Beeb’s decision to target Desmond likely to backfire

The Paradise Papers release has confirmed what most normal, working class residents of the UK guessed after revelations of rich individuals and corporations using tax avoidance schemes in order to boost their wealth.

We can all agree it’s bad practice and loopholes are commonplace but if it’s not against the law and you can save yourself a few quid then why not expose the flaws in the system.

It’s sensationalist stuff, some huge names have been smeared by the scandal but it’s neither new nor unexpected.

The UK’s Queen, some of Trump’s trusted allies, Lewis Hamilton and Mad Vladimir Putin’s son in law are all figures who’ve been caught out by the investigation by the ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists.)

And Dermot Desmond is named as another…

Now, obviously there’s been a furore over the documents but BBC Scotland’s headlining in regards the Irishman was controversial in the extreme and their tabloid journalism circumventing Celtic’s majority shareholder is belittling to the nation’s broadcaster.

I’m no Celtic supporter but if the Beeb believe this to be genuine headline news then Editorial staff should be dismissed forthwith.

The shameful harassment of Desmond en route to Parkhead by Mark Daly, the Corporation’s go to “Investigative” journalist north of the border, was something akin to hamesuken and his questioning disrespectful.

Both Glasgow outfits support have an inherent distrust of the Scottish Mainstream Media and as such the lickspittle in print or media is often derided as anti Celtic or anti Rangers when fans of every other club see all publications as subservient to both.

On this occasion it’s easy to see why fans of the Hoops are up in arms over the BBC coverage of this matter and see it as a slight against their club whilst rivals Rangers receive preferential reporting despite boycotting Ibrox after some home truths by Chris McLaughlin left the Govan side up in arms, banning the journalist in the process; a decision not well received at Pacific Quay.

They rightly point out Alistair Lamont’s apparent cull by the broadcaster when, after a first day spent at ‘Gers chairman Dave King’s Takeover Panel hearing, he was ordered not to return for the more newsworthy day 2.

Another source of irritation follows Friday’s release of yet another loss making set of accounts by the Light Blues which warrant headline news with accompanying information claiming ‘Gers need £4 million to keep their head above water this season.

This sum is apparently coming from a “penniless” chairman who’s maybe or maybe not in charge of a Trust Fund.

Since the Ibrox side were liquidated they’ve had 5 years of living outwith their means with no reproach from the governing body or a compliant media. That’s the real scandal of Scottish football: not what a middle aged Irishman was up to 5 years ago with his business and certainly something truly worth investigating.

BBC Scotland had a cut and paste statement from the Rangers website as their only article on a story which interests, fascinates and disgusts fans countrywide. No questions asked or more likely Jim Traynor, the Ibrox PR man, has instructed the succulent lambs to silence.

In the short term the BBC have scored a huge own goal. Football fans have long memories and having received threats from Rangers fans in the past for telling the truth, antagonising the biggest club in the land’s fanbase was a massive mistake.

They will receive a backlash and if they’re fortunate enough to escape a ban from Celtic Park they may find their reporters won’t receive a particularly warm welcome by those behind the scenes.

If and when Desmond has his day in court it’ll be interesting to see if the beeb send anyone to cover it… and if they’ll be allowed to do so for more than a day.

 

 

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New Scotland top unveiled

The new Scotland kit was unveiled this afternoon and proudly shown off by the Scottish FA.

The home top is a throwback to the 1990 shirt and is sure to be popular with the Tartan Army.

Leigh Griffiths seems keen to examine it further below and you can purchase the new look at JD Sports from tomorrow.

McClaren, Murty, McInnes, Moyes or McCall: Can ‘Gers see past M’selves?

Rangers quest for a new manager has thrown up a conundrum following public backing from Wes Foderingham and Jason Holt for caretaker boss Graeme Murty to be handed the reigns on a permanent basis following the weekend victory over Partick.

Several high profile names have been mentioned as ‘Gers seek Pedro Caixinha’s replacement with latest speculation suggesting former England boss Steve McClaren has been approached by the Ibrox club.

McClaren joins the list alongside David Moyes, Derek McInnes and Stuart McCall as potential suitors although Murty has forwarded his own case with successive victories over Hearts and Thistle.

Despite their financial woes, a £6.7m loss having been recorded in the accounts released last Friday, Rangers are hoping to attract a candidate of high quality in a bid to avoid a repeat of the disastrous  Pedro reign as they seek to ensure European football through a top 3 finish in the SPFL.

There’s a certain train of thought amongst those more realistic supporters Murty could “do a job” until the end of this season whereby a new recruit can come in and reshape a squad light on quality and still a million miles behind Celtic.

The former Scotland international clearly has support within the dressing room and although many would see him as the cheap option it’s not outside the realms of possibility a board requiring further financing from Chairman Dave King to pay the bills will opt for a figurehead already on the club’s payroll and avoid, certainly in the case of McInnes, a hefty compensation package.

Latest Manager Odds (SkyBet):

Derek McInnes 4/6

Graeme Murty 9/2

Steve McClaren 4/1

David Moyes 9/1

Stuart McCall 20/1

Frank De Boer 25/1

Broken Hearts as Killie snatch late winner

Hearts continued to struggle for any semblance of form during a turgid 90 minutes at Murrayfield which saw Steve Clarke register a first victory as Kilmarnock manager.

Kris Boyd gave the visitors a half time lead before Ismael Goncalves netted a leveller with 15 minutes remaining.

Hearts had been dismal for the majority of the game and it was little surprise when Adam Frizzel notched a winner with 4 minutes left on the clock.

The result has left Jambo’s fuming.

Having gone into the game on the back of two defeats against Edinburgh rivals Hibs and Rangers, supporters expected better than a lacklustre display largely lacking any attacking threat.

There is a real air of discontent among the Gorgie faithful at the moment.

Having had to endure the Ian Cathro experiment it took Ann Budge almost a month to appoint Craig Levein as manager despite her Director of Football already being on the books.

Criticism when balanced is all very well but it seems Jam Tarts have very little faith in either the owner or Levein’s ability to take the club forward.

They’ve watched their team fail to create much of note in an attacking sense in 270 minutes and the playing staff look completely devoid of creative ideas.

Many would like to see Levein sacked only 9 games into his second reign, some blame a shambolic recruitment policy which has overseen the arrival of some 49 players over 3 season’s; A signing spree Vladimir Romanov would have been proud of.

Others are blaming the owner but the majority agree on 1 point; The current squad is low on quality.

The Gorgie side look like they’re in for a long hard season and they’re slowly learning that it’s difficult to build and maintain a competitive team when having to work within a strict budget.

Having been bankrolled by Mercer, SMG and Romanov for the best part of 30 years it’s something many Jambo’s have never seen their club have to suffer.

That time looks like it could well be now and it’s far from an easy road back.

Griffiths ruled out for Scots

Leigh Griffiths has been ruled out of Scotland’s upcoming friendly against the Netherlands with Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers confirming a calf strain sustained against Bayern Munich would see the striker ruled out of action for up to 10 days.

Seen as the Scots talisman with 4 goals in his past 5 internationals, Griffiths loss from the squad could see former Hibs starlet Jason Cummings make his debut under interim boss Malky Mackay.

Cummings departed Easter Road last summer for a fee of around £750,000 choosing to team up with former Rangers boss Mark Warburton at Nottingham Forest.

The 22 year old started brightly at the City Ground and has netted 4 times in 14 matches (10 starts, 4 as sub) for his new club, including a fine double against Newcastle in the Carabao Cup.

Mackay could of course choose to call up one of the old guard strikers originally omitted from his youthful squad which includes the likes of Ryan Jack and Paul Hanlon as potential recipients of a first international cap.

Lennon masterclass leads Hibs to victory.

Hibs 2 Dundee 1

Hibs managed to secure a victory against basement boys Dundee in an entertaining match at Easter Road.

A Martin Boyle effort gave the home side a dream start with a first minute goal before the Dark Blues equalised through Marcus Haber to enter half time on level terms.

Hibees won the match with a Simon Murray strike midway through the second period when he lashed a sumptuous Anthony Stokes cross into the back of the net.

Overall the victory was a justified one for Hibs but there was enough about Dundee to suggest they’re not far away from turning the corner.

Having watched his side fail to capitalise on the perfect start, Neil Lennon saw his men fail to perform anywhere near their capabilities in the first 45 minutes and in truth his players looked miles off the pace.

Mistimed tackles, failing to prevent crosses into the area, sloppy passing and a distinct lack of movement are things Hibees fans aren’t used to watching this season and when Dylan McGeouch went off holding his hamstring 5 minutes before half time you feared it wasn’t going to be their day.

During any league campaign various players get singled out for match winning performances however today’s victory should be heralded as a tactical masterclass from Lennon.

Having already replaced McGeouch with Stokes the Hibees gaffer hooked ineffectual David Gray and Brandon Barker at the break.

Whether or not he was trying to show his unhappiness at the first half display by leaving himself without any further game changing opportunities from the bench his fearless approach worked wonders and it was a different Hibs in the second half.

Switching to a back 3, Gray’s replacement Ryan Porteous produced an assured display whilst Slivka slotted into the middle of the park and his short passing brought his team mates into a game that had previously been bypassing them.

Stokes had missed the previous 2 games at Motherwell and Kilmarnock but produced probably his best performance since his third return to Easter Road.

Lennon’s tactical nous proved crucial in a game where a lot of Hibs players looked battle weary, none more so than the recently outstanding John McGinn.

The formation change forced Dundee onto the back foot for the majority of the second half but a special mention must go to Hibernian stopper Ofir Marciano who produced one of the finest saves in many a year at the Leith San Siro when he somehow got down to his right bottom corner to save a header which screamed “Goal” from the second it left Haber’s forehead.

Overall it was far from vintage Hibs, it was far from the best game of the season but it kept you entertained and it was a fascinating battle at times.

Having now taken 12 points out of 12 Lennon and his side can rest easy during the international break; they’ve certainly earnt it. This was a match they’d easily have dropped points in without a certain Irishman in the dugout.

SPFL Predictions

Celtic travel to St Johnstone this weekend looking to break their own unbeaten domestic record when they face Saints at McDiarmid Park.

Coming off the back of a good performance against Bayern Munich, the Hoops are aiming for 63 in a row and it’s testament to Brendan Rodgers that he’s yet to see his side defeated by a Scottish side since his arrival.

Tommy Wright will have his boys fired up and having secured a draw at Parkhead earlier in the campaign will be hopeful of causing an upset.

Prediction: St Johnstone 0 Celtic 3

Rangers face a Partick side who have already run them close on two occasions this season albeit with both matches played at Firhill.

Graeme Murty recalled Kenny Miller last weekend and was rewarded with 2 goals from the veteran striker as the Gers ran out comfortable 3-1 victors over Hearts.

A repeat of the Murrayfield performance should see the Ibrox fans head home happy.

Prediction: Rangers 2 Partick 0

Hibs welcome Dundee to Easter Road and having had a slightly worrying run of just 2 wins in 9 games, the past eleven days have seen the Hibees record 3 back to back wins with an Edinburgh Derby victory over Hearts followed by 2 impressive wins away from home against Motherwell and Kilmarnock.

Dundee don’t have their problems to seek and they’ll be without highly rated goalkeeper Scott Bain after the stopper fell out with gaffer Neil McCann following the 3-1 loss to Hamilton last weekend; a defeat which saw the Blues drop to bottom spot.

Prediction: Hibs 4 Dundee 0

Aberdeen head south for a fixture which is usually a bit of a banana skin for them against Hamilton.

The plastic pitch at New Douglas Park does no one any favours and the Dons have been known to struggle on it.

Hamilton’s fine win at Dundee last week coupled with the continued speculation over Derek McInnes’ future gives reason to stay away from touching this game on your coupon.

Prediction: Hamilton 1 Aberdeen 1

Motherwell make the long journey to Dingwall looking to improve on last week’s performance against Hibernian.

A 1 nil defeat after a fine run of form has saw the Lanarkshire side fall to fifth in the table and they’ll hope to rediscover the winning touch against Ross County.

Owen Coyle took the reigns following the departure of Jim McIntyre from the Highlanders and results have been steady if not spectacular under his tenure.

Prediction: Ross County 1 Motherwell 2

Sunday’s match see Hearts complete their stint at Murrayfield against a Kilmarnock outfit who have improved since Steve Clarke’s arrival.

The Jambo’s are licking their wounds following successive defeats to Hibs and Rangers whilst Killie managed draws at Ibrox and Parkhead before a scoreline flattering 3 nil home loss to Neil Lennon’s Hibees in midweek.

Prediction: Hearts 1 Kilmarnock 1