BSC Glasgow: Inside the amateur team plotting to shock Hibs in the Scottish Cup

 

BSC Glasgow manager Stephen Swift says it would be the “biggest result in Scottish Cup history” if his Lowland League side were to defeat Hibernian on Sunday.

Hibs are huge favourites to win the fifth-round tie, and the pressure will be on the Edinburgh side to avoid embarrassment and reach the quarter-finals.

Swift has envisioned three outcomes from the game, acknowledging that a heavy defeat to Premiership opposition is more than possible, but says a win for his team would rank as the greatest in 148 years of Scottish Cup upsets.

“If Hibs go and wipe the floor with us we can look back and say that it was maybe a bridge too far,” Swift told EN4 News. “The other scenario is if we lose narrowly but the boys give a good account of ourselves, we can really be proud of them.

“But if the miracle did happen and we won, it would be the biggest result in Scottish Cup history.

“We’ve got the three scenarios there, but with any one of them we’ll be delighted with how we’ve equipped ourselves in this Scottish Cup run. There’s no pressure, [on us] and we will try to enjoy the game.”

BSC Glasgow, who were established in 2014, reached the fifth round of the competition for the first time in the club’s short history by defeating East Kilbride in the previous round.

(Credit: Jamie Braidwood)

But it was their third-round win over League One opponents East Fife that made headlines, as Swift’s men fought back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 in stoppage time.

“That shows the belief within this group that they can actually be under that much adversity and come out with a win,” Swift said.

“However, we’ve got to have huge respect for Hibs; they’re four tiers above us in the leagues. But our players are under no pressure, and we’ll give it our best shot.”

There is no doubt that a win for the Glasgow outfit would eclipse other famous Scottish Cup shocks, such as Albion Rovers’ win over Motherwell in 2013, or Celtic’s defeat to Inverness Caledonian Thistle in 2000.

Swift admits that he has faced sleepless nights thinking about how his side are going to achieve the impossible.

It is often tempting for a manager facing such unfavourable odds to surrender possession and play with 11 men behind the ball, but the boss is determined that his side play to their strengths.

“I’ve been up a couple of nights thinking about what I’m trying to do,” said Smith, who had a 16-year professional career playing for sides such as Cowdenbeath and Stranraer.

“I could easily set up and be extremely hard to beat, we will need to compact, organised and transition into our positions quickly, but one thing I don’t want to lose is our identity.

“I want us to give it a go, so it’s not a case of Hibs having wave after wave of attack. We’ve got to try and give a bit as well, I think that’s important and that’s the romance of the cup.

“If I went away and set up to not get beat heavily and we came away with a 2-0 defeat but never had a shot on goal, I’d probably be disappointed with myself, and I’d be doing a disservice to the players.”

One thing that BSC Glasgow will need if they are to take the game to Hibs is goals. The strike partnership of Thomas Collins and Thomas Orr has led to 31 goals so far this season and looks to be their biggest threat.

Collins, whose 17 goals this season make him the club’s top scorer, told EN4 News that he has been studying Sunday’s opponents and is confident of adding to his tally.

 

“Hibs are a strong side, but I watched them over the weekend and they’ve got weaknesses,” Collins said.

“Obviously they were playing another Premiership side but I believe we can create chances, and if I get a chance inside the box I feel positive that I can score a goal.”

On the tie, Collins added: “There’s a real buzz and excitement about the place. It’s a massive game for the club.

“Not only are we excited about the game, but there’s a belief that we can go and do something special.

“You’ve seen throughout the season that there’s a spirit within this team. We’ve come from behind or we can go ahead early and go and capitalise on those leads and see out games.

“So no matter how the game pans out on Sunday, we’ve got a great chance of getting a positive result.”

Kick-off is at 12pm on Sunday at Alloa Athletic’s Indodrill Stadium.

“We can’t wait to get started” – Livingston Women’s FC look for dream debut as team prepare for first competitive fixture

Credit: VFSportsPix

 

Livingston Women’s FC head coach Paul Jaconelli has told EN4 News that he “can’t wait to get started” ahead of the club’s competitive debut this weekend.

The club was only created in December 2019 after a partnership was formed with fellow West Lothian side Blackburn United.

Head coach Paul Jaconelli is the first ever manager in the new side’s dugout and he believes there is a gap for the club to take advantage of.

“There has been a lot of restructuring over the last year within the women’s game in Scotland, and we feel we have a really good opportunity to get ourselves to a level above,” he said ahead of the big kick-off.

“We have signed some very good players from the highest level in the game, and we can’t wait to get started competitively.”

The Lionesses will compete in the Scottish Women’s Football South Division, which will see them take on Edinburgh City Ladies at the Tony Macaroni Arena on Sunday.

Their alliance with Blackburn United means that the most senior players from The Burnie will play under the Livingston WFC banner along with some new signings.

Credit: VFSportsPix

Speaking on the link-up, Jaconelli said: ‘’This alliance gave not only Livingston, but also Blackburn a stronger brand and a very good pathway, which is a great attraction for potential new players as well as our loyal players who have been with us through thick and thin.”

But they are not underestimating their opponents come Sunday.

“Edinburgh City are a brand new team, so are very much an unknown quantity right now. They have kept themselves well under the radar, so we aren’t sure what to expect from the weekend.”

Women’s football has seen a significant growth in Scotland over the past few years, with the national team qualifying for the World Cup in France last year.

Captain Vicky Wood, who will be the first player to lead out the new side, says the effect is being felt at all levels.

She told EN4 News: “For me personally, it’s had a massive impact. Girls’ football was almost non-existent when I was growing up.

“Now you can see how far it’s come with the number of girls and women who play.”

Daniel Stendel: Hearts boss demands improvement as his side aims for Scottish Cup fifth round tie against Falkirk

 

Hearts manager Daniel Stendel has called on his side to bounce back from midweek disappointment when they take on Falkirk tomorrow night in the Scottish Cup fifth round.

The Jambos go into Saturday’s game off the back of a 3-2 home defeat to Kilmarnock, a result which left the Edinburgh side bottom of the Scottish Premiership.

Stendel said: “I think Wednesday was a big disappointment, we want to play so much better than we played. This situation is passed and the future is Falkirk tomorrow.

“We keep our confidence and we try to change it. This is pressure, yes, but everyone has this in professional football, we have to win.”

The German has declared that he will keep faith in goalkeeper Joel Pereira after a string of high-profile errors from the goalkeeper, having let in six goals in their last two games.

He said: “I am happy with our goalkeepers. Yes, we know that there was a mistake especially with the third goal [against Kilmarnock]. It’s not one player at fault for conceding the goals.

“Yes, when a goalkeeper makes a mistake everyone can see it but we train and we looked after him and we decided together [to play him].”

Saturday’s opponents Falkirk needed a replay to reach the fifth round, beating Arbroath 2-0 after a goalless first tie, with former Jambos striker Conor Sammon amongst the goal scorers, while Hearts defeated Airdrie 5-0 at Tynecastle.

The Bairns sit second in League One and are unbeaten since the appointment of management duo Lee Miller and David McCracken in November last year.

Stendel is looking to use the cup as a way to pick up Hearts’ league fortunes.

He said: “We can use every game to lift ourselves after Wednesday, it’s a good chance to show our ambitions. We want to win this game and get into the next round. We want to win every game but especially we demand to show that we can play better.”

“Your dream is to win the cup, whether in Scotland or in Germany. The chance is there, we stand at the moment in the league at the bottom but I think that we can win against every team.

“At the moment, we have some difficult situations in the league but if we play how we can play, we showed that we can win.”

Michael Smith is back in contention for selection, after missing the last four games with injury.

Scotland Under-20s players relishing the opportunity to play England in front of Myreside crowd in mini Six Nations clash

 

Scotland Under-20 head coach, Sean Lineen, has made two changes to the starting 15 ahead of this evening’s clash against England at Myreside.

Loose-head prop Thomas Lambert comes in for Alex Maxwell, while tight-head prop Mak Wilson takes the spot of Dan Gamble.

The Scots go into the fixture off the back of a tough 38-26 loss to reigning champions Ireland in Dublin last weekend, while their counterparts arrive in Edinburgh sitting second in the table following a 29-24 away victory over France.

“They’re very physical, powerful players, and they play at a very high standard,” Scotland starting hooker Ewan Ashman said of the English opposition.

“They’ve got a lot of Gallagher Premiership players in their squad. So it’s going to be very physical up front, and the boys are going to really have to stick together on this one.”

Ashman, who was the top try scorer in last year’s Under-20 World Championships, comes into this campaign as one of the leadership figures in the squad.

His role sees him pair new captain Rory Darge in leading the forward pack.

Darge concurred with his teammate in his estimations of the England side, telling EN4 News: “They’re big, big players and a lot of them play at a really high level, so they’ll understand what it takes to win games.

“They’ll come at us with a lot of physicality and power. The challenge for us is just to match that as best we can and get into them.”

The Scotland boys will have their foothold in the match boosted by the fact that the encounter will be taking place at George Watson’s Myreside stadium, a ground known for the close atmosphere it can create.

“It’s a really good atmosphere at Myreside, the stand is almost on top of you, so if there is a good crowd there then that’ll be awesome,” Darge said.

Scotland need a win to keep their slim hopes of a title win alive, while stopping rivals England from retaining their Calcutta Cup crown.

Bradbury the sole change to Scotland squad named to face England

Magnus Bradbury is the only change to Gregor Townsend’s Scotland side who host England at BT Murrayfield for this weekend’s Calcutta Cup clash.

The Edinburgh back-row missed last weekend’s 19-12 defeat to Ireland in Dublin, the side’s opening game in the Six Nations, with a thigh strain.

Forward coach Danny Wilson saw promising signs in the defeat to Ireland.

“What happened for us in Dublin last week was some fine margins. One or two things went against us,” Wilson said.

“We talked about some of the positives of last week, but we lost the game. This is a home game; we have to go out there to win.”

Having been knocked out of the Rugby World Cup in the group stages last year, Wilson is hoping that Scotland take experience from the tournament into games of this size.

“We’ve learnt some lessons from the World Cup,” the assistant coach said. “International rugby is an extremely physical game, we know the physicality that will be required for us to be competitive.”

Eddie Jones’s England side may be favourites to win the competition, but they will be desperate for a win in Edinburgh after losing their opening game to France 24-17 in Paris last weekend.

The World Cup runners-up lost on their last visit to the capital in 2018 and failed to claw back the Calcutta Cup at Twickenham last year, settling for a draw.

Scotland captain Stuart Hogg is expecting a different England performance this time around.

“We can’t stand back and admire England for too long,” he said. “They’ve got some cracking individuals, they got to the World Cup final for a reason.”

“We’ve got the game plan and the players in this squad to win test matches. There’s a Calcutta cup to play for and that’s all we’re concentrating on.”

“I truly believe if we nail our jobs in attack and defence, we can turn over England.”

Scott Cummings, who will start against Eddie Jones’ side, has become a regular in the team since the World Cup in Japan. The lock told EN4 News about how the experience of the big stage has prepared him for tomorrow’s game.

Scotland trained at BT Murrayfield this morning ahead of the game. (Credit: Joe Anderson)

“That final game against Japan, in Japan, was such a tense atmosphere with everyone supporting Japan, wanting them to come through.” he said.

“Ireland away was also an amazing atmosphere but I don’t think there won’t be many better atmospheres that Scotland vs England at Murrayfield.”

“England will be looking to be dominant upfront but so will we. We know that if we win upfront we have the quality in the backs to break the game open. We’ve just really been focusing on ourselves and what we can do in the game”

Nick Haining, who gained his first cap for his country when he started in the loss to Ireland, drops to the bench in Bradbury’s place.

Meaning Bradbury will start in an all-Edinburgh back row featuring Jamie Ritchie on the blindside and Hamish Watson at openside.

An unchanged backline sees Ali Price and Adam Hastings form a familiar partnership from club level, with Sam Johnson and Huw Jones – who have both scored tries against England in 2018 and 2019 respectively – start in midfield.

Hogg captains the side in a back-three with Sean Maitland and Blair Kinghorn joining him.

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Muzambe looking to banish Ireland defeat with win at Scotstoun

The Scotland Women’s rugby team will run out at Scotstoun Stadium on Sunday afternoon to take on England in their second Six Nations clash of the tournament.

The Scots are on the back foot in their group having lost to Ireland on Sunday, while England are favourites following their 19-13 win over France.

Panashe Muzambe, who plays for Edinburgh side Watsonians, has recently became a permanent fixture in the starting 15. Speaking exclusively to EN4 News, she says that the defeat hasn’t knocked the players confidence, and minds have switched to Glasgow at the weekend.

“The loss on Sunday was tough but we played our game for the majority of the eighty.” She said. “The players gave it everything but unfortunately we didn’t close out with the win.”

“Scotstoun is amazing and the pride that I have felt running out of the tunnel during the autumn test was unreal. I look forward to another opportunity on Sunday.

“It’s special representing your country in front of a crowd at home and the girls will be filled with confidence by this I’m sure.”

(Credit: Panashe Muzambe)

With Women’s Rugby constantly growing, Panashe says the tournament has given exposure to her teammates and others.
“It’s vital that the game keeps getting exposure,” she said.

“The more people that get to watch the squad play live on television, the more we can grow the game. It’s great for younger girls to see that there is a pathway for them just like the boys do.”

With a spot at the 2021 World Cup at stake, Scotland can’t afford to let England take advantage of any slip-ups.

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