Klopp: Steven Gerrard has made an amazing start

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp has reported Steven Gerrard’s get started as a senior manager at Rangers has been “amazing.”

Gerrard still left his function as Liverpool’s underneath-18s coach in the summer to consider cost of Rangers, and he has now guided them to the group stages of a European opposition for the initially time since 2010-eleven soon after owning competent for the Europa League.

Klopp is retaining a close eye on Rangers’ development this term, with Liverpool kids Ovie Ejaria and Ryan Kent investing the season on bank loan at Ibrox.

Then you lose against Celtic. Wow, what a surprise! That is a best team in the league. Celtic were being not fifty or sixty percent superior like in the last couple of many years so they are coming closer. That is the only way to get them 1 day.

“That is his position to do but, so far — additional than excellent. It is excellent football. In Europe, it was amazing. So they have a excellent team collectively. They have to make improvements to — that is it.”

In the meantime, Klopp has welcomed last week’s news of Andrew Robertson being named captain of Scotland.

Klopp feels these types of an honour is deserved for the 24-year-old, who worked his way up from the Scottish fourth tier ahead of signing for Liverpool in summer 2017.

“Andy is a superb fella. He is a extremely good and good man or woman. He can be a chief in the upcoming, a hundred percent,” he reported. “He made large techniques in the last 1-and-a-fifty percent many years since we worked collectively. Which is seriously great.

“He has made large techniques in the last four or five many years since he started his vocation. So it really is a good tale.

“He is even now young but he is a chief now and he will be even superior in that in the upcoming.”


Steven Gerrard Is New Rangers Manager

Rangers will not be using a gamble after getting Steven Gerrard as their new boss, says agent Martin Reilly.

But, according to the man who signifies Neil Lennon, the former Liverpool and England skipper will be  a danger if he does not get assurances about the income he will get to expand next season.

Gerrard — who has confirmed he took the Rangers job — has only been coaching for 10 months getting taken around the Anfield under-18s final summer months.

Pundits have questioned regardless of whether Rangers‘ intentions are smart given Gerrard’s deficiency of practical experience.

But Reilly points to the case in point of Lennon, who moved from manager of Celtic’s academy to initially-team with terrific success, and insisted Gerrard appointment could be a masterstroke by Gers chairman Dave King.

Nonetheless, right before the offer was struck, Reilly reckons Gerrard and his agent Struan Marshall will initially demand answers on the spending plan he will be given when they resume talks with Rangers chiefs.

“I am not a person for using pops at rookie managers for the reason that I had a person in Neil and he is been sensational,” reported Reilly.

“He took Celtic to the final 16 of the Champions League — a feat no-a person has occurred near to matching since.

“You require learning somewhere. Some people get even larger jobs than many others. Neil’s initial job was at Celtic and appear how profitable he was.

“The variance with Neil is that he had a stable composition in place at Celtic with Peter Lawwell in demand.

“But nobody actually appreciates wherever Rangers are at the second.

“If I was using a manager in there, the initial factor I’d want to know is what is the spending plan? I’d want to know that right before I even get started speaking about the deal. I’d want to know what they ended up scheduling on executing behind the scenes.

“If I failed to get the suitable answers then alarm bells would be ringing.”

Gerrard turned down the probability to get around at MK Dons in 2016 soon after deciding it was “far too quickly” to move into management just 4 months soon after hanging up his boots.

And Reilly reckons he will wander away once more if he does not like what Rangers have to say.

“Steven Gerrard is nobody’s mug and I am certain he will be executing his thanks diligence on them,” he reported.

“Rangers is for a person of one of the largest jobs in European football. But only if certain items are suitable.

“If it can be not suitable it could turn out to be a catastrophe.

“If Rangers are hoping to provide in someone who will draw in major-name players to Scotland, then Gerrard definitely ticks those boxes. But that also will take income.

“If Steven Gerrard telephones you up and asks, ‘Do you want to sign for Rangers?’, the majority of players will be 50 percent way here.

“But their next issue will be, ‘For how a great deal?’

“Rangers have acquired a few yrs to quit 10-in-a-row so they require getting this appointment suitable. But in management, you might be only as good as what is above you.


Celtic vs. Rangers – Football Match Report – April 29, 2018

Celtic clinched their seventh successive Scottish Premiership title in an amazing match with a 5- thrashing of ragged rivals Rangers at Parkhead.

Odsonne Edouard, the 21-year-old French striker on financial loan from Paris Saint-Germain, scored a very first- half double with James Forrest adding a 3rd prior to the crack to ship Celtic fans into a half-time frenzy.

Celtic’s existing dominance more than their city rivals was underlined after the crack as midfielders Tom Rogic and Callum McGregor included more goals to spark off the common celebrations with three fixtures remaining.

Boss Brendan Rodgers is now unbeaten in eleven games against Rangers because he took more than in 2016, 9 wins and two draws, and his Celtic aspect is in a Scottish Cup ultimate win against Motherwell away from an unprecedented successive treble.

Celtic’s most important win more than Rangers was 7-1 in Oct, 1957 and it could have very easily be beaten.

If previous England and Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is to just take more than from Graeme Murty as the manager of Rangers — and he is the front-runner — then he will have his work minimize out to enhance this Ibrox aspect who glance bereft of perception when they face green and white hoops, not to say just inferior.

As always there experienced been lots of speculation ahead of the midday kick-off pertaining to team selections.

With Rangers’ No. 1 keeper Wes Foderingham continue to carrying a shoulder harm, Jak Alnwick made his Outdated Company debut with midfielder Andy Halliday requested to play at still left-back thanks to Declan John’s damaged hand.

With Moussa Dembele wounded, Rodgers opted to go with Edouard as his principal striker as an alternative of Leigh Griffiths who started on the bench, together with Jack Hendry who was changed by appropriate-back Mikael Lustig.

The home aspect piled on relentless stress from the start out and an unsure searching Alnwick made two early will save from Celtic midfielder Olivier Ntcham.

Having said that, it was teammate Edouard who converted a Kieran Tierney minimize-back from 5 yards to get started an afternoon of abject misery for the Govan aspect.

Celtic experienced finish command of the game searching fitter, quicker and much more concentrated.

Having said that, in the twenty-seventh minute Gers midfielder Jason Holt broke ahead and drew a respectable save from Hoops keeper Craig Gordon with his still left-footed travel and Tierney accomplished the clearance.

Attacker Josh Windass failed to select out Jason Cummings on yet another Gers crack but in the forty-first minute when midfielder Graham Dorrans lost possession in a Rangers assault, Forrest sent Edouard functioning crystal clear into the opposition box and he drove very low previous Alnwick and into the far corner.

It soon acquired even worse for the visitors.

Just prior to the crack, with the Light Blues in finish disarray, Forrest rattled in number three on the angle from 10 yards.

Rogic swept in number 4 from the edge of the box with the 2nd half just less than way prior to McGregor slid in an Edouard pass for the fifth after 52 minutes and the file textbooks were being currently being looked at.

Windass experienced strike the post with an exertion prior to he was changed by Alfredo Morelos, his introduction mocked by ecstatic Celtic fans.

Alnwick made high-quality will save from Forrest and Rogic amid much more mundane ones as the home aspect threatened continually, somehow failing to increase to the anguish of their battered and bruised city rivals.


Jurgen Klopp: Liverpool back Gerrard if he took Rangers position

Steven Gerrard has been coaching Liverpool’s less than-18s.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has explained he is “not anxious” if Steven Gerrard turns into the manager of Rangers, stating the club will “help him no matter what he wants to do.”

Gerrard has emerged as the front-runner to become the next boss of the Scottish giants, Press Association Sports stories.

The 37-12 months-aged retired in November 2016 soon after a 12-thirty day period stint with LA Galaxy and has coached Liverpool’s less than-18s due to the fact returning to England.

Rangers chairman Dave King was at Anfield on Tuesday as Liverpool took on Roma in the Champions League semifinals — a match at which Gerrard laboured as a television pundit.

And speaking at his news convention forward of Liverpool’s home game against Stoke on Saturday, Klopp explained: “I am not anxious. If, a large if something takes place, it was generally crystal clear.

“Steven is, was and generally will be a Liverpool legend. We will help him no matter what he wants to do. Easy as that.

“It is no determination. I do not know the predicament at the second. I can visualize that clubs are intrigued in signing Stevie.

“He has significant experience as a player, and now as a manager. I would imagine about him as effectively if I owned a club.

“Just one working day it will come about, either here or somewhere else, but it can be his determination and he is aged enough to make it himself.”

Talks are at an early phase but Rangers have made it crystal clear they are intrigued in appointing Gerrard to what would be his initially senior managerial role.

Graeme Murty remains in interim demand until finally the finish of the season, owning been asked to phase into the breach adhering to Pedro Caixinha’s sacking in October.

The bookmakers have set up Gerrard as the odds-on favourite but the appointment of a rookie boss would be the main gamble for Rangers as they glimpse to arrest Celtic’s domestic dominance.

On the other hand, Klopp explained his get the job done with the U18s had demonstrated that he could do the position.

“We had a great initially chat and from then on it made seriously brilliantly,” he explained.

“He required to study and he figured out, he required to do the position and he did the position. As a Liverpool coach in the youth, you have fairly a great bunch of players all-around. It is not that you have to inform them every little thing about football. He applied the time.

“If he thinks he is all set then he is all set. It was fairly rapid finding out, and he did. If he thinks he wants to do something various — a seriously large if — then we would be completely happy for him and we would help him.”

Klopp joked: “As very long as he is not the Everton manager or Man United, then we would continue to assist him if he has inquiries.”

But previous Rangers manager and present-day Scotland coach Alex McLeish explained Gerrard would have to study on the position if he made the shift to Ibrox.

“It is dependent on what Steven has been accomplishing, how a great deal coaching he has in fact been involved in,” McLeish explained.

“He is aware of the game inside of out but as regards coaching, then I am sure he has bought some factors to study. He is not going to have all the solutions for that, but I am specific that some working day he could be a terrific man-manager.

“I listen to the way he is coaching the kids and offering them the Liverpool values and what it will take, and at times I imagine that gets missed out in the method of kids when they are growing up, and retaining the enthusiasm and enthusiasm for each individual game.


Motherwell vs. Celtic – Football Match Report – November 29, 2017


Substitute Scott Sinclair’s 88th minute penalty gave Celtic a dramatic 1-1 Ladbrokes Premiership draw at Motherwell and extended the Hoops’ unbeaten run to 66 games.
The league leaders, who had beaten their hosts 2-0 in the Betred Cup final at Hampden Park on Sunday, fell behind with 12 minutes remaining when Hoops right-back Mikael Lustig knocked the ball into his own net as he tried to clear a Craig Tanner free-kick.
However, with two minutes, after Callum McGregor went down in the penalty area under a challenge from substitute Andy Rose, Sinclair converted the spot-kick.
It was hard to take for the home side as Sinclair, who won a controversial penalty at the weekend when he went down easily under a challenge from Cedric Kipre, netted the late equaliser – but it showed the determination of Brendan Rodgers’ side.
The teams meet again at Celtic Park on Saturday, with more fireworks likely.
The home side showed three changes with Lithuanian winger Deimantas Petravicius making his first start since signing in the summer and Elliott Frear and Allan Campbell back in the starting line-up.
With French striker Moussa Dembele out with an injury picked up at Hampden Park, Leigh Griffiths returned to lead the line while Sinclair was replaced by Patrick Roberts.
However, only 11 minutes had elapsed when the on-loan winger from Manchester City had to go off – perhaps with a recurrence of a hamstring complaint – and was replaced by midfielder Tom Rogic.
Referee Willie Collum was working hard to keep control of a feisty game in which chances were at a minimum.
In the 20th minute, after a terrific crossfield pass from Rogic had released Griffiths, Well goalkeeper Trevor Carson pulled off a fine save from McGregor’s drive – with the Hoops midfielder narrowly missing the target with the rebound.
Carson’s save in the minute of added time was remarkable. Rogic split the Well defence open to find left-back Kieran Tierney, who found himself in the clear – but his drive from point-blank range was somehow blocked by the Fir Park keeper.
Celtic stepped it up at the start of the second half and Carson pulled off another fine save, this time from McGregor’s low drive from outside the box.
On the hour, as the game stretched, Motherwell striker Louis Moult’s overhead kick from 12 yards just cleared the bar.
The Parkhead men raced back up the park and McGregor burrowed his way into the box again came close with an angled drive which escaped the far post.
Tanner replaced Elliott Frear in the 66th minute and moments later missed a great chance when he failed to connect properly with a Richard Tait cross, the ball flying off his head and wide before a left-footed drive was held by Hoops keeper Craig Gordon.
Sinclair was given stick by the home fans when he replaced Stuart Armstrong in the 72nd minute ahead of a frantic finale which saw Lustig, trying to defend a Tanner free-kick, knock the ball past the helpless Gordon.
The champions rallied and Rogic smashed a drive which rebounded off the post and back into the arms of Carson.
However, McGregor – after having a shot saved by Carson – went to ground following a challenge from Rose and Collum pointed to the spot, allowing Sinclair to slam in the leveller.


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Rangers vs. Aberdeen – Football Match Report – November 29, 2017


Rangers put their long-running managerial saga to one side as they claimed a surprisingly one-sided 3-0 victory over Aberdeen at Ibrox.
Five weeks on from axing Pedro Caixinha they found themselves still without a boss facing up to the team managed by the leading contender for the job.
But while Derek McInnes insists he is happy to remain at Pittodrie he will be furious with the way his side opened up as James Tavernier struck twice either side of Carlos Pena’s goal.
Victory sees Gers move up to third, just three points behind the Dons – who had Ryan Christie sent off late on.
It will also help take some of the heat out of Thursday’s AGM, where Light Blues chairman Dave King will be expected to explain to angry shareholders why a replacement for Caixinha has still not been found so long after the Portuguese boss’ sacking.
Bruno Alves and Pena had not been seen in a Gers kit for a month but both were back in caretaker boss Graeme Murty’s line-up, while Ryan Jack started against his old side.
And it was clear from the first 30 seconds the hosts were out to repay their fans after back-to-back defeats to Hamilton and Dundee as Josh Windass came within a whisker of turning home a low Tavernier cross.
But their ravenous hunger was fed seven minutes later with the penalty opener.
Greg Tansey should have sent the ball into orbit when it dropped on top of him inside the box but instead his clumsy swing clattered into Jason Holt and referee Andrew Dallas immediately pointed to the spot.
Tavernier stepped up and slotted the ball down the middle to the massive delight of the home support.
They were off their feet again on 24 minutes when Ross McCrorie sent Windass galloping through on goal but the offside flag was already up by the time the Englishman netted.
But there was no stopping the celebrations three minutes later as Pena did grab the second.
Kenny Miller and Tavernier combined on halfway before releasing Holt down the right. The midfielder did brilliantly to pick out the Mexican who calmly swept home his fifth goal in 10 games.
McInnes knew he had to change things up and acted two minutes before the break as he sent on Gary Mackay-Steven for Tansey. The switch almost paid off within 30 seconds as the wideman raced into the box but pulled his shot after being tugged back by Tavernier.
The former Celtic man screamed for a penalty but all Dallas gave him was a booking for his angry outburst.
While the first half had been a thrill-a-minute affair, the second period was a slow burner.
But the Rangers faithful enjoyed it all the same as Tavernier stroked home the clincher with 20 minutes left as he drifted onto Windass’ low cross from the right before steering past Joe Lewis.
And things only got worse for Aberdeen when on-loan Celtic playmaker Christie collected his second booking with six minutes remaining for a foul on McCrorie.


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Kilmarnock vs. Aberdeen – Football Match Report – November 26, 2017


Two early goals and a fine Stevie May effort extended Aberdeen’s impressive run at Rugby Park with a 3-1 win over Kilmarnock.
The Dons struck twice in the opening 15 minutes to all but seal a comfortable three points and a seventh consecutive Scottish Premiership win in Ayrshire.
Kenny McLean opened the scoring after just 54 seconds before Kirk Broadfoot’s own goal as Aberdeen took immediate control.
Jordan Jones pulled one back in the second half but a fine piece of individual play from May saw him grab his fourth of the season and a welcome win for the visitors before Jones was sent off late on following a clash with Shay Logan.
Following last week’s humbling at home to Motherwell, Derek McInnes’ second-placed side went out with a point to prove and had the game as good as won inside the first quarter-hour.
Earlier in the month Killie’s Kris Boyd was critical of the decision to include Graeme Shinnie and McLean in the Scotland squad, and the Dons pair combined inside the opening minute to prove a point to the veteran striker.
Shinnie played in his team-mate and the midfielder cut in from the left before firing low past Jamie MacDonald.
Kilmarnock looked bereft of confidence and were struggling to string passes together before Broadfoot was forced to drag Gary Mackay-Steven down after being robbed of possession.
Greg Tansey swung the free-kick into the area and May’s flick deflected off Broadfoot to send MacDonald the wrong way and open up a deserved two-goal lead.
The hosts grew into the game gradually, and had their first sight of goal in the 22nd minute through Stephen O’Donnell after the defender found space on the right of the area, but could only fire into the side netting.
He was again involved on the half-hour mark, finding space before cutting back for Lee Erwin, but the pass was intercepted as the half fizzled out and the home players were booed off by their long-suffering fans.
Killie are yet to win at home this season in the league and a frustrated crowd continued to make their feelings clear as the second half got under way.
Things could have been even worse in the opening minute, but MacDonald produced a fine save to prevent a first-time effort from McLean flying into the bottom corner as the visitors came flying out of the traps.
The introduction of Boyd off the bench gave Kilmarnock more of a presence up front and the fans were given reason to celebrate midway through the second period by Jones.
The winger cut in from the left and curled into the far corner beyond the reach of Joe Lewis to raise hope of a comeback – but it was short-lived.
May latched onto a long ball before bringing it down superbly and firing in low to seal the win as Killie, just a point off the bottom of the table, finished with 10 men.


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Hamilton Academical vs. Hibernian – Football Match Report – November 25, 2017


Hibernian passed up the chance to move into second place in the Ladbrokes Premiership as they let slip the lead in a 1-1 draw at Hamilton.
Striker Simon Murray’s confident finish on the half-hour mark at the SuperSeal stadium was at odds with an almost incident-free first 45 minutes in which Accies had offered almost no threat.
Hibs looked set to leapfrog Aberdeen by a point as the Lanarkshire side were fortunate not to fall further behind at the start of the second half only for Accies’ Argentine striker Antonio Rojano to level with a header in the 72nd minute to extend Hamilton’s unbeaten run to five games.
Following their morale-boosting win against Rangers at Ibrox last week Accies manager Martin Canning made one enforced change with defender Georgios Sarris in for the suspended Alex Gogic.
For the Hibees, fit-again defender Steven Whittaker replaced captain David Gray, struggling with a knee injury while midfielder Dylan McGeouch came in for Anthony Stokes, out with a virus.
Hibs edged the early stages but only just.
In the 10th minute midfielder Brandon Barker’s drive from 20 yards slipped past the far post but little else happened before his driving run led to the opener.
The on-loan 21-year-old from Manchester City powered his way past the Accies midfield and laid the ball off to Murray who rifled his shot from 14 yards high past Hamilton keeper Gary Woods for his 14th goal of the season and his fourth in six matches.
Confidence amid the Easter Road side grew and five minutes before the break impressive midfielder John McGinn drew a fine save from Woods with a powerful drive from 25 yards, tipped over the bar for a corner which came to nothing.
Accies were pinned back at the start of the second half.
Murray headed over a cross from Barker, wide-man Martin Boyle’s drive from 10 yards was blocked by Woods after Accies midfielder Darian MacKinnon had misplaced a clearance and then the Hamilton keeper saved a Paul Hanlon header from a McGinn corner.
The Edinburgh side looked in complete control but were stunned when, after Marvin Bartley had been dispossessed in midfield, David Templeton flighted a cross into the box and Rojano looped a header past Hibs keeper Ofir Marciano.
In the closing stages Woods made a decent save from a Lewis Stevenson drive as Hibs rallied but Accies were in no mood to give up their point.


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Heart of Midlothian vs. Ross County – Football Match Report – November 25, 2017


Hearts’ frustrations in front of goal continued as they were held to a goalless draw at home by Ross County.
The Jambos have scored just 13 goals in the Ladbrokes Premiership so far this season, and despite a host of chances, they once more lacked a cutting edge in front of goal.
The point means they are still looking for a first win since their return to Tynecastle but they can consider themselves unlucky after having a string of chances.
Jamie Walker tested Aaron McCarey several times while Isma Goncalves missed a golden opportunity in the first half.
Owen Coyle’s visitors had a goal disallowed through Alex Schalk and struck the woodwork but offered little threat going forward.
The Staggies had their best chance of the game in the opening minutes as Jim O’Brien turned and fed Schalk, who crashed an effort against the near post with Jon McLaughlin rooted to the spot.
Ross County seemed happy to play on the break, but allowed the Hearts midfield to grow into the game and lay siege to the goal.
The visitors remained keen to pressure 16-year-old Harry Cochrane in possession, but that left plenty of space for players such as Walker and he threatened from outside the area, shooting straight at McCarey before curling agonisingly wide of the far post via a deflection.
From the resulting corner Cochrane found a diving Arnaud Djoum, but the Cameroon midfielder could not direct his header goalwards under pressure as the dominance began to tell.
Goncalves missed his chance to make the difference after McCarey parried another Walker effort into his path, but the forward failed to make a proper connection from six yards out to the frustration of the crowd.
Walker was time and again afforded too much space on the edge of the area and had the beating of McCarey in the 26th minute, only for another deflection to take the ball wide before the keeper was in the right place to deny Cochrane.
Schalk then saw a goal ruled out for offside after he was played in down the left, with replays suggesting the goal should have stood.
There was little action after the break as the Jambos continued to dominate possession.
Walker had an acrobatic effort easily saved, and then drilled a dangerous ball across the area but just beyond Cole Stockton to the frustration of Craig Levein.
Christophe Berra almost broke the deadlock with 10 minutes to go, but his header was brilliant diverted by McCarey, who then got himself in the way to deny Goncalves on the follow-up.
By the closing stages the Staggies were happy to take time out of the game and settle for a point.


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Dundee vs. Rangers – Football Match Report – November 24, 2017


Rudderless Rangers suffered fresh frustration as Mark O’Hara’s double clinched a 2-1 win for Dundee at Dens Park.
The Ibrox side – still without a boss a month on from Pedro Caixinha’s sacking – missed the chance to move up to third spot as caretaker Graeme Murty’s side suffered their second straight defeat.
O’Hara now has four goals in three Dens clashes against Gers after striking either side of Josh Windass’ equaliser.
But raging the Gers faithful let rip at full-time and the Ibrox board can now expect a grilling at next week’s AGM unless on why it has taken so long to appoint a permanent manager.
Neil McCann’s basement boys will lap up what is just their third win of the campaign.
But there is further to worry about for beleaguered Rangers who also saw frontman Alfredo Morelos limp off after colliding with a post.
Rangers had started brightly, coming close with a couple of decent chances for Kenny Miller and Ryan Jack.
But the hosts were game too, with Faissal El Bakhtaoui forcing Wes Foderingham to tip his powerful hit over the bar.
Morelos’ desperation to end his nine-game scoring drought – now 10 – was evident as he picked the ball up 30 yards out but there was only more frustration for the Colombian as he rifled into the side-netting.
Ibrox youngster Ross McCrorie – back in the side despite last week’s blunder in the loss to Hamilton – was grateful to see Paul McGowan volley straight at Foderingham after another slack clearance.
Rangers continued to pile forward but the opener proved elusive.
Daniel Candeias was set racing through on Dens number one Elliot Parish from Jack’s through-ball but slammed straight at the keeper.
The Portuguese winger then threw over a cross from the right which teased Josh Meekings into dangling a leg out, with the ball skipping off the defender’s shin and onto the bar before bouncing clear.
The opening period, though, ended on a sour note as Morelos had to be replaced by Eduardo Herrera after his run-in with the woodwork.
Declan John was lucky his blind pass-back did not cost Gers dear at the start of the second period, with Foderingham wisely staying on his feet as he forced Sofien Moussa away from goal.
But Danny Wilson did not get away with his mistake on 66 minutes as Dundee struck. Jon Aurtenetxe’s free-kick from out wide got caught between the centre-back’s feet and O’Hara pounced to fire home.
The hosts’ lead lasted just four minutes. Meekings failed to get enough distance on his header from McCrorie’s deep cross and Windass took advantage as he flashed the ball past Parish for the equaliser.
Yet the drama was not over. On-loan Celtic midfielder Scott Allan got his customary welcome from the Gers faithful when he was introduced with 10 minutes left, but it was his sublime killer pass which unlocked the visitors’ defence as slotted O’Hara into fire home the winner.


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Heart of Midlothian vs. Partick Thistle – Football Match Report – November 19, 2017


Hearts’ homecoming party was spoiled by Partick Thistle substitute Kris Doolan as he grabbed a late leveller in a 1-1 draw at refurbished Tynecastle.
The Jambos returned home for the first time since July after their renovated main stand was eventually passed safe in the morning before the game.
Thistle had complained about the uncertainty and lateness of the decision and the few hundred Jags fans were unimpressed when kick-off was delayed 15 minutes due to the last of 16,999 supporters queuing at the turnstiles.
They were further dismayed in the 54th minute when Gorgie striker Esmael Goncalves fired in from outside the box.
But, with five minutes remaining, Doolan, on for Miles Storey after the Maryhill men had gone behind, pounced in the Hearts box to fire in the equaliser for a deserved point.
It was Goncalves who had the first effort on goal of the afternoon with Partick goalkeeper Tomas Cerny comfortably saving his free-kick from 20 yards.
There was little more of note until the 19th minute when a shot on the turn inside Thistle’s box by Jambos striker Kyle Lafferty, after he had taken control of a Jamie Brandon pass, missed the post by a foot.
Amid some hurly-burly, neither side could grab control of the game.
Every time Hearts threatened they found Thistle’s defence organised and disciplined and while the visitors broke with pace – Blair Spittal was key on the left-hand side – they too came unstuck close to the opposition penalty area.
However, they might have gone ahead before the break. A mistake by Hearts defender Aaron Hughes just inside his own half allowed Storey to break clear but he dragged his shot unconvincingly wide of the far post.
There were only nine minutes played in the second half when Goncalves turned onto his right foot 25 yards from goal and curled a shot into the far corner.
The goal should have settled the fans but they became frustrated at their side’s efforts to get a second.
Goncalves almost reached Brandon’s lob behind the Thistle defence as the home side kept up the pressure, before the former was replaced by Jamie Walker with Cole Stockton on for Lafferty.
In the 85th minute it was Jags replacement Doolan who drove in the equaliser when the home side failed to deal with a Spittal free-kick into the box.
Hearts sent on striker Aidan Keena to make his debut as a replacement for midfielder Don Cowie but the visitors saw out three minutes off added time to take a share of the spoils.


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Dundee vs. Kilmarnock – Football Match Report – November 18, 2017


Ten-man Dundee stopped their losing streak as they held on for a goalless Ladbrokes Premiership draw with Kilmarnock at Dens Park.
Neil McCann’s bottom side were forced to hang on for the last five minutes after captain Darren O’Dea was ordered off by referee Willie Collum for a second yellow-card offence.
But the Taysiders at least prevented a sixth straight league defeat by digging deep to halt their recent slump, although they had the crossbar to thank for keeping out Gordon Greer’s late header.
Dundee remain bottom while Steve Clarke’s rejuvenated Rugby Park outfit are now undefeated in their last four away trips.
Kilmarnock kept the same side which had defeated Hearts in their last outing while Dundee were boosted by having on-loan Celtic midfielder Scott Allan back on the bench following his recent groin operation.
It was a hesitant start from both sides until Dundee were presented with a chance in the 20th minute when Alan Power was caught in possession by Paul McGowan, who drove forward as the visiting defence backed-off. McGowan looked like going it alone until he opted to cross for Marcus Haber but his delivery was poor and the chance was lost.
Jordan Jones threatened to exploit the home defence as he surged forward, only to be outnumbered 25 yards from goal.
Dundee began the second half with more of a tempo with Faisal El Bakhtaoui seeing his long-range shot blocked, before former Killie man Mark O’Hara was thwarted in his efforts to seize the rebound.
As the hour mark approached, Dundee defender Cammy Kerr produced a tempting cross which forced the Killie defence to clear at the expense of a corner.
Allan was thrown on in the 77th minute but it was the visitors who created the next opportunity when substitute Eamonn Brophy found space inside the box, only for O’Dea to block his effort.
Killie substitute Lee Erwin found himself clean through but could only shoot straight at home keeper Elliot Parish, who stood his ground.
A minute later O’Dea was sent off after chopping down Rory McKenzie to leave his side hanging on as Greer’s injury-time header came crashing back off the bar.


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Hibernian vs. St Johnstone – Football Match Report – November 18, 2017


Steven MacLean handed St Johnstone a first victory in seven matches with an injury-time winner in a dramatic finish at Hibs.
Murray Davidson’s 74th-minute header for the visitors was cancelled out by Anthony Stokes’ controversial penalty in stoppage time, but MacLean struck with literally the last kick of the game to earn a much-needed three points in a 2-1 win for Tommy Wright’s side.
Hibs had gone into the game brimming with confidence after winning four on the spin but Neil Lennon’s charges paid the price for failing to get out of second gear.
The hosts started brightly and peppered Saints goalkeeper Zander Clark’s goal with a series from shots from distance.
Simon Murray was first to threaten after only seven minutes but the former Dundee United marksman lifted a harmless drive over the bar from outside the box.
Scotland international John McGinn then shot wide with an ambitious half-volley from 20 yards.
Saints were short of confidence and that was reflected in their play as Wright’s team struggled to retain possession for any length of time.
Hibs created their best chance of the half in the 28th minute with a move that had Wright furiously complaining to referee Craig Thomson.
Play was allowed to continue after Hibs captain David Gray appeared to accidentally trip Michael O’Halloran and Stokes swung a left-footed shot just over from Martin Boyle’s lay-off.
St Johnstone were then denied a shock lead after 34 minutes when goalkeeper Ofir Marciano expertly palmed Liam Craig’s 12-yard drive on to the bar.
Before the half was out, Boyle had a powerful drive from an angle outside the area beaten away by Clark.
Saints enhanced their belief that they could take something from the game and after causing the home side a scar at the start of the second period.
After Paul Paton had an effort deflected over from the corner, McGinn cleared Steven Anderson’s volley off the line.
Saints then charged forward on the counter-attack in the 63rd minute and O’Halloran had a powerful drive from an acute angle pushed over by Marciano.
Hibs introduced midfielder Dylan McGeouch and the playmaker’s clever chip found Stokes in the box but Murray Davidson turned the ball behind for a corner amid shouts for a penalty.
Efe Ambrose had a shot diverted wide from the set-piece before Saints nearly caught Hibs on the counter in a move that ended with Marciano tipping O’Halloran’s effort over.
Hibs defender Ryan Porteous then made a great block to deny fellow substitute Graham Cummins but there was no stopping Davidson from giving Saints a 74th minute lead.
Craig’s cross was headed back into the six yard box by Cummins and the unmarked Davidson nodded past Marciano.
Hibs were handed an injury-time life line when referee Thomson pointed to the spot when Joe Shaughnessy was adjudged to have handled Boyle’s shot and Stokes made no mistake from 12 yards.
But MacLean struck the winner from close range after Craig’s shot was blocked by Marciano.


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Rangers vs. Hamilton Academical – Football Match Report – November 18, 2017


Former Rangers winger David Templeton was on target as Hamilton recorded their first league victory at Ibrox since 1926.

Templeton accepted a gift from Ross McCrorie to open the scoring inside two minutes of the second half and Darren Lyon netted his second first-team goal on a breakaway 10 minutes from time.

Hamilton finished the match with 10 men as Alex Gogic was sent off in stoppage time.

The 2-0 victory was Hamilton’s first win over Rangers since Adrian Sprott scored a famous cup winner at Ibrox 30 years ago.

Former Rangers goalkeeper and Scotland manager Bobby Brown helped make the half-time draw but even the 94-year-old was too young to remember the last time the Accies took the points back to Lanarkshire from Ibrox.

Rangers had gone into the game looking to secure a third consecutive win for the first time in 2017 but caretaker manager Graeme Murty saw his chances of landing the job on a long-term basis severely dented following earlier wins over Hearts and Partick Thistle.

Alfredo Morelos missed a series of chances for the home team as the striker’s goal drought extended to nine matches.

Rangers started brightly and Morelos saw a flick saved following a Daniel Candeias cross. There was room round the outside of the Accies defence and both Kenny Miller and Morelos got played through the channel but could not get their shots on target.

The home side too often failed to find a Rangers jersey from crosses or cutbacks but Morelos did have two excellent first-half chances.

A Josh Windass cross found him unmarked four yards out but the Colombian got his technique all wrong and his header bounced over the bar.

Morelos had another free header in stoppage time when Jason Holt returned the ball into the goalmouth after Gary Woods had punched a corner half clear, but the striker hit the bar with the goalkeeper stranded.

Templeton had shown some good touches in the first half but Accies had failed to trouble Wes Foderingham until the winger was handed a gift. McCrorie’s misplaced sent Templeton clean through and he rounded the goalkeeper before putting the visitors in front.

The former Hearts player came close from 22 yards as Rangers took time to recover from the blow.

Xavier Tomas almost turned a Morelos delivery into his own net before the Colombian passed up another chance when he failed to make contact with a low driven cross from Candeias.

The former HJK Helsinki striker missed another glorious chance when Ryan Jack played him through after Gogic had given the ball away, but he shot well over with several Accies players in close pursuit.

Murty immediately brought on a new strike pairing of Ryan Hardie and Eduardo Herrera but Rangers were caught out by a strong break by Greg Docherty, whose square ball was stroked home by Lyon.

Woods saved from Windass and Herrera and Danny Wilson headed against the bar but the comeback attempts were played out in a subdued atmosphere as Ibrox had almost emptied by the time Gogic received a second yellow card for a stoppage-time foul on Hardie.


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Aberdeen vs. Motherwell – Football Match Report – November 18, 2017


Motherwell striker Louis Moult scored twice as the visitors secured a 2-0 Ladbrokes Premiership triumph at Pittodrie on Saturday.
Moult – a summer transfer target for the Dons – netted either side of half-time to take his individual tally against them this season to four in three games.
The result provided Well with a boost in confidence ahead of next weekend’s League Cup final against Celtic.
In a first half largely devoid of any real quality, Aberdeen were first to threaten. Andrew Considine did well to hold the ball up for Ryan Christie, whose low cross to the near post was met by Adam Rooney, but he could only flick wide of the left post.
The visitors had their first chance a minute later as Liam Grimshaw’s deflected strike from the edge of the area forced Joe Lewis into a diving stop, the former England squad man turning the ball away for the corner.
Andy Rose was next to try his luck from similar distance, but again Lewis was equal to his effort.
And while Kenny McLean rounded out an entertaining opening 15 minutes by firing high and wide of the near post after a training-ground free-kick routine, it must be said that the volume of chances was in stark contrast to the quality of the play.
Indeed, with Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes trying to outwit rival Stephen Robinson, the Dons had looked well short in the midfield area. A tactical change closed that gap but also neutralised the game as a spectacle.
Until, that is, three minutes from the interval, when Motherwell took the lead. Unsurprisingly it came from a set-piece, with Richard Tait’s delivery met by Moult, who headed home his third goal against Aberdeen this term.
And despite the introduction of Stevie May at the interval, and a return to a more familiar shape for the Dons, Motherwell doubled their advantage 10 minutes after the break.
Chris Cadden got the run on Scott McKenna down the right for the Steelmen, and his low cross was expertly dispatched by Moult, who struck high into the net at the near post from close range.
Scott Wright was brought off the bench for Aberdeen with 20 minutes left, and his first involvement was to swing in a cross from which May saw his effort blocked for a corner.
But chances remained at a premium, and indeed the closest either side would come was from Moult, eyeing the opportunity for a hat-trick. His 25-yard free-kick flew well over the bar, though.


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Ross County vs. Celtic – Football Match Report – November 18, 2017


Substitute Leigh Griffiths’ sizzling second-half free kick was enough to beat Ross County 1-0 and extend Celtic’s own British unbeaten domestic record to 64 games.

The Scottish Premiership leaders had found the Staggies difficult to break down at the Global Energy stadium in Dingwall.

After the hour mark Hoops boss Brendan Rodgers turned to the bench for help from the Scotland striker, who came on with Jonny Hayes.

And when Griffiths got his opportunity from a free-kick in 77 minutes, he curled it trademark style past Stages keeper Aaron McCarey to give the Hoops a narrow win and set them up for the Champions League game against Paris St Germain in France on Wednesday night.

Left-back Kieran Tierney made his 100th appearance for Celtic in an unchanged side with fit-again Griffiths and defender Jozo Simunovic on the bench.

Owen Coyle’s side were also unchanged and enjoyed a rather stress-free first-45 minutes which provided few talking points.

Celtic keeper Craig Gordon had to race out quickly to thwart Staggies midfielder Michael Gardyne in the opening stages where the visitors practised their passing game, in no apparent hurry to get to the County goal.

There were also signs of slackness in the Hoops play and in the 13th minute, after defender Nir Bitton had conceded possession, wide-man Davis Keillor-Dunn curled a shot over the bar from 20 yards.

The league leaders slowly gained control and in the 23rd minute midfielder Stuart Armstrong played in fellow midfielder Callum McGregor but he appeared to have the ball nicked away from his toe by Christopher Routis as he set himself to shoot, although the Parkhead player appealed for a penalty.

Celtic defender Mikael Lustig found the side-netting from a McGregor corner at the start of the second-half and the Hoops first shot on target came in the 55th minute from Moussa Dembele which McCarey gathered with ease.

At the other end, Gordon got down to his right-hand post to save a 25-yard free-kick from Routis before Rodgers brought on Griffiths and Hayes on for McGregor and James Forrest.

The Highlanders began to sense there was more than a draw on offer and broke with increasing purpose and confidence.

Celtic, for their part, could not get out of their slumber.

However, when Jim O’Brien was booked for a foul on Armstrong, it gave Griffiths an opportunity to make his mark that he accepted readily, curling his free-kick high past McCarey.

The goal allowed the treble-winners to relax and midfielder Olivier Ntcham, on for Dembele, cracked the post with a drive from the edge of the box, and Scott Sinclair missed the target with a good chance before the end, with a County claim for handball against Dedryck Boyata in the Celtic box ignored.


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Kyle Lafferty: I will have to fight gambling problems for rest of my life


Despite the penalty call, Steve Nicol still contends the deserving team won between Switzerland and Northern Ireland.
A controversial handball call in the box and the ensuing penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez mean the Swiss hold a huge advantage over Northern Ireland after the first leg.

Kyle Lafferty has urged football to reassess its relationship with bookmakers as he faces up to an addiction he admits he may spend the rest of his life tackling.

Two months ago Hearts and Northern Ireland striker Lafferty publicly admitted gambling was a vice he had been wrestling with his entire career.

This weekend the 30-year-old is back in Switzerland — where he fed his habit with punts on ice hockey during a season at Sion — in a better frame of mind, even if he has been told he faces a lengthy fight battling his demons.

“I was at a Gamblers Anonymous meeting last Wednesday with John Hartson and a guy picked up his 35-year pin,” Lafferty explained. “He’s gone to every single meeting — two a week. I spoke to him after and I said, ‘Why so long?’ He said, ‘You need to do it.’

“There was another guy who said, ‘Whenever you think you are over it there is a chance you could fall back in.’

“You need as much help as you can and there are lots of people who are helping me, and then there will be others who will want me to fail. I’ve finally got my mind in the right place. I’m going to do this for my family and myself.”

The struggle will be greater given his chosen field’s association with bookmakers.

Kyle Lafferty celebrates after netting the opening goal.
Kyle Lafferty has struggled with gambling throughout his career.

When Joey Barton was given an 18-month ban, later reduced to 13, by the Football Association for multiple breaches of its betting regulations, the midfielder decried the sport’s links with the gambling industry.

Lafferty, who was fined by the FA himself in 2016 for breaking betting rules, can see his point.

“Everywhere you look in Scotland it’s the William Hill Cup, the Ladbrokes Premier League and you are playing a game and bet365 is going around advertising boards,” he said.

“No matter what app you put up on your phone there is something to do with betting like live scores. You can’t get away from it. Everywhere you look there is something to do with betting.

“I think people need to look at it because if you have a problem it is difficult to get away from it, unless you are going to be brave and come out about it and get help, and it’s difficult.”

Lafferty credits Hearts, whom he joined in the summer, for their backing and admits he would be keen to remain with them until he calls it a day.

His career has spanned five countries already, including in Italy, where he scored more goals for Palermo than either Paulo Dybala or Andrea Belotti, both of whom are now considered two of Europe’s leading strikers.

Lafferty was also his country’s talisman in their qualification for Euro 2016, scoring seven times as they made it to France, but he is not even assured of a starting place for Northern Ireland’s crunch World Cup playoff second leg against Switzerland on Sunday.

However, should boss Michael O’Neill retain him, he will be selecting a player who, in Lafferty’s words, has lifted “a massive weight off my shoulders” and one who has even taken up golf to occupy the time he used to spending gambling.

“I’m willing to do anything as long as it gets me away from being in the house by myself,” he said.”Obviously I have a TV and there is a bookies around the corner from me so if I have to be in a bunker for half a day rather than being in the bookies I’ll do that.”


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Australia coach Ange Postecoglou interested in Rangers job – sources


ESPN FC’s Jason Dasey and PJ Roberts assess Tim Cahill’s chances of being fit for Australia’s playoff against Honduras.
Ex-Socceroo Harry Kewell believes Ange Postecoglou will have Australia adequately prepared for the challenge of Honduras.

Australia coach Ange Postecoglou is interested in the vacant manager’s job at Glasgow Rangers, sources in Australia have told ESPN FC.

Postecoglou is widely expected to quit his role as Australia’s head coach after this week’s World Cup playoff with Honduras, even if the Socceroos qualify for next summer’s finals in Russia.

The 52-year-old is looking to move into club management after four years in charge of the Australia national team and could be an attractive proposition for Rangers as he is expected to be a free agent as early as next week.

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes is the favourite to replace Caixinha, but Rangers would have to pay a hefty compensation fee if they were to appoint him.

Postecoglou guided Australia in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and also led the country to their first ever Asian Cup success in 2015.

Rangers are searching for a new manager following the sacking of Pedro Caixinha last month after just seven months in charge at Ibrox.

Peter O’Rourke is ESPN FC’s transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.


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Heart of Midlothian vs. Kilmarnock – Football Match Report – November 5, 2017


A dramatic late strike by substitute Adam Frizzell gave Kilmarnock a 2-1 Ladbrokes Premiership win over Hearts at Murrayfield.
Veteran Kilmarnock striker and captain Kris Boyd opened the scoring in the 31st minute with a typically clinical finish.
Isma Goncalves hit woodwork before and after the Rugby Park side’s open goal and then levelled in the 75th minute.
But in the 86th minute, moments after striker Goncalves missed a good chance to give the home side the lead, Frizzell fired in the winner.
He had replaced Chris Burke in the 72nd minute and made the perfect impact.
It was an afternoon of frustration for the Gorgie hosts who suffered a third successive defeat for the first time this season, while Kilmarnock’s new boss Steve Clarke enjoyed his first victory in four games, albeit two of those games were draws against either side of the Old Firm.
Hearts’ Daniel Baur, 18, was handed his debut in defence where he featured along with returning Connor Randall, with midfielder Don Cowie also back after missing three matches with a calf injury. The visitors were unchanged.
In the fifth minute, Hearts fans applauded in memory of former midfielder Stefano Salvatori, who died on Tuesday at the age of 49. Five was the number he wore when the Jambos won the Scottish Cup in 1998.
And at the same time as they showed their appreciation, Craig Levein’s men almost scored.
Goncalves worked some space in the Killie penalty box but his powerful drive was tipped on to the post by former Hearts goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald.
Killie grew into the match and in the 24th minute Rory McKenzie drew a fine fingertip save from Jon McLaughlin with a drive from the edge of the box.
There was little between the teams until Hearts were undone by a Kirk Broadfoot pass which caught out their defence, allowing 34-year-old Boyd to control the ball and fend off the backtracking Michael Smith before firing a left-footed drive low past McLaughlin from 16 yards.
There was a noticeable urgency from the Edinburgh side after the break but with no greater impact initially as Killie, organised, hard-working and resolute, looked happy to look for the counter-attack.
The home fans roared for a penalty when Broadfoot robbed Hearts striker Kyle Lafferty in the box, but that was ignored by referee Kevin Clancy before Boyd was replaced by Lee Erwin.
In the 67th minute, as Hearts pressed, Goncalves drove another shot against the Kilmarnock post and Lafferty’s drive with the rebound was blocked.
However, Goncalves was not to be denied, getting his just rewards when his curling effort from inside the box flew past MacDonald and into the far corner of the net.
Then came more excitement. MacDonald blocked a Goncalves strike when it looked like the Tynecastle men would snatch the win.
But Killie ran up the park and grabbed all three points through 19-year-old Frizzell, after he turned on a Stephen O’Donnell cut-back and fired high into the net.


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Ross County vs. Motherwell – Football Match Report – November 4, 2017


Michael Gardyne struck a double as Ross County withstood a second-half comeback from Motherwell to edge a five-goal thriller in Dingwall.
Gardyne scored either side of Davis Keillor-Dunn’s goal to put County three up at half-time at the Global Energy Stadium.
But Ryan Bowman pulled one back within three minutes of the restart and County had a nervous 11 minutes plus injury-time after Louis Moult headed home.
However, County survived some late pressure to record a 3-2 Ladbrokes Premiership victory and make it two successive home wins.
It was a second defeat in a row for the Betfred Cup finalists and County moved five points behind them in the table in eighth place.
The visitors started well and Moult had a goal disallowed for offside before Gardyne opened the scoring when he converted Andrew Davies’ ball across the face of goal in the 13th minute.
Motherwell defender Peter Hartley headed against the bar but again the visitors were quickly caught with a sucker punch in the 26th minute when Keillor-Dunn was afforded time and space on the left to fire home his second goal of the season into the top corner following Gardyne’s pass.
Keillor-Dunn soon missed another good opportunity but Gardyne looked to have wrapped up three points with three minutes of the half remaining when he fired home a loose ball inside the box.
Motherwell needed a goal quickly after the restart and they got it when Bowman headed home from fellow substitute Elliott Frear’s cross.
County composed themselves and Ross Draper volleyed over the Motherwell bar but the hosts failed to make the most of several chances to hurt their opponents on the counter-attack and the comeback really looked on when Moult headed in Chris Cadden’s cross.
Frear cut in dangerously but shot wide of the near post and Cedric Kipre had a great chance to level with a minute left but headed straight at Aaron McCarey after a long throw.
There was still room for drama in stoppage-time as Motherwell got the ball in the box but County survived a goalmouth scramble as Cadden fired over.



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Rangers vs. Partick Thistle – Football Match Report – November 4, 2017


Graeme Murty did his chances of becoming permanent Rangers manager no harm at all as the Light Blues enjoyed a no-fuss 3-0 Premiership win over Partick Thistle at Ibrox.

Defender Ross McCrorie scored his first goal for the Gers in the 29th minute when he headed in a cross from wide-man Daniel Candeias who doubled that lead in the 38th minute with a drive.

Midfielder Josh Windass added a third at the start of the second-half when he capitalised on a Jags mistake to seal the victory.

Murty, head development coach at Ibrox, began his second spell as caretaker boss this year with a 3-1 win against Hearts last week.

And while the Govan club search for a successor to recently sacked Portuguese coach Pedro Caixinha, the 42-year-old, might yet convince the board that he could be the man.

Thistle had won two and draw one of their previous three matches to climb off the foot of the table after a win-less start to the league campaign but, despite a valiant effort, they were well beaten and are back in trouble.

Former Scotland defender Murty kept the same side which started against the Jambos at Murrayfield last week while the injury-struck Maryhill men could not fill their bench, with boss Alan Archibald naming six substitutes.

After the minute’s silence to make Remembrance Day, it was the home side who made the early running.

In the 16th minute Gers midfielder Ryan Jack, available after having a recent red card rescinded, drew a fine save from Jags keeper Tomas Cerny with a drive from the edge of the box.

The former Aberdeen player then failed to pick out Windass after he burst into the Thistle box following a defence-splitting pass from striker Alfredo Morelos, who then tested Cerny with an angled-drive which was pushed behind for a corner which came to nothing.

The home side’s opener was straightforward enough with captain Kenny Miller playing a short corner to Portuguese winger Candeias who quickly fired in a cross from which 19-year-old McCrorie bulleted a header past Cerny from six yards.

The second goal owed much to midfielder Jason Holt who drove into the Partick penalty area only to see his shot blocked by the visiting keeper who watched in some despair as Candeias drilled the loose ball into the corner of the net.

There were less than two minutes played in the second-half when Jordan Turnbull’s short back-header was picked up by Windass who raced through to slip the ball past Cerny.

With nothing to lose, the Firhill side rallied.

Substitute Kris Doolan, on for Conor Sammon, flashed a shot wide of the target in the 64th minute before his low drive five minutes later from the edge of the box escaped the far post, with the game petering out thereafter with Rangers working hard to keep the clean sheet.


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Hamilton Academical vs. Aberdeen – Football Match Report – November 4, 2017


Aberdeen lost ground on Celtic at the top of the table after being held to a 2-2 draw at Hamilton.
With Celtic beating St Johnstone earlier in the day, the Hoops have extended their lead to three points at the top of the Ladbrokes Premiership after Derek McInnes’ side were held in what could be his last game with the club.
McInnes has been linked with the vacant Rangers job after doing a fine job at Pittodrie, but his side were not at their best at the SuperSeal Stadium.
After Dougie Imrie’s opener, Aberdeen clawed their way into the lead through goals from Greg Stewart and Kari Arnason but David Templeton equalised to earn a share of the points.
It was a slow start to the match, with the hosts, fresh from a welcome win over Dundee, happy to sit behind the ball and look to catch the Dons on the break.
Aberdeen were lacking in fluency however, and struggled to string together any sort passes that were likely to test the Accies defence, and at times looked as though they were struggling to get to grips with the artificial surface.
It took a skilful piece of play from Templeton on the edge of the area to break the deadlock after he was brought down by Scott McKenna before Imrie curled in beautifully from 20 yards.
Templeton could have doubled the lead minutes later however, volleying wide when unmarked inside the area after a pinpoint cross on the run from Darren Lyon.
He was made to pay almost instantly, as Aberdeen got the ball back in play and Graeme Shinnie, who this week earned a Scotland call-up, played through Stewart and he lifted delicately over Gary Woods.
From thereon, Aberdeen began to dominate but were unable to make it count before the break as they struggled to find the right final ball.
Home manager Martin Canning would have been pleased to go in a one each at the break, and the game returned to a slow pace after half-time.
Once again it was Templeton who sparked proceedings into life, breaking from a Dons corner before exchanging passes with Antonio Rojano and dragging narrowly wide.
Joe Lewis almost got himself in trouble from the resulting goal-kick as Lyon found himself through on goal and rounded the keeper, before he was forced wide and hit into the side netting.
However, it was Iceland international Arnason who got the third goal, heading powerfully past Woods from a Stevie May corner to the delight of the travelling fans.
Canning responded by bringing on Danny Redmond and he had an instant impact, laying the ball off for Templeton who drilled his shot past Lewis with his weaker foot moments later for a well-deserved goal to make it 2-2, which proved enough for a point despite late pressure from the visitors.


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Hibernian vs. Dundee – Football Match Report – November 4, 2017


Simon Murray scored his 13th goal of the season to ensure Hibernian racked up a fourth successive Ladbrokes Premiership triumph to leave Dundee rooted to the bottom of the league.
The in-form 25-year-old linked up brilliantly with the returning Anthony Stokes to volley home the decisive strike in the second half after Marcus Haber had cancelled out Martin Boyle’s quick-fire opener.
The buoyant Hibees are just two points adrift of second-placed Aberdeen after the Dons could only draw at Hamilton. Dundee, meanwhile, have now succumbed to five defeats in a row.
However, they were far from outclassed in the capital and, if not for a truly wonderful save from Ofir Marciano when the encounter was tantalisingly balanced at 1-1, it could have been a very different afternoon.
The visitors made five changes to the side dismally defeated 3-1 by Hamilton last weekend, with Roarie Deacon, Faissal El Bakhtaoui, Kevin Holt and Cammy Kerr coming into the side.
The most notable alteration, however, was Elliot Parish replacing Scott Fox between the sticks amid suggestions of a bust-up between the Dens Park number one and manager, Neil McCann.
With all eyes on Parish in his first outing for the Dee since joining from Accrington in the summer, he was picking the ball out of the net after 63 seconds.
Boyle robbed Lewis Spence before skipping past a weak challenge from Holt and unleashing a ferocious low drive into the bottom corner.
However, the Taysiders belied a nightmare start and their run defeats to restore parity after 21 minutes.
The excellent Deacon danced past Lewis Stevenson on the wing and delivered a fine cross for Haber to nod beyond Marciano.
Dundee defender Jack Hendry then headed just wide of the post as McCann’s men ended the half in the ascendancy.
Things went from bad to worse for Hibs when Dylan McGeouch had to be replaced by Stokes after falling to the turf clutching his hamstring. It is another setback for the luckless playmaker, who has been in scintillating form of last after seeming to have beaten his fitness woes.
David Gray and Brandon Barker were replaced by Ryan Porteous and Vykintas Slivka at the break as Lennon rung the changes.
But it was more of the same as Dundee almost claimed the lead with El Bakhtoui forcing Marciano into a stunning low save with a drive from just inside the box.
Hibs took full advantage of that reprieve when Stokes picked out Murray with a superb delivery, allowing the in-form striker to volley home his 13th goal of the campaign in comprehensive style.


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Celtic’s unbeaten run pales in comparison to Steaua Bucharest


Pep Guardiola insists Arsene Wenger needn’t worry about Man City emulating Arsenal’s unbeaten 2003-04 campaign.

Celtic have set a new British record by going 63 domestic matches unbeaten — beating their own mark which stood for 100 years. Here, we look at seven other teams that enjoyed impressive unbeaten runs, with Celtic sitting in third place.


Celtic have a long way to go to match the Romanians, who embarked on a period of unprecedented domestic supremacy after winning the 1986 European Cup. A team featuring Marius Lacatus and Gheorghe Hagi went on a 119-match unbeaten run in the league and cup until 1989. They also reached another European Cup final and semifinal during the period but lost out to city rivals Dinamo in the 1990 title race.


Celtic lost to the Gibraltarian minnows just one match into their current domestic run, a shock 1-0 Champions League qualifying defeat coming in the first game of Brendan Rodgers’ reign. But the Red Imps were no strangers to victory. In the midst of a run of 14 consecutive titles, they went 88 league games unbeaten between May 2009 and September 2014, although they lost twice in the Rock Cup during that period.


Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello were both at the helm during a run of 58 unbeaten Serie A games between 1991 and 1993, on their way to three successive titles. Milan won the 1994 Champions League after their run came to an end.

AJAX – 52

The Dutch side went 52 league games unbeaten while dominating in Europe with the 1995 Champions League trophy. In total they went 69 matches without defeat in the Eredivisie and Champions League during an 18-month spell before losing to Willem II in January 1996. They also won the Dutch Super Cup twice and the Intercontinental Cup during that spell. The only black mark was an extra-time defeat to Feyenoord in the KNVB Cup quarterfinal — their only loss in 75 matches.

Arsenal’s Invincibles went on a 49-game run.


Arsene Wenger’s side did not lose in 49 league matches between May 2003 and October 2004, when they suffered a 2-0 defeat by Manchester United at Old Trafford. They clinched the title in 2004 without losing a game with the help of defender Kolo Toure, who repeated the feat with Celtic last season before taking on a coaching role at Parkhead.


Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has tasted defeat in three of his last seven matches but it was an unfamiliar feeling in the 2011-12 season when Juventus went 43 matches unbeaten. The Turin side won their first title in nine years but had not qualified for Europe the previous season. Defeat came in May at the worst possible time as they lost 2-0 to Napoli in the Coppa Italia final.


Brian Clough’s men went 40 games unbeaten in all competitions from March to December in 1978, winning the league, the League Cup and embarking on a run that took them to European Cup triumph the following May.


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St Johnstone vs. Celtic – Football Match Report – November 4, 2017


Celtic broke their own 100-year-old British record by stretching their unbeaten domestic run to 63 matches with a 4-0 victory over St Johnstone.

Scott Sinclair, Moussa Dembele and Olivier Ntcham were on target and Steven Anderson netted an own goal as Celtic strolled to three Premiership points at McDiarmid Park.

Saints were the last Scottish team to beat Celtic, on May 11, 2016, in Ronny Deila’s penultimate match in charge. But the Perth side had not scored in five matches before the visit of Brendan Rodgers’ men, who are a different proposition from the team managed by the Norwegian.

The victory was as one-sided a game as Celtic have enjoyed during an 18-month spell of invincibility in Scottish football.

St Johnstone were not helped by the absence of Brian Easton, Murray Davidson and Chris Millar through injury and Michael O’Halloran was only fit enough for the bench, coming on for pre-match doubt Stefan Scougall just before the hour mark.

Celtic named the same team that ran Bayern Munich close in a 2-1 Champions League defeat on Tuesday and there was little sign of fatigue.

James Forrest, Dembele, Callum McGregor and Sinclair saw shots held by Zander Clark as Celtic pushed their hosts back and Sinclair almost got in following a one-two with Dembele.

The breakthrough looked inevitable and it came from a 28th-minute corner. Stuart Armstrong delivered a low ball into the heart of the penalty box and Sinclair read his intentions before firing a first-time strike into the roof of the net from 12 yards out.

Armstrong and McGregor came close with curling efforts and Saints’ only first-half shot on target came from 35 yards out, Craig Gordon grasping Blair Alston’s free-kick after initially looking troubled by the bounce.

There was no let-up after the break. Clark spilled shots from Kieran Tierney and McGregor but managed to gather, Forrest threatened twice and substitute Tom Rogic had a shot saved before Dedryck Boyata’s header was cleared off the line by Aaron Comrie.

It was almost too easy for Celtic and they showed a bit of slackness to allow Richard Foster and Steven McLean decent openings, but they failed to make the most of them.

Celtic appeared to be stung into shifting gears and they did so quickly and effectively with two goals in three minutes.

Dembele put Saints on the back foot with a lovely flick to set Tierney racing down the left and the Frenchman was on hand to stab home after the overlapping Armstrong drove the ball across the six-yard box.

The striker then skipped past Comrie and aimed a cutback for Sinclair before seeing the ball hit off Anderson and trundle over the line as Celtic went three up with 15 minutes left.

And substitute Ntcham drove home from 20 yards in the 89th minute after a brilliant passing move to seal a record-breaking result.


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Celtic set new British unbeaten domestic record of 63 games


Jupp Heynckes and Brendan Rodgers have praised Celtic for their performance against Bayern Munich after the German champions just edged a 2-1 win at Celtic Park.

Scottish champions Celtic have set a new British record for domestic games unbeaten after recording their 63rd in a row with a 4-0 win at St Johnstone on Saturday.

Brendan Rodgers’s side, who equalled the 100-year record set by Willie Maley’s Celtic team after drawing with Kilmarnock last weekend, broke it with victory at McDiarmid Park.

Maley and Celtic achieved their landmark in 1917, with prolific goal scorer Patsy Gallagher the star of their show.

Rodgers, who has been in charge of the Glasgow giants for 18 months as manager, has won three trophies and could be on course for back-to-back Treble successes without suffering a single defeat.

But Celtic would still have some way to go to match Romanian side FCSB’s tally of 104, set in the 1980s, and the 88-game streak set by Gibraltarian club Lincoln between 2009 and 2014.

Follow @ESPNFC on Twitter to keep up with the latest football updates.


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Tottenham rival Man United Arsenal interest in Celtic’s Kieran Tierney – sources


Bayern Munich are through to the Champions League knockout phase after beating Celtic via a Javi Martinez header.
Bayern Munich are through to the Champions League knockout phase after beating Celtic via a Javi Martinez header.
Jupp Heynckes and Brendan Rodgers have praised Celtic for their performance against Bayern Munich after the German champions just edged a 2-1 win at Celtic Park.

Tottenham Hotspur have moved ahead of Manchester United and Arsenal in the battle to sign Celtic defender Kieran Tierney, sources have told ESPN FC.

Tierney, 20, has emerged as the hottest property in Scottish football since making his senior debut as a 17-year-old towards the end of the 2014-15 season and his progress under manager Brendan Rodgers saw the youngster rewarded with a new six-year contract, which he signed on Monday.

Despite Tierney’s long-term commitment to the Scottish champions, however, Spurs, United and Arsenal remain determined to be at the front of the queue to sign the left-back next summer.

Isle of Man-born Tierney has insisted that he is in no rush to leave Celtic Park, with the player happy to continue his development under former Liverpool manager Rodgers.

But Tottenham have stepped up their monitoring of the player, with the London club watching Tierney during last month’s Champions League defeat against Bayern Munich in Germany before dispatching chief scout Steve Hitchen to watch him in action in the return fixture at Celtic Park on Tuesday.

With Danny Rose’s long-term future at Spurs increasingly uncertain — United are interested in the England left-back — Mauricio Pochettino is determined to add to his options in defence, with Tierney the leading target.

Rafinha & Kieran Tierney
Kieran Tierney (right) impressed in Celtic’s 2-1 Champions League defeat to Bayern Munich.

Tierney, who has made eight senior appearances for Scotland, impressed once again in Tuesday’s 2-1 defeat against, with Rodgers singling him out for praise after the game.

“Kieran Tierney was up against Arjen Robben and he was outstanding again,” Rodgers said . “I had Danny Rose as a young player at Watford and I worked with Ryan Bertrand at Chelsea, and Kieran is right up there with those boys.

“He is still very young and those boys are into their latter twenties. He still has bits of improvements to make but his quality, his will, his determination and his focus for a young player is outstanding and he loves playing for Celtic.

“And nights like that, you can see why he wanted to sign here. He is a real special talent, but a boy who is focused in improvement.”

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_


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Kilmarnock vs. Hibernian – Football Match Report – October 31, 2017


Hibernian ruined Steve Clarke’s first home game as Kilmarnock manager and moved into third place in the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 3-0 victory.
Goals from John McGinn, Simon Murray and Martin Boyle earned Hibs to a third consecutive win.
Clarke had guided Killie to draws at Ibrox and Celtic Park in his first two games in charge after watching them win at Partick Thistle, and their displays in Glasgow and enthusiasm over his appointment helped attract a crowd of 5,005 – more than 1,500 up on their previous home game.
But Clarke’s early impact did not stretch to an upturn in home results, although Rory McKenzie and Kris Boyd, twice, hit the woodwork for the hosts, who were given a warm reception for their efforts. Killie have now taken two points from a possible 21 this season at Rugby Park.
The home crowd’s optimism was dented in the 10th minute when Boyle laid the ball back for David Gray to whip a pinpoint cross on to the head of McGinn six yards out. The midfielder powered a header into the bottom corner.
The tables were soon turned when McGinn’s corner found Gray, who was in for the absent Steven Whittaker, completely unmarked at the back post. But Jamie MacDonald blocked the right-back’s header with his feet.
Killie immediately broke but Lewis Stevenson raced back to put in a goal-saving tackle on Jordan Jones and the visitors continued to look threatening with McGinn and Dylan McGeouch impressing on the ball and Gray and Boyle finding space down the right.
But the hosts found their feet around the half-hour mark after McKenzie hit the outside of the post from 25 yards. They came even closer four minutes later when Greg Taylor turned in the box and crossed for Boyd, whose header bounced down off the underside of the bar.
The striker out-muscled Marvin Bartley seconds later at a corner but headed wide off balance and claimed unsuccessfully for a penalty to referee Stephen Finnie.
Boyd missed a glorious chance three minutes into the second half after Jones waltzed to the bye-line and found the 34-year-old in space in the six-yard box, but Ofir Marciano blocked his attempted tap-at close range.
Marciano tipped over well-struck long-range strikes from Boyd and Jones and the home side were made to pay for their misses when Hibs carved them open on the hour mark. McGinn flighted a ball over the top of the home defence and Gray sent an inviting first-time ball across the face of goal for Murray to knock home.
Killie had several penalty claims rejected – notably when Stevenson fouled Jones right on the edge of the box and when the winger got in front of Gray and went to ground, but Finnie was not interested.
Marciano saved Lee Erwin’s header, Adam Frizzell missed the target from 16 yards and Boyd’s free-kick deflected off the post.
Boyle raced through the heart of the home defence to make it three in stoppage-time.


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Kieran Tierney signs new six-year Celtic contract


Brendan Rodgers says he hopes to find a way for Celtic to challenge Bayern Munich in their Champions League clash.

Celtic left-back Kieran Tierney has signed a new six-year contract.

A number of Premier League clubs have been credited with interest in Tierney but the Scottish champions have announced he has committed himself to Parkhead until the summer of 2023.

The 20-year-old is closing in on 100 first-team appearances for his boyhood heroes.

Tierney’s previous deal was due to expire in 2021. He signed a five-year contract days after Brendan Rodgers spoke to him about extending his stay after his first training session in June last year.

The Scotland international, who joined Celtic aged seven, had previously signed a four-year deal in August 2015.

Speaking to Celtic TV moments after signing the deal, Tierney said: “Obviously I got a long-term deal last year when the manager came in and to have another one so soon is brilliant for me and my family. I still can’t believe it, it’s amazing.”

Kieran Tierney Celtic vs City
Kieran Tierney, right, has signed on to stay with Celtic until 2023.

Tierney was quick to thank his team-mates, especially skipper Scott Brown, for helping him settle so well in the first team and he also expressed gratitude to Rodgers.

“It’s brilliant to have him believe in me, he has trusted me since day one,” he said.

“I was very young when he came in, I had only played one season in the first team so there was always a doubt that he might bring someone more experienced in, but he has trusted me and I have a lot to thank him for.”

Tierney admitted he was “living the dream” after breaking through the youth ranks to play for the club he supported.

And he is still not taking his status for granted, especially after deputising for Brown recently.

“That’s probably the greatest honour I have ever had: to captain Celtic, walk out and do the team talk in the huddle,” he said.

“It’s just unbelievable. I could never have imagined that and for the gaffer to have that trust in someone so young is very special for me.”


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Dundee vs. Hamilton Academical – Football Match Report – October 28, 2017


Ten-man Hamilton celebrated a hard-fought victory as they dug deep to inflict a fourth straight defeat on Dundee, who slumped to the bottom of the Ladbrokes Scottish Premiership.
Martin Canning’s visitors notched their first win in eight league games despite losing influential midfielder Massimo Donati with 15 minutes remaining of this Tayside affair.
Ioannis Skondras gave Accies a 39th-minute lead before David Templeton made it 2-0 on 64 minutes, only for A-Jay Leitch-Smith’s 67th-minute penalty to give Neil McCann’s men some hope of a comeback.
Donati was then dismissed but substitute Antonio Raul Rojano killed the game off with a simple tap-in to pile more misery on the Dark Blues.
Dundee made four changes from the side which went down 1-0 to Betfred Cup finalists Motherwell in midweek.
Paul McGowan was installed as captain while Leitch-Smitch, Randy Wolters and Kerr Waddell all started as skipper Darren O’Dea, Kevin Holt, Sofien Moussa and Roarie Deacon all dropped out.
The visitors began brightly enough with former Rangers and Hearts winger Templeton seeing his early shot deflected wide for a corner.
Dundee could not find any real rhythm, although Wolters did try his luck just after the half-hour mark and saw his shot from a raking run go narrowly past Gary Woods’ near post.
But Hamilton took the lead in simple fashion in the 39th minute.
Dougie Imrie’s whipped cross eluded the entire home defence as Skondras arrived on a late run and the 27-year-old Greek right-back planted a header across Scott Bain.
Dundee tried to lift the pace after the break and Waddell had a shot which was cleared off the line by Rakish Bingham.
But Accies went further ahead in the 64th minute. Templeton cleverly peeled off at the far post to thrash Imrie’s free-kick low across Bain and into the corner of the net.
Dundee looked down and out but hit back three minutes later. Skondras was penalised for handball as Leitch-Smith tried to go round him, and up stepped the English striker to blast the resultant spot-kick past Woods.
Then, in the 75th minute, Donati was sent off for a second bookable offence as he lashed the ball away in frustration to leave his team-mates under the cosh.
However, the depleted visitors sealed victory with five minutes left when Greg Docherty picked up possession and crossed for substitute Rojano, who only had to tap in from a yard out.


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