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Scotland call up 3 uncapped players for Euro qualifiers



Scotland call up 3 uncapped players for Euro qualifiers


Scotland Head Coach Alex McLeish gave the nod to Hibernian striker, Marc McNulty, Sheffield Wednesday right back Liam Palmer and midfielder John Fleck of Sheffield United, none of whom have appeared for their country before.

He also included goalkeepers Jordan Archer (Millwall), Scott Bain (Celtic) and Jon McLaughlin (Sunderland), all of whom have just one cap each.

Scotland take on Kazakhstan on March 21 in Astana before heading to San Marino three days later.


Police warn writer Gaiman over lockdown trip from New Zealand to Scotland



British writer Neil Gaiman has apologised for travelling from New Zealand to his home on the Scottish island of Skye in breach of coronavirus lockdown measures, saying “I did something stupid.”

Police spoke to Gaiman, author of “American Gods” and “Good Omens,” about his actions after he revealed he had made the 11,000 mile trip to Britain, flying into London and then driving to his home on Skye at the start of the month.

His “selfish” actions were criticised by Ian Blackford, the lawmaker who represents the area and the Scottish National Party’s leader in the Westminster parliament.

“I want to apologise to everyone on the island for creating such a fuss.

“I also want to thank and apologise to the local police, who had better things to do than check up on me.

“I’m sure I’ve done sillier things in my life, but this is the most foolish thing I’ve done in quite a while,” the author wrote on his website.

Gaiman said he had returned from New Zealand when the lockdown was eased there because he and his wife had agreed they “needed to give each other some space.”

His wife Amanda Palmer is an American musician and performance artist.

Scotland maintains stricter lockdown conditions than England, including telling its citizens to stay at home and advising against cross-border travel.

Ten residents of a care home in Skye’s main town of Portree have died of COVID-19.

Edited By: Emmanuel Okara/Salif Atojoko (NAN)


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Scotland abandons top-flight season amid coronavirus outbreak



Scotland on Monday became the latest country to abandon its top-flight football season due to the coronavirus outbreak with Celtic declared champions.

“We would all have rather seen the league season played out on pitches, in stadiums and in front of supporters,” league (SPFL) chairman Murdoch MacLennan said.

According to him, COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on sporting competitions around the world and the repercussions will be felt for a long time.

While the English Premier League is determined to find a way to continue amid the global pandemic, the tendency in Scotland, with significantly less income tied up in television contracts, was always to cancel.

The Netherlands, Belgium and France have all scrapped leagues though the German Bundesliga resumed at the weekend.

Italy and Spain also hope to start again in June.

European governing body UEFA wants all leagues to present plans on how to resume or give reasons for cancellation by May 25.

The decision in Scotland hands Celtic a record-equalling ninth championship in a row in final standings decided on average points per game.

Celtic’s long-standing Glasgow rivals Rangers were a distant second with Motherwell also in a Europa League place in third.

Fourth-placed Aberdeen is expected to be handed the Europa League place given to the Scottish Cup winners with that competition suspended.

Hearts were relegated, however, have not ruled out a legal challenge against demotion should talks over league reconstruction fail.

“On Friday, Ladbrokes Premiership clubs expressed their clear and unanimous view that there was no realistic prospect of completing the outstanding fixtures from Season 2019 and 2020.

“The focus of all those involved in the game will now turn to how we get football up and running again safely as soon as possible,” SPFL chief executive Neil Doncaster said.

Edited By: Abiodun Oluleye/Salif Atojoko (NAN)

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Prince Charles, Camilla celebrate 15th wedding anniversary in Scotland



 Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary at their home in Scotland on Thursday.

No public events were planned to mark the anniversary, with Britain in near-lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus and Charles having recovered last week from infection with the virus.

Camilla ended her self-isolation on Monday after Charles, the heir to the British throne, was quarantined with mild COVID-19 symptoms.

Ahead of their anniversary, Clarence House issued a photograph of the royal couple taken on Wednesday at their Birkhall home in Scotland with Camilla’s dogs Bluebell and Beth.

Charles, 71, and Camilla, 72, married in 2005 following years of controversy over their relationship.

She has been accepted as integral member of the royal family since then.

Charles had married Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 in a ceremony that gripped the country.

But Charles and Diana’s marriage was dogged by rumors of a continuing relationship with his former girlfriend, the then married Camilla Parker-Bowles.

In 1992, the government announced that Charles and Diana planned to separate, in 1997, she died in hospital after being seriously injured in a car crash in a Paris tunnel.

Edited By: Halima Sheji/Emmanuel Yashim

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Scotland: Appeal possible for Libyan convicted of Lockerbie bombing



Scottish legal experts on Wednesday said the conviction of a late Libyan man for the 1988 bombing of passenger flight Pan Am 103 over the town of Lockerbie may have been flawed.

The legal experts said it was possible for the family to open a new appeal.

Abdelbaset al-Megrahi was found guilty of involvement in the bombing, and a second Libyan was acquitted, after a trial in 2001 by a court in The Hague operating under Scottish law.

The Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission said it had referred Megrahi’s case to Scotland’s High Court of Justiciary for determination.

“As a result of the commission’s decision, Mr Megrahi’s family is now entitled to instruct an appeal against his conviction on January 31, 2001.

“Also for the murders of the 243 passengers and the 16 crew on board Pan Am Flight 103 from London to New York, and 11 residents of Lockerbie, on December 21, 1988,’’ it stated.

Megrahi was sentenced to 27 years in prison but released in 2009 after he was diagnosed with late-stage prostate cancer.

The former Libyan intelligence officer continued to protest his innocence until his death in May 2012, but Scottish prosecutors had insisted their evidence against him was sound.

In 2015, Scottish prosecutors said they had identified two new Libyan suspects and asked Libyan authorities to allow police from Scotland and the U.S. to interview them in Tripoli.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim

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Scotland to approve free sanitary products for all women




The Scottish parliament is due on Tuesday to approve plans to make sanitary products freely available to all women, making it the first nation in the world to do so.

The legislation would make products such as tampons and sanitary pads free for all women in Scotland, available at designated public places such as community centres, youth clubs and pharmacies.

The plan is expected to pass its first vote in the devolved Scottish parliament on Tuesday.

The Period Products (Free Provision) Scotland Bill was proposed by Scottish lawmaker Monica Lennon, who first submitted a draft proposal in 2017.

The cost is expected to be around 24.1 million pounds ($31.24 million).

Lennon said “these are not luxury items. They are indeed essential and no one in Scotland should have to go without period products,’’ adding that the bill was about period dignity.

“We are changing the culture and it’s really exciting that other countries right around the world are watching very closely to see what we do.’’

A consultation document proposed modeling the scheme on the card-based system for free condoms, where users register for a free card or voucher to exchange for the products.

Aileen Campbell, Scotland’s communities secretary, said, “we will continue our world-leading action promoting wider period dignity through a certification scheme to encourage organisations to provide free products.’’

Scotland in 2018 was the first government in the world to provide free sanitary products in schools, colleges and universities.

Sanitary products in the United Kingdom are currently taxed at 5 per cent the so-called “tampon tax’’.

Former Prime Minister David Cameron’s government said it wanted to end the unpopular tax but that its hands were tied by European Union rules which set tax rates for certain products.

The government announced it would drop the tax in 2016, but this has not happened yet, the issue having been pushed to the sidelines during the Brexit process.

The Scottish government’s briefing on the bill said there is no tax on period products in Ireland, Canada, Australia, Kenya, India, Columbia, Malaysia, Nicaragua, Jamaica, Nigeria, Uganda, Lebanon and Trinidad and Tobago.

Lennon joined a rally gathered outside the Scottish parliament building in Edinburgh, and held a sign which said, “access to menstrual products is a right. Period.’’

The bill is due to be debated today.

Edited By: Hadiza Mohammed/Emmanuel Yashim

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Arsenal asked Scotland to leave out Tierney, says Clarke



Scotland have not called up left back Kieran Tierney for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers, after his Premier League club Arsenal requested that the national team leave him out, manager Steve Clarke said on Tuesday.

Tierney, the most expensive player to be recruited from the Scottish Premiership when Arsenal signed him in August for £25 million, made his debut for the London club in September after recovering from double hernia surgery.

The 22-year-old has made six appearances in all competitions this season but was withdrawn towards the end of last weekend’s 1-1 league draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers and Scotland boss Clarke said the nature of his issue was a “question for Arsenal” to answer.

“Kieran’s got an ongoing issue that Arsenal are keen to address in the next international break.

“Arsenal asked us not to select him. It’s a little bit frustrating. It’s obviously frustrating for Kieran as well but we’ve got good cover in that position.

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s Europa League clash against Portuguese side Vitoria, Arsenal said on their website that they had “no first team squad players unavailable due to injury.”

Clarke told a news conference ahead of Scotland’s qualifiers against Cyprus on Nov. 16 and Kazakhstan three days later, that Liverpool’s Andy Robertson is expected to start at left back for Scotland.

“I have to focus on the players that come.

“My job is to try and build a squad… that’s 100% committed, ready to come here and do their best for the country,” he added.

Belgium and Russia have already qualified from Scotland’s group but Clarke’s side, who sit fourth in Group I, can still qualify for the finals through the playoffs.


Edited by Remi Koleoso/Maharazu Ahmed

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T20 Cricket World Cup Qualifiers: Namibia beat Scotland by 24 runs to record first win



Namibia recorded their first win of the T20 Cricket World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday in Dubai, defeating Scotland by 24 runs in their second Group A game.

Namibia won the toss and chose to bat, scoring 159 runs for the loss of six wickets in the game played at the ICC Academy.

The Nigeria News Agency reports that Scotland came on to chase but pulled 135 runs for the loss of eight —- their second consecutive loss at the tournament.

Man of the match, Namibia’s Jonathan Smit, said the team needed the win.

“We needed to win. We gave our best and we look forward to the next one’’.

Namibia lost her first game to Papua New Guinea.

NAN reports that Nigeria are in Group B of the competition, and have lost their two games so far.

They lost to Jersey on Saturday and Canada on Monday.


(Edited by Olawale Alabi)

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Johnson puts $18.5bn price tag on bridge linking Scotland to N/Ireland – Reports



(Sputnik/) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson told schoolchildren that it “would be very good” to build a bridge from Scotland to Northern Ireland for 15 billion pounds ($18.5 billion), media reported Thursday.

The prime minister said this on Thursday during his visit to the NLV Pharos lighthouse tender, which moored on the river Thames in London

“(I was talking yesterday) about building a bridge from Stranraer in Scotland to Larne in Northern Ireland – that would be very good. It would only cost about 15 billion pounds,” Johnson said in a video published by Sky News.

While still serving as foreign secretary, the official proposed the idea and asked the government for the project’s estimates, and even called for building another bridge over the English Channel to link the United Kingdom and France.

“There is so much more we can do, and what grieves me about the current approach to Brexit is that we are just in danger of not believing in ourselves, not believing in Britain,” Johnson said, as quoted by Sky News.

The construction of such a bridge is seen as a potential solution to the Irish backstop, a measure that entails keeping the entire United Kingdom in the EU Customs Union, with Northern Ireland complying with some EU Single Market rules, in case of a no-deal scenario.

The UK voted to leave the European Union in 2016, but the withdrawal was delayed several times.

After then-Prime Minister Theresa May failed to come up with an acceptable plan to leave the bloc by March 29 of this year, the deadline was moved to Oct. 31. (Sputnik/)


(Edited by Emmanuel Yashim)

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Martinez sings De Bruyne’s praises after Scotland rout



Belgium coach Roberto Martinez has hailed Kevin De Bruyne as “the best playmaker in the world” after he scored one goal and set up three more in their 4-0 win over Scotland.
This was in Euro 2020 qualifying match on Monday.
Belgium was without injured captain Eden Hazard but his absence went unnoticed as the world’s top ranked team turned in a slick, overwhelming performance, going 3-0 up by halftime.
With six wins from six games in Group I, the Belgians need just two points from their remaining four matches to be sure of a place at next year’s finals.
“For me, he is the best playmaker in the world,” said Martinez. “Playmakers dictate the tempo, give perfect passes and they take responsibility. He did all of that against Scotland.”
Martinez also said he was glad to see other players step up and lead the way with Hazard out injured.
“I was really pleased with the performances of our experienced players particularly because Eden Hazard was not here.
“They had to take over the leadership and show by example, and I thought Jan Vertonghen did that perfectly, he’s a really strong leader.”
Despite the praise being heaped upon De Bruyne’s shoulders, the Manchester City man played down his performance.
“I didn’t play a world class match, I just did my job,” he told reporters.
“When your career is over, then you can look back at what you did. But at this moment I just want to win matches.”
Belgium, three points ahead of Russia in their group, will face San Marino in Brussels on Oct. 10. (Reuters/)
Edited by Remi Koleoso/Muhammad Suleiman Tola

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