Deadline News News and pictures from Scotland and beyond 2017-02-19T23:07:39Z http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/feed/atom/ Iain Collin <![CDATA[Alex Tziolis insists Hearts cannot contemplate anything other than win against Hibs in Scottish Cup replay]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093776 2017-02-19T23:07:39Z 2017-02-19T23:07:39Z FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK ALEX Tziolis has revealed how the Hearts fans instantly made him aware of the importance of a win over Hibs. And the Greece internationalist has admitted the Gorgie men can contemplate ‘no other result’ than a victory in Wednesday’s Edinburgh derby rematch. The 32-year-old will not be fazed by a trip to

The post Alex Tziolis insists Hearts cannot contemplate anything other than win against Hibs in Scottish Cup replay appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK

ALEX Tziolis has revealed how the Hearts fans instantly made him aware of the importance of a win over Hibs.

And the Greece internationalist has admitted the Gorgie men can contemplate ‘no other result’ than a victory in Wednesday’s Edinburgh derby rematch.

The 32-year-old will not be fazed by a trip to Easter Road, having played in World Cups, Euros, European football, Serie A, the Bundesliga and the Greek Super League during a glittering career.

And, despite Saturday’s disappointing 1-1 draw with Premiership basement boys Inverness Caley Thistle, he is adamant the rest of Ian Cathro’s side will also be ready for the Scottish Cup replay because they know just what is at stake.

He said: “Everybody is disappointed with Saturday’s result. It’s a result that nobody wanted.

“It was a good performance, but not our best and it shows that you have to be 100 per cent concentrated in every game.

“We have to live with this and continue.

“Wednesday night is an important game. We have to recover. Football continues and we have to think about the next game.

“The derby will be a difficult game again but we have to go there to win. For us there is no other result.

“We have to go and find a way. Now we know the opponent better. Some players here are new and we didn’t know the opponent.

“I hope on Wednesday everything will be okay and we get through.”

RIVALRY

Able to name Panathinaikos, Werder Bremen, Siena, Monaco and PAOK amongst his former clubs, Tziolis would not have needed a lesson in rivalry.

But the 62-times capped international has revealed he got one anyway after joining Hearts last month on a deal until the end of the season.

He explained: “I understood the rivalry from the first day I came here. Before the first game, everybody was speaking about this game.

“I hope on Wednesday we give our fans happiness.

“What did the fans say to me? That it is the most important game of the year.

“I understand how important the game is. It’s like derbies everywhere, the fans think only about this game. It is the game of the year.

“When you win, you are really happy. When you lose? I don’t want to think about this.”

The post Alex Tziolis insists Hearts cannot contemplate anything other than win against Hibs in Scottish Cup replay appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Darren Johnstone <![CDATA[Former Hearts boss Robbie Neilson insists he is not worried about being dragged into relegation dogfight following defeat]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093773 2017-02-19T21:20:18Z 2017-02-19T21:17:57Z FOLLOW US ON TWITTER |FACEBOOK MK Dons manager Robbie Neilson insists he is not worried about being dragged into a relegation dogfight, but has ordered his side to develop a ruthless streak. The former Hearts head coach watched his side fall to a narrow 1-0 defeat to League One promotion hopefuls Fleetwood Town on Saturday, a result

The post Former Hearts boss Robbie Neilson insists he is not worried about being dragged into relegation dogfight following defeat appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER |FACEBOOK

MK Dons manager Robbie Neilson insists he is not worried about being dragged into a relegation dogfight, but has ordered his side to develop a ruthless streak.

The former Hearts head coach watched his side fall to a narrow 1-0 defeat to League One promotion hopefuls Fleetwood Town on Saturday, a result that leaves the Dons just five points above the drop zone.

But Neilson, who has presided over five league wins since taking over the reins in December, insists he is not looking over his shoulder.

He said: “Not at all. We’re always looking to win the next game. Apart from a set play, Fleetwood have created nothing, so it shows there’s very little in this league. If we can be more aggressive, we will win games.

“For a team that’s sitting third in the league, they didn’t cause us any problems. We stopped their counter attacks and nullified them.

“We just weren’t aggressive enough with the ball.

“We need to get back to taking the risk, while not giving much up. We had no excitement or energy to get in behind them, whip in crosses or get shots in.

“The team has played a certain way for a long period, and we’re trying to change that. It takes time. It’s alright having 60, 70 per cent of the possession, it’s about getting three points, and we didn’t do that.

“It was really disappointing. We had a lot of possession but we weren’t ruthless enough and weren’t aggressive enough.

“We played a lot across the back and midfield but didn’t take the opportunity to put them under pressure.”

The post Former Hearts boss Robbie Neilson insists he is not worried about being dragged into relegation dogfight following defeat appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Darren Johnstone <![CDATA[Former Rangers keeper Matt Gilks insists there is ‘life in the old dog’ following Wigan heroics]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093768 2017-02-19T21:07:36Z 2017-02-19T21:04:24Z FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK Former Rangers goalkeeper Matt Gilks insists there is ‘life in the old dog yet’ after his penalty save helped Wigan earn a point against Preston. The Scotland internationalist, who left Ibrox for the English Championship outfit last month, denied Jordan Hugill from 12-yards and then saved the rebound. The 34-year-old’s only

The post Former Rangers keeper Matt Gilks insists there is ‘life in the old dog’ following Wigan heroics appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Former Rangers goalkeeper Matt Gilks insists there is ‘life in the old dog yet’ after his penalty save helped Wigan earn a point against Preston.

The Scotland internationalist, who left Ibrox for the English Championship outfit last month, denied Jordan Hugill from 12-yards and then saved the rebound.

The 34-year-old’s only five appearances for Rangers came in the Betfred Cup during the first half of the season but the one-time Blackpool shot-stopper has helped the Latics keep two clean sheets from three matches.

Gilks said: “It’s good to get two clean sheets now in the last two games I’ve started. I’m 34 but there’s life in the old dog yet so to speak.

“And I’ve still got things to prove really, to myself more than anything, that I can still play at this level.

“I saved one against Martyn Waghorn here for Blackpool, we had a chat about that when I went up to Rangers.

“As a goalkeeper, though, you save them or you don’t really and thankfully it helped us get a point.”

Wigan manager Warren Joyce lavished praise on Gilks after the club picked up an important point in their bid to avoid relegation.

He said: “It’s been a good start for Matt in the games he has played.

“We did our homework on Gilksy and we know what type of man he is and that’s important in the situation that we are in too.

“Matt is a good example to the other lads at the football club.”

The post Former Rangers keeper Matt Gilks insists there is ‘life in the old dog’ following Wigan heroics appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Darren Johnstone <![CDATA[Lewis Stevenson insists there are two sides to Hibs – and they intend to show it against Hearts]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093764 2017-02-19T00:14:10Z 2017-02-19T00:13:05Z FOLLOW US ON TWITTER | FACEBOOK Lewis Stevenson insists there are two sides to Hibernian, and they intend to show it in Wednesday’s Scottish Cup fifth round replay against Hearts. On a threadbare Tynecastle pitch that was not conducive to free-flowing football, the Championship leaders rolled up their sleeves and made sure they did not come off second

The post Lewis Stevenson insists there are two sides to Hibs – and they intend to show it against Hearts appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Lewis Stevenson insists there are two sides to Hibernian, and they intend to show it in Wednesday’s Scottish Cup fifth round replay against Hearts.

On a threadbare Tynecastle pitch that was not conducive to free-flowing football, the Championship leaders rolled up their sleeves and made sure they did not come off second best in the physical challenge during last Sunday’s feisty goal-less clash.

The cup holders have been accused of being bullied in this fixture in the past, while head coach Neil Lennon claimed there was a ‘psychological shift’ between the sworn Edinburgh enemies following the match.

The replay is expected to be a completely different affair but long-serving defender Stevenson insists versatile Hibs can defy the gap and win the tie by outplaying their Premiership rivals.

“I think the derbies have changed a lot, especially this year,” noted Stevenson.

“I think we’ve got in a few more physical players and I think we matched them in that aspect, and I’m sure we will do it again.

“If it becomes more of a football match, we’ve still got the players that can go and play football as well. We’re prepared for all manner of games.

“I think both teams would probably be disappointed about how they played.

“I don’t think we played the way we wanted to. The pitch wasn’t great but I’m sure the surface at Easter Road will be a bit better and it will probably suit both teams.

“I’m sure it’s going to be a very different game of football and hopefully one that football gets a chance to show.”

Last weekend’s derby will not go down as a classic but Stevenson insists the fear of making a mistake on a badly cut-up pitch outbalanced any desire to be adventurous going forward.

Hearts created the only meaningful chance after three minutes when Esmael Goncalves had a shot saved from close range in a game where defences came out on top.

Stevenson, who won the League Cup with Hibs in 2007, added: “The pitch was tough to play on, it was a bit uneven and nobody wanted to take chances or wanted to be the one remembered for playing a square ball and losing it.

“Nobody was taking chances but both teams could have been a bit braver and played a bit more.

“It’s hard for groundsman. I can’t speak for him but I’m sure they don’t really get the budget they’re supposed to get, then there’s the weather not being great in Scotland.”

Hibs can stretch their unbeaten run in the derby to seven matches if they set up a quarter-final clash with Ayr United on Wednesday but the defender reckons that record will not having any bearing on the Hearts players, especially since nine of them joined last month.

Stevenson was part of a Hibs side that failed to win the fixture in 12 matches between 2010 and 2012 and insists a barren run can prey on your mind.

He added:  “I’ve been on the other end of that of going on a long run without beating them, the pressure does mount up – more so when you’re going that way.

“But they’ve got a lot of new players and I’m sure a lot of them don’t even know that’s the case.

“It probably doesn’t matter in this case but I feel confident. It’s a one-off game, you are always confident with the players we’ve got that we can go and win a game.”

Stevenson made his first derby appearance in April 2007 in a 1-0 defeat and insists he is now far more relaxed than he used to be heading into tussles against Hearts.
Bragging rights will again be at stake on Wednesday when a crowd of over 20,000 descends on Easter Road but the 29-year-old insists he will be able to blank out the enormity of the occasion.
He added: “I enjoy the games now more than I ever did, I used to get too nervous before when I was younger but I can enjoy the occasion now.
“The build up before it, I probably couldn’t sleep for the week before, now it’s probably just the night before.
“Now it’s probably more excitement rather than apprehension.
“You don’t get bored of them and there is probably still the same buzz from the first one. There’s a lot of pressure and when your win they’re the best but when you lose them they’re the worst.
“As soon as the game starts it does just feel like a normal game. You can’t get too carried away being a derby or your’ll end up doing something daft and get sent off.
“You have to be level headed and hopefully the game takes care of itself. There are the usual flare ups but you probably notice it’s a derby more during stoppages in play.”

The post Lewis Stevenson insists there are two sides to Hibs – and they intend to show it against Hearts appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Alan Temple <![CDATA[Hearts defender Andraz Struna relishing trip to Easter Road after starring in ferocious Krakow clash]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093762 2017-02-18T15:43:45Z 2017-02-18T23:45:48Z BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport ANDRAZ STRUNA is used to a raucous backing on derby day after revealing how he starred in a Krakow clash with no away fans. However, he insists being pitched into the lion’s den of Easter Road will not faze him. The Hearts full-back plied his trade with Ekstraklasa outfit Cracovia

The post Hearts defender Andraz Struna relishing trip to Easter Road after starring in ferocious Krakow clash appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

ANDRAZ STRUNA is used to a raucous backing on derby day after revealing how he starred in a Krakow clash with no away fans.

However, he insists being pitched into the lion’s den of Easter Road will not faze him.

The Hearts full-back plied his trade with Ekstraklasa outfit Cracovia in Poland and lapped up the “crazy” rivalry with Wisla Krakow, however measures had to be taken after repeated incidences of hooligans brawling in the streets.

As punishment, Wisla fans were banned from attended the next derby at the Marszalek Pilsudski Stadium, ensuring Struna had nothing but support from the stands.

He knows it will be a different story in Leith on Wednesday night.

The Slovenian internationalist said: “I played in Poland, in the derby between Cracovia and Wisla Krakow and that has a real rivalry between fans. The atmosphere is crazy and there have been times when they away fans have not been allowed to attend.

“That is because of the fighting between supporters. They needed to do something to stop the violence on the streets. But I like to play in games like this when there is so much support and it matters so much.

“When we played away, the fans were allowed in the stadium, but when Wisla came to our stadium their fans were not allowed to come. It was played in front of just the Cracovia supporters. That was very strange – but you need to stop the violence.

“But, home or away, I love the atmosphere in these matches and I want is for us to win because we know what it can give to the fans.”

Hearts are seeking to end Hibs’ six-game unbeaten run in Edinburgh derbies and, in doing so, end their city rivals’ defence of the Scottish Cup.

And Struna fully expects the Jambos to turn in a more stylish performance at Easter Road than the turgid affair on Tynecastle’s much-maligned surface.

(pic: heartsfc.co.uk)

He continued: “The first game was hard, a lot of long ball and fighting. Not much football, and the pitch was hard.

“Of course there was a lot of pressure and risk. It is a specific game, being in the cup, and you must be smart in how you play. You cannot take lots of chances to score. You must be clever, especially in a derby.

“Every ball is important and a battle – and I expect this in the second game, but I also hope we can show more of our quality. We are a better team than we showed. Our strong point is playing football and a passing game.”

However, Struna will not underestimate the challenge posed by Neil Lennon’s charges, despite a division separating the sides.

He added: “In these games, especially derbies, every player gives their all. The will to win is at its highest level and it comes down to small differences. You see the underdog winning a lot of times now so you always must give 100 per cent, also against opponents who are weaker than you on paper.”

The post Hearts defender Andraz Struna relishing trip to Easter Road after starring in ferocious Krakow clash appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Alan Temple <![CDATA[Former Rangers youngster Gary Cennerazzo on his extraordinary journey from amateur football to Czech Republic – via Oklahoma & Sweden]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093749 2017-02-19T09:09:34Z 2017-02-18T23:30:56Z BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport JUST two years have passed since Gary Cennerazzo was plying his trade with Edinburgh amateurs Spartans, crossing swords with the likes of Burntisland Shipyard, Vale of Leithen and Selkirk – and acutely aware that his dreams of a professional career were fading. As he juggled the commitments of part-time football

The post Former Rangers youngster Gary Cennerazzo on his extraordinary journey from amateur football to Czech Republic – via Oklahoma & Sweden appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

JUST two years have passed since Gary Cennerazzo was plying his trade with Edinburgh amateurs Spartans, crossing swords with the likes of Burntisland Shipyard, Vale of Leithen and Selkirk – and acutely aware that his dreams of a professional career were fading.

As he juggled the commitments of part-time football with his day job at Polmont Young Offenders Institution, he readily admits he would have laughed at anyone who suggested adventures in Sweden, America and the Eastern Europe were on the horizon.

However, the 27-year-old Scotsman has upset the odds by landing a full-time deal in the Czech Republic and is fresh from man-marking Champions League winner Milan Baros.

Understandably, Cennerazzo is visibly relishing the next challenge in what is proving to be an extraordinary career after penning an 18-month contract with second tier side FK Varnsdorf.

“There was an opportunity to go for a trial in Portgual, organised through my agents and luckily I did well over there,” he explained. “I was approached by a scout for Varnsdorf and it all came from that.

“I was determined to play in Europe and really test myself as a footballer and a person. Not being able to speak the language, and in a new style of football, it is outside my comfort zone – but I’m embracing it.

“I was thrown in at the deep end. As soon as I arrived, I was straight into training and within four days was playing against Slovan Liberec, a top-flight team, and marking Milan Baros.

“I’m actually a Liverpool fan so I managed to have a bit of a chat with him during the game. He might not have the same sharpness, but he’s got a Champions League medal – you don’t lose that quality. It made my day. The only down side is he got subbed so I couldn’t get his shirt!

“We’ve played against Mlada Boleslav, who were in the Europa League, and Sigma Olomouc too. The standard of football is really high – that mix of fitness, technical ability and tactical nous is a real eye-opener.”

The Czech Republic is just the latest destination on a journey that has taken him to Melleruds IF of Sweden – a four-month loan from Spartans after another successful trial – before spending 2016 on the scorching soccer fields of Oklahoma with USL side Tulsa Roughnecks.

Cennerazzo will not miss being asked to patrol the pitch in stifling 40 degree heat, but will always be grateful to the club and their supporters for taking a little known Scotsman to their hearts.

He smiled: “When I was younger I used to say I wanted to play full-time football in good weather. Well, Tulsa takes it too far!

“We played Oklahoma City at home last July, and that hit 38 degrees at kick-off. You do acclimatise, but there are times after a lung-bursting run down the flank where you feel ready to keel over!

“We also played in Arizona, which is literally one of the hottest places on Earth. After that, I don’t think there is any condition that I couldn’t handle. Even training at 10 a.m. the sweat is pouring off you – so you certainly get fit!

“I loved every minute of my time there. The fans in particular were just incredible. I tried to make it to every signing session and I engaged with them on social media, and they were really good with me.

“The experience of travelling all over America and Canada for football – Vancouver, Los Angeles, Seattle – was a dream come true.”

Cennerazzo’s switch has seen him return closer to his Edinburgh-based family, with father Antonio already pencilling in regular sightseeing trips to Prague. However, he is in no rush to return to Scotland, where he also played for Cowdenbeath, Arniston Rangers and Edinburgh City.

He has already been urged to target a place in the Czech top flight, while the profile and riches of German football is a mere three-minute drive away from the border town of Varnsdorf.

The former Rangers starlet added: “It has been an amazing journey, but I’ve worked really hard for it – and I will keep working even harder to go even higher.

“I am proud to be at Varnsdorf and have signed for a very good team for 18 months. As for the future? The manager has already said that I should be aiming for the Premier League. I feel I am at my peak, so I will give my best for Varnsdorf and anything is possible.”

The post Former Rangers youngster Gary Cennerazzo on his extraordinary journey from amateur football to Czech Republic – via Oklahoma & Sweden appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Alan Temple <![CDATA[Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee recalls exhaustive penalty preparation with Northern Ireland – but intends to see off Hibernian in normal time]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093759 2017-02-18T15:14:57Z 2017-02-18T23:30:40Z BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport AUSTIN MacPHEE went to extraordinary lengths to ensure Northern Ireland were ready for a fraught Euro 2016 penalty shootout against Wales that never happened. And while that Hearts assistant manager is adamant the Jambos can see off Hibs in normal time, he insists he will be prepared again if their

The post Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee recalls exhaustive penalty preparation with Northern Ireland – but intends to see off Hibernian in normal time appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

AUSTIN MacPHEE went to extraordinary lengths to ensure Northern Ireland were ready for a fraught Euro 2016 penalty shootout against Wales that never happened.

And while that Hearts assistant manager is adamant the Jambos can see off Hibs in normal time, he insists he will be prepared again if their Scottish Cup showdown goes the distance.

After a turgid 0-0 stalemate at Tynecastle last Sunday, the city rivals will cross swords at Easter Road on Wednesday night knowing an inviting home tie against Championship strugglers Ayr United awaits in the quarter-finals.

Four of the last six Edinburgh derbies have finished in draw, raising the prospect of the tie being decided by nerve-shredding spot-kicks if they cannot be separated from open play.

It would be fair to say MacPhee has considered that eventuality, as he offered a fascinating insight into Northern Ireland’s preparation for their last-16 clash against Wales in the summer at the Parc des Princes, which ultimately ended in a 1-0 win for Chris Coleman’s side.

MacPhee, who is one of Michael O’Neill’s coaches at international level, said: “Drawing the match and getting to a penalty shoot-out is not the focus of our game. We are trying to focus on winning the game within 90 minutes, however we will be prepared for every eventuality.

“When we went into the Wales game with Northern Ireland, we were forensic about penalties.

“Right down to being in the stadium the day before the game, we wired all the players and had the data on their success from penalty kicks. Our keeper had all the tendencies of their players and we believed that was our way of having a marginal gain to progress.

“We even did the walk from the halfway line at the Parc des Princes to the penalty spot and watched their heart rate spike.

“I read an academic paper on it and all kinds of stuff. The theory and rationale is you consider minutes played, their position, age, experience and success rate. You put all that together then you get an algorithm which gives you the likelihood of scoring. We put that together on everyone in the squad.

“However, my dad is a Dunfermline fan so I know they have a horrendous penalty record this season! I think they have missed nine now.

“I heard Allan Johnston afterwards saying ‘we take them at training and the boys stroll up and put them in the top corner but when a match comes they don’t’, so there are different schools of thought.”

The first encounter between the sides last Sunday turned into a war of attrition as both teams struggled to adapt to a pock-marked Tynecastle pitch, but MacPhee mercifully expects a more watchable clash this week.

He continued: “Hibs pitch is a bit bigger and isn’t on the verge of being replaced, like ours, so it’s a better surface. There’s no secret in the way we want to play. We want to play in a way that excites the fans, has a positive element and some style.

“You could look at it and see that Easter Road could be an environment where we could get things going a little bit more. That’s what we will be looking to do.”

Nevertheless, he is proud of the way Hearts’ new-look side adapted to the rough-and-tumble of the derby cauldron.

MacPhee added: “A lot had been said before the game about foreign boys coming into the game and could they handle the derby atmosphere, the environment and the physical side of things.

“The ball was coming into our box a lot. It was going in from 90 yards, 80 yards, 70 yards, corners, and that can lead to mistakes.

“I think all the new players stuck at it. I thought there was a strength of character and unity with the boys, who have only recently come together.

“There are other things we will try to address in the second game and we are confident we can progress.”

 

The post Hearts assistant Austin MacPhee recalls exhaustive penalty preparation with Northern Ireland – but intends to see off Hibernian in normal time appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Alan Temple <![CDATA[Pele’s boots, a meeting with Joe Jordan & plenty of goals | Hibs striker Brian Graham reflects on Raith Rovers spell ahead of Stark’s Park return]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093722 2017-02-18T09:59:43Z 2017-02-17T23:55:11Z BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport HIBERNIAN ace Brian Graham insists he will always be grateful to Raith Rovers for securing him a crack at top-flight football – and a pair of Pele’s boots. Graham, 29, enjoyed a prolific two-year stint in Kirkcaldy after joining the club from East Stirlingshire, bagging 38 goals for the club

The post Pele’s boots, a meeting with Joe Jordan & plenty of goals | Hibs striker Brian Graham reflects on Raith Rovers spell ahead of Stark’s Park return appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
BY ALAN TEMPLE – @CCP_Sport

HIBERNIAN ace Brian Graham insists he will always be grateful to Raith Rovers for securing him a crack at top-flight football – and a pair of Pele’s boots.

Graham, 29, enjoyed a prolific two-year stint in Kirkcaldy after joining the club from East Stirlingshire, bagging 38 goals for the club – ironically working under boss Grant Murray, who is now on the Easter Road coaching staff – and earning a move to Dundee United.

One of his most memorable moments for Rovers came when a run of 23 goals in 22 matches in the 2012/13 campaign saw him presented with a pair of Pele Sports boots by Scotland legend Joe Jordan.

Graham lived up to the endorsement by the greatest player to ever live, by curling home a free-kick wearing them. And he is out to hit the goal trail again today.

He smiled: “I still have some of those boots in my locker!

“Looking back now, it was all a bit surreal. Some things just happen for a reason. It worked out for me, I got a good deal with Pele Sports and Joe Jordan presented me with the boots.

“It was a good day out there at One Devonshire Gardens for the presentation. I really enjoyed it.

“I remember they were a black-and-white pair that were a bit wild. However, I do remember scoring a free kick in the last minute of a game with them on so they weren’t too bad.”

Fond memories aside, there will be no room for sentiment when he returns to Stark’s Park – minus Pele’s boots – in the colours of Hibernian this afternoon.

“You can’t think like that,” he admitted. “They’re a club I’ll always hold in high regard. In my second season there I scored 27 goals under Grant Murray and I really loved it there.

“They gave me a springboard to get to the Premiership, which was where I wanted to be. That’s what got me my move to Dundee United.

“But I played against them for the first time with Ross County at the beginning of the season in the Betfred Cup – and scored a penalty that day. I got a few shouts from their end for doing that but it was all good. That’s my job.”

A win in Fife will see Neil Lennon’s men romp nine points clear of the chasing pack and, although he expects Raith to be rejuvenated under new boss John Hughes, Graham is adamant the Hibees know what is stake.

He added: “I think John Hughes will bring something different to them and I believe he’ll have them right up for this game. It surprises me to see where they are because they have a good squad. But we can’t concentrate on Raith Rovers. We know it’s a difficult place to go but we go with high hopes of getting the three points.”

The post Pele’s boots, a meeting with Joe Jordan & plenty of goals | Hibs striker Brian Graham reflects on Raith Rovers spell ahead of Stark’s Park return appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Iain Collin <![CDATA[‘Nonsense, confusion & evil spirits!’ – Hearts head coach Ian Cathro backs Rangers’ director of football plans]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093741 2017-02-17T23:48:56Z 2017-02-17T23:48:56Z FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK IAN Cathro has backed Rangers’ plans to appoint a director of football, insisting he would not have joined Hearts as head coach without the role in place at Tynecastle. And he has ridiculed those who still harbour suspicions over the post, claiming they are akin to people fearing evil spirits. Rangers

The post ‘Nonsense, confusion & evil spirits!’ – Hearts head coach Ian Cathro backs Rangers’ director of football plans appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK

IAN Cathro has backed Rangers’ plans to appoint a director of football, insisting he would not have joined Hearts as head coach without the role in place at Tynecastle.

And he has ridiculed those who still harbour suspicions over the post, claiming they are akin to people fearing evil spirits.

Rangers have revealed their intention to introduce a director of football following the departure of Mark Warburton as manager last week and Cathro is adamant there should be no hullabaloo about such a move.

The Jambos boss works in conjunction with director of football Craig Levein in Gorgie and maintains it is a structure that should be in place at every club.

And the former Rio Ave, Valencia and Newcastle United number two believes doubters are really just confused as to what really goes on.

The 30-year-old said: “Why is it so interesting? Seriously, it’s hardly revolutionary. It’s completely normal.

“It’s something that has confusion around it, a variety of different of opinions – and definitely a lack of understanding around it.

“We get very, very sensitive about it. And I just don’t see why. Rio Ave? Structure. Valencia? Structure. Porto? Structure. It’s just normal.

“I think we’re obsessed with this idea that the director of football sits in an office which is more grand than the manager’s, a level above the manager, he looks down on him – and threatens him with evil spirits!

“That’s not how it works. Not yet, anyway!

“I truly just don’t understand why we have this Scottish issue with it. Maybe it’s just not the norm here.

“But, in England, certainly in the Premier League, whether or not they have the title, there are people at all the big clubs doing that job.

IMPOSSIBLE

“Because it would be impossible to run the operation without it. Impossible.

“What causes the confusion, causes the debate that we can’t shake in this country, is the idea that the existence of a director of football somehow dilutes the strength or role of the manager/head coach.

“I’ve never seen that. That’s just not how it works.”

Asked how much harder his job would be had there been no director of football in place at Hearts, he added: “I wouldn’t have come.

“I had a variety of things in my mind about what would be important for me and the structure that existed here was one of those things. It’s how I see work being strongest, most efficient.”

Cathro also described as ‘insane’ the thought that a head coach with a two-year contract could be in control of dishing out five-year deals to players, claiming the director of football role is key to ensuring continuity at a club.

And he insisted it should not just be young coaches who should be ready to work with a director of football.

He commented: “That is just beyond nonsense, beyond nonsense.

“That’s just not understanding what it is, and having the fear of, I don’t know what, crazy evil spirits manipulating you in the night.

“There is nothing real that would play a role in limiting the power of a manager.”

The post ‘Nonsense, confusion & evil spirits!’ – Hearts head coach Ian Cathro backs Rangers’ director of football plans appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0
Iain Collin <![CDATA[Arnaud Djoum hopeful Africa Cup of Nations medal will not be the last in the Hearts dressing room this season]]> http://www.deadlinenews.co.uk/?p=1093735 2017-02-17T23:28:20Z 2017-02-17T23:28:20Z FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK A PROUD Arnaud Djoum showed off his Africa Cup of Nations winner’s medal to his team-mates this week and hopes it will not be the only silverware on show in the Hearts dressing room this season. The 29-year-old lived the dream when he helped Cameroon to their shock final victory over

The post Arnaud Djoum hopeful Africa Cup of Nations medal will not be the last in the Hearts dressing room this season appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
FOLLOW US ON  TWITTER | FACEBOOK

A PROUD Arnaud Djoum showed off his Africa Cup of Nations winner’s medal to his team-mates this week and hopes it will not be the only silverware on show in the Hearts dressing room this season.

The 29-year-old lived the dream when he helped Cameroon to their shock final victory over Egypt in Gabon almost a fortnight ago.

The former Anderlecht and Roda JC midfielder then returned to Hearts to play as a substitute in last Sunday’s Scottish Cup clash with Hibs and could be back in the starting line-up for the first time in seven weeks against Inverness Caley Thistle on Saturday.

(Pic: Instagram, ArnaudDjoum10)

He will do so still on a high from the Indomitable Lions’ incredible success and is determined it will not be the last time he will be celebrating this term.

He said: “What I have done in a year and a half is something crazy, I could write a book!

“It’s just crazy, I still don’t believe it. I think later I will realise what I have done and what I will continue to do as well.

“It has been a big achievement.

“My medal is at home now but I brought it here on Thursday to show to the guys and to the people here.

“My team-mates asked to see it so I brought it in to show to the players.

“Will it be my last medal this season? No, I hope not. We are still alive in the [Scottish] Cup and we will do everything to get to the final. We will do everything we can.”

COLLECTIVE

Fourth-placed Hearts, who were held to a frustrating draw by Hibs in last weekend’s Edinburgh derby, can give their hopes of qualifying for Europe a boost with a victory over Inverness.

It would also send them into Wednesday’s cup replay on a high.

And Djoum insists his success in the Africa Cup of Nations has taught him just what is needed for any team to be successful.

He added: “How I see it, to win things and win games it is not about individuality, it is about the collective. That is what I learned really well over there.

“Nobody expected that we would win this trophy but we played as a group and that is why we won. I think Hearts have to try to do it like that.

“We must see that the team is the most important thing, not the individual.

“If we can play like this, as a team, then I think we can achieve good things as I think we have the quality.”

The post Arnaud Djoum hopeful Africa Cup of Nations medal will not be the last in the Hearts dressing room this season appeared first on Deadline News.

]]>
0