Gerrard says he can’t answer questions on Morelos’ Rangers future

The Rangers manager says he's aware of constant speculation around the striker.

Morelos has been a prolific scorer for Rangers since joining the club. Craig Williamson via SNS Group
Morelos has been a prolific scorer for Rangers since joining the club.

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard has admitted that he doesn’t know where Alfredo Morelos’ future lies and just wants the player’s best efforts on the pitch.

The striker has not yet returned to pre-season training after being involved in Colombia’s Copa America squad but speculation has continued about a move away from Ibrox. The prolific forward has been linked with several clubs since arriving at Rangers and there continues to be talk of a transfer this summer.

Asked by Sky Sports news if he was confident that Morelos would be a part of his squad for the forthcoming season, Gerrard gave no guarantees. The manager said that he had been faced with similar questions throughout his time at the club and just wanted “the best version” of Morelos while he is a Rangers player.

“I don’t know,” he said when asked about the player’s future. “I can’t answer that question for you.

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“For me, we want the best version of Alfredo. That’s all we’ve ever asked for – the manager, the players, the fans.

“I’ve read a lot of stuff around Alfredo, I know where it comes from. I don’t know what’s going to happen with him.

“I’m not frustrated. I’m very happy off the back of a fantastic season and moving forward to the next one.

“I get asked this question every window, every few weeks, because you read more about Alfredo in terms of who he’s linked with or where he’s going to go, rather than what he does on the football pitch.”

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Gerrard did confirm that talks were proceeding with Connor Goldson over a new contract and that he was keen to tie down a player who had been a major part of the team’s Premiership title win last season. He also revealed that Ryan Jack was progressing well in his comeback from injury, and may be able to return to full training this week.

Having already added Fashion Sakala, John Lundstram and Nnamdi Ofoborh to his squad this summer, he said he was still hopeful of more new recruits.

“I think the important thing at the moment is to get the people up to speed that are already in,” he said.

“If we can we’ll add one or two more to the cause and we’ll be more than ready.”


‘Racist and sectarian’ singing at Orange marches condemned by police

Arrests made as chief superintendent says some participants intent on 'causing offence and stirring up hatred'.

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Outbreaks of “racist and sectarian singing” by people taking part in Orange Order processions through Glasgow have been condemned by police.

Officers made several arrests as thousands of people marched in the city on Saturday.

Crowds lined the streets in the city centre for the marches, including on George Street and West George Street, and there was a large police presence at Glasgow Green where members of the parades gathered in the afternoon.

This year marks the 200th anniversary of Orange parades in the city and follows the cancellation of the biggest annual event, commemorating the Battle of the Boyne, the last two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Chief superintendent Mark Sutherland, divisional commander for Greater Glasgow said some participants were intent on “causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs”.

He said: “We are aware that on a number of occasions today there have been outbreaks of racist and sectarian singing by some of those attending to support the Orange Order processions, this is utterly unacceptable and we completely condemn this behaviour.

“Where possible, we are seeking to take action against those intent on causing harm and dividing our communities, we have already made arrests in connection with various offences and will continue to do so where required. With large crowds gathering today, our main priority has been public safety and to ensure minimum disruption to the wider public.

“Once again, we see a number of people intent in causing offence and stirring up hatred by singing unacceptable sectarian and racist songs, I want to again condemn this behaviour in the strongest possible terms.

“It is clear that sectarianism remains a serious, ongoing problem in Scotland and whilst policing has an important role in tackling this type of behaviour, this is a collective problem and needs to be addressed in a collective, collaborative manner.”

Earlier this week, Glasgow’s police chief warned the force will not tolerate “offensive behaviour, including hate crimes, drunkenness and disorder” and urged the “large majority” who behave in the “right way” to influence those around them.

Jim McHarg, Grand Master of the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland, told STV News: “As per normal, our members behave in the right manner and always have done and always will do.

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“Everyone in the parade shows respect to every part of the community and all we ask for is the people who come along to support understand that, and indeed the people who object to our existence – that they respect us.”

But the Church of Scotland took to Twitter as the marches took place to condemn anti-Catholic bigotry.

It said: “The Church of Scotland opposes anti-Catholic bigotry and sectarianism. We have a very close working relationship with the Roman Catholic Church.

“Over the years we have worked together to tackle sectarianism and support one another.

“We speak to leaders in the Roman Catholic Church every week and greatly appreciate the friendship that exists between our churches and our communities.”

Up to 800 police officers were deployed to manage the event, which saw marches proceed through the city centre and past Catholic churches.

Following an assault on a Catholic priest in July 2018, marches were re-routed to avoid passing St Alphonsus church on London Road in 2019.

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Members of Call It Out, a campaign group that opposes anti-Irish and anti-Catholic bigotry, were spotted holding “peaceful vigils” outside churches on the routes.

A spokeswoman for the group said: “We are calling on all Glasgow citizens, trade unionists, anti-racists, equality campaigners and those opposed to egregious manifestations of anti-Catholic hatred to join us in peaceful protest in response to the imposition of these marches by anti-Catholic organisations.”

Scotland records another 27 Covid deaths and 6116 new cases

Scottish Government daily figures show almost 100 people are receiving intensive care in hospital.

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Coronavirus: Another 27 deaths have been recorded in past 24 hours.

A total of 27 new coronavirus-linked deaths have been recorded in Scotland, according to the latest Government figures.

The data shows a total of 6116 people tested positive for the virus in the last 48 hours.

The Scottish Government said Saturday’s case numbers may be higher than normal due to a backlog of data being processed following technical issues at Public Health Scotland on Thursday.

The latest figures mean the daily positivity rate currently stands at 9.0%.

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The death toll under the daily measure – of people who first tested positive for the virus within the previous 28 days – is now 8,376.

A total of 99 people were in intensive care on Friday with recently confirmed Covid-19, up 12 from the day before, and 1052 Covid patients were in hospital overall, 15 more than the previous day.

So far, 4,151,735 people have received their first dose of a Covid-19 vaccination and 3,802,183 have received their second dose.

PCR testing for travellers ‘essential to track new variants’

One of Scotland’s leading epidemiologists has backed the decision to keep PCR testing in place for international travellers.

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Those arriving in Scotland will still be required to take a pre-departure test.

One of Scotland’s leading epidemiologists has backed the Scottish Government’s decision to keep PCR testing in place for international travellers.

The UK Government has announced it will allow vaccinated travellers to replace the PCR test currently required on day two of their return to England with a cheaper lateral flow test from next month. They will also no longer have to take a pre-departure test before returning.

But those arriving north of the border will still be required to take the pre-departure test – including from non-red list destinations – before returning, even if they are fully vaccinated, and the day two test will have to be a PCR.

Speaking on BBC Radio Scotland on Saturday, Professor Devi Sridhar, a professor of global public health at Edinburgh University, said she fully supports the Scottish Government’s decision to keep the testing regime in place.

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She said: “Letting go of PCR testing is letting go of one of the main ways we would identify new variants, and be able to even know if it was coming in, if it was being seated.

“And secondly, to be able to catch positive cases that we have tried to control and keep the numbers as low as we can and the pressure off the NHS.”

Prof Sridhar also said the Government needs to make PCR testing more affordable and accessible for those travelling to and from Scotland.

She said: “It is important to keep the testing in place because I was looking at some of the numbers yesterday and of the people arriving into the UK – and again, these are people who need to have a negative lateral flow test before flying – about 400 people are arriving testing positive after being fully vaccinated and about 1,000 people are testing positive for being unvaccinated.

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“If we’re not testing for those people coming in, they wouldn’t even know they’re positive and need to isolate, nor would we be able to sequence those to know if there’s a new variant coming in, which is one of the main things we are concerned about going into winter.”

The Scottish Government also confirmed in a statement on Friday that it will end its current traffic light system for international travel.

From October 4, the green and amber lists will merge but the red list will remain.

Current amber list rules – which allow fully vaccinated people to avoid isolating – will be the default for non-red list countries.

Vaccinations that took place in 17 countries including Canada, Australia, Israel and New Zealand will now be regarded as eligible under the rules, joining jabs in UK, the EU, the USA and the European Free Trade Association.

Eight countries – including Turkey, Pakistan and the Maldives – are also being removed from the red list with effect from 4am on Wednesday.

Travellers from Egypt, Sri Lanka, Oman, Bangladesh and Kenya will also no longer be required to quarantine in a hotel from that date.


Man charged after disturbance in restaurant leads to hospital death

The 44-year-old was taken to Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy after a disturbance at a premises in Inverkeithing.

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A 26-year-old has been arrested and charged in connection with the death.

A man has been charged in connection with the death of a man who was injured in a Fife restaurant.

Police Scotland said officers were called after a 44-year-old man was seriously injured at the premises on Inverkeithing’s High Street on Friday afternoon.

He was taken by ambulance to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy where he died a short time later.

A 26-year-old man has now been arrested and charged in connection with the death.

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He is due to appear at Dunfermline Sheriff Court on Monday.

Police said they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident.


Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 musical reopens Edinburgh Playhouse

The show marks a triumphant return to the theatre which has been closed for 547 days.

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Dolly Parton’s 9 to 5 the musical has arrived in Scotland – and it’s currently delighting audiences in Edinburgh.

The show, starring Louise Redknapp, marks a triumphant return to the Edinburgh Playhouse – the UK’s largest theatre – which has been closed for 547 days.

Country music superstar Parton produced the show and even makes a cameo appearance

Theatre staff say the first week has been “emotional”, but it’s “exceeded all expectation”.

For one performer, opening night was emotional. Kirsty Shaw grew up around the corner from the playhouse and performing on its stage has been a lifelong dream

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Ms Shaw told STV News: “It was amazing because it was my first time back on stage after 22 months I think.

“It was just surreal because it’s my home, it’s where I grew up and I used to watch all the shows.

“I used to do Stage Experience which was like a summer school thing which was amazing, it’s a bit emotional.

“It’s a bit weird but it’s so good – we’ve got two other cast members from Scotland and you can tell that when we’re here we just have so much pride for this theatre and for Scottish theatre and for what we can do.”

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Despite a few safety measures in place, it does feel like a return to normality.

Pam Aldred, Edinburgh Playhouse: “It’s been emotional. For our theatre and for our industry.

“There were times when we thought ‘surely we’re going to get open at Christmas, no, it’s not Christmas. Might be Easter, no it’s not Easter.

“It just felt draining at times. It was really emotional and a bit of a roller coaster.

“When we all got that call back to say ‘right, we’re going to reopen’, I can’t describe the feeling. It was just incredible.”

The show will tour across Scotland later this year.


Kelty Hearts striker suffers racist abuse against Albion Rovers

Nathan Austin is the second player in Scottish football to report such abuse in consecutive weekends.

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Nathan Austin was subjected to racist abuse on Saturday.

Kelty Hearts striker Nathan Austin was subjected to racist abuse during his team’s cinch League Two victory over Albion Rovers.

Austin is the second player in Scottish football to report such abuse in consecutive weekends. Airdrie launched an investigation into a complaint by their player Rico Quitongo.

Former East Fife and Inverness striker Austin netted a hat-trick in Kelty’s 3-0 win at Cliftonhill but admitted the incident had soured the occasion.

Writing on his Twitter account and publishing a photograph of the signed match ball, Austin said: “A Perfect hat-trick tarnished by an Albion fan calling me a monkey but I guess that’s the world we live in. enjoy your Saturday folks cos I will.”

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A Rovers fan group quickly apologised to Austin and distanced themselves from the perpetrator.

In a statement on Twitter, the Coatbridge Boys group wrote: “Today one of Kelty Hearts players Nathan Austin was racially abused by a member of our group, since then the person has owned up to it and has been removed from our group, we would (like) to apologise to Nathan and Kelty Hearts, Coatbridge Boys stand against racism.”

Kelty Hearts later issued a statement of their own in response to the abuse.

The statement read: “We are aware of an incident of racist abuse during our match against Albion Rovers FC today. It came from an individual in the home end terracing towards one of our players.

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“An investigation is underway with our friends from Albion Rovers FC, who gave all at our club a fantastic welcome on our first visit to Cliftonhill.

“Kelty Hearts Football Club shall support all our players and members fully against racism of any kind, we strongly condemn racism and are totally committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination.”

Albion Rovers have been approached for comment.

Days earlier, Quitongo reported being subjected to racial abuse by one of his own supporters during Airdrie’s game against Queen’s Park. Airdrie launched an investigation and gave Quitongo their full support.


Two-year-old girl dies after falling from pony at hunt meeting

The toddler had been riding with members of The Bedale Hunt on land in a village near Northallerton in North Yorkshire.

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North Yorkshire Police confirmed girl died in hospital in early hours of Thursday.

A two-year-old girl has died after falling from a pony during a hunt meeting in North Yorkshire.

The toddler had been riding with members of The Bedale Hunt on land in a village near Northallerton on Wednesday morning when the incident occurred.

North Yorkshire Police confirmed the girl died in hospital in the early hours of Thursday, with event officials saying members were “devastated”.

A Bedale Hunt spokesperson said: “We can confirm that a tragic accident happened on Wednesday, September 15, when a two-year-old girl fell from her pony and subsequently lost her life.

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“As a community we are all completely devastated but are pulling together to support the family involved.

“Our sincere condolences go to all those affected and we urge that everybody respects the family’s privacy during what is a very distressing time.”

A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “Police are compiling a report on behalf of the coroner following the tragic death of a two-year-old girl who was involved in a horse riding-related incident on land at Kirkby Fleetham, near Northllerton.

“It occurred at around 8am on Wednesday and the girl died at hospital during the early hours of Thursday.

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“The girl’s family are receiving specialist support while enquiries are ongoing into the incident.

“Police request that the family’s privacy is respected at this very difficult time.”


Opening hours for pubs, clubs and restaurants extended during COP26

Glasgow’s Licensing Board has agreed to allow one additional hour from the terminal hour when the climate conference is held.

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Glasgow’s Licensing Board has agreed to allow one additional hour from the terminal hour.

Pubs, clubs and restaurants in Glasgow will be able to stay open for an extra hour during COP26.

Glasgow’s Licensing Board has agreed to allow one additional hour from the terminal hour when the United Nations climate conference is held at the SEC.

The decision applies to venues with a premises licence allowing the sale of alcohol on site — and will run from October 31 to November 12.

Board members made the decision on Friday in private after hearing from a Police Scotland representative.

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A report presented to the board revealed: “The Licensing Board may, if it considers it appropriate to do so in connection with a special event of local or national significance, make a determination extending licensed hours by such period as the board may specify in the determination.”

Around 30,000 delegates from across the world are expected to arrive in Glasgow for the major climate talks, which have been billed as the world’s “last best chance” to avert the worst consequences of the climate crisis by US climate envoy John Kerry.

The Licensing Board report added: “As well as a curated programme of events intended to complement the main COP26 programme, there will be various fringe events across the hospitality and events sector within the city in order to encourage businesses and residents to get involved in the climate change conversation.

“COP26 presents an opportunity for an animated and vibrant ‘COP City’ to promote a successful conference, a successful host nation and a safe and secure event.”

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Denise Hamilton, from the neighbourhoods and sustainability team, recently told a meeting of the city’s local licensing forum that the council hoped the event would “benefit hospitality and licensed trade”.

She said a “difficult balance” between helping “businesses to thrive” and preventing the spread of Covid-19 would need to be found.

“We want Glasgow to benefit from having COP in the city, but we also want to ensure that our businesses and residents are not put at risk.”

By Local Democracy reporter Drew Sandelands


Cooking oil fuels ‘perfect flight’ from London to Glasgow

Aviation chiefs say flight from Heathrow to Glasgow produced 62% fewer emissions than same journey in 2010.

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The plane was taken to the runaway by an electric vehicle.

Recycled cooking oil helped fuel what has been described as the “perfect flight” between London and Scotland.

British Airways (BA) said the 52-minute passenger service from Heathrow to Glasgow Airport was “carbon neutral” due a combination of sustainable fuel, an optimised flightpath, electric vehicles and CO2 offsetting.

Compared to the same journey in 2010, the flight produced 62% fewer emissions, according to British Airways and air traffic controllers at NATS.

Glasgow Airport bosses and BA said the flight was designed to demonstrate progress being made by the aviation industry to cut emissions as world leaders prepare to gather in Glasgow for crunch climate talks at COP26.

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However, environmental campaigners described the idea of a “perfect flight” as “complete fantasy”.

What made it the ‘perfect flight’?

  • Sustainable fuel made from recycled waste cooking oil was mixed with traditional jet fuel to meet industry standards;
  • The plane was an Airbus A320neo, which is said to be the quietest and most efficient aircraft in the BA fleet for short-haul journeys;
  • It has lighter seats and catering trollies, while in-flight manuals and magazines have been replaced by digital downloads, reducing fuel use, BA said;
  • The plane was pushed back at Heathrow using an electric vehicle, while only one of its engines was used to taxi to the runway, halving the amount of power used.
  • Air traffic controllers at NATS directed the plane on its climb and descent, to avoid levelling off and unnecessary fuel burn;
  • Computer systems worked out the best altitude to make the journey more efficient.

The passenger flight left Heathrow at 10.36am on Tuesday morning, before landing in Glasgow at 11.28am.

Derek Provan, chief executive of AGS Airports Ltd, which owns Glasgow Airport, said: “This flight demonstrates the progress the industry has made during the last decade and how we can work collectively to decarbonise aviation.

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“As one of the UK’s largest airport groups, we are committed to achieving net-zero by mid 2030s. This involves decarbonising our own infrastructure, including the roll out of fixed electrical ground power, which is powered using 100% renewable energy sources.”

‘Real progress’

British Airways said the experiment – which involved fuel giant BP and plane manufacturer Airbus – offered a “glimpse into the future” of commercial aviation.

BA chairman Sean Doyle said: “By working together with our industry partners, we’ve delivered a 62% improvement in emissions reductions compared to a decade ago. This marks real progress in our efforts to decarbonise and shows our determination to continue innovating.”

‘Complete fantasy’

Campaign group Aviation Environment Federation reacted with scepticism to the airline and airport’s claims.

Policy director Cait Hewitt said: “The idea that we’re anywhere near a ‘perfect flight’ is a complete fantasy. The planes of today are noisy, polluting and carbon-intensive and the industry doesn’t yet have the technology on hand to solve any of those problems.

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“Turning used cooking oil into aviation fuel might help reduce waste and recycle some carbon, but once it’s burned, it makes just as much CO2 as kerosene.

“And there really isn’t enough chip fat around to power the world’s aviation fleet.”


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