so quickly,” he said. “We lost 5-0 [to Livingston] that night, then two weeks later beat Hibs at Easter Road in the derby. It almost seems like that night never happened. Although it will be in the back of our heads we need to go out and focus on the second half of the season.”

John Souttar is the latest player to return to fitness and, with boss Craig Levein considering involving him tomorrow, and with Conor Shaughnessy on board until the summer and Michael Smith signing a two-year contract extension the mood in the camp and the defensive options have been bolstered.

Up front David Vanecek will make his competitive debut, with Uche Ikpeazu ready to resume full training next week, but while that all bodes well for the second half of the season, the primary concern is seeing their way past Livingston, according to Garuccio, who believes Hearts could go on to win the Scottish Cup.

“Look back to the start of the season and how well we were playing, it felt like we were going to tough places and getting results. It felt like something special – as a footballer, you don’t always have that feeling. The result at Hibs brought that feeling and belief back. You need to believe or there’s no way you’ll do it. Everyone collectively needs to believe.

“I seriously believe 100 per cent that we will move back up the league. We had a bad run but we’re still only six points off the top so that says something about how well we did at the start of the season. If we can get back to that, we’ll definitely be closer to the top of the league and as a player you want to win silverware.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859130.1547845693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859130.1547845693!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Hearts' Ben Garuccio speaks to the press ahead of his side's William Hill Scottish Cup match against Livingston. Picture: Bruce White/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Hearts' Ben Garuccio speaks to the press ahead of his side's William Hill Scottish Cup match against Livingston. Picture: Bruce White/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859130.1547845693!/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/celtic/callum-mcgregor-eyes-23-in-a-row-for-celtic-1-4859144","id":"1.4859144","articleHeadline": "Callum McGregor eyes 23 in a row for Celtic","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547850600000 ,"articleLead": "

The fallibility of Celtic was demonstrated in the Ibrox derby loss with which the club ended 2019. The first encounter of this year, though, provides Brendan Rodgers’ men with the opportunity to demonstrate their is a domain wherein they remain peerless.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859143.1547847357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic's Callum McGregor. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

This evening’s hosting of Airdrie in the Scottish Cup fourth round is the 23rd domestic cup tie the club will have played under Rodgers in his two-and-a-half years in charge. All previous 22 haven’t just been won, there has never been even a hint of a replay across four successful cup campaigns.

Celtic’s quest to land a treble treble would require them to complete a double slice of the unprecedented in the Scottish Cup. Even though their 38 wins makes them the kingpins of the competition, unlike Rangers, Aberdeen, Queen’s Park and Vale Of Leven, they have never won the tournament in three successive years.

Such epoch-making potential patently excites Callum McGregor. But he knows that the previous triumphs have owed everything to dealing with each cup challenge on its merits.

“I wasn’t aware the club hadn’t won three in a row,” said the 25-year-old. “It’s obviously the target for this group of players and there’s no doubt it would be another bit of history for us. It starts tomorrow and we need to be fully focused on the job.

“We know how tough these competitions are to win. It’s about putting in performances to get you to Hampden in the first place. Tomorrow is about getting through the tie and seeing who we get in the next round.

“Our cup record has been great, with 22 straight wins but we all know how difficult cup ties are. If you are not on your game then there’s obviously a big chance you could slip up and be knocked out.

“We’ve shown remarkable consistency in the cup games under the manager and we deserve praise for continually bringing that level of performance. It shows how good the squad is, how good the manager is in setting us up to ensure there are no shocks and we do deserve credit there is no doubt. We know good Celtic teams in the past have slipped up, by the law of averages it can happen. So it’s an incredible record to have and one we’re proud of and one we’re determined to keep going. We have played big games, big finals, but we have always brought of A game.”

Rodgers is likely to bring new faces into the fray this evening, with teenage striker Timothy Weah likely to lead the line following his loan move from Paris Saint-Germain, and Oliver Burke expected to see game time following his loan switch from West Bromwich Albion. Both have settled in well, said McGregor, but he cautioned against too much pressure being placed on Weah, the only available striker to Rodgers with Odsonne Edouard injured, Leigh Griffiths taking time out from football, and the paperwork on newly signed Ivorian forward Vakoun Issouf Bayo still to be completed.

“Timothy is still a young lad, he’s only 18 so he’s not going to come in and be the main man straight away,” said McGregor. “It’s up to the other lads to help guide him and not to expect too much from him.”

The Scotland international certainly proves himself an adult in an often infantile world, meanwhile, in giving his take on the refereeing issues that has swirled around the game this season.

“It’s a tough one for the players,” he said. “We don’t mind the referees when we win but when you lose there is always something to be said. The players are asked to do their jobs on the pitch and it’s the same for the referees. Players have bad days, referees have bad days. “And as I say, there’s never a problem when you win and you’ll find that with other teams that when they’ve lost a game it’s probably the referee’s fault more than anything. As a club we need to look after ourselves on the pitch.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859143.1547847357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859143.1547847357!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic's Callum McGregor. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic's Callum McGregor. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859143.1547847357!/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/rangers/donald-findlay-claims-rangers-kit-man-jimmy-bell-influenced-cup-tie-call-off-1-4859154","id":"1.4859154","articleHeadline": "Donald Findlay claims Rangers kit man Jimmy Bell influenced cup-tie call-off","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547850600000 ,"articleLead": "

Cowdenbeath chairman 
Donald Findlay condemned the decision to call off his club’s Scottish Cup tie against Rangers just three hours before kick-off, insisting the game should have gone ahead.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859153.1547850262!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay at Central Park. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The Scottish FA says it called a late inspection as temperatures dropped at Central Park in the afternoon. Local referee Scott Miller was called in and deemed a corner of the pitch as too dangerous for the fourth-round fixture to be played.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard and his squad had not yet arrived in Cowdenbeath but the Ibrox club’s kit man Jimmy Bell was in attendance. Findlay, a former Rangers vice-chairman, claimed Bell influenced the postponement.

“A referee was summoned but apparently the driving force behind the decision appears to be the Rangers 
kitman which, to me, seems a bit odd,” said Findlay.

“I don’t know all the facts but that is the story that is kicking about. The referee looked at the pitch and has said there are areas that are unacceptable but I have to say I don’t agree.

“I have been on the pitch and I have looked at it. It is a winter pitch – if it is not pouring with rain then it is going to be firm but it will take a key and it would take a stud. I certainly don’t see any difficulty and the game should have been played but it has been killed off. It is very, very disappointing.”

The match was to have been televised live on Premier Sports, the first game of the subscription channel’s new Scottish Cup deal. It’s understood Premier Sports will show the tie on its rescheduled date of 30 January, softening the financial blow for Cowdenbeath of last night’s call-off.

The League Two club’s secretary, David Allan, revealed that overnight weather conditions on Thursday had undermined their efforts to ensure the match beat the freeze.

“We put the covers on the pitch on Wednesday but the problem was there was a big gale which lifted a couple of the sheets off and exposed two or three areas to the cold,” said Allan.

“We put the covers back on but the areas exposed are the side of the pitch which does not get much sun. We did various things today to ensure the pitch was playable but there are two areas which are just too hard.

“The referee [Scott Miller] will not be a popular man, I guess, but I don’t blame him. He had a difficult job and I made sure no-one from either side went out to influence him during his inspection. Rangers and ourselves both wanted the game on but it’s disappointing for everybody.”

Cowdenbeath manager Gary Bollan felt more time should have been allowed before making a final decision.

“The corner of the pitch concerned is touch and go but with a bit of work on it between the inspection and kick-off time, it could have been made playable,” said Bollan. “The rest of the pitch is absolutely ideal.

“We are frustrated and disappointed. To get to this late stage and have the game called off is massively disappointing. I’m probably annoyed as well.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "STEPHEN HALLIDAY"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859153.1547850262!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859153.1547850262!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay at Central Park. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Cowdenbeath chairman Donald Findlay at Central Park. Picture: Craig Foy/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859153.1547850262!/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/craig-levein-use-new-tv-deal-to-pay-for-var-1-4859158","id":"1.4859158","articleHeadline": "Craig Levein: Use new TV deal to pay for VAR","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547850600000 ,"articleLead": "

Craig Levein claims it is unfathomable why anyone would be against the use of VAR and insists that the increase in television money makes this the ideal time to introduce the scheme into Scottish football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859157.1547850554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein arrives at McDiarmid Park for the meeting between Scottish referees and managers. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The Hearts manager, who was recently handed a touchline ban following his criticism of referee Bobby Madden, attended the SFA summit aimed at stemming the growing animosity between match officials and the clubs, with many managers verbally lashing out at refereeing performances this season and he left the meeting buoyed by the realisation that referees as well as managers see video backup as the best way forward.

“For me, without hesitation, the most important thing in Scottish football right now is to bring VAR in,” said Levein, who will have to watch tomorrow’s Scottish Cup tie against Livingston from the stand after some contentious decisions in his team’s league loss to Rangers saw his frustration boil over. There have been several other instances of managers criticising officials, but all are agreed that the threats issued to referee John Beaton after the recent Old Firm game were unacceptable.

“It would get rid of the current problems – which obviously manifested themselves in John Beaton being harassed recently and I believe that VAR would stop it. Immediately. It might cost a little bit of money. But the cost to Scottish football, in terms of the bad publicity that is created, makes it a no-brainer for me. That was the mood in the room.

“There’s a new TV deal which is significantly improved on the old deal and I accept that if you hand money out to clubs and ask for money back, it’s a problem. But if you take the money off at source, then nobody misses it – particularly if we’re all getting an increase anyway. And I don’t think there is anybody, in their right mind, who could want the situation that is going on just now to continue. So VAR solves the problem. Simple as that.

“I don’t know what the timescales are but, in my opinion, the sooner the better.”

The second issue which appeared to resonate with the managers and referees in the room was the need for greater understanding, and Hibernian manager Neil Lennon felt that the talks had been beneficial in clearing the air.

“There was no awkwardness. There was debate but there was no raised voices,” said Lennon, who was one of ten top flight managers who attended the Perth summit. “It was people putting their points of view across, quite eloquently and quite forthright at times, and it was good to see both points of view. I think it went well and I think the referees were very good and all the managers had a bit of a say as well. It wasn’t wailing and gnashing of teeth.”

But in appealing for mutual respect, he refused to rule out further digs at officials this term if clubs feel hard done by.

“I don’t think there was an embargo on that but I think we all do need to take some responsibility after games in terms of how we word things, myself included, and try to find a little bit more balance. There are times when that can be difficult when emotions are running high and you are always going to be thrown curveball questions by the broadcasters looking for an instant reaction. But what happened to John is just not good enough and it is unpalatable. I certainly don’t want to see that because we have some very good referees and they have, on the whole, been good this season – and that is coming from me!

“One of the guys said he didn’t sleep for four nights after he made a wrong decision so they all know that mistakes can be costly, not only for the clubs, the managers and the players but for themselves as well.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "MOIRA GORDON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859157.1547850554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859157.1547850554!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Craig Levein arrives at McDiarmid Park for the meeting between Scottish referees and managers. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Craig Levein arrives at McDiarmid Park for the meeting between Scottish referees and managers. Picture: Ross Parker/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859157.1547850554!/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/edinburgh-scale-heights-on-european-stage-with-baby-steps-1-4859156","id":"1.4859156","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh scale heights on European stage with baby steps","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547850439000 ,"articleLead": "

They did it, thank goodness. Edinburgh kept their heads and their nerve, fighting back from 10-9 down in the second half to take this one by a short head. And they did so thanks to the twin pillars of defence and discipline.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859155.1547850435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's Pierre Schoeman takes on Montpellier's defence. Picture: SNS/SRU"} ,"articleBody": "

Montpellier actually enjoyed plenty of possession inside the Edinburgh red zone but got little return for all their blood, sweat and tears because Edinburgh kept the penalty count low. At half-time it was 1-7 in favour of the home team although things evened up a little by the final whistle (4-12).

The good sized crowd was nervous at the start, as you’d expect, but the initial signs were mostly positive ones. At one point prop forward WP Nel threw a between-the-legs-pass so there was nothing wrong with his nerves.

Edinburgh milked a scrum penalty with the match no more than six minutes old. Our South African props, it seemed, were better than their South African props and given the disparity in age you’d hope so.

Montpellier’s tighthead Jannie du Plessis has 70 Springboks caps to his name and had achieved pretty much everything the game has to offer including winning the Rugby World Cup in 2007 but at the age of 36 he is no longer a young man.

If he looked up before the set scrum he would have seen something of his younger self in Pierre Schoeman; a hungry young man in a hurry who took him to the cleaners and then apologised for it.

Schoeman milked three scrum penalties against his elder but not necessarily better compatriot and, after the second, the Edinburgh man had the good manners (or just possibly the bad) to help Du Plessis back to his feet. It proved a psychological masterstroke.

At the very next set scrum Du Plessis was hurtled backwards, Edinburgh kicked a three pointer and Du Plessis was removed from the field of play to prevent any further damage.

It seemed to weigh heavily on his brother Bismarck who plays hooker and took his frustrations out on an Edinburgh water boy on the sidelines who was guilty of nothing obvious. The crowd thereafter treated him as the pantomime villain of the piece.

Thankfully the Du Plessis honour was saved with a try for Jacques du Plessis (no relation) on the stroke of half-time which threw his side a lifeline.

The visitors packed a punch up front and, just occasionally, their brute power caused Edinburgh problems. The home team tackled around the boot laces but every so often one was missed and the crowd held their breath while the scramble plugged the gaps.

More worrying for Edinburgh was that they lost their scrum dominance in the second half when Levan Tcheisvili offered a far greater test to both Schoeman and the poor match commentator. One scrum penalty led directly to another straight arm and Ruan Pienaar grabbed the lead on 47 minutes at which point Edinburgh started to play some rugby.

Having been content to inch forward Edinburgh took a leaf from the Glasgow playbook and used the full width of the field to tire the big Montpellier pack.

It seemed to work because there were half a dozen white shirts on the Murrayfield turf when Darcy Graham scored the decisive try on the hour after the forwards drained the Montpellier defence of any remaining puff.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "IAIN MORRISON"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859155.1547850435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859155.1547850435!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh's Pierre Schoeman takes on Montpellier's defence. Picture: SNS/SRU","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's Pierre Schoeman takes on Montpellier's defence. Picture: SNS/SRU","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859155.1547850435!/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/edinburgh-19-10-montpellier-cockerill-s-men-power-into-last-eight-1-4859152","id":"1.4859152","articleHeadline": "Edinburgh 19 - 10 Montpellier: Cockerill’s men power into last eight","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547849626000 ,"articleLead": "

Edinburgh rose to the occasion to complete the magnificent feat of topping their quality-stacked Heineken Champions Cup pool and soar into the knockout stage of Europe’s elite club competition for only the third time.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859150.1547849619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham crosses the Montpellier line to score the crucial try. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The by-product was that Glasgow, too, were carried into the quarter-finals on the capital side’s coat-tails but 
last night it was Richard 
Cockerill’s players who deserved the plaudits and their moment in the limelight.

A tight and cagey affair was negotiated masterfully by Cockerill’s men as, in a similar vein to last week’s historic triumph at Toulon, a French powerhouse club with vastly superior resources had to bow to the power of Edinburgh’s collective spirit and skill.

Darcy Graham, the 21-year-old winger from Hawick, was the home side’s tryscoring hero in the second half, while stand-off Jaco van der Walt contributed 14 points with the boot as a home quarter-final was secured to the delight of a Scottish record European pool stage crowd of almost 12,000.

On his return to BT Murrayfield, Montpellier coach Vern Cotter chose to start watching from pitchside, not far from the spot where he bade an emotional farewell to Scotland supporters 21 months ago at the end of the 2017 Six Nations.

Prowling the touchline in front of the visiting dugout the New Zealander watched an Edinburgh side containing a number of his former Scotland charges boss territory and possession in the first quarter. Two straightforward penalty chances were the reward and stand-off Van der Walt’s reliable boot opened 
up an early six-point lead. A
fragmented ten minutes followed, including a period when Scotland openside Hamish Watson received on-field treatment for what appeared to be an arm injury from a tackle. He departed in the 29th minute to be replaced by Luke Crosbie.

Edinburgh got a good nudge on in the next scrum, winning a penalty just under 40 metres out but straight. Van der Walt was uncharacteristically wayward this time, however.

Veteran former Springbok tighthead Jannie du Plessis was withdrawn just after the half-hour mark and his unrelated second row namesake Jacques was the next Montpellier player to transgress with a high tackle on WP Nel, which gave Van der Walt another chance to stretch the lead.

It was from a similar distance but straighter than the previous missed opportunity and there was no mistake this time from the home No 10.

Montpellier strung together their most cohesive set of phases in the closing minutes of the half and a quick tap penalty saw them surge to the Edinburgh line. An elongated appraisal from the TMO finally determined that Jacques 
du Plessis had got the try, 
Ruan Pienaar converted to cut the home lead to 9-7 at the interval,

Edinburgh started the second half on the front foot but their momentum stalled and Montpellier won a 46th-minute penalty which Pienaar converted to put his side in front for the first time.

A penalty won inside their own half gave Edinburgh a foothold, with Blair Kinghorn booting the penalty into the French side’s 22. Van der Walt’s grubber behind the defence then came to nothing but the Scots came again. Duhan van der Merwe almost broke through down the left before the visitors eventually forced a turnover.

A teasing kick to the corner from Van der Walt forced a lineout 15 metres out and referee JP Doyle judged that the subsequent Edinburgh maul had been illegally halted. The home stand-off stood and delivered to nudge his side back in front.

Edinburgh got the opportunity to move the ball through the hands with penalty advantage as the clock ticked towards the hour-mark and another lineout in the French 22 saw the home maul on the march again, forcing the visitors into desperate defence before Henry Pyrgos’s pass to the right wing saw Graham float in unopposed at the 
corner.

Van der Walt’s majestic touchline conversion meant Edinburgh had hauled back the nine-point lead surrendered either side of the half.

A loose kick from Kinghorn then saw Montpellier briefly threaten until another penalty for the home side sparked a roar from the bumper home crowd, who were beginning to sense that a momentous victory could be closed out.

The respite was brief as the French came in waves again before openside Yacouba Camara’s fumble relieved the pressure.

Montpellier continued to conveniently cough up penalties as the closing ten minutes ticked ever closer to a 
satisfying conclusion.

There was an interception chance for replacement centre Yvan Reilhac and Montpellier had one last dash but the 
Edinburgh defence held firm and a famous victory was theirs to savour.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859150.1547849619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859150.1547849619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham crosses the Montpellier line to score the crucial try. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh winger Darcy Graham crosses the Montpellier line to score the crucial try. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859150.1547849619!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859151.1547849622!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859151.1547849622!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn, left, and Jaco van der Walt celebrate at full-time. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Edinburgh's Blair Kinghorn, left, and Jaco van der Walt celebrate at full-time. Picture: Rob Casey/SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859151.1547849622!/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/champions-cup/dave-rennie-backs-adam-hastings-to-rise-to-glasgow-s-big-occasion-1-4859104","id":"1.4859104","articleHeadline": "Dave Rennie backs Adam Hastings to rise to Glasgow’s big occasion","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547848800000 ,"articleLead": "

Glasgow coach Dave Rennie
has backed the big-game temperament of Adam Hastings after recalling the young stand-off for today’s Heineken Champions Cup Pool 3 decider against Saracens in London.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859103.1547843352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam Hastings, seen here holding off Lyon's 'Pierre-Louis Barassi last month, is one of four changes to the Glasgow team for the Champions Cup showdown with Saracens. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The 22-year-old was dropped to the bench for last Sunday’s home win over Cardiff Blues but is restored to the XV for this afternoon’s match at Allianz Park, with Brandon Thomson, who started six days ago, dropping out of the squad.

It was also revealed that 
co-captain Callum Gibbins is expected to be out for around eight weeks after having an operation on the ankle he injured against the Welsh side, while fellow back-rower
Matt Fagerson faces “an extended lay-off” with a shoulder injury he picked up in the same game.

Hastings is one of four changes, with tighthead prop Siua Halanukonuka back in the front-row, Tim Swinson into the second-row with Rob Harley switching to the blind-side flank and Chris Fusaro starting at 7, as captain Ryan Wilson moves to the back of the scrum.

“We wanted to put out our best available team. Adam’s been our best 10 throughout the season,” said Rennie yesterday after naming his team. “He’s been working really hard on the areas we need to make some shifts in. We think he’s ready to go. He’s certainly trained well.”

Hastings has suffered a dip in form after appearing for Scotland in the autumn Tests and paid the price for a poor display in the loss to Benetton in Italy two weeks ago.

Rennie has backed the youngster to respond today, however, against the two-time European champions in their own backyard.

“It’s a big game, our mindset is that we’ve got to put a team out that we think is best suited to win this and Adam’s been a big part of what we’ve done well this year,” added the Kiwi coach.

With Gibbins out for a couple of months now, a crucial Six Nations period in which the New Zealander’s leadership would have been vital, extra responsibility falls on Wilson ahead of today’s 
showdown.

The Scotland back-rower has been left out by Rennie a couple of times recently but the coach said he is pleased with how the co-captain has responded.

“He was left out mainly for a lack of impact defensively,” explained Rennie. “A lot of that was about his body height, and to his credit he has worked really hard and done a lot of work on dominance around tackle and chop. I think he has been excellent for the past two or three weeks.

“It’s just a reminder to the guys that it doesn’t matter whether you’re the skipper or not, there is competition for places. To his credit, he’s made good shifts and that will be really important for us tomorrow.”

Saracens are already through from Pool 3 but victory this afternoon would secure a home tie.

Captain Brad Barritt returns to action for Saracens after being sidelined by a head injury, and wing Alex Lewington takes over from Scotland wing Sean Maitland, who went off against Lyon last weekend because of a tight hamstring.

“It will be a pretty brutal affair like it was last time I imagine,” said Rennie, referring to the 13-3 loss at Scotstoun in the pool opener back in October.

“We have to make sure we really steel up for it. We expect it to be pretty hostile in the first 20 minutes.

“They are going to kick a lot of ball to us and try to apply pressure that way. We need to do a really good job around defusing that and maybe that will create opportunities 
for us to counter or find some territory.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "DUNCAN SMITH"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859103.1547843352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859103.1547843352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Adam Hastings, seen here holding off Lyon's 'Pierre-Louis Barassi last month, is one of four changes to the Glasgow team for the Champions Cup showdown with Saracens. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Adam Hastings, seen here holding off Lyon's 'Pierre-Louis Barassi last month, is one of four changes to the Glasgow team for the Champions Cup showdown with Saracens. Picture: Ian MacNicol/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859103.1547843352!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/tennis/stefanos-tsitsipas-regrets-expletive-laden-rant-at-the-aussie-open-1-4859055","id":"1.4859055","articleHeadline": "Stefanos Tsitsipas regrets expletive-laden rant at the Aussie Open","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547836967000 ,"articleLead": "

Stefanos Tsitsipas had to apologise for an expletive-laden rant at the Australian Open as he set up a fourth-round clash with Roger Federer.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859054.1547836963!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates during his win over Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Twenty-year-old Tsitsipas is arguably the most exciting young talent in men’s tennis and his meeting with defending champion Federer on Sunday will be one to savour.

But the young Greek also has a temper and, after the umpire decided to replay a set point for Tsitsipas, pictured, during his clash with Nikoloz Basilashvili at 5-3 in the third set, the 14th seed let rip.

Melbourne’s Greek population have turned out in numbers to support Tsitsipas and his countrywoman Maria Sakkari, and there were a lot of young fans in Margaret Court Arena.

Pressed on his language afterwards, Tsitsipas said: “It was heat of the moment. I said some really bad things. I regret saying them. But I really wanted this really bad.

“At that moment it felt like it was slipping [away]. He kind of found comfort and confidence after that. So I was really frustrated. I didn’t quite think what I was saying. I wish I could change that and wouldn’t say that. It’s not the right attitude.”

Among a talented generation, Tsitsipas stands out with his flowing curly locks and flamboyant game, but it is his fighting spirit that is perhaps his greatest asset and he showed it in abundance to beat the dangerous Basilashvili 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (7), 6-4.

Tsitsipas was not born when Federer began his professional career but the 37-year-old continues to make top-level tennis look ridiculously easy and his 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 victory over young American Taylor Fritz was full of highlight-reel shots.

Rafael Nadal was equally impressive in a 6-1, 6-2, 6-4 victory over 19-year-old Alex de Minaur – a repeat of the scoreline in their Wimbledon clash last summer and the second seed’s third straight win against an Australian.

Nadal next meets a resurgent Tomas Berdych, who recorded a 5-7, 6-3, 7-5, 6-4 victory over 18th seed Diego Schwartzman.

Grigor Dimitrov continued to take advantage of his favourable draw, beating Italian Thomas Fabbiano 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4 to set up a last-16 meeting with America’s Frances Tiafoe who got the better of Andreas Seppi.

Roberto Bautista Agut, conqueror of Andy Murray, continued his strong run by taking out tenth seed Karen Khachanov.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELEANOR CROOKS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859054.1547836963!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859054.1547836963!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates during his win over Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece celebrates during his win over Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia. Picture: Julian Finney/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859054.1547836963!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/tennis/fierce-hitting-maria-sharapova-ends-caroline-wozniacki-s-reign-1-4859046","id":"1.4859046","articleHeadline": "Fierce-hitting Maria Sharapova ends Caroline Wozniacki’s reign","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547835828000 ,"articleLead": "

Maria Sharapova reminded herself and everyone else she is a big-match player by ending the reign of Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki in the third round.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859045.1547835823!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Maria Sharapova in action during her victory over Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The battle between two of the biggest names in the game did not disappoint but in the end Sharapova’s fierce hitting won the day as she surged to a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory on Rod Laver Arena.

Wozniacki is the highest-ranked opponent Sharapova has beaten since her first-round victory over Simona Halep at the US Open in 2017. That was her first grand-slam tournament appearance after her 15-month doping ban and at the time seemed to be a sign of the Russian’s impending resurgence, but it has not turned out that way – until now.

Not surprisingly, the Russian was in a good-humoured mood afterwards, saying: “It was a good win. I feel pretty happy about it. [I’m] even wearing a crop top. I’m really happy. I don’t pull those out often.”

It has been hard work for Sharapova, who added: “To be in the grind of things and to really have to figure out a way to be on top is what I missed. I didn’t really get many of those chances.

“Maybe Halep a year and a half ago at the US Open was where I was challenged like that. And I can think of maybe one or two other matches. I think you learn a lot, and when you put yourself in those positions and you get through, those are great, great victories.”

There is no love lost between the two players. Wozniacki was one of the most outspoken critics of the way Sharapova was welcomed back to the game following her ban, prompting the Russian’s agent Max Eisenbud to brand Wozniacki a “journeyman player”.

Sharapova refused to brand the victory extra special because of that, saying: “I just really like winning. I’m just really happy and proud of the way I competed today and I’m into the fourth round. So that’s all that matters.”

Wozniacki’s season tailed off after her superb triumph over Halep here 12 months ago and she announced in October that had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.

The Dane did not want to cite that as a factor in her defeat, but hinted she may not have been feeling her best, saying: “I can’t be too hard on myself with what I got today. I did what I could. I was fighting until the end. In my head I should have won that first set. Being up 4-1, I had a chance to do that, but I didn’t, and then I fought back and won the second set. Then it was a close third set. It just wasn’t enough today.”

While Sharapova put herself back in the present conversation, one player labelled as the future of women’s tennis was beaten by an even younger rival on Margaret Court Arena. Aryna Sabalenka, 20, was many pundits’ pick to win the title but she was blown away 6-3, 6-2 by 17-year-old American prodigy Amanda Anisimova. She is the first player born in the 2000s to reach the fourth round of a grand slam and the youngest for more than a decade.

The most striking thing about the performance of the teenager, who won the junior US Open title in 2017, was how utterly unfazed she appeared by the occasion. Asked for her biggest tennis dream, Anisimova replied: “I want to win this tournament right now.”

Sharapova will face Australian hope Ashleigh Barty in the next round while Anisimova takes on in-form eighth seed Petra Kvitova, who defeated Belinda Bencic 6-1, 6-4.

Anisimova can take confidence from already having beaten Kvitova on her way to the fourth round in Indian Wells last spring.

Fifth seed Sloane Stephens battled to a 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5) victory over Petra Martic while American Danielle Collins reached the fourth round at a slam for the first time with a 6-3, 6-2 win against 19th seed Caroline Garcia.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": "ELEANOR CROOKS"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859045.1547835823!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859045.1547835823!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Maria Sharapova in action during her victory over Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Maria Sharapova in action during her victory over Caroline Wozniacki at the Australian Open. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859045.1547835823!/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/celtic/celtic-transfer-latest-injury-thwarts-loan-signing-midfielder-to-leave-in-january-manager-fed-up-with-speculation-1-4859036","id":"1.4859036","articleHeadline": "Celtic transfer latest: Injury thwarts loan signing | midfielder to leave in January? | manager ‘fed up’ with speculation","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547834256000 ,"articleLead": "

Scott McTominay will be staying at Manchester United, Scott Allan could leave in the January window, and Sunderland boss Jack Ross says he’s “fed up” with speculation regarding Celtic target Josh Maja.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859034.1547834251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay. Picture: Getty"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Celtic: Australian side claim they’re ‘pretty close’ to signing Scott Brown

McTominay to stay

Celtic are likely to miss out on Scott McTominay in the January transfer window with Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer saying he’d like the player to stick around Old Trafford.

Celtic had been locked in talks with the English Premier League giants over a loan move for the Scottish international.

However, the injury to Marouane Fellaini has left the Red Devils short on options in the midfield area.

Allan to leave?

Hibs head coach Neil Lennon wants to have Scott Allan in his ranks before January, but admits the Easter Road club still has plenty of negotiating to do to make it happen.

Celtic midfielder Allan signed a three-year pre-contract agreement with Hibs on Thursday.

Lennon said: “If we can get him in before the end of January it would be fantastic but there is still a bit of negotiation to go on that.”

Ross ‘fed up’ with Maja speculation

Sunderland boss Jack Ross insists he’s “fed up” with constant speculation regarding Celtic target Josh Maja.

The 20-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and Celtic are one of the clubs who’ve been linked with his signature.

“I’m starting to edge towards the stage where I am fed up with it and I think we need to resolve it one way or the other and have clarity about what is going to happen,” said Ross.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4859034.1547834251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4859034.1547834251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay. Picture: Getty","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Manchester United midfielder Scott McTominay. Picture: Getty","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4859034.1547834251!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1506950728796"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/scottish-cup/cowdenbeath-v-rangers-in-the-scottish-cup-has-been-called-off-1-4858999","id":"1.4858999","articleHeadline": "Cowdenbeath v Rangers in the Scottish Cup has been called off","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547830818000 ,"articleLead": "

Rangers’ match with Cowdenbeath in the Scottish Cup has been postponed due to a frozen pitch.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858997.1547830814!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A frozen pitch at Cowdenbeath's Central Park ground has led to the game being postponed. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Ex-Rangers winger Michael O’Halloran returns to St Johnstone

Steven Gerrard’s men were set to play their first game following the winter break before the weather put a stop to that.

Cowdenbeath had tried to cover their Central Park turf in order for the match to go ahead, but the decision was made to postpone three hours before kick-off.

The game was scheduled to be broadcast by Premier Sports - the first of their new Scottish Cup contract.

Rangers fans will now have to wait until next midweek to see new signings Jermain Defoe and Steven Davis in action.

The match will be replayed on Wednesday 30 January.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858997.1547830814!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858997.1547830814!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A frozen pitch at Cowdenbeath's Central Park ground has led to the game being postponed. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A frozen pitch at Cowdenbeath's Central Park ground has led to the game being postponed. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858997.1547830814!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790964474001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/competitions/premiership/greg-stewart-snubs-kilmarnock-to-re-sign-for-aberdeen-1-4858968","id":"1.4858968","articleHeadline": "Greg Stewart snubs Kilmarnock to re-sign for Aberdeen","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547829011000 ,"articleLead": "

Greg Stewart has agreed a loan deal with Aberdeen for the remainder of the 2018/19 season, the club have announced.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858966.1547829006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Stewart impressed on loan at Kilmarnock in the opening half of the season. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

READ MORE - Scottish Football Live: Celtic offered Ukraine international | Scott Brown on verge of exit | Rangers striker signs new deal | Ibrox full-back in demand

The 28-year-old arrives for his second spell at the club from Birmingham City, who recalled him from his loan at Kilmarnock at the beginning of the January window.

His current deal with the English Championship side expires at the end of this season.

Stewart had been in excellent form for Steve Clarke’s men, scoring eight goals in 16 appearances as he largely played the No.10 role in a team that’s managed to challenge for the Ladbrokes Premiership title this term.

The former Dundee attacker spent the 2017/18 campaign on loan at Aberdeen. Though he played 34 games he didn’t have as much of an impact, scoring only three times and later admitted fitness issues had played a part in his poor form.

He’ll now have a second chance under manager Derek McInnes, who’ll be looking for his side to maintain their challenge near the top of the table.

Aberdeen sit two points behind Kilmarnock and three behind each of Celtic and Rangers.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858966.1547829006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858966.1547829006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Greg Stewart impressed on loan at Kilmarnock in the opening half of the season. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Greg Stewart impressed on loan at Kilmarnock in the opening half of the season. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858966.1547829006!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790964474001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hearts/right-back-michael-smith-signs-new-contract-with-hearts-1-4858961","id":"1.4858961","articleHeadline": "Right-back Michael Smith signs new contract with Hearts","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547828427000 ,"articleLead": "

Michael Smith has extended his contract with Hearts until May 2021.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858960.1547829488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Smith has been in good form for Hearts this season. Pic: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

The dependable Northern Irish right-back’s initial deal was due to expire at the end of this season but he has now committed his future to the Tynecastle club for a further two years.

Smith, who joined Hearts from Peterborough United 18 months ago, said: “It was an easy decision to make. As a player, I’m very happy here. I’ve been playing most weeks and playing well and I feel comfortable here.

“As a family as well, we feel very settled in Edinburgh. The first time I ever came up here it took me by surprise how big the club was. Ever since then I’ve really enjoyed playing in front of these fans week in, week out. You also have the stadium and the training facilities, it’s second to none really.”

Manager Craig Levein was delighted at securing the versatile 30-year-old’s service for the longer term. “I believe Michael has improved as a player since joining the club, which is reflected by the fact he has earned several international caps for Northern Ireland during his time here,” he said. “Michael’s performances this season speak for themselves. He’s been playing to a very high level week in, week out and I am delighted that he has committed his future to Hearts until 2021.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858960.1547829488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858960.1547829488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael Smith has been in good form for Hearts this season. Pic: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael Smith has been in good form for Hearts this season. Pic: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858960.1547829488!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/golf/gutsy-efforts-keep-scottish-duo-on-course-for-big-finishes-in-abu-dhabi-1-4858943","id":"1.4858943","articleHeadline": "Gutsy efforts keep Scottish duo on course for big finishes in Abu Dhabi","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547827463000 ,"articleLead": "

Shane Lowry kept the Irish flag at the top of the leaderboard as he stayed on course for a wire-to-wire victory, but the Saltire is still flying proudly in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after gutsy third-round efforts from both Scott Jamieson and Grant Forrest on a testing day in the United Arab Emirates.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858940.1547827448!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Jamieson tees off on the 11th hole in the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

Jamieson recovered from running up a triple-bogey 6 at the seventh after he’d got himself into a share of the lead to sit joint-fifth, keeping him on course for a second successive big finish on the European Tour after ending up in a tie for third in the Alfred Dunhill Championship in South Africa last month.

On his Rolex Series debut, Forrest is also in the top 15, having shrugged off an early setback as he inadvertantly moved his ball in the desert at the second hole at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and being hit with a one-stroke penalty to keep a spring in his step heading into the final circuit.

Helped by making nine 2s in the opening 54 holes, Lowry holds a three-shot lead as he bids for a first win since landing the 2015 WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio and, with seven and nine shots to make up respectively, it’s a tall order for either Jamieson or Forrest to deny the 31-year-old.

However, this if the first time Lowry has had his nose in front heading into a final round since he squandered a four-shot lead in the 2016 US Open at Oakmont and, if those demons come back to haunt the Mullingar man, then the Scottish pair could be among those to capitalise.

“Funnily enough, that was probably the best I have played,” said Jamieson as he reflected on carding a one-under 71 - it left him sitting on 10-under and on course for a big pay-day in the $7 million tournament - after opening with scores of 69 and 66. “But that’s how this game works sometimes.”

His card contained six birdies, three of which came in the opening four holes in the company of Ian Poulter and earned the 35-year-old Glaswegian a share of the lead with Lowry and South African Richard Sterne before he came a cropper at the short seventh.

“There are only two shots I’d want back probably today and one was the tee shot at the seventh,” admitted Jamieson of finding a bunker, from where he knifed his second into a water hazard at the opposite side of the green.

“You can’t be in the bunkers as there’s no sand in a lot of them. Having said that, I was actually taking my medicine, aiming so far left to give me 50 feet of green. But there was even less sand than I thought.”

Back-to-back birdies at the tenth and 11th repaired some of that damage before straying into another bunker led to a bogey at the par-3 12th. The other shot he’d like to have had again was “trying to jam in” a birdie putt at the 14th rather than “rolling” that attempt as it ended up four feet past and cost him a bogey. But a birdie at the last helped ease that disappointment.

“I’m happy to birdie the last as it would have been a travesty if I didn’t shoot under par after the fast start and getting it back again,” said Jamieson. I hit more fairways today than any other day, missing only two, and had six birdies today in tough conditions. It looks like Shane is well out in front, but every position inside the top 10 is a lot of points.”

The Florida-based player missed the cut in four of his six previous appearances in this event, with his best finish being joint-36th in 2017. “I don’t reallty understand it,” he said, smiling. “I have always struggled here for whatever reason, but I’ve certainly proved to myself that I can play the course today, hitting a ton of fairways and a ton of greens and made six birdies in tough conditions with tough pins.”

Forrest, who is playing in his first Rolex Series event after being among four Scots to graduate from the Challenge Tour last season, could easily have slipped into reverse gear after his unfortunate start, but the 25-year-old seems to be made of stern stuff.

“I hit a poor tee shot at No 2 and ended up in a deep foot print in the left sand,” he said after signing for a 72 to sit two shots behind Jamieson in a share of 12th. “I went to move what a thought was a single leaf but it was attached to a twig and the ball moved.

“I called the ref over and had to replace it - with a single-shot penalty - still in the footprint. I hacked it into the rough then found the front bunker and must have made a 45-footer for a bogey-6. That was a bit of a relief as it could have been pretty bad there.”

Out in two-over after also dropping a shot at the par-4 fifth, the Craigielaw player hit his second from around 270 yards to ten feet at the tenth to spark a run of three straight birdies and he, too, was pleased overall with his day’s work.

“Going out, I thought to myself, if we can get round in level par, you are not going to fall miles down the leaderboard,” said Forrest, who will get into next week’s Omega Dubai Desert Classic without having to play in a 36-hole shoot-out on Sunday and Monday if he can secure his second top-10 finish in just five events in his rookie season. “It was playing tough out there today.”

One ahead overnight, Lowey stretched his advantage with a five-under 67 that included three 2s for the third day running. On 17-under, he holds a healthy cusion over his nearest challenger, South African Richard Sterne, with Poulter two shots further back in third after signing off with an eagle-3.

“I felt very comfortable out there today and I’m very happy with that,” said Lowry, whose last win a regular event in the circuit came in the 2012 Portugal Masters, having made the breakthrough as an amateur in the Irish Open three years earlier.

“I’m not going to say I feel invincible because we all know that this game is not easy, and it can jump up and bite you when you least expect it. But I’m very excited about tomorrow and will be trying to go out and do what I’ve been doing.

“Obviously we’re playing in a world-class field on a very difficult golf course. I think I just need to go out and stay aggressive and just play my own game and try and make as many birdies as I can. That’s the way I play golf. If I can do that, hopefully I can be up there at the end of the day.”

Bob MacIntyre, another of the Scottish newcomers on the circuit this season, made a 60-yard up and down from out of a bunker at the last for a 72, which left him sitting in a share of 50th on three-under.

“That was a bonus ball,” declared the 22-year-old left-hander from Oban, having pulled his drive perilously close to water on the right. “Funnily enough, today was probably the best I’ve driven it this week, but I’ll take level-par as a lot of guys are going backwards.”

Richie Ramsay, the fourth Scot to survive the cut, went from one ahead of MacIntyre overnight to one behind after having to settle for a 74, which included three dropped shots in the space of four holes on the back nine.

“A bad iron shot at the 12th killed me mentally for a few holes,” said the Aberdonian. “I duffed two shots through mental mistakes. I drove it pretty good and lipped out four or five times, but didn’t make enough average up and downs.”

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858940.1547827448!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858940.1547827448!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Scott Jamieson tees off on the 11th hole in the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Scott Jamieson tees off on the 11th hole in the third round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858940.1547827448!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858941.1547827455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858941.1547827455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Grant Forrest walks off the first tee with his caddie Scott Carmichael at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Grant Forrest walks off the first tee with his caddie Scott Carmichael at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858941.1547827455!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858942.1547827458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858942.1547827458!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Irishman Shane Lowry celebrates making a last-hole birdie to open up a three-shot lead in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Irishman Shane Lowry celebrates making a last-hole birdie to open up a three-shot lead in the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858942.1547827458!/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/celtic/how-could-celtic-line-up-against-airdrie-in-the-scottish-cup-1-4858737","id":"1.4858737","articleHeadline": "How could Celtic line up against Airdrie in the Scottish Cup?","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547824222095 ,"articleLead": "With new players in at Celtic Park, how could the Hoops line up against Airdrieonians on Saturday?","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858764.1547816081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A general view of Celtic Park"} ,"articleBody": "

Vakoun Issouf Bayo won't play, while Celtic still have some injury worries to contend with.

" ,"byline": {"email": "sportts@scotsman.com" ,"author": "Kathleen Oates"} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858764.1547816081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858764.1547816081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "A general view of Celtic Park","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "A general view of Celtic Park","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858764.1547816081!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858731.1547816083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858731.1547816083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Back-up 'keeper could be given a chance in goal against Airdrie","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Back-up 'keeper could be given a chance in goal against Airdrie","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858731.1547816083!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858727.1547816084!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858727.1547816084!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The young right-back has recently come back into the first-team and could continue in place of Mikael Lustig","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The young right-back has recently come back into the first-team and could continue in place of Mikael Lustig","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858727.1547816084!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858728.1547816085!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858728.1547816085!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The imposing centre-back could start against the League One side in place of Dedryck Boyata","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The imposing centre-back could start against the League One side in place of Dedryck Boyata","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858728.1547816085!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858729.1547816087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858729.1547816087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Croatian defender could partner Ajer in central defence if Filip Benkovic is rested","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Croatian defender could partner Ajer in central defence if Filip Benkovic is rested","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858729.1547816087!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858730.1547816089!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858730.1547816089!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The Honduran defender could continue in the left-back berth with Kieran Tierney still sidelined","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The Honduran defender could continue in the left-back berth with Kieran Tierney still sidelined","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858730.1547816089!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858765.1547816090!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858765.1547816090!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic skipper could start in the expected absence of Olivier Ntcham","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic skipper could start in the expected absence of Olivier Ntcham","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858765.1547816090!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858732.1547816092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858732.1547816092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "McGregor could line up alongside Ntcham in the engine room","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "McGregor could line up alongside Ntcham in the engine room","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858732.1547816092!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858733.1547816093!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858733.1547816093!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The in-form winger could line up on the right of an attacking trio behind a lone striker","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The in-form winger could line up on the right of an attacking trio behind a lone striker","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858733.1547816093!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858734.1547816095!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858734.1547816095!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "The on-loan West Brom wideman could be given his first taste of Scottish football if Brendan Rodgers pitches him in from the start","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "The on-loan West Brom wideman could be given his first taste of Scottish football if Brendan Rodgers pitches him in from the start","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858734.1547816095!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858735.1547816096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858735.1547816096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Christie took the Scottish Premiership by storm towards the end of 2018 with some blistering performances and will be tasked with repeating that tomorrow","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Christie took the Scottish Premiership by storm towards the end of 2018 with some blistering performances and will be tasked with repeating that tomorrow","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858735.1547816096!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} , {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858736.1547816098!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858736.1547816098!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Like Burke, the PSG loan signing could make his Hoops bow against the Diamonds tomorrow, with Odsonne Edouard still a doubt","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Like Burke, the PSG loan signing could make his Hoops bow against the Diamonds tomorrow, with Odsonne Edouard still a doubt","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858736.1547816098!/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/competitions/premiership/ex-rangers-winger-michael-o-halloran-returns-to-st-johnstone-1-4858904","id":"1.4858904","articleHeadline": "Ex-Rangers winger Michael O’Halloran returns to St Johnstone","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547823841000 ,"articleLead": "

St Johnstone have secured the re-signing of winger Michael O’Halloran on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858902.1547823836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael O'Halloran has returned to St Johnstone for a third spell. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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The winger returns to the club after failing to make an impact at A-League side Melbourne City following his move from Rangers.

His arrival back in Scottish football comes three years after he left St Johnstone for the Ibrox side in the 2016 January window.

Signed for a fee of around £500,000, O’Halloran couldn’t make the grade in Glasgow and found himself the subject of ire from his own supporters when he attended an Old Firm clash at Hampden in the Celtic end.

O’Halloran shone during his first spell at McDiarmid Park, netting 16 goals in 90 games from midfield and helping the club win the 2014 Scottish Cup.

He then had another impressive stint in Perth after arriving back on loan during the first half of the 2017-18 campaign.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858902.1547823836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858902.1547823836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Michael O'Halloran has returned to St Johnstone for a third spell. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Michael O'Halloran has returned to St Johnstone for a third spell. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858902.1547823836!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"5790964474001"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} , {"article": {"url":"https://www.scotsman.com/sport/football/teams/hibernian/neil-lennon-confirms-hibs-close-to-deal-for-genoa-midfielder-stephane-omeonga-1-4858846","id":"1.4858846","articleHeadline": "Neil Lennon confirms Hibs ‘close to deal’ for Genoa midfielder Stephane Omeonga","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547821524000 ,"articleLead": "

Hibs are close to securing a loan deal for Genoa and Belgium Under-21 midfielder Stephane Omeonga, according to Neil Lennon.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858845.1547821519!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephane Omeonga in the thick of the action for Genoa against S.P.A.L. in a Serie A clash. Picture: Getty Images"} ,"articleBody": "

The Easter Road boss said ahead of the Capital club’s Scottish Cup meeting with League Two side Elgin City that a move was close.

Lennon said: “According to Genoa, it’s done, but it’s not quite over the line just yet.”

Reports in Italy on Friday morning suggested that a deal had been completed for the former Anderlecht youngster to join on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Genoa assistant boss Marco Pellegri was quoted as saying: “Stephane said goodbye to his bosses, coaches and teammates before the training session at Centro Signorini this morning.

“He emptied his locker in the dressing-room of his personal effects.

• READ MORE - Hibs line up loan deal for Genoa midfielder Stephane Omeonga

“A new professional adventure awaits him in Scotland, unless any hitches prevent the deal from being done.”

Speaking about what Omeonga would bring to the Hibs side, Lennon added: “He’s got good energy.

“He will bring legs, particularly in the middle of the park. He’s got a good calibre, he played a lot of games at Serie A level last year.”

The 22-year-old has been capped five times by Belgium Under-21s, and joined Avellino before switching to Genoa in 2017.

He has made 17 appearances in total for the northern Italian side, his last of which was on December 6 against Virtus Entella in the Coppa Italia.

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858845.1547821519!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858845.1547821519!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Stephane Omeonga in the thick of the action for Genoa against S.P.A.L. in a Serie A clash. Picture: Getty Images","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Stephane Omeonga in the thick of the action for Genoa against S.P.A.L. in a Serie A clash. Picture: Getty Images","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858845.1547821519!/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/celtic/revealed-celtic-break-top-10-for-best-supported-clubs-in-europe-1-4858836","id":"1.4858836","articleHeadline": "Revealed! Celtic break top 10 for best supported clubs in Europe","commentCount":0,"publishedDate":1547820830000 ,"articleLead": "

Celtic have been revealed as the club with the ninth highest level of attendance across European football.

","articleThumbnail": {"thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858834.1547820825!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic had over 1,000,000 fans for their home league games last season. Picture: SNS"} ,"articleBody": "

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In a wide ranging UEFA-commissioned report, Celtic has been named as one of only 15 clubs to achieve an aggregate attendance of over one million fans for home league matches.

The Parkhead side sit in ninth place, alongside the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Internazionale.

With an average attendance of 57,523 last season, Celtic’s aggregate attendance was 1,092,937.

The top 10 is as follows...

1. Manchester United 1,424,544

2. Borussia Dortmund 1,351,432

3. Tottenham Hotspur 1,291,107

4. Bayern Munich 1,275,000

5. Barcelona 1,265,457

6. Real Madrid 1,257,059

7. Arsenal 1,127,137

8. Interzaionale 1,093,051

9. Celtic 1,092,937

10. West Ham United 1,080,815

" ,"byline": {"email": "" ,"author": ""} ,"topImages": [ {"image": {"url":"/webimage/1.4858834.1547820825!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/box_600/image.jpg","thumbnailUrl":"/webimage/1.4858834.1547820825!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_170/image.jpg","alt": "Celtic had over 1,000,000 fans for their home league games last season. Picture: SNS","width":600,"height":315,"thumbnailWidth":170,"thumbnailHeight":"auto","imageAlt": "Celtic had over 1,000,000 fans for their home league games last season. Picture: SNS","landscapeurl":"/webimage/1.4858834.1547820825!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_595/image.jpg","landscapewidth":595,"landscapeheight":398}} ] ,"bodyImages": [ ] ,"polls":[ ] ,"videos":[ {"video": {"brightcoveId":"1506950728796"} } ] ,"imageGallerys":[ ] ,"externalLinks": [ ] ,"relatedList":{"count":0,"list":[ ]} }} ]}}} ]}