Opinion

Sport Opinion

Is Steve Clarke ready to be the next manager of Scotland?

The 54-year-old is the fourth favourite with the bookies to be named as the successor to Gordon Strachan and has been a popular pick on social media. We asked staff writer Craig Fowler to give his take on Clarke’s candidacy

Scotland 2

Partick Thistle 1 - 2 Celtic: How the players rated on each side

Marks out of ten for every player in Celtic’s 2-1 win over Partick Thistle.

Premiership 1
The SFA hoped to have Michael ONeill in situ but are now searching for alternative candidates. Picture: PA.

Alan Pattullo: Scottish FA left staring into empty space

Welcome to the post-Michael O’Neill dead zone. On the morning of the draw for the inaugural Nations League tournament there’s not a creditable figurehead in Lausanne to ponder Scotland’s 
prospects.

Football 2
Hearts manager Craig Levein congratulates his teenage sensation, Harry Cochrane, at Tynecastle on Sunday. Picture: SNS.

Aidan Smith: Scotland’s ‘natural disorder’ gives lie to Craig Levein jibe

Craig Levein couldn’t stop cracking jokes. He made a joke about the winning goal and its similarities to the one Hibernian didn’t get in the previous derby, saying he’d almost hoped Hearts had got away with a strike which hadn’t actually crossed the line. “That would have been brilliant!” he sniggered.

Scottish Cup 51
Tommy Fleetwood takes a selfie after retaining the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship title on Sunday. Picture: AP

Martin Dempster: If you think golf is boring, watch week’s stunning action

S o, golf is boring as a 
spectator sport, eh? A fortnight after that claim was made in a YouGov survey, it really is being made to look absolute and utter nonsense. Put it this way, the people who believe that clearly are not golf fans because, right now, the sport is in a really good place.

Golf
This week it is likely to be confirmed that the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system will be used at the World Cup finals in Russia. Picture: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Comment: If VAR is at Celtic Park will it be at Central Park?

One of my favourite Monty Python sketches is The Fish-Slapping Dance and it always makes me think of Arbroath and their world-record win. How did the Red Lichties supporters celebrate beating Bon Accord 36-0 back in 1885? Would they have had rattles to birl? Would they even have had scarves to wave? Or did they simply grab the nearest things to hand – smokies – and playfully hit each other on the cheek, like John Cleese and Michael Palin in the comedy classic?

Football
Scotland's Ali Price in action against Australia. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Iain Morrison: Why Ali Price should get nod at scrum-half

There was something of an anticlimax about Scotland’s squad announcement last Tuesday and the cause was two-fold. Firstly, the sheer size of the squad mitigated against any great excitement – with 40 players it was last man standing for positions like tighthead – and while the numbers will help Gregor Townsend’s training sessions, it is difficult to get worked up when almost half those named won’t get any closer to Cardiff than the television in their front room.

Six Nations 3
Ben Vellacott in action for the Scotland Under-20 side. Picture: SNS

Allan Massie: England haven’t ‘stolen’ our players

A lot has changed in rugby in the last 20 years, but some things remain the same. This was evident in Dublin last Sunday. Glasgow were in the match for almost 20 minutes. Then they were right out of it. In that opening quarter 
Glasgow’s Ali Price was buzzing and full of vim; but it was his opposite number Luke McGrath who was named man of the match. Well, we’ve always known that in attack a scrum-half is dependent on the quality of ball he receives. Leinster delivered clean front-foot ball and McGrath revelled in the opportunities
granted him. Glasgow struggled to win ball and when they did so were often already going backwards. So McGrath ran free while Price was in chains.

Rugby union 5
Jason Cummings adds his own personality to the appeal of the Scottish Cup. Picture: PA.

FA Cup has lost lustre but Scottish Cup fourth-round still special

Of course you dream.”

Scottish Cup
Alfredo Morelos has been in great form since signing for Rangers in the summer. Picture: SNS

Does Alfredo Morelos get the credit he deserves from the Scottish media?

The Rangers striker is the leading goalscorer in the Scottish Premiership this season, so why isn’t he being talked about like one? Craig Fowler examines

Rangers 17
Kristoffer Ajer has impressed since coming into the Celtic starting XI. Picture: SNS

Why Kristoffer Ajer is Celtic’s present and future at centre-back

Craig Fowler argues that Celtic should stick with the teenager in the centre of the defence in order to help the player realise his incredible potential

Celtic 1
The Hearts captain has been in terrific form this season. Picture: SNS

Why Christophe Berra is the leading Player of the Year candidate

Craig Fowler explains why, if the season stopped right now, the Hearts captain would win the prestigious award.

Hearts 69
Steven Naismith will bring versatility and quality in the final third to Hearts. Picture: SNS Group

What Hearts are getting in Steven Naismith

Steven Naismith has agreed a loan deal with Hearts, keeping him at Tynecastle until the end of the season. Patrick McPartlin looks at what Naismith will bring to Tynecastle

Hearts
Jason Cummings found the back of the net regularly for Hibs in the Scottish Championship. Picture: Getty

What Rangers will be getting in new signing Jason Cummings

The former Hibs striker has joined the Ibrox side on loan from Nottingham Forest until the end of the season, with an option to purchase the player outright after that. Craig Fowler gives his take on the deal

Premiership 36
Europe's Ryder Cup team needs a player like Ian Poulter. Picture: Getty.

EurAsia win won’t lull Thomas Bjorn into Ryder Cup complacency

Let’s not been fooled into thinking the EurAsia Cup means much when it comes to the one that really matters – the Ryder Cup. After all, following a thumping win in the former two years ago, Europe then suffered its heaviest defeat in the latter in more than 30 years

Golf
Dustin Johnson will be a star attraction at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week. Picture: Getty.

Martin Dempster: Desert double-header full of intrigue

Get set for a delectable
 desert double that could, if recent history is anything to go by, provide some big pointers to a much-anticipated men’s major season getting underway in less than three months’ time.

Golf
James Tavernier of Rangers, left, and Hibernian's John McGinn both make the list. Picture: Robert Perry

Who is the most valuable player on each Scottish Premiership side?

Who are the most valuable Ladbrokes Premiership players in the transfer market? We broke it down team by team.

Premiership 12

Who is likely to make Scotland’s Six Nations squad?

Scotland coach Gregor Townsend will name his Six Nations training squad at BT Murrayfield tomorrow morning with the main talking points likely to be who he has put his faith in to cover the injury problems in certain positions.

Scotland 4
Good, but no Waspburger. Stamford Bridges press box offered no Alloa delicacies for Arsene Wenger. Photograph: Ian Kington

Sights we’d like to see: Wenger at Dumbarton, pie voucher in pocket

The other night, in the middle of a touchline ban, Arsene Wenger faced a dilemma and the potential of having insult added to inconvenience. Normally when managers are banished to the stands they watch from the directors’ box but at Chelsea the poshest seats are right across the field from the dressing rooms. That would have meant a yomp at half-time, losing valuable minutes from his team talk, when he would have been highly conspicuous in his trademark long grey quilted gown – and even before Antonio Conte sneered at him for being “old”, the Arsenal boss would have faced considerable abuse from the successors of the Stamford Bridge skinhead cognoscenti.

Dumbarton
D'Arcy Rae of Glasgow Warriors is a solid tighthead. Picture: Bill Murray/SNS

Expect a few newbies in Gregor Townsend’s Six Nations squad

The first shots in the Six Nations phoney war were fired by Italy who announced their big squad last week and next week Scotland will do the same.

Scotland 7
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