All posts by hartypar

As you will all already know, I am Ross Hart and I'm a 3rd year Journalism student at Napier University. As a keen football fan, watching the misery that is Dunfermline as well as Scotland and Everton, it is no surprise my blog is about the beautiful game, nor that I hope to enter the world of sports journalism. I could add more.......if I had anything else interesting to add!

Captain Pietersen quits in England turmoil

By Ross Hart

English cricket is in turmoil as captain Kevin Pietersen resigned and coach Peter Moores was sacked in dramatic fashion yesterday.

Batsman Andrew Strauss will captain England for the forthcoming tour of the West Indies, which starts on January 25th with a warm up match against a St Kitts and Nevis Invitation XI before the first test in Jamaica on February 4th.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said that there had been an “irretrievable breakdown” in Pietersen and Moores’ relationship and that the squad had been split as a result.

In a statement, Hugh Morris, managing director of the ECB, said: “The England and Wales Cricket Board has late this afternoon accepted, with regret, the resignation of Kevin Pietersen as England captain.

“Kevin recognised that in the present situation it was impossible to restore the dressing room unity, which is vital, if England are to win the forthcoming tour to the Caribbean, the ICC global events or regain the Ashes in the npower Ashes Test series.” Continue reading Captain Pietersen quits in England turmoil

All is not ‘Well as Hearts stumble

Motherwell 1-0 Hearts

By Ross Hart

Hearts missed the chance to move level on points with Dundee United in the Scottish Premier League after a 1-0 defeat to Motherwell last night.

Chris Porter’s early header was enough to condemn Csaba Laszlo’s side to a fifth game without a win ahead of Sunday’s Scottish Cup derby with Hibernian.

The home side started the game with more purpose than their visitors and Jim O’Brien fired a ball across the face of the Jambos’ goal but no ‘Well player was able to capitalise. Continue reading All is not ‘Well as Hearts stumble

National company rewards local students

By Ross Hart

A national financial software development company has linked up with an Edinburgh based university to reward the talent of local students.

Scott Logic, who have offices in London and Newcastle Upon Tyne as well as the capital, have come into partnership with Heriot Watt University to extend its programme of Excellence in Computer Science.

The programme rewards the top five students in year three of computer science at the Riccarton based university. The awards included prize money, a personalised glass hand-made by the National Glass Centre in Sunderland as well as a fast-track application form which guarantees the winning students an interview with the company.

One of the award winners from Heriot Watt, Scott Watson, received £100 and told of his delight at the acknowledgement of his work.

Award winner Scott Watson
Award winner Scott Watson

Speaking exclusively to Dunedin Napier News, Scott said: “I am delighted that a company such as Scott Logic has recognised my potential and rewarded me for my hard work.

“Other than the direct benefits, it’s a great thing to be able to include on my CV.”

Scott is also looking forward to the prospect of being able to go straight into the interview process for a post with the company.

He commented: “I’m excited about the opportunity to go for an interview at Scott Logic.  I’m very impressed with their company ethos and I could see myself thoroughly enjoying working for them.”

The 21 year old from Falkirk also believes that the company’s programme of Excellence is a positive for the Computer Science students at Heriot Watt.

“The awards programme is a great way of encouraging and identifying the brightest young minds”, he said.

Spartans to replay Scottish Cup tie

Courtesy of http://www.soccerway.com

By Ross Hart

Edinburgh side Spartans have earned a Scottish Cup reprieve after the Scottish Football Association ruled today that Elgin City fielded an ineligible player in Saturday’s original tie.

Mickey Lawson’s side were defeated 2-1 at Borough Briggs but the home team fielded goalkeeper Joe Malin, who signed on loan from Ross County after the date of the original tie that was postponed on November 29th.

The capital club launched an appeal for the match to be replayed after finding out Malin was ineligible and the SFA committee said that Elgin were in breach of Competition Rule 15b. This states that “When a match is postponed, drawn or abandoned, is played or replayed, only those players who were eligible by means of their registration at the date fixed for originally playing the Round, may play.”

The match will now be replayed at Elgin’s Borough Briggs ground on Monday December 15th with a 7.45pm kick off.

Last season, Brechin City were expelled from the tournament after it was discovered they fielded two ineligible players during their victory over Hamilton Academical.

Weekend Sports Preview

With a busy weekend of sport ahead, Ross Hart takes a look at the upcoming action.

Football:

Weather permitting, there is a full card of league fixtures this weekend and a Scottish Cup tie this evening.

Tonight, Inverurie Locos and Vale of Leithen will attempt for the fouth time to play their third round Scottish Cup tie after adverse weather conditions resulted in three postponements. The winners will be rewarded with a home tie against SPL side Motherwell in the fourth round.

In the Scottish Premier League this weekend, Rangers travel to in form Dundee United in the early kick off on Saturday. United have only lost once in their last 14 league and cup games and sit third in the table, while Rangers will look to put more pressure on leaders Celtic after defeating Hamilton 7-1 last weekend.

Celtic meanwhile are looking to recover from last weekend’s loss to Hibernian by defeating the other half of Edinburgh at Celtic Park. Last night’s Champions League victory over Villarreal provided a confidence boost but Hearts have won five successive matches to maintain their push for European football next season.

Hibernian will look to build on their victory over the leaders last week by defeating struggling Hamilton at Easter Road. The visitors sit bottom of the table after recording only one win in their last 12 league matches but are boosted by striker Richard Offiong signing a contract extension.

In the other SPL games, Aberdeen will look to maintain their position within the top six at home to Falkirk, while St Mirren will climb above Inverness with victory at Love Street. Motherwell host Kilmarnock on Monday evening in a game to be broadcast live on Setanta Sports.

In the First Division, Dunfermline Athletic, who sit second in the table, look to keep up their push for promotion as they travel to play Queen of the South in Dumfries while Livingston will be looking to earn a first victory for new boss Paul Hegarty as they travel north to take on Ross County.

Rugby:

The Edinburgh Gunners are again in action this weekend as they travel south to play London Wasps in a Heineken Cup pool two clash. The sides met at Murrayfield last weekend with the Gunners falling to a 25-16 defeat so Andy Robinson will be hoping his team can gain revenge on former Scotland coach Ian McGeechan’s team on Sunday afternoon.

Scotland’s other European representatives Glasgow Warriors take on Bath at Firhill on Sunday and will also be looking to avenge defeat by their English counterparts. Sean Lineen’s team narrowly lost out last weekend by 35 points to 31 at the Recreation Ground.

Snooker:

Ronnie O’Sullivan is looking to defend his Maplin UK Championship title as this year’s tournament gets underway on Saturday in Telford. Current World Champion O’Sullivan kicks off the defence of the UK Championship against Rory McLeod on the opening day of the tournament.

There is plenty of Scottish representation, with five players flying the saltire. Five time UK Champion Stephen Hendry takes on England’s Stephen Lee while the ‘Wishaw Wizard’ and current Grand Prix champion John Higgins faces world number 20 Joe Swail.

Former World Champion Graeme Dott faces Ireland’s Ken Doherty while the clash between world number two Stephen MaGuire and Jamie Burnett, ranked 43 places below, guarantees a Scottish name in the second round.

Arbroath to wait for Hearts’ money

By Ross Hart

Hearts have come to an agreement with Arbroath to postpone payment of money owed to the Second Division side over the Andy Webster transfer deal for a month.

The debt of around £15,000 is Arbroath’s cut of the deal that took Webster from Hearts to Wigan in 2006. Arbroath inserted a sell on clause into the deal which took the player to Edinburgh in 2001.

Arbroath secretary Garry Callon said: “We are due £14,437 plus VAT with the interest on top and we have been told that will be paid on January 9.”

Webster was with Hearts for five years before invoking a loophole in governing body FIFA’s contract law. This clause allowed the player to leave for a club outside Scotland if his current employers were given adequate notice.

He then signed for Wigan but his time at the JJB Stadium was hit by injury and he signed for Rangers a year later on loan before making a permanent move to the Glasgow club.

The delay in the payment comes amid fears of a cash crisis at Hearts. Earlier this month, players received their wages four days late and win bonuses were also due to them.

It is rumoured that the Jambos’ owner Vladimir Romanov is preparing to sell on some of the club’s top earners, such as captain Christophe Berra, in January to ease the cash-flow problems the club face.

Big football weekend for Capital clubs

Courtesy of http://www.soccerway.com

By Ross Hart           

This weekend marks the third round of the Homecoming Scottish Cup and two part-time Edinburgh sides will be looking to defy the odds and advance to round four.

Spartans travel north to play Elgin City of the Third Division, while Edinburgh City take on Second Division Brechin City at Meadowbank Stadium.

Spartans have earned a reputation for giant killing in the tournament, having twice reached the fourth round in recent seasons.

This season they have already beaten junior side Pollok and Third Division Annan Athletic, who won a vote ahead of Spartans to gain entry to the Scottish Football League after Gretna went out of business last season.

Their hosts Elgin, by contrast, have had a poor start to their league season, having won just two out of their 14 matches and go into the tie on the back of a 5-0 loss to Annan.

Courtesy of www.soccerway.com
Courtesy of http://www.soccerway.com

Edinburgh City meanwhile have beaten Highland League sides Nairn County and Wick Academy to progress to the third round but they arguably face the toughest test.

Brechin are currently joint top of the Second Division, recording 32 points and 27 goals in the process and are serious contenders to win promotion to Division One.

But Edinburgh have claimed seven points from their three league games played and will look to Robbie Ross to fire them through, the striker having scored 15 goals this season.

An exciting day of cup football awaits and the Edinburgh duo will be hoping they will join their illustrious city neighbours Hearts and Hibernian in Monday’s fourth round draw.

England postpone India cricket tests

By Ross Hart                     

Anthony Devlin/PA
Picture courtesy of Anthony Devlin/PA

The England and Wales Cricket Board have postponed England’s final one day matches against India in the wake of the terror attacks in Mumbai.                                     

101 people, including six foreign nationals, are reported to have been killed in co-ordinated attacks by gunmen across the city, which was due to host a test match between the two countries from December 19.

The England squad will remain at their hotel in Bhubaneswar, 580 miles east of Mumbai, for at least 24 hours as the ECB and their Indian counterparts continue talks as to whether the remaining games will be played.

In a statement, the ECB’s managing director Hugh Morris said: “On behalf of the board and the England team, we would like to express our condolonces to the families and friends of those people who were killed or injured in last night’s attacks.”

Mr Morris added that “the safety and security of the England team is of the utmost importance to the ECB”. They will continue discussions with Indian officials over the next 24 hours.

England are 5-0 down in the seven match series, with the sixth game due to take place on Saturday and the final match scheduled for December 2.

Kevin Pietersen’s side are also due to play a three day match from the 5th of December before taking on two test matches from the 11th, but the future of these remains uncertain.

The inaugural Twenty20 Champions League tournament due to start in Mumbai next Wednesday has also been postponed in the wake of the attacks.

English county side Middlesex were due to take part in the competition but delayed flying to Mumbai, while two participating Australian teams were stopped from travelling by the Australian cricket authorities.

You’ve Scot to be joking Chris!

By Ross Hart

With Hampden Park all set to go crazy in celebration, 50,000 Scotland supporters slumped into their seats in disbelief as debutant Chris Iwelumo missed a sitter to deny Scotland victory over Norway.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers striker, on as a second half substitute, contrived to side foot the ball wide of an open goal from only 3 yards out when it was easier to score.

The above video is an external video

It was a day that the 30 year old had long dreamed of but it turned into a nightmare that would come back to haunt he and Scotland’s beleaguered manager George Burley after an indifferent start to their World Cup qualifying campaign.

The 0-0 draw leaves Scotland second in group nine behind leaders Holland but they have amassed a mere four points from their opening 3 matches.

The Tartan Army rolled up in their droves expecting to see an attacking Scotland side that would defeat their visitors and effectively rule them out of the running for a qualification place for South Africa in 2010.

But Burley elected to start with a solitary striker, talisman James McFadden, while being supported by wide men Shaun Maloney and James Morrison, tactics which worked well in the previous victory over Iceland.

But they failed to pay off as Norway took the game to Scotland and, led by giant forward John Carew, caused the home side all sorts of problems.

Time after time he threatened and but for poor finishing and good goalkeeping from Craig Gordon he could’ve wrapped up the points for his team on his own.

In the first half, he forced Gordon into a smart stop with a powerful shot after he evaded defender Gary Caldwell but fortunately Bjorn Helge Riise hammered the rebound over the crossbar.

Scotland had little to show for their efforts as Carew continued to terrorise their defence until the second half until the introduction of Iwelumo and Hibernian’s Steven Fletcher saw the Scots play with two forwards.

Barry Robson went close with a stinging shot from 20 yards which forced Norway goalkeeper Jon Knudsen into his first save of the game.

Then came Iwelumo’s moment, as infamous as Billy Bremner’s miss against Brazil in the 1974 World Cup that cost Scotland victory over the then world champions.

Gary Naysmith broke forward from full back and cut into the box from the left hand side and his ball across the box fell to Iwelumo who amazingly missed with the net and the glory gaping.

It was a horror show for Scotland and it would’ve been worse had it not been for the heroics of Craig Gordon to deny Steffen Iversen from close range and as well as having luck on their side.

Norway defender Kjetil Waehler thought he’d scored with a header but it hit the side netting while Carew raced clear of David Weir and with only Gordon to beat, he spooned the ball over the bar.

It was a disappointing day all round for Scotland and for Iwelumo, it was a dream realised but a nightmare lived out.