Deadline News http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk News and pictures from Scotland and beyond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:48:42 +0000 en-GB hourly 1 Dunfermline playing for futures against Morton now they are safe in SPFL Championship, insists Jason Talbot http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/dunfermline-playing-futures-morton-now-safe-spfl-championship-insists-jason-talbot/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/dunfermline-playing-futures-morton-now-safe-spfl-championship-insists-jason-talbot/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:48:30 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096793 FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK DUNFERMLINE may be in no-man’s land between the promotion race and the relegation battle but Jason Talbot insists there will be no slacking off as the Pars play for their futures at the club. The Fifers host Morton in their penultimate league match having been ruled out of the play-offs

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DUNFERMLINE may be in no-man’s land between the promotion race and the relegation battle but Jason Talbot insists there will be no slacking off as the Pars play for their futures at the club.

The Fifers host Morton in their penultimate league match having been ruled out of the play-offs that their visitors are preparing for.

After a poor start to life back in the Championship, Allan Johnston’s side have also ensured they cannot be dragged back into the drop zone.

However, with most of the East End Park squad out of contract this summer, Talbot is adamant there will be plenty riding on the visit of ‘Ton in the club’s final home game of the campaign.

Hoping for a deal himself, he said: “My contract’s up at the end of the season, so like the majority of the squad I’m playing for my future.

“There’s not been any discussions, so I’m just biding my time. Hopefully I’ll hear within the next week, I’d certainly like to.

“I want to stay. I’ve always said I’m a Dunfermline player until someone tells me otherwise.

“I’ll do what I can for the club in the time being and hopefully I’ll deserve another contract.

“We’d like to finish with as many points as we can do and you want to put on a show for the supporters in the last home game of the season.

“If we don’t put the work in then it could affect some of the boys’ futures, and no-one wants that.

“I’d like to put in a performance.”

STICKY

Manager Johnston has been eager for clarity on the club’s place in the Championship next term before turning his attentions to contract talks.

It is an approach that Talbot understands but the full-back is now keen for a resolution as the final game of the season approaches next weekend.

He added: “We were a few points away from the play-offs but also a few points away from being relegated.

“So, it was kind of a sticky situation to be in a couple of weeks ago.

“It was understandable that the club didn’t want to start anything until they knew where we were going to be next season.

“As players, we just have to accept that and put it to the back of our minds and get on with the games we’ve got.

“But, now that we’re certain we’re staying in this league, I would like to get things wrapped up as soon as possible.

“I want to stay and hopefully that’s something the manager would like as well.”

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Goal against Hibs gives on-loan Fleetwood Town striker Declan McManus confidence for Raith Rovers’ relegation battle http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/goal-hibs-gives-loan-fleetwood-town-striker-declan-mcmanus-confidence-raith-rovers-relegation-battle/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/goal-hibs-gives-loan-fleetwood-town-striker-declan-mcmanus-confidence-raith-rovers-relegation-battle/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:42:33 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096789 FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK DECLAN McMANUS hopes he is hitting form at just the right time as he bids to help Raith Rovers cling to their Championship status in their crucial clash with St Mirren. The former Aberdeen striker netted his first league goal since October in Wednesday night’s sickening, last-gasp 3-2 defeat to

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DECLAN McMANUS hopes he is hitting form at just the right time as he bids to help Raith Rovers cling to their Championship status in their crucial clash with St Mirren.

The former Aberdeen striker netted his first league goal since October in Wednesday night’s sickening, last-gasp 3-2 defeat to Hibs at Easter Road.

The 22-year-old has endured a frustrating season on loan from Fleetwood Town and has been the target of the Stark’s Park boo boys on occasions as the Kirkcaldy men have battled to avoid the drop.

But he is hopeful the belief restored by breaking his six-month league goal drought – and an improved team display after the break against Hibs – can help lead Rovers to safety with a win against St Mirren.

He said: “That’s probably the first time that Raith Rovers fans have seen me how I know I can play.

“That’s probably due to getting a goal and playing with that bit of confidence again.

“It’s been building. I’ve been feeling better recently with the new manager, and hopefully I can take that into Saturday.

“For me, football is 90 per cent confidence. When I’m confident I know how well I can play and how much I can affect a game.

“But, if I’m honest, I’ve not been confident, and most of the boys are probably the same, with the situation we’re in. It’s hard to be at your best when you’re under a lot of pressure.

“Personally, I’ll take a lot of confidence from how I played, and getting a goal. I’m just hoping we can replicate the second-half performance.”

INCENTIVE

Raith came from behind twice against Hibs in midweek and looked to have snatched a well-earned point before James Keatings won it for the champions with a free-kick deep into injury-time.

It leaves John Hughes’ struggling outfit just three points above bottom side Ayr United, who they play next weekend, and a point above today’s hosts, St Mirren.

Defeat to the revitalised Buddies would see them slip into the dreaded relegation play-off spot but, with a vastly-superior goal difference to Ayr, who face Hibs, a victory is likely to be enough to stave off relegation.

McManus added: “The incentive is win and we’re safe, but we’re playing a team that is down and around us, so that’s our only focus now.

“It should never have got to this point but we’re in it now.

“We’ve just got to go out on Saturday and play like we did in the second-half against Hibs, and we’ll be alright.

“At the end of the day, we just need the three points.

“All that matters is keeping the team up and making sure when I leave at the end of the season that my mates aren’t in League One.”

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Hearts confirm they will revert to ‘Tynecastle Park’ name when stadium renovation is completed http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/hearts-confirm-will-revert-tynecastle-park-name-stadium-renovation-completed/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/hearts-confirm-will-revert-tynecastle-park-name-stadium-renovation-completed/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 22:05:02 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096802 BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport HEARTS will roll back the years next season after confirming the name of their new-look stadium will revert to ‘Tynecastle Park’. The Jambos played their matches on a playing field known as Tynecastle Park – now Wardlaw Street and Wardlaw Place – when they first moved to Gorgie in 1881

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

HEARTS will roll back the years next season after confirming the name of their new-look stadium will revert to ‘Tynecastle Park’.

The Jambos played their matches on a playing field known as Tynecastle Park – now Wardlaw Street and Wardlaw Place – when they first moved to Gorgie in 1881 and they retained the title when they uprooted to the current site five years later.

In a decision that proved unpopular with the vast majority of supporters, the name of their home in Edinburgh’s west end was changed to ‘Tynecastle Stadium’ in the mid-1990s.

(Pic: heartsfc.co.uk)

However, Hearts chiefs held talks with supporters as part of the Tynecastle Development Project and it has been decided that the original handle of the ground will be re-instated to coincide with the completion of their new £12 million main stand later this year.

The name change will officially take affect from September, by which point building work is expected to be concluded at Tynecastle, taking the capacity to 20,099.

A club statement read: “It gives the club great pleasure to announce our plan to reinstate “Tynecastle Park” as the name of our new look stadium.

“When the new Tynecastle Development Project was initiated, it came as no great surprise that the question of reversing this name-change was never far from the surface when talking to fans.

“So, with the sadness of the loss of the Archibald Leitch classic [main stand] and the opening of a new chapter in the history of the club, it seems entirely fitting that we honour the club’s long and storied heritage by reinstating the name “Tynecastle Park” when the new Main Stand opens in September 2017.

“Our famous and much loved club song will once again ring literally true, when we raise our voices to sing ‘away up in Gorgie at Tynecastle Park’.”

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Hearts defender Liam Smith left punch-drunk in case of mistaken identity – but is up for the Europa League fight http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/hearts-defender-liam-smith-left-punch-drunk-case-mistaken-identity-europa-league-fight/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/hearts-defender-liam-smith-left-punch-drunk-case-mistaken-identity-europa-league-fight/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:50:30 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096799 BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport LIAM SMITH admits he was left dazed and confused after being pummelled on Twitter by furious fight fans who mistook the Hearts defender for his boxing namesake. Light-middleweight Smith claimed a controversial win over Welshman Liam Williams on April 8 after a clash of heads was missed by the referee,

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

LIAM SMITH admits he was left dazed and confused after being pummelled on Twitter by furious fight fans who mistook the Hearts defender for his boxing namesake.

Light-middleweight Smith claimed a controversial win over Welshman Liam Williams on April 8 after a clash of heads was missed by the referee, forcing Williams to withdraw after blood started pouring out of a head wound at the Manchester Arena.

Angry punters took to social media to vent their fury – and the baffled Jambos star found himself caught in the crosshairs, ranging from “no glory in that” to claiming he was “outclassed every round”.

(Pic: Twitter @liamsmith_29)

“What was all that about? It was hilarious,” Smith laughed. “I got a few tweets, they weren’t too abusive or anything – but I didn’t even know what had happened. I was getting some saying I was a disgrace and ‘how could I do that?’

“My reaction was ‘what are you talking about?’ We’d just beaten Dundee so I was thinking ‘surely not, I did alright!’

“I just watch the big fights the same as everyone else, I’ll watch Joshua-Klitshcko this weekend. But I didn’t watch his fight so I was just confused as to what was going on.

“The other Liam Smith never reacted to it at all – so I don’t think he was laughing. It was mostly boxing folk who found it funny. Liam and Smith are two of the most common names in Britain, so I guess it was always a danger!”

The Scotland under-21 full-back replied with a tweet of his own, writing: “Getting angry tweets from boxing fans about @LiamBeefySmith… I’m not the boxer folks… I couldn’t fight sleep.”

“That’s absolutely true, I have never been in a fight with my life,” he smiled. “I don’t plan on it either.”

However, Smith will not shy away from the battle for a Europa League berth.

Partick Thistle, who have upset the odds by gate-crashing the top-six this term are the visitors to Tynecastle this afternoon, with the Maryhill men talking up their chances of making up a four-point deficit and overhauling the Jambos.

But Smith’s only priority is catching St Johnstone.

“Partick have done really well and I’ve read them saying they’re pushing for fifth now,” continued Smith. “They have every right to think that because they have done well.

“But we’re not looking behind us, we need to look forward – and if we take care of business then fourth place it still in our sights. With the way the spilt is you are playing in-form teams so points can be won or lost everywhere.”

Hearts have enjoyed a 15-day hiatus since their 0-0 bore draw against Kilmarnock and Smith has hailed the “intensity” of training as Ian Cathro steels his side for a big finish.

Consequentially, Smith is hopeful the capital club can build on consecutive clean sheets against Killie and Dundee – and improve their record of six wins in 21 matches under their new boss.

“When you’re confidence is down and we haven’t been getting the results we’ve been looking for you need to go back to basics,” added Smith. “That starts with a clean sheet and then we can build – and look to our influential players in front of us to go on and win the game.”

On a personal note, Smith is seeking to continue his own momentum, having worked tirelessly to regain his place in the starting line-up, helping the Jambos to those successive shut-outs.

Lennard Sowah has returned to full fitness, ensuring a battle for the jersey against Thistle today, however Smith is determined to see off the challenge of the German and put down a marker for the run-in – and next season.

“I want to be in the team as much as I can,” he added. “I was in the side and then I had quite a lot of time out, so to have worked my way back in is a positive. Now it’s my responsibility to keep going and keep my place.

“You never know what is going to happen come the summer so if I can put down a marker now then it gives me a positive going into pre-season and next season.”

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Neil Lennon adamant that John McGinn & Jason Cummings will not dictate when the time is right to leave Hibs http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/neil-lennon-adamant-john-mcginn-jason-cummings-will-not-dictate-time-right-leave-hibs-efe-ambrose/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/neil-lennon-adamant-john-mcginn-jason-cummings-will-not-dictate-time-right-leave-hibs-efe-ambrose/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 21:35:49 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096797 BY ALAN TEMPLE – CCP_Sport NEIL LENNON has told star duo John McGinn and Jason Cummings that they are going nowhere unless an interested party makes Hibs an offer that is too good to refuse. The pair addressed their respective futures on Thursday as they were unveiled as nominees for PFA Scotland player of the year

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – CCP_Sport

NEIL LENNON has told star duo John McGinn and Jason Cummings that they are going nowhere unless an interested party makes Hibs an offer that is too good to refuse.

The pair addressed their respective futures on Thursday as they were unveiled as nominees for PFA Scotland player of the year to mark their contributions to the Hibees’ Championship title win and run to the Scottish Cup semi-final.

Cummings, who was the subject of a rejected £1.8 million bid from Peterborough United last summer, is contracted to the Leith side until the summer of 2020 but said “I want to challenge myself at a higher level and my job at Hibs is done a wee bit with what I wanted to do.”

McGinn, meanwhile, stated “at the end of every season I assess [my future].”

While both players did state they were content at Easter Road, the comments did not go unnoticed by Lennon.

Ahead of their encounter against Ayr United, he said: “The two lads speaking yesterday, Jason and John – they won’t be going anywhere unless this club wants them to go. Until that happens, they will be playing for Hibs.

“They are on long term contracts and we were right to do that. That’s certainly the case with Jason, while John has another year or two – but maybe we will look to give John an extended contract as well.

“We were a Championship team that turned down £1.8 million for Jason, and now we are a Premiership team. For any potential suitors – they know that every player has a price, but that will be dictated by the club and not anybody else.

“We are speaking hypothetically but I wouldn’t be surprised if there was interest in both those players. But they are on cast iron contracts and if anyone is interested then it is going to cost them a lot of money.

“That’s especially true when you have been promoted. You want to keep the momentum going. You don’t want to break it up, you want to add to it. With the quality we already have, we want to add players who can make us better and stronger and we want to challenge next season.”

Lennon has revealed that he wants that strengthening process to include the signing of Efe Ambrose on a permanent deal following a string of dazzling displays during his loan from Celtic.

The 28-year-old is out of contract at Parkhead this summer and the Northern Irishman has confirmed that he will seek talks with the defender and his agent in the coming weeks.

He continued: “He’s not our player, but if we get an opportunity to sit down with him next week and see what his plans are, then it’s something we will pursue.

“It will depend on his own personal circumstances. He’s just had a baby boy. Does he want to stay in Scotland? If so, there aren’t many better clubs outside Celtic than here. Does he see himself in England? If so, there are visa issues he’d have to consider. He has a lot to think about over the next couple of months.”

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Pitch invasions, Manchester United & DIY | Emotional Edinburgh City prepare for Meadowbank farewell http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/pitch-invasions-manchester-united-diy-emotional-edinburgh-city-prepare-meadowbank-farewell/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/28/pitch-invasions-manchester-united-diy-emotional-edinburgh-city-prepare-meadowbank-farewell/#respond Fri, 28 Apr 2017 07:48:12 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096784 BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport EDINBURGH CITY chairman Jim Lumsden is adamant there will not be a dry eye in the house on Saturday when the Citizens say farewell to Meadowbank after a truly extraordinary journey in the iconic stadium. The League 2 outfit will vacate the ageing arena this summer to make way for

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

EDINBURGH CITY chairman Jim Lumsden is adamant there will not be a dry eye in the house on Saturday when the Citizens say farewell to Meadowbank after a truly extraordinary journey in the iconic stadium.

The League 2 outfit will vacate the ageing arena this summer to make way for a £41 million upgrade of the facilities, ground-sharing with city neighbours Spartans for the next three campaigns.

Although the club hope to return to the newly refurbished facility, Lumsden – a regular at Meadowbank since 1979 as a former Meadowbank Thistle fan – is steeling himself for a poignant occasion when Stirling Albion visit tomorrow in the final home match of the season.

It is a day that he believes will afford the club the perfect opportunity to reflect on a stunning rise from East of Scotland League also-rans to consolidating their SPFL status this term.

Lumsden said: “I will really miss Meadowbank. It’s been somewhere I have gone every other Saturday for the best part of 40 years. I was originally a Meadowbank Thistle fan so I’ve been watching my football in this ground for a very long time. It’s a special place.

“I got involved when City moved into Meadowbank in 1995 before joining the committee 18 years ago. This will be my fourth year as chairman and it has been some journey. There have been a lot of ups and many downs – just like any club – but thankfully the last few seasons have been tremendous.

“The two Lowland League titles were unforgettable, and our first ever SPFL win at Meadowbank against Annan was terrific.

“Saturday will be emotional day for everyone here – but it will be a great day. We secured our League 2 status last weekend so we enjoy the occasion and just be really proud of what everyone here has achieved.”

Lumsden concedes with a smile that the old ground, built for the Commonwealth Games of 1970, “has seen better days” and revealed that even the directors have mucked in with DIY jobs around the stadium over the years.

That should not, however, be mistaken for a complaint. He reckons that simply sums up the spirit of City, who became the first club to ever win promotion to the SPFL through the playoffs when they defeated East Stirlingshire over two legs last season.

He smiled: “We painted the dressing rooms ourselves. They were looking very, very tired! The dad of one of the coaches, Rab Ballantyne, came down and did that with a few of the committee members.

“We redecorated the cafe, put in ovens and done bits and bobs around the stadium. As a facility it has been great, but it has seen better days.

“It’s just about mucking in and trying to make things a little better. It might not have a gleaming, shiny stand, but we have worked really hard this season to be open, welcoming and give fans and players an experience they have enjoyed.”

City hope to return to Meadowbank once the renovation has been completed, albeit Lumsden concedes the uncertainties of politics make long-term planning a challenge. In the meantime, they will seek to make themselves comfortable at Ainslie Park, home of the city rivals Spartans.

Lumsden said: “We’ve had meetings with the council and we have a positive relationship with Edinburgh Leisure so, as it stands, it is our plan to move back in. However, we have council elections and other factors so you can never be quite sure how things will pan out.”

From the Dugout

Manager Gary Jardine has enjoyed soaring highs and devastating lows at Meadowbank.

A dream friendly against a Manchester United XI turned into a nightmare in 2004 when he broke his ankle. His playing career would never be the same again, but he poured his energy into coaching and, since taking the top job in 2009, has established himself as the most successful manager in the club’s history.

However, there have been plenty of bumps along the way, literally.

Jardine said: “I remember a Scottish Cup game against Clachnacuddin and a Spanish lad, Jorge Vinelli, came on with 12 minutes to go and scored an absolute screamer from 40 yards – then ran into the wall celebrating and nearly knocked himself out.

(Pic: SNS)

“He had to come off injured again! He was on the pitch for about three minutes and won us the cup tie.

“In one of my first matches as a player I actually broke my ankle playing against Manchester United. Brian McClair brought up a decent side, with the likes of Sylvain Ebanks-Blake and Phil Bardsley – so not all the memories are happy ones.

“We had a bit of bad publicity a few years back with our ‘Ultras’ too. About 100 lads ran on the pitch when our player was running through on goal. That was probably the first ever pitch invasion for a midweek East of Scotland League game against Lothian Thistle!

“So, from the big games to the smaller ones, it has never been dull here and this season has just been the perfect last season, completing that journey from East of Scotland League to the SPFL and staying up.”

Jardine hopes the City’s final match at Meadowbank proves a fitting finale – for the ground in its current guise, and for a fine debut season in the the SPFL for Edinburgh’s newest league side.

He added: “I’m really proud of the way the players recovered from a difficult start to the season, stuck together, believed in each other and showed they were good enough for this level so it would be great if we could get a few extra numbers in to celebrate the season and the end of an era at Meadowbank.”

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Raith Rovers boss John Hughes will have no concerns if Neil Lennon fields weakened Hibs team again against relegation rivals Ayr United http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/raith-rovers-boss-john-hughes-will-no-concerns-neil-lennon-fields-weakened-hibs-team-relegation-rivals-ayr-united/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/raith-rovers-boss-john-hughes-will-no-concerns-neil-lennon-fields-weakened-hibs-team-relegation-rivals-ayr-united/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:53:16 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096777 FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK JOHN HUGHES insists he will have no concerns if Hibs field another ‘weakened’ team against Ayr United – because they still proved too good for his own Raith Rovers side. Rovers slumped to a last-gasp 3-2 defeat at Easter Road on Wednesday night, despite their hosts making 10 changes to their

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JOHN HUGHES insists he will have no concerns if Hibs field another ‘weakened’ team against Ayr United – because they still proved too good for his own Raith Rovers side.

Rovers slumped to a last-gasp 3-2 defeat at Easter Road on Wednesday night, despite their hosts making 10 changes to their line-up.

Hibs now face bottom side Ayr on Saturday, followed by the third team in the relegation mire, St Mirren, on the final day of the campaign.

And, after fears were dispelled that Neil Lennon’s tinkering could hand Raith an advantage in the battle against the drop, Hughes will have no qualms if the Easter Road outfit’s second-string get another run-out.

He said: “Every one of the Hibs players on Wednesday night would get a game in my team. For the first 20 minutes I was very impressed with them and that’s the abundance of talent they’ve got.

“They’re entitled to do what they want to do, and after the [Scottish Cup] semi-final I can see why they would want to rest players.

“Who knows what their team will be on Saturday? But the team we played against were absolutely fantastic, they were at it.

“I wouldn’t have any fears if they played that same team against Ayr this weekend. It’s good enough to go there and win; it was a real, real hard game.

“I’m just a little bit envious he [Lennon] has got that at his disposal, and he’s fully entitled to do whatever he does.

“We couldn’t beat that team, so there’s no saying anybody else will beat it.”

Meanwhile, Hughes insists he is targeting safety against St Mirren, but will back his team to survive should they end up in the play-off place.

LIFEBELT

The Stark’s Park men currently enjoy a three-point advantage over Ayr – who they face in a potential decider on the last day – and are one point ahead of Saints.

A win against the Buddies means they cannot be caught by their hosts and, with a goal difference 11 better off than Ayr, would leave them virtually safe, even if the Honest Men beat Hibs.

‘Yogi’ has taken confidence from an improved second-half display at Easter Road but knows his team now face two nerve-shredding encounters to save their Championship status.

He added: “You feel for the players but I saw enough there to take a lot of heart into the last two games.

“I did say afterwards that, right at this moment in time, I would take a play-off place.

“If that’s a lifebelt, to know you’ve still got two ties to stay in the league, you would take that.

“But, 100 per cent, we don’t want to be in that position.

“If we go and win on Saturday then St Mirren can’t catch us.

“It’s a high-pressure game but there will be big pressure on St Mirren as well. Who can handle it?”

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James Keatings not short of offers – but admits he really wants more game time at Hibs http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/james-keatings-not-short-offers-admits-really-wants-game-time-hibs/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/james-keatings-not-short-offers-admits-really-wants-game-time-hibs/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:50:10 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096744 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER |  FACEBOOK Hibs striker James Keatings will not be short of offers this summer – but the 25-year-old admits it is more game time he wants at Easter Road. The former Hearts and Hamilton marksman notched a brace in Wednesday’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Raith Rovers in only his 12th Championship start of

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Hibs striker James Keatings will not be short of offers this summer – but the 25-year-old admits it is more game time he wants at Easter Road.

The former Hearts and Hamilton marksman notched a brace in Wednesday’s dramatic 3-2 victory over Raith Rovers in only his 12th Championship start of the season.

Easter Road boss Neil Lennon wants the marksman for the Leith side’s return to the top-flight following a three-year absence and has offered Keatings a new contract.

But other Premiership clubs have also made their interest known and Keatings, who has won promotion to the Premiership three times with Hibs, Hearts and Hamilton, admits he has a decision to make over his future.

Keatings said: “You never know what’s ahead. I’ve got my offer here and I’ve got offers, or there are other Premiership teams that have shown an interest as well.

“I want to stay here, I’m happy and I would be delighted to sign tomorrow morning so we’ll see what happens.

“It’s a good position to be in having this interest. Coming off the season I’ve had, it’s probably my poorest season in the last three I would say myself.

“I’ve not played as much and not scored as many goals although I’ve got a few assists this season.

“I’ve still done my part for the team and I’m happy to do that although personally I need to play every week if I’m going to get to the best and the highest I can.”

Asked if the prospect of more game time elsewhere could convince him to leave Easter Road, the former Celtic trainee added: “It makes it difficult. Ask any player, they want to play week-in, week-out.

“No player wants to settle for sitting on the bench, that’s the most frustrating bit.

“You want to be a big part of the success and this season I’ve played a part although I wish I could of played more.

“At the start of the season when I was in the team I was doing well but then I got the injury and it killed my season after that.

“The decision over my future is not something you jump at, you need to think about your personal stuff and what’s best for you.

“I’m loving my time here, the last two seasons have been amazing and I don’t want to look elsewhere.

“I’m sitting with my contract first, other teams have shown interest but I’m delighted to have the offer from Hibs and I’m hoping I’ll still be here.”

Keatings joined Hearts after helping Hamilton reach the Premiership with a play-off victory over Hibs in 2014 and lifted the Championship trophy with the Tynecastle club.

The forward made four substitute appearances in the top-flight during a brief loan stint at St Johnstone from Celtic in 2012 and is desperate to test himself against the country’s leading teams.

He said: “I’m confident I can make the step up. I’ve played with players that are playing in the Premiership and I know my capabilities. I’ve played against most of them and I know I’m good enough to play there.”

Keatings, who scored 12 goals last season, took his tally for this term to seven against Raith and he still has hopes of reaching double figures with games against Ayr United and St Mirren to come.

He added: “That was my target, I just try to beat the target I hit last season.

“This season I’ve played right wing, left wing and against Raith that was only my sixth start up front.

“In six starts I think I’ve scored six goals in that position.

“It’s good from my point of view when I’m playing in that position but it’s a lot harder when you’re out wide to grab goals.

“I’m happy to play anywhere and I’ve not made a fuss about it to the manager when he’s picked me.”

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Dunfermline boss Allan Johnston hits back in war of words with Falkirk counterpart Peter Houston over Myles Hippolyte derby dive http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/dunfermline-boss-allan-johnston-hits-back-war-words-falkirk-counterpart-peter-houston-myles-hippolyte-derby-dive/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/dunfermline-boss-allan-johnston-hits-back-war-words-falkirk-counterpart-peter-houston-myles-hippolyte-derby-dive/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:27:25 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096773 FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | ALLAN JOHNSTON has accused Peter Houston of deflection tactics after the Falkirk manager hit out at Dunfermline over the clubs’ derby dive row. Dunfermline were left seething by their 2-1 defeat to Falkirk on Saturday after accusing Myles Hippolyte of deliberately tumbling to win a penalty when the Pars were 1-0

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ALLAN JOHNSTON has accused Peter Houston of deflection tactics after the Falkirk manager hit out at Dunfermline over the clubs’ derby dive row.

Dunfermline were left seething by their 2-1 defeat to Falkirk on Saturday after accusing Myles Hippolyte of deliberately tumbling to win a penalty when the Pars were 1-0 ahead.

After calls from East End Park for the Bairns attacker to be censured for simulation, the SFA agreed and Hippolyte accepted a two-match ban on Tuesday.

(Twitter: @officialdafc)

The former Livingston player’s guilt did not stop Houston from launching a scathing attack on Dunfermline, condemning them for being ‘unprofessional’ in their reaction to the incident.

But, whilst admitting Houston has played a blinder in his protection of his own player, Johnston insists his opposite number’s criticism should not be allowed to distract attention from the fact Hippolyte was in the wrong.

The Pars boss said: “It’s disappointing that we lost the game, first and foremost, because it looked at 1-0 as though we were the team in control.

“Then the penalty decision changed things and a couple of minutes later we had a man [Lewis Martin] sent-off and maybe lost a bit of focus.

“But you can’t really defend that, when people dive.

“It’s disappointing, actually, when you see some of the stuff that’s come out since then having a go at some of our players.

“Especially when you see that they’ve accepted that Myles Hippolyte has dived and they’ve not appealed against the two-match ban.

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“I think that speaks for itself.

“I think it’s probably them trying to deflect attention from their player, because the story has focused on everybody else apart from Myles Hippolyte.

“Maybe that was good man-management from Peter Houston.”

Dunfermline host Morton on Saturday knowing they are safe in the Championship and cannot land a play-off place.

But they are desperate to remain in their current fifth spot in the table and are keen to secure a victory in their final match at East End Park this term.

Johnston added: “We still want to finish fifth, so it’s an important couple of games coming up and you want to test yourself against the best teams and try to pick up results.

“Especially at home, you want to finish on a high.”

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Hearts boss Ian Cathro is adamant Aaron Hughes’ injury issues will have no bearing on bid to sign ex-Newcastle and Fulham star to new deal http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/hearts-boss-ian-cathro-adamant-aaron-hughes-injury-issues-will-no-bearing-bid-sign-ex-newcastle-fulham-star-new-deal/ http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/2017/04/27/hearts-boss-ian-cathro-adamant-aaron-hughes-injury-issues-will-no-bearing-bid-sign-ex-newcastle-fulham-star-new-deal/#respond Thu, 27 Apr 2017 21:00:50 +0000 http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1096757 BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport HEARTS head coach Ian Cathro is adamant Aaron Hughes’ continued injury woes will not alter his plan to offer the veteran defender a new deal. The 37-year-old enjoyed a fine start to his Tynecastle career after joining the club in January, making eight appearances and cutting a composed figure in

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BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

HEARTS head coach Ian Cathro is adamant Aaron Hughes’ continued injury woes will not alter his plan to offer the veteran defender a new deal.

The 37-year-old enjoyed a fine start to his Tynecastle career after joining the club in January, making eight appearances and cutting a composed figure in the centre of defence before succumbing to a calf complaint.

Hughes has not played since the Jambos’ Scottish Cup exit to Hibs in February, despite the knock initially being expected to keep the player out for a matter of weeks. Although his condition has improved, he will not face Partick Thistle on Saturday.

However, Cathro has no fears about Hughes’ long-term fitness and still intends to have the Northern Ireland international in Edinburgh next season.

“We are looking into keeping him for next season and the injury doesn’t have any bearing on that,” confirmed Cathro. “It’s not an injury that’s going to cause a concern long term. It’s just about getting to the point where it’s fully recovered and once it’s dealt with properly there’s no threat of it causing him any issues in the longer term.

“It’s been a frustrating one, for Aaron and for us. It’s just one of those injuries where you get a couple of setbacks, not necessarily from anything he is doing or because of his body – it’s just in a bit of an awkward place.

“Obviously there’s not a long time left but we are pretty much certain we’ll have him back in the team before the end of the season. We just need to make sure that we get it right.

“He is really important to the game plan and what we’ve been trying to do here. The player he is and the man he is, he transmits a comfort to the players. He’s one of the guys who came here to be a bit of a message carrier for me. He was a very important signing – and he will be because we’ll have him back soon.

Cathro, who confirmed that Prince Buaben and Lennard Sowah have returned to full fitness this week, acknowledges that Hughes’ quality and calming influence has been sorely missed.

And he reckons the pedigree of the former Fulham, Newcastle and Aston Villa ace remains – and will continue to be – pivotal within the squad.

“I’ve got no doubt at all that having Aaron in the team helps,” continued Cathro. “It helps the team and it helps players around him. We miss his influence but these are things that happen over the course of a season.

“He’s one of the older players that we have and it’s important that we have those characters – and maybe bring some more to make sure that we have the right strength, experience and leadership for the group.

“People look to him because they know that he’s lived through all sorts of experiences that some of our younger players go to bed and have dreams about!

“He has a real influence off the pitch but, first of all, he’s an important player and that’s why I’m looking forward to getting him back in the team.”

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