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.

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.

Theresa May begins five day debate

Theresa May will desperately bid to push through her Brexit deal this week

Theresa May has begun five days of debate over her Brexit deal in an attempt to sell it to MPs in Westminster in what is being called the ‘meaningful vote’.

The prime minister will spend eight hours per day fielding questions arguing that her Brexit deal delivers on her commitments to end free movement and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice. MPs are set to cast their final votes next Tuesday evening.

The Importance of the Deal

The future for Theresa May and the UK government are resting of the outcome of the vote. If MPs reject the deal, it is likely that there will be a vote of no confidence in the Prime Minister and the current government. With 100 conservatives saying they intend to vote against the deal, the odds are currently stacked against Theresa May.
Opposition MPs have said that they would also trigger a second EU referendum if the deal collapses.

Dr Marc Geddes, lecturer in British politics from the University of Edinburgh, said that the majority of MPs are unsatisfied with the way that May is handling the deal: “the Brexit vote, we have been repeatedly told, was all about ‘taking back control’ and returning sovereignty to Parliament. For the government to then ignore the will of Parliament is why so many MPs are angry.”

Potential outcome

The outcome of the next few days of debate is uncertain. It is unlikely that Theresa May will gain the majority vote, but where will that leave parliament? Geddes believes that “it partly depends by how much May loses.

If it is a significant chunk of the House of Commons, then there are question marks over her authority as prime minister – though I think it is unlikely that she will either resign or be pushed out by losing the [majority vote] motion.” There are other possibilities, however. Article 50 could be extended, or perhaps there will be another Brexit referendum. There could also be a no-confidence vote in Theresa May or even a confidence vote in HM Government.

What will happen next?

At this stage, what will happen after the next five days of Theresa May’s debate and after the vote is cast next week is uncertain, but updates will come throughout today and we will keep you updated with the latest.

Click here to see news on the Brexit deal as it happens.

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

John Menzies credit to Ross

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.”

International News

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Sir David Attenborough’s climate change warning from Poland

The naturalist Sir David Attenborough has said climate change is humanity’s greatest threat in thousands of years. The broadcaster said it could lead to the collapse of civilisations and the extinction of “much of the natural world”.

He was speaking at the opening ceremony of United Nations-sponsored climate talks in Katowice, Poland. The meeting is the most critical on climate change since the 2015 Paris agreement. Sir David said: “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale. Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change.

 

Casualty in Marseille following fuel protests

An 80-year-old woman has died last night after being hit by a tear gas canister at her window during Saturday’s fuel protests in the French city of Marseille. The woman, who lived in an apartment near to where the protests were taking place, was hit in the face while closing the shutters. Protests over fuel tax have grown into general anger at higher living costs. The woman was taken to hospital, but died during an operation after suffering shock, local media report. Three other people have been killed in the protests since demonstrations started more than two weeks ago, police said on Sunday.

 

900-year-old treasure discovered in Israel

A collection of gold coins believed to have been hidden 900 years ago has been discovered by archaeologists in the city of Caesarea in Israel. The rare cache was found in a bronze pot between stones in the side of a well. The hoard of 24 coins appears to have been hidden by someone who hoped to retrieve it, but never returned. Archaeologists say the owner may have died when the city’s inhabitants were massacred by a Crusader army in 1101. The discovery, which specialists have identified as belonging to the end of the 11th Century, was made during an excavation and conservation project at the Caesarea World Heritage site.

 

Houthi Rebel evacuation in bid to build trust

A plane carrying 50 wounded Houthi rebel fighters has left the Yemeni capital Sana’a in a critical confidence-building measure before peace talks can get under way in Stockholm. The evacuation on a UN-chartered plane to Muscat, Oman, represents an essential building block to the talks starting.  Previous talks planned for September in Geneva failed when the Houthi delegation did not leave Sana’a, arguing that the UN could not guarantee their safe return. They also accused the UN of failing to secure the evacuation of wounded rebels to Oman.

 

Trump praises former aide

Donald Trump has praised his former aide Roger Stone’s repeated pledge not to testify against the president.

Trump said on Twitter:

“This statement was recently made by Roger Stone, essentially stating that he will not be forced by a rogue and out of control prosecutor to make up lies and stories about ‘President Trump. Nice to know that some people still have ‘guts!’”

Trump went on to discredit Robert Mueller again, claiming the well-respected investigator “is a much different man than people think.”

See the front page round up with reporters Emer Harrison and Liam Mackay here.

By Rory Hill

National News

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UK should be allowed to change its mind on Brexit, says top law officer

According to a top European law officer, the UK should be allowed to cancel its withdrawal from the EU.

This was claimed by the European Court of Justice’s advocate general.

The advice from the advocate general Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona, comes in the wake of the final five days of deliberations on Britain’s final Brexit deal.

In a written statement, The European Court of Justice said his opinion was that a country should have the power to change its mind during the two-year exit process if it chooses to leave the EU.

 

Guardian investigation on name discrimination

A Guardian investigation found that inquiries from a person with a Muslim name about flat share ads received significantly fewer positive responses. In a survey of the private flat share market carried out as part of the Bias in Britain series, expressions of interest were sent from “Muhammad” and “David” to almost 1,000 online advertisements for rooms across the UK. The Guardian found that for every 10 positive replies David received, Muhammad received only eight. Muhammad was twice as disadvantaged compared with David as he was more likely not to receive a response (44% of the time compared with 36%), and when he did receive a response it was more likely to be negative (25% of the time compared with 18%).

 

Sturgeon urges Prime Minister to have Brexit plan B

Sturgeon has made a last-ditch appeal to the Prime Minister to put forward a second Brexit plan just days before the final vote on the UK’s terms for leaving the EU. The First Minister met Theresa May for a second time in a fortnight for face-to-face talks on Brexit ahead of the start of MPs’ deliberations on the Prime Minister’s deal with Brussels.

The First Minister said that next week’s vote “cannot – and must not – be a false choice between a proposed deal and a no-deal outcome, which threatens to be utterly disastrous for jobs, business and living standards”.

 

Death in Buchanan Galleries

An unidentified man has fallen to his death from the top floor of Glasgow’s Buchanan Galleries yesterday afternoon

The incident happened at 4.20pm. It is understood that the man plummeted from the area at the top of the centre’s elevators.

Police Scotland said the incident was not thought to be suspicious. He was pronounced dead at the scene by police. The area has been cordoned off, with a white tent erected at the scene. The centre has been closed to the public while investigations are carried out.

 

Scotrail plan to end free travel for children

Free travel for schoolchildren is set to be ended by ScotRail after Christmas. The operator’s Kids Go Free scheme has allowed an adult to take up to two children between the ages of five and 15 on return journeys for free. But the initiative will be scrapped from 2 January, with a £1-a-child charge to instead be levied.

The rebranded scheme has been called Kids for a Quid.

Scottish Labour’s transport spokesman Colin Smyth described ScotRail as “Scrooge” given the timing of the decision.

“With Christmas less than a few weeks away, it’s sad to see bosses at ScotRail acting like Scrooge by taking free rail travel away from children across Scotland,” he told STV.

See the front page roundup with reporters Emer Harrison and Liam Mackay here.

By Rory Hill

Scottish Government launches closed road motorsport consultation

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Motorsport events could be held on closed public roads in Scotland (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

Transport Scotland and the Scottish Government have launched a public consultation on proposals to enable motorsport to be held on closed public roads.

Legislation currently exists in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that allows car clubs and organising teams to run a motorsport event on public roads at the discretion of the sport’s governing body, Motorsport UK.

The same legislation has been stalled in Scotland due to a joint Fatal Accident Inquiry (FAI) looking into the deaths of spectators on the 2013 Snowman and 2014 Jim Clark rallies.

The legislation allows event organisers to close off sections of road for a period of five hours and also suspend the speed limit on them, meaning they can be driven at competition speed.

A public consultation has now been launched to gauge whether it’s feasible for events of this nature to be held on closed Scottish public roads. The consultation is open until January 28, and can be completed here.

Closed road events have been held in Scotland before, with the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders running annually since 1997. Following a fatal accident in 2014 however, the event has ceased to run as investigations were launched into the incident. The rally previously held its own unique Act of Parliament but event insurers have been unwilling to support a return under the old legislation.

Tom Purves, the Chairman of Scottish Motor Sports (SMS) is looking forward to events like this returning to Scotland.

“This is an important step on the road back to closed road motorsport in Scotland,”

“It is now vital that the Scottish motorsport community gets behind this consultation and delivers a clear message of support for these proposals, which would allow us not only to revive world-renowned events but also to take different forms of motorsport to new parts of our country.”

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