Levein says he’s tired of referee mistakes

 

Hearts manager Craig Levein is still as incensed as he was on Sunday about the events that took place during the game against Steven Gerrard’s side.

Rangers came back from a goal decide to beat Hearts 2-1 but the Jam Tarts boss feels the match officials cost his side the three points.

Replays showed that Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos was offside when scoring the winning goal. Morelos also got away without being booked by referee Bobby Madden despite committing numerous fouls, as well as goading the crowd after his match-winning strike.

Levein was in a typical scathing mood when the topic of Sunday’s match was brought up again this afternoon.

He said; “I criticise my players, I criticise myself. If officials make the same blatant mistake seven times this season I should be entitled to say that.

“Of course I’m angry. This is my job, my livelihood.”

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Hearts are away to St Johnstone on Wednesday night.

Levein also hit back at ex-referee Steve Conroy, who believed that the Hearts manager’s comments towards Madden were more on a personal level than professional, something which he strongly denies.

He added: “Looking back, I’m probably angrier than I was at the weekend.

“I’m angrier when you get ex-referees who come out and just talk rubbish. To say I made a personal attack on Bobby, I wasn’t having a pop at Bobby’s character – as a person he’s a great guy.

“But as a professional performance, that’s completely different and I think I’m entitled to do that.”

Ahead of tomorrow’s trip to face St Johnstone, Levein revealed that he will consider resting captain Christophe Berra, after he made his return to action following four months out against Rangers.

“Of course I’m angry. This is my job, my livelihood.”

Officials at the clubs are keen to not demand too much from the skipper since he has just made his comeback, as they don’t want him to risk a recurrence of the hamstring injury that had previously sidelined him.

Levein said: “Getting Christophe back is a big plus. I don’t know if we can play him tomorrow, we will need to see how he is recovering from Sunday.

“It might be just taking too big a chance but I’m not sure. I’ll wait and see.”

The defeat against Rangers means that Hearts have gone six matches without a win, which also includes five defeats. On the other hand, tomorrow’s opponents are on a six-game unbeaten spell under manager Tommy Wright, and they will be looking to extend that run against Levein’s struggling side.

Podcast: Scotland discover their Euro qualifying group

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Scotland face off against the world’s best team in Belgium. Picture by Lee Smith via Reuters

Alex McLeish’s side have discovered who they’ll be facing off against for a spot in the European Championships in 2020.

A favourable group for the Scots yet some tough opponents await.

David Ronney is joined by Bryce Donaldson, Luke Barry and Fraser Munro as they assess the Tartan Army’s chance of reaching a finals tournament in over 20 years.

Edinburgh Rugby look ahead to European clash with Newcastle Falcons

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Edinburgh host Newcastle Falcons at BT Murrayfield this week. (Photo Credit: Vclaw via Wikipedia)

Edinburgh Rugby will face off Newcastle Falcons in a double header in the Heineken Champions Cup, with the first match coming on Friday night at BT Murrayfield.

The European expedition is a welcome break from the Pro14 where they have lost their last two matches against Munster and the Dragons respectively.

The Scottish side will be looking for back to back wins in the competition after their emphatic 40-14 win against Toulouse earlier this season.

Scrum-half, Henry Pyrgos was optimistic ahead of the clash and spoke of Edinburgh’s formidable home form.

He said: “The group is wide open at the moment so this double header coming up will be big, if we can go out and play well and get a win it’ll put us in a good position.

“They have a lot of quality, we’re going to have to play really well and expect Newcastle to bring their best game.

“We want to make it as uncomfortable as possible for away teams.

“We’ll get the chance to play in front of our home fans, it’s really exciting. I’ve always thought it’s an awesome place to play.”

Head coach, Richard Cockerill spoke of the impact that returning International players have had on the squad.

Richard Cockerill all smiles ahead of Falcons clash. Photo by David Ronney

Richard Cockerill all smiles ahead of Falcons clash. (Photo Credit: David Ronney)

He said: “It’s been good to get them back and get them integrated back into the team.

“They will be involved at the weekend and will all play a big part.

“It’s great that we have so many guys playing for Scotland and obviously Viliame Mata with Fiji but with the injuries that we’ve had its hurt us a little bit. But that’s life. The season is very much alive for us.

“If we can get two wins it puts us in a great position to qualify. There’s no reason if we get it right that we can’t do it.”

Sports Paper Review – 4th December

Fraser Munro and John Menzies sit down to discuss the biggest stories in today’s papers including Shaun Maloney and how he is set to face off against his own nation in the Euro qualifiers and last night’s Ballon d’Or awards.

Did Fury beat Wilder? – Boxing Podcast

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It was possibly the biggest fight of the heavyweight this year and the hype certainly didn’t disappoint.

Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury put a fight on for the ages but the decision of a draw has angered many in the boxing community.

Most citing that Fury won the fight.

David Ronney sits down with Sam Ainslie and Graham Millar as they look back on the fight of the year.

Ballon D’or host apologies for sexist remark

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Luka Modric (left) and Ada Hegerberg (right) were awarded the Ballon d’Or. Photo by Benoit Tessier via Reuters

French DJ, Martin Solveig has apologised for his comments during the Ballon d’Or awards as he asked Ada Hegerberg if she knew how to ‘twerk’.

Solveig sparked a sexist row after he presented Hegerberg the Women Ballon d’Or with her award and asked the Lyon forward if she knew how to twerk.

The incident has sparked criticism from several sports personalities, one of which is Scotland’s Andy Murray.

The tennis player was among those on social media who criticised Solveig’s comment, calling it just another example of the ridiculous sexism in sport.

He said: “What questions did they ask Mbappe and Modric?

“I’d imagine something to do with football. And to everyone who thinks I’m overreacting, and it was just a joke … it wasn’t. I’ve been involved in sport my whole life and the level of sexism is unreal.”

Hegerberg, who helped Lyon to the French title and Champions League, scoring in the final, pipped Denmark’s Pernille Harder to the prize but appeared embarrassed after Solveig’s questions.

The 23-year-old said “no” and seemed to attempt to leave the stage, before reluctantly agreeing to dance to another song with Ginola. Solveig tweeted shortly after the ceremony, saying he had apologised to Hegerberg for the remark.

When Hegerberg came on stage to receive her award, Solveig said: “You’ve seen that I prepared a little celebration for Kylian [Mbappe] so we’ve said we’re going to do something similar. Do you know how to twerk?”

In an apology video later on that evening, he apologised for his actions.

He said: “Well guys I’m a little bit amazed, astonished by what I’m reading on the internet. I, of course, didn’t want to offend anyone. This comes from a distortion of my English level and my English culture level which is obviously not enough. This was a joke. Probably a bad one, and I want to apologise for the one I may have offended. Sorry about that.”

“This was a joke. Probably a bad one, and I want to apologise for the one I may have offended.”

The controversy aside, the awards marked the first time in over a decade that Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo have missed out on the golden ball award.

Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder, Luka Modric ended the decade of dominance after a successful year including a Champions League title and was also named the best player in Russia’s World Cup.

PSG and France forward, Kylian Mbappe was the first ever recipient Kopa award, given to the best youth player in the world. The 19-year-old was one of four goalscorers in France’s World Cup final win over Croatia.

Edinburgh City boss admits injury scare ahead of cup replay

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James McDonaugh looks ahead to tonight’s cup replay. Photo by Ross Cowper-Fraser

Edinburgh City manager, James McDonaugh admitted that his side could do without tonight’s Scottish Cup replay as they fear potential injuries.

City travel to the Highlands to play Inverness Caledonian Thistle and while a cup run is of importance, their focus will also be on retaining their two point lead in League Two.

McDonaugh spoke ahead of tonight’s third round replay.

He said: “Because we are struggling with injuries, tonight’s match is one that we could do without. I guess so far it’s okay because we keep winning, but at some point we’re going to be really struggling if we get a couple more injuries or any suspensions.

“We haven’t been able to give any of our first team players a rest over the past six weeks, so we’ve had to stick with the same core of players for our last few games. Of course the team keep winning games but we could easily lose a player or two to suspension, and then we’d really be in trouble.”

City drew the first meeting 1-1 at Ainslie Park against John Robertson’s side and hope they can do it again as they travel to Tulloch Caledonian Stadium for the 19:45 kick off.

They’re coming off the back of Saturday’s 2-0 win against Queen’s Park. A performance that certainly pleased McDonaugh going into tonight’s game.

He added: “I thought we were very good in the first half, playing on the front foot and at a good tempo. We always looked like a threat going forward.

“In the second half, the game turned very scrappy and we didn’t play as well but to be fair, we were 2-0 up because of a lot of hard work in the first half.”

“Overall, the players deserve a lot of credit for securing another three points.”

Inverness CT come into tonight on the back of only their third defeat of the season, and their first in the league. They lost to 3-2 to McDonaugh’s former club, Falkirk over the weekend.

But despite that setback, the Highland side will be fancying their chances to progress at home to lower league opposition.

And McDonaugh expects it to be a very tough task against their Championship opponents.

“For us to have a chance against Inverness, every player for us must perform at their best, and we need them to have an off day, and a bit of luck as well. We would need all three to go our way. Of course we can win, but the chances of it happening are very minimal.”

Should Edinburgh City come through tonight’s match, they will be rewarded with a home tie against Lowland League side East Kilbride in the fourth round.

Jamie Ritchie excited for BT Murrayfield return

Jamie Ritchie looks forward to another match at BT Murrayfield. Photo by Daviod

Jamie Ritchie looks forward to another match at BT Murrayfield. (Photo Credit: David Ronney)

Edinburgh Rugby’s Jamie Ritchie is itching to get back onto the BT Murrayfield pitch after successful Autumn Tests with Scotland.

The flanker scored his first try for Gregor Townsend’s side in their 54-17 win over Fiji in November and says playing at Scotland’s home of rugby is a unique experience.

He said: “Playing here is something that I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid. Growing up playing rugby in Scotland it was something very special.”

Ritchie got minutes against Fiji, South Africa and Argentina over November and jokingly admitted his try wasn’t the most impressive.

He added: “Did you see it? It was pretty average.

“Obviously it was amazing. It took me 42 games to score for Edinburgh so to do it in three or four for Scotland, it was pretty cool.

“Being in front of a home crowd, everyone is shouting for you instead of the other team so it makes a bit of a difference.

“To get to play in front of a sell-out BT Murrayfield was amazing for me.”

Ritchie is set to return for Richard Cockerill’s Edinburgh side this Friday when they face Newcastle Falcons in the Heineken Champions Cup.

“Playing here is something that I’ve dreamt of since I was a kid.”

With the side suffering from tough results due to depleted squads as of late, Ritchie knows the importance to have the international players back at the club.

He said: “It’s back to square one as far as I’m concerned, get back playing well for Edinburgh.

“Guys who played a few Autumn internationals got a week off last week so hopefully we’re pretty fresh coming into these next two games.

“We’re looking forward to it. Europe probably freshens it up for the whole squad having had a bit of patchy form.

“We’re excited to get out there and hopefully play well.”

Celtic edge Aberdeen in Betfred Cup Final – The Talking Points

Celtic celebrate Betfred Cup victory. Photo by Russell Cheyne via Retuers (1)

Celtic celebrate Betfred Cup victory. Photo by Russell Cheyne via Retuers

Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic won their 18th League Cup title over the weekend as they beat Aberdeen 1-0. This is the Glasgow side’s seventh consecutive trophy under Rodgers whose side begin their defensive of Scotland’s domestic silverware.

While the scoreline may not reflect it, there were plenty of talking points as Celtic aim for their third consecutive treble winning season.

Ryan Christie haunts Dons

After a successful season under Derek McInnes side last campaign, Ryan Christie returned to Glasgow with the hunger to compete for first team football.

The 23-year-old had to wait some time for his chance but as soon as it arrived, the Scotland international hasn’t looked back. Christie has been involved in eight goals for club this season (five goals, three assists) and scored the all so decisive goal in Hampden on Sunday.

Speaking after the match, Christie highlighted that ‘it’s so strange’ the position he is in now in comparison to when he initially returned back to Celtic.

He said: “It’s hard to kinda look back and put myself in the mind frame I was at the start of the season. I’m delighted obviously how things have turned out and long may it continue because obviously I’m loving my football at Celtic right now. Even when I signed the contract I said that I wanted to make an impact at this club and wanted to help them bring back silverware so days like today help that.”

 

Aberdeen lack firepower

Despite both sides being fairly even with regards to possession, it was Celtic who dominated in the chances in front of goal. Rodgers’ side relished 17 shots, seven of which were on course to goal in comparison to two of Aberdeen’s seven finding the target.

This has once again set eyes on both McInnes and the board on recruitment with the club failing to replace players like Adam Rooney, James Maddison and Jonny Hayes with those who can fill the void of a clinical finisher. All three of which started the two sides last meeting in a League Cup final in 2016.

This is a problem Aberdeen have got away with in cup competition over the years under McInnes but has caught up with them this season in the league. They’re six points worse off than they were at this point last campaign and currently sit seventh in the SPFL.

The concussion to Gary Mackay-Steven sustained in a clash of heads with Dedryck Boyata certainly didn’t aid Aberdeen’s chances to pull back an equaliser. Thankfully Mackay-Steven has been discharged from hospital and begins his recovery but it must be said that his creativity for the Dons was clearly apparent.

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Celtic edged Aberdeen at Hampden on Sunday. Photo by Jmorrison230582 via Wikipedia

Will Celtic complete a ‘treble treble’?

While we’re not even into the new year and their Old Firm rivals sit top of the Premiership – albeit Celtic have a game in hand – some are beginning to believe Celtic could be on course for a record breaking third treble winning season in a row under Brendan Rodgers.

However, the Hoops manager has no intention of getting carried away with this idea and insisted after the final that the Glasgow side have plenty of work still to do before they can consider this possibility.

He said: “We haven’t even played the second round of games yet in the league. That’s a long way away. This was a very satisfying win this, after the start that we had in the summer we had. The last two months we’ve pulled our idea back round again in terms of our football and the quality of our game. Like I say, these players deserve it today. But like everything they’ve done since I’ve come in, they’ve had to earn it. There’s been nothing presented to them. They’ve had to earn it and they’ve earned it today.”

Circuit rallying comes to Scotland

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Circuit rallying is unique, and visits Scotland this weekend (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

The Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship is heading to Knockhill Racing Circuit this Sunday for the third round of the 2018/19 season.

The championship is one of the fastest-growing in the country and has witnessed some of the best rallying battles in recent memory in its short three year history. Defending champion Chris West heads Sunday’s entry list in his Peugeot 306 Maxi, with Scottish heroes Alan Kirkaldy, John Marshall and Donnie MacDonald taking the battle to MSN Championship regulars West, John Stone and Tom Blackwood.

Now in its fourth season, the MSN Championship heads to various different race tracks across the UK, in a hybrid format between racing and rallying.

Rallying – where drivers race against the clock to set the quickest possible time – traditionally takes place in forests or on closed public roads whereas racing occurs on race tracks with a bunch of cars battling each other for position.

Circuit rallying mates the two disciplines together. The special stages are all set within the confides of a race track, but it’s a rally so each car sets off at 30 second intervals and races each other on the time-sheets and not the circuit.

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Fair (right) finds circuit rallying more relaxing than stage rallying (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

This provides a very different viewing spectacle for onlookers and a unique challenge for the competitors. Cameron Fair regularly competes with double Scottish rally champion Jock Armstrong, but is sitting beside Alan Kirkaldy in his Ford Fiesta R5 on Sunday.

“Circuit rallying is quite relaxed for a navigator compared to a circuit event,” Fair said.

“There are no road sections which for me are the most stressful part of a rally. There’s also no route notes, just a map. Spitting out a description of the road to the driver at rally pace can be difficult. The map is more vague so there’s only so much you can tell the driver, and after multiple laps he knows the lay of the land so it’s a good opportunity just to watch the driver do his thing.

“Alan and I are going into the rally looking for a strong result, as Knockhill is a place we both know very well. We’ve finished on the podium in the past so it’d be wrong to say we aren’t looking for another top three this weekend.”

Fair is aware that the competition from the regular championship competitors will be tough, even if he and Kirkaldy have the home advantage.

“Chris West in the 306 is very quick, he drives that car very well.”

“John Stone has a new WRC [Ford] Fiesta which he won with at Rockingham last weekend so he’ll be on the money. There’s also a lot of top Scottish boys that will be there or thereabouts and wanting to make an impact. It’s certainly all to play for!”

Championship co-ordinator Darren Spann is enthusiastic to be heading to Fife for the second year in succession. Hear his thoughts ahead of the event below.

 

 

A full entry list for the Cobble Shop Knockhill Stages can be viewed here, while further information on the event can be found on the circuit’s website.

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