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.

Murrayfield set to host Betfred League Cup Clash – Football Podcast

Murrayfield is set to host Hearts and Celtic in the Scottish League Cup. Photo Credit to Vclaw via Wikipedia

After an initial controversial decision to host both Scottish League Cup semi-finals at Hampden on Sunday 28th October, the SPFL have decided to move the Hearts and Celtic fixture to Scotland’s home of rugby.

However, the decision hasn’t be taken lightly. David Ronney is joined by Paige Beresford, Lauren Archer and John Menzies on the football podcast.

Scottish Premier League – Midweek round-up

Rangers closed the gap between themselves and third placed Aberdeen to three points with a 2-0 victory at Partick Thistle last night.

Goals either side of the break from Josh Windass and James Tavernier was enough to secure the three points for Graham Murty’s side.

Partick Thistle started the brighter of the two sides with Connor Sammon causing problems up front.  Jags manager Alan Archibald will have been left wondering what might have been with his side’s pressure forcing Rangers into making early mistakes.

As time passed, Rangers began to gain more control with Jason Holt commanding the midfield.

Thistle thought they had broke the deadlock when Ryan Edwards latched onto Sammon’s flick on but his powerful volley was ruled out for offside.  The decision was contested by Archibald with TV replays showing a tight call.

The scoring was opened with a slick counter-attack with Candeias playing a lovely first-time cross with Windass smashing home the finish.

A strike off the post from Sammon just before half time was the best chance Thistle missed to get back into the game.

In the second half, James Tavernier ensured the Teddy Bears would be going home with all three points with a spectacular curled-strike into the top corner.

Thistle put up a valiant effort but were outdone by a superior Rangers side.

 

 

Two late goals secured a 2-0 win over St Johnstone to break into the top six in the Scottish Premiership.

St Johnsotne had won 8 out of the 11 previous meetings with Motherwell and it was the Saints who started the better side.

Stefan Cougall was proving tough to handle for the opening 20 minutes, before picking up an injury after landing awkwardly.

It was a lacklustre first half performance from the Well, yet they did create the best chance when Curtis Main had his strike from outside the box strike off the bar and over.

After the break, Motherwell came to life, created much more going forward with Main being the forefront.

Motherwell eventually made the breakthrough following good work on the left.  Rose then laid the ball across for Campbell to convert in the six-yard box – his first goal since April.

Main’s hard work deserved a goal and he was duly rewarded.  Richard Tait won the ball just outside the Saints box, who then served the ball through to Main.  He swivelled and put his left-foot shot beyond Saints keeper Mannus.

The win means well overtake Kilmarnock into sixth, although the Ayrshire side have three games in hand over the Lanarkshire side.

 

 

Hearts’ new Tynecastle stand dazzles in football’s shadow

Hearts could only draw on their return to Tynecastle amidst the controversial opening of their new stand.

The Gorgie side were held to 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle on Sunday hours after a safety certificate was received by City of Edinburgh Council.  

Hearts’ owner Ann Budge helped open the new stand. Photograph: skysports

This caused disruption with the Partick Thistle supporters who were forced to wait until the morning of the game for confirmation.

The Jambos owner, Ann Budge, believed that the right decision was made in the process.

She said: “From my perspective I reckoned it was important to all the fans – the Hearts fans and the Partick fans – it was important to both clubs, both teams, that we really go for it.

“I felt I had a duty to really push it to the wire to try and get this game on because so many people would have had different problems.  And the other thing is, despite what you may have read in the press or wherever, I was in constant touch with Partick Thistle.

“I have been in daily touch with the SPFL , everyone has known what’s been going on, I’ve been keeping them informed.”

The new main stand has a capacity of over 7,250 and is expected to cost the club approximately £12million upon completion next year.  New facilities include new offices, hospitality lounges and a brand new director’s suite.

Budge added: “Everybody wanted to be back. Clearly the team wanted to be back here, they want to be playing in their home ground. Will that mean that we win six games? I’m definitely not saying that.

“But I think both the supporters and the team, everybody is just delighted to be here. And no, it is far from perfect, it’s far from finished.

“I think I said in one statement some time ago that there’s about 25 per cent of it finished. You know I think even that’s stretching it. There’s a lot to be done. But we are back and that is the key.” [the Scottish Sun]

Hearts form has suffered throughout the Tynecastle refurbishment. They currently sit in seventh position and nine points behind Edinburgh rivals Hibernian.

But they will now play the next five league games at home after playing nine of the opening 13 matches away.


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Maurice Malpas: time for a ‘fresh face’ for Scotland

Malpas

Former Scotland defender, Maurice Malpas has stated it might be time for Scotland to bring in a ‘fresh face’ as manager. 

Malpas, who played in the same international team as Gordon Strachan, has said: “I think Gordon will reflect on the last two qualifying campaigns and knowing him he might choose to go.”

However the Scot, who was picking balls for the IRN-BRU Cup Quarter Finals said he expects the SFA to stick with Strachan into the Euro 2020 qualifiers.  “I am sure the SFA will look at the last six games and take a lot of positives.  I’d expect them to keep him on.”

SFA Chief, Stewart Regan has said there will be no “knee-jerking decisions” over Strachan’s future.

Regan told SunSport: “Everyone is disappointed with how the campaign ended.

“I’ve already had a chat with the manager and we’ve discussed it and I’ve said to him we’ll be discussing things as a board.

“I don’t think it would be fair on him or fair on us to make any snap judgement.

“We’ll just reflect on it and when we’re ready we’ll make a call on what happens next.

The bookies have lined up potential replacements should Gordan Strachan’s tenure come to an end.  David Moyes is the early frontrunner to succeed Strachan with Paddy Power offering odds of 17/10.  Other potential choices include former Scotland boss Alex McLeish (4/1) and current Performance Director of the SFA, Malkay Mackay (4/1).

 

 

Spiders hit Montrose for six

There were two games in the lower divisions of the Ladbrokes SPFL on Tuesday night.

In League Two, Queen’s Park travelled to take on Montrose, while in League One, Stranraer faced an arduous trip to Peterhead.

Queen’s Park went into the match at Links Park knowing a win would take them above both their opponents and Stirling Albion to within a point of the playoff places.

But they got off to the worst possible start, with Adrian Mallagaray giving the home side an early lead.

However, the Spiders bounced back in style and Paul Woods got them back on level terms with the equaliser.

Montrose keeper Ross Salmon’s first inkling that he was in for a torrid evening came when he fumbled Sean Burns’ free kick into his own net, and the Queen’s Park midfielder also played a vital part in his side’s third goal.

He was unlucky to see his shot thunder off the post, but Ryan McGeever was on hand to slot home the rebound and give the home side a mountain to climb before the interval.

There was no let-up from the visitors and the impressive Woods grabbed his second goal of the game before Jamie McKernon found the top corner with a fine strike.

Burns compounded Montrose’s misery with another free kick to round off the scoring and put the gloss on a crucial three points for his side.

Elsewhere, Peterhead and Stranraer played out a bizarre match at Balmoor.

Craig Malcolm gave all nine visiting fans who had made the long trip to the North East something to shout about when he converted a penalty after Luciano Nequecaur had been fouled by Jass Sukar.

That was cancelled out by Rory McAllister’s free kick just before half time but the match descended into a farce just after the interval.

The Balmoor floodlights began to fail and referee Craig Charleston twice stopped the game to consult the managers.

However, play raged on and with the closing stages being played in almost total darkness, Kevin Dzierzawski and McAllister both went close for the home side.

However, Stranraer held on to take a point back to the south west and they remain second-bottom, two points above Brechin City and the same margin behind Cowdenbeath.

Keatings on fire as Hibees extend unbeaten run

Hibernian……….2

Livingston………1

James Keatings continued his fine run of form as he netted a brace in Hibernian’s victory over Livingston on Tuesday.

The Hibees moved to within two points of leaders Rangers at the top of the Championship table thanks to the former Hearts man’s goals, with Livi only able to muster a late consolation through Jordyn Sheerin.

Despite the two sides’ positions near the top and bottom of the table respectively, the visitors made life difficult for Hibs with an organised and disciplined performance and it took until the second half for the hosts to make the breakthrough.

The first half was a tense affair and although Livi posed a threat through Jordan White and Ross Millen, the home side should have gone in at the interval well in front.

A series of poor decisions in the final third, combined with an out-of-character miss from Jason Cummings after the striker had rounded Marc McCallum, meant that the teams returned to the dressing rooms with the game goalless.

The visitors could have punished the Scotland Under-21 international and his team-mates immediately after half time, but Mark Oxley confirmed his status as one of the finest goalkeepers in the division with fine saves from Scott Pittman and Myles Hippolyte.

Hibs manager Alan Stubbs threw on Dylan McGeouch in place of the ineffective Martin Boyle and the former Celtic man had a decisive impact.

His drive and commitment in midfield allowed John McGinn to more freely, and the youngster’s fine reverse pass played in Keatings who opened the scoring with a crisp finish beyond McCallum.

Cummings passed up two more fine scoring chances as he attempted to add to his record of scoring in each of his last seven games, but it would not matter as the Hibees made the result safe shortly afterwards.

Keatings, a summer signing from city rivals Hearts, had scored a hat-trick on his last appearance in the victory over St Mirren and he kept his outstanding form going with his second goal of the game.

The 23-year-old showed nice footwork to beat two defenders before rifling a shot past the goalkeeper, who had no chance.

The sense of relief was palpable around Easter Road on what had been a frustrating night for the title chasers.

Hibs were made to worry late on when two Livingston substitutes combined to give their side hope. Liam Buchanan, who joined from Championship rivals Alloa at the beginning of the season, crossed for Sheerin who made no mistake with his finish beyond Oxley.

However, that came too late for the visitors to find a route back into the game and the home side saw out their eighth consecutive win fairly comfortably.

Hibernian: Oxley, Gray (c), McGregor, Fontaine, Stevenson, Boyle (McGeouch), Fyvie, Henderson (Bartley), McGinn, Keatings, Cummings (Feruz).

Livingston: McCallum, Neill, Gallagher, Gordon, Longridge, Millen, Gibbons, Faria (Georgiev), Hippolyte (Sheerin), White (Buchanan), Pittman.

 

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