Match Reports

Derek Adams uninpressed with Ross County pre-season

Written by Grant Milne.

PETERHEAD made an encouraging start to their pre-season plans as they secured an impressive 2-0 victory over Ross County.

Late goals in either half from Andy Rodgers and Brian Gilfillan edged out the home side against their SPL opponents, but County boss Derek Adams felt that this particular workout didn’t go as planned.
He said: “It didn’t work very well for us. We didn’t play well today, there were a lot of players with below-par performances so I think today’s game didn’t work at all for us as a pre-season exercise.

“[The new signings] will do well for us. We only used two of them today to start with and took another two as well.
"We’re just trying to integrate them in as time goes by, but today overall we didn’t play well enough. I thought we were very poor, we didn’t pass the ball well enough in the final third and cause Peterhead enough trouble but it’s them who have scored two goals today.”

However Peterhead manager Jim McInally insisted that although the result wasn’t his main concern, it was still a pleasing factor as was his side’s performance.
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Fraserburgh 0-1 Falkirk: Tight win for Bairns

Written by Grant Milne.

A YOUNG Falkirk side endured a tough pre-season test in the North-East, but came out on top with a narrow 1-0 victory at Highland League Fraserburgh.

Jay Fulton scored the only goal of the game as the Bairns began their 3-game mini-tour of Aberdeenshire with a win following up from Saturday’s draw against Stirling Albion, and manager Gary Holt said he was pleased with a worthwhile run-out for his side.
He said: “It was very good. The pitch was lovely, perhaps a little bit sticky but that’s to be expected. It limited us as our passing maybe wasn’t just as crisp as we wanted, but it was a good exercise.

“It was tough, a battle, and that’s what my young side need, they need to stand up and be counted and they stood up to this test very well. It’s just a case of getting the players up to speed ahead of the new season, this is our second game after Saturday and we’ll just take it as it goes, but we’re happy with tonight.”

You could have been forgiven for thinking that this game was being held on the usually rugged north-east coast, with the mercury still sitting at a warm 20 Celsius even at the kick-off time of 7.30 in the evening. And just as welcoming was the fast-paced start to what turned out to be a quite entertaining pre-season encounter on one of Scottish non-league football’s consistently respectable playing surfaces.

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Auchleck Talbot 1-0 Linlithgow Rose: David Gormley strikes to win Scottish Junior Cup

Written by Matthew Harold.

AUCHINLECK Talbot striker David Gormley said adrenaline helped him claim the winning goal against Linlithgow Rose in the Scottish Junior Cup final.
The ex-Ayr United and Alloa man came off the bench to grab the vital strike in the 1-0 win, putting a year of misery to bed.
Just 12 months on from cup final heartache at the same venue, Tommy "Tucker" Sloan's side were winners again in Livingston.

"I’m absolutely speechless," said Gormley. "It’s one of those moments in your life that flashes by you, I was lucky enough to get on the park.

“I had a wee bit of a problem with my ankle and Tucker said he didn’t want to play me, but sitting on that bench I told him to put me on the adrenaline will take care of it, so that’s what happened.
“It’s been an absolutely unbelievable season for the team and for myself, to win the league by so much and to get as many goals as I’ve got. I would have never pictured that at the start of the season."

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Hibs 0-3 Celtic: Player watch - Leigh Griffiths and Kris Commons

Written by Ross Brady.

BOTH Leigh Griffiths and Kris Common had eventful weeks leading up to the William Hill Scottish Cup final with Leigh Griffiths noted as an injury doubt, and Kris Commons announcing his international retirement at the age of 29.

The Hibees front-man has had a terrific second loan stint with the capital side, being widely tipped as the Scottish player of the year before being pipped by Motherwell's Michael Higdon. His manner of goals has been one of the main aspects behind his many plaudits scoring a whole host of fine strikes throughout the campaign.

Kris Commons has put a disappointing campaign from last season behind him, and has been one of the key components of Neil Lennon's title winning side, scoring crucial goals for the Hoops. None more so than the penalty against Spartak Moscow that sent them through to the Champions League last 16.

Hibs started the brighter of the two sides and Griffiths creativity was key as he found Tom Taiwo with a nice reverse pass, who found Eoin Doyle with his cross to fashion the first chance of the game, but his header was well saved by Fraser Forster

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Hibs 0-3 Celtic: Tactical analysis of the Scottish Cup final

Written by Andrew Southwick.

TWELVE years ago to the day, Celtic swept Hibs aside at Hampden 3-0 to lift the Scottish Cup. They did it in the same week as Bayern Munich raised the Champions League trophy aloft.

A dozen years on, the names on the back of the shirts may have changed, but Hibs are no closer to defeating Celtic in a Scottish Cup final.

A Gary Hooper double and a late third from Joe Ledley ensured Celtic won the double for the first time since 2007.

Hibs line-up was as expected. Eoin Doyle had rubber stamped his place in the starting line-up after his performance and goals on the final day of the season. All eyes of course though were on Leigh Griffiths, who had shrugged off an injury scare during the week to start for Pat Fenlon's side.
There was no such luck for James McPake, who was unable to recover from injury in time to take his place in defence.

It was Neil Lennon who sprang the surprises on the teamsheet. Georgios Samaras, despite his sparkling show against Dundee United at Tannadice, had to make do with a place on the bench. Anthony Stokes instead got the nod up front. With Kris Commons, James Forrest and Gary Hooper also starting – it was clear Celtic wanted to replicate the start Hearts had in last year's final and have their noses in front early.

The Hoops were missing young player of the year Victor Wanyama, and Beram Kayal, through suspension.

Hibernian: Williams, McGivern, Hanlon, Griffiths, Doyle, Maybury, Taiwo, Harris, Forster, Thomson.

Subs: Murdoch, Stevenson, Handling, Robertson, Caldwell.

Celtic: Forster, Izaguirre, Wilson, Brown, Stokes, Commons, Ledley, Mulgrew, Lustig, Forrest, Hooper.

Subs: Zaluska, Ambrose, Samaras, Rogic, McCourt.

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Kevin Tindal overjoyed after Cove Rangers win Highland League

Written by Grant Milne.

TITLE winning manager Kevin Tindal said he was overjoyed for his players after they clinched the Highland League championship.
Cover Rangers 2-0 win away to Formartine United sparked celebrations back in Aberdeen, and Tindal is hoping to improve the squad for another challenge next year.
He said: “We were hoping that things would go our way in the last couple of months, the last couple of weeks it became down to two teams and we always felt we would have a chance. We knew it was going to be a tough run for Formartine but coming off the park last week it was a big boost to us, we prepared properly this week, rested some on Tuesday night in the cup final, some asked questions about that but it was the right decision.

“Its credit to the players to go onto the park and have that desire to put them on the back foot and I’m so overjoyed for the players. Richie Singer’s never won the league but he has now. We’ve lost some big players this year, they’ve been replaced by young ones.

“I think the cup final was a big learner for some of the young lads, on Monday I told some of them they weren’t playing on the Tuesday and they were disappointed, but I explained that this was a bigger game. It’s good as they encouraged the young ones who did take part, the big thing this season is the team going forward, they are so behind each other. It really has been a tight-knit thing that’s taken us to where we are.

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Formartine United 0-2 Cove Rangers: Cove clinch Highland Leagues

Written by Grant Milne.

AFTER 10 months and 33 games, it all came down to this.

Formartine and Cove slogging it out in torrential rain for the Highland League title in the final game of the season.

The away side needed a win of any sort to snatch the title away from their opponents, whilst any other result would have culminated in the eternally-ambitious and high-spending Formartine lifting the Highland League trophy for the first team since their inception on the scene four years ago.

This was the host’s second attempt at becoming champions, with last week’s disastrous home defeat to Nairn County ensuring that the destination of the title would be determined on the final day.

Losing this one and ultimately, their grip on the championship? It would have been almost unthinkable.

But within 10 minutes of the first whistle, United’s nightmare scenario began its disfigurement into reality.

A searching ball down the right found Connor Scully, with the cross towards the back post picking out Jamie Beagrie, and his perfectly-weighted header was enough to loop over Andy Shearer and drop into the opposite corner of the net. Cove had delivered the first body blow on judgement day, as the home end of North Lodge Park fell deathly silent.

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Celtic 4-3 Dundee United (aet): Tactical Analysis

Written by Andrew Southwick.

THE stage was set for a stinker. The two teams had shared eight goals the last time they had met. Hibernian and Falkirk had served up a thriller the day before. The kiss of death had been given with the question asked “When was the last dour Scottish Cup semi-final?”

That was it surely set in stone. A defensive Dundee United trying to ensure they didn't concede as frequently as they had on their last trip to Glasgow. A Celtic committed to making no mistakes, getting their noses in front early then doing the professional job of ensuring this wasn't another Hampden nightmare for boss Neil Lennon.

How wrong that proved to be, as Celtic and United served up a thriller to match the goal-fest from 24 hours earlier. The semi-finals served up 14 goals between them. You know, our game has its critics, but it'll always give you drama, and the Scottish Cup always does us proud.
Dundee United got the boost they needed last week against Aberdeen when a second half full of drive and some outrageous skill, orchestrated by Gary Mackay-Steven, Willo Flood and Ryan Gauld, sealed a late win and a place in the top six.

Jackie McNamara had hoped to add Johnny Russell to the frontline, but without him the Arabs still had an exciting team in Tangerine.

Jon Daly went into the game having not been as lethal in front of goal recently as we're used to. There was talk of him moving to defence for this one, but McNamara went with his experienced man up front, with the dog work behind him given to Gauld, Flood and Mackay-Steven, with the latter this time on the right hand side as opposed to the left like last week.

James Forrest was the only real surprise in the Celtic line-up as Neil Lennon hoped for better luck than previous Hampden encounters.

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