Wighton hoping to benefit from Naismith absence

Craig Wighton

Wighton is looking for a fresh start after injury (Credit: Luke Barry)

Heart of Midlothian striker Craig Wighton is looking to break into the starting line-up ahead of tomorrow’s match against Dundee.

Team-mate Steven Naismith is set to be out for eight to 10 weeks with a recurring knee injury, and whilst Wighton knows that he’ll be a big miss for the club, he believes that the hole can be filled.

“[Naismith] has done a lot for us this season, with the amount of goals he’s got,” Wighton said.

“Obviously he’s already missed a few games this season, and we missed him a lot during that period, so it’s a big task for all the forwards to replace him.

 

“But we’ve got a lot of good players; Uche, Macca, Vanacek and Keena as well. There’s a lot of competition here, but I think for any team, they would miss a player like ‘Naisy’.

“But all the forwards have got to think that [we can take his place]. He’s a big player for us, but we’ve got some important games coming up, so it’s a big opportunity.

“We all need to start chipping in with goals.”

Injury and lack of form has meant that Wighton has been limited to only nine league appearances so far this season. He’s become almost a forgotten man at Tynecastle, something that he accepts, but he insists that he’s ready to make a new start at the club.

“It does a bit [feel like starting again],” he admitted.

“I feel like I’m in better shape than when I first came here.

“I’ve had a few games back-to-back, which I haven’t had for a while. Even though it’s reserves football, it’s good to get these games under your belt to get up to speed.

“I’m feeling sharp now and if I do get called upon, then I’ll be ready.”

Tomorrow’s match will see Wighton return to Dundee, a club he knows very well. He came through the academy at the Tayside club, before leaving them to join Hearts last August.

The 21-year-old admits that he is shocked to see his old side battling relegation this season.

“I am [surprised at Dundee’s position in the league table],” he said.

“Obviously it’s almost a completely different squad to when I left – I don’t know many of the players that are there now – but I’ve seen them a couple of times this season and they’ve been decent.

“But it’s hard to get a good run of games when you’re in that position. It’s a big game on Saturday, so we’ll be looking to go there and get the three points.

“I appreciate everyone that Dundee did of me during my career but I’m at Hearts now. If I get an opportunity on Saturday, I’ll be looking to score.”

Hearts vs St Johnstone – Match Preview

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Hearts host St Johnstone on Saturday at Tynecastle. (Photo credit: Paul Henery)

Hearts will be looking to bounce back from a defeat against Dundee on January 24, whereas St Johnstone is looking for their fourth consecutive league win, after overcoming Livingston.

This is the third time the two clubs have met this season, with a Hearts coming out on top in a 2-1 win at Tynecastle and a 2-2 draw at McDiarmid Park.

Craig Levein’s side will be looking to redeem themselves after the loss to Dundee but has warned that he may ‘drop half the team’ following the match. The Edinburgh side was booed when they left the pitch on the match night, and Levein singled out his January signing David Vanecek for a ‘rubbish’ performance.

The Czech was substituted 30 minutes into the game, leaving Hearts fans disappointed and wanting more from the striker, who joined the team after agreeing on a pre-contract with Hearts in the summer.

Craig Levein

Craig Levein labelled his side’s performance against Dundee as “p***”. (Photo credit: Hayden Barry)

Fans will be hoping Vanecek puts in a stronger performance when St Johnstone come to Tynecastle on Saturday. Levein has also added Leeds United defender Conor Shaughnessy on loan, to his squad.

St Johnstone look favourites to take home the three points, with their last defeat coming against title contenders Rangers back in December, and even that was a tightly contested game with Saints conceding an 88th-minute goal. St Johnstone have now kept 11 clean sheets in 14 games, after beating Livingston 1-0 midweek and moving the Saints into the fifth position.

The Perth side is looking to continue the momentum they have going, with a 100% record in all competitions this year. This is bolstered by the return of fan favourite Michael O’Halloran, who signed a two-and-a-half year contract last week to return to McDiarmid Park for the third time.

Kick off is 3pm on Saturday, January 26 at Tynecastle Park.

FA Cup v Scottish Cup: Which is cheaper?

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Are Scottish Cup tickets too expensive? (Photo credit: Hayden Barry)

As cup fixtures concluded in Scotland for the most part last weekend, they get back underway south of the border this weekend round.

You may think despite English football generally being the more expensive choice when it comes to their league football, it’ll be cheaper to attend a Scottish Cup fixture. Surely?

Well surprisingly it’s actually the other way round. Some fans last weekend put their money where their mouth is and refused to cash in for the inflated prices for tickets to Scotland’s oldest competition.

Scotland’s fourth round replays take place next week where for example Dundee travel to Palmerston Park to play Championship outfit, Queen of the South.

Whereas in England, the FA cup fourth round gets underway this weekend where teams like Newcastle United face familiar opposition when they take on fellow Premier League side Watford at St James’ park.

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Auchinleck’s win over Ayr United was one of the biggest wins during the fourth round of the Scottish Cup this season. (Photo credit: Auchinleck Talbot)

With all due respect to all clubs involved, if you had to choose between the two matches then you’d likely go for the English encounter due to the quality of the two sides on offer. And you could be saving a few quid while you do.

Queen of the South are charging a standard admission of £19 for all home supporters. However, season ticket holders at Newcastle United are unable to use their usual seats for FA cup ties so the club has set a fair price of £10 for a general admission. Given the noticeable difference in the standard of football, many Scottish fans have sparked an outcry claiming their clubs are ignorant in their pricing of tickets.

Last week, Hibernian entertained Elgin City at Easter Road who were greeted with a less than half full stadium, struggling to just bring in over 7000 supporters. This poor attendance, in an otherwise passionate stadium, has been heavily linked with overpriced tickets. Even in league games, Scotland has seen an overall increase in season ticket prices since 2016. On average, the cheapest season ticket has risen from £293 in 2016 to just over £302 and with many clubs suffering from a low turnout the price is only set to increase.

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You’ll be cheaper going to St James’ Park (above) over Palmerston Park for a fourth round tie. (Photo credit: Jimmy McIntyre)

Ex-Motherwell and Queen of the South goalkeeper, Ross Hyslop, is now a season ticket holder at St James’ Park and claims that “Scottish football could learn a thing or two from England.”

The former professional argued his case. He said: “Cup ties always struggle to bring fans along to games simply because a lot of people view the league as much more important and much more competitive. So, what you do is you set fares at a low price so more people come along. Then you’ve not got whole stands with empty seats and there’s more support for the team but Scottish clubs always fail to see that. As a player I always hated playing in an empty ground.”

Most English teams were close to filling their stadium during the third round of the FA Cup, with Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium generating a higher figure in their tie against Championship side, Rotherham, than their average Premier League attendance record in the past season.

Hyslop believes this is solely down to ticket pricing, with the cheapest adult admission staying as low as £10.

He added: “People want to come out and support their team but unfortunately what you have now in the Premier League and in Scotland are absurd ticket prices. If you drive the price down then more people are going to come, you’re going to have a much more packed ground and essentially you’re going to make more money.”

Scottish football fans aren’t oblivious to the fact that money is tight in the professional scene, but some may feel like this time, clubs have just went the one step too far.

Dundee-born scientist dies in Antarctica tragedy

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Dr Gordon Hamilton died after plunging into crevasse in Antarctica on Saturday Photo: cascadenews.co.uk

 

A Dundee-born scientist has died after plunging into a crevasse on Antartica’s White Island.

50-year-old Dr Gordon Hamilton, a professor at the University of Maine, was on a research trip when his snowmobile fell into 100-foot deep gap in the ice.

Susan Hunter, the university’s president, led the tributes by saying: “The University of Maine has lost one of its leading scientists. Our heartfelt thoughts and prayers go to his wife, Fiona, and their two children, Martin and Callum, and his friends and colleagues around the world.”

Dr Hamilton was camping with his research team in the Shear Zone, where ice can be up to 650 feet thick.  His team were thought to be aware of the crevasses in the area.

The trip, which was funded by the National Science Foundation, allowed Hamilton and his research team to study glaciers and the impact of climate change on sea levels.

Edinburgh University take on Dundee in BUCS Tournament

Edinburgh University rugby team is set to play Dundee this evening at Peffermill, in the fifth round of the BUCS tournament. EN4 News reporters Emma Logan and Robyn Baillie caught up with the team to find out more.

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