Hibernian

Hibernian slideshow

In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
Celtic 0 St Johnstone 0: Brendan Rodgers keeps Europa League in mind as much-changed side go nine points clear
In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
Celtic 0 St Johnstone 0: Brendan Rodgers keeps Europa League in mind as much-changed side go nine points clear
In contrast to last season’s inexorable progress to a clean sweep of the domestic honours, Celtic have had to break step during this campaign and did so again in a game which saw St Johnstone – not for the first time in recent seasons under Tommy Wright – leave the east end of Glasgow with reward to show for their efforts. The outcome of a goalless contest was, nevertheless, a reminder that championships can be acquired in diverse fashions. Celtic shed two points yet found themselves better off than they had been before the weekend because, yet again, the nearest contenders were unable to muster the victories that would have put at least a nominal degree of pressure on them. When Celtic lost at Kilmarnock at the start of the month Rangers lost at home to Hibernian. On Saturday, Aberdeen had the opportunity to move to within five points of the leaders, a prospect which evaporated when they were deservedly beaten 2-0 by Hibs at Easter Road. The upshot is that Celtic, despite failing to score at home in a league fixture for only the second time under Brendan Rodgers, are now nine points clear of Rangers, who overtook Aberdeen on goal difference with their 5-3 win at Hamilton. If Celtic are not invincible in Scotland, as they were last season, their horizons have expanded to include the possibility of Europa League football in the last 16 of the competition next month. History has demonstrated that expeditions to Russia are notoriously hazardous but Rodgers exercised the opportunity to harbour his resources ahead of Thursday’s return leg meeting with Zenit in St Petersburg, where Celtic will attempt to capitalise on the 1-0 lead posted at home in the first instalment. Celtic made no fewer than seven changes from the Europa League match, with only Dorus de Vries, Kris Ajer, Callum McGregor and Eboue Kouassi retained for the visit of a St Johnstone side coming off the back of three successive defeats. McGregor and Kouassi, though, were switched from advanced midfield positions to fill the holding roles usually taken by Olivier Ntcham and Scott Brown. Tom Rogic was back in action Credit: PA The use of squad players was notable at full-back, where Cristiam Gamboa and Calvin Miller were summoned from the fringes of the squad. One particularly heartening inclusion was that of Tom Rogic, back on his familiar beat behind the front three for the first time since the 1-0 home defeat by Anderlecht in the Champions League, after which he sustained a disruptive knee injury. The Australian looked entirely comfortable during an opening spell of almost complete Celtic dominance when, for 10 minutes, Saints could scarcely get a touch on the ball. For all their command of possession, though, the Hoops managed only a single attempt on target, when Ajer met a free kick from the right with a header that was parried by Alan Mannus and nodded clear by Steve Anderson. To the audible frustration of the home support, the visitors began to break out of the quarantine zone around their own penalty area and fashioned a series of alarms at the other end of the field. This switch was signalled by a cross from David Wotherspoon headed narrowly over by Blair Alston, followed immediately by a free kick touched by Wotherspoon to Richard Foster, whose drive from the edge of the box swept just high of the crossbar. St Johnstone came close on two more occasions, with another Wotherspoon delivery that squirmed narrowly past the post and then an Alston delivery pitched fractionally too high. The second half simply extended the pattern of the first and, as the proceedings wore on, Rodgers attempted to break the deadlock from the bench in the form of Kieran Tierney, James Forrest and Moussa Dembele. St Johnstone’s response was to replace George Williams with Matty Willock and the on-loan Manchester United midfielder might have put his team in front when he burrowed behind the Hoops defence had he chosen to shoot rather than cut back to Steven MacLean. As it was, while Celtic conserved their energy for Zenit, Saints departed with an unanticipated bonus in their battle to clear the relegation zone.
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backs calls for Scotland to remain at Hampden Park
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backs calls for Scotland to remain at Hampden Park
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Alex McLeish backs calls for Scotland to remain at Hampden Park
Alex McLeish backed Hampden Park to remain Scotland’s home ground as he began the preparations for his second spell as national manager. The Scottish Football Association are in the process of considering whether to remain at Hampden – where their administrative offices are based, alongside those of the Scottish Professional Football League – or switch major internationals and Scottish Cup finals to Murrayfield, the home of Scottish rugby. The stadium in Mount Florida saw McLeish win many of 77 Scotland caps between 1980 and 1993 and it was there that he scored in Aberdeen’s 4-1 Scottish Cup final victory over Rangers on his 200th appearance for the Dons. “I would like to stay here,” McLeish said. “If it is a question of modernisation, sometimes we have to move forward but I’ve got to say it would be hard to leave Hampden.” The venerable ground will be the venue for the first contest of McLeish’s second tenure in charge when the Scots host Costa Rica in a Friday night friendly on March 23. The countries have met only once and recollections of the occasion are painful for McLeish, who was a member of the Scotland side beaten 1-0 by Costa Rica in the Italia ’90 World Cup finals. It is a measure of the decline in Scotland’s fortunes that 28 years ago a defeat in the finals of a major tournament was regarded as a calamity. “The front of the Daily Record was brilliant - or when I look back on it now it was brilliant!” said McLeish. “It was a big picture of the world with ‘Stop the World, we want to get aff!’ written on it. Then there were a few faces which “had to go” and I was one of them. “Fortunately, we redeemed ourselves against Sweden but it was a very apprehensive game. Now, after 22 years of not being at a big tournament we would bite your hand off to do it. “Everyone would be grateful for an early exit just because it would mean that we are there at last but, in saying that, in those days and even now, you always have to be ambitious. “When we got there, we tried to get to the next stage, even if we never quite made that. Just to get to three finals in my playing days was a fantastic feeling.” Scotland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia after a 2-2 in Slovenia Credit: PA Given that the transition from Gordon Strachan to McLeish is also a handover from one former Aberdeen player to another who was a Pittodrie team mate, it is possible to wonder if there will be discernible difference between the two regimes. “I have spoken about attention to detail,” said McLeish. “I'm not saying Gordon didn't do that but I believe that a year on - and a tournament - a lot of the lads were involved in these games and you would expect them to learn from that. What I can do is empower players. “How do you empower them? You can show things they have done well to give them the chest puffed out but you can also show them things from the past that they could have done better. These are the little details. “I am not discarding anybody at the moment. I believe there are little tweaks that can happen. A lot of them play in England at the highest level and I've seen a huge difference with a lot of the young players who are coming through in Scotland so, having moved on a season, I feel it's time to qualify for the finals of Euro 2020.” Martin Boyle celebrates scoring the opening goal for Hibernian Credit: Getty Images Two of McLeish’s former clubs met in the game of the day at Easter Road, where Hibs – whom he managed between 1998 and 2001 – hosted Aberdeen, who were bidding for a win that would cut Celtic’s lead at the top of the table to five points ahead of today’s (Sun) home outing against St Johnstone. By way of contrast, Celtic’s advantage over Aberdeen on the same weekend last year was a massive 27 points from one game fewer played. Easter Road accommodated 17,205 spectators and, after a goalless first half, the home fans celebrated when Hibs netted within a minute of the restart. Jamie Maclaren had two efforts blocked by Freddie Woodman but the rebound from his second attempt was headed home by Martin Boyle. Hibs doubled their advantage om the hour when a Martin Boyle shot diverted into the path of Florian Kamberi, who found the mark from close range. Elsewhere, two late goals by Simon Murray thwarted Partick Thistle, for whom Conor Sammon had struck the opener just before half time. Kilmarnock’s fine run continued at Fir Park where Stephen O’Donnell’s strike saw the Ayrshire side leapfrog Motherwell into the top six of the Scottish Premiership table.
Liam Miller’s untimely death was felt with particular poignancy on Saturday at Celtic Park, where he began his career as a youth player in 1997, before making his debut against Dundee United three years later in Kenny Dalglish’s last game in charge. Martin O’Neill, the next Celtic manager, was so impressed by the youngster’s skills that he offered Miller a four-year contract and proposed to refashion the team around him. Miller declined, moving to Old Trafford when his contract expired in July 2004 but, against expectations, he could not secure a first team place under Alex Ferguson and his career after Manchester United became peripatetic and he moved on to Sunderland, Queen’s Park Rangers and Hibernian before spells in Australia and the USA, where he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November. Miller’s passing on Friday was commemorated by an immaculately observed minute’s silence before kick-off at Celtic’s home tie with Partick Thistle in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. “You saw from the response that Liam was held in affection here and that reflected the fact that he came through the ranks,” said Tom Boyd, the former Celtic captain, who played alongside Miller. “It took him a little while to get into the team because the midfield was full of quality international players at the time, but when he did step up he made a massive impact. We always have a certain respect at Celtic for players who come up from youth level and it seems appropriate that our goals on Saturday were all scored by James Forrest, who progressed through the same route.” Forrest, in fact, joined Celtic’s academy while Miller was still with the club and, if his initial progress was less spectacular than that of the Republic of Ireland international, the winger is now enjoying his most productive season with his best ever goals total – now at 16 and likely to rise by several more, if current form is a reliable guide. His plunder was aided by woeful defending by Partick, who were behind within two minutes when Forrest converted the rebound from a Moussa Dembele shot which came off Danny Devine. Celtic's players join together before the game Credit: PA Forrest was granted the freedom of the entire Thistle half for a run and shot in the 10th minute and completed his first ever hat-trick eight minutes after the break when he finished a left-wing combination which linked Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair. The Jags, though had been given hope when Jozo Simunovic carelessly handed possession to Kris Doolan for a delightful chip over Dorus de Vries in the Celtic goal. Doolan, too, was etching himself into the record books. The goal crowned his 350th appearance for Thistle before he made way on the hour for Conor Sammon. The replacement kept the issue in doubt by netting Thistle’s second in the 83rd minute and the visitors almost forced a draw in injury time, when Tierney and De Vries between them just managed to thwart Ryan Edwards on the goal line. “It was a great cross from Chris Erskine and I looked up and thought I was going to score,” said Edwards. “Kieran Tierney blocked it – he did ever so well because I was in front of him. “It was one of those where you see the ball hit the net before you connect. It was coming right to my foot and Tierney did ever so well and then the keeper just picked it up. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a replay.” If Thistle were disappointed at being caught cold by Forrest’s first two goals – especially since they had discussed the need for a disciplined start – they can take consolation for the fight against relegation from their spirited finish, a notable contrast with early season form that saw them damaged repeatedly by late goals. Forrest (left) celebrates after completing his hat-trick Credit: PA Asked if increased stamina now played a part, Edwards said: “Maybe – the fitness thing could be mentality and with players coming back from injury there is greater competition for places. It’s a positive environment to be in.” The possibility of yet another Thistle revival in the second half of the season has been revived by recent form. “I hope so,” Edwards said. “This is my third season and it’s happening again. “We don’t seem to start great but then it comes January and we seem to turn it around. I don’t know why that is. We don’t want to be in that position and it’s not planned. We’ve had good league results and we want to keep progressing. We have three massive games coming up starting next week against Dundee.” Celtic, of course, are engaged on a greatly contrasting itinerary, with the defence of their domestic treble and the possibility of progress in the Europa League. Zenit, though, are equipped with much more potent firepower than Partick, a strength that will require concomitant concentration by the Hoops defenders, if they are to keep the Russian side at bay. It was a long game, hectic too,” said Kris Ajer, Celtic’s Norwegian central defender. “Thistle pressed us well throughout the whole game. Even when we went up 2-0 they did really well to come back and never gave us a second on the ball.” That, it need hardly be overstated, is a factor that cannot escape Zenit’s attention ahead of what promises to be another fascinating, but tense, European evening at Parkead.
Liam Miller appropriately commemorated by James Forrest in Celtic win
Liam Miller’s untimely death was felt with particular poignancy on Saturday at Celtic Park, where he began his career as a youth player in 1997, before making his debut against Dundee United three years later in Kenny Dalglish’s last game in charge. Martin O’Neill, the next Celtic manager, was so impressed by the youngster’s skills that he offered Miller a four-year contract and proposed to refashion the team around him. Miller declined, moving to Old Trafford when his contract expired in July 2004 but, against expectations, he could not secure a first team place under Alex Ferguson and his career after Manchester United became peripatetic and he moved on to Sunderland, Queen’s Park Rangers and Hibernian before spells in Australia and the USA, where he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November. Miller’s passing on Friday was commemorated by an immaculately observed minute’s silence before kick-off at Celtic’s home tie with Partick Thistle in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. “You saw from the response that Liam was held in affection here and that reflected the fact that he came through the ranks,” said Tom Boyd, the former Celtic captain, who played alongside Miller. “It took him a little while to get into the team because the midfield was full of quality international players at the time, but when he did step up he made a massive impact. We always have a certain respect at Celtic for players who come up from youth level and it seems appropriate that our goals on Saturday were all scored by James Forrest, who progressed through the same route.” Forrest, in fact, joined Celtic’s academy while Miller was still with the club and, if his initial progress was less spectacular than that of the Republic of Ireland international, the winger is now enjoying his most productive season with his best ever goals total – now at 16 and likely to rise by several more, if current form is a reliable guide. His plunder was aided by woeful defending by Partick, who were behind within two minutes when Forrest converted the rebound from a Moussa Dembele shot which came off Danny Devine. Celtic's players join together before the game Credit: PA Forrest was granted the freedom of the entire Thistle half for a run and shot in the 10th minute and completed his first ever hat-trick eight minutes after the break when he finished a left-wing combination which linked Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair. The Jags, though had been given hope when Jozo Simunovic carelessly handed possession to Kris Doolan for a delightful chip over Dorus de Vries in the Celtic goal. Doolan, too, was etching himself into the record books. The goal crowned his 350th appearance for Thistle before he made way on the hour for Conor Sammon. The replacement kept the issue in doubt by netting Thistle’s second in the 83rd minute and the visitors almost forced a draw in injury time, when Tierney and De Vries between them just managed to thwart Ryan Edwards on the goal line. “It was a great cross from Chris Erskine and I looked up and thought I was going to score,” said Edwards. “Kieran Tierney blocked it – he did ever so well because I was in front of him. “It was one of those where you see the ball hit the net before you connect. It was coming right to my foot and Tierney did ever so well and then the keeper just picked it up. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a replay.” If Thistle were disappointed at being caught cold by Forrest’s first two goals – especially since they had discussed the need for a disciplined start – they can take consolation for the fight against relegation from their spirited finish, a notable contrast with early season form that saw them damaged repeatedly by late goals. Forrest (left) celebrates after completing his hat-trick Credit: PA Asked if increased stamina now played a part, Edwards said: “Maybe – the fitness thing could be mentality and with players coming back from injury there is greater competition for places. It’s a positive environment to be in.” The possibility of yet another Thistle revival in the second half of the season has been revived by recent form. “I hope so,” Edwards said. “This is my third season and it’s happening again. “We don’t seem to start great but then it comes January and we seem to turn it around. I don’t know why that is. We don’t want to be in that position and it’s not planned. We’ve had good league results and we want to keep progressing. We have three massive games coming up starting next week against Dundee.” Celtic, of course, are engaged on a greatly contrasting itinerary, with the defence of their domestic treble and the possibility of progress in the Europa League. Zenit, though, are equipped with much more potent firepower than Partick, a strength that will require concomitant concentration by the Hoops defenders, if they are to keep the Russian side at bay. It was a long game, hectic too,” said Kris Ajer, Celtic’s Norwegian central defender. “Thistle pressed us well throughout the whole game. Even when we went up 2-0 they did really well to come back and never gave us a second on the ball.” That, it need hardly be overstated, is a factor that cannot escape Zenit’s attention ahead of what promises to be another fascinating, but tense, European evening at Parkead.
Liam Miller’s untimely death was felt with particular poignancy on Saturday at Celtic Park, where he began his career as a youth player in 1997, before making his debut against Dundee United three years later in Kenny Dalglish’s last game in charge. Martin O’Neill, the next Celtic manager, was so impressed by the youngster’s skills that he offered Miller a four-year contract and proposed to refashion the team around him. Miller declined, moving to Old Trafford when his contract expired in July 2004 but, against expectations, he could not secure a first team place under Alex Ferguson and his career after Manchester United became peripatetic and he moved on to Sunderland, Queen’s Park Rangers and Hibernian before spells in Australia and the USA, where he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November. Miller’s passing on Friday was commemorated by an immaculately observed minute’s silence before kick-off at Celtic’s home tie with Partick Thistle in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. “You saw from the response that Liam was held in affection here and that reflected the fact that he came through the ranks,” said Tom Boyd, the former Celtic captain, who played alongside Miller. “It took him a little while to get into the team because the midfield was full of quality international players at the time, but when he did step up he made a massive impact. We always have a certain respect at Celtic for players who come up from youth level and it seems appropriate that our goals on Saturday were all scored by James Forrest, who progressed through the same route.” Forrest, in fact, joined Celtic’s academy while Miller was still with the club and, if his initial progress was less spectacular than that of the Republic of Ireland international, the winger is now enjoying his most productive season with his best ever goals total – now at 16 and likely to rise by several more, if current form is a reliable guide. His plunder was aided by woeful defending by Partick, who were behind within two minutes when Forrest converted the rebound from a Moussa Dembele shot which came off Danny Devine. Celtic's players join together before the game Credit: PA Forrest was granted the freedom of the entire Thistle half for a run and shot in the 10th minute and completed his first ever hat-trick eight minutes after the break when he finished a left-wing combination which linked Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair. The Jags, though had been given hope when Jozo Simunovic carelessly handed possession to Kris Doolan for a delightful chip over Dorus de Vries in the Celtic goal. Doolan, too, was etching himself into the record books. The goal crowned his 350th appearance for Thistle before he made way on the hour for Conor Sammon. The replacement kept the issue in doubt by netting Thistle’s second in the 83rd minute and the visitors almost forced a draw in injury time, when Tierney and De Vries between them just managed to thwart Ryan Edwards on the goal line. “It was a great cross from Chris Erskine and I looked up and thought I was going to score,” said Edwards. “Kieran Tierney blocked it – he did ever so well because I was in front of him. “It was one of those where you see the ball hit the net before you connect. It was coming right to my foot and Tierney did ever so well and then the keeper just picked it up. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a replay.” If Thistle were disappointed at being caught cold by Forrest’s first two goals – especially since they had discussed the need for a disciplined start – they can take consolation for the fight against relegation from their spirited finish, a notable contrast with early season form that saw them damaged repeatedly by late goals. Forrest (left) celebrates after completing his hat-trick Credit: PA Asked if increased stamina now played a part, Edwards said: “Maybe – the fitness thing could be mentality and with players coming back from injury there is greater competition for places. It’s a positive environment to be in.” The possibility of yet another Thistle revival in the second half of the season has been revived by recent form. “I hope so,” Edwards said. “This is my third season and it’s happening again. “We don’t seem to start great but then it comes January and we seem to turn it around. I don’t know why that is. We don’t want to be in that position and it’s not planned. We’ve had good league results and we want to keep progressing. We have three massive games coming up starting next week against Dundee.” Celtic, of course, are engaged on a greatly contrasting itinerary, with the defence of their domestic treble and the possibility of progress in the Europa League. Zenit, though, are equipped with much more potent firepower than Partick, a strength that will require concomitant concentration by the Hoops defenders, if they are to keep the Russian side at bay. It was a long game, hectic too,” said Kris Ajer, Celtic’s Norwegian central defender. “Thistle pressed us well throughout the whole game. Even when we went up 2-0 they did really well to come back and never gave us a second on the ball.” That, it need hardly be overstated, is a factor that cannot escape Zenit’s attention ahead of what promises to be another fascinating, but tense, European evening at Parkead.
Liam Miller appropriately commemorated by James Forrest in Celtic win
Liam Miller’s untimely death was felt with particular poignancy on Saturday at Celtic Park, where he began his career as a youth player in 1997, before making his debut against Dundee United three years later in Kenny Dalglish’s last game in charge. Martin O’Neill, the next Celtic manager, was so impressed by the youngster’s skills that he offered Miller a four-year contract and proposed to refashion the team around him. Miller declined, moving to Old Trafford when his contract expired in July 2004 but, against expectations, he could not secure a first team place under Alex Ferguson and his career after Manchester United became peripatetic and he moved on to Sunderland, Queen’s Park Rangers and Hibernian before spells in Australia and the USA, where he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November. Miller’s passing on Friday was commemorated by an immaculately observed minute’s silence before kick-off at Celtic’s home tie with Partick Thistle in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. “You saw from the response that Liam was held in affection here and that reflected the fact that he came through the ranks,” said Tom Boyd, the former Celtic captain, who played alongside Miller. “It took him a little while to get into the team because the midfield was full of quality international players at the time, but when he did step up he made a massive impact. We always have a certain respect at Celtic for players who come up from youth level and it seems appropriate that our goals on Saturday were all scored by James Forrest, who progressed through the same route.” Forrest, in fact, joined Celtic’s academy while Miller was still with the club and, if his initial progress was less spectacular than that of the Republic of Ireland international, the winger is now enjoying his most productive season with his best ever goals total – now at 16 and likely to rise by several more, if current form is a reliable guide. His plunder was aided by woeful defending by Partick, who were behind within two minutes when Forrest converted the rebound from a Moussa Dembele shot which came off Danny Devine. Celtic's players join together before the game Credit: PA Forrest was granted the freedom of the entire Thistle half for a run and shot in the 10th minute and completed his first ever hat-trick eight minutes after the break when he finished a left-wing combination which linked Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair. The Jags, though had been given hope when Jozo Simunovic carelessly handed possession to Kris Doolan for a delightful chip over Dorus de Vries in the Celtic goal. Doolan, too, was etching himself into the record books. The goal crowned his 350th appearance for Thistle before he made way on the hour for Conor Sammon. The replacement kept the issue in doubt by netting Thistle’s second in the 83rd minute and the visitors almost forced a draw in injury time, when Tierney and De Vries between them just managed to thwart Ryan Edwards on the goal line. “It was a great cross from Chris Erskine and I looked up and thought I was going to score,” said Edwards. “Kieran Tierney blocked it – he did ever so well because I was in front of him. “It was one of those where you see the ball hit the net before you connect. It was coming right to my foot and Tierney did ever so well and then the keeper just picked it up. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a replay.” If Thistle were disappointed at being caught cold by Forrest’s first two goals – especially since they had discussed the need for a disciplined start – they can take consolation for the fight against relegation from their spirited finish, a notable contrast with early season form that saw them damaged repeatedly by late goals. Forrest (left) celebrates after completing his hat-trick Credit: PA Asked if increased stamina now played a part, Edwards said: “Maybe – the fitness thing could be mentality and with players coming back from injury there is greater competition for places. It’s a positive environment to be in.” The possibility of yet another Thistle revival in the second half of the season has been revived by recent form. “I hope so,” Edwards said. “This is my third season and it’s happening again. “We don’t seem to start great but then it comes January and we seem to turn it around. I don’t know why that is. We don’t want to be in that position and it’s not planned. We’ve had good league results and we want to keep progressing. We have three massive games coming up starting next week against Dundee.” Celtic, of course, are engaged on a greatly contrasting itinerary, with the defence of their domestic treble and the possibility of progress in the Europa League. Zenit, though, are equipped with much more potent firepower than Partick, a strength that will require concomitant concentration by the Hoops defenders, if they are to keep the Russian side at bay. It was a long game, hectic too,” said Kris Ajer, Celtic’s Norwegian central defender. “Thistle pressed us well throughout the whole game. Even when we went up 2-0 they did really well to come back and never gave us a second on the ball.” That, it need hardly be overstated, is a factor that cannot escape Zenit’s attention ahead of what promises to be another fascinating, but tense, European evening at Parkead.
Liam Miller’s untimely death was felt with particular poignancy on Saturday at Celtic Park, where he began his career as a youth player in 1997, before making his debut against Dundee United three years later in Kenny Dalglish’s last game in charge. Martin O’Neill, the next Celtic manager, was so impressed by the youngster’s skills that he offered Miller a four-year contract and proposed to refashion the team around him. Miller declined, moving to Old Trafford when his contract expired in July 2004 but, against expectations, he could not secure a first team place under Alex Ferguson and his career after Manchester United became peripatetic and he moved on to Sunderland, Queen’s Park Rangers and Hibernian before spells in Australia and the USA, where he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November. Miller’s passing on Friday was commemorated by an immaculately observed minute’s silence before kick-off at Celtic’s home tie with Partick Thistle in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. “You saw from the response that Liam was held in affection here and that reflected the fact that he came through the ranks,” said Tom Boyd, the former Celtic captain, who played alongside Miller. “It took him a little while to get into the team because the midfield was full of quality international players at the time, but when he did step up he made a massive impact. We always have a certain respect at Celtic for players who come up from youth level and it seems appropriate that our goals on Saturday were all scored by James Forrest, who progressed through the same route.” Forrest, in fact, joined Celtic’s academy while Miller was still with the club and, if his initial progress was less spectacular than that of the Republic of Ireland international, the winger is now enjoying his most productive season with his best ever goals total – now at 16 and likely to rise by several more, if current form is a reliable guide. His plunder was aided by woeful defending by Partick, who were behind within two minutes when Forrest converted the rebound from a Moussa Dembele shot which came off Danny Devine. Celtic's players join together before the game Credit: PA Forrest was granted the freedom of the entire Thistle half for a run and shot in the 10th minute and completed his first ever hat-trick eight minutes after the break when he finished a left-wing combination which linked Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair. The Jags, though had been given hope when Jozo Simunovic carelessly handed possession to Kris Doolan for a delightful chip over Dorus de Vries in the Celtic goal. Doolan, too, was etching himself into the record books. The goal crowned his 350th appearance for Thistle before he made way on the hour for Conor Sammon. The replacement kept the issue in doubt by netting Thistle’s second in the 83rd minute and the visitors almost forced a draw in injury time, when Tierney and De Vries between them just managed to thwart Ryan Edwards on the goal line. “It was a great cross from Chris Erskine and I looked up and thought I was going to score,” said Edwards. “Kieran Tierney blocked it – he did ever so well because I was in front of him. “It was one of those where you see the ball hit the net before you connect. It was coming right to my foot and Tierney did ever so well and then the keeper just picked it up. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a replay.” If Thistle were disappointed at being caught cold by Forrest’s first two goals – especially since they had discussed the need for a disciplined start – they can take consolation for the fight against relegation from their spirited finish, a notable contrast with early season form that saw them damaged repeatedly by late goals. Forrest (left) celebrates after completing his hat-trick Credit: PA Asked if increased stamina now played a part, Edwards said: “Maybe – the fitness thing could be mentality and with players coming back from injury there is greater competition for places. It’s a positive environment to be in.” The possibility of yet another Thistle revival in the second half of the season has been revived by recent form. “I hope so,” Edwards said. “This is my third season and it’s happening again. “We don’t seem to start great but then it comes January and we seem to turn it around. I don’t know why that is. We don’t want to be in that position and it’s not planned. We’ve had good league results and we want to keep progressing. We have three massive games coming up starting next week against Dundee.” Celtic, of course, are engaged on a greatly contrasting itinerary, with the defence of their domestic treble and the possibility of progress in the Europa League. Zenit, though, are equipped with much more potent firepower than Partick, a strength that will require concomitant concentration by the Hoops defenders, if they are to keep the Russian side at bay. It was a long game, hectic too,” said Kris Ajer, Celtic’s Norwegian central defender. “Thistle pressed us well throughout the whole game. Even when we went up 2-0 they did really well to come back and never gave us a second on the ball.” That, it need hardly be overstated, is a factor that cannot escape Zenit’s attention ahead of what promises to be another fascinating, but tense, European evening at Parkead.
Liam Miller appropriately commemorated by James Forrest in Celtic win
Liam Miller’s untimely death was felt with particular poignancy on Saturday at Celtic Park, where he began his career as a youth player in 1997, before making his debut against Dundee United three years later in Kenny Dalglish’s last game in charge. Martin O’Neill, the next Celtic manager, was so impressed by the youngster’s skills that he offered Miller a four-year contract and proposed to refashion the team around him. Miller declined, moving to Old Trafford when his contract expired in July 2004 but, against expectations, he could not secure a first team place under Alex Ferguson and his career after Manchester United became peripatetic and he moved on to Sunderland, Queen’s Park Rangers and Hibernian before spells in Australia and the USA, where he was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in November. Miller’s passing on Friday was commemorated by an immaculately observed minute’s silence before kick-off at Celtic’s home tie with Partick Thistle in the fifth round of the William Hill Scottish Cup. “You saw from the response that Liam was held in affection here and that reflected the fact that he came through the ranks,” said Tom Boyd, the former Celtic captain, who played alongside Miller. “It took him a little while to get into the team because the midfield was full of quality international players at the time, but when he did step up he made a massive impact. We always have a certain respect at Celtic for players who come up from youth level and it seems appropriate that our goals on Saturday were all scored by James Forrest, who progressed through the same route.” Forrest, in fact, joined Celtic’s academy while Miller was still with the club and, if his initial progress was less spectacular than that of the Republic of Ireland international, the winger is now enjoying his most productive season with his best ever goals total – now at 16 and likely to rise by several more, if current form is a reliable guide. His plunder was aided by woeful defending by Partick, who were behind within two minutes when Forrest converted the rebound from a Moussa Dembele shot which came off Danny Devine. Celtic's players join together before the game Credit: PA Forrest was granted the freedom of the entire Thistle half for a run and shot in the 10th minute and completed his first ever hat-trick eight minutes after the break when he finished a left-wing combination which linked Kieran Tierney and Scott Sinclair. The Jags, though had been given hope when Jozo Simunovic carelessly handed possession to Kris Doolan for a delightful chip over Dorus de Vries in the Celtic goal. Doolan, too, was etching himself into the record books. The goal crowned his 350th appearance for Thistle before he made way on the hour for Conor Sammon. The replacement kept the issue in doubt by netting Thistle’s second in the 83rd minute and the visitors almost forced a draw in injury time, when Tierney and De Vries between them just managed to thwart Ryan Edwards on the goal line. “It was a great cross from Chris Erskine and I looked up and thought I was going to score,” said Edwards. “Kieran Tierney blocked it – he did ever so well because I was in front of him. “It was one of those where you see the ball hit the net before you connect. It was coming right to my foot and Tierney did ever so well and then the keeper just picked it up. I’m disappointed we didn’t get a replay.” If Thistle were disappointed at being caught cold by Forrest’s first two goals – especially since they had discussed the need for a disciplined start – they can take consolation for the fight against relegation from their spirited finish, a notable contrast with early season form that saw them damaged repeatedly by late goals. Forrest (left) celebrates after completing his hat-trick Credit: PA Asked if increased stamina now played a part, Edwards said: “Maybe – the fitness thing could be mentality and with players coming back from injury there is greater competition for places. It’s a positive environment to be in.” The possibility of yet another Thistle revival in the second half of the season has been revived by recent form. “I hope so,” Edwards said. “This is my third season and it’s happening again. “We don’t seem to start great but then it comes January and we seem to turn it around. I don’t know why that is. We don’t want to be in that position and it’s not planned. We’ve had good league results and we want to keep progressing. We have three massive games coming up starting next week against Dundee.” Celtic, of course, are engaged on a greatly contrasting itinerary, with the defence of their domestic treble and the possibility of progress in the Europa League. Zenit, though, are equipped with much more potent firepower than Partick, a strength that will require concomitant concentration by the Hoops defenders, if they are to keep the Russian side at bay. It was a long game, hectic too,” said Kris Ajer, Celtic’s Norwegian central defender. “Thistle pressed us well throughout the whole game. Even when we went up 2-0 they did really well to come back and never gave us a second on the ball.” That, it need hardly be overstated, is a factor that cannot escape Zenit’s attention ahead of what promises to be another fascinating, but tense, European evening at Parkead.
The former Celtic, Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Miller has died at the age of 36 from pancreatic cancer. Miller's family and friends announced in November that he was suffering from the disease and he that he had had treatment in the United States before flying home to Ireland for chemotherapy. The father of three, who made 21 appearances for the national side, began his career with Celtic before Sir Alex Ferguson took the Republic of Ireland international to Manchester United in 2004. Miller spent two years at Old Trafford with six months on loan at Leeds before a three-year spell at Sunderland. After moves to QPR and Hibernian, Miller spent four years in the Australian A-League before signing for American third tier side Wilmington Hammerheads in 2015. His old friend Tam McManus broke the news and his former clubs and team-mates united to pay tribute: I’m afraid it is true that Liam Miller has sadly passed away today. Thoughts are with all his family and friends at this horrendous time. So sad.— Tam McManus (@The_Tman10) February 9, 2018 Everyone at #CelticFC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Liam, YNWA. pic.twitter.com/vMkT1CtJ2m— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) February 9, 2018 Everyone at Leeds United are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former #LUFC midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts are with his family and friends pic.twitter.com/4rtm5yOL1v— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 9, 2018 We are saddened to hear this evening that former #SAFC midfielder Liam Miller has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. pic.twitter.com/MQqL3x2acN— Sunderland AFC ��⚪ (@SunderlandAFC) February 9, 2018 We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of former Hibernian midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. pic.twitter.com/XWURtc72M3— Hibernian FC (@HibsOfficial) February 9, 2018 RIP Liam Miller. Devastating news. Great player but more importantly fantastic person. So sad. Thoughts with his family.— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) February 9, 2018 RIP Liam Miller. Was lucky enough to room with Liam on a few international trips.. top player and a great person. Thoughts and prayers with his loved ones. ����— STEVEN REID (@stevenreid12) February 9, 2018 Celtic and Manchester United have also paid to their former midfielder. Celtic, whose players will wear black armbands in Miller's memory during their William Hill Scottish Cup match against Partick Thistle on Saturday, tweeted: "Everyone at £CelticFC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Liam, YNWA." In 2004 Miller joined United for a two-year spell and the Old Trafford club expressed their sympathy on Saturday morning. A tweet read: "Manchester United is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of our former midfielder Liam Miller. We extend our condolences to his loved ones at this extremely difficult time."
Liam Miller, former Celtic, Manchester United and Ireland midfielder, dies aged 36 after long battle with cancer
The former Celtic, Manchester United and Republic of Ireland midfielder Liam Miller has died at the age of 36 from pancreatic cancer. Miller's family and friends announced in November that he was suffering from the disease and he that he had had treatment in the United States before flying home to Ireland for chemotherapy. The father of three, who made 21 appearances for the national side, began his career with Celtic before Sir Alex Ferguson took the Republic of Ireland international to Manchester United in 2004. Miller spent two years at Old Trafford with six months on loan at Leeds before a three-year spell at Sunderland. After moves to QPR and Hibernian, Miller spent four years in the Australian A-League before signing for American third tier side Wilmington Hammerheads in 2015. His old friend Tam McManus broke the news and his former clubs and team-mates united to pay tribute: I’m afraid it is true that Liam Miller has sadly passed away today. Thoughts are with all his family and friends at this horrendous time. So sad.— Tam McManus (@The_Tman10) February 9, 2018 Everyone at #CelticFC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Liam, YNWA. pic.twitter.com/vMkT1CtJ2m— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) February 9, 2018 Everyone at Leeds United are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former #LUFC midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts are with his family and friends pic.twitter.com/4rtm5yOL1v— Leeds United (@LUFC) February 9, 2018 We are saddened to hear this evening that former #SAFC midfielder Liam Miller has passed away. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. pic.twitter.com/MQqL3x2acN— Sunderland AFC ��⚪ (@SunderlandAFC) February 9, 2018 We are incredibly saddened to hear of the passing of former Hibernian midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time. pic.twitter.com/XWURtc72M3— Hibernian FC (@HibsOfficial) February 9, 2018 RIP Liam Miller. Devastating news. Great player but more importantly fantastic person. So sad. Thoughts with his family.— Danny Higginbotham (@Higginbotham05) February 9, 2018 RIP Liam Miller. Was lucky enough to room with Liam on a few international trips.. top player and a great person. Thoughts and prayers with his loved ones. ����— STEVEN REID (@stevenreid12) February 9, 2018 Celtic and Manchester United have also paid to their former midfielder. Celtic, whose players will wear black armbands in Miller's memory during their William Hill Scottish Cup match against Partick Thistle on Saturday, tweeted: "Everyone at £CelticFC is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former midfielder Liam Miller. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time. RIP Liam, YNWA." In 2004 Miller joined United for a two-year spell and the Old Trafford club expressed their sympathy on Saturday morning. A tweet read: "Manchester United is deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of our former midfielder Liam Miller. We extend our condolences to his loved ones at this extremely difficult time."
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
If it is a simple matter of recommendations, the Scottish Football Association could solve its leadership dilemmas with a double raid on Hibernian. The resignation of Stewart Regan as SFA chief executive on Thursday led to Leeann Dempster installed as favourite to succeed him at Hampden Park. Speculation about the Hibs chief executive came only hours after the Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, had suggested that his Easter Road counterpart, Neil Lennon, would be a good fit for the SFA’s other vacant position, that of Scotland team manager. Lennon takes Hibernian to Ibrox for what promises to be a lively meeting with Rangers on Saturday but took time to laud Dempster’s talents. “She’s very, very good at what she does,” Lennon said of Dempster. “It doesn’t surprise me that her name’s being linked but we all hope here that she doesn’t go. There’s a huge vacuum there now that needs to be filled and filled very quickly. “There’s a national manager to find and someone to get a hold of things to run the game accordingly on a more professional basis. I’ve got a good relationship with her professionally, but you’d need to ask Leeann the question. I don’t know what role the SFA are looking for in terms of their chief executive.” Dempster was also praised by her successor at Motherwell, Alan Burrows, who said: “She is an ideas person. She is open as well and she can bring people together. Stewart Regan left his post at the SFA on Thursday Credit: Danny Lawson/PA “Leeann would be a fantastic candidate. She had Motherwell in the Champions League, she had Motherwell with consecutive second-place finishes, she won the Scottish Cup with Hibernian and got them back to the Premiership.” More immediately, Lennon hopes to reprise Hibs’ achievement of beating Rangers at Ibrox as they did with a 3-2 victory on August 8, a result that contributed to the eventual dismissal of the hapless Pedro Caixinha as the Light Blues’ manager. Lennon, of course, has only to show face in Govan to prompt excoriation by the Rangers faithful, but Caixinha’s successor, Graeme Murty, has so far enjoyed cordial relations with the combative Northern Irishman, whom he encountered when his players won 2-1 against the run of play at Easter Road in December. “I was a bit concerned after the Easter Road game when we won the points and maybe didn’t deserve them,” Murty said. “He was fine, perfectly candid, open and warm. I know he’s a passionate guy and he can be quite feisty but that’s a big part of football. Hibs' Oli Shaw challenges Rangers' Danny Wilson during the match at Easter Road last December Credit: Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images “You are in football for the characters and the occasion and the atmosphere and he adds to it all. I think he respects honesty and people who tell it as it is. “That night we saw it the same way as he did – we were maybe a little lucky to get all three points but we showed certain good attributes to come out with a win. I have no doubt we will need to show those same attributes and more to get a result tomorrow. “I have no doubt they [Rangers fans] will inform Neil of their opinion and keep him abreast of the score if we are ahead.” Another factor in what could be a sparky afternoon at Ibrox is the likely participation of Jason Cummings, once an Easter Road favourite, and now a striker for Rangers, of whom he once said that punters should bet on him scoring against them because it represented “free money”. Apprised of this quote, James Tavernier, Rangers’ right back, said: “I’ve not seen that, no. I’ll have to have a look at that and maybe batter him for it! He’s a Rangers player now and we’re at Ibrox so he’ll get some stick from the away fans but we’ve got 50,000 home fans behind him.” Since arriving last month, Cummings has alternated with Alfredo Morelos, the Colombian striker who was the subject of interest from Beijing Renhe. Rangers let it be known that they had declined an offer of £8 million from the Chinese Super League team, a figure met with scepticism in some quarters. Murty, however, was adamant that the bid for the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer had been authentic. “It was big but as far as I was aware I was under no economic imperative to sell,” he said. “If I can’t bring in a player at the same level – or even better than the one we were letting go – then we won’t sell. We want a squad capable of challenging in all competitions and Alfredo is our top scorer. “Possibly there may have been times at this club when that deal would have happened but it was good to know that the chairman and the board were not driving it and that he remains our player.”
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
If it is a simple matter of recommendations, the Scottish Football Association could solve its leadership dilemmas with a double raid on Hibernian. The resignation of Stewart Regan as SFA chief executive on Thursday led to Leeann Dempster installed as favourite to succeed him at Hampden Park. Speculation about the Hibs chief executive came only hours after the Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, had suggested that his Easter Road counterpart, Neil Lennon, would be a good fit for the SFA’s other vacant position, that of Scotland team manager. Lennon takes Hibernian to Ibrox for what promises to be a lively meeting with Rangers on Saturday but took time to laud Dempster’s talents. “She’s very, very good at what she does,” Lennon said of Dempster. “It doesn’t surprise me that her name’s being linked but we all hope here that she doesn’t go. There’s a huge vacuum there now that needs to be filled and filled very quickly. “There’s a national manager to find and someone to get a hold of things to run the game accordingly on a more professional basis. I’ve got a good relationship with her professionally, but you’d need to ask Leeann the question. I don’t know what role the SFA are looking for in terms of their chief executive.” Dempster was also praised by her successor at Motherwell, Alan Burrows, who said: “She is an ideas person. She is open as well and she can bring people together. Stewart Regan left his post at the SFA on Thursday Credit: Danny Lawson/PA “Leeann would be a fantastic candidate. She had Motherwell in the Champions League, she had Motherwell with consecutive second-place finishes, she won the Scottish Cup with Hibernian and got them back to the Premiership.” More immediately, Lennon hopes to reprise Hibs’ achievement of beating Rangers at Ibrox as they did with a 3-2 victory on August 8, a result that contributed to the eventual dismissal of the hapless Pedro Caixinha as the Light Blues’ manager. Lennon, of course, has only to show face in Govan to prompt excoriation by the Rangers faithful, but Caixinha’s successor, Graeme Murty, has so far enjoyed cordial relations with the combative Northern Irishman, whom he encountered when his players won 2-1 against the run of play at Easter Road in December. “I was a bit concerned after the Easter Road game when we won the points and maybe didn’t deserve them,” Murty said. “He was fine, perfectly candid, open and warm. I know he’s a passionate guy and he can be quite feisty but that’s a big part of football. Hibs' Oli Shaw challenges Rangers' Danny Wilson during the match at Easter Road last December Credit: Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images “You are in football for the characters and the occasion and the atmosphere and he adds to it all. I think he respects honesty and people who tell it as it is. “That night we saw it the same way as he did – we were maybe a little lucky to get all three points but we showed certain good attributes to come out with a win. I have no doubt we will need to show those same attributes and more to get a result tomorrow. “I have no doubt they [Rangers fans] will inform Neil of their opinion and keep him abreast of the score if we are ahead.” Another factor in what could be a sparky afternoon at Ibrox is the likely participation of Jason Cummings, once an Easter Road favourite, and now a striker for Rangers, of whom he once said that punters should bet on him scoring against them because it represented “free money”. Apprised of this quote, James Tavernier, Rangers’ right back, said: “I’ve not seen that, no. I’ll have to have a look at that and maybe batter him for it! He’s a Rangers player now and we’re at Ibrox so he’ll get some stick from the away fans but we’ve got 50,000 home fans behind him.” Since arriving last month, Cummings has alternated with Alfredo Morelos, the Colombian striker who was the subject of interest from Beijing Renhe. Rangers let it be known that they had declined an offer of £8 million from the Chinese Super League team, a figure met with scepticism in some quarters. Murty, however, was adamant that the bid for the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer had been authentic. “It was big but as far as I was aware I was under no economic imperative to sell,” he said. “If I can’t bring in a player at the same level – or even better than the one we were letting go – then we won’t sell. We want a squad capable of challenging in all competitions and Alfredo is our top scorer. “Possibly there may have been times at this club when that deal would have happened but it was good to know that the chairman and the board were not driving it and that he remains our player.”
If it is a simple matter of recommendations, the Scottish Football Association could solve its leadership dilemmas with a double raid on Hibernian. The resignation of Stewart Regan as SFA chief executive on Thursday led to Leeann Dempster installed as favourite to succeed him at Hampden Park. Speculation about the Hibs chief executive came only hours after the Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, had suggested that his Easter Road counterpart, Neil Lennon, would be a good fit for the SFA’s other vacant position, that of Scotland team manager. Lennon takes Hibernian to Ibrox for what promises to be a lively meeting with Rangers on Saturday but took time to laud Dempster’s talents. “She’s very, very good at what she does,” Lennon said of Dempster. “It doesn’t surprise me that her name’s being linked but we all hope here that she doesn’t go. There’s a huge vacuum there now that needs to be filled and filled very quickly. “There’s a national manager to find and someone to get a hold of things to run the game accordingly on a more professional basis. I’ve got a good relationship with her professionally, but you’d need to ask Leeann the question. I don’t know what role the SFA are looking for in terms of their chief executive.” Dempster was also praised by her successor at Motherwell, Alan Burrows, who said: “She is an ideas person. She is open as well and she can bring people together. Stewart Regan left his post at the SFA on Thursday Credit: Danny Lawson/PA “Leeann would be a fantastic candidate. She had Motherwell in the Champions League, she had Motherwell with consecutive second-place finishes, she won the Scottish Cup with Hibernian and got them back to the Premiership.” More immediately, Lennon hopes to reprise Hibs’ achievement of beating Rangers at Ibrox as they did with a 3-2 victory on August 8, a result that contributed to the eventual dismissal of the hapless Pedro Caixinha as the Light Blues’ manager. Lennon, of course, has only to show face in Govan to prompt excoriation by the Rangers faithful, but Caixinha’s successor, Graeme Murty, has so far enjoyed cordial relations with the combative Northern Irishman, whom he encountered when his players won 2-1 against the run of play at Easter Road in December. “I was a bit concerned after the Easter Road game when we won the points and maybe didn’t deserve them,” Murty said. “He was fine, perfectly candid, open and warm. I know he’s a passionate guy and he can be quite feisty but that’s a big part of football. Hibs' Oli Shaw challenges Rangers' Danny Wilson during the match at Easter Road last December Credit: Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images “You are in football for the characters and the occasion and the atmosphere and he adds to it all. I think he respects honesty and people who tell it as it is. “That night we saw it the same way as he did – we were maybe a little lucky to get all three points but we showed certain good attributes to come out with a win. I have no doubt we will need to show those same attributes and more to get a result tomorrow. “I have no doubt they [Rangers fans] will inform Neil of their opinion and keep him abreast of the score if we are ahead.” Another factor in what could be a sparky afternoon at Ibrox is the likely participation of Jason Cummings, once an Easter Road favourite, and now a striker for Rangers, of whom he once said that punters should bet on him scoring against them because it represented “free money”. Apprised of this quote, James Tavernier, Rangers’ right back, said: “I’ve not seen that, no. I’ll have to have a look at that and maybe batter him for it! He’s a Rangers player now and we’re at Ibrox so he’ll get some stick from the away fans but we’ve got 50,000 home fans behind him.” Since arriving last month, Cummings has alternated with Alfredo Morelos, the Colombian striker who was the subject of interest from Beijing Renhe. Rangers let it be known that they had declined an offer of £8 million from the Chinese Super League team, a figure met with scepticism in some quarters. Murty, however, was adamant that the bid for the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer had been authentic. “It was big but as far as I was aware I was under no economic imperative to sell,” he said. “If I can’t bring in a player at the same level – or even better than the one we were letting go – then we won’t sell. We want a squad capable of challenging in all competitions and Alfredo is our top scorer. “Possibly there may have been times at this club when that deal would have happened but it was good to know that the chairman and the board were not driving it and that he remains our player.”
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
If it is a simple matter of recommendations, the Scottish Football Association could solve its leadership dilemmas with a double raid on Hibernian. The resignation of Stewart Regan as SFA chief executive on Thursday led to Leeann Dempster installed as favourite to succeed him at Hampden Park. Speculation about the Hibs chief executive came only hours after the Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, had suggested that his Easter Road counterpart, Neil Lennon, would be a good fit for the SFA’s other vacant position, that of Scotland team manager. Lennon takes Hibernian to Ibrox for what promises to be a lively meeting with Rangers on Saturday but took time to laud Dempster’s talents. “She’s very, very good at what she does,” Lennon said of Dempster. “It doesn’t surprise me that her name’s being linked but we all hope here that she doesn’t go. There’s a huge vacuum there now that needs to be filled and filled very quickly. “There’s a national manager to find and someone to get a hold of things to run the game accordingly on a more professional basis. I’ve got a good relationship with her professionally, but you’d need to ask Leeann the question. I don’t know what role the SFA are looking for in terms of their chief executive.” Dempster was also praised by her successor at Motherwell, Alan Burrows, who said: “She is an ideas person. She is open as well and she can bring people together. Stewart Regan left his post at the SFA on Thursday Credit: Danny Lawson/PA “Leeann would be a fantastic candidate. She had Motherwell in the Champions League, she had Motherwell with consecutive second-place finishes, she won the Scottish Cup with Hibernian and got them back to the Premiership.” More immediately, Lennon hopes to reprise Hibs’ achievement of beating Rangers at Ibrox as they did with a 3-2 victory on August 8, a result that contributed to the eventual dismissal of the hapless Pedro Caixinha as the Light Blues’ manager. Lennon, of course, has only to show face in Govan to prompt excoriation by the Rangers faithful, but Caixinha’s successor, Graeme Murty, has so far enjoyed cordial relations with the combative Northern Irishman, whom he encountered when his players won 2-1 against the run of play at Easter Road in December. “I was a bit concerned after the Easter Road game when we won the points and maybe didn’t deserve them,” Murty said. “He was fine, perfectly candid, open and warm. I know he’s a passionate guy and he can be quite feisty but that’s a big part of football. Hibs' Oli Shaw challenges Rangers' Danny Wilson during the match at Easter Road last December Credit: Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images “You are in football for the characters and the occasion and the atmosphere and he adds to it all. I think he respects honesty and people who tell it as it is. “That night we saw it the same way as he did – we were maybe a little lucky to get all three points but we showed certain good attributes to come out with a win. I have no doubt we will need to show those same attributes and more to get a result tomorrow. “I have no doubt they [Rangers fans] will inform Neil of their opinion and keep him abreast of the score if we are ahead.” Another factor in what could be a sparky afternoon at Ibrox is the likely participation of Jason Cummings, once an Easter Road favourite, and now a striker for Rangers, of whom he once said that punters should bet on him scoring against them because it represented “free money”. Apprised of this quote, James Tavernier, Rangers’ right back, said: “I’ve not seen that, no. I’ll have to have a look at that and maybe batter him for it! He’s a Rangers player now and we’re at Ibrox so he’ll get some stick from the away fans but we’ve got 50,000 home fans behind him.” Since arriving last month, Cummings has alternated with Alfredo Morelos, the Colombian striker who was the subject of interest from Beijing Renhe. Rangers let it be known that they had declined an offer of £8 million from the Chinese Super League team, a figure met with scepticism in some quarters. Murty, however, was adamant that the bid for the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer had been authentic. “It was big but as far as I was aware I was under no economic imperative to sell,” he said. “If I can’t bring in a player at the same level – or even better than the one we were letting go – then we won’t sell. We want a squad capable of challenging in all competitions and Alfredo is our top scorer. “Possibly there may have been times at this club when that deal would have happened but it was good to know that the chairman and the board were not driving it and that he remains our player.”
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
If it is a simple matter of recommendations, the Scottish Football Association could solve its leadership dilemmas with a double raid on Hibernian. The resignation of Stewart Regan as SFA chief executive on Thursday led to Leeann Dempster installed as favourite to succeed him at Hampden Park. Speculation about the Hibs chief executive came only hours after the Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, had suggested that his Easter Road counterpart, Neil Lennon, would be a good fit for the SFA’s other vacant position, that of Scotland team manager. Lennon takes Hibernian to Ibrox for what promises to be a lively meeting with Rangers on Saturday but took time to laud Dempster’s talents. “She’s very, very good at what she does,” Lennon said of Dempster. “It doesn’t surprise me that her name’s being linked but we all hope here that she doesn’t go. There’s a huge vacuum there now that needs to be filled and filled very quickly. “There’s a national manager to find and someone to get a hold of things to run the game accordingly on a more professional basis. I’ve got a good relationship with her professionally, but you’d need to ask Leeann the question. I don’t know what role the SFA are looking for in terms of their chief executive.” Dempster was also praised by her successor at Motherwell, Alan Burrows, who said: “She is an ideas person. She is open as well and she can bring people together. Stewart Regan left his post at the SFA on Thursday Credit: Danny Lawson/PA “Leeann would be a fantastic candidate. She had Motherwell in the Champions League, she had Motherwell with consecutive second-place finishes, she won the Scottish Cup with Hibernian and got them back to the Premiership.” More immediately, Lennon hopes to reprise Hibs’ achievement of beating Rangers at Ibrox as they did with a 3-2 victory on August 8, a result that contributed to the eventual dismissal of the hapless Pedro Caixinha as the Light Blues’ manager. Lennon, of course, has only to show face in Govan to prompt excoriation by the Rangers faithful, but Caixinha’s successor, Graeme Murty, has so far enjoyed cordial relations with the combative Northern Irishman, whom he encountered when his players won 2-1 against the run of play at Easter Road in December. “I was a bit concerned after the Easter Road game when we won the points and maybe didn’t deserve them,” Murty said. “He was fine, perfectly candid, open and warm. I know he’s a passionate guy and he can be quite feisty but that’s a big part of football. Hibs' Oli Shaw challenges Rangers' Danny Wilson during the match at Easter Road last December Credit: Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images “You are in football for the characters and the occasion and the atmosphere and he adds to it all. I think he respects honesty and people who tell it as it is. “That night we saw it the same way as he did – we were maybe a little lucky to get all three points but we showed certain good attributes to come out with a win. I have no doubt we will need to show those same attributes and more to get a result tomorrow. “I have no doubt they [Rangers fans] will inform Neil of their opinion and keep him abreast of the score if we are ahead.” Another factor in what could be a sparky afternoon at Ibrox is the likely participation of Jason Cummings, once an Easter Road favourite, and now a striker for Rangers, of whom he once said that punters should bet on him scoring against them because it represented “free money”. Apprised of this quote, James Tavernier, Rangers’ right back, said: “I’ve not seen that, no. I’ll have to have a look at that and maybe batter him for it! He’s a Rangers player now and we’re at Ibrox so he’ll get some stick from the away fans but we’ve got 50,000 home fans behind him.” Since arriving last month, Cummings has alternated with Alfredo Morelos, the Colombian striker who was the subject of interest from Beijing Renhe. Rangers let it be known that they had declined an offer of £8 million from the Chinese Super League team, a figure met with scepticism in some quarters. Murty, however, was adamant that the bid for the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer had been authentic. “It was big but as far as I was aware I was under no economic imperative to sell,” he said. “If I can’t bring in a player at the same level – or even better than the one we were letting go – then we won’t sell. We want a squad capable of challenging in all competitions and Alfredo is our top scorer. “Possibly there may have been times at this club when that deal would have happened but it was good to know that the chairman and the board were not driving it and that he remains our player.”
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
If it is a simple matter of recommendations, the Scottish Football Association could solve its leadership dilemmas with a double raid on Hibernian. The resignation of Stewart Regan as SFA chief executive on Thursday led to Leeann Dempster installed as favourite to succeed him at Hampden Park. Speculation about the Hibs chief executive came only hours after the Celtic manager, Brendan Rodgers, had suggested that his Easter Road counterpart, Neil Lennon, would be a good fit for the SFA’s other vacant position, that of Scotland team manager. Lennon takes Hibernian to Ibrox for what promises to be a lively meeting with Rangers on Saturday but took time to laud Dempster’s talents. “She’s very, very good at what she does,” Lennon said of Dempster. “It doesn’t surprise me that her name’s being linked but we all hope here that she doesn’t go. There’s a huge vacuum there now that needs to be filled and filled very quickly. “There’s a national manager to find and someone to get a hold of things to run the game accordingly on a more professional basis. I’ve got a good relationship with her professionally, but you’d need to ask Leeann the question. I don’t know what role the SFA are looking for in terms of their chief executive.” Dempster was also praised by her successor at Motherwell, Alan Burrows, who said: “She is an ideas person. She is open as well and she can bring people together. Stewart Regan left his post at the SFA on Thursday Credit: Danny Lawson/PA “Leeann would be a fantastic candidate. She had Motherwell in the Champions League, she had Motherwell with consecutive second-place finishes, she won the Scottish Cup with Hibernian and got them back to the Premiership.” More immediately, Lennon hopes to reprise Hibs’ achievement of beating Rangers at Ibrox as they did with a 3-2 victory on August 8, a result that contributed to the eventual dismissal of the hapless Pedro Caixinha as the Light Blues’ manager. Lennon, of course, has only to show face in Govan to prompt excoriation by the Rangers faithful, but Caixinha’s successor, Graeme Murty, has so far enjoyed cordial relations with the combative Northern Irishman, whom he encountered when his players won 2-1 against the run of play at Easter Road in December. “I was a bit concerned after the Easter Road game when we won the points and maybe didn’t deserve them,” Murty said. “He was fine, perfectly candid, open and warm. I know he’s a passionate guy and he can be quite feisty but that’s a big part of football. Hibs' Oli Shaw challenges Rangers' Danny Wilson during the match at Easter Road last December Credit: Alan Rennie/Action Plus via Getty Images “You are in football for the characters and the occasion and the atmosphere and he adds to it all. I think he respects honesty and people who tell it as it is. “That night we saw it the same way as he did – we were maybe a little lucky to get all three points but we showed certain good attributes to come out with a win. I have no doubt we will need to show those same attributes and more to get a result tomorrow. “I have no doubt they [Rangers fans] will inform Neil of their opinion and keep him abreast of the score if we are ahead.” Another factor in what could be a sparky afternoon at Ibrox is the likely participation of Jason Cummings, once an Easter Road favourite, and now a striker for Rangers, of whom he once said that punters should bet on him scoring against them because it represented “free money”. Apprised of this quote, James Tavernier, Rangers’ right back, said: “I’ve not seen that, no. I’ll have to have a look at that and maybe batter him for it! He’s a Rangers player now and we’re at Ibrox so he’ll get some stick from the away fans but we’ve got 50,000 home fans behind him.” Since arriving last month, Cummings has alternated with Alfredo Morelos, the Colombian striker who was the subject of interest from Beijing Renhe. Rangers let it be known that they had declined an offer of £8 million from the Chinese Super League team, a figure met with scepticism in some quarters. Murty, however, was adamant that the bid for the Scottish Premiership’s top scorer had been authentic. “It was big but as far as I was aware I was under no economic imperative to sell,” he said. “If I can’t bring in a player at the same level – or even better than the one we were letting go – then we won’t sell. We want a squad capable of challenging in all competitions and Alfredo is our top scorer. “Possibly there may have been times at this club when that deal would have happened but it was good to know that the chairman and the board were not driving it and that he remains our player.”
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
Hibernian pair might provide rapid solution for SFA's twin problems
There was a miss of the season contender from Scott Sinclair during Celtic's 1-0 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.
Miss of the season contender from Sinclair
There was a miss of the season contender from Scott Sinclair during Celtic's 1-0 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.
There was a miss of the season contender from Scott Sinclair during Celtic's 1-0 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.
Miss of the season contender from Sinclair
There was a miss of the season contender from Scott Sinclair during Celtic's 1-0 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.
There was a miss of the season contender from Scott Sinclair during Celtic's 1-0 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.
Miss of the season contender from Sinclair
There was a miss of the season contender from Scott Sinclair during Celtic's 1-0 win over Hibernian in the Scottish Premiership.
Michael O'Neill is set to continue as manager of Northern Ireland after turning down the Scotland job, Press Association Sport understands. The 48-year-old was believed to be close to taking over as Scotland boss following talks last week with the Scottish Football Association. The SFA had agreed to meet a £500,000 compensation payment to the Irish FA in order to secure the services of O'Neill, who had described talks between the parties as "productive". However, after a period of deliberation, O'Neill, who lives in Edinburgh, has decided against taking the post to succeed Gordon Strachan, and will instead remain in charge of Northern Ireland following their failed World Cup qualification campaign. The former Dundee United and Hibernian midfielder has two years left to run on his current deal with the IFA, but has already been offered an extended contract until 2020.
Michael O'Neill rejects Scotland job offer to continue as Northern Ireland manager
Michael O'Neill is set to continue as manager of Northern Ireland after turning down the Scotland job, Press Association Sport understands. The 48-year-old was believed to be close to taking over as Scotland boss following talks last week with the Scottish Football Association. The SFA had agreed to meet a £500,000 compensation payment to the Irish FA in order to secure the services of O'Neill, who had described talks between the parties as "productive". However, after a period of deliberation, O'Neill, who lives in Edinburgh, has decided against taking the post to succeed Gordon Strachan, and will instead remain in charge of Northern Ireland following their failed World Cup qualification campaign. The former Dundee United and Hibernian midfielder has two years left to run on his current deal with the IFA, but has already been offered an extended contract until 2020.
Fans of Scottish Premiership side Hibernian must be wishing for goalline technology after seeing their side denied a win over local rivals Hearts.
Hibs denied Edinburgh derby win after officials fail to spot goal
Fans of Scottish Premiership side Hibernian must be wishing for goalline technology after seeing their side denied a win over local rivals Hearts.
Fans of Scottish Premiership side Hibernian must be wishing for goalline technology after seeing their side denied a win over local rivals Hearts.
Hibs denied Edinburgh derby win after officials fail to spot goal
Fans of Scottish Premiership side Hibernian must be wishing for goalline technology after seeing their side denied a win over local rivals Hearts.
Fans of Scottish Premiership side Hibernian must be wishing for goalline technology after seeing their side denied a win over local rivals Hearts.
Hibs denied Edinburgh derby win after officials fail to spot goal
Fans of Scottish Premiership side Hibernian must be wishing for goalline technology after seeing their side denied a win over local rivals Hearts.
On a night of bitter chill at Tynecastle, the hottest topic to emerge from a deadlocked Edinburgh derby was the failure of the match officials to realise that Oli Shaw had scored a legitimate goal early in the proceedings. That knowledge was swiftly available to the watching TV audience as well as most of the 19,316 spectators, thanks to screen grabs of the TV coverage posted on social media. The paradox, which must be resolved sooner rather than later, is that those who required the facts most urgently were the match officials. The cost of goal-line technology remains daunting for Scottish football, which earns only a fraction of the reward available to the Premier League south of the border, but there are other prices to be paid for the absence of its use. Hearts, of course, spectacularly ended Celtic’s extraordinary 69-game run in successive domestic fixtures, but the sequence they were particularly keen to halt was their failure to win any of eight meetings with their city rivals since August 17, 2014, when they achieved a 2-1 victory at Tynecastle. In their favour going into this instalment was the fact that, since the stadium’s recently reconstructed main stand had opened, Craig Levein’s players were unbeaten in six outings at home, winning three and drawing three. Hibs, meanwhile, were tasked with restoring consistency after a fighting draw with Celtic, followed by a narrow home defeat by Rangers, a comprehensive beating by Aberdeen at Pittodrie and a hard-fought weekend win over Ross County in Dingwall. Neil Lennon made one change from the trip to the Highlands, with Marvin Bartley restored to midfield and Brandon Barker dropping to the bench. Hibs were seething in the sixth minute, when Shaw connected with Martin Boyle’s cross to clip the ball off the underside of the crossbar and a foot across the line, from whence the bounce spun it back into the arms of Jon McLaughlin. Shaw celebrated his strike with the brio one to be expected from a player who had been a boyhood supporter of the club now employing him, but he was as swiftly deflated when the realisation dawned on crowd and players alike that the action had not stopped. In fact, Sean Carr, the linesman on the far side of the field, had not confirmed the goal, to the fury of Lennon, who berated Don Robertson, the fourth official. Another target for the Hibs manager was Shaw’s striking partner, Anthony Stokes, for drifting needlessly offside when minimal attention to the flow of play would have put Hibs into dangerous positions. The first half ended with Stokes staying on the right side of the law to produce a shot which McLaughlin took comfortably. Hibs, if frustrated by unkind fortune, could at least console themselves with the assurance that they had been the better team, with more of the ball and the greater share of chances. Although Hibs’ domination extended beyond the interval, by the midway point of the second half Hearts were camped around the edge of the visitors’ box, a concern which Lennon was able to address when Shaw was replaced by Simon Murray, scorer of the only goal three minutes into the most recent meeting of these sides, at Easter Road in October. Barker, who had replaced the injured Boyle, was himself hurt and substituted for Deivydas Matulevicius, which gave Hibs a significant attacking presence in the closing stages of the contest, but not sufficiently to remedy the deficiency that had deprived them of a goal and, quite likely, also a valuable derby win.
Hearts 0 Hibernian 0: Furious Hibs robbed by officials' error
On a night of bitter chill at Tynecastle, the hottest topic to emerge from a deadlocked Edinburgh derby was the failure of the match officials to realise that Oli Shaw had scored a legitimate goal early in the proceedings. That knowledge was swiftly available to the watching TV audience as well as most of the 19,316 spectators, thanks to screen grabs of the TV coverage posted on social media. The paradox, which must be resolved sooner rather than later, is that those who required the facts most urgently were the match officials. The cost of goal-line technology remains daunting for Scottish football, which earns only a fraction of the reward available to the Premier League south of the border, but there are other prices to be paid for the absence of its use. Hearts, of course, spectacularly ended Celtic’s extraordinary 69-game run in successive domestic fixtures, but the sequence they were particularly keen to halt was their failure to win any of eight meetings with their city rivals since August 17, 2014, when they achieved a 2-1 victory at Tynecastle. In their favour going into this instalment was the fact that, since the stadium’s recently reconstructed main stand had opened, Craig Levein’s players were unbeaten in six outings at home, winning three and drawing three. Hibs, meanwhile, were tasked with restoring consistency after a fighting draw with Celtic, followed by a narrow home defeat by Rangers, a comprehensive beating by Aberdeen at Pittodrie and a hard-fought weekend win over Ross County in Dingwall. Neil Lennon made one change from the trip to the Highlands, with Marvin Bartley restored to midfield and Brandon Barker dropping to the bench. Hibs were seething in the sixth minute, when Shaw connected with Martin Boyle’s cross to clip the ball off the underside of the crossbar and a foot across the line, from whence the bounce spun it back into the arms of Jon McLaughlin. Shaw celebrated his strike with the brio one to be expected from a player who had been a boyhood supporter of the club now employing him, but he was as swiftly deflated when the realisation dawned on crowd and players alike that the action had not stopped. In fact, Sean Carr, the linesman on the far side of the field, had not confirmed the goal, to the fury of Lennon, who berated Don Robertson, the fourth official. Another target for the Hibs manager was Shaw’s striking partner, Anthony Stokes, for drifting needlessly offside when minimal attention to the flow of play would have put Hibs into dangerous positions. The first half ended with Stokes staying on the right side of the law to produce a shot which McLaughlin took comfortably. Hibs, if frustrated by unkind fortune, could at least console themselves with the assurance that they had been the better team, with more of the ball and the greater share of chances. Although Hibs’ domination extended beyond the interval, by the midway point of the second half Hearts were camped around the edge of the visitors’ box, a concern which Lennon was able to address when Shaw was replaced by Simon Murray, scorer of the only goal three minutes into the most recent meeting of these sides, at Easter Road in October. Barker, who had replaced the injured Boyle, was himself hurt and substituted for Deivydas Matulevicius, which gave Hibs a significant attacking presence in the closing stages of the contest, but not sufficiently to remedy the deficiency that had deprived them of a goal and, quite likely, also a valuable derby win.
Hearts 0 Hibernian 0: Furious Hibs robbed by officials' error
Hearts 0 Hibernian 0: Furious Hibs robbed by officials' error
Hearts 0 Hibernian 0: Furious Hibs robbed by officials' error
There was a time, not so long ago, when mention of a meeting of the top two clubs in Scotland was shorthand for an Old Firm derby. In the continued absence of Rangers as credible contenders, the burden of mounting some form of challenge to Brendan Rodgers & Co has fallen upon Aberdeen, who responded last season by finishing as runners-up in all three domestic competitions. If that was a consistent response to the challenge, it also had the potential to be dispiriting for Derek McInnes and his squad, especially since Celtic won all six meetings of the pair and supplemented that record with a 3-0 victory at Pittodrie in which they produced their single best display of football in 2017. Aberdeen subsequently lost to Rangers home and away but McInnes rebuffed the Ibrox board’s invitation to become their manager, as he had done with Sunderland’s summer approach, prudently as events at the Stadium of Light were to demonstrate. In both instances McInnes declared that he had unfinished business at Pittodrie, which presumably included inflicting some sort of check on Celtic’s imperious progress through the Scottish fixture calendar, a desire that can only have been sharpened by recent developments. Celtic finished the 2016-17 title campaign unbeaten and having shed only eight points from 38 games. The Hoops’ attempt to take their unbeaten record in successive domestic matches to 70 was derailed spectacularly by Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend but, even before that, Celtic had dropped more points by the mid-point of the current campaign that in the whole of Rodgers’ inaugural season. Graeme Shinnie was booked for a tackle on ex-teammate Jonny Hayes Credit: PA Hearts prevailed by adopting the pressing tactics used by Anderlecht when they beat Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League group stage but Aberdeen were more reticent on the leaders’ turf, although the robustness of their challenges saw yellow cards shown to Kari Arnason, Graeme Shinnie and Dominic Ball. The Dons emerged from their defensive cocoon midway through the first half and almost took the lead through Gary Mackay-Steven, scorer of a hat-trick against Hibernian the previous weekend, when the former Celtic midfielder ambushed Dedryck Boyata and drove narrowly beyond the far post. Celtic’s response was instant, a break which put Scott Sinclair one on one against Joe Lewis, who blocked the winger’s shot. Hayes scored Celtic's second against his old side Credit: PA Aberdeen looked value to reach the break unscathed but they were undone by cruel fortune when Mikael Lustig pushed up from his right-back beat for a speculative effort which clipped Ball’s shoulder to veer away from the wrong-footed Lewis. Another capricious rebound, midway through the second half, helped Celtic double their advantage when Sinclair’s cross was headed by Mark Reynold off Arnason’s boot and straight into the path of Jonny Hayes who stabbed his finish across the line to inflict further pain on his former employers. Aberdeen’s miserable afternoon was compounded by a horrible error by Kenny McLean, with a woefully short pass back to Lewis, who could not intervene as Olivier Ntcham capered around him to stroke the ball home and confirm that Celtic would post an eight-point lead over their nearest rivals. The Scottish Premiership season stops next week for a brief winter break, after the second Old Firm derby of the season is contested at Parkhead. On Thursday, Rangers moved to stabilise their managerial situation by confirming interim boss, Graeme Murty, until the end of the season. Murty’s extended tenure began with a setback at Rugby Park, where Kilmarnock’s improved form under Steve Clarke continued as they beat Rangers 2-1, with two goals in three minutes from Kris Boyd, a former Ibrox striker. Murty remained defiant and can at least console himself with the thought that he can speak of a personal unbeaten record at Celtic Park, where he saw Rangers to a 1-1 draw in March while acting as interim manager after Mark Warburton’s departure. “We have a chance next week to measure ourselves against Celtic, who are the benchmark, but we also have to be pushing as a football club to be at the top table,” Murty said. “They are currently there and the team to beat. We have to make up the gap, that’s the aim for the season. “It was the aim at the start and it’s still the aim. We must have an outstanding second half of the season. We have a cup competition to play for and we’re still in touch in the league – albeit we could be closer. If we’re positive and strong, who knows where that could take us?” Celtic might be the benchmark, as Murty says, but few Rangers supporters will nourish much hope that he can repeat the feat of plundering points from the other side of Glasgow, given that the Ibrox side have themselves been pillaged by Dundee, Hamilton, St Johnstone and now Kilmarnock. The Ibrox faithful’s frustration has been compounded by the knowledge that, had they taken maximum reward from fixtures they would once have considered routine, they would lead the standings. As it stands, the message on Celtic’s Christmas card is doubly resonant – joyful and triumphant.
Celtic 3 Aberdeen 0: Hoops extend league lead as Dons disappoint
There was a time, not so long ago, when mention of a meeting of the top two clubs in Scotland was shorthand for an Old Firm derby. In the continued absence of Rangers as credible contenders, the burden of mounting some form of challenge to Brendan Rodgers & Co has fallen upon Aberdeen, who responded last season by finishing as runners-up in all three domestic competitions. If that was a consistent response to the challenge, it also had the potential to be dispiriting for Derek McInnes and his squad, especially since Celtic won all six meetings of the pair and supplemented that record with a 3-0 victory at Pittodrie in which they produced their single best display of football in 2017. Aberdeen subsequently lost to Rangers home and away but McInnes rebuffed the Ibrox board’s invitation to become their manager, as he had done with Sunderland’s summer approach, prudently as events at the Stadium of Light were to demonstrate. In both instances McInnes declared that he had unfinished business at Pittodrie, which presumably included inflicting some sort of check on Celtic’s imperious progress through the Scottish fixture calendar, a desire that can only have been sharpened by recent developments. Celtic finished the 2016-17 title campaign unbeaten and having shed only eight points from 38 games. The Hoops’ attempt to take their unbeaten record in successive domestic matches to 70 was derailed spectacularly by Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend but, even before that, Celtic had dropped more points by the mid-point of the current campaign that in the whole of Rodgers’ inaugural season. Graeme Shinnie was booked for a tackle on ex-teammate Jonny Hayes Credit: PA Hearts prevailed by adopting the pressing tactics used by Anderlecht when they beat Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League group stage but Aberdeen were more reticent on the leaders’ turf, although the robustness of their challenges saw yellow cards shown to Kari Arnason, Graeme Shinnie and Dominic Ball. The Dons emerged from their defensive cocoon midway through the first half and almost took the lead through Gary Mackay-Steven, scorer of a hat-trick against Hibernian the previous weekend, when the former Celtic midfielder ambushed Dedryck Boyata and drove narrowly beyond the far post. Celtic’s response was instant, a break which put Scott Sinclair one on one against Joe Lewis, who blocked the winger’s shot. Hayes scored Celtic's second against his old side Credit: PA Aberdeen looked value to reach the break unscathed but they were undone by cruel fortune when Mikael Lustig pushed up from his right-back beat for a speculative effort which clipped Ball’s shoulder to veer away from the wrong-footed Lewis. Another capricious rebound, midway through the second half, helped Celtic double their advantage when Sinclair’s cross was headed by Mark Reynold off Arnason’s boot and straight into the path of Jonny Hayes who stabbed his finish across the line to inflict further pain on his former employers. Aberdeen’s miserable afternoon was compounded by a horrible error by Kenny McLean, with a woefully short pass back to Lewis, who could not intervene as Olivier Ntcham capered around him to stroke the ball home and confirm that Celtic would post an eight-point lead over their nearest rivals. The Scottish Premiership season stops next week for a brief winter break, after the second Old Firm derby of the season is contested at Parkhead. On Thursday, Rangers moved to stabilise their managerial situation by confirming interim boss, Graeme Murty, until the end of the season. Murty’s extended tenure began with a setback at Rugby Park, where Kilmarnock’s improved form under Steve Clarke continued as they beat Rangers 2-1, with two goals in three minutes from Kris Boyd, a former Ibrox striker. Murty remained defiant and can at least console himself with the thought that he can speak of a personal unbeaten record at Celtic Park, where he saw Rangers to a 1-1 draw in March while acting as interim manager after Mark Warburton’s departure. “We have a chance next week to measure ourselves against Celtic, who are the benchmark, but we also have to be pushing as a football club to be at the top table,” Murty said. “They are currently there and the team to beat. We have to make up the gap, that’s the aim for the season. “It was the aim at the start and it’s still the aim. We must have an outstanding second half of the season. We have a cup competition to play for and we’re still in touch in the league – albeit we could be closer. If we’re positive and strong, who knows where that could take us?” Celtic might be the benchmark, as Murty says, but few Rangers supporters will nourish much hope that he can repeat the feat of plundering points from the other side of Glasgow, given that the Ibrox side have themselves been pillaged by Dundee, Hamilton, St Johnstone and now Kilmarnock. The Ibrox faithful’s frustration has been compounded by the knowledge that, had they taken maximum reward from fixtures they would once have considered routine, they would lead the standings. As it stands, the message on Celtic’s Christmas card is doubly resonant – joyful and triumphant.
There was a time, not so long ago, when mention of a meeting of the top two clubs in Scotland was shorthand for an Old Firm derby. In the continued absence of Rangers as credible contenders, the burden of mounting some form of challenge to Brendan Rodgers & Co has fallen upon Aberdeen, who responded last season by finishing as runners-up in all three domestic competitions. If that was a consistent response to the challenge, it also had the potential to be dispiriting for Derek McInnes and his squad, especially since Celtic won all six meetings of the pair and supplemented that record with a 3-0 victory at Pittodrie in which they produced their single best display of football in 2017. Aberdeen subsequently lost to Rangers home and away but McInnes rebuffed the Ibrox board’s invitation to become their manager, as he had done with Sunderland’s summer approach, prudently as events at the Stadium of Light were to demonstrate. In both instances McInnes declared that he had unfinished business at Pittodrie, which presumably included inflicting some sort of check on Celtic’s imperious progress through the Scottish fixture calendar, a desire that can only have been sharpened by recent developments. Celtic finished the 2016-17 title campaign unbeaten and having shed only eight points from 38 games. The Hoops’ attempt to take their unbeaten record in successive domestic matches to 70 was derailed spectacularly by Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend but, even before that, Celtic had dropped more points by the mid-point of the current campaign that in the whole of Rodgers’ inaugural season. Graeme Shinnie was booked for a tackle on ex-teammate Jonny Hayes Credit: PA Hearts prevailed by adopting the pressing tactics used by Anderlecht when they beat Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League group stage but Aberdeen were more reticent on the leaders’ turf, although the robustness of their challenges saw yellow cards shown to Kari Arnason, Graeme Shinnie and Dominic Ball. The Dons emerged from their defensive cocoon midway through the first half and almost took the lead through Gary Mackay-Steven, scorer of a hat-trick against Hibernian the previous weekend, when the former Celtic midfielder ambushed Dedryck Boyata and drove narrowly beyond the far post. Celtic’s response was instant, a break which put Scott Sinclair one on one against Joe Lewis, who blocked the winger’s shot. Hayes scored Celtic's second against his old side Credit: PA Aberdeen looked value to reach the break unscathed but they were undone by cruel fortune when Mikael Lustig pushed up from his right-back beat for a speculative effort which clipped Ball’s shoulder to veer away from the wrong-footed Lewis. Another capricious rebound, midway through the second half, helped Celtic double their advantage when Sinclair’s cross was headed by Mark Reynold off Arnason’s boot and straight into the path of Jonny Hayes who stabbed his finish across the line to inflict further pain on his former employers. Aberdeen’s miserable afternoon was compounded by a horrible error by Kenny McLean, with a woefully short pass back to Lewis, who could not intervene as Olivier Ntcham capered around him to stroke the ball home and confirm that Celtic would post an eight-point lead over their nearest rivals. The Scottish Premiership season stops next week for a brief winter break, after the second Old Firm derby of the season is contested at Parkhead. On Thursday, Rangers moved to stabilise their managerial situation by confirming interim boss, Graeme Murty, until the end of the season. Murty’s extended tenure began with a setback at Rugby Park, where Kilmarnock’s improved form under Steve Clarke continued as they beat Rangers 2-1, with two goals in three minutes from Kris Boyd, a former Ibrox striker. Murty remained defiant and can at least console himself with the thought that he can speak of a personal unbeaten record at Celtic Park, where he saw Rangers to a 1-1 draw in March while acting as interim manager after Mark Warburton’s departure. “We have a chance next week to measure ourselves against Celtic, who are the benchmark, but we also have to be pushing as a football club to be at the top table,” Murty said. “They are currently there and the team to beat. We have to make up the gap, that’s the aim for the season. “It was the aim at the start and it’s still the aim. We must have an outstanding second half of the season. We have a cup competition to play for and we’re still in touch in the league – albeit we could be closer. If we’re positive and strong, who knows where that could take us?” Celtic might be the benchmark, as Murty says, but few Rangers supporters will nourish much hope that he can repeat the feat of plundering points from the other side of Glasgow, given that the Ibrox side have themselves been pillaged by Dundee, Hamilton, St Johnstone and now Kilmarnock. The Ibrox faithful’s frustration has been compounded by the knowledge that, had they taken maximum reward from fixtures they would once have considered routine, they would lead the standings. As it stands, the message on Celtic’s Christmas card is doubly resonant – joyful and triumphant.
Celtic 3 Aberdeen 0: Hoops extend league lead as Dons disappoint
There was a time, not so long ago, when mention of a meeting of the top two clubs in Scotland was shorthand for an Old Firm derby. In the continued absence of Rangers as credible contenders, the burden of mounting some form of challenge to Brendan Rodgers & Co has fallen upon Aberdeen, who responded last season by finishing as runners-up in all three domestic competitions. If that was a consistent response to the challenge, it also had the potential to be dispiriting for Derek McInnes and his squad, especially since Celtic won all six meetings of the pair and supplemented that record with a 3-0 victory at Pittodrie in which they produced their single best display of football in 2017. Aberdeen subsequently lost to Rangers home and away but McInnes rebuffed the Ibrox board’s invitation to become their manager, as he had done with Sunderland’s summer approach, prudently as events at the Stadium of Light were to demonstrate. In both instances McInnes declared that he had unfinished business at Pittodrie, which presumably included inflicting some sort of check on Celtic’s imperious progress through the Scottish fixture calendar, a desire that can only have been sharpened by recent developments. Celtic finished the 2016-17 title campaign unbeaten and having shed only eight points from 38 games. The Hoops’ attempt to take their unbeaten record in successive domestic matches to 70 was derailed spectacularly by Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend but, even before that, Celtic had dropped more points by the mid-point of the current campaign that in the whole of Rodgers’ inaugural season. Graeme Shinnie was booked for a tackle on ex-teammate Jonny Hayes Credit: PA Hearts prevailed by adopting the pressing tactics used by Anderlecht when they beat Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League group stage but Aberdeen were more reticent on the leaders’ turf, although the robustness of their challenges saw yellow cards shown to Kari Arnason, Graeme Shinnie and Dominic Ball. The Dons emerged from their defensive cocoon midway through the first half and almost took the lead through Gary Mackay-Steven, scorer of a hat-trick against Hibernian the previous weekend, when the former Celtic midfielder ambushed Dedryck Boyata and drove narrowly beyond the far post. Celtic’s response was instant, a break which put Scott Sinclair one on one against Joe Lewis, who blocked the winger’s shot. Hayes scored Celtic's second against his old side Credit: PA Aberdeen looked value to reach the break unscathed but they were undone by cruel fortune when Mikael Lustig pushed up from his right-back beat for a speculative effort which clipped Ball’s shoulder to veer away from the wrong-footed Lewis. Another capricious rebound, midway through the second half, helped Celtic double their advantage when Sinclair’s cross was headed by Mark Reynold off Arnason’s boot and straight into the path of Jonny Hayes who stabbed his finish across the line to inflict further pain on his former employers. Aberdeen’s miserable afternoon was compounded by a horrible error by Kenny McLean, with a woefully short pass back to Lewis, who could not intervene as Olivier Ntcham capered around him to stroke the ball home and confirm that Celtic would post an eight-point lead over their nearest rivals. The Scottish Premiership season stops next week for a brief winter break, after the second Old Firm derby of the season is contested at Parkhead. On Thursday, Rangers moved to stabilise their managerial situation by confirming interim boss, Graeme Murty, until the end of the season. Murty’s extended tenure began with a setback at Rugby Park, where Kilmarnock’s improved form under Steve Clarke continued as they beat Rangers 2-1, with two goals in three minutes from Kris Boyd, a former Ibrox striker. Murty remained defiant and can at least console himself with the thought that he can speak of a personal unbeaten record at Celtic Park, where he saw Rangers to a 1-1 draw in March while acting as interim manager after Mark Warburton’s departure. “We have a chance next week to measure ourselves against Celtic, who are the benchmark, but we also have to be pushing as a football club to be at the top table,” Murty said. “They are currently there and the team to beat. We have to make up the gap, that’s the aim for the season. “It was the aim at the start and it’s still the aim. We must have an outstanding second half of the season. We have a cup competition to play for and we’re still in touch in the league – albeit we could be closer. If we’re positive and strong, who knows where that could take us?” Celtic might be the benchmark, as Murty says, but few Rangers supporters will nourish much hope that he can repeat the feat of plundering points from the other side of Glasgow, given that the Ibrox side have themselves been pillaged by Dundee, Hamilton, St Johnstone and now Kilmarnock. The Ibrox faithful’s frustration has been compounded by the knowledge that, had they taken maximum reward from fixtures they would once have considered routine, they would lead the standings. As it stands, the message on Celtic’s Christmas card is doubly resonant – joyful and triumphant.
There was a time, not so long ago, when mention of a meeting of the top two clubs in Scotland was shorthand for an Old Firm derby. In the continued absence of Rangers as credible contenders, the burden of mounting some form of challenge to Brendan Rodgers & Co has fallen upon Aberdeen, who responded last season by finishing as runners-up in all three domestic competitions. If that was a consistent response to the challenge, it also had the potential to be dispiriting for Derek McInnes and his squad, especially since Celtic won all six meetings of the pair and supplemented that record with a 3-0 victory at Pittodrie in which they produced their single best display of football in 2017. Aberdeen subsequently lost to Rangers home and away but McInnes rebuffed the Ibrox board’s invitation to become their manager, as he had done with Sunderland’s summer approach, prudently as events at the Stadium of Light were to demonstrate. In both instances McInnes declared that he had unfinished business at Pittodrie, which presumably included inflicting some sort of check on Celtic’s imperious progress through the Scottish fixture calendar, a desire that can only have been sharpened by recent developments. Celtic finished the 2016-17 title campaign unbeaten and having shed only eight points from 38 games. The Hoops’ attempt to take their unbeaten record in successive domestic matches to 70 was derailed spectacularly by Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend but, even before that, Celtic had dropped more points by the mid-point of the current campaign that in the whole of Rodgers’ inaugural season. Graeme Shinnie was booked for a tackle on ex-teammate Jonny Hayes Credit: PA Hearts prevailed by adopting the pressing tactics used by Anderlecht when they beat Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League group stage but Aberdeen were more reticent on the leaders’ turf, although the robustness of their challenges saw yellow cards shown to Kari Arnason, Graeme Shinnie and Dominic Ball. The Dons emerged from their defensive cocoon midway through the first half and almost took the lead through Gary Mackay-Steven, scorer of a hat-trick against Hibernian the previous weekend, when the former Celtic midfielder ambushed Dedryck Boyata and drove narrowly beyond the far post. Celtic’s response was instant, a break which put Scott Sinclair one on one against Joe Lewis, who blocked the winger’s shot. Hayes scored Celtic's second against his old side Credit: PA Aberdeen looked value to reach the break unscathed but they were undone by cruel fortune when Mikael Lustig pushed up from his right-back beat for a speculative effort which clipped Ball’s shoulder to veer away from the wrong-footed Lewis. Another capricious rebound, midway through the second half, helped Celtic double their advantage when Sinclair’s cross was headed by Mark Reynold off Arnason’s boot and straight into the path of Jonny Hayes who stabbed his finish across the line to inflict further pain on his former employers. Aberdeen’s miserable afternoon was compounded by a horrible error by Kenny McLean, with a woefully short pass back to Lewis, who could not intervene as Olivier Ntcham capered around him to stroke the ball home and confirm that Celtic would post an eight-point lead over their nearest rivals. The Scottish Premiership season stops next week for a brief winter break, after the second Old Firm derby of the season is contested at Parkhead. On Thursday, Rangers moved to stabilise their managerial situation by confirming interim boss, Graeme Murty, until the end of the season. Murty’s extended tenure began with a setback at Rugby Park, where Kilmarnock’s improved form under Steve Clarke continued as they beat Rangers 2-1, with two goals in three minutes from Kris Boyd, a former Ibrox striker. Murty remained defiant and can at least console himself with the thought that he can speak of a personal unbeaten record at Celtic Park, where he saw Rangers to a 1-1 draw in March while acting as interim manager after Mark Warburton’s departure. “We have a chance next week to measure ourselves against Celtic, who are the benchmark, but we also have to be pushing as a football club to be at the top table,” Murty said. “They are currently there and the team to beat. We have to make up the gap, that’s the aim for the season. “It was the aim at the start and it’s still the aim. We must have an outstanding second half of the season. We have a cup competition to play for and we’re still in touch in the league – albeit we could be closer. If we’re positive and strong, who knows where that could take us?” Celtic might be the benchmark, as Murty says, but few Rangers supporters will nourish much hope that he can repeat the feat of plundering points from the other side of Glasgow, given that the Ibrox side have themselves been pillaged by Dundee, Hamilton, St Johnstone and now Kilmarnock. The Ibrox faithful’s frustration has been compounded by the knowledge that, had they taken maximum reward from fixtures they would once have considered routine, they would lead the standings. As it stands, the message on Celtic’s Christmas card is doubly resonant – joyful and triumphant.
Celtic 3 Aberdeen 0: Hoops extend league lead as Dons disappoint
There was a time, not so long ago, when mention of a meeting of the top two clubs in Scotland was shorthand for an Old Firm derby. In the continued absence of Rangers as credible contenders, the burden of mounting some form of challenge to Brendan Rodgers & Co has fallen upon Aberdeen, who responded last season by finishing as runners-up in all three domestic competitions. If that was a consistent response to the challenge, it also had the potential to be dispiriting for Derek McInnes and his squad, especially since Celtic won all six meetings of the pair and supplemented that record with a 3-0 victory at Pittodrie in which they produced their single best display of football in 2017. Aberdeen subsequently lost to Rangers home and away but McInnes rebuffed the Ibrox board’s invitation to become their manager, as he had done with Sunderland’s summer approach, prudently as events at the Stadium of Light were to demonstrate. In both instances McInnes declared that he had unfinished business at Pittodrie, which presumably included inflicting some sort of check on Celtic’s imperious progress through the Scottish fixture calendar, a desire that can only have been sharpened by recent developments. Celtic finished the 2016-17 title campaign unbeaten and having shed only eight points from 38 games. The Hoops’ attempt to take their unbeaten record in successive domestic matches to 70 was derailed spectacularly by Hearts at Tynecastle last weekend but, even before that, Celtic had dropped more points by the mid-point of the current campaign that in the whole of Rodgers’ inaugural season. Graeme Shinnie was booked for a tackle on ex-teammate Jonny Hayes Credit: PA Hearts prevailed by adopting the pressing tactics used by Anderlecht when they beat Celtic at Parkhead in the Champions League group stage but Aberdeen were more reticent on the leaders’ turf, although the robustness of their challenges saw yellow cards shown to Kari Arnason, Graeme Shinnie and Dominic Ball. The Dons emerged from their defensive cocoon midway through the first half and almost took the lead through Gary Mackay-Steven, scorer of a hat-trick against Hibernian the previous weekend, when the former Celtic midfielder ambushed Dedryck Boyata and drove narrowly beyond the far post. Celtic’s response was instant, a break which put Scott Sinclair one on one against Joe Lewis, who blocked the winger’s shot. Hayes scored Celtic's second against his old side Credit: PA Aberdeen looked value to reach the break unscathed but they were undone by cruel fortune when Mikael Lustig pushed up from his right-back beat for a speculative effort which clipped Ball’s shoulder to veer away from the wrong-footed Lewis. Another capricious rebound, midway through the second half, helped Celtic double their advantage when Sinclair’s cross was headed by Mark Reynold off Arnason’s boot and straight into the path of Jonny Hayes who stabbed his finish across the line to inflict further pain on his former employers. Aberdeen’s miserable afternoon was compounded by a horrible error by Kenny McLean, with a woefully short pass back to Lewis, who could not intervene as Olivier Ntcham capered around him to stroke the ball home and confirm that Celtic would post an eight-point lead over their nearest rivals. The Scottish Premiership season stops next week for a brief winter break, after the second Old Firm derby of the season is contested at Parkhead. On Thursday, Rangers moved to stabilise their managerial situation by confirming interim boss, Graeme Murty, until the end of the season. Murty’s extended tenure began with a setback at Rugby Park, where Kilmarnock’s improved form under Steve Clarke continued as they beat Rangers 2-1, with two goals in three minutes from Kris Boyd, a former Ibrox striker. Murty remained defiant and can at least console himself with the thought that he can speak of a personal unbeaten record at Celtic Park, where he saw Rangers to a 1-1 draw in March while acting as interim manager after Mark Warburton’s departure. “We have a chance next week to measure ourselves against Celtic, who are the benchmark, but we also have to be pushing as a football club to be at the top table,” Murty said. “They are currently there and the team to beat. We have to make up the gap, that’s the aim for the season. “It was the aim at the start and it’s still the aim. We must have an outstanding second half of the season. We have a cup competition to play for and we’re still in touch in the league – albeit we could be closer. If we’re positive and strong, who knows where that could take us?” Celtic might be the benchmark, as Murty says, but few Rangers supporters will nourish much hope that he can repeat the feat of plundering points from the other side of Glasgow, given that the Ibrox side have themselves been pillaged by Dundee, Hamilton, St Johnstone and now Kilmarnock. The Ibrox faithful’s frustration has been compounded by the knowledge that, had they taken maximum reward from fixtures they would once have considered routine, they would lead the standings. As it stands, the message on Celtic’s Christmas card is doubly resonant – joyful and triumphant.
It had to finish eventually, of course, but no reputable pundit would have suggested that Celtic’s mighty record of 69 successive games unbeaten in domestic fixtures would be truncated in such emphatic fashion and by a team who finished the contest with two 16-year-olds in their ranks - one of whom was on the score sheet. Last Sunday at Easter Road, only a goal-line clearance by Mikael Lustig stopped 19-year-old Oli Shaw from putting an end to Celtic’s run in the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road but on the other side of Edinburgh it was a cadet three years junior to Shaw who struck the first blow. Harry Cochrane, the first graduate of the Scottish Football Association’s performance school to start a senior game - against Dundee in September – ensured that this would be another indelible event in his young life by scoring his first goal in senior competitive football. That momentous event occurred in the 26th minute when the midfielder gathered a pass from Don Cowie and coolly drove it beyond Craig Gordon for Hearts’ opener. Even at that stage, Celtic looked unusually dishevelled, an impression confirmed five minutes before the break when Kyle Lafferty, whose muscular presence had disrupted the Hoops’ back line, was set up by David Milinkovic for a drive which clipped off the inside of Gordon’s right-hand post and across the line. Milinkovic resolved any doubt about the likely outcome with a second half double, first when he took advantage of a horrible error by Jozo Simunovic, then from the penalty spot after Gordon had fouled Ross Callachan needlessly. David Milinkovic makes it three for Hearts Credit: PA The occasion was heaven for stat addicts. Aside from Celtic’s immense undefeated sequence, Hearts were playing their sixth successive match at home, a consequence of the fixture disruption caused by the reconstruction of the main stand, having gone unbeaten in the previous five. Prior to this encounter, Celtic last suffered a domestic defeat on May 11, 2016, when they lost 2-1 to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park before a 7-0 thrashing of Motherwell in Ronny Deila’s last game in charge started their record-breaking schedule. The champions had also won seven of their eight most recent visits to Tynecastle. Brendan Rodgers started with Leigh Griffiths as his spearhead, perhaps in acknowledgement of the former Hibs forward’s taste for scoring against city rivals. By full time, Griffiths had been joined by Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard, and Celtic’s full contingent of strikers was reinforced by James Forrest and Scott Sinclair. Yet the Parkhead side failed to score in a domestic match for the first time since March 4, 2015, when they lost 1-0 at home to St Johnstone. Moreover, Celtic had scored in every game of their 69 unbeaten domestic outings. In contrast, when Lafferty was injured, he was replaced by Cole Stockton, formerly of Morecambe, who came on after Hearts had introduced their other 16-year-old, Anthony McDonald, for Prince Buaben. For all their firepower, Celtic were undone by frailty at the back and Hearts’ third goal was as basic as they come. Connor Randall launched a clearance upfield, Simunovic allowed it to bounce without interference and Milinkovic, blinking at his good fortune, drilled his finish precisely beyond Gordon. The Serb did exactly the same when presented with a similar gift, this time from the penalty spot after the Celtic keeper had tumbled Callachan as the Hearts man was moving away from goal. Rodgers acknowledged the vulnerability readily afterwards when he said: “First of all, I need to give credit to Hearts. It's a thoroughly deserved win; they were the better team. We didn't cope with their physicality, we made too many mistakes. “We could have played five games today and not scored a goal, but I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and for this to be their first defeat - of course, it's a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. “They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.” Craig Levein, the Hearts manager, was both mightily relieved – having been the object of criticism for indifferent results – and exultant, but he gave Celtic due credit for their remarkable accomplishment. “I must compliment Celtic - to go this far without losing a match in the league or cups in Scotland is quite remarkable,” he said. “I am probably even prouder of my players because we have managed to break that run. “They played honestly today. They ran the miles they needed to shut Celtic down. They put pressure on the ball and managed to unsettle Celtic as a team. All credit to them. “They gave themselves, each other and the supporters absolutely everything they had. I was thrilled with the interaction between the players and supporters. You could hear the noise with the new stand, and it was hugely pleasing to hear that." Hearts had not scored more than two goals in any league game this season, so it was with tremendous gusto that chants of ‘We want five!’ resounded from the stands. Sadly for the spectator seated to the left of this Telegraph correspondent who had put money on Hearts to win 5-0, it was not to be – proof that you can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time.
Hearts end Celtic's 69-game unbeaten domestic run with four-goal hammering at Tynecastle
It had to finish eventually, of course, but no reputable pundit would have suggested that Celtic’s mighty record of 69 successive games unbeaten in domestic fixtures would be truncated in such emphatic fashion and by a team who finished the contest with two 16-year-olds in their ranks - one of whom was on the score sheet. Last Sunday at Easter Road, only a goal-line clearance by Mikael Lustig stopped 19-year-old Oli Shaw from putting an end to Celtic’s run in the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road but on the other side of Edinburgh it was a cadet three years junior to Shaw who struck the first blow. Harry Cochrane, the first graduate of the Scottish Football Association’s performance school to start a senior game - against Dundee in September – ensured that this would be another indelible event in his young life by scoring his first goal in senior competitive football. That momentous event occurred in the 26th minute when the midfielder gathered a pass from Don Cowie and coolly drove it beyond Craig Gordon for Hearts’ opener. Even at that stage, Celtic looked unusually dishevelled, an impression confirmed five minutes before the break when Kyle Lafferty, whose muscular presence had disrupted the Hoops’ back line, was set up by David Milinkovic for a drive which clipped off the inside of Gordon’s right-hand post and across the line. Milinkovic resolved any doubt about the likely outcome with a second half double, first when he took advantage of a horrible error by Jozo Simunovic, then from the penalty spot after Gordon had fouled Ross Callachan needlessly. David Milinkovic makes it three for Hearts Credit: PA The occasion was heaven for stat addicts. Aside from Celtic’s immense undefeated sequence, Hearts were playing their sixth successive match at home, a consequence of the fixture disruption caused by the reconstruction of the main stand, having gone unbeaten in the previous five. Prior to this encounter, Celtic last suffered a domestic defeat on May 11, 2016, when they lost 2-1 to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park before a 7-0 thrashing of Motherwell in Ronny Deila’s last game in charge started their record-breaking schedule. The champions had also won seven of their eight most recent visits to Tynecastle. Brendan Rodgers started with Leigh Griffiths as his spearhead, perhaps in acknowledgement of the former Hibs forward’s taste for scoring against city rivals. By full time, Griffiths had been joined by Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard, and Celtic’s full contingent of strikers was reinforced by James Forrest and Scott Sinclair. Yet the Parkhead side failed to score in a domestic match for the first time since March 4, 2015, when they lost 1-0 at home to St Johnstone. Moreover, Celtic had scored in every game of their 69 unbeaten domestic outings. In contrast, when Lafferty was injured, he was replaced by Cole Stockton, formerly of Morecambe, who came on after Hearts had introduced their other 16-year-old, Anthony McDonald, for Prince Buaben. For all their firepower, Celtic were undone by frailty at the back and Hearts’ third goal was as basic as they come. Connor Randall launched a clearance upfield, Simunovic allowed it to bounce without interference and Milinkovic, blinking at his good fortune, drilled his finish precisely beyond Gordon. The Serb did exactly the same when presented with a similar gift, this time from the penalty spot after the Celtic keeper had tumbled Callachan as the Hearts man was moving away from goal. Rodgers acknowledged the vulnerability readily afterwards when he said: “First of all, I need to give credit to Hearts. It's a thoroughly deserved win; they were the better team. We didn't cope with their physicality, we made too many mistakes. “We could have played five games today and not scored a goal, but I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and for this to be their first defeat - of course, it's a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. “They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.” Craig Levein, the Hearts manager, was both mightily relieved – having been the object of criticism for indifferent results – and exultant, but he gave Celtic due credit for their remarkable accomplishment. “I must compliment Celtic - to go this far without losing a match in the league or cups in Scotland is quite remarkable,” he said. “I am probably even prouder of my players because we have managed to break that run. “They played honestly today. They ran the miles they needed to shut Celtic down. They put pressure on the ball and managed to unsettle Celtic as a team. All credit to them. “They gave themselves, each other and the supporters absolutely everything they had. I was thrilled with the interaction between the players and supporters. You could hear the noise with the new stand, and it was hugely pleasing to hear that." Hearts had not scored more than two goals in any league game this season, so it was with tremendous gusto that chants of ‘We want five!’ resounded from the stands. Sadly for the spectator seated to the left of this Telegraph correspondent who had put money on Hearts to win 5-0, it was not to be – proof that you can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time.
It had to finish eventually, of course, but no reputable pundit would have suggested that Celtic’s mighty record of 69 successive games unbeaten in domestic fixtures would be truncated in such emphatic fashion and by a team who finished the contest with two 16-year-olds in their ranks - one of whom was on the score sheet. Last Sunday at Easter Road, only a goal-line clearance by Mikael Lustig stopped 19-year-old Oli Shaw from putting an end to Celtic’s run in the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road but on the other side of Edinburgh it was a cadet three years junior to Shaw who struck the first blow. Harry Cochrane, the first graduate of the Scottish Football Association’s performance school to start a senior game - against Dundee in September – ensured that this would be another indelible event in his young life by scoring his first goal in senior competitive football. That momentous event occurred in the 26th minute when the midfielder gathered a pass from Don Cowie and coolly drove it beyond Craig Gordon for Hearts’ opener. Even at that stage, Celtic looked unusually dishevelled, an impression confirmed five minutes before the break when Kyle Lafferty, whose muscular presence had disrupted the Hoops’ back line, was set up by David Milinkovic for a drive which clipped off the inside of Gordon’s right-hand post and across the line. Milinkovic resolved any doubt about the likely outcome with a second half double, first when he took advantage of a horrible error by Jozo Simunovic, then from the penalty spot after Gordon had fouled Ross Callachan needlessly. David Milinkovic makes it three for Hearts Credit: PA The occasion was heaven for stat addicts. Aside from Celtic’s immense undefeated sequence, Hearts were playing their sixth successive match at home, a consequence of the fixture disruption caused by the reconstruction of the main stand, having gone unbeaten in the previous five. Prior to this encounter, Celtic last suffered a domestic defeat on May 11, 2016, when they lost 2-1 to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park before a 7-0 thrashing of Motherwell in Ronny Deila’s last game in charge started their record-breaking schedule. The champions had also won seven of their eight most recent visits to Tynecastle. Brendan Rodgers started with Leigh Griffiths as his spearhead, perhaps in acknowledgement of the former Hibs forward’s taste for scoring against city rivals. By full time, Griffiths had been joined by Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard, and Celtic’s full contingent of strikers was reinforced by James Forrest and Scott Sinclair. Yet the Parkhead side failed to score in a domestic match for the first time since March 4, 2015, when they lost 1-0 at home to St Johnstone. Moreover, Celtic had scored in every game of their 69 unbeaten domestic outings. In contrast, when Lafferty was injured, he was replaced by Cole Stockton, formerly of Morecambe, who came on after Hearts had introduced their other 16-year-old, Anthony McDonald, for Prince Buaben. For all their firepower, Celtic were undone by frailty at the back and Hearts’ third goal was as basic as they come. Connor Randall launched a clearance upfield, Simunovic allowed it to bounce without interference and Milinkovic, blinking at his good fortune, drilled his finish precisely beyond Gordon. The Serb did exactly the same when presented with a similar gift, this time from the penalty spot after the Celtic keeper had tumbled Callachan as the Hearts man was moving away from goal. Rodgers acknowledged the vulnerability readily afterwards when he said: “First of all, I need to give credit to Hearts. It's a thoroughly deserved win; they were the better team. We didn't cope with their physicality, we made too many mistakes. “We could have played five games today and not scored a goal, but I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and for this to be their first defeat - of course, it's a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. “They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.” Craig Levein, the Hearts manager, was both mightily relieved – having been the object of criticism for indifferent results – and exultant, but he gave Celtic due credit for their remarkable accomplishment. “I must compliment Celtic - to go this far without losing a match in the league or cups in Scotland is quite remarkable,” he said. “I am probably even prouder of my players because we have managed to break that run. “They played honestly today. They ran the miles they needed to shut Celtic down. They put pressure on the ball and managed to unsettle Celtic as a team. All credit to them. “They gave themselves, each other and the supporters absolutely everything they had. I was thrilled with the interaction between the players and supporters. You could hear the noise with the new stand, and it was hugely pleasing to hear that." Hearts had not scored more than two goals in any league game this season, so it was with tremendous gusto that chants of ‘We want five!’ resounded from the stands. Sadly for the spectator seated to the left of this Telegraph correspondent who had put money on Hearts to win 5-0, it was not to be – proof that you can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time.
Hearts end Celtic's 69-game unbeaten domestic run with four-goal hammering at Tynecastle
It had to finish eventually, of course, but no reputable pundit would have suggested that Celtic’s mighty record of 69 successive games unbeaten in domestic fixtures would be truncated in such emphatic fashion and by a team who finished the contest with two 16-year-olds in their ranks - one of whom was on the score sheet. Last Sunday at Easter Road, only a goal-line clearance by Mikael Lustig stopped 19-year-old Oli Shaw from putting an end to Celtic’s run in the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road but on the other side of Edinburgh it was a cadet three years junior to Shaw who struck the first blow. Harry Cochrane, the first graduate of the Scottish Football Association’s performance school to start a senior game - against Dundee in September – ensured that this would be another indelible event in his young life by scoring his first goal in senior competitive football. That momentous event occurred in the 26th minute when the midfielder gathered a pass from Don Cowie and coolly drove it beyond Craig Gordon for Hearts’ opener. Even at that stage, Celtic looked unusually dishevelled, an impression confirmed five minutes before the break when Kyle Lafferty, whose muscular presence had disrupted the Hoops’ back line, was set up by David Milinkovic for a drive which clipped off the inside of Gordon’s right-hand post and across the line. Milinkovic resolved any doubt about the likely outcome with a second half double, first when he took advantage of a horrible error by Jozo Simunovic, then from the penalty spot after Gordon had fouled Ross Callachan needlessly. David Milinkovic makes it three for Hearts Credit: PA The occasion was heaven for stat addicts. Aside from Celtic’s immense undefeated sequence, Hearts were playing their sixth successive match at home, a consequence of the fixture disruption caused by the reconstruction of the main stand, having gone unbeaten in the previous five. Prior to this encounter, Celtic last suffered a domestic defeat on May 11, 2016, when they lost 2-1 to St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park before a 7-0 thrashing of Motherwell in Ronny Deila’s last game in charge started their record-breaking schedule. The champions had also won seven of their eight most recent visits to Tynecastle. Brendan Rodgers started with Leigh Griffiths as his spearhead, perhaps in acknowledgement of the former Hibs forward’s taste for scoring against city rivals. By full time, Griffiths had been joined by Moussa Dembele and Odsonne Edouard, and Celtic’s full contingent of strikers was reinforced by James Forrest and Scott Sinclair. Yet the Parkhead side failed to score in a domestic match for the first time since March 4, 2015, when they lost 1-0 at home to St Johnstone. Moreover, Celtic had scored in every game of their 69 unbeaten domestic outings. In contrast, when Lafferty was injured, he was replaced by Cole Stockton, formerly of Morecambe, who came on after Hearts had introduced their other 16-year-old, Anthony McDonald, for Prince Buaben. For all their firepower, Celtic were undone by frailty at the back and Hearts’ third goal was as basic as they come. Connor Randall launched a clearance upfield, Simunovic allowed it to bounce without interference and Milinkovic, blinking at his good fortune, drilled his finish precisely beyond Gordon. The Serb did exactly the same when presented with a similar gift, this time from the penalty spot after the Celtic keeper had tumbled Callachan as the Hearts man was moving away from goal. Rodgers acknowledged the vulnerability readily afterwards when he said: “First of all, I need to give credit to Hearts. It's a thoroughly deserved win; they were the better team. We didn't cope with their physicality, we made too many mistakes. “We could have played five games today and not scored a goal, but I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and for this to be their first defeat - of course, it's a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. “They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.” Craig Levein, the Hearts manager, was both mightily relieved – having been the object of criticism for indifferent results – and exultant, but he gave Celtic due credit for their remarkable accomplishment. “I must compliment Celtic - to go this far without losing a match in the league or cups in Scotland is quite remarkable,” he said. “I am probably even prouder of my players because we have managed to break that run. “They played honestly today. They ran the miles they needed to shut Celtic down. They put pressure on the ball and managed to unsettle Celtic as a team. All credit to them. “They gave themselves, each other and the supporters absolutely everything they had. I was thrilled with the interaction between the players and supporters. You could hear the noise with the new stand, and it was hugely pleasing to hear that." Hearts had not scored more than two goals in any league game this season, so it was with tremendous gusto that chants of ‘We want five!’ resounded from the stands. Sadly for the spectator seated to the left of this Telegraph correspondent who had put money on Hearts to win 5-0, it was not to be – proof that you can’t keep all of the people happy all of the time.
It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer. “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you. It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”
Danny Wilson says Rangers must improve at home to stand a chance of winning trophies
It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer. “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you. It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”
It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer. “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you. It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”
Danny Wilson says Rangers must improve at home to stand a chance of winning trophies
It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer. “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you. It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”
It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer. “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you. It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”
Danny Wilson says Rangers must improve at home to stand a chance of winning trophies
It is a measure of Rangers’ fortunes on and off the field that, if they win on Saturday at home to St Johnstone, they will have recorded five successive league victories for the first time in as many years. The last time they accomplished the feat was between July and September 2011 when, with Ally McCoist in charge, they prevailed against St Johnstone, Inverness Caley Thistle, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Dundee United and Celtic. Later that season, of course, came the club’s financial meltdown under Craig Whyte, after which four campaigns were spent in pursuit of a return to the top flight of Scottish football. That was achieved last year under Mark Warburton but the best sequence assembled by the Englishman in the Scottish Premiership fell between St Andrew’s Day and Christmas Eve, with full points taken from meetings with Aberdeen, Hearts, Hamilton and Inverness. Rangers’ current run, with four successive wins against Aberdeen home and away, Ross County at Ibrox and Hibernian at Easter Road is not, however, evidence of a tide of superior form, as Danny Wilson admitted readily yesterday. At half time in the game against Hibs, the Rangers central defender berated his team mates in the dressing room, despite the fact that they were leading 2-1. “Within those four results there have been some good performances and some really bad performances as a team,” Wilson said. “We can do much better than we did at Hibs. “I haven’t watched the game back but, from playing in it, I felt we were miles off it in terms of what we want to do and achieve as a team. However, we were able to dig the result out and that was probably something people have held against us - that when the going got tough, we went under. Wilson in action during the 2-1 win over Hibs Credit: ACTION PLUS “There’s no doubt we were well below the standards required. The words at half time were to that effect. After the game everyone was obviously delighted with the result and to be able to show that resilience at a tough place like Hibs, where we haven’t enjoyed great results in our last few encounters. We were just delighted to win and continue the run we’re on and now we know we’ll have it tough against St Johnstone.” It was against St Johnstone, albeit in Perth, that last year’s run of wins came to an end and, if Rangers need further warning of potential hazard, they need only reference Tommy Wright’s ability to coax his players into quarrying points from unpromising fixtures. Saints drew home and away with Rangers in the second half of last season and they left Celtic Park with a 1-1 draw in August. Wright is arguably the most undervalued manager in the division – his name scarcely featured in the reckoning for a successor to Pedro Caixinha at Ibrox, a hiatus that has stretched for seven weeks – and the Northern Irishman was in prickly mood on Monday when he said: “Even our own support is negative about us at the minute, but we cannot let that affect us.” Rangers are still searching for a permanent manager but have secured positive results under Graeme Murty's watch Credit: PA St Johnstone lost at home to Aberdeen on Wednesday and Wright surely spies an opportunity in Rangers’ patchy home form. In nine league games at Ibrox, Rangers have won four, drawn two and lost three. “If we want to achieve anything this season we have to fix the home form because it's not been good enough,” said Wilson. “If we had taken more points at home, we would have been closer to first, but we are not looking too far ahead because, like I say, we know where we have just been.” Rangers will be without Kenny Miller, victim of a hamstring injury, and the veteran striker might still be absent when his colleagues travel to Celtic Park on December 30. Graham Dorrans, meanwhile, has not featured in midfield since the 1-1 home draw with Kilmarnock on October 25 and will be out for at least another three months after having undergone ankle surgery. “Graham is really unfortunate and I feel for him,” said Graeme Murty, Rangers’ interim manager. “On medical advice we took a conservative path with his initial rehab and that didn’t work. "I know he’s down and he’s quite low and before we talk about length of time being out I want to make sure the fellow is alright. Having been there myself, I know that coming up to Christmas it’s a brilliant time to be a footballer. “You get loads of games and at home everything is done for you. It’s all geared towards you performing in an extended way and you do miss it. We have to make sure Graham as a person is taken care of and then we’ll take care of the player after that.”
Celtic’s mileage stretches on with no sign of interruption. The needle hit 69 successive games unbeaten with goals from Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Scott Sinclair against a worthy effort from Hamilton, for whom Daniel Redmond found the mark and Rakish Bingham struck the post. The Celtic Park ambience on a bitterly cold night reflected season diversions and office parties must have had an impact on the attendance because the usually vibrant stadium had the feel of a half-empty Christmas stocking. Those who made the effort to attend, however, were treated to an opening first 45 minutes replete with four goals, all of them excellent. Brendan Rodgers made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road, with Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney all on the bench to make way for Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton and Stuart Armstrong. Also sitting out the start once more were the striker pair of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele. The Hamilton manager, Martin Canning, without the luxury of a substantial squad, was forced to make six alterations to the line-up for their weekend defeat by St Johnstone in Perth. Canning revealed that David Templeton had missed training because of a throat infection, although the midfielder was numbered among the Accies substitutes, but Antiono Rojano had to be ruled out completely because of a back injury. In such circumstances, Celtic generally attempt to throttle opponents as early as possible and this occasion was no exception, with the stats showing them controlling 75% of possession by the 10-minute mark. By that stage, they were already a goal to the good from a delightful combination of Sinclair and Ntcham, the former chipping towards the back of the box for his colleague to strike a rising right-foot volley beyond Gary Woods. Daniel Redmond scores Hamilton's goal Credit: PA Hamilton might easily have folded but they stuck to a dispiriting task and got unexpected reward for persisting with an unpromising attack that seemed to have run out of steam on the left. The move was revitalised thanks to Darian MacKinnon’s persistence and, when the combative midfielder worked the ball to the edge of the box, Redmond did well to scoop his left-footed strike with precision and power high past Craig Gordon. As the interval approached, Hamilton could have been pardoned for imagining that they could take the comfort of a draw into the dressing room, but they were to be floored by two goals in as many minutes. The double blow carried additional force because Rakish Bingham had almost burst clear inside the Celtic half, only to be thwarted by a superbly timed interception by Ajer. Another day, another Celtic win Credit: PA The ball was shuttled adeptly through Armstrong to Forrest, who finished with trademark efficiency. Accies made the cardinal error of losing possession almost straight from therir restart and this time Forrest turned supplier, setting up Sinclair for an accomplished lofted effort into the top corner of the net. Odsonne Edouard, the teenager on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, had been granted the role of Celtic spearhead and his predatory instincts would have bagged him a couple of goals had it not been for impressive alertness from Woods, who twice plucked the ball from the Frenchman’s toes as he was played clean through the Hamilton back line. Edouard’s stint was done midway through the second half, when he was replaced by Griffiths, who took to the field with high energy. It was, though, Bingham who came closest when he prodded a shot through Gordon’s legs but was frustrated as the ball bobbled along the goal line and off the far post to safety. Match details Celtic (3-5-2):Gordon; Ajer, Boyata (Simunovic 72), Bitton; Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, Armstrong, McGregor; Edouard (Griffiths 67), Sinclair. Subs (unused): De Vries (g), Dembele, Hayes, Lustig, Tierney. Booked: Edouard. Hamilton Academical (3-5-2): Woods; Gogic, Tomas, McManus; Gillespie (, MacKinnon, Donati, Docherty, Imrie; Redmond, Bingham. Subs (unused): Fulton (g), Templeton, Lyon, Ferguson, Cunningham, Sarris. Booked: Gillespie. Referee: Stephen Finnie.
Celtic 3 Hamilton Academical 1: Spirited Accies downed as Brendan Rodgers' side extend unbeaten run
Celtic’s mileage stretches on with no sign of interruption. The needle hit 69 successive games unbeaten with goals from Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Scott Sinclair against a worthy effort from Hamilton, for whom Daniel Redmond found the mark and Rakish Bingham struck the post. The Celtic Park ambience on a bitterly cold night reflected season diversions and office parties must have had an impact on the attendance because the usually vibrant stadium had the feel of a half-empty Christmas stocking. Those who made the effort to attend, however, were treated to an opening first 45 minutes replete with four goals, all of them excellent. Brendan Rodgers made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road, with Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney all on the bench to make way for Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton and Stuart Armstrong. Also sitting out the start once more were the striker pair of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele. The Hamilton manager, Martin Canning, without the luxury of a substantial squad, was forced to make six alterations to the line-up for their weekend defeat by St Johnstone in Perth. Canning revealed that David Templeton had missed training because of a throat infection, although the midfielder was numbered among the Accies substitutes, but Antiono Rojano had to be ruled out completely because of a back injury. In such circumstances, Celtic generally attempt to throttle opponents as early as possible and this occasion was no exception, with the stats showing them controlling 75% of possession by the 10-minute mark. By that stage, they were already a goal to the good from a delightful combination of Sinclair and Ntcham, the former chipping towards the back of the box for his colleague to strike a rising right-foot volley beyond Gary Woods. Daniel Redmond scores Hamilton's goal Credit: PA Hamilton might easily have folded but they stuck to a dispiriting task and got unexpected reward for persisting with an unpromising attack that seemed to have run out of steam on the left. The move was revitalised thanks to Darian MacKinnon’s persistence and, when the combative midfielder worked the ball to the edge of the box, Redmond did well to scoop his left-footed strike with precision and power high past Craig Gordon. As the interval approached, Hamilton could have been pardoned for imagining that they could take the comfort of a draw into the dressing room, but they were to be floored by two goals in as many minutes. The double blow carried additional force because Rakish Bingham had almost burst clear inside the Celtic half, only to be thwarted by a superbly timed interception by Ajer. Another day, another Celtic win Credit: PA The ball was shuttled adeptly through Armstrong to Forrest, who finished with trademark efficiency. Accies made the cardinal error of losing possession almost straight from therir restart and this time Forrest turned supplier, setting up Sinclair for an accomplished lofted effort into the top corner of the net. Odsonne Edouard, the teenager on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, had been granted the role of Celtic spearhead and his predatory instincts would have bagged him a couple of goals had it not been for impressive alertness from Woods, who twice plucked the ball from the Frenchman’s toes as he was played clean through the Hamilton back line. Edouard’s stint was done midway through the second half, when he was replaced by Griffiths, who took to the field with high energy. It was, though, Bingham who came closest when he prodded a shot through Gordon’s legs but was frustrated as the ball bobbled along the goal line and off the far post to safety. Match details Celtic (3-5-2):Gordon; Ajer, Boyata (Simunovic 72), Bitton; Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, Armstrong, McGregor; Edouard (Griffiths 67), Sinclair. Subs (unused): De Vries (g), Dembele, Hayes, Lustig, Tierney. Booked: Edouard. Hamilton Academical (3-5-2): Woods; Gogic, Tomas, McManus; Gillespie (, MacKinnon, Donati, Docherty, Imrie; Redmond, Bingham. Subs (unused): Fulton (g), Templeton, Lyon, Ferguson, Cunningham, Sarris. Booked: Gillespie. Referee: Stephen Finnie.
Celtic’s mileage stretches on with no sign of interruption. The needle hit 69 successive games unbeaten with goals from Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Scott Sinclair against a worthy effort from Hamilton, for whom Daniel Redmond found the mark and Rakish Bingham struck the post. The Celtic Park ambience on a bitterly cold night reflected season diversions and office parties must have had an impact on the attendance because the usually vibrant stadium had the feel of a half-empty Christmas stocking. Those who made the effort to attend, however, were treated to an opening first 45 minutes replete with four goals, all of them excellent. Brendan Rodgers made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road, with Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney all on the bench to make way for Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton and Stuart Armstrong. Also sitting out the start once more were the striker pair of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele. The Hamilton manager, Martin Canning, without the luxury of a substantial squad, was forced to make six alterations to the line-up for their weekend defeat by St Johnstone in Perth. Canning revealed that David Templeton had missed training because of a throat infection, although the midfielder was numbered among the Accies substitutes, but Antiono Rojano had to be ruled out completely because of a back injury. In such circumstances, Celtic generally attempt to throttle opponents as early as possible and this occasion was no exception, with the stats showing them controlling 75% of possession by the 10-minute mark. By that stage, they were already a goal to the good from a delightful combination of Sinclair and Ntcham, the former chipping towards the back of the box for his colleague to strike a rising right-foot volley beyond Gary Woods. Daniel Redmond scores Hamilton's goal Credit: PA Hamilton might easily have folded but they stuck to a dispiriting task and got unexpected reward for persisting with an unpromising attack that seemed to have run out of steam on the left. The move was revitalised thanks to Darian MacKinnon’s persistence and, when the combative midfielder worked the ball to the edge of the box, Redmond did well to scoop his left-footed strike with precision and power high past Craig Gordon. As the interval approached, Hamilton could have been pardoned for imagining that they could take the comfort of a draw into the dressing room, but they were to be floored by two goals in as many minutes. The double blow carried additional force because Rakish Bingham had almost burst clear inside the Celtic half, only to be thwarted by a superbly timed interception by Ajer. Another day, another Celtic win Credit: PA The ball was shuttled adeptly through Armstrong to Forrest, who finished with trademark efficiency. Accies made the cardinal error of losing possession almost straight from therir restart and this time Forrest turned supplier, setting up Sinclair for an accomplished lofted effort into the top corner of the net. Odsonne Edouard, the teenager on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, had been granted the role of Celtic spearhead and his predatory instincts would have bagged him a couple of goals had it not been for impressive alertness from Woods, who twice plucked the ball from the Frenchman’s toes as he was played clean through the Hamilton back line. Edouard’s stint was done midway through the second half, when he was replaced by Griffiths, who took to the field with high energy. It was, though, Bingham who came closest when he prodded a shot through Gordon’s legs but was frustrated as the ball bobbled along the goal line and off the far post to safety. Match details Celtic (3-5-2):Gordon; Ajer, Boyata (Simunovic 72), Bitton; Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, Armstrong, McGregor; Edouard (Griffiths 67), Sinclair. Subs (unused): De Vries (g), Dembele, Hayes, Lustig, Tierney. Booked: Edouard. Hamilton Academical (3-5-2): Woods; Gogic, Tomas, McManus; Gillespie (, MacKinnon, Donati, Docherty, Imrie; Redmond, Bingham. Subs (unused): Fulton (g), Templeton, Lyon, Ferguson, Cunningham, Sarris. Booked: Gillespie. Referee: Stephen Finnie.
Celtic 3 Hamilton Academical 1: Spirited Accies downed as Brendan Rodgers' side extend unbeaten run
Celtic’s mileage stretches on with no sign of interruption. The needle hit 69 successive games unbeaten with goals from Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Scott Sinclair against a worthy effort from Hamilton, for whom Daniel Redmond found the mark and Rakish Bingham struck the post. The Celtic Park ambience on a bitterly cold night reflected season diversions and office parties must have had an impact on the attendance because the usually vibrant stadium had the feel of a half-empty Christmas stocking. Those who made the effort to attend, however, were treated to an opening first 45 minutes replete with four goals, all of them excellent. Brendan Rodgers made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road, with Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney all on the bench to make way for Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton and Stuart Armstrong. Also sitting out the start once more were the striker pair of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele. The Hamilton manager, Martin Canning, without the luxury of a substantial squad, was forced to make six alterations to the line-up for their weekend defeat by St Johnstone in Perth. Canning revealed that David Templeton had missed training because of a throat infection, although the midfielder was numbered among the Accies substitutes, but Antiono Rojano had to be ruled out completely because of a back injury. In such circumstances, Celtic generally attempt to throttle opponents as early as possible and this occasion was no exception, with the stats showing them controlling 75% of possession by the 10-minute mark. By that stage, they were already a goal to the good from a delightful combination of Sinclair and Ntcham, the former chipping towards the back of the box for his colleague to strike a rising right-foot volley beyond Gary Woods. Daniel Redmond scores Hamilton's goal Credit: PA Hamilton might easily have folded but they stuck to a dispiriting task and got unexpected reward for persisting with an unpromising attack that seemed to have run out of steam on the left. The move was revitalised thanks to Darian MacKinnon’s persistence and, when the combative midfielder worked the ball to the edge of the box, Redmond did well to scoop his left-footed strike with precision and power high past Craig Gordon. As the interval approached, Hamilton could have been pardoned for imagining that they could take the comfort of a draw into the dressing room, but they were to be floored by two goals in as many minutes. The double blow carried additional force because Rakish Bingham had almost burst clear inside the Celtic half, only to be thwarted by a superbly timed interception by Ajer. Another day, another Celtic win Credit: PA The ball was shuttled adeptly through Armstrong to Forrest, who finished with trademark efficiency. Accies made the cardinal error of losing possession almost straight from therir restart and this time Forrest turned supplier, setting up Sinclair for an accomplished lofted effort into the top corner of the net. Odsonne Edouard, the teenager on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, had been granted the role of Celtic spearhead and his predatory instincts would have bagged him a couple of goals had it not been for impressive alertness from Woods, who twice plucked the ball from the Frenchman’s toes as he was played clean through the Hamilton back line. Edouard’s stint was done midway through the second half, when he was replaced by Griffiths, who took to the field with high energy. It was, though, Bingham who came closest when he prodded a shot through Gordon’s legs but was frustrated as the ball bobbled along the goal line and off the far post to safety. Match details Celtic (3-5-2):Gordon; Ajer, Boyata (Simunovic 72), Bitton; Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, Armstrong, McGregor; Edouard (Griffiths 67), Sinclair. Subs (unused): De Vries (g), Dembele, Hayes, Lustig, Tierney. Booked: Edouard. Hamilton Academical (3-5-2): Woods; Gogic, Tomas, McManus; Gillespie (, MacKinnon, Donati, Docherty, Imrie; Redmond, Bingham. Subs (unused): Fulton (g), Templeton, Lyon, Ferguson, Cunningham, Sarris. Booked: Gillespie. Referee: Stephen Finnie.
Celtic’s mileage stretches on with no sign of interruption. The needle hit 69 successive games unbeaten with goals from Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Scott Sinclair against a worthy effort from Hamilton, for whom Daniel Redmond found the mark and Rakish Bingham struck the post. The Celtic Park ambience on a bitterly cold night reflected season diversions and office parties must have had an impact on the attendance because the usually vibrant stadium had the feel of a half-empty Christmas stocking. Those who made the effort to attend, however, were treated to an opening first 45 minutes replete with four goals, all of them excellent. Brendan Rodgers made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road, with Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney all on the bench to make way for Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton and Stuart Armstrong. Also sitting out the start once more were the striker pair of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele. The Hamilton manager, Martin Canning, without the luxury of a substantial squad, was forced to make six alterations to the line-up for their weekend defeat by St Johnstone in Perth. Canning revealed that David Templeton had missed training because of a throat infection, although the midfielder was numbered among the Accies substitutes, but Antiono Rojano had to be ruled out completely because of a back injury. In such circumstances, Celtic generally attempt to throttle opponents as early as possible and this occasion was no exception, with the stats showing them controlling 75% of possession by the 10-minute mark. By that stage, they were already a goal to the good from a delightful combination of Sinclair and Ntcham, the former chipping towards the back of the box for his colleague to strike a rising right-foot volley beyond Gary Woods. Daniel Redmond scores Hamilton's goal Credit: PA Hamilton might easily have folded but they stuck to a dispiriting task and got unexpected reward for persisting with an unpromising attack that seemed to have run out of steam on the left. The move was revitalised thanks to Darian MacKinnon’s persistence and, when the combative midfielder worked the ball to the edge of the box, Redmond did well to scoop his left-footed strike with precision and power high past Craig Gordon. As the interval approached, Hamilton could have been pardoned for imagining that they could take the comfort of a draw into the dressing room, but they were to be floored by two goals in as many minutes. The double blow carried additional force because Rakish Bingham had almost burst clear inside the Celtic half, only to be thwarted by a superbly timed interception by Ajer. Another day, another Celtic win Credit: PA The ball was shuttled adeptly through Armstrong to Forrest, who finished with trademark efficiency. Accies made the cardinal error of losing possession almost straight from therir restart and this time Forrest turned supplier, setting up Sinclair for an accomplished lofted effort into the top corner of the net. Odsonne Edouard, the teenager on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, had been granted the role of Celtic spearhead and his predatory instincts would have bagged him a couple of goals had it not been for impressive alertness from Woods, who twice plucked the ball from the Frenchman’s toes as he was played clean through the Hamilton back line. Edouard’s stint was done midway through the second half, when he was replaced by Griffiths, who took to the field with high energy. It was, though, Bingham who came closest when he prodded a shot through Gordon’s legs but was frustrated as the ball bobbled along the goal line and off the far post to safety. Match details Celtic (3-5-2):Gordon; Ajer, Boyata (Simunovic 72), Bitton; Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, Armstrong, McGregor; Edouard (Griffiths 67), Sinclair. Subs (unused): De Vries (g), Dembele, Hayes, Lustig, Tierney. Booked: Edouard. Hamilton Academical (3-5-2): Woods; Gogic, Tomas, McManus; Gillespie (, MacKinnon, Donati, Docherty, Imrie; Redmond, Bingham. Subs (unused): Fulton (g), Templeton, Lyon, Ferguson, Cunningham, Sarris. Booked: Gillespie. Referee: Stephen Finnie.
Celtic 3 Hamilton Academical 1: Spirited Accies downed as Brendan Rodgers' side extend unbeaten run
Celtic’s mileage stretches on with no sign of interruption. The needle hit 69 successive games unbeaten with goals from Olivier Ntcham, James Forrest and Scott Sinclair against a worthy effort from Hamilton, for whom Daniel Redmond found the mark and Rakish Bingham struck the post. The Celtic Park ambience on a bitterly cold night reflected season diversions and office parties must have had an impact on the attendance because the usually vibrant stadium had the feel of a half-empty Christmas stocking. Those who made the effort to attend, however, were treated to an opening first 45 minutes replete with four goals, all of them excellent. Brendan Rodgers made three changes from the 2-2 draw with Hibernian at Easter Road, with Mikael Lustig, Jozo Simunovic and Kieran Tierney all on the bench to make way for Kristoffer Ajer, Nir Bitton and Stuart Armstrong. Also sitting out the start once more were the striker pair of Leigh Griffiths and Moussa Dembele. The Hamilton manager, Martin Canning, without the luxury of a substantial squad, was forced to make six alterations to the line-up for their weekend defeat by St Johnstone in Perth. Canning revealed that David Templeton had missed training because of a throat infection, although the midfielder was numbered among the Accies substitutes, but Antiono Rojano had to be ruled out completely because of a back injury. In such circumstances, Celtic generally attempt to throttle opponents as early as possible and this occasion was no exception, with the stats showing them controlling 75% of possession by the 10-minute mark. By that stage, they were already a goal to the good from a delightful combination of Sinclair and Ntcham, the former chipping towards the back of the box for his colleague to strike a rising right-foot volley beyond Gary Woods. Daniel Redmond scores Hamilton's goal Credit: PA Hamilton might easily have folded but they stuck to a dispiriting task and got unexpected reward for persisting with an unpromising attack that seemed to have run out of steam on the left. The move was revitalised thanks to Darian MacKinnon’s persistence and, when the combative midfielder worked the ball to the edge of the box, Redmond did well to scoop his left-footed strike with precision and power high past Craig Gordon. As the interval approached, Hamilton could have been pardoned for imagining that they could take the comfort of a draw into the dressing room, but they were to be floored by two goals in as many minutes. The double blow carried additional force because Rakish Bingham had almost burst clear inside the Celtic half, only to be thwarted by a superbly timed interception by Ajer. Another day, another Celtic win Credit: PA The ball was shuttled adeptly through Armstrong to Forrest, who finished with trademark efficiency. Accies made the cardinal error of losing possession almost straight from therir restart and this time Forrest turned supplier, setting up Sinclair for an accomplished lofted effort into the top corner of the net. Odsonne Edouard, the teenager on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, had been granted the role of Celtic spearhead and his predatory instincts would have bagged him a couple of goals had it not been for impressive alertness from Woods, who twice plucked the ball from the Frenchman’s toes as he was played clean through the Hamilton back line. Edouard’s stint was done midway through the second half, when he was replaced by Griffiths, who took to the field with high energy. It was, though, Bingham who came closest when he prodded a shot through Gordon’s legs but was frustrated as the ball bobbled along the goal line and off the far post to safety. Match details Celtic (3-5-2):Gordon; Ajer, Boyata (Simunovic 72), Bitton; Forrest, Ntcham, Brown, Armstrong, McGregor; Edouard (Griffiths 67), Sinclair. Subs (unused): De Vries (g), Dembele, Hayes, Lustig, Tierney. Booked: Edouard. Hamilton Academical (3-5-2): Woods; Gogic, Tomas, McManus; Gillespie (, MacKinnon, Donati, Docherty, Imrie; Redmond, Bingham. Subs (unused): Fulton (g), Templeton, Lyon, Ferguson, Cunningham, Sarris. Booked: Gillespie. Referee: Stephen Finnie.
As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”
Managerless Rangers' January transfer activity to be led by former Manchester City academy director
As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”
As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”
Managerless Rangers' January transfer activity to be led by former Manchester City academy director
As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”
As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”
Managerless Rangers' January transfer activity to be led by former Manchester City academy director
As they approach the January transfer window with no sign of filling their managerial vacancy, Rangers will rely upon Mark Allen to reinforce their squad for the second half of the season. The man formerly in charge of the Manchester City academy is now director of football at Ibrox and according to interim manager, Graeme Murty, Allen could be thwarted in pursuit of targets because of the absence of a manager in the wake of Derek McInnes’s decision to snub Rangers’ offer to take charge. “It’s possible but, to be perfectly honest, I think we're buying a bit of trouble if we get focused on it,” Murty said. “Our recruitment department and Mark are looking at targets. “We're in daily discussions but, as it comes closer to that time and to individual players, you'll have to talk to Mark because he's in charge of that side of it at the moment. “I haven't been told anything is going to stop us getting a player that we like but, similarly, I haven't yet been detailed with specific targets. That will just have to take care of itself when January comes.” Meanwhile, the gulf that must somehow be bridged if Rangers are ever to restore their credibility as challengers to Celtic can be summed up by their respective aims on visits to Easter Road. On Sunday Celtic left the stadium with their unbeaten run extended to 68 in successive domestic fixtures. Interim manager Graeme Murty thinks Rangers could suffer in the transfer market given their lack of a permanent manager Credit: PA On Wednesday Rangers will aim to get to four wins in a row, having achieved three on the bounce for the first time in a year after beating Aberdeen home and away as well as coming from behind to prevail against Ross County at Ibrox on Saturday. Hibernian, of course, are in good shape with Neil Lennon in charge of their first season back in the top flight of Scottish football and a win would put them level with Rangers on points, and perhaps also with Aberdeen, depending upon the outcome in Perth, where the Dons meet St Johnstone. Hibs beat Rangers at Ibrox when the hapless Pedro Caixinha was in charge earlier in the season, but Murty did not accept that it would be a marker for him to reverse that outcome. “It’s three points. There’s no point reading any more into that,” he said. Murty and his de facto assistant, Jonatan Johansson, were at Easter Road to watch Hibs play Celtic on Sunday, although the interim boss confessed that the value of the exercise was debatable because of Lennon’s versatility. “JJ and I actually questioned how useful it was because I am not sure that Hibs will play in the same manner against us. I think they will have a different mindset, but it was useful for me to see the environment and to see some of their personnel without being constrained by the TV screen, to see how they move and what their strengths are. “Then we came back and watched three or four hours of their games and seeing them play in different formations. Mr Lennon is very adept at changing formations within the game too and we have to be on our toes dealing with that. Rangers are aiming for a fourth win in a row Credit: PA “I just think they will be more intense than they were against Celtic. The way that Celtic play in spreading the pitch and playing out from the back, and them being so good at it, actually draws the teeth of any aggressive press at the moment. I think Hibs will have possibly a different formation from the start.” Asked if Rangers’ current modest unbeaten run has encouraged him to nourish hope of extending the sequence as far as the Old Firm derby at Celtic Park on December 30, Murty said: This is Rangers - we should be looking at that anyway. “We are trying make sure we take care of one marker at a time. If we get carried away and start looking at Celtic Park, I have got no doubt there are opponents before that that will be looking to trip us up. “We have to deal with Hibs’ intensity, their level of play, because they have got some good players. They have been successful this season and we have to make sure we are fully prepared for that. “Then, if we get closer to Celtic, great, but let’s make sure we focus on our process and our game first. Let’s not worry about Celtic, let’s concern ourselves with us. “At Aberdeen, everyone contributed and even Carlos Pena was involved when he came off, congratulating the guys, realising that everyone has a part to play. “If we get that mindset, that togetherness, as I’ve said there are qualities and threats within our group that mean we can go and hurt teams.”
Celtic Fan View: Three talking points as Hoops let two points slip at Hibernian
Celtic Fan View: Three talking points as Hoops let two points slip at Hibernian
Celtic Fan View: Three talking points as Hoops let two points slip at Hibernian
Celtic Fan View: Three talking points as Hoops let two points slip at Hibernian
Celtic Fan View: Three talking points as Hoops let two points slip at Hibernian
Celtic Fan View: Three talking points as Hoops let two points slip at Hibernian

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