Scotland Women: Crichton believes Pinatar Cup is essential preparation for qualifiers

Scotland Women’s international Leeanne Crichton says that the Pinatar Cup is a chance for players to show off their credentials heading into the Euro 2021 qualifiers next month.

The Spain-based tournament serves as a refresher ahead of Scotland’s return to competitive matches in April, having already secured two wins in qualifying against Cyprus and Albania.

The Scots opened their tournament with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Ukraine on Wednesday and can retain their top spot in the group with victory over Northern Ireland tomorrow.

Speaking exclusively to EN4 News, Crichton said that it will be a chance for other players to stake a claim in the team.

“It is a chance to show what you can do over the nine days where you’ve got three games and the four or five training sessions,” she said.

“There are players that are the main part of this squad who are missing, so there won’t be many chances like this where you can actually get in the team. This is a really big opportunity for everyone to show what they can do and basically stake a claim in the camps that are coming up.”

Scotland boss Shelley Kerr handed a number of Scotland debuts in Murcia, including Martha Thomas, who opened the scoring against the Ukrainians.

Despite the new system and players, coupled with a lack of preparation time, Crichton was impressed with how her teammates have adjusted.

“It’s hard to gauge in terms of the performance because there have been so many changes in the team,” she admitted.

“It was pretty much a new backline, a new midfield and we changed the formation. We literally arrived on Monday, trained Tuesday and played the game on Wednesday, so there hasn’t been much prep time.

“I think that everybody did really well, and the clean sheet is always a bonus as well.

“It is absolutely about winning, but performances will be a big [aspect]. Individually, I think players will be focusing on their own performances. It’s just about keeping that continuity within the squad and looking to build that confidence. I think that is what we need heading into these big matches that we’re going to have in April and June.”

A win in the tournament would serve as Scotland’s perfect warm-up before a return to competitive action next month, with matches against Cyprus and Portugal to come.

Podcast: Let’s talk about period poverty

In an EN4 News Lifestyle Podcast, Heather Miller discusses the trending topic of ‘period poverty’.

With controversy emerging on social media in the last week or two following discussions about women’s sexual health, and the taboo subject of periods, there has been a boom of interest in the subject. The term ‘period poverty’ is based around the lack of basic sanitary products, waste management and general menstrual hygiene education

Heather is joined in her exploration of the topic by EN4 News reporters Caitlin Gallagher and Darren McConachie, as they examine the stigma and controversy surrounding it.


Edinburgh MP brands Ruth Davidson’s House of Lords nomination “ridiculous”

Former Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson’s nomination for a House of Lords peerage has been described as “ridiculous” by an SNP MP.

Tommy Shepard, the MP for Edinburgh West, told EN4 News he believes the House should be abolished.

“It’s ridiculous that people sit in a position of power over others without being accountable and elected,” Shepard told EN4 News.

“It is outrageous that in this country that says it’s a democracy, a majority of the members of [one of our] parliaments are not elected by anyone.”

It was announced on Thursday that Davidson, MSP for Edinburgh Central, had been nominated Prime Minister Boris Johnson alongside former chancellors Ken Clarke and Philip Hammond.

Her constituents have responded in a more mixed manner to the nomination.

Tricia Marwick tweets about Ruth Davidson’s nomination to House of Lords


Willie, speaking to EN4 News, said he supports the appointment despite not personally voting Conservative.

“She is not my party but I think she’s an excellent politician,” he said.

“She is a good asset for the House of Lords.”

Others were not so pleased.

“It is just payment for what she did over the last 5-10 years in Scotland,” Lynsey said.

“I’m a supporter of Scottish Independence and Ruth Davidson was instrumental in trying to fork that and her reward has been a seat in the House of Lords. It is absolutely a front to democracy.”

The former Conservative Leader is set to stand down as an MSP next year at Holyrood’s 2021 election but becoming a peer could mean an earlier departure.

EN4 News took to the Edinburgh streets to canvas opinion

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“It’s not over” – Scotland’s MEPs prepare for unemployment after Brexit

Scottish MEP Aileen McLeod says it will be “heartbreaking” to leave the European parliament. (Credit: SNP)

As of 11pm tonight, the 72 British members of the European Parliament will lose their jobs.

Goodbyes will be said and desks will be cleared following Britain’s official exit from the European Union. With the United Kingdom no longer requiring its MEPs, those who represented the country in Brussels and Strasbourg will be sent back home.

While Brexit is a huge change for the country, it will affect those who will no longer be employed in the European Parliament even more.

See more: Sturgeon calls for patience in delivering Indyref 2 after Brexit
See more: Brexit transition period “nowhere near long enough”
See more: How well do you remember Brexit? Take the ultimate quiz!

In a statement released to EN4 News, Aileen McLeod, a Scottish National Party politician – who was elected as a Member of the European Parliament for Scotland in the 2019 European Parliament election – shared her feelings ahead of Friday’s deadline.

“Being a member of Europe’s Parliament has been one of the greatest honours of my life, and we have friends and allies within the Parliament and across the EU. They are heartbroken we are leaving,” McLeod said.

However, she doesn’t think all is lost for those who want Scotland to be in the EU.

(Credit: EN4 News)

“It is not over,” McLeod said. “I have been doing everything I can to keep the channels of communication open for an independent Scotland’s entry into the EU, including organising the establishment of a European Friends of Scotland group of cross-party MEPs. Scotland is a strong European nation and will remain so.”

The idea of an independent Scotland re-joining the EU was highlighted clearly throughout her statement and it is hoped that the country would be welcomed back.

“When the moment comes for Scotland to re-join the EU then I hope the European Parliament will welcome us in that same spirit of European solidarity, and will leave a light on for Scotland in the meantime.

“I give you my word, Scotland will continue to protect the interests of EU citizens who have made Scotland their home. The UK may be leaving the EU, but Scotland is not abandoning you.”

Sheila Ritchie says she leaving the European parliament will be “devastating” (Credit: Scottish Liberal Democrats)

EN4News also spoke with Liberal Democrat MEP Sheila Ritchie to find out her plans for the future.

When asked how she felt about leaving her role in Brussels, Sheila Ritchie simply replied: “It is devastating.”

The former solicitor has said that she will be spending more time at home from now on but will continue in voluntary party politics.

Edinburgh City Council urged to tackle graffiti hotspot

Edinburgh City Council have been urged to act on the increasing cases of graffiti found on historic buildings in the city centre.

Milne’s Court, owned by the University of Edinburgh, became the latest historic spot to be targeted by vandals in Edinburgh’s Old Town.

The close which connects The Mound to The Royal Mile is a popular photo spot for tourists who visit the city.

People have taken to social media asking Edinburgh City Council to do something about the graffiti.

One tweeted: “This is heartbreaking. Anything @Edinburgh_CC @edinhelp can help with? Milne’s Court.”

Another said: “Graffiti is now a major problem in Edinburgh. The police and council need to get a grip as it is scarring the city.”

“The Old Town is covered in graffiti by mostly the same vandals judging by the tags so why can’t they find those responsible and get them to remove it?”

(Credit: EN4 News)

Edinburgh City Council appointed a graffiti officer last year to deal with complaints of graffiti and look into how to deal with graffiti as well as prevent and protect buildings from graffiti.

Joanna Mowat, Edinburgh City Council, said: “The City has previously made efforts to work with groups who have been making street art and trying to find appropriate places where this can take place that is not on historic buildings.

“Where it is left on these buildings or in areas where it is not welcomed and catered for then it does have an impact on the city and makes it look unloved and uncared for.”

Despite the measures that have been put in place to deal with graffiti on public buildings; privately owned premises’ that have been marked are the responsibility of the owner and the council can only give advice on how to remove it.

The Architectural Heritage Society of Scotland (AHSS) have said that they abhor graffiti on listed buildings.

“The AHSS does not agree with any idea that this is art. It is an insult to its historic surroundings and to the building itself.”

“It affects the public perception of their importance and suggests that they are not being cared for properly. Tourists will find that their vision and expectations of the Royal Mile will be damaged and discouraged.”

They explained that the removal of graffiti is expensive and difficult as well as possibly causing semi-permanent damage to the stonework.


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Edinburgh convenience store employee recounts horror attack by group of young boys on Thursday night

An employee at a Niddrie convenience store has told EN4 News that he was subject to an attack on Thursday night.

30 to 40 youths, armed with crowbars and knives, were involved in the violence that left two members of staff injured, according to the employee, who wanted to remain anonymous.

The group waited until staff members came outside before throwing objects at them and then proceeding to attack them.

Police have confirmed that they are treating the attack as a hate crime.

The member of staff explained the results of last night’s brutal collision.

“They hit my colleague with a crowbar over the head so he has minor injuries that he went to the hospital for and his younger brother as well, they punched him,” he said.

“There was so many and they are only two people how can they fight with just two people.”

When asked how often incidents like this happen, he explained it has become a regular occurrence.

“Every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday most of the time… I don’t really know how to face this problem if they come in a group and sit outside at night time what can we do”

Despite contacting the police throughout this ongoing issue, staff are told the most they can do is bar the youths from entering the premises and then if they enter following this an arrest could be made.

“The police say to just bar them so they don’t come inside and then they don’t become aggressive with you.

“But what happens is, when we bar them they don’t just say so we can’t get in? So we can’t buy any juice or anything from here? No, they just made the plan to come outside here and look at them they had the crowbars and knives in their hands”

Those involved were known to be wearing hoods and covering their faces in a bid to hide their identity. Police are probing the situation and have asked for any witnesses to come forward.

A spokesperson for Police Scotland said: “Police were called to report of a disturbance at premises on Hay Avenue, Edinburgh, around 6.55pm on Thursday, 23 January 2020.

“A 49-year-old man and a 38-year-old man were assaulted and suffered minor injuries, however, they did not require hospital treatment.

“Officers are treating the incident as a hate crime and enquiries are ongoing. Anyone with information is asked to call police on 101, quoting reference number 3092 of 23 January.”

Surge in UK pub numbers “more down to food than drink”

A supervisor in an Edinburgh pub has said the rise of the number of pubs in the UK is because they are selling more food than drink.

The number of pubs and bars is on the rise in the UK for the first time in ten years, and according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), this is the first increase of pubs opening in over a decade.

Photo Credit: Elise Kennedy

The British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) said that the rise in these businesses is “cautiously welcomed.”

Owners are suggesting that these increases are connected to the change in customer demands. There is a trend in people spending more money eating out rather than drinking out.

The number of people that are employed in the pub and bar industry has increased over the course of the years. However, this has been suggested to be due to the growing numbers of larger, food-orientated pubs.

Management is now employing more positions serving food rather than people behind the bar.

The shift has resulted in an increase in customers going to pubs to eat rather than drink – the number of kitchen and waiting staff rose from 29.1% to 43.8%, according to the recent ONS report.

The Golf Tavern is one of Edinburgh’s oldest pubs (Credit: Caitlin Gallagher)

However, small local pubs, particularly those outside of city centres, are still under pressure as they are facing challenges in order to match the low prices that larger chains are able to offer.

Robert Alexander, bartender at Usquabae Whisky Bar And Larder, thinks smaller pubs will struggle under the rise of more businesses.

“I feel smaller pubs will be affected by this rise as people are always looking for the next new thing, especially the younger generation.”

Bar supervisor, Sian Salmon, believes that pubs are focused more on food and doesn’t see the rise in pubs as a bad thing.

“I think it’s good because, like you say, there are a lot of small pubs at capacity, but if you’re at capacity then you’re at capacity. I think it gives people a lot of options and a lot of different types of venues, but I don’t see it as a bad thing.

“We are a lot more food-heavy than we used to be. Just over the last few years, people have realised and just keep coming back for food. We get a lot of repeat custom here and a lot of tourists as well because we are quite an old pub in the books.

“My personal experience would just be time to cook. I guess it’s just a bit more social, something to do outside the house. Once you’re drinking you might get a bit peckish especially on the weekends, after you’ve had a few pints you might smell the food around the room.”

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Plans to scrap free tram fares for over-60s condemned as ‘completely unacceptable’


Photo credit: Wikipedia

A pensioners’ charity group has warned transport officials that scrapping free tram fares for the over-60s could lead to the rise in loneliness and isolation for elders.

Future plans to scrap concessionary tram fares in Edinburgh, as part of the city council’s latest budget cuts, has been condemned as “completely unacceptable”.

Charity group ‘Age Concern’ has written to every councillor within the city warning that scrapping free tram travel for over-60s will put elders at risk. The proposal was one of the measures proposed by the SNP-Labour coalition in its aim to save £36 million.

Chief executive of Age Scotland, Brian Sloan, said that the transport scheme for concessions acts as a lifeline for older people within the community.

“We know that trams are especially valued by older people with limited mobility, as they are easily accessible,” Sloan said. “Putting the brakes on this scheme will undoubtedly discourage people from getting out and about, and could lead to more loneliness and isolation.”

In their letters to councillors the charity group said: “Instead of reducing access to trams for older people, Age Scotland believes that capital city should be leading by example to create a fairer, more accessible, fully integrated transport system for all its residents.”

Nick Cook, Conservative transport spokesman, stated that he feels winter time could be an apprehensive and secluded time of the year for many older people.

“To float axing concessions at the onset of winter shows how out of touch SNP and Labour are with the Capitals residents.

“However, the situation raises concerns for all bus and tram users, who may have to stump up for higher fares as a result. On top of already funding the tram extension, the future profitability of Lothian Buses becomes a huge concern.”

Liberal Democrats transport spokesman Kevin Lang said: “This proposal shows just how dysfunctional the administration’s policy on public transport has become.

“They talk a good game on encouraging people to switch away from cars but they propose new barriers which run completely contrary to that aim – and all because we face the prospect yet again of the SNP massively cutting the council’s budget.”

Gavin Corbett said that funding free tram transport is highly beneficial for over-60s and disabled people.

“There’s a climate emergency in which the council should be encouraging more use of public transport,” he said.

“It’s time the SNP-Labour administration stopped treating the budget like a game of leaks and focused on producing robust proposals which work in the interests of the city.”

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