Tag Archives: county

County Championship 2013: Nick Compton"s rise highlights importance of domestic circuit

County cricket is back! And if you're in any doubt how relevant it is, just ask Compton

By
Richard Gibson

PUBLISHED:

22:26 GMT, 9 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

09:19 GMT, 10 April 2013

Anyone wondering whether the County Championship retains its relevance within the framework of 21st-century cricket ought to pose the question to Nick Compton.

In an age when Twenty20 offers the quickest route to fame and fortune, Compton took the sleepy backroads around the shires with Somerset to reach the international fast lane.

Perhaps held back in his early career by lugging a famous surname around, the 29-year-old has flourished since moving to Taunton in 2010.

Driving seat: Nick Compton hit back-to-back centuries in New Zealand to all but secure his Ashes spot

Driving seat: Nick Compton hit back-to-back centuries in New Zealand to all but secure his Ashes spot

Prolific: Compton averaged 99.25 last season

Prolific: Compton averaged 99.25 last season

Last season he achieved a Bradman-esque
County Championship average of 99.25 and, two Test hundreds in New
Zealand later, he holds an England place three months shy of the Ashes.

‘The County Championship provides the route to the England team and it is really important that message is projected.

'Compton is a fine example of someone who was banging out big runs to a degree where we could no longer not pick him,’ acknowledged England limited-overs coach Ashley Giles as county sides prepare for Wednesday's opening games of the Championship season.

‘In the end he selected himself by the sheer weight of numbers he was stacking up and that has to be a boost for all county cricketers out there.

'From my experience with Warwickshire, he was by far the stand-out guy we played against; by virtue of the fact you actually had to get him out.

'He exhibited the skills you look for in a top player as well. You can’t just do it by getting runs, you have to display the mental and physical attributes to play Test cricket.’

Mark Butcher, a predecessor of Compton’s as an England Test opener, added: ‘Compo’s thing is that he was not picked on the basis of one glorious summer. He has done it year in, year out and that as much as anything is the lesson for others.’

Recognition: England coach Ashley Giles believes Compton selected himself after his prolific run-scoring

Recognition: England coach Ashley Giles believes Compton selected himself after his prolific run-scoring

Championship cricket, with its
unrelenting schedule, remains the best gauge of a player’s credentials,
according to Giles, the director of cricket who guided Warwickshire to
the title last September.

‘Over
the course of a long season, take away all the variables of weather,
injuries to a degree, and it is the best signal of who is the best
cricket team in the land,' he said.

On Wednesday morning, the Championship
pennant will be hoisted on the pavilion at Edgbaston for the champions’
opening fixture against Derbyshire. But who does Giles view as the most
likely challengers this year

Champions: Warwickshire will begin their Division One defence on Wednesday against Derbyshire

Champions: Warwickshire will begin their Division One defence on Wednesday against Derbyshire

Addition: Middlesex have been strengthened by the signing of James Harris (left)

Addition: Middlesex have been strengthened by the signing of James Harris (left)

‘I think Middlesex will be a dangerous side,’ he said. ‘When we sat back at the end of last season and reflected, we felt they were the most similar side to us in how they played their cricket. If they had nudged us a bit harder last year I reckon they could have beaten us but they were quite tentative.’

Former Surrey batsman Butcher, meanwhile, said: ‘I will be keeping an eye on Yorkshire because they are a very talented group. They have some young guys in there so to go all the way might be beyond them because of that youth.

‘To me it’s no surprise that Warwickshire got into positions to win things over the past couple of years because of the average age of their team. They are a mature team, not an old team.'

Cups run over: All the trophies that will be played for this summer, and the Ashes in the middle

Cups run over: All the trophies that will be played for this summer, and the Ashes in the middle

Ashley Giles and Mark Butcher were talking ahead of this year’s LV= County Catch-up – A monthly online programme featuring news, player interviews and behind the scenes insight from the LV= County Championship circuit.

Taribo West accused of lying about being 28 when he was 40

Taribo West 'was 40 when he said he was 28', claims former Partizan Belgrade chief

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

14:49 GMT, 3 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:28 GMT, 3 April 2013

Former Derby County, Plymouth and Inter Milan defender Taribo West has been accused of lying about his age.

The former Nigeria centre half, now retired, joined Serbian team Partizan Belgrade in 2002 after leaving Derby County and told club bosses he was 28.

But now the ex-president of Partizan, Zarko Zecevic, has accused him of lying, saying the defender was actually 40.

Taribo West while at Partizan

Taribo West while at Partizan

Accusation: Taribo West was 40 – not 28 as he claimed – when he played for Partizan Belgrade, according to the club's former president Zarko Zecevic

Ram raider: West (right) challenges Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink while playing in the Premier League for Derby County

Ram raider: West (right) challenges Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink while playing in the Premier League for Derby County

'He joined us saying he was 28. We
only later found out he was 40, but he was still playing well so I don’t
regret having him on the team,' Zecevic said.

But according to the Croatian media, the
former defender known for his colourful hairstyles also lied when trying
to join Croatia’s Rijeka club.

At the age of 44, they said West told club doctors he was only 32.

Milan spells: West made his name with Inter Milan but also played a few games for rivals AC (below)

Milan spells: West made his name with Inter Milan but also played a few games for rivals AC (below)

Cross country: West with AC

Blue boy: West with Teddy Shedingham during Sir Alex Ferguson's testimonial match

Blue boy: West with Teddy Shedingham during Sir Alex Ferguson's testimonial match

It was only after an examination that the doctors raised suspicions with the club because West’s knees suggested he was older.

He wasn’t signed to the team but later
joined Plymouth and then Iranian side Paykan FC, where he ended his
career at the age of 46 in 2008.

Today his Wikipedia entry says he is 39.

Super Eagle: The Nigeria defender coloured his hair green to go with his national side's kit at France 98

Super Eagle: The Nigeria defender coloured his hair green to go with his national side's kit at France 98

Taribo

Taribo v Yugoslavia

Taribo West V Gabriel Batistuta

Brighton report homophobic abuse from rival fans to FA – list of alleged chants including from Colin Kazim-Richards

REVEALED: The shocking list of alleged homophobic abuse suffered by Brighton supporters… including from one of their former players

-13

Date
Fixture
Examples of alleged chants reported
GFSN comments
August 14, 2012
Swindon Town (A)
'Town full of f*gg*ts.'
Other abuse heard too.
Letter sent from BHASC to Swindon Town FC.
Response received from club who said that they would be vigilante and apologised.
August 18, 2012
Hull City (A)
'We can see you holding hands' and others.

Player rubs his hands up and down several times over his backside whilst standing in front of, but with his back to, Brighton fans.
Spoke to senior steward after match.
Letter sent to club.
Club’s stewards take action during game.
Hull City FC defended its player saying he had done nothing wrong.
August 21, 2012
Cardiff City (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
August 25, 2012
Barnsley (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
September 1, 2012
Burnley (A)

Home fans used many derogatory words. So bad that BBC Sussex radio had to turn off a microphone and apologise several times on air for the language being used around them.

No action was taken.
September 14, 2012
Sheffield Wednesday (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
September 18, 2012
Watford (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
September 22, 2012
Millwall (A)
Multiple, persistent chants heard.
No action was taken this season.
BHASC corresponded with Millwall in 2011 & 2012 season and have trusted them to work away at the problem.
September 29, 2012
Birmingham (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 2, 2012
Ipswich Town (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 6, 2012
Derby County (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 20, 2012
Middlesbrough (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
October 23, 2012
Leicester City (A)
A variety of chants including 'We can see you holding hands'.
BHASC has reported to Leicester City FC in the past who didn’t accept that it was anything but 'banter'. With this mind set BHASC didn’t see that we could achieve anything else at this time.
October 27, 2012
Blackpool (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
November 2, 2012
Leeds United (H)
Several different chants
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
November 6, 2012
Peterborough (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
November 17, 2012
Huddersfield Town (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'You're just a town full of f*gg*ts'
Spoke to police at game and letter sent to club.
Club responded apologising and explaining actions of stewards in preventing abuse spreading
November 24, 2012
Bolton Wanderers (H)
'We can see you holding hands'
'You’re just a town full of b*****s'
'We always sh*g girls'

Email sent to Bolton who responded.
November 27, 2012
Bristol City (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
December 1, 2012
Crystal Palace (A)
'Palace 5, Brighton 0, Brighton take it up the b*m'

'We can see you holding hands.'
Complaint to stewards and letter sent to club.

No action taken at the time by the stewards, but Senior Steward reprimanded by CPFC for failing to take action.
December 8, 2012
Charlton Athletic (A)
'We can see you holding hands.'
Chants were sporadic and did not spread possibly due to actions of stewards.
16 December 2012
Nottingham Forest (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
December 18, 2012
Millwall (H)
Several individual incidents reported after the game. A father and son pair of Brighton fans were walking away from the ground and the father was asked 'Do you pass him round'
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
December 29, 2012
Watford (H)
Sporadic chanting reported
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
January 1, 2013
Ipswich Town (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
January 5, 2013
Newcastle United (H)
Sporadic homophobic chanting reported
Stewards took action to prevent chants being spread.
January 12, 2013
Derby County (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
January 19, 2013
Birmingham City (A)
'Does your boyfriend know you're here'
'Go home you qayers'
'Up your a*** m’lord, up your a***'

Incidents were reported to Birmingham City FC.
January 22, 2013
Blackburn Rovers (A)
'Soft Southern poofters'
Two fans attacked outside the ground.
n/a
January 26, 2013
Arsenal (H)
'Does your boyfriend know you're here'
'We can see you holding hands'
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments
February 2, 2013
Sheffield Wednesday (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'Does your boyfriend know you're here'
'Town full of f*gg*ts'
'Up your a***, up your a***, if you’re not a f****** w***** you’re a gayer'
Complaint made to stewards. BHASC understands that stewards may have taken action to prevent the chants spreading.
February 9, 2013
Hull City (H)
Local paper reported that three Hull fans were arrested for homophobic comments made after the match.

Two of those arrested were cautioned.
February 12, 2013
Blackburn Rovers (H)
Homophobic gestures from Blackburn player, alleged to be Colin Kazim-Richards
Investigations by the Sussex County Police and The FA.February 19, 2013
Cardiff City (A)
Nothing audible
n/a
February 23, 2013
Burnley (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
March 2, 2013
Huddersfield Town (H)
Nothing audible
n/a
March 5, 2013
Bristol City (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'You’re just a town full of f*gg*ts'
'What’s it like to suck a c***'
'We drink cider, you suck c***'
'The referee’s a gay boy'
'Gay and you know you are'
Incidents not reported.
March 9, 2013
Bolton Wanderers (A)
'We can see you holding hands'
'Do you take it up the a***'
'Gay and you know you are'
This was reported to previous contact at Bolton by email. A response has not been forthcoming to date.
March 12, 2013
Barnsley (A)
Nothing audible
Barnsley demonstrated to BHASC procedures of stewards and how they deal with any instances of reported abuse.
March 17, 2013
Crystal Palace (H)
'You’re queer and you know you are'
'We can see you holding hands'
BHASC is comfortable that Brighton & Hove Albion FC has adequate procedures to take action if deemed appropriate. Fans have historically been ejected and on sometimes even prevented from going in if they make such comments.
March 30, 2013
Nottingham Forest (A)
'Does your boyfriend know you’re here'
'You only sing when you’re b***ing'
'Have you ever sh*gg*d a girl'
'We can see you holding hands'
And shouts of ‘f*gg*ts’, ‘gay’ and ‘n*nce’ with limp-wristed gestures
Brighton supporters reported incidents to the police and stewards. The stadium safety officer assured GFSN before the game that a zero-tolerance policy was in place and the stewards would take any appropriate action necessary.

Hibs 1 Celtic 0: match report

Hibs 1 Celtic 0: Griffiths halts Hoops' title charge as champions suffer shock defeat

|

UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 29 December 2012

Leigh Griffiths' 14th goal of the season gave Hibernian victory over Celtic in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Easter Road.

The on-loan Wolves striker struck in the eighth minute when he rounded Hoops keeper Fraser Forster and squeezed the ball in from an acute angle.

The visitors dominated almost totally thereafter but huffed and puffed when not being denied by Hibees keeper Ben Williams, who had a fine afternoon.

Winner: Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game

Winner: Leigh Griffiths celebrates after scoring the only goal of the game

Match facts

Hibernian: Williams, Clancy (Maybury 58), McPake, Hanlon, Stevenson, Deegan, Taiwo (Handling 87), Claros, Cairney, Doyle, Griffiths (Wotherspoon 72).

Subs Not Used: Murdoch, Caldwell, Kuqi, Donaldson.

Booked: Deegan, Clancy, Taiwo.

Goals: Griffiths 9.

Celtic: Forster, Lustig, Wilson, Rogne (Kayal 70), Izaguirre, Ambrose (McGeouch 87), Brown, Wanyama, Nouioui (McCourt 66),
Samaras, Hooper.

Subs Not Used: Zaluska, Watt, Chalmers, Kidd.

Booked: Ambrose.

Att: 16,805

Ref: Craig Thomson

Although Eoin Doyle had two good chances before the break to double the home side's lead with Gary Deegan missing another in the second-half, these three points belonged to the Leith side's resolute rearguard who could have seldom withstood such a battering.

Celtic travelled to Glasgow having built up a head of steam with six successive wins but manager Neil Lennon made three changes to his starting XI with defenders Thomas Rogne and Mikael Lustig and striker Lassad Nouioui in for Charlie Mulgrew, Beram Kayal and Tony Watt with the latter two dropping to the bench.

Hibs showed two changes to the side which began the 1-0 home defeat to Ross County on Boxing Day.

Pat Fenlon drafted in defender Lewis Stevenson and midfielder Jorge Claros for David Wotherspoon and Ryan McGivern, the former starting as substitute.

The visitors, playing in all black, had Efe Ambrose, Rogne and Kelvin Wilson as their back three in a 3-5-2 formation which looked ropey in the early stages, even before Hibs took the lead.

Two minutes after Lustig's free-kick from 25 yards was comfortably saved by Williams, the home side were ahead as the Celtic defence again hesitated.

Griffiths raced on to Paul Hanlon's long ball chased by Rogne and when Forster raced out to meet him, the Hibs striker took the ball wide of the keeper before sliding it with great composure into the net from almost on the bye-line.

Missed chance: Celtic's Efe Ambrose (in air) puts the ball over the crossbar

Missed chance: Celtic's Efe Ambrose (in air) puts the ball over the crossbar

That goal was not in the Celtic script but in the 12th minute Hibs should have been two ahead when Doyle met a long Griffiths free-kick with his head six yards out his limp effort went straight to Forster.

The champions fought back and Gary Hooper hit the post from a Georgios Samaras pass but the flag was up for offside and as the game swung from end to end, Griffiths was also flagged as Doyle's cross-cum-shot evaded him at the back post.

In the 24th minute, with the Parkhead side beginning to turn the screw, Rogne headed a Lustig corner over the bar.

Celtic had changed to 4-4-2 with Ambrose moving into midfield and it was his mazy run towards the Hibs box where he was fouled by Gary Deegan, which earned the Leith midfielder a booking, which brought the next chance for the visitors.

However, Lassad's curling free-kick from 25 yards went high over the bar.

Hibs, increasingly ragged and occasionally desperate, could hardly get out of their own half as Celtic pressed hard for the leveller.

However, four minutes from the interval Doyle missed another great chance he blazed over the bar from 12 yards with only Forster to beat, after getting the break of the ball.

Dejected: Fraser Forster leaves the field following Celtic's surprise defeat to Hibs

Dejected: Fraser Forster leaves the field following Celtic's surprise defeat to Hibs

There was no let up from the Parkhead men when the second half started and in the opening minutes the ball flew in and around the Hibs box, without finding any takers.

The home side could find no respite yet in the 55th they had another good chance when Griffiths took a Doyle pass and laid it off to Deegan but he seemed to stub his two in his attempted shot from 10 yards and the ball trundled through to Forster.

Moments later, there was an appeal for a penalty when Doyle was challenged by Emilio Izaguirre in the Celtic box but referee Craig Thomson pointed for a goal kick.

It seemed a matter of time before the champions and SPL leaders would draw level.

In the 77th minute midfielder Victor Wanyama's 30-yard drive screamed just over the bar, before Williams made a decent save from Paddy McCourt, who had replaced Lassad, with skipper Scott Brown knocking the rebound over.

Moments later, after Ambrose had scooped the ball over from close range, Williams made a great save from Hooper, clawing his shot away from 14 yards for a corner which the Hibs' rearguard again defended.

There was time for Williams to make another save, this time from Kayal, who had earlier come on for Rogne, and somehow the final whistle sounded with Hibs having held out for three points.

League One round-up: Sheffield United stay top

League One round-up: Blades stay top with routine victory

|

UPDATED:

19:34 GMT, 26 December 2012

Sheffield United retained their place at the summit of npower League One with a 3-0 victory over relegation-haunted Scunthorpe.

Shaun Miller and Dave Kitson were on target while Nick Blackman struck a penalty to secure a routine win for the Blades.

Max Power and Adam McGurk were on the scoresheet as second-placed Tranmere came from behind to end a six-match winless league run with a 2-1 victory against Crewe.

Top of the table: Sheffield United's Shaun Miller (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal against Scunthorpe

Top of the table: Sheffield United's Shaun Miller (right) celebrates scoring the opening goal against Scunthorpe

Brentford continued their quest for automatic promotion with an impressive 3-1 victory over Colchester.

The Bees were two goals ahead inside 12 minutes as Marcello Trotta broke the deadlock and, after Josh Thompson was dismissed for a professional foul, Adam Forshaw smashed in the free-kick from 18 yards.

RESULTS:

Bournemouth 3 Yeovil 0

Carlisle 3 Hartlepool 0

Colchester 1 Brentford 3

Leyton Orient P – P Swindon

MK Dons 2 Walsall 4

Oldham 1 Doncaster 2

Portsmouth 1 Crawley 2

Preston 0 Bury 0

Sheff Utd 3 Scunthorpe 0

Shrewsbury 2 Notts County 2

Stevenage 1 Coventry 3

Tranmere 2 Crewe Alexandria 1

Drey Wright halved the deficit and although Tom Adeyemi was sent off for two bookings, Brentford secured the win thanks to Harlee Dean's 85th-minute strike.
Will Grigg scored twice as Walsall completed a league double over high-flying MK Dons with a 4-2 win.

Grigg's brace plus goals from Febian Brandy and Jamie Paterson handed the Saddlers a second successive win, while Ryan Lowe and Dean Bowditch were both on target for the below-par Dons.

Crawley came from behind to triumph 2-1 at Portsmouth and extend the Blues' winless run to 11 matches.

Pompey took the lead at Fratton Park when Paul Benson converted Scott Allan's cross after 10 minutes only for strikes from Mat Sadler and Billy Clarke to wrestle back the initiative.

Shrewsbury rescued a useful point with a late equaliser to frustrate promotion hopefuls Notts County in an entertaining 2-2 draw at Greenhous Meadow.

The lively Jon Taylor's 81st-minute cross from the right took a deflection and goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski was left red faced as he fumbled the ball into his own net.

Harlee Dean (right) celebrates scoring the thrid goal for Brentford, his team are now two points off the top with a game in hand

Harlee Dean (right) celebrates scoring the thrid goal for Brentford, his team are now two points off the top with a game in hand

The Shrews had gone in front in the 19th minute with a neatly-taken goal from County old boy Luke Rodgers. Lee Hughes equalised before County moved ahead on the stroke of half time through Jamal Campbell-Ryce.

Lewis Grabban scored his seventh goal in as many games as play-off chasing Bournemouth thumped Yeovil 3-0 at Dean Court.

A goal in each half by Grabban and Harry Arter, prior to Brett Pitman's late penalty, earned the Cherries a 12th win in a remarkable run of 14 unbeaten matches.
David McGoldrick completed the fightback after Coventry came from a goal down to beat Stevenage 3-1.

Lucas Akins gave the home side the lead from the penalty spot, but goals from Richard Wood, Carl Baker and McGoldrick secured the points.

In the hunt: Coventry's Carl Baker (centre) scores past to move his side just five points off the playoffs

In the hunt: Coventry's Carl Baker (centre) scores past to move his side just five points off the playoffs

Preston's winless league run at Deepdale dating back to September 29 continued after the Lilywhites drew a blank in a goalless draw at home to north west rivals Bury.

David Syers scored a last-minute winner as Doncaster prevailed 2-1 at Oldham.

Rovers took an early lead through Rob Jones after Billy Paynter's flick from a Cotterill free-kick had come back off the post before Youssouff M'Changama levelled.

Sam Collins, Matt Robson and Lee Miller fired Carlisle to a 3-0 victory over Hartlepool.

Celtic 4 Ross County 0: Gary Hooper scores double as Bhoys cruise to win

Celtic 4 Ross County 0: Hooper at the double as Bhoys coast to festive win

|

UPDATED:

18:11 GMT, 22 December 2012

A Gary Hooper brace after the break helped Celtic romp to victory over Ross County in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash at Parkhead.

The home side dominated the first half with Staggies goalkeeper Mark Brown forced into several saves, although former Celtic man Rocco Quinn and Alex Cooper both missed great opportunities for the visitors.

However, when Celtic skipper Scott Brown struck a minute after the interval the Highlanders' resistance was broken, and Hooper helped himself to two classic poacher's goals before substitute James Forrest capped his return to action after being out since October with a hamstring injury by grabbing the fourth.

Heading for victory: Gary Hooper scores Celtic's third goal

Heading for victory: Gary Hooper scores Celtic's third goal

MATCH FACTS

Celtic: Forster, Izaguirre, Ambrose, Wilson, Mulgrew, Brown, Kayal (Forrest 58), Wanyama, Samaras (Herron 83), Nouioui (Watt 75), Hooper.
Subs not used: Zaluska, Rogne, McCourt, McGeouch.
Bookings: Wilson

Ross County: Brown, Fitzpatrick, Munro, Boyd, Kovacevic, Kettlewell (Glen 88), Brittain, Vigurs, Quinn (Lawson 77), Cooper (Corcoran 54), McMenamin.
Subs not used: Fraser, Tokely, Macphee, Ross.
Bookings: Munro, Kettlewell, Brittain.

Att: 49,428.
Ref: Euan Norris

The Scottish champions were drawn against Italian giants Juventus in the last 16 of the Champions League on Thursday, but the exciting prospect of those games to be played in February and March did not spill over into this pre-Christmas fixture, especially in the first 45 minutes when a half-filled Celtic Park was subdued.

However, manager Neil Lennon will have been happier with his side's ruthlessness in the second period as the moved five points ahead of Inverness at the top of the table. And there was the bonus of seeing Forrest back in action.

Lennon was forced into two changes to his starting eleven. Left-back Emilio Izaguirre and striker Lassad Nouioui came in for Adam Matthews and Mikael Lustig, who had succumbed to ankle and hip complaints respectively.

The visitors also showed two changes with Mihael Kovacevic and Quinn in for Ross Tokely and Mark Fotheringham, with the former starting on the bench.

County took a point from the champions early in the season in Dingwall, but travelled south without a win in their last eight games and it looked ominous when the Hoops took only three minutes to create their first opening.

Izaguirre raced down the left and his cross found Lassad at the back post, but his header was held by Caley's former Celtic keeper Brown, who made a decent save from Charlie Mulgrew's shot on the turn from a Georgios Samaras free-kick moments later.

All smiles: Hooper celebrates his first goal at Celtic Park

All smiles: Hooper celebrates his first goal at Celtic Park

Brown looked to be in for a long
afternoon and in the 11th minute he made a good save from Hooper's
close-range header, after another Izaguirre cross from the left found
the Englishman unmarked in the box.

The
visitors lacked conviction when they did venture up the park, although
five minutes later former Parkhead midfielder Quinn blazed a drive from
25 yards just over the bar, after being played in by Iain Vigurs.

Celtic's early urgency subsided a little, but they still had County tightly in their grip. On the half-hour mark Brown was again called into action to save a decent effort from Lassad before another Parkhead attack was thwarted when Hooper's drive came off the face of Marc Fitzpatrick for a corner, which came to nothing.

As Celtic continued to press, midfielder Beram Kayal had a low drive from the edge of the box saved by Brown before the Highlanders broke with some purpose seconds later with Cooper setting up Quinn, but his hastily-taken shot was too tame to unduly bother Hoops keeper Fraser Forster.

Christmas cheer: James Forrest celebrates scoring Celtic's fourth goal

Christmas cheer: James Forrest celebrates scoring Celtic's fourth goal

Seconds from the break, with the Hoops defence static, Quinn set up Cooper, but England call-up Forster came to Celtic's rescue with a fine blocking save for a corner which prevented the visitors taking an unlikely lead into the interval.

Any chance of a County upset, however, dissipated just over a minute into the second-half when Hooper set up Brown to drive low past his namesake in the County goal from 14 yards. With the pressure off, Celtic relaxed and when Hooper flicked Lassad's cross past Brown with his head in the 53rd minute the points were effectively secured.

Forrest was given a rousing cheer when he replaced Kayal, but it was Hooper who had the fans off their seats again in the 64th minute when he was in the right place to head past Brown after Victor Wanyama's header from a Mulgrew corner was blocked up into the air.

It became a matter of how many Celtic would score and six minutes later Forrest sped into the County box after after taking a pass from Hooper and shot past the helpless Brown.

Lennon was afforded the luxury of giving 18-year-old attacking midfielder John Herron his debut as replacement for Samaras, before Hooper hit the bar from close-range when it looked odds-on he would secure his hat-trick.

Football League postponements due to weather

Football League programme hit after heavy rain sweeps country

|

UPDATED:

13:26 GMT, 22 December 2012

Blackburn's npower Championship fixture against Brighton was the first match of the day in English football's second tier to be called off as wet weather disrupted today's sporting programme.

The heavy rainfall affecting much of the country forced the cancellation of the Ewood Park clash due to a waterlogged pitch.

A post on Blackburn's official Twitter feed read: 'Today's match against Brighton has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch. A new date will be arranged in due course.'

Off: York's match against Gillingham has been postponed

Off: York's match against Gillingham has been postponed

Football matches off

Championship

Blackburn v Brighton

npower League 1

Hartlepool v Portsmouth
Brentford v Stevenage
Scunthorpe v Carlisle
Crewe v Bournemouth
Doncaster v Milton Keynes Dons

npower League 2

York v Gillingham
Wycombe v Bradford
Torquay v Exeter
Oxford Utd v Fleetwood Town
Bristol Rovers v Rotherham
Morecambe v Dag & Red
Port Vale v AFC Wimbledon

Blue Square Bet Premier

Gateshead v Stockport
Newport County v Braintree
Alfreton v Barrow
Cambridge Utd v Nuneaton
AFC Telford v Luton
Woking v Forest Green
Tamworth v Newport
Macclesfield v Lincoln City

The Irn-Bru Scottish Second Division

Brechin v Ayr

A further statement on the Blackburn
website said: 'Referee Robert Madley made a pitch inspection at 12.15pm
and with player safety paramount, deemed the pitch unplayable due to the
heavy rain experienced in Lancashire over the last few days.'

The lower league fixture list was
decimated by the sodden conditions, with the League One meetings between
Doncaster and MK Dons and Crewe and Bournemouth the latest games to
fall by the wayside.

Brentford, second in League One, were
denied the chance to go top of the table for Christmas when their clash
with Stevenage at Griffin Park was called off.

Crewe had held a second pitch
inspection at 12.15pm, an hour after the surface was first assessed, but
were left with no option but to call the match off, while coaches
carrying the Cherries fans had already been advised to stop on their way
north before a decision was made.

That left just five games set to take place in the third tier, at Coventry, Crawley, Notts County, Walsall and Yeovil.

In League Two only the games at
Northampton and Accrington were set to go ahead, although the former
were set to hold another pitch inspection before making a final
decision.

A statement on York's official
website read: 'After a pitch inspection was conducted this morning by
match referee Stephen Martin, today's match between the Minstermen and
Gillingham has been postponed.

'After heavy rain overnight, the pitch is now waterlogged and deemed unplayable by the match official.

No play: Keep of the pitch sign in place at the Memorial Stadium after Bristol Rovers game with Rotherham was called off

No play: Keep of the pitch sign in place at the Memorial Stadium after Bristol Rovers game with Rotherham was called off

'A new rearranged date for the fixture will be announced later.'

Northampton confirmed their game would go ahead after an inspection by referee Tim Robinson at 12.30pm.

In the conference Kidderminster's game with Dartford was the only fixture to survive the weather, while in Scotland the Irn-Bru SFL Second Division match between Brechin and Ayr was postponed yesterday.

Racing was also affected, with this afternoon's meeting at Navan cancelled because of a waterlogged track.

Officials at the County Meath circuit were left with no other option following an early-morning course inspection.

The day's Aviva Premiership rugby fixtures were set to go ahead as planned although Wasps, who host Sale tomorrow, advised fans to check the club website in the morning for information on whether that match will take place.

A post on Wasps' official Twitter account read: 'Tomorrow's game at the moment is still on! Any final decision would be made in the morning so make sure you check the website first thing.'

Neil Lennon believes Celtic can beat Juventus in Champions League

Lennon plans to add to Barcelona heroics with Turin takeaway after drawing Juve

|

UPDATED:

23:40 GMT, 20 December 2012

Celtic boss Neil Lennon is dreaming of more Champions League glory after drawing Juventus in the last-16 of Europe’s elite club tournament.

Lennon admits that Juventus will privately be pleased to have drawn their Scottish counterparts. But he believes that his Celtic team have the potential to go even further.

Asked if he’d thought about a run to the quarter-finals, Lennon said: 'Of course. This is the furthest we have progressed as a club in this format and it is a huge incentive for the players to eclipse that. This is their time.

Waiting patiently: Neil Lennon (right) watches intently the Champions League draw intensely

Waiting patiently: Neil Lennon (right) watches intently the Champions League draw intensely

Keep your feet on the ground for now: Celtic train before their SPL clash with Ross County

Keep your feet on the ground for now: Celtic train before their SPL clash with Ross County

'They can’t do it after the event. We know they are going to be two monumentally difficult games. But why not

‘They have taken their opportunities up to this point. We have two more games to grasp the nettle.

‘I think Juventus will be really respectful of us but, behind closed doors, they will fancy it. Do we fancy it

‘Over two games, anything can happen. The first game here will be pivotal in terms of getting any sort of result. But what I do feel is that we are capable of scoring away from home; we have proved that. So 0-0 at home, would that be a good result

Tinsel TV: Lennon (left) believes Celtic can cause a shock against Juventus

Tinsel TV: Lennon (left) believes Celtic can cause a shock against Juventus

‘The way we are playing away from home I don’t see why not. If we can match what we did in Moscow and the Nou Camp, then we should be OK.’

The away win over Spartak Moscow in Group G, along with the narrow defeat by Barcelona in Catalonia, were seen as proof of Celtic’s ability to hurt teams on the break.

With Juve going to Glasgow on February 12 before the return leg in Turin on March 6, Lennon feels his team have a chance to cause another shock.

The Midlander puts on his red suit and hands out Christmas presents to clubs

All I want for Christmas is… The Midlander goes down the chimneys of eight clubs to spread some Christmas cheer

|

UPDATED:

21:32 GMT, 13 December 2012

Just because it's the time of year and – quite frankly because I also really enjoy writing this type of piece – I'm handing out a few Christmas presents to our Midlands' teams.

It's meant to be light-hearted. It maybe a bit pointed, but if any offence is caused, I'm going to take the mickey out of myself too somewhere along the line….so what would we give to….

Paul Lambert

Paul Lambert

Gifts: Neil Moxley does his best Father Christmas impression and hands Villa manager Paul Lambert (left) a new creative midfielder and West Brom's Steve Clarke a dose of reality after a great start has become a blip

Carson Yeung (Birmingham City owner) I'm sure what Mr Yeung would value most this Yuletide is his liberty. Difficult to put a price on that, isn't it

What Birmingham City's supporters would value is clarity. It appears that the great sell-off continues to gather pace.

No-one is any the wiser as to how, why and when it will come to an end.

Until that situation is resolved, then Lee Clark is going to continue to have to make-do in the transfer market, I'm afraid, and frustrations will inevitably grow.

Funds: Nigel Clough (pictured) will be hoping that young starlet Will Hughes, who has attracted interest from Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, brings much-needed funds

Funds: Nigel Clough (pictured) will be hoping that young starlet Will Hughes, who has attracted interest from Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool, brings much-needed funds

Nigel Clough (Derby County manager) After spending four seasons in charge of the Rams, the current manager's late father was mounting a First Division title tilt.

But then, Clough Snr operated in different times. I remain a fan of Clough Jnr – I think his squad is evolving – and the players he has signed have a desire to be successful.

It is a pity that won't be cut too much slack in the New Year. The word is that some funds will need to be generated.

I've not seen him yet – except on television – but if the rumours are right Manchester City, Arsenal and Liverpool are tracking Will Hughes, then he must be half-decent.

Therefore, I wish for Mr Clough a clean and healthy balance sheet that gives him an evens-chance of pushing Derby upwards.

Paul Lambert (Aston Villa manager) Having witnessed a car-crash of a performance in the first home fixture against Everton, I feared for Villa.

I fear no longer but I'd be happier still if they had a playmaker who could really make a difference in the final third of the field.

The Scot deserves credit for his policy. A few players have certainly done themselves no harm. I've always liked Ciaran Clark. Chris Herd is a battler and should have been given a chance to establish himself as a right-back under Alex McLeish.

More from Neil Moxley…

The Midlander: Darren's situation has Villa Bent out of shape
07/12/12

The Midlander: Cunning Clarke has West Brom punching above their weight
22/11/12

The Midlander: Football is a results business… but it's never that clear cut for Clark and Clough
15/11/12

The Midlander: Was O'Neill a good Villa boss Let's end this debate once and for all…
08/11/12

The Midlander: Coventry can begin to paint rosy future with morale-boosting Wembley run
19/10/12

The Midlander: Pearson deserves so much more as Leicester target the Premier League
12/10/12

The Midlander: Bent mystery at Villa making life under Lambert very interesting
04/10/12

The Midlander: Baggies crashed out, but at least they took the Capital One Cup seriously
27/09/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

But the former Blues boss went out and bought Alan Hutton instead. Expensive mistake, that. Nathan Baker has been a revelation and, obviously, Christian Benteke has caught the eye.

I have to say I'm a huge Matthew Lowton fan. This boy goes about his business in a quiet, effective and understated fashion. Where Lambert is lacking is someone with a bit of guile to take games such as the one against Stoke City at the weekend and open up defences or fire one in from the edge of the box.

So, it's a number ten for Paul Lambert. And a Wembley appearance Another League Cup triumph Fingers crossed.

Nigel Pearson (Leicester City boss) The easiest present of the lot to source. No boardroom interference…please.

Leicester's boss can be a crotchety so-and-so on occasion but if the Foxes' hierarchy can leave him alone, I have a feeling he will end up delivering this season.

From what I've seen, Danny Drinkwater has come on leaps and bounds and by securing a defender of Wes Morgan's quality, Pearson was always going to reap rewards in the medium-term.

I've a sneaky feeling the Foxes will be adding – hurray – to our Midlands' contingent in the top-flight next season.

Steve Clarke (West Brom head coach) I'd just like a dash of reality to be sprinkled all over Clarke's Christmas pud.

While everyone outside of the club appears to be getting carried away by a storming start to the season, it was always likely that the Baggies would suffer a slight blip somewhere along the way.

It seems that blip is now. The overall quality of Clarke's squad will see them finish well clear of trouble, but all this nonsense about Europe needs to be nipped in the bud early on.

The time to talk about that is April. The only other point is that Youssouf Mulumbu's form so far this season has been sensational. I do hope his presence is not missed during the African Cup of Nations.

Clarke won't get carried away, he's too experienced for that. But it will be interesting to see how he handles this, given that he's now number one in his own right.

Dispute: Coventry City need an end to the dispute over their stadium, the Ricoh Arena

Dispute: Coventry City need an end to the dispute over their stadium, the Ricoh Arena

Coventry City – the whole club – the board of directors, manager Mark Robins and his players and the long-suffering support – need an end to the situation with the stadium which, quite frankly, must be resolved to the benefit of the club.

I understand why the holding company was formed and the reasons for it. But it is a nonsense that the decision-makers at the Sky Blues do not have access to matchday revenues.

I have no axe to grind with ACL whatsoever. But I fear that before the end of the year this could all end horribly. I don't think ACL will offer the kind of rent reduction the club is seeking.

I'm not sure they can. They have a mortgage to pay themselves. So, it could get worse before it gets better. It's just such a sad situation.

But it's one the football club has to address, or else it will continue to chase its' tail, I'm afraid.

I just wish the fans some good cheer on the pitch. I have a feeling Mark Robins is going to get the Sky Blues going again.

Wolverhampton Wanderers – I could be glib, here. I could say, a tin of paint-remover for boss Stale Solbakken following that incident with his beamer the other week.

But I'm not going to. I wish him all the best as, from my admittedly limited dealings with him, he has been absolutely honest and truthful when fronting up Wolves' recent failings.

I loved his comment about fearing the sack. ('I was dead, why should that bother me') I also believe owner Steve Morgan is one of the game's good guys.

Despite the flak he continues to receive chief executive Jez Moxey most certainly is one of the good guys. Under his stewardship Wolves have always tried to act in a proper manner.

They may come up short on occasion – as they did with Mick McCarthy's sacking. But there were phone calls made to the press afterwards to dissect why the club had such a hard time of it.

They wanted to learn from their mistakes. Believe me, if only a few more were like that. I wish top six for Solbakken – and Morgan and Moxey too for that matter.

A signing or two in the New Year to add fresh impetus would be nice, too.

Fresh faces: Wolves manager Stale Solbakken (pictured) could do with some new signings to help their bid for an instant return to the Premier League

Fresh faces: Wolves manager Stale Solbakken (pictured) could do with some new signings to help their bid for an instant return to the Premier League

Nottingham Forest – see Leicester City. Leave Sean O'Driscoll alone. Let him manage the club. It will come right.

The financial bonanza that accompanies promotion to the Premier League distorts the thinking at some clubs.

And the word is that the Kuwaitis are getting frustrated – as the Thai owners at Leicester did last season.

Forest have improved markedly from last season when I thought they were going down.

But O'Driscoll – and Steve Cotterill – moved them away to safety. Let's just see where we are in February and if the manager wants to strengthen then, it might be an idea to let him.

As for yours truly, I need three things.

The first is a treadmill. After asking Mr Solbakken whether he was fit to do the job at Molineux following his heart scare, (and with the hindsight of what happened to Gerard Houllier, I thought it was a relevant topic) he challenged me to a race around the Molineux pitch. Ten times. Clearly I need to get fit.

Secondly, I'd like a pair of sunglasses. That way I could have hidden when, during an exchange involving Steve Clarke and a colleague who asked what Roy Hodgson had said after the Scot confirmed that the England coach had been in touch, I dropped myself in it.

I piped up: 'He just asked how his team was getting on.' I got a few laughs from the floor and none from Mr Clarke. I apologised and he was gracious. But that stare…

Lastly, I need a good book. My Albion-loving pal Chris Lepkowski has chartered West Brom's rise during the past decade in his tome: 'In pastures green.'

No-one has been closer to the events at the Hawthorns during the past ten years than Chris. And he's a good writer. So I'll settle for an afternoon reading that.

Until next week…

Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll looks on

 Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson

Interference: Both Nottingham Forest manager Sean O'Driscoll (left) and Leicester City manager Nigel Pearson would benefit from a lack of interference by members of their respective boards

Ex-Manchester City and West Ham firebrand Steve Lomas handed EIGHT-match ban… day after being sent off

Former Manchester City and West Ham firebrand Lomas handed EIGHT-match ban… day after being sent off for another offence

|

UPDATED:

19:17 GMT, 29 November 2012

Steve Lomas appears to have taken his uncompromising style into management.

The former Manchester City and West Ham firebrand has been handed an eight-match touchline ban, a day after receiving his third red card in two months as St Johnstone manager.

Steve Lomas clashes with David Beckham

Uncompromising: Steve Lomas was known for his tough tackling…

Steve Lomas clashes with David Beckham

… as David Beckham found out during Manchester United's trip to West Ham in 1998

Steve Lomas clashes with David Beckham
'Shaggy' had a rough side

Fearless, uncompromising and menacing in a tackle – just ask
David Beckham.

Firebrand Lomas – or 'Shaggy' as he was affectionately known
by West Ham fans for his resemblance to the character in Scooby Doo – was
revered by supporters during his time at Manchester City and at Upton Park.

The Northern Ireland midfielder started his career at Maine
Road in 1991 before he left six years later to join Harry Redknapp's Hammers in
a 2.5million deal.

Adored during his eight-year stint in the East End (he was
runner-up to Rio Ferdinand as the Hammer of the Year in 1998), Lomas lead West
Ham into Europe in 1999 when he captained the likes of Frank Lampard, Joe Cole,
Freddie Kanoute and Paolo Di Canio to Intertoto Cup glory.

The 38-year-old was handed the punishment after being sent to the stand
during his side's 1-1 draw against Celtic last month.

A statement on the Perth club's official website read: 'The SFA have this afternoon handed Steve Lomas an eight-match touchline suspension following his dismissal from the dugout in the match against Celtic on 11th November for foul and abusive language towards a match official.

'This ban consists of six games for the offence committed at Celtic Park plus the suspended two-game ban which was already hanging over him following the game against Ross County in Dingwall in September.'

The Scottish Football Association confirmed Lomas had been punished for breaching rule 203, which incorporates 'dissent, the adoption of an aggressive attitude towards a match official and the use of offensive, insulting and abusive language'.

Lomas had apologised to referee Iain Brines after hitting out at his decision to allow Celtic striker Tony Watt back on to the field following treatment in what he felt was a dangerous position.

The former Northern Ireland international said after the game: 'I have been into see Iain and I have apologised for my language but it is a highly emotional game and I would have been very unhappy if they had scored.'

steve lomas

Shaggy and Scooby Doo

Rough and smooth: Lomas was affectionately known
as 'Shaggy' by West Ham fans for his resemblance to the character in Scooby Doo

The apology was not enough to secure
leniency from the SFA's fast-track tribunal, who also upheld dismissals
for Motherwell goalkeeper Darren Randolph and Kilmarnock captain Manuel
Pascali today.

Lomas had earlier received his suspended two-match ban for accusing Ross
County midfielder Richard Brittain of 'cheating' over an incident that
saw Saints striker Rowan Vine sent off.

And the former West Ham captain could face more action after being sent
to the stand last night by Craig Thomson, shortly after Nigel
Hasselbaink missed a penalty.

'I kicked a water bottle,' Lomas explained after the defeat. 'It was
frustration. I said to the fourth official he could've used a bit of
common-sense.'

St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas was handed the punishment after being sent to the stand during St Johnstone's 1-1 draw against Celtic last month

Seeing red: Lomas was sent to the stand during St Johnstone's 1-1 draw against Celtic last month

Off you go: Lomas sent to the stand again on Wednesday night

Off you go: Lomas sent to the stand again on Wednesday night