PODCAST: SHOULD MORE MEN BE TAKING SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE?

 

In an EN4News Podcast Special, Iain Leggat explores the topic of shared parental leave.

After being introduced to the UK in 2015, shared parental leave allows couples the option to split up to 52 weeks between themselves, with 37 weeks of the weeks being paid. However, a recent study found that only 1-2% of new couples were taking up the shared option. The special explores the topic, comparing the UK’s figures to the rest of the world and looks into the benefits of sharing parental leave.

Iain explores the topic with EN4News reporters Ony McFadden and John Gillespie as they talk through whether the stigma of the traditional roles of the mother and father still rings true and whether people know enough about the option.

TIPS TO STAY HEALTHY ON A BUDGET

Credit: Aditya Birla Capital Ltd

As Christmas time looms and office parties and mince pies become part of our routines, our health dips a little.

Despite the impending present costs, keeping healthy – mentally and physically is still important.

Here are some tips for keeping in shape for a little cost.

RUNNING IN THE DARK: HOW TO STAY SAFE AND KEEP ACTIVE THIS WINTER

Keeping your running streak going during winter is tough. But running in the dark is not as daunting as you might think. (Credit: EN4 News)

We’ve all been there. You’ve been on a fitness kick all summer and you’re feeling great. You’ve settled into a running routine and nothing can stop you.

But then the seasons turn and the dark nights close in. You come back from work or university and it’s already dark outside, and the last thing you want to do is head back out into the cold for a run.

Well not anymore. These are excuses of the past and there is no reason why your hot running streak should freeze now winter has arrived.

With the help of Edinburgh running shop Run4It, here are three top tips that will get you prepared to keep running during those dreaded dark winter nights.

Follow the light!

This is fairly explanatory. If you’re going out for a run in the dark, you’re going to need a bright and reliable torch so you can see where you are going.

Head torches are the most obvious option, but if you’re thinking of just using one of those clunky head torches that you might associate with being on a camping trip then listen up: there are now head torches specifically designed for runners that are smaller and lighter than ever before while retaining impressive brightness and depth of the beam.

The Petzl Reactik Plus (left) features reactive lighting technology, while the Petzl Actik Core offers an impressive 350 lumens beam. (Credit: Petzl)

“There is a whole range of different head torches, it just depends on what you will be needing it for,” explains Run4It store manager Emma Burton.

“It generally depends on whether you will be running in complete darkness, in which case you will need a headtorch with higher lumens, or if you are going to be running in and out of areas that have light, such as the streets.

“Some head torches are reactive to your surroundings as well and are designed with a little sensor on the front. So if the sensor detects it’s getting darker it will automatically light up and that will save you having a fiddle with the buttons to make it lighter.”

The importance of being seen

While it’s important to be able to see where you’re going when you’re out on a run in the dark, it’s just as key for other people to be able to see you. This is especially important if you end up running alongside traffic.

You’re going to need some reflective gear, but that doesn’t mean you need to dress up in a bright yellow vest looking like you’re out on a French protest march. There are now a number of fashionable, lightweight running jackets that reflect light without being garishly yellow.

The Momentum (left) has a patterned reflective strip along the sleeves, chest, and back, while the Infinity (right) features an iridescent strip along the front. (Credit: Ronhill)

Ronhill’s See Me Run range, for example, features the Momentum and Infinity jackets, which offer reflectivity without looking like a typical reflective jacket. The Momentum is a dark blue jacket that has a patterned print along the sleeves, chest, and back that offers 360 degrees of reflectivity, while the Infinity is black with an iridescent reflective strip along the front, which lights up multicoloured.

“Even though the jackets are dark and you could wear them out and about, the reflective patterns and strips just gives you that extra bit of safety at nighttime,” Emma says.

Additionally, light clips and light armbands are also available to help you stay extra visible this winter. Emma says the clips and armbands are popular with customers because they are nonrestrictive and easy to use.

Don’t run alone, be social!

So you’ve got the gear, now you just need to get out and do it. But we get it, getting out and running in winter is just not an easy thing to do.

Emma’s top piece of advice is to join a running club or to get a group of mates together and run at the same time.

“It’s so easy when the weather is horrible to just sack it off and stay inside on the sofa, but having that group of people that you’ve already arranged to meet will keep you going,” Emma says.

Run4It organises a weekly running club on Monday evenings, offering an interval-based session around the Meadows or Holyrood Park. The sessions are free and it’s a great opportunity to keep your fitness up during the winter months.

“It’s an extra bit of motivation,” Emma says. “If you have something lined up once a week at a certain time you are more likely to keep going. It’s also a really friendly group and because it is so friendly a lot of people see it as a social session as well.”

SCOTLAND CALL-OFFS: WHY ARE OUR PLAYERS PICKING CLUB OVER COUNTRY?

Scotland will be without star players such as Liverpool’s Andy Robertson and Arsenal’s Kieran Tierney for their upcoming matches. (Credit: EN4 News)

 

The build up to Scotland’s upcoming European Championship Qualifiers against Cyprus and Kazakhstan gave been marred, once again, by several high-profile withdrawals from the squad.

Captain Andy Robertson, Liam Cooper, Ryan Fraser and Scott McTominay have all dropped out due to injury, while Arsenal have asked for key player Kieran Tierney to be left out after just returning from a long-term double hernia problem.

Scotland are unable to qualify through the traditional route with only two games remaining, but could still make it to their first major championships since 1998 if they can navigate their way through the UEFA Nations League. With little importance left on the last two games and a string of questionable late withdrawals from the squads, some have questioned whether the calls-offs are genuine, and if players are giving 100% when playing for Scotland.

All four players that have left the Scotland squad played for their clubs at the weekend, but only two, Liam Cooper and Scott McTominay, came off with injuries, while the others played the full 90 minutes with no apparent problems.

In August, we were given a glimpse into the attitude of some players towards playing for Scotland. A YouTube video surfaced of Sheffield United striker Oli McBurnie expressing his negative feelings towards playing for the national team. McBurnie later apologised for his comments, saying they were taken out of context.

 

Take our quiz to see if you can identify some of football’s craziest excuses and injuries

Former Scotland International Kevin Gallacher thinks key players have a poor attitude towards playing for the national team.

“I’m told now that clubs don’t want their players injured. So maybe players are looking after themselves a little bit more,” Gallacher told BBC Sport Scotland.

“Which means in games for Scotland they’re maybe not giving their 100%. In our time you just gave 100% whether you were going to get injured or not. It didn’t matter.

“I got injured a few times playing for Scotland and I went back to my club and they weren’t happy but for me it wouldn’t stop me playing for Scotland. No matter what, I was going to do it.”

Gallacher, who won 53 caps for Scotland, highlighted the issue of clubs putting pressure on their players to minimise the risk of injury.

Last year, Bournemouth demanded Ryan Fraser to not travel with Scotland to play Kazakhstan because the surface of the pitch in Astana was plastic. The club were concerned the chance of injury was too high, although there is no data to support that players get injured more often or severely on artificial surface as opposed to grass.

Scotland assistant manager Alex Dyer has refuted the claims that certain players are pulling out of the Scotland squad for reasons other than injury.

“If a player is injured, we can’t do anything about it,” Dyer said at a press conference this week.

“All the ones that have pulled out this time are genuinely injured. It’s not like they wanted to be pulled out or didn’t want to come.”

Scotland have had 27 call-offs since last November, far more than any other home nation. Two-thirds of players that have pulled out have featured for their clubs within two games of the club football restarting after the international break.

The statistics suggest that clubs are using certain international breaks that are seen as less important to them, allowing the players time to rest and recover from an ever demanding season of league, cup and European games.

While the other home nations have seen good levels of success in recent years, Scotland have had little to cheer about. With more dead rubbers coming up due to early exits from competitions, players are becoming more willing to miss games than in years gone by.

And until Scotland start to see some level of success, it is likely players will continue to choose their clubs over their country.

 

GLEN TONKIN: SHINTY STAR OPENS UP ON BATTLE WITH HIS MENTAL HEALTH

Glen Tonkin suffered with mental health issues in silence (Credit: EN4 News)

Five years ago, Glen Tonkin was Newtonmore Camanachd’s stern second-hand man, managing and training one of the best teams in shinty.

Glen had a firm hold over his team, and was as tough as he was on the pitch in his playing days. Glen had it all; the successful shinty career, a thriving flooring business and a loving family. But underneath his tough exterior was a life consumed by mental health problems, making every day a painful battle.

Although Glen developed a long-lasting love for shinty, it was a difficult start. Being from the north east, it was football that he’d grown up with. It came as a shock arriving in Newtonmore, where it was shinty or nothing. Quickly ejected from his comfort zone and hurdled into a very tightly knitted community, there was lots to adjust to. Having previously taken relief from his footballing ability, he experienced feelings of paranoia and anxiety from a very young age.

“It was pushing someone that was very comfortable in sport and kind of felt that I had a good social standing in sport through being good at football to all of a sudden being right at the bottom of the pecking order,” Glen says. “I really found that difficult.”

Progressing through juvenile level and into the second team, Glen still felt like a misfit. Different to all his teammates and struggling to feel a part of the team, he didn’t share his problems with team-mates or coaches with fear of being branded as “mental”.

Uncomfortable in his own skin, excessive binge drinking quickly became the first option to try and be the person he always thought himself to be.

“Even going back to the pub, you’d probably excessively drink

just to try and feel comfortable. You always thought after six vodkas, or six pints, I’ll be the kind of person you always perceived yourself to be, which was outgoing and having a good laugh. So I think it was hard because you wouldn’t open up to your teammates.”

Despite this being an intimidating environment, Glen always challenged himself to train with a deep desire to be better at the sport. This translated to his managerial career where he bravely put himself in the hot spot for judgement and criticism to challenge himself to success.

“It really was a challenge,” Glen says. “The easy thing would be to just switch off, go and hide away, play a sport that was just you so that you’ve got not one else to answer to. But I would always throw myself into these positions, which I also took as a sign of quite good strength.”

Regardless of his best efforts, some days he simply didn’t want to be there. Being in a place where everything and everyone appeared to be confrontational left Glen in a state of anxious paranoia where sometimes speaking to no one at all felt like the best option.

Glen had to step away from shinty to confront his mental health issues (Credit: EN4 News)

At his lowest, Glen found matches the most difficult to deal with. With high expectations from players, coaches and spectators. Glen was left terrified to let anyone down, leaving little joy in the sport to be had. As well as the expectations, he also found the confrontation of the opposition difficult to deal with.

“It’s a pretty horrendous place to be when you just want the ground to swallow you up,” Glen admits.

Glen stepped down from his position as manager in 2013 to confront his issues with mental health head on, putting his relationship with shinty to one side. Glen is now much more aware of his mental health on a day-to-day basis, and makes sure to implement simple structures which help him maintain healthy mental well-being.

His story goes to show that although sports such as shinty can bring joy through friendships, teamwork, success and fitness, it’s sometimes worth putting the sport aside to address underlying issues first in order to appreciate it at it’s fullest – in a healthier head space rather than ignoring them in the hope that they disappear.

A Wonderful World Cup in Japan

By Fergus Robb

With the Rugby World Cup 2019 in Japan drawing to a close, it is nearly time to reflect on the ups and downs of the tournament to assess just how well the hosts have done.

Trials, tribulations and typhoons have filled the Japanese air during this tournament, and the World Rugby association board has come under a lot of scrutiny.

There is no doubt the brave blossoms of Japan have been fan favourites during this World Cup and have captured the heart of many a neutral rugby fan.

The Japanese culture is another aspect of the experience which has made this World Cup such an intriguing and exciting one.

With England and South Africa ready for a final showdown in the final game on Saturday, it is time to beg the question – was this a successful Rugby World Cup?

The tragedies of typhoon Hagibis left a lot of Japan in disarray. More importantly, World Rugby put safety at the forefront and cancelled games to ensure fan and game personnel’s security.

The typhoon caused major destruction across the country with flooding and structural devastation claiming lives.

World Rugby assured fans prior to the tournament that there would be typhoon contingency plans put in place, however many saw no such signs of this.

As a result of the poor planning on World Rugby’s behalf, some games were cancelled, upsetting fans on a global level. In one specific case, the Italy v New Zealand game being called off robbed the Azzurri of any chance to qualify for the knockout rounds and prevented a number of their experienced players from having a final send-off.

Outwith the devastation of the typhoon, the rugby world can agree that Japan have succeeded in hosting the tournament. The efficiency of those in charge has meant that, apart from the forced game cancellations, everything has run rather smoothly.

The stadiums, transport, fan zones and host cities were all ideal for a tournament such as this. The Japanese culture of respectfulness and joy was well reflected throughout the World Cup and could be seen upon the faces of many a fan during the games.

The success of the host nation during their campaign is hoped to have inspired a new generation of Japanese rugby players, as well as having caught the eye of every rugby fan in the world.

So, despite the minor setback of the most devastating typhoon to hit Japan in 60 years, the country was an excellent host for the Rugby World Cup. This tournament has played host to some of the most shocking rugby upsets and most entertaining games of the last few years.

With Wales and New Zealand fighting it out on Friday for the bronze medal, it is between England and South Africa to see who lifts the Webb Ellis Trophy come Saturday morning.

Regardless of these results, Japan, as a country, will end the tournament on a high and deserve to pat themselves on the back for a job well done as tournament hosts.

Struggling Hearts face on-form Rangers in the Betfred Cup semi-final

Craig Levein takes his Hearts side west to Hampden Park this Sunday to meet Steven Gerrard’s Rangers team in the semi-final of the Betfred Cup. Both sides will be hoping to win a place in the final as neither has lifted silverware since 2012. 

Hearts won their place in the semi by knocking out Aberdeen on penalties after an enthralling 2-2 draw. Rangers were victorious in West Lothian defeating Livingston by a goal to nil. 

When the sides walk out at Hampden, Rangers will be overwhelming favourites to win the tie as they sit level at the top of the Scottish Premiership having only had one defeat this season – to their rivals Celtic. 

Hearts, meanwhile, are currently second bottom in the league. Last night, they lost 1-0 in Perth to St Johnstone, and they have only picked up 23 league points in the whole of 2019. However, the Jambos will take heart from the fact that they held Rangers to a draw in Gorgie a fortnight ago and should aim to use the same tactics they did on that occasion. This will mean a big day for talisman striker Uche Ikpeazu who was a handful for the Rangers defence in Edinburgh.

If Hearts can somehow make the most of Ikpeazu’s hold up play and get players beyond him, they may think that this will not be their last appearance at Hampden this season.

The Ibrox side go into this fixture on the back of a convincing 4-0 victory over Ross County in Dingwall, with Ryan Jack and Alfredo Morelos scoring braces.

Rangers, confident as they will be, are not going to overlook Hearts and will know what to expect. If the midfield – led by an inspired Ryan Jack – can make use of the width of the Hampden pitch, then it will allow for wingers Ryan Kent and Sheyi Ojo to try and enjoy their respective one-on-one match up against the defenders in maroon. If Jermain Defoe and Alfredo Morelos continue firing goals for fun then, this could turn into a very long Sunday afternoon for Levein’s men. 

They will be looking to break a hoodoo of sorts at this stage of the competition. In the past three seasons, Rangers have lost in the semi-final of the Betfred Cup, losing to Celtic, Motherwell and Aberdeen.

 

 

Hibs travel to Hampden for the Betfred Cup semi-final against Celtic

Celtic look to continue their march towards another domestic trophy as they face Hibernian in the Betfred Cup semi-final on Saturday.

Hibs come into the game off the back of six consecutive draws including most recently against Livingston. In contrast to a number of their recent matches, the Edinburgh side came from 2-0 down to draw 2-2, with a late equaliser from the returning Martin Boyle.

The pressure has been mounting on Hibs boss Paul Heckingbottom as they have not won a league match since the opening day of the season.eltic have won the last nine pieces of domestic silverware with Hibs being the last side to win one with their victory in the 2016 Scottish Cup.

The champions go into this game in rampant form, bouncing back from a defeat away to Livingston before the international break with 4 wins in 11 days, including an impressive win over Italian giants Lazio.

The most recent meeting between the two was just over a month ago at Easter Road, finishing in a 1-1 draw. Hibs took the lead inside the first ten minutes with an own goal from Kristoffer Ajer, deflecting Christian Doidge’s shot past the goalkeeper. Just 15 minutes later, Celtic equalised through Ryan Christie.

This means that Hibs are unbeaten in their last five league meetings with Celtic at Easter Road. The same can’t be said for their fixtures played in Glasgow. They met at the same stage of this competition two seasons ago, with Celtic winning 4-2 on that occasion. The last time that Hibs beat the Parkhead side in Glasgow was in 2010 with Danny Galbraith scoring a late winner.

The Easter Road side have had a tricky route to the semi-finals. Their group stage campaign got off to an auspicious start, drawing 1-1 at Stirling Albion before winning the subsequent penalty shoot-out. They eventually topped their group after beating Alloa, Arbroath and Elgin without conceding. Hibs needed extra-time to toil to a 5-3 victory over Morton in the second round, then booked their Hampden Park place with a quarter-final win over Kilmarnock on penalties.

 

Celtic have negotiated two home ties on their way to Hampden. European qualification meant that their first match was a second round tie against Dunfermline, which they won 2-1 after extra time. Their quarter-final win was far more comfortable, beating Partick Thistle 5-0.

Celtic go into this match as heavy favourites as they look to set up their tenth consecutive domestic final, but Hibs will hope that form will go out of the window as they look for a place in the final on December 8.

Football, F1, Cricket and more – It’s the weekly sports quiz!

Edinburgh v Benetton Preview

 

Edinburgh Rugby travel to Treviso on Saturday night, and the travelling Scots will be looking for a confident performance against a Benetton side which has struggled so far this season.

Richard Cockerill’s men are currently third in the Pro14 Conference B table having won three of their four early season matches, whilst Benetton’s only win was a 36-30 defeat of the Southern Kings last weekend.

This by no means entitles Edinburgh to a definite result as it was the Italian outfit that, in claiming an 18-10 win at the tail end of last season, dashed Edinburgh’s hopes of reaching the Pro14 playoffs. And the Edinburgh players are fully mindful of this fact heading in to the fixture.

“It’s a tough place to go and play,” admitted Edinburgh fly half Simon Hickey. “They’ll probably get a few Italian internationals back so that’ll add to them. You look at last season, they made the play-offs, so they’re a good team and we’ll have to be right on it to give ourselves a chance.”

Meanwhile, assistant coach Duncan Hodge discussed the impact he thinks a revamped style of play has had on Edinburgh’s results.

“As with every good team you’ve got to keep evolving – keep up with the times and try and get ahead of defences in my eyes.”

“That’s where the World Cup was actually very good for us, in that we had a longer pre-season to try a few things out and bed some things in,” Hodge said. “It’s been good and we’re starting to see a bit of fruit to that.”

“There will be bumps along the way, and I guarantee there will be times when it doesn’t work, but at the minute I think everyone’s fairly content and settled with what we’re doing and we’ll just keep going.”

Edinburgh will be looking to keep going all the way to the play-offs this season, having come within touching distance of them during the 2018/19 season. The team currently sit third in their conference’s table, with only Irish contingents Connacht and Munster above them.

Their opposition Benetton – who, last season, were the first Italian side to advance to the Pro14 play-offs – have had a less than idle start to the season as they have fallen to produce results against Leinster, Connacht and Ospreys.

Due to this lack of results, Edinburgh can be assured that they will come up against a Benetton side determined to make a statement and prove their appearance in last season’s play offs was no fluke.

Hickey acknowledged that in order to get a result in that environment, Edinburgh will have to execute their newer style of play with precision.

“We’ve got a strong back line, they’re keen to get their hands on the ball,” he explained. Communication has been a big thing we’ve worked on from a 10’s perspective that makes it easier to get the ball in their hands.

“The wider style of play suits me – it’s the way I grew up playing and the way I enjoy playing the most – an expansive, fast game where you play off your instincts. That’s my favourite type of game and when it unfolds that way, I certainly enjoy it.”

And Edinburgh will certainly be hoping to capitalise on that appreciation of their evolved playing style that the majority of their players seem to have.

Their match against Benetton will kick off at 5:15pm (UK time) on Premier Sports 2.

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