Eight times away goals really counted in Scottish football

No more away goals rule as Scottish clubs kick off their European campaigns.

John Hartson's strike in Spain sent Celtic on their way to the UEFA Cup final. Alan Harvey via SNS Group
John Hartson's strike in Spain sent Celtic on their way to the UEFA Cup final.

Scottish sides return to European action this week but there’ll be something different about UEFA competition from now on.

The governing body has scrapped the ‘away goals rule’ that brought elation, quick-fire calculation and, more often than not, utter despair for Scottish sides over the years.

For 56 years, the rule – meaning the winner of a drawn two-legged tie was whoever scored the most goals away from home – was used to settle the closest of contests.

We’ve picked out a few unforgettable games where away goals really counted for and against Scottish teams.

ADVERT

2007-08 UEFA Cup: Aberdeen v Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (Agg: 1-1, Aberdeen win on away goals)

Jimmy Calderwood’s side scraped by Dnipro to make the group stages. (Photo by SNS Group)

There’s no simpler way to understand the application of the rule. Both sides score once and the visiting team’s strike counts double.

The Dons and their Ukrainian opponents had begun their European campaign at Pittodrie in a match that wasn’t encouraging for either. 90 minutes came and went without either side striking a telling blow.

Aberdeen knew they would likely need a goal to progress against the odds, but although they had been knocked out of European competition by the away goals rule on five occasions, they had never yet been the beneficiaries. Darren Mackie’s goal was to change that.

ADVERT

After the Aberdeen striker put his team ahead on 28 minutes in the Meteor Stadium, Dnipro threw everything at Jimmy Calderwood’s side in an attempt to get the two goals they now needed. Jamie Langfield denied the Ukrainians again and again, and the hosts hit the woodwork three times in the second half.

Andriy Vorobey finally got his side an equaliser with 14 minutes to go after Andy Considine’s clearance cannoned off the striker, but Dnipro couldn’t find a second.

The Dons qualified from a group including Atletico Madrid, Panathinaikos, Copenhagen and Lokomotiv Moscow, but were beaten by German giants Bayern Munich in the last 32.

1983-84 European Cup: Dundee United v Rapid Vienna (Agg: 2-2, Dundee United win on away goals)

Jim McLean led his team to the semi-finals. (Photo by SNS Group)

Having reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup in the previous two seasons, Jim McLean’s title-winning side relished the chance to take on the best in Europe in the top competition in the 1983-84 season and again reached the last eight, being paired with Rapid Vienna.

The away leg in Austria proved a tough encounter, with defender Derek Stark putting the visitors ahead after half an hour before Max Hagmayr equalised in the second half and Zlatko Krancjar (father of former Rangers midfielder Niko) hit a late winner.

Stark’s away goal proved to be crucial. The return leg at Tannadice had everything on the line, with Rapid knowing a draw would do them. Davie Dodds scored the only goal, making it 1-0 on the night, 2-2 on aggregate and United the winners on away goals.

ADVERT

McLean and his side faced Roma in the semi-finals and Dodds and Stark scored again in the home leg, but a 3-0 defeat in Italy (with a penalty awarded by a referee a Roma director later said was bribed) ended their adventure.

1989-90 Cup Winners’ Cup: Celtic v Partizan Belgrade (Agg: 6-6, Partizan win on away goals)

Dariusz Dziekanowski scored four goals but Celtic went out. (Photo by SNS Group)

It seems right that a competition reserved for knockout competition winners saw two sides go toe to toe in spectacular style.

A 2-1 defeat in Belgrade in the first leg left Celtic in a reasonable position; holding an away goal themselves but knowing if Partizan scored more than once at Parkhead, they’d have to bag at least four.

The game started exactly as Celtic didn’t want it to, Partizan going ahead through Vladimir Bujacic after only eight minutes.

The hosts needed goals, and a hero. Step forward recent signing Jacki Dziekanowski with a header to make it 1-1 after 25 minutes, then levelling the aggregate score with another strike just after half-time. Aleksandar Djordevic restored Partizan’s lead three minutes later and Dziekanowski evened things up when he completed his hat-trick soon after.

Though the score was balanced at 4-4, Partizan were ahead on away goals and widened the gap when Milko Djurovski put the Yugoslavians ahead once more with just under half an hour to go. Andy Walker scored on 65 minutes but Celtic still needed another.

With ten minutes left on the clock Dziekanowski guided in Galloway’s cross and Celtic were ahead for the first time in the tie. It was 5-3 on the night, 6-5 overall, and the clock was ticking down.

Knowing that another away goal would leave Celtic needing two, Partizan broke down the left at pace and a cross to the back post was knocked into the centre, where Sladan Scepovic headed in.

Celtic out, Partizan through on away goals.

2002-03 UEFA Cup: Livingston v FC Vaduz (Agg: 1-1, Livingston win on away goals)

Vaduz players pleaded with the referee at the end after he chalked off an injury-time goal. (Photo by SNS Group)

From a late away goal that stunned a Scottish side to one that possibly should have.

Jim Leishman’s Livi were drawn against Liechtenstein minnows FC Vaduz, who played their league football in Switzerland’s second tier. The first leg of the qualifying round saw the sides draw 1-1 at the Rheinpark Stadion, where Oscar Rubio had given the visitors the lead, only for Franz Burgmeier to equalise ten minutes later.

Livingston were expected to finish the job at Almondvale but found it tough going. With the sides locked at 0-0 in the final moments, Vaduz won a corner on the right. The cross bobbled to Marius Zarn, his shot deflected past Javier Sanchez Broto and Vaduz celebrated a famous goal that saw them progress in dramatic circumstances.

Except it didn’t.

Somewhere between the corner being taken and Zarn putting the ball in the net, Croatian referee Ivan Novak blew the whistle for full-time. Vaduz were incensed, Novak waved away their complaints and the Livi players shook his hand before marching into the second round and suffering an 8-6 defeat to Sturm Graz.

2002-03 UEFA Cup: Celtic v Celta Vigo (Agg: 2-2, Celtic win on away goals)

John Hartson scored the goal that sank Celta. (Photo by SNS Group)

While Livingston were trading goals with Sturm Graz, Celtic were thumping Suduva 10-1 on aggregate in the same competition, then going on to beat Blackburn Rovers 3-0 in the second round to set up a tie with Celta Vigo.

Celtic won the first leg 1-0 in Glasgow, courtesy of a Henrik Larsson goal, and flew out to Galicia with the tie looking the very model of ‘finely balanced’. Jesuli’s 23rd-minute goal proved that and with the aggregate score at 1-1, Celtic needed a goal. Ulrik Laursen’s free kick was nodded on by Chris Sutton and John Hartson held off his marker on the edge of the box, turned and smacked a low shot into the net.

Benni McCarthy restored Celta’s lead in the second half, but Celtic held on for a defeat in the stadium and a draw on aggregate, with Hartson’s strike proving golden.

Celtic beat Stuttgart in the next round, Liverpool in the quarter-finals and Boavista in the last four before falling to Porto in the final on a memorable night in Seville.

2007-08 UEFA Cup: Rangers v Panathinakos (Agg: 1-1, Rangers win on away goals)

Nacho Novo’s priceless away goal paved the way to Manchester. (Photo by SNS Group)

By the time Rangers played Panathinaikos in their first match of that year’s UEFA Cup, Walter Smith’s side had already enjoyed a decent season in Europe by Scottish standards. Champions League qualification had begun in July with a straightforward win over Zeta.

They reached the group stages and after a strong start brought wins over Stuttgart and Lyon and a draw against Barcelona, a trio of defeats saw them finish third in the group and drop into the UEFA Cup.

Panathinaikos came to Glasgow and earned a 0-0 draw in the first leg and were favourites to progress to the next round.

In Athens, defender Giannis Goumas gave his side the lead after 12 minutes and Rangers were looking at the exit until, with nine minutes to go, Chris Burke’s cross was knocked into the net by Nacho Novo and the visitors were suddenly on top. Goumas had a late chance but couldn’t capitalise and Rangers went through.

Smith’s side went from strength to strength. Werder Bremen were taken care of, then Sporting, and Fiorentina were beaten on penalties as Rangers reached the final in Manchester, only to be beaten by Zenit.

2014-15 Champions League: Celtic v Legia Warsaw (Agg: 4-4, Celtic win on away goals)

Callum McGregor scored the deciding goal eight minutes into the first leg. (Photo by SNS Group)

Of all the away goals on this list, Callum McGregor’s is probably the one where the impact was most unexpected.

When the Celtic midfielder put his side ahead with a curling shot just eight minutes into the first leg in Warsaw, hopes were high that the team was going to make easier work of the tie than some expected.

The optimism was misplaced and Legia roared back to win 4-1, giving Celtic a huge uphill task to turn things around at their temporary home of Murrayfield. The Scottish champions didn’t come close and suffered a 2-0 defeat, dropping into the Europa League qualifiers with a 6-1 aggregate hiding to contemplate.

Legia only made one mistake. The defender Bartosz Bereszynski was brought on for the final four minutes of the second leg, but should have been serving a ban. UEFA took a dim view and awarded the match to Celtic as forfeit.

The default 3-0 scoreline meant the sides were drawn at 4-4 over two legs so McGregor’s goal, a distant memory after all the drama and paperwork of the second leg, proved the deciding factor.

Ronny Deila’s side failed to make the most of their second chance in the competition though, losing 2-1 to Maribor in the next round.

1971-72 Cup Winners’ Cup: Rangers v Sporting Lisbon (Agg: 6-6, Rangers win on away goals)

Colin Stein scored four times across the two matches with Sporting. (Photo by SNS Group)

Rangers’ Cup Winners’ Cup triumph is one of the high points of the club’s storied history but for those involved, a moment on the journey would have had them convinced that their hopes were over almost before they had started.

After beating Rennes in the first round, Willie Waddell’s side faced Sporting, with the first leg at Ibrox Stadium.

The Scottish side were 3-2 winners in the home leg after Colin Stein scored twice and Willie Henderson found the net. They travelled to Lisbon knowing that avoiding defeat would put them through.

Hector Yazalde put Sporting ahead after 25 minutes but Stein replied for Rangers a minute later. Joao Larajeira made it 4-4 on aggregate before half time but after the break Stein restored Rangers’ advantage.

The Glasgow side were headed for the third round until, with three minutes to go, another attack from Sporting brought a goal from Manuel Pedro Gomes and everything was level at full time. Rangers had won the first leg 3-2, Sporting had taken the second by the same scoreline and extra time was needed.

Rangers showed their continued threat in the 100th minute when Henderson found the net but five minutes later, Sporting found an answer once again when Fernando Peres struck. With no further goals and the scoring locked at 6-6 after 120 minutes, Dutch referee Laurens van Raavens signalled for penalties.

Sporting won the shoot-out and Rangers trudged to the dressing room contemplating the rest of the season without European football.

Van Raavens returned to his dressing room only to be interrupted by UEFA officials who congratulated him on the way he had handled the match – and then told him he had made an error. The Dutchman hadn’t realised that away goals scored in extra time counted in the case of a draw, and Rangers were winners of the tie.

The Ibrox side progressed to play Torino and Bayern Munich in subsequent rounds and set up a final against Dynamo Moscow. The rest is history, and the away goal rule had played a crucial part.


Ineos to spend over £1bn at Grangemouth to slash emissions

Ineos says it wants to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045.

STV News
Grangemouth: Ineos to spend £1bn on slashing emissions.

Scotland’s largest climate polluter Ineos says it is spending more than £1bn in a bid to slash greenhouse emissions at its Grangemouth refinery.

The petrochemical multinational said its Grangemouth operation – which includes oil, chemical and power plants – currently emits around three million tonnes of CO2 per year.

Ineos said it wants all businesses at the Grangemouth site to make and use hydrogen along with using carbon capture mechanisms to store at least one million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.

It added its plans will “deliver a reduction in excess of 60% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 through a series of investments, partnerships, and innovative engineering”.

ADVERT

Ineos says it wants to achieve net-zero emissions by 2045.

Net zero cabinet secretary Michael Matheson welcomed the “significant investment, which demonstrates Ineos’s support for Scotland’s journey to becoming a net-zero economy by 2045.

“This will not only drive forward innovation and diversification to tackle emissions at Grangemouth, but will also support the decarbonisation of other sectors, sites and regions across Scotland”, he added.

Andrew Gardner, chairman of Ineos Grangemouth, said: “Climate change is one of the most urgent environmental, economic and social issues of our time.

ADVERT

“We’ve set an ambitious plan to achieve net zero by 2045 and today we are announcing the next stage of our road map which includes an investment in excess of £1bn.”

Five Ineos sites at Grangemouth poured around 3.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere in 2019, making it the largest climate polluter in the country, according to figures from the Scottish Environment and Protection Agency (Sepa).

The power company SSE ranked as second-worst, with its gas power station at Peterhead emitting around 1.6 million tonnes that year.

Terry A’Hearn, chief executive of Sepa, said: “As Scotland’s environmental watchdog, Sepa has an active and ongoing programme of engagement with Ineos.

“We remain focused on both addressing environmental compliance and in supporting and welcoming transformational innovation and investment wherever it occurs to help Scotland to continue its journey towards net zero.”

Ineos added its plans will create low carbon, hydrogen infrastructure “critical to secure the future of large-scale manufacturing at Grangemouth.”

The refinery at Grangemouth has been operating since 1924 and was one of the first to transform crude oil in the UK. It currently produces a range of fuels including petrol, diesel, kerosene, LPG and jet fuel.

ADVERT

The refinery itself is run by Petroineos, a joint venture between Ineos and PetroChina formed in 2011.

Ineos said since acquiring the Grangemouth site in 2005 it has reduced net CO2 by 37%.


President Biden ‘anxious’ to attend Glasgow climate summit in person

The US leader said he planned to ‘be there with bells on’.

Phil Noble via PA Wire
US President Joe Biden is ‘anxious’ to attend the Glasgow climate summit in person.

The US President said he is “anxious” to be in Glasgow in person to attend a major climate summit later this year.

UK ministers are keen for the COP26 international climate conference to involve face-to-face meetings and speeches after the event was delayed by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

In what will be a boost to organisers, Joe Biden has given his clearest indication yet that he plans to travel from the US to the summit in Scotland, which will run for two weeks from October 31 to November 12.

Speaking in the White House during a meeting on Tuesday with Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Biden said: “As we look ahead to the UK hosting COP26, which I’m really anxious to attend in Glasgow in November.

ADVERT

“We’re going to be there with bells on, as they say.”

Johnson and COP26 president Alok Sharma are working to ensure that the talks in Glasgow result in an agreement to slow global warming.

They are pursuing a target of limiting any further temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius in a bid to prevent the worst affects of climate change being realised.

The summit will involve calls to accelerate the phasing out of coal, curtail deforestation, speed up the switch to electric vehicles and encourage investment in renewables.

ADVERT

Johnson has been pressing world leaders to pledge $100bn dollars annually to help support developing nations deal with the impact of climate change as part of Cop efforts – a request Mr Biden responded to by committing to try and double the US’s outlay to $11.4bn dollars per year, or £8.3bn.

Earlier this month, Sharma said he was confident COP26 would be able to go ahead as planned in Glasgow, despite rising Covid levels in Scotland.

He said that a range of safety measures were being put in place, including providing vaccines for accredited delegates who would otherwise be unable to access the jab in their own countries.

“I am confident that we are going to have a physical COP26. We are planning for that,” he told the BBC.

“What’s vitally important is that the people who are coming are safe but also the people of Glasgow are safe. I am confident that we will have a safe event.”


Renewable energy start-up hopes to power two million homes in five years

Renewco Power aims to accelerate the development of renewable energy projects.

Steve Parsons via PA Wire
Renewco says its founders between them have some 100 years of experience in renewables development and investments.

A new renewable power business hopes to provide enough clean energy for two million homes within five years.

Edinburgh-based firm Renewco Power aims to accelerate the development of renewable energy projects, focusing on the rollout of large-scale solar and wind farms across the UK and Europe.

It already has a gigawatt of early stage projects in the pipeline across the UK and Europe.

And the firm, which has received backing of £24m from energy giants SSE plc, hopes to expand that so it has the capacity to provide more than 4GW (gigawatts) within five years – the equivalent to powering approximately two million households.

ADVERT

Renewco says its founders between them have some 100 years of experience in renewables development and investments.

Chief executive Gavin McCallum, who previously worked for BP Alternative Energy said: “There is a growing and urgent demand for utility-scale renewables projects across Europe, and we are excited about the potential we see for Renewco.

“Renewco has a unique blend of entrepreneurial talent with deep power sector and financial expertise which we will use to accelerate new developments across Europe. We will be growing our team over the coming months, adding further commercial expertise to accelerate the delivery of our strategy.”

Martin Pibworth, SSE Group energy and commercial director said the new company had a “first class management team”.

ADVERT

SSE expects to “generate strong returns” on its investment, he added, saying: “We see this as a complementary investment to SSE’s own core renewables and distributed energy businesses and look forward to seeing Renewco deliver their ambitious plans.”


Pret a Manger to open 200 more UK shops in next two years

The sandwich and coffee chain was battered by the pandemic.

martinrlee via IStock
The company revealed that it plunged to pre-tax operating loss of £256.5m for 2020.

Pret a Manger has said it will open more than 200 UK shops over the next two years, after securing a further £100m cash injection.

The sandwich and coffee chain was battered by the pandemic but said it has seen its city centre sites recover further in recent weeks as more workers have returned to the office.

The company revealed that it plunged to pre-tax operating loss of £256.5m for 2020, in new filings on Companies House.

Pret saw its revenues fall by 58% to £299m for the year, as it was forced to shut the shops for months and saw footfall significantly depressed by Covid-19.

ADVERT

It said its regional shops were now at their strongest ever levels while its London City sites had rebounded to 72% of weekly pre-pandemic sales.

The company said it will look to continue the latest phase of its recovery strategy by investing to rapidly expand its shop estate.

It revealed that it has been backed by a new £100m net investment by owner JAB Holdings and founder Sinclair Beecham.

Funding will be used to help the group double in size within five years, with 200 UK shops set to built in the next two years.

ADVERT

Chief executive officer Pano Christou said that the growth plan will see Pret target more transport hubs, motorway service stations and suburban areas.

“We are keen to open more stores in regional and suburban areas, as these have been really strong recently,” he said.

“We have obviously kept an eye on the way trends have shifted since the pandemic and obviously areas such as service stations have been particularly busy, so that it why we have linked with Moto and Motor Fuel Group

“We are seeing lots of property opportunities but it is unsurprisingly competitive for the best sites, but I think landlords see us as a really strong brand and are keen to bring Pret in.”

The group has diversified its business operations since the start of the pandemic as it sought to ease its reliance on city centre workers for trade.

It saw the chain launch of retail coffee products, it coffee subscription service and expanded through delivery operators.

Mr Christou said the firm was more resilient as a result of its “omni-channel” approach.

ADVERT

He added that certain new launches were more successful than others, with the group pulling back from its trial for evening meals after disappointing results.

The update also comes days after the group announced a fiver per cent pay rise for its cafe workers.

Mr Christou said that the industry-wide staff shortages have posed a “a challenge” for the business, but that it hopes investment in its pay structure could entice more new employees.

The group axed around 30 stores and thousands of jobs following the initial impact of the pandemic.


Strike action ballot for university staff over pensions and pay

Industrial action will be considered at 152 institutions across the UK.

Ceri Breeze via IStock
Union warned that universities could face action that will disrupt the end of term

University staff will be balloted on strike action before Christmas in a dispute over pensions, pay and working conditions.

The University and College Union (UCU) has announced it will open a ballot to members in October on whether or not to take industrial action this term.

The dispute comes after a joint negotiating committee backed pension proposals put forward by Universities UK (UUK) to deal with an estimated £15bn funding shortfall in the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS).

The union argues that changes to the USS will mean that a typical lecturer on a £42,000 a year salary will lose 35% of their guaranteed retirement benefits.

ADVERT

UCU’s higher education committee has confirmed that strike ballots will open at 152 institutions across the UK on October 18.

Six institutions will be balloted on USS only, 83 are to be balloted over pay and working conditions, and another 63 institutions in the UK facing two ballots over both USS and pay and working conditions.

The union has warned that universities could face action that will disrupt the end of term and continue into the next term unless employers return to negotiations with better offers for both disputes.

The president of the National Union of Students (NUS) has offered her support for staff planning to take action, saying “students will hold employers responsible” if vice-chancellors do not come to “a negotiated settlement”.

ADVERT

The ballot will close on November 4, unless employers resolve the dispute beforehand, and UCU will consider the results on November 8 with action expected to take place before the end of the year.

It comes after strike action was held at universities across the UK in February and March in 2020, as well as in November and December in 2019, amid ongoing rows over staff pay, conditions and pensions.

Members of the UCU also took part in an unprecedented wave of strikes at universities in the spring of 2018 amid a dispute over pension reforms.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said: “University staff propped up the entire sector during the pandemic, but they are now being thanked with huge cuts to their pensions, unbearably high workloads, and another below-inflation pay offer – all whilst universities continue to generate a handsome income from tuition fees.

“The truth is that very well paid university leadership, who manage institutions with bigger turnovers than top football clubs, are choosing to exploit the goodwill of staff, repeatedly refusing to address the rampant use of casualised contracts, unsafe workloads or the shocking gender and ethnicity pay gap in the sector.”

She added: “There is still time for university chiefs to resolve a situation which is entirely of their own making, but they must return to negotiations and make credible offers.”

NUS national president Larissa Kennedy added: “Staff working conditions are student learning conditions and we stand shoulder to shoulder with our educators in fighting for a more just education system.

ADVERT

“We demand fully funded, accessible, lifelong education where our spaces of teaching and learning belong to the students, staff and communities they exist to serve.

“Until then, it is entirely in the gift of vice chancellors and employers to come to a negotiated settlement and address the fundamental issues repeatedly raised by staff.

“If they don’t, students will hold employers responsible.”

A UUK spokesman on behalf of USS employers said: “We are disappointed UCU is campaigning for industrial action over reforms to USS, as they have not proposed a viable solution of their own.

“The USS Trustees’ assessment of the scheme’s costs means reforms are needed; no change is not an option. The employers’ reform proposal will prevent harmful and unaffordable rises in contributions.

“UCU may not like the legal and regulatory constraints pensions operate under, but it is irresponsible to make students and staff suffer as a result.

“The reforms voted for by the Joint Negotiating Committee ensure good benefits can be provided for affordable contributions, but employers will still consider alternative solutions.”

He added: “Universities are regrettably well prepared to mitigate the impact of any industrial action on students’ learning, and minimise disruption for those staff choosing not to take part.”

Raj Jethwa, chief executive of Universities and Colleges Employers’ Association (UCEA), said: “It is very disappointing that UCU seeks to kick-start another campaign to encourage its members to cause disruption for students through potentially damaging industrial action.”

He added: “The final offer from employers was fair and meaningful in the context of the sector’s ongoing delicate financial situation.

“We very much hope the trade union members understand the considerable pressures which continue to face their HE institutions.”


Controversial housing plans probed by police rejected

An investigation found no wrongdoing but left the application 'tainted by apparent bias'.

© Google Maps 2020
Near Tappernail Farm, Reddingmuirhead.

A controversial planning application that became the focus of a police investigation returned to Falkirk Council’s planning committee after three years – only to be turned down.

The application by Persimmon Homes to build 91 houses near Tappernail Farm, Reddingmuirhead, had been approved in 2018, before a lengthy police investigation stopped it going any further.

That investigation did not find any evidence of wrongdoing but it left the application “tainted by apparent bias”, a council report said, and a fresh decision was necessary.

When the committee met on Tuesday to discuss the matter, the two councillors who had been at the centre of the investigation – Conservative leader James Kerr and Labour’s John McLuckie – both gave their apologies, although the report made clear that “there is no suggestion of any actual wrongdoing by any party”.

ADVERT

A deputation by Shieldhill and California Community Council which attempted to speak about the two councillors was interrupted, with at least two councillors threatening to walk out if any more was said in the meeting.

Maria Montenaro, speaking on behalf of Shieldhill and California Community Council, argued that the background was relevant as they felt there it showed that planning permission should never have been granted in the first place.

This was crucial to her argument because without that permission in place, the site would not have been included in the new local development plan (LDP2), which planners and councillors have to consider very carefully before going against.

However – after legal advice was given – she was forced to curtail her remarks and concentrate on her plea that the land was vital green space for the community – a plea that was backed by a petition with more than 200 signatures.

ADVERT

Speaking on behalf of Persimmon, Gordon Johnson said it was their “strong belief that this development will be a positive addition, not a negative drain as suggested by some”.

He said: “These houses will bring new families to these communities, who will, in turn, bring new children to the schools, spend money in local shops and use local services.”

The developer had also agreed to pay contributions of more than £600,000 to alleviate any impact on health services, education and transport, while it also promised that 23 of the homes would be affordable housing.

Councillor Gordon Hughes said that he was concerned that the site was an over-development of the Braes, which has seen a massive expansion in recent years.

And he was not convinced that Persimmon’s financial contributions would make up for the pressure that would be put on schools, doctors’ surgeries and transport by the new housing.

He was backed by two lower Braes councillors, Alan Nimmo and Adanna McCue who had similar concerns.

In making their decision, all of the councillors were aware that the housebuilders could well appeal to the Scottish Government to overturn their decision.

ADVERT

For the third Lower Braes councillor, Malcolm Nicol, that was the deciding factor in his decision to back the development as he was worried that the housebuilder would win on appeal and the council would lose the promised contributions.

After a vote, the committee turned down the plan.

Speaking after the meeting, Maria Montenaro said: “I’m disappointed that Sheildhill and California Community Council’s deputation wasn’t heard in full, given the controversy over the application, but it’s a good decision and I think the right decision for communities across the Braes area.”

Story by local democracy reporter Kirsty Paterson


Drink-driver sentenced over death of two friends in crash

Logan Russell was 17 when his Vauxhall Corsa left the road and collided with a tree in Fife.

Police Scotland
Tragedy: Ethan King and Connor Aird died following the crash in 2018.

A drink-driver who caused the deaths of two teenage friends as he drove them home from a party has been ordered to be detained for 42 months.

Logan Russell was 17 when his Vauxhall Corsa left the road and collided with a tree in Fife.

Ethan King, 17, died at the scene. Connor Aird, also 17, died later in hospital. A third passenger, Daniel Stevens, suffered serious injuries and spent a week in hospital.

Russell, now 20, managed to get out of the vehicle and told witnesses who went to their aid: “Help my friends. Can you get them out the car? It’s all my fault.”

ADVERT

On Tuesday, a judge told Russell that he should have known the risks of driving after consuming alcohol and with a limited amount of sleep.

Lord Boyd of Duncansby said that if he was going to drink, he should not have taken the car, and added: “What happened here should be a warning for others.

“The victims are not just those who have died, but those left to grieve.”

He told Russell, who was also banned from driving for four years, that if he had been a mature adult offender he would have jailed him for six to seven years for the offence.

ADVERT

Russell, from Leslie in Fife, earlier admitted causing the deaths by careless driving while over the drink-drive limit.

He had previously faced a charge of causing the deaths by dangerous driving on the A915 Standing Stane Road at Windygates, Fife, on November 11, 2018.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that he had held a full driving licence for just 55 days when the fatal collision occurred after he lost control of the car.

‘Drinking alcohol’

Advocate depute Leanne McQuillan said that on the evening of November 10, 2018, into the early hours of the next day Russell and his passengers had attended a party at a girl’s home in Windygates.

The prosecutor said: “The accused was seen by various guests to be drinking alcohol throughout the course of the evening as were the other guests.”

She said about 8.15am the girl’s father got up and noticed four youths were still in the garden and went out and told them it was time to leave.

He was uncomfortable about them leaving in a car and went to speak to them. He thought the passengers seemed drunk, but Russell did not and he drove off.

ADVERT

The collision happened about 20 minutes later as Russell headed in the direction of Kirkcaldy. Two motorists were driving behind Russell’s Corsa.

The advocate depute said: “The witnesses described the car drifting gradually to the right, crossing the centre line into the opposing carriageway.

“No one saw the brake lights illuminate. The vehicle then left the roadway, struck a wooden post and fence, entered a field and collided with a tree.”

Witnesses saw smoke and stopped, and the emergency services were alerted.

As they approached the vehicle they saw Russell walk around from the driver’s side as he made a plea to help his friends.

He told police he was the driver and gave a positive breath test. A blood sample was later analysed and found to contain 118 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The legal limit in Scotland is 50 milligrams of alcohol.

‘He will live with it for the rest of his life’

Mr King was found to have died after sustaining significant head trauma. Mr Aird died on November 16 as a result of chest and head injuries.

Mr Stevens suffered fractured bones but made a full recovery, although suffers occasional pain in a leg. The court heard he remembers nothing of the crash or the party. 

Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson, for Russell, said: “He made a clear error to drive that morning – a dreadful error of judgement – and he understands that.

“There was a lapse in concentration, as he accepts, which led to this tragic accident.

“He does accept absolutely that he is going to be sent into custody today and he hopes that brings some solace to the families because he is deeply remorseful about what has happened.

“He will live with it for the rest of his life.”


Big event organisers not required to check vaccine status of everyone

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon provided an update on the Covid passport scheme at the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday.

Alan Harvey via SNS Group

Organisers of large events in Scotland will not be expected to check the vaccine certification of every single person in attendance.

Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the move following concerns raised by Scottish football bosses that it would not be possible to check the vaccine status of every supporter attending matches.

However, the First Minister insisted that those organising large events will still be expected to carry out a “reasonable” number of checks.

Sturgeon said that at venues such as nightclubs, and at “relatively small” events, it is expected that it will be possible to check the vaccine certifications for everyone who is in attendance.

ADVERT

The SNP leader made the comments as she provided an update on the Scottish Government’s Covid passport scheme, which will come into effect from 5am on Friday, October 1 – with the NHS Covid Status App available for download from September 30.

Sturgeon explained that certification will be required for any venues that meet the set criteria.

It includes that the venue is open between midnight and 5am, serves alcohol after midnight, provides live or recorded music for dancing, and has a designation space which is in use where dancing is permitted.

“A pragmatic and sensible approach will be taken to each piece of guidance,” the First Minister told MSPs.

ADVERT

“In legal terms, venues will be required to take ‘all reasonable measures’ to implement the scheme – in plain terms, that boils down to using common sense.

“So, for example, a venue that has a dancefloor operating after midnight – and meets the other criteria – will have to operate the certification scheme. 

“However, they won’t need to check people coming in for a pub lunch twelve hours earlier, that clearly wouldn’t be reasonable.

“But by the evening, it would be reasonable to check customers as they arrive. That’s what we mean by common sense.

“A pragmatic approach will be encouraged, so that businesses can make sensible judgements.”

Sturgeon said that the Scottish Government is working with businesses and environmental health officers to provide specific advice and guidance.

She told the Scottish Parliament: “At a venue such as a nightclub, or at a relatively small event, we expect that it will be possible to check vaccine certificates for everyone in attendance.

ADVERT

“However at larger events, organisers will be expected to carry out a reasonable number of checks.

“We are currently working with businesses and environmental health officers to provide specific advice and guidance on the level of checks that should be considered both reasonable and effective to fulfil the important public health objective of certification.”

More on:

Prosecutors order watchdog to probe death of woman hit by police van

Margaret McCarron, 58, died after being struck by a police van in Motherwell.

Police Scotland
Named: Margaret McCarron was struck by a van.

Scotland’s prosecution service has instructed a police watchdog to investigate the death of a pedestrian who died after being hit by a marked police van.

Margaret McCarron, previously Boland, 58, from Motherwell, North Lanarkshire, was struck on Merry Street in her home town on Sunday evening.

She was taken to University Hospital Wishaw following the incident at around 8.20pm, but pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Police Scotland said the marked Ford Transit van was on routine duties at the time and did not have either blue lights or sirens on.

ADVERT

Neither of the officers in the van were injured.

Police Scotland said the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner (Pirc) has been instructed by the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service to investigate the death.

The force had referred the incident to Pirc.

Police Scotland’s Road Policing Unit is investigating the incident and appealing for witnesses.

ADVERT

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting incident 3309 of September 19.


You're up to date

You've read today's top stories. Where would you like to go next?