#1 Santos, whos had to deal von shushu 23.02.2019 04:50

Sky Sports coverage of the Scottish football season reaches a climax on Scottish Cup final day. Its live on Sky Sports 1 HD from 2pm on Saturday. Presenter David Tanner looks forward to the final, and also the arrival of Brendan Rodgers at Celtic... The city of Glasgow never tires of talking football. On the evidence of my strolls along Sauchiehall and Buchanan Streets this week, the volume of the chatter has reached levels not heard for years. Celtic fans told me of their excitement about Brendan Rodgers coming to town. I could only agree! Others were sad that Neil Lennon wasnt being welcomed back; I agreed with them, too. Discussions tended to move onto thoughts about whether the new boss should worry about the return of the other half of the Old Firm to the Premiership. Meanwhile, the blue half of town is all over the Scottish Cup final. As is the green end of Edinburgh! It struck me that this week might prove to be a watershed for Scottish football and for the fans in the countrys biggest city. This is the time when football people appear to me to have started looking forward with anticipation and excitement, rather than looking back in anger. The events that have unfolded at Rangers since 2012 - and the fiscal arrangements which preceded them - have dominated and soured many discussions about Scottish football for way too long. Without the Old Firm going head-to-head to provide the entertainment, fans of the great rivals have been left to argue the toss about tax schemes and other legal complexities. And youd be amazed how many tax experts there are out there now! Everybody has their own truth on this subject. The discourse of discontent can hopefully be drowned out now. Mark Warburton and Alan Stubbs will go head-to-head at Hampden Park Celtic have shown huge appetite and ambition in their pursuit and capture of Rodgers (there were so many fantastic options available to the champions this time!) and there is clearly about to be substantial investment in human resources at Parkhead. The personal intervention of Dermot Desmond in the recruitment process excites me; it sends out a strong message that wasnt there when he took a back seat when the unfathomable appointment of Ronny Deila was made two years ago. Id argue that these great Glasgow clubs exist primarily to beat the other one! Trophies and European runs are an added bonus! As a Celtic supporter, Brendan will understand this but only to a degree... as he becomes immersed in Celtic and the Old Firm, hell soon discover more about the unique culture of bedlam! Hell find Glasgow to be more intense than Liverpool. I believe that prospect will excite him! Luke Shanley tells us Brendan Rodgers is the big-name manager Celtic wanted Before Brendan experiences the Old Firm clash next season - remember, all of the meetings in the Ladbrokes Premiership will be live on Sky Sports - theres a William Hill Scottish Cup final involving Rangers and another big city club, Hibernian, to look forward to.The word from inside Hampden Park is that demand for cup final tickets outstrips even that for the colossal Old Firm semi-final! Hibs and Rangers fans are noticeably looking forward to this game more than they have any other in recent years. McCann: Stubbs tactical edge Neil McCann is backing Rangers to prolong Hibernians Scottish Cup misery this weekend... Why is there such a final frenzy? First and foremost, both sets of fans know that their favourites can win it. For much of this season, it was difficult to separate the clubs in the league - it was two home wins apiece. The years of mayhem at Rangers and, similarly, Hibernians slide into the Championship - and their extended stay there - means the cup final has additional... well... everything! Despite their Championship status, Hibs managed to reach the final of the League Cup. But that good work seemed to be unravelled by the nature of the late defeat to Ross County at Hampden, coupled with a complete collapse in the league. The form slump led to a new phrase entering the Scottish football dictionary... Hibernian will look to end a run of 10 Scottish Cup final defeats stretching back to 1902 when they play Rangers on Saturday Hibsed it (phrasal verb) - to lose a football game, usually near the end, when victory would seem like the easier option. Hibs have Hibsed it again.Dont dare say those words within earshot of Alan Stubbs. The Hibernian manager knows only too well that if his team dont Hibs it against Rangers and actually win the cup for the first time since 1902, then the phrase can be removed from the footy lexicon as quickly as it appeared there - and sports most enduring hoodoo will also have been ended. Hibernian were victorious the last time the sides met, defeating Rangers 3-2 at Easter Road Cup finals are usually decided by courage. The team that shows the most of it has a habit of winning. In recent years, though, theres been an additional influencing factor in finals.Since the introduction of the divisional play-offs by the old Scottish Football League, the three divisions below the Premiership have all completed their 36-game season some weeks before the top leagues 38-game campaign has ended. This has presented a problem for the lower-league sides: how to rest the players without letting them switch off. Sky Sports pundit Neil McCann is expecting the Scottish Cup final to be a tight match This years is the fifth final since 2006 that teams from outside the Premiership have featured. A decade ago, the then Division 2 winners Gretna lost on penalties to Hearts; since then Division One/Championship Queen of the South, Ross County and Falkirk have all tried to take the final step. All have failed, despite some having engineered some big cup shocks along the way.And that could be where Hibs have the edge in this unprecedented all-Championship final. Their season was extended beyond the end of Rangers campaign by their participation in the play-offs. The last competitive game for Stubbsy and co - one that ended in late defeat in the play-off semis against Falkirk - was just eight days before Hampden. Wallace: Time to deliver Lee Wallace will get the chance to lift his first major trophy as a Rangers player on Saturday... Rangers, on the other hand, havent played a game with anything riding on it since the Old Firm semi-final FIVE weeks ago! Mark Warburton will have had sleepless nights worrying about the after-effects of winning the title so early and the cold storage which followed it.Will Rangers be rested or ready? Will Hibs be sore or stimulated? Is momentum more powerful than inertia? Answering those questions with me in the studio will be a panel of multiple cup winners: Scotland manager (and Hibs fan!) Gordon Strachan, former Hibs and Rangers manager Alex McLeish and Skys Neil McCann, a five-time cup winner. Former Hibernian defender John Brownlie and former Rangers winger Willie Henderson look ahead to Saturdays Scottish Cup final Make sure you tune in from 2pm to enjoy the full live build-up from Hampden - well have exclusive interviews with the Rangers squad and management, Hibs and Scotland midfielder John McGinn tells us about his Hampden hopes and theres my sit-down with Alan Stubbs, a thought-provoking chat about how a cup final drugs test saved his life. So, years of adversity have given the Hibees and the Bluenoses a renewed hunger for success. Saturday May 21 will be the day the good times return - for one set of fans. Hibernian manager Alan Stubbs says his side are determined to win the Scottish Cup final against Rangers Next season, Brendan Rodgers Celtic, Aberdeen and Hearts will all invest to meet the changes in the landscape brought about by Rangers winning promotion. The fixtures for 2016/17 will be announced by the SPFL on Sky Sports News HQ on June 17, so the excitement starts early! Mark the date in your diary... Brendan certainly will!I was asked this week what my personal ambitions are and, without hesitating, I instinctively said: to be in the studio the night Scotland finally qualify for a major tournament! Scotlands World Cup qualifiers are live on Sky Sports next season. Thats something else to look forward to in what will be a outstanding season for the game here.The campaign which ends this weekend has been one in which more of the matches that mattered in Scotland have been live on Sky Sports and its been a pleasure and a privilege to cover them for you. See you next season for even more big games and, as Celtic have now shown us, big names! Enjoy the cup final! Also See: Celtic appoint Rodgers Sky Live: Scottish Cup final Rodgers can make Celtic great Hughes leaves Inverness Cheap Lebrons For Sale .com) - The Toronto Blue Jays will look to snap a three-game skid Friday night when they continue their road trip in the opener of a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds at Great American Ball Park. Best Cheap Lebrons . Each day, TSN.ca provides the latest rumours, reports and speculation from around the NHL beat. Defensive Depth TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun is reporting the Toronto Maple Leafs have considerable interest in unrestricted free-agent defenceman Dan Boyle. http://www.cheaplebronsfromchina.com/ . The team sent out a press release on Friday stating Poile was resting and recovering and that he will remain in hospital for further observation. The Predators were preparing for the game against the Wild when Poile was hit by a puck that flew off the ice at him where he was standing in a tunnel behind the bench. Cheap Lebrons Online . The Spanish champions decision not to sign a defender during the January transfer window may have backfired after Valencia took advantage of a lethargic, uninspired effort by its hosts at the Camp Nou, where former Spain coach Luis Aragones -- who previously coached the Catalan side -- was honoured after his death on Saturday. Cheap Lebrons From China . Brazilian striker Brandao opened the scoring with a header in the 55th minute before winger Franck Tabanou volleyed home from close range to double the lead in the 61st.Ive got to admit, when I heard Casey Janssen was going on the disabled list with a lower back strain, the first thought running through my mind was here we go again. It seemed just like the past two seasons, where an onslaught of injuries derailed both seasons. At least this time, the injury to the veteran closer doesnt appear to be that series and if there is any area the Blue Jays have depth in its the pen. For now, at least, Sergio Santos, whos had to deal with two injury-plagued seasons of his own since coming back to the Jays, will get the chance to close. I did a little digging and found out that only four of the 15 teams in the American League are starting the season with the same closer they had a year ago. That would be Boston with Koji Uehara, the Royals with Greg Holland, Minnesota with Glen Perkins and the Angels with Ernest Fieri. The Red Sox and the Blue Jays, once Janssen gets healthy, will have the same closers. The Yankees, thanks to the retirement of the great Mariano Rivera, have handed the reins over to right-hander David Robertson. Tampa Bay let Fernando Rodney walk as a free agent and then picked up former As closer Grant Balfour and another one-time closer in Heath Bell. Baltimore dealt their star closer Jimmie Johnson to Oakland and then decided to make veteran starter/reliever Tommy Hunter into their closer. For this year, at least, there is far greater closer stability. Only three of the 15 teams - St. Louis, Arizona and the Cubs - are starting with different closers than they had at the beginning of last season. The Reds would actually be a fourth, as Aroldis Chapman is on the disabled list after taking a line drive just above the eye in spring training but he will be back this season. Its no secret; if the Blue Jays are going to contend for a wild card spot at the very least, theyve got to put up a winning record against their own division. If you look at the last four years since Alex Anthopoulos took over as general manager, the Jays have only been above .500 versus the AL East once. They went 39-33 against their own division in 2010, Cito Gastons final year as skipper. That season, Tampa Bay was the only club that finished better without the division at 42-30.dddddddddddd. In 2011, they went 33-39, in 2012 they were 29-43, and last year they went 30-46, which was the worst of the five teams within the division. Over that four year span within the East, Tampa has had the best record, averaging 42 wins per season and never worse than second best in terms of wins within the division. The Blue Jays are actually tied with Baltimore for the fewest wins inside the division over the past four years at 131. I found another interesting stat surrounding the last four years - the Blue Jays less than stellar record against left handers. Three of those last four years they have the worst record in the division against southpaws. Only in 2011 were they above .500 versus lefties with a mark of 23-19. Their cumulative record against left-handers over the past four years is 76-93. So, if you cant win enough within your own division and you cant beat lefties consistently, youre not going to be a contender. One final note on the Jays and the American League East. From August 22 on this season, the Jays play 28 of their final 35 against their own division, including six against Boston, seven versus the Yankees, six against Baltimore and nine against Tampa Bay. The only respite is a three game series against the Cubs at home in early September and then a four game series at home; the final week of the season against Seattle. So this is the season the Jays just prove they can beat the East. Better luck against lefties wouldnt hurt either. This is one of the tougher seasons to try and call the American League East, but right now Tampa Bay looks like the class of the division followed by the Yankees (if Tanaka and Pineda are for real), Red Sox, Blue Jays and Orioles, though if those two flip-flopped it wouldnt surprise me either. Check me in October. I mentioned former Blue Jays catcher Yan Gomes in my last article. Cleveland obviously is impressed with the first Brazilian ever to make it to the Majors. They signed him to a six-year deal that included two option years worth $23 million. I cant ever remember a team trading two catchers as the Jays did in the same off-season - Gomes and Travis DArnaud - and have them both become number one catchers so quickly. ' ' '

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