Tag Archives: football

Scottish League Cup Final

My highlight of the week this week focuses on football as the Scottish League Cup final was contested on Sunday by Ross County and Hibernian at Hampden.

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Hibernian v Ross County (Credit- http://www.spfl.co.uk)

As the sun shone brightly over the national stadium, two teams having excellent seasons took to the pitch to see who would lift the first silverware of the season.

Over 30,000 Hibs supporters made the journey through from the capital for the big game as they came in hope of being able to over-turn premiership opposition for the fourth time in the competition.

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Hibees out in force

As much as I wasn’t really bothered who won, I definitely favoured the highland side, Ross County, due to their team containing ex Killie players such as the Aussie, Jackson Irvine and goal scoring hero Michael Gardyne.

And they didn’t disappoint.

The first half was mainly Hibs’ to enjoy, having control of the ball for long periods and creating one or two good chances to score.

However, the team from Leith failed to make these opportunities count as the tricky winger, Gardyne, was played through to score.

He was slotted through by fellow Killie reject Jacko Irvine, to be one on one with Hibs keeper Mark Oxley, but Bartley’s attempted tackle only moved the ball away from Oxley, leaving Gardyne with the easy task of tapping home into the empty net.

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Killie rejects, Irvine, far left, and Gardyne, inside right, celebrate (Credit- http://www.footballepl.com)

Internet sensation Gordon Sawers described Gardyne, or as he referred to him, ‘wee Midge’ as “the best two footed player in the SPL apart from Niall McGinn”.

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The big man

Although, despite this setback, Liam Fontaine gave Hibs the equaliser right on half time.

The goal came from a corner as Fontaine fired the ball into the left hand side of the County net.

The goal was perfect timing for the Hibees as it seemed to deflate to County players as they exited the field for the interval.

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Liam Henderson attacks the County goal (Credit- http://www.scotzine.com)

However, a couple of changes in personnel for the highlanders seemed to boost them in the second half.

Brian Graham entered the fray for Liam Boyce. His height helped County as his presence up top was certainly proving difficult to handle. He thought he’d scored the winner as well but was adjudged to have fouled Oxley in the process- a harsh decision in my opinion.

Then, in a dramatic end to the match, Alex Schalk leapt onto Fontaine’s mistake to win Ross County’s first ever major trophy and make the score 2-1.

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Alex Schalk is the hero (Credit- Jeff Holmes/PA Wire)

Gardyne swung a cross into the box in which the centre half miskicked, leading straight into the path of the Dutchman to rifle the ball into the net and make himself a club legend.

There were unbelievable scenes in the County section of the stadium at the end as the 7,000 supporters went wild at the full time whistle as the celebrated what must be the best day in the club’s history.

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Scottish League Cup winners 2016… (Credit- http://www.scotzine.com)

Match highlights. 

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.

Super Sunday

This week I struggled to decide upon my highlight of the week. However, after some consideration time, I chose the Super Sunday in the Premier League as my highlight of the week.

It’s not every week on a Sunday that you get to enjoy three top quality games on the tele, but Sunday just past there was one of those rare occasions.

The title race is beginning to really heat up now, as all top four teams battled it out to try and give themselves an advantage in the tightest race in years.

Also playing were two teams struggling for different reasons. Bottom of the league, and now destined for the Championship, Aston Villa, were thrashed for six by an out of form Liverpool side at Villa park. Six different scorers including long-term absentee, Daniel Sturridge, hit the back of the net to give the Merseyside club their biggest win of the season.

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Sturridge celebrates his goal (Credit- http://www.mirror.co.uk)

Although, the main attraction to this week’s highlight was the top four teams going head to head. Arsenal v Leicester, and Man City against Tottenham.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger described his team’s 2-1 victory over Leicester as ‘a pivotal moment’ in the title race as the North London club chase the surprise league leaders. Jamie Vardy continued his remarkable story by giving The Foxes the lead from the penalty spot just before half time.

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Glancing header from Welbeck (Credit- http://www.bbc.co.uk)

Danny Simpson was sent off not long after the break for a second yellow, making Leicester’s task even harder. Sadly (I say that because I want Leicester to do the unthinkable and win the league) the resistance was broken down. Theo Walcott finished off a good move after a terrific knock down from Olivier Giroud to equalise. Then, in the very last minute of play, Danny Welbeck marked his comeback from injury with a glancing header from a superb ball from the magical feet of Mesut Ozil, to send the Arsenal fans wild.

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Gary Lineker’s describes his emotional rollercoaster ride on twitter

To round off the day, Spurs arguably provided the shock of the day as they defeated Man City 2-1.

Tottenham are now just two points off the top of the league after a late goal from Christian Eriksen sealed their first victory since 2010 at the Eithad, as Tottenham’s title challenge seems to grow stronger and stronger every week.

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Eriksen side-foots the winner late in the day (Credit- http://www.dailymail.co.uk)

Harry Kane scored a controversial penalty after Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have handed the ball. However, even as a Man United fan I can admit that it was never a pen.

Man City then upped the ante and piled the pressure on the spurs goal. Yaya Toure came very close as his free kick crashed off the bar. However, city did get their equaliser through youngster Kelechi Iheanacho.

The top four now stands 1. Leicester, 2. Tottenham, 3. Arsenal, 4. Man city…

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.

Super Killie Away

Despite the Scotland versus England game in the Six Nations being the main sporting event of the week, for me, Killie travelling to Ibrox to play the Gers also deserves a mention.

Given the recent form of both clubs it was understandable why Rangers were considered the favourites for the clash in the 5th round of the Scottish Cup.

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My view of the afternoons action

As a lifetime supporter of the best team in Ayrshire, I can safely say that this season has been a total shambles, and I was not expecting much from our outing to the Championship club in Govan.

However, around 1500 Killie fans descended upon their famous stadium in the hope that interim manager, Lee McCulloch, could lift the player’s spirits after two horrendous defeats against Dundee United and Hamilton- spelling the end to Gary Locke’s reign as manager.

The opening exchanges were evenly shared with both big Josh Magennis going close with a glancing header and Lee Wallace hitting a shot which was well saved by Killie keeper Jamie MacDonald.

James Tavernier then unleashed a thunderous strike on the edge of the box which crashed off MacDonald’s near post.

Killie did give their vocal support something to get excited about before the half was up though as winger Tope Obadeyi had a long range effort saved. Craig Slater also had a good chance to give Killie the lead just before half time.

It is quite rare for a lower league team to be rated as favourites against a team from the Premiership, but as the game wore on into the second half, it became obvious why this was as Rangers bombarded the Killie defence.

Danny Wilson came closest as he rose the highest for Rangers at a corner kick to head the ball but fortunately for Killie the crossbar prevented the ball going into the net.

With one minute to go Kilmarnock forward Kallum Higginbotham was rightly sent off for a knee high challenge on Tavernier.

However, a couple of minutes later the full time whistle blew to my delight, along with the rest of the Killie fans, as the game finished 0-0.

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Full time (Credit: Kilmarnockfc.co.uk/ Sandy Ferguson)

Lee McCulloch said he was “delighted with the reception” he received from the home fans after spending 8 years at Rangers until the summer.

The replay will take place on February 16th.

Click here for match highlights. 

Thanks for reading,

Ewan.