Steven Naismith's Rangers penalty complaints slammed, ex-Hearts candidate lands English job, Celtic do tests - football news

Two former referees have criticised Steven Naismith’s Rangers-Hearts penalty claims, while David Martindale has spoken on links to the vacant St Johnstone job.

We round up some of the main stories across Scottish football and beyond …

Naismith’s penalty claims batted away

Two former top flight referees have criticised Steven Naismith’s comments over a decision to award Rangers a penalty against Hearts on Sunday. The Hearts boss claimed Peter Haring was blocked by John Lundstram before pulling Connor Goldson’s shirt and that VAR ought to have spotted it, while also questioning the timing of an earlier spot-kick in first half stoppage time missed by James Tavernier. Ex-Grade One referee Des Roache told “To try to blame the officials is completely wrong. The team got it right and in the end, John Beaton got it right. Pressure seems to be growing on Stevie Naismith. It’s clear Hearts need results fast.” Fellow former official Steve Conroy said: “I have absolutely no idea what he’s moaning about and what he thinks he has seen. Both are clear penalties. Peter Haring quite clearly had a hold of Connor Goldson’s jersey before there was any block from John Lundstram and as soon as that begins then it’s a foul. So then the collision with Lundstram is inconsequential."

Hearts manager Steven Naismith during the 2-1 defeat by Rangers on Sunday.Hearts manager Steven Naismith during the 2-1 defeat by Rangers on Sunday.
Hearts manager Steven Naismith during the 2-1 defeat by Rangers on Sunday.

Former Hearts candidate appointed new QPR boss

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

QPR have announced the appointment of Marti Cifuentes as the club’s new head coach following the sacking of Gareth Ainsworth. Rangers suffered a sixth straight league defeat when beaten 2-1 at home by leaders Leicester on Saturday to sit second bottom of the Sky Bet Championship, which saw Ainsworth depart. The appointment of Spaniard Cifuentes, 41, who was interviewed by Hearts during the search for Robbie Neilson’s successor earlier this year, is subject to a work permit and will see him leave Swedish top-flight side Hammarby, where he has been for the past two seasons. QPR chief executive Lee Hoos said on the club website: “We are delighted to bring Marti in and I would firstly like to thank Hammarby for being fantastic to deal with throughout the process. “Marti is an exciting appointment and we look forward to seeing the impact he can have. Having a succession plan in place is a necessary part of football, irrespective of how the team are performing. Marti is someone we have been aware of so we are really pleased to have been able to secure his services.”

Celtic to explore Hatate situation further

Celtic will look deeper at Reo Hatate’s conditioning after it was confirmed that the midfielder will be out until Christmas with a hamstring injury. The Japanese had a six-week spell out with a hamstring injury in his other leg towards the end of last season, and missed a month with a calf injury earlier this term. So Celtic will explore all avenues to ensure Hatate’s return to fitness is lasting. “That’s the ideal scenario,” manager Brendan Rodgers said. “It’s just investigating everything he is doing outside of here as well as here and trying to piece it all together. There are also unfortunately players that, sadly, their collagen means they pick up lots of injuries and how their body is, and they can just maybe sometimes never stay fit. He is a guy that has come into the game late. He has done fantastic when he has been fit and available for Celtic. It’s just a case of trying to look deeper into everything around his development and what he is doing here and what he is doing away from here, just to see if there is anything that we can find out. Because ideally you want your best players available, and he is certainly one of our top players.”

Martindale focused solely on Livingston amid links to St Johnstone vacancy

Livingston boss David Martindale refused to be drawn on reports linking him with the managerial vacancy at St Johnstone. The 49-year-old has emerged as one of the front-runners for the Saints job following the sacking of Steven MacLean on Sunday. When asked about the fact his name had been mentioned in connection with the Perth club at a media briefing on Monday morning to preview Wednesday’s cinch Premiership match at Hearts, Martindale said: “It’s nice to have your name linked with other jobs, but I’m not really wanting to sit here and talk about St Johnstone Football Club, if I’m honest. I’ve got a game on Wednesday night coming off the back of two poor results so my focus is on Hearts at Tynecastle, not St Johnstone.”

Colombian police continue search for Diaz’s kidnapped father

Colombian police are searching a mountain range in the north of the country for the kidnapped father of Liverpool forward Luis Diaz. Diaz’s mother has been rescued but the Colombian authorities have stepped up the search for his father, with the player having returned home to be with family members. Police have been carrying out aerial patrols across the Perija mountain range, which straddles the border with Venezuela and is covered by a forest. In a post on social media, Colombian police director general William Salamanca was shown visiting the operation in order to “recognise our commandos for their bravery and commitment to rescue him safe and sound”. Police have offered a reward worth around £39,000 for information leading to the rescue of Luis Manuel Diaz. On Monday Salamanca urged caution with regards to reports that Luis Manuel might already have been taken into Venezuela, pointing to the difficulty of crossing the Perija mountains. Both FIFA and the Colombia Football Federation have offered support to Diaz, 26, while Liverpool allowed the player to return home.

Messi wins record eighth Ballon d’Or after World Cup glory with Argentina

Lionel Messi was crowned Ballon d’Or winner for a record eighth time after leading Argentina to World Cup glory. The 36-year-old scored twice in the final as Argentina saw off France to win the tournament for the first time in his illustrious career. Messi has since moved to Inter Miami having left Paris St Germain at the end of last season – but it was his imperious form for his country in Qatar which saw him crowned Ballon d’Or winner by France Football once again. Meanwhile, Barcelona and Spain midfielder Aitana Bonmati won the women’s Ballon d’Or following a trophy-laden campaign for the 25-year-old. Messi beat Manchester City’s hot-shot striker Erling Haaland into second place for the men’s award on a night where Pep Guardiola’s treble winners were well-represented. Kylian Mbappe – just the second man to score a World Cup final hat-trick – was third after starring in France’s run to the final. Kevin De Bruyne finished fourth while Rodri came fifth, Julian Alvarez – also a team-mate of Messi at international level – was seventh, and Bernardo Silva was ninth as City players dominated the top 10.

Related topics: