Hearts: Stendel predicts relegation fight will go down to final day

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel has predicted that his side’s fight for Scottish Premiership survival will go down the final day of the season.

The Jambos’ emphatic 3-1 derby win over Hibernian on Tuesday night lifted them off the foot of the table for a mere 24 hours, before Hamilton’s shock victory over Rangers the following night dragged them back to the foot of the table.

Stendel believes that his team will need to drag other sides into the basement battle and thinks that the fight for survival will go right down to the wire despite an upturn in form.

“We have five games left [before the split]. The situation is not comfortable for us, but it hasn’t changed,” he said. “We knew it would be good if we won this game, but it still hasn’t changed for us.

“It’s important we collect more points; not that we look to Hamilton every time, but we collect our points. We let a lot of points slip, and the time is over for us to do this again. When we win our points, we don’t depend on the others.

“We need more results. Sometimes we will win games and other times the other team will win games. I think it will be decided on the last game.

“The first time all season we won two big games in a row. It’s a good sign that we can do it.”

Stendel has recently abandoned his favoured gegenpressing approach for a more disciplined style of play, and impressive victories over the Hibees and Rangers have renewed optimism in what has been a disappointing season so far.

“I think this is the first time this season we won two big games in a row. It shows we can do it,” he said.

“The kind of play in both games is the main point for me to take from the games. We showed a mentality on Tuesday, and our discipline was important.

“The situation is good for me and the players. We have more experiences when we work together, and when we do work together and have the right discipline and behaviours on the pitch, we will get the chances to win the game.”

Hearts face a Motherwell side who claimed an impressive 4-1 victory over Ross County on Wednesday. The Jambos will still be without Toby Sibbick as he remains out through illness, though the defender may be back in training next week.

Scottish lecturer strike looms due to an “unacceptable” reduction of salary

“Unacceptable” pay has led to lecturers from six Scottish universities voting to go on strike, the joint secretary of the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) has told EN4 News.

EIS claim that lecturers have seen a 20% deduction in the value of their pay over the last decade.

Edinburgh Napier is among five other Scottish universities – Aberdeen, Strathclyde, Abertay, West of Scotland, and the Glasgow School of Art – set for strike action.

“We have, over the last 10 years, had to put up with sub-inflationary pay rises,” Anne Keenan from EIS told EN4 News.

“[The universities] are sending a very clear message that this is the time to make a stand and say that this is not acceptable.”

The industrial action will be the first instance that staff from Napier have gone on strike since 2013.

EIS is still hopeful that strike action will be avoided, and that the Universities and Colleges Employers Association will return to discussions with what they see as a meaningful solution to these issues.

“Strike action is the last resort of any trade union,” Keenan added.

“We have repeatedly tried to engage the employer in discussions around pay and bring them back to the table.

“Even in this late stage, we are hopeful they will return, and more importantly, be ready to discuss the matter of pay.”

Spending on senior pay has increased by 11% in the last year, which has led to outrage from lecturers.

The strikes follow the University of Edinburgh’s decision to take industrial action over 8 days in November last year.

Details of the strikes are set to be released within the next week.

A Deep Dive into Comic Con Scotland 2019

Edinburgh will field a trip back to the future this weekend, as a host of stars will descend upon the Royal Highland Centre for the second annual Comic Con.

Stars such as Jean-Claude Van Damme and WWE legend The Undertaker top this year’s bill, after the events’ resounding success in 2018.

There are a host of opportunities for lucky fans to meet these all-time greats, and a vast array of zones dedicated to some of sci-fis biggest names, including a Back to the Future zone headlined by Doc Brown himself, Christopher Lloyd.

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There truly is something for everyone at Comic Con this year, including one of the largest motorbike enthusiast conventions in the country, the UK Bike Fest. The Festival will be headlined by stars of the hit show Sons of Anarchy, including Scotland’s own Tommy Flanagan, who played the outlaw biker ‘Chibs’ in the series.

The cosplay championship, synonymous with the event boasts a prize worth $2000, including a meet and greet with every guest at the event, and the chance for a photo with The Undertaker to appear in the national papers.

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Fans will have the chance to quiz their favourite stars in Q&A sessions throughout the weekend, with the likes of Van Damme, Lloyd and Rocky star Burt Young.

“Our first Comic-Con in Scotland was a huge success last year. Bringing big 80’s stars like Knight Rider David Hasselhoff, The Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno etc…” says Comic Con Scotland in a press release.

“This year on Saturday 12th and 13th October at the Royal Highland Centre in Edinburgh, we have gone even BIGGER! Bringing international movie and martial arts star Jean Claude Van Damme and international Wrestling Star The Undertaker, we are giving fans a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet them both.”

For more details on the proceedings check out the Comic Con Scotland website.

Inverness Caley Thistle facing threat of administration

Inverness Caledonian Thistle will tonight plead with shareholders to step up and save the club from administration.

In an interview with the Daily Mail, chief executive Scot Gardiner told of how Caley have been losing around $800,000 every year since they were relegated to the Championship.

Gardiner will use the club’s EGM to hold talks with shareholders in the hopes that they will ‘step up’ and inject a vast amount of cash.

“We’re in the second tier and we can’t afford it,” Gardiner told MailSport

“We have been speaking to some of the big shareholders appealing to them to help us find working capital because we don’t have the revenue to continue as we are.

“We need them to step up now.”

Thistle were relegated to the Scottish Championship in 2017 and failed to make the promotion play-offs the following season. They currently sit third in the league after seven games.

Under-fire bosses meet in Hibs and Dons clash

The SPFL Premiership had already sent out two managers’ P45s by this time last season, so it’s no wonder the ‘sack race’ is gathering pace with the season’s second international break right around the corner.

The two favourites to be evicted from their posts meet head to head on Saturday, as Hibernian make the trip to Pittodrie to face Aberdeen. Both managers are feeling the pressure despite resting at opposite ends of the table. Two weeks ago, after a Edinburgh derby defeat, it appeared that there was no way back for Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom, fast forward one week and there’s another man in the hotseat.

Since arriving in the Granite City in 2013, Derek McInnes has led Aberdeen to 4 consecutive 2nd placed finishes, a League Cup win and 3 further cup final appearances. You would be forgiven for wondering why McInnes finds himself the bookies favourites to be the first managerial casualty of the season.

The Dons have had a stuttering start to the season which sees them lying in 4th place, 7 points off 2nd place Rangers. The rising gap between Aberdeen and the Old Firm has led to frustration from Dons fans, and the 5-0 hammering at Ibrox last weekend won’t have done McInnes any favours.

Since Rangers were promoted back to the Premiership, Aberdeen have struggled to gain a foothold in the fixtures against their bitter rivals, winning only 2 out of the last 12 against Steven Gerrard’s side. A poor record against both Rangers and Celtic, who Aberdeen have only beaten once in the last 3 seasons, has led to a revolt from Dons fans who believe that they should be challenging at the top of the table.

Heckingbottom only has one win against a top-six side in his time in Edinburgh (Credit: David Ronney)

 

Over in the capital, it’s been a different story for Heckingbottom’s Hibs. A miserable start to the season has the Hibees lying 11th in the table with the 2nd worst goal difference in the league. A 2-1 defeat to city rivals Hearts led many to believe the writing was on the wall for the former Barnsley gaffer. No player in the Hibs squad has scored more than one league goal this season, and they have struggled to replace some key losses in the summer, with the likes of Mark Milligan and Marc McNulty moving on.

A week is a long time in football however, and it seems the tide may be starting to turn at Easter Road, with a penalty shootout win against Kilmarnock means Hibs will be going to Hampden for a League Cup semi-final, and a spirited performance against Celtic last weekend has seen the mood lift at Easter Road after a drab performance in the Edinburgh Derby. It seemed there was no way back for Heckingbottom after the defeat.

With two teams at opposite ends of the table, Saturday’s game should be a polarizing affair. Hibs are yet to win away from home this season and Aberdeen will be looking to bounce back after a desperately poor performance against Rangers. Both managers are under the cosh and are in need of a big result, which will paint a clearer picture of both teams’ seasons after the international break.

 

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