Circuit rallying comes to Scotland

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Circuit rallying is unique, and visits Scotland this weekend (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

The Motorsport News Circuit Rally Championship is heading to Knockhill Racing Circuit this Sunday for the third round of the 2018/19 season.

The championship is one of the fastest-growing in the country and has witnessed some of the best rallying battles in recent memory in its short three year history. Defending champion Chris West heads Sunday’s entry list in his Peugeot 306 Maxi, with Scottish heroes Alan Kirkaldy, John Marshall and Donnie MacDonald taking the battle to MSN Championship regulars West, John Stone and Tom Blackwood.

Now in its fourth season, the MSN Championship heads to various different race tracks across the UK, in a hybrid format between racing and rallying.

Rallying – where drivers race against the clock to set the quickest possible time – traditionally takes place in forests or on closed public roads whereas racing occurs on race tracks with a bunch of cars battling each other for position.

Circuit rallying mates the two disciplines together. The special stages are all set within the confides of a race track, but it’s a rally so each car sets off at 30 second intervals and races each other on the time-sheets and not the circuit.

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Fair (right) finds circuit rallying more relaxing than stage rallying (Photo Credit: Luke Barry)

This provides a very different viewing spectacle for onlookers and a unique challenge for the competitors. Cameron Fair regularly competes with double Scottish rally champion Jock Armstrong, but is sitting beside Alan Kirkaldy in his Ford Fiesta R5 on Sunday.

“Circuit rallying is quite relaxed for a navigator compared to a circuit event,” Fair said.

“There are no road sections which for me are the most stressful part of a rally. There’s also no route notes, just a map. Spitting out a description of the road to the driver at rally pace can be difficult. The map is more vague so there’s only so much you can tell the driver, and after multiple laps he knows the lay of the land so it’s a good opportunity just to watch the driver do his thing.

“Alan and I are going into the rally looking for a strong result, as Knockhill is a place we both know very well. We’ve finished on the podium in the past so it’d be wrong to say we aren’t looking for another top three this weekend.”

Fair is aware that the competition from the regular championship competitors will be tough, even if he and Kirkaldy have the home advantage.

“Chris West in the 306 is very quick, he drives that car very well.”

“John Stone has a new WRC [Ford] Fiesta which he won with at Rockingham last weekend so he’ll be on the money. There’s also a lot of top Scottish boys that will be there or thereabouts and wanting to make an impact. It’s certainly all to play for!”

Championship co-ordinator Darren Spann is enthusiastic to be heading to Fife for the second year in succession. Hear his thoughts ahead of the event below.

 

 

A full entry list for the Cobble Shop Knockhill Stages can be viewed here, while further information on the event can be found on the circuit’s website.

McGlynn “very happy” to be back managing Raith Rovers

John Menzies - RRFC

Stark’s Park, where John McGlynn manages Raith Rovers (credit: Colin Pine)

John McGlynn is back in charge at Raith Rovers, six years after leaving the club, and is targeting promotion back into the second tier of Scottish football.

The 56-year-old returned to Stark’s Park four weeks ago, replacing Barry Smith, who resigned his post at the beginning of September. And McGlynn revealed that the chance to take the reigns again at the Fife side was too good to turn down.

“It was the lure of Raith Rovers that I left Celtic for. When the opportunity arose, I felt like I was the right man for the job. I had a successful spell here before and I hope to repeat that this time around.”

McGlynn was previously at Raith between 2006 and 2012, and guided the club to promotion from the Second Division in the 2008-09 season. Two years later, he led the club to second place in the First Division, narrowly missing out on promotion to the SPL to rivals Dunfermline. He left in 2012 to join Heart of Midlothian, where he had previously been First Team Coach.

McGlynn was most recently manager at Livingston, who he left by mutual consent in December 2014. But despite being out of the managerial game for almost four years, he feels like it’s taken no time to adjust back.

“No, not at all. There’s so much to do that you can’t really do anything other than think about what’s right in front of you.

“Taking training, preparing for matches and so on: there’s so much work to get done here, you’re thrown right back into the mix.

“You just have to roll up your sleeves and get on with it.”

Joining McGlynn back at Raith is assistant Paul Smith. Smith was McGlynn’s number 2 during his previous spell at the club, and he revealed that one of the main attractions of re-joining the Rovers was reuniting with Smith.

“To work with Paul again was a key factor for me. We’ve both had a successful time here together previously, we know each other well and we know how to get the best out of the players.

“The partnership we have has worked in the past, it’s working now and it will work well in the future.”

McGlynn’s second tenure has seen the club pick up seven points out of a possible nine, and they will be looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season on Saturday, when they travel to Station Park to face Forfar Athletic.

New Stadium could give Edinburgh a Fortress to Defend

 

A new stadium planned to be built next to the Scottish national Stadium, Murrayfield, has been given the go-ahead by Edinburgh council.

It is hoped that the new build will be completed next year in time for Edinburgh Rugby to make it their new home.

With just under 8,000 seats it is hoped that sell-out crowds will gather to watch a revitalised capital side. With significantly less seats to fill than Murrayfield’s 67,000.

Less seats mean a more intense atmosphere can be achieved making Edinburgh a more daunting opponent, allowing them to build a club identity and creating a closer connection with fans.

Edinburgh forward, Rory Sutherland said:

“We would like somewhere we can call a home.

“It’s going to be important for creating an atmosphere, getting the support in … it can make a big difference.”

Head Coach Richard Cockerel added:

“It’s great to have your own home. we had over 7,000 here at the weekend and with the new stadium holding 7,800, we can start to get sell-out crowds like they have at Scotstoun.

“It then becomes our own atmosphere, our own pitch, our own stadium, our own branding, all those things. We can build our own identity and move forward.

“Edinburgh will have a permanent home that we can build a team and a club around.”

 

Griffiths rules himself out of Scotland squad

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Griffiths wants to focus on his fitness. Photo Credit: Wikipedia.

Celtic striker Leigh Griffiths has withdrawn from Alex McLeish’s Scotland squad in a bid to improve his fitness.

The forward, who has scored four times for his country, was named in the initial squad that will face Israel on Thursday on the UEFA Nations League.

There had been reports that the 28-year-old striker had fallen out with McLeish after he was left on the bench in last month’s contest against Albania, but the Scotland manager insists the decision to withdraw was entirely down to Griffiths.

In a statement released by the Scottish Football Association, Griffiths declared he’d love to play for Scotland again should he be selected.

He said: “I had a good discussion with the manager to explain my decision. It’s not one that I’ve made lightly.

“It means a lot to me to play for Scotland and I hope to be part of Alex’s plans again in future, if selected.”

Scotland will play Portugal at Hampden Park on Sunday following their away trip to Israel. The side sit top of Group One in the UEFA Nations League courtesy of a 2-0 win over Albania in September, a game in which Griffiths was dropped to the bench.

Meadowbank Centre in funding crisis

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Concerns arise amid council vote.

Councillors are set to decide whom to award the contract for building the new state of art sports centre in Edinburgh. However, questions are raised over where the money for the project will come from.

The Edinburgh City Council Finance Committee is being asked to approve a £39 million contract to build the new centre but the Save Meadowbank campaign has exposed the pitfalls in the council’s plan.

Executive Director of Communities and Families within the Council, Alistair Gaw, submitted a paper to the finance committee for discussion on 11 October with the comment that the capital funding for the project will mainly come from the sale of 300 homes due to be built on one half of the site.

“This is completely inaccurate because his report is based on a previous Council plan which was thrown out by the planning committee when it met in June,” said Save Meadowbank spokesperson Heather Peacock in an official statement.

Campaigners claim the inaccuracy is due to the council maintaining their plan for the new homes while claiming to have started from a “clean state.” They are committed to preserving the Meadowbank’s green space and have cast doubts over the council’s plans and whether the project will commence.

Save Meadowbank’s representative, Russell McLarty, was particularly critical of the council’s approach to the situation:

“If they had had a more measured approach and looked at different options for the overall development of the site and funding – including borrowing – then they may have come up with something better. However, they are pushing ahead and are constrained by the desire to produce a sports centre – the council seem to have gone about this the wrong way.”

The council, when prompted, refused to comment on the situation.

A report to the council finance committee has warned that the figures may be unreliable and that the council may end up with a funding deficit of £24 million. It outlines a precautionary £7 million that should not be used until more accurate data is received.

 

Dundee United appoint Robbie Neilson

Photo credit to Benson85 via Wikipedia.

Dundee United have confirmed Robbie Neilson as the club’s new manager on an 18-month-deal.

The 38-year-old takes charge of the club ahead of their clash with Partick Thistle on Saturday with the club currently sitting fourth in the Championship.

He succeeds Csaba Laszlo who was sacked by the club after a heavy 5-1 home defeat to Ross County back in September.

Neilson was excited for the challenge ahead.

He said: “It is an exciting opportunity at a great club and I am confident I can lead Dundee United back to the Premiership. This is the perfect challenge for me at a club I know well and I am looking forward to meeting the coaching staff and players tomorrow and getting straight to work ahead of Saturday’s match at Partick Thistle.”

Neilson has been out of work since January after leaving MK Dons in the relegation zone of England’s League One.

The new United boss has Championship experience, having gained promotion to the Premiership with Hearts in the 2014/15 season.

“I am confident I can lead Dundee United back to the Premiership. This is the perfect challenge for me at a club I know well.”

Neilson’s also a former Dundee United player, spending a brief spell with the club in the 2011/12 season making 23 appearances.

Dundee United Chairman, Mike Martin spoke highly of the club’s new manager.

He said: “I am delighted Robbie has agreed to become Head Coach. From a long list of impressive applications, he was the outstanding candidate.”

Neilson had also spoken to opponents Thistle about a possible move to Glasgow after Alan Archibald was sacked on Saturday.

Back page newspaper discussion

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‘We’ll never die’ Manchester United remembers the Munich air disaster 60 years on

Manchester United marked the 60th anniversary of the Munich air disaster with a service at Old Trafford in which around 4,500 people attended.

The crash took place on February 6th 1958 when a plane carrying the Manchester United team and members of the media failed to take off from the icy Munich runway for a third time, colliding into a nearby farm house. Twenty-three people lost their lives, including eight players.

Amongst those at the memorial service was Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho, former boss Sir Alex Ferguson and United captain Michael Carrick. Yet, most poignant was the attendance of Sir Bobby Charlton and Harry Gregg, who were survivors of the crash.

Manchester United’s memorial service at Old Trafford. From Left to right: Captain Michael Carrick, Manager Jose Mourinho, Vice-chairman Ed Woodward, and former manager Sir Alex Ferguson | Photo Credit: Getty

It was a human tragedy over anything else with eight players local to the Manchester area losing their lives. The team known fondly as ‘The Busby Babes’ were flying back to England having won their European Cup quarter final against Red Star Belgrade. The team carried an average age of 22.

‘The Busby Babes’ line-up for what would be one of their last games together | Photo Credit: PA

The ceremony marks a week of events put on by the club to remember the disaster. With a minute’s silence at the weekend against Huddersfield, the United fans also unveiled a banner displaying ‘We’ll Never Die’.

Tributes have also been paid at the Partizan Stadium in Belgrade where the team played their final game before the tragedy as well as the crash site in Munich, where Bayern Munich Chief Executive Karl-Heinz Rummenigge was joined by a large contingent of travelling United supporters.

Clubs and footballers from across the world have shown their support on social media with messages of remembrance to those who lost their lives.

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Our sports reporter Ewan Hawthorne is joined by Ryan Maher and our EN4 News Producer Cameron Storer to give their views and opinions.

Pressure and speculation surrounds the Chelsea Head Coach. Image : Sky Sports

 

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