Hearts sign former Leeds left back Aidy White


Heart of Midlothian have bolstered their squad with the addition of former Leeds United and Barnsley left back Aidy White.

White, a free agent, had been on the radar of manager Craig Levein for over a year, and signed a contract this afternoon that will keep him at Tynecastle until 2021.

The news comes after the club also announced Uche Ikpeazu is extending his deal until 2022.

“We’ve been in dialogue with Aidy for a year and feel that now is the right time to bring him in,” Levein said.

“He’s got a lot of work to do to reach the level we think he’s capable of but I’m confident he can fulfil his potential and prove to be a vital cog in the wheel as we look towards the future.”

The 27-year-old defender came through the Leeds youth system and played over 100 games before joining Barnsley, winning the Football League Trophy and the League One Play-Off Final in 2016.

He has also captained Northern Ireland U21s but a groin injury forced him out in 2017.


Raith Rovers “have to believe” they can be promoted says manager


Raith Rovers manager John McGlynn says the club “have to believe” they can be promoted into the Championship after missing out last season.

Raith slipped to third in Scottish League One last weekend after drawing 2-2 with Stranraer, but are safely within the promotion places with a 10 point gap to fifth-placed Montrose.

McGlynn says his side have “ambitions” to return to the Scottish Championship where they feel they belong.

Speaking exclusively to EN4 News, he said: “We obviously are a big club and we have ambitions to be in the Championship, we were very hopeful we were going to win promotion, win the league and go up directly through winning it.

“Unfortunately we find ourselves 15 points behind Arbroath with nine games to go and they would have to have a disaster which I’m not expecting to happen, so it means the play-offs is the next opportunity and avenue to get into the Championship.

“We’ve got to believe that we can still do that, that’s our aim. Raith Rovers unfortunately were in League 1 last year, didn’t manage to make it out  and get into the Championship where we feel we belong, so we’re trying to put that right this season.”


Raith host Airdrie tomorrow looking to get back to winning ways, after drawing the last two matches and failing to win more than one game in the last five.

McGlynn wants to see his team become more clinical in the final third.

“We’ve missed some opportunities in games where we should’ve killed opposition off, and we end up getting caught with the sucker-punch and dropping points in some games,  even although we’ve scored eight goals in the last three games,” he said.

“We’re the top scorers in the league so you know, everything is not doom and gloom, we score a lot of goals.  Last Saturday we had to come from behind, 2-0 down we had to come from behind so the boys showed great character and similarly on the Tuesday night against Dumbarton, we came back really well, Dumbarton have showed good form recently.

“You’re always concerned [about form], you want to win every game you go into. We’ve not been taking our chances which is a big thing in football, you’ve got to take your opportunities when they come along and we’ve not done that often.”

McGlynn is aware that tomorrow’s match will be difficult even though Airdrie have also been in patchy form lately.

“Airdrie got a good win last week, they were on the back of a difficult run, they weren’t going particularly well,” McGlynn said.

“Ian Murray has them really well organised, they’re always a really difficult opponent to play against. Again they’ve got a good blend of young players, some of which are on loan and some experience as well so there’s no easy game.

“It’s a tough league, there’s absolutely no easy games so everyone is kind of beating everyone, it’s only Arbroath that have been exceptional and got themselves quite a substantial lead.

“It’ll be a difficult game but obviously we’re looking to consolidate our play-off position, try and finish the season as high as we possibly can, get as many points as we possibly can, and go into the play-offs in good form, confident and looking to get promoted.”

Hibs showing great “intensity and drive” says Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom suffered his first defeat as Hibernian manager against Celtic last weekend (Credit: Luke Barry)

Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom has praised his side’s “intensity and drive” as they look to seal a sixth place spot in the Scottish Premiership.

Heckingbottom has won three of his first four games in charge at Easter Road, but lost to Celtic last weekend 2-0 in the quarter-final of the Scottish Cup.

Hibs face Rangers tonight in the league, and the manager admitted that Steven Gerrard’s side could have an advantage as they have a larger squad to work with.

“They’ve been good, hit a lot of form now [and] scoring goals,” Heckingbottom said.

“I can’t imagine Steven changing too much, but he does have the capabilities to do that if he wants with the squad he’s got and the players he’s got competing for each position but I don’t think there’ll be too much different in the set-up and how he approaches the game.

“We’re struggling with injuries and suspensions where we don’t have the personnel to rotate the squad without significantly weakening the team.”

Hibs are currently sixth in the league, three points behind neighbours Hearts but three points clear of St Johnstone.

Heckingbottom revealed that remaining in the top six is now the aim for the rest of the season.

He added: “That’s our focus [and]that’s what our focus has been.

“We’ve been chasing, and we said that before the last away game that all of a sudden we are now in the top six with teams chasing us, we earned the right to be in the driving seat if you like, get the sixth spot.

“The players fought and fought and fought and managed to pull away and get another three points, so it’s that sort of intensity and drive we want to have between now and the end of the season.

“You’ve got to fight for it, whoever does get in that top six will deserve it and we want to make sure that it’s us.”

Heckingbottom also praised the efforts his squad has made to adapt to his tactics, with everyone at the club “on the same page” and “searching for the same answers.”

He said: “The players have responded really well [to my way of working].

“We earned the right to be in the driving seat if you like, [to] get the sixth spot.”

“I spoke to them again in training and whatever ideas I have they’ll do it and when they’re trying and giving everything I back them 100%.

“We know we are in progress, we know where we are in the league in terms of standings, size of clubs, but we have to use that to our advantage and be a team that enjoys playing against the so-called bigger clubs, and also enjoying having the status of a big club ourselves when other teams come to town.

“So we know where we are, we’ve really enjoyed the start but we know we’ve got to keep improving.”

It all gets underway at Easter Road from 7:45pm and the match is live on BT Sport.

How Rally Mexico could define the 2019 WRC


Ott Tanak is on the verge of World Rally dominance (Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing)

Ott Tanak is a man in impeccable form at the moment. The Estonian star leads the World Rally Championship for the first time in his career, and depending on his performance on round three, this could just be the start of his dominance.

Rally Mexico is up next for the WRC circus. Held on roads high up in the mountains, the gravel event poses a completely unique challenge for the crews as the high altitude saps significant power from the engines.

It’s also the first gravel rally of the year – the surface the majority of the season is run on – which means the true pecking order will begin to be established after the winter madness of Monte-Carlo and Sweden.

Toyota driver Tanak heads into the stages first on the road after winning in Sweden last month, which means he will face the worst of the conditions as he sweeps away the loose gravel from the stages for those behind.

Tanak’s chief rivals, Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville and Citroen’s six-time and defending world champion Sebastien Ogier, start second and third on the road this weekend, making them favourites to win and claw points away from Tanak.

However such a suggestion is to belittle the confidence Tanak oozes right now. Rally Mexico could be a real turning point in the Estonian’s relatively short career.

Nobody is expecting a Tanak victory for two key reasons: he is sweeping the gravel which he has never had to do in his career, and his Toyota Yaris has been prone to suffering engine issues on the Mexican stages in previous years.

However Tanak is in his absolute prime and right now he is the out-and-out fastest man in the World Rally Championship.

37.14% of all stags-2

Tanak has won more stages than anybody else this season (Credit: McKlein)

If anybody is capable of overturning the odds, it is Tanak. The graphic above shows the control the Estonian can have over his rivals.

Since last summer he has been almost untouchable. He has won four of the last seven rallies on all three surfaces (tarmac, gravel and snow) and is almost guaranteed to be winning multiple events as the season progresses if he maintains this form.

A win in Mexico would be devastating for his rivals. It would move him into at least a 14 point lead in the championship, but more than that it would leave Tanak with limited chinks in his armour.


Tanak has a seven point championship lead over Neuville (Credit: Toyota Gazoo Racing)

World champion Ogier is busy adapting to his Citroen C3 after moving from M-Sport Ford last season, while Neuville is pushing the maximum out of his Hyundai i20 that isn’t looking quite as competitive as the Toyota Yaris.

If Tanak can win on a rally where he is seemingly at his weakest, ultimately the only thing stopping him thereafter would be himself.

The World Rally Championship has enjoyed some scintillating championship battles over the last two years, but the 2019 race could be over before it has even begun if Tanak is standing on the top step of the podium on Sunday.

The first proper stage of Rally Mexico, El Chocolate, starts at 16:18 UK time this afternoon. Stages will be live on BT Sport throughout the weekend.

Citroen’s Esapekka Lappi currently leads the rally after last night’s 0.7-mile city centre stage.

Hibs boss calls for improved fan behaviour following bottle incident

Paul Heckingbottom

Paul Heckingbottom said Hibernian fans must conduct themselves in the right manner (Credit: Luke Barry)

Hibernian manager Paul Heckingbottom has urged fans of the club to become “the best off the pitch” following an incident in last weekend’s Scottish Cup defeat to Celtic.

Celtic winger, Scott Sinclair was almost struck by a bottle and coin thrown from the stands in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat as the hosts bowed out of the Scottish Cup at the quarter-final stage.

The incident is one in a long series this season where missiles have been thrown towards match officials, managers and players themselves.

Heckingbottom delivered a message to the supporters of the Edinburgh club, urging them to behave themselves so that the club can become the “best supported” team on and off the pitch.

He said: “People can get carried away I understand that, people may have been out and had a few drinks before, but there’s still a way that you have to behave at a football match.

“And just like how I speak to our players about representing the club our fans represent the club as well, and [while] we want to be the best football team on the pitch, we [also] want to be the best supported team off the pitch as well.”

Heckingbottom continued, stating that misbehaving fans must be identified and disgraced, suggesting that sanctions must be handed out in order nip the issue in the bud.

He added: “It has been topical up here [but] you don’t want to see that anywhere you know.

“And we want to get a grip of it so whilst we can appeal to people to behave themselves and be responsible, we also need to get better ways to identify people and enforce penalties, enforce bans, things like that because you want the best possible products on the pitch and off the pitch.

“As a collective people have to take responsibility for it whether that’s fans in round about, friends if you’ve got a friend misbehaving, clubs to identify their own supporters if they’re possibly doing it and sanctions imposed by whoever can impose the sanctions.”

“You want as many people as you can attending, you want to grow the sport in your country and make it appealing not only to paying fans but TV fans as well and part of that is behaviour and how people perceive individual teams and the league as a whole.

“The safety of the players is paramount. As a footballer you should be going out there and giving it everything, that should be your sole focus to do your job and perform as well as you possibly can. Not worried that every time you take a throw-in or a set-piece and you’re near the fans that something is going to happen.”

Following the incident, Chief Executive Leeann Dempster issued a statement saying the club will be installing additional CCTV cameras to avoid issues like this in the future.

She said: “This incident, and the damage to our reputation, has led us to now invest further in upgrading our already modern CCTV set-up at no small cost.

“Clearly this is also money we would rather be spending on football.

“In future, there will be no hiding place for those few individuals who seek to tarnish the reputation of the vast majority who do Hibernian proud on a weekly basis at grounds all over the country.

“Any supporter caught engaging in behaviour that places players, staff and other fans at risk will be dealt with in the strongest possible terms available to us, whether that involves exclusion from Easter Road Stadium, a Football Banning Order or criminal prosecution when appropriate.

The Easter Road club return to Scottish Premiership action on Friday night as they host Rangers. Kick off is at 7:45pm.

My Morning Routine*

(Credit: Jade Du Preez)

McDonaugh: City can’t fall further behind league leaders


McDonaugh’s City led for most of the season (Credit: Ross Cowper-Fraser)

Edinburgh City manager James McDonaugh has urged his side to keep winning games as they look to close the gap to Peterhead in the Scottish League Two.

City have been league leaders for much of the season, but following a 1-0 loss at Clyde on Saturday, they are now five points behind Peterhead with nine games remaining.

McDonaugh’s men bounced back from defeat with a 1-0 victory over Berwick Rangers on Tuesday, but the manager admitted City can’t afford to fall any further behind.

He said: “There probably was more pressure to be fair [on Tuesday] because we don’t want to fall further behind.

“Peterhead could’ve gone eight points ahead of us yesterday so we wanted to hang in there, that’s what we did.


“At this stage of the season we have more points than the team that won it last season; Montrose had 55 [points] after 27 games and we’ve got 58, so it shows you how well we’ve done.

“But it also shows you how good Clyde and Peterhead are as well. It’s just been a terrific league and sometimes you’ve got to just look at other teams and say how well they’ve done as well.”

City have been outstanding defensively this season, with goalkeeper Calum Antell claiming a clean sheet in almost half the games he has played.

However, McDonaugh admitted that he wants more creativity from his side going forward in the push for the title.

He added: “I would like to see a little more created in the final third.

“That’s the one thing we have to work on.

“We’ve played 27 league games [and] we’ve had 13 clean sheets in the league which is a fantastic return. Almost every second game, and Blair Henderson [has] obviously scored a fantastic amount of goals.

“I think we just need some other players to chip in with a bit more creativity and goal scoring.”

City head to Queen’s Park on Saturday, a team they have beaten three times already this season.

Although McDonaugh is aware beating them for a fourth time will be difficult, he added that there is now an added impetus on winning games as their destiny is now out of their hands.

He said: “You could say we have to win them all.

“We’re in a good position to still be challenging, we just want to try and win as many games as we can between now and the end of the season.

“If we were to finish top four and make the play-offs that would be a fantastic achievement. What I’m trying to say is eighth would have been an improvement because we finished ninth last season, and that’s a fact.”

“So to go from ninth place, fighting relegation, to then be going into a promotion play-off is fantastic. I think people maybe just get a bit carried away when you’ve been top for a lot of the weeks of the season.

“I think at the end of the day if we were to finish top four, three, two, one or whatever, it’s still a great achievement to be going in with something to fight for in the play-offs.”

To read more Edinburgh City articles, click here.

Sports paper review: March 1st

EN4 News sports reporters Bryce Donaldson and John Menzies sit down with Luke Barry to discuss today’s sporting headlines from the Scottish newspapers.

Vettel tops final morning of F1 testing


Vettel set the fastest time of testing this morning (Credit: Motorsport Images)

Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel topped the final morning of pre-testing ahead of the 2019 Formula 1 season.

Vettel’s team-mate Charles Leclerc set the fastest time of testing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Spain yesterday afternoon with a lap-time of 1m16.231s.

The four-time world champion continued Ferrari’s apparent dominance today by recording a lap of 1m16.221s – one hundredth quicker than Leclerc’s benchmark.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was second fastest this morning as the defending champions continue to get to grips with the new aerodynamic package they introduced for the second week of testing.

Bottas’ 1m16.591s was the fastest time Mercedes has set over the course of the two weeks.

McLaren’s Carlos Sainz Jr set the initial pace earlier in the morning with a 1m16.913s, before he was usurped by Vettel, Bottas and the Toro-Rosso of Daniil Kvyat.

Romain Grosjean’s Haas was just a tenth slower than the McLaren of Saint as he set the fifth fastest lap, a further tenth ahead of Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo.

Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest man not on Pirelli’s quickest ‘C5’ (Compound 5) tyre as he was seventh for Alfa-Romeo. His car stopped at Turns 1 and 2 however which brought the session to an end eight minutes early.

Red Bull’s Max Verstappen set the eighth quickest time but on the even slower ‘C3′ (Compound 3) rubber. Verstappen was delayed in getting out on track as the team repaired from Pierre Gasly’s crash yesterday which also meant they ran their old bodyguard design instead of the updated version.

Racing Point’s Sergio Perez and Williams’ Robert Kubica were ninth and tenth quickest respectively as Williams continue to recover from missing the first two days of testing last week.

Formula 1 testing

Hearts can compete with everyone believes Levein

Craig Levein

Craig Levein was happy with performance against Celitc despite defeat (Credit: Luke Barry)

Heart of Midlothian manager Craig Levein insists his team can “compete with everyone” ahead of Monday’s Scottish Cup quarter-final against Partick Thistle.

Hearts lost 2-1 to Celtic at Tynecastle on Wednesday, but despite the result Levein is confident the Edinburgh side are back to their best.

“Yeah I think there was enough in the performance [against Celtic] which made me see we can compete with everybody again,” Levein said.

“We’ve got through troubles defensively with injuries yet again but we can cope with that.


“We got to the semi-final of the Betfred Cup earlier on in the season and we lost Steven Naismith in the first minute of the match or something like that which made it extremely difficult for us, but the experience of getting there was good.

“I think it’s a while since we’ve managed to get to two semi-finals so if we can do that and get the victory against Partick I think it puts us in a good position.”

Partick Thistle are currently bottom of the Scottish Championship but are a team Hearts know well having played in the Premiership with them last season.

Levein is aware of the challenge Gary Caldwell’s side will bring, promising he won’t take the Monday night’s match “lightly”.

He added: “It’s a good opportunity to get to a semi-final so we will be playing our best team.

Craig Levein

Hearts will not be taking Partick Thistle lightly says Levein (Credit: Luke Barry)

“The thing is we’re away from home, I’d rather be at home. It will be on us to take the game to Partick.

“Partick are fighting for their lives in the Championship and they’ve got some very experienced players who, if they’re on their game on Monday, have got really good quality.

“I still see Partick Thistle as a big, big club, and that in itself gives us warnings going into this game.

“Thinking just because they’re bottom of the Championship it’s a game we should win easily, that’s just not the case. We know enough about them not to take it too lightly.”

Uche Ikpeazu‘s recent return from a foot injury has been a big boost for Hearts, with the forward impressing on Wednesday against Celtic.

Levein has been impressed with the striker’s work rate and hopes he can be the key for Hearts’ success on Monday.

“I was worried about him [on Wednesday], he put in a lot of effort, a lot of running, and he’s not long back from injury.

“Uche was back to his best and hopefully he’s pretty much the same on Monday.”

The final match of the Scottish Cup weekend gets underway at 7:05pm and is live on BBC Scotland.

Scottish Cup for Hibs would mean ‘a lot’ says Omeonga

Omeonga and the Scottish Cup

Stephane Omeonga is yet to win a trophy in his short professional career (Credit: David Ronney)

Hibernian midfielder Stephane Omeonga has admitted he would love to win his first trophy with the club and replicate 2016’s Scottish Cup success.

The Edinburgh side welcome Celtic to Easter Road tomorrow night in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals.

The Belgian midfielder is yet to win a trophy in his professional career and said it would mean “a lot” if the club managed to the reigning champions.

He said: “If I win this it will be the first ever in my career, so it’s a good challenge.

“Every football wants to win titles. I saw a video of the fans singing Sunshine on Leith and it was wonderful, so if we can give them that joy then it would be really good.”

Despite his desire to win a trophy, the 22-year-old insists the Edinburgh side are not getting ahead of themselves and instead are “fully focused” on tomorrow’s match.

He added: “We just think that Celtic are a good team and just focus on that.

“We just think about that game and the rest we will see after.”

Tomorrow marks the return of former Hibernian manager Neil Lennon to Easter Road since he departed the club last month. However, Omeonga doesn’t believe this will affect what happens on the pitch.

“I don’t think about it to be honest,” he said.

“The first thing that went into my head is, am I going to play again?”

“I just think that we are facing Celtic who are a good team and who the manager is on the bench I don’t know, I don’t think about it.”

Lennon was the man that brought Omeonga to Hibs, but the Belgian only worked with Lennon for “two days and 45 minutes.”

Omeonga admitted he was initially unsure how Lennon’s exit would affect his position at the club but is confident a new manager will benefit the rest of the team.

Stephane Omeonga

The Belgian midfielder eyes up potential silverware this season (Credit: Luke Barry)

“The first thing that went into my head is, am I going to play again? And then the club and the staff  gave me some confidence that the project is still the same and they still believe in me, and since then it’s been good.

“I think it [can be] good [to have a new manager], because you don’t have the time to settle down and think I’ve earned it. I think every footballer has to show [their best] every day and every game and when a new coach comes you have that energy to show again [what you can do].”


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