STUART McCall admits last night’s 3-1 defeat to Motherwell in the SPFL Premiership Play-off Final was the worst they’ve played, Stephen McManus is wary of Motherwell falling into the same trap Hibs did last year, and Miguel Pallardo is set to sign a new one-year deal at Hearts.
‘The worst we’ve played’ - Stuart McCall
Stuart McCall admits it’s the worst his Rangers side have played since he took over the reins at Ibrox in March. The former Motherwell manager will return to his old club on Sunday looking to pull back a two-goal deficit in the Premiership play-off final following last night’s 3-1 defeat.
McCall says Rangers will be going at their opponents straight away in the hope of finding a crucial early goal and has called on his players to show maximum effort to make up for last night’s embarrassment. (Evening Times)
Baraclough praises players for calmness under pressure
Motherwell boss Ian Baraclough hailed his players for staying calm under the intense pressure of Ibrox as his side came away with a healthy 3-1 advantage that could go a long way to preserving their Scottish Premiership status. Lee Erwin and Stephen McManus netted in the first half before Lionel Ainsworth added a third shortly after the interval.
Baraclough insisted the players had carried out their instructions to a tee and praised them for staying strong in the final 10 minutes of the game after Rangers finally got some momentum behind them when Darren McGregor pulled a goal back. (Evening Times)
McManus wary of Hibs-style second leg collapse
Motherwell skipper Stephen McManus is adamant the job is far from finished after his side’s 3-1 victory at Ibrox. Without away goals, Motherwell have nothing more than a two-goal advantage going into the match at home, which is exactly the same position Hibs found themselves in following a first-leg victory at Hamilton in last year’s Premiership play-off final.
McManus is mindful of Accies’ comeback which saw them promoted to the top flight following a victory on penalties, and insists Motherwell remain focused to see the job out. (Daily Record)
Kris Commons hungry for another treble run
Celtic playmaker Kris Commons is determined to get his hands on the treble next season after coming so close to realising his dream during the last campaign.
With the League Cup won and the title virtually secured at the time, the Hoops looked all set to book a Hampden showdown with second tier Falkirk for the Scottish Cup. Then Josh Meekings’s controversial handball call denied Celtic a second goal and Inverness came storming back to claim a 3-2 extra time semi-final win.
Commons points to that massive momentum shift as evidence that, even with Celtic enjoying a bigger budget than their opponents, there is still an element of luck involved. (Evening Times)
Miguel Pallardo to sign extension with Hearts
Hearts midfielder Miguel Pallardo is about to sign a one-year extension with the Gorgie Road club. The Spaniard joined as a free agent last September and was influential in Hearts charge to the Scottish Championship title. Now he’s set to help the club tackle their first season back in Scotland’s top flight. (Edinburgh Evening News)
Nations would consider quitting Fifa
Stewart Regan said last night that Uefa’s member nations have talked about leaving Fifa and setting up a rival governing body if Sepp Blatter wins today’s presidential election.
A European boycott of the World Cup was also mooted as Uefa finally lost its patience with the game’s most powerful man. (The Scotsman)
Boyle knew GMS would be a star
The man who could be credited with saving the career of Gary Mackay-Steven insists he knew the Celtic winger was a special player within 15 minutes of his first training session.
Mackay-Steven was out of football after a series of injuries wrecked his youth career with Liverpool. Airdrie boss Jimmy Boyle agreed to have a look at the youngster and brought him in for training. He quickly snapped the attacker up and the player was able to rebuild his confidence following a sterling season in League One before Dundee United signed him at the end of the 2010/11 season. (Daily Record)
David Raven: Cup win would be career high
Inverness full-back David Raven was once a fringe member of the Liverpool first-team squad, even making a few appearances for the Merseyside giants, but the defender insists winning the cup with Caley Thistle would be the greatest achievement of his career by some distance.
Raven has no regrets about leaving Liverpool after coming to the harsh realisation that he wasn’t good enough to make it at the Premier League level. At 30-years old he is desperate to get his hands on a major piece of silverware before his playing days are over. (Daily Mail)
Dundee back McAlister over Ciftci bite row
Dundee director John Nelms lent his support to Jim McAlister regarding to the ongoing row over ‘Bitegate’. The Dees midfielder looked to have accused Dundee United’s Nadir Ciftci of biting him during the recent Dundee derby. United have vociferously backed their player, however Nelms is insistent ‘the truth will come out’ following an SFA investigation. (The Scotsman)
News in brief
• Dundee and Queen of the South are at a standstill over compensation for highly rated full-back Kevin Holt. Dundee have offered £10,000, but it’s understood Queens want 10 times that amount. (Dundee Evening Telegraph)
• Midfielder Steven Lawless has signed a one year extension with Patrick Thistle. The attacker has been in excellent form this season and his contract was due to expire in the summer. (Partick Thistle)
• Hibs’ development squad player Kleton Perntreou has left the club, leaving Alan Stubbs’s side without a goalkeeper after Mark Oxley and Tomas Cerny departed. (Edinburgh Evening News)