Baby born at just 22 weeks finally allowed home

Baby Sofia was born prematurely at 22 weeks and four days and spent four months in hospital.

NHS Lanarkshire via Email

One of the youngest babies to survive being born prematurely in Scotland has finally gone home after more than four months in hospital. 

Baby Sofia was born prematurely at 22 weeks and four days at University Wishaw Hospital, and doctors gave her just a ten per cent chance of survival during labour. 

Yet the youngster has defied the odds and has now gone home with parents Egija and Inars. 

Due on February 1 but born on October 2, at 500g Sofia weighed as little as a loaf of bread and at 26cm, was no bigger than a human hand. 

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Mum Egija, from Airdrie, said: “Everything was fine at the 20-week scan. Then just over a week later, I felt pain so I went into hospital and was told that I was already dilated and had to go into labour. 

“After ten days bed rest, our beloved daughter Sofia made an appearance. She arrived in the world with the biggest scream and was crying so much. We didn’t expect she would survive but that’s where our journey started.” 

Sofia spent her first three months in an incubator with mum and dad spending hours each day by her side. 

NHS Lanarkshire via Email
Baby Sofia was no bigger than the size of a human hand when she was born.

Egija said: “Sofia was literally the size of a hand, so fragile and small and her skin was see-through. I had to wait a week to hold her for the first time because she was so fragile. Once I was able to hold her, they couldn’t get her out of my hands.” 

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Sofia suffered from a number of health issues while in hospital, from a heart defect to stage one brain bleeds, to an eye disease, retinopathy of prematurity and numerous infections. 

She had seven blood transfusions and respiratory distress symptoms as her lungs weren’t fully developed. 

This led to her being ventilated to help her breathe and despite being at home, still has a tube attached to give her extra oxygen.

Egija continued: “I was at the hospital all the time. Some days as long as 16 hours, and my husband would come after work. I just didn’t want to leave her, especially on the many really tough days when we didn’t think Sofia would make it. 

“We want to thank all the staff from maternity ward, newborn intensive care unit and special care baby unit at Wishaw and Glasgow Children’s Hospital. They have saved me and my little miracle. They have done so much for us and they will always be our family and forever in our hearts. We will miss them so much. 

NHS Lanarkshire via Email
Proud parents Egija and Inars are delighted to finally take their daughter home.

“Some of the staff were surprised I was coming in every day with a smile on my face but I wanted to be strong for Sofia. I didn’t want her to see me cry and I never cried in front of her until she was strong enough to go into a cot. Then I had a good, happy cry. 

“She was hooked up to lots of machines and she was ventilated for several weeks to help her breathe. First time they tried to get her to breathe on her own, she only lasted twenty minutes then her heart rate dropped and I felt like I was losing her but the medical and nursing staff were great. I nearly fainted I was so scared. 

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“They kept trying every couple of weeks and on the sixth try she managed to stay off the ventilator. Then she didn’t react well after getting her immunisations and vaccines in the cot and was forgetting how to breathe so had to go back into the incubator a few weeks ago.” 

It was only during the last few weeks Sofia was strong enough to go in a cot as her weight and strength improved. Then it was finally time to go home. 

Egija said: “Sofia has been doing great since we got home. She has the biggest and most beautiful smile on her face and is getting used to her new surroundings. We are all loving it, including my two dogs who are very curious at this new arrival. 

NHS Lanarkshire via Email
Sofia will have a number of hospital checks during her first two years.

“She’s now four months old and I look at her and think she could still be in my tummy because of how small she is, even though she is now four times her birth weight. 

“We have loads of follow up checks at the hospital for the first two years and she has to get check-ups at the lung clinic for three or four years but everything is moving in the right direction. 

“To all other mummies going into such an early labour, there is hope. Never give up. I want to share this story as I can give hope to other mums who are expecting so early.”

Cheryl Clark, NHS Lanarkshire chief midwife, said: “Baby Sofia is such an inspiration and we are so happy she is now home with her family. 

“On behalf of all the staff who have been involved in her care, I would like to wish Sofia and her parents all the best for their future together.”


Greta Thunberg confirms she will march at Glasgow climate protest

Swedish activist calls on striking council workers in the city to join protest during COP26 climate change conference.

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Greta Thunberg is coming to Glasgow during COP26.

Greta Thunberg has confirmed she will visit Glasgow during the COP26 climate change conference.

The Swedish activist tweeted on Monday night that she will join a climate strike taking place in the city on Friday, November 5.

She also voiced her support for striking council workers in Glasgow and urged them to join the protest, which will see people marching from Kelvingrove Park to George Square.

She said: “On Friday Nov 5 I’ll join the climate strike in Glasgow during #COP26. Climate justice also means social justice and that we leave no one behind.

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“So we invite everyone, especially the workers striking in Glasgow, to join us. See yuou there!”

Preparations are intensifying as Glasgow prepares to welcome up to 30,000 people for the conference.

More than 120 world leaders will attend the UN event, which takes place at the Scottish Event Campus from October 31 to November 12.

Road users are being warned to expect disruption as many routes around the venue will be closed for up to three weeks, with diversions in place.

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Ahead of the key climate talks, UN scientists warned levels of planet-warming greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached record highs again last year.

And the conference comes as council workers in more than half of Scotland’s local authorities are set to take strike action as part of a row over pay.

Trade unions representing staff have now notified local government body Cosla that they will take industrial action over the period November 8 to 12.

The strike comes during the period of the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow, with the area one of those that will be hit by the action.

Refuse and recycling workers will be out on strike, along with school cleaners, janitors and catering staff.

The Scottish Government is now being urged to intervene in a bid to resolve the dispute – with the unions warning they could escalate their action if councillors fail to increase their pay offer.

Councils are offering local government workers earning below £25,000 a year an £850 increase in wages, with smaller rises for those earning more.

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This would see staff earning between £25,000 and £40,000 get a 2% rise and those on £40,000 to £80,000 getting 1%, while those earning more than that would get an extra £800 a year.

However the unions insist all workers should get a rise of either 6% or £2000, whichever is greater.


‘All cities have rats’: Council leader defends Glasgow ahead of COP26

Councillor Susan Aitken told MPs that Glasgow was ready for the climate summit 'with caveats'.

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Glasgow’s embattled council leader has defended the state of the city while being grilled over preparations for COP26.

Susan Aitken played down concerns about overflowing rubbish bins and rats on the streets as she said progress had been made to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

On Monday, she appeared before the Scottish Affairs Committee to be questioned about the city’s readiness for the UN climate conference that will see as many as 30,000 delegates and thousands more activists gather from around the world.

Councillor Aitken told MPs that Glasgow was ready “with caveats”.

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She said they were technical hold-ups, none of which were “massive” or “enough to cause panic”.

Questioned: Glasgow City Council leader Susan Aitken.

John Lamont, Scottish Borders Conservative MP, asked the council leader if she was embarrassed by the amount of rubbish in Glasgow.

Aitken said his question was “gratuitous” as she explained her phone was full of photos of waste in London and claimed Edinburgh had seen a worse impact due to the pandemic.

Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross asked if the “technical aspects” Aitken mentioned were bins overflowing, rats on the streets, and cleansing workers being taken to hospital after coming in contact with vermin.

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The Glasgow City Council leader said: “All cities have rats.”

Aitken said considerable progress had been made to address the “very serious challenges caused by the pandemic”.

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Glasgow: A demonstration was held on Saturday in George Square.

She said that there was evidence that rat populations had increased by 25% across the UK and the issue was not unique to Glasgow.

In response to reports of cleansing workers being taken to hospital having been in contact with vermin, Aitken said she took such health and safety incidents very seriously but she understood it had been “minor”.

She gave the example of deploying 115 new litter bins as a demonstration of the work being done to prepare for COP26.

Aitken said Glasgow was one of the best places in the world to hold conventions and had won awards for its work.

Aitken has faced repeated criticism over the state of the streets after images showing litter-strewn pavements and overflowing bins have been posted online in recent months.

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In an interview for STV News and Scotland Tonight, she said Glasgow only needed a “spruce up as we emerge from Covid”.

Rat bites have left three cleansing staff in hospital, according to GMB convenor Chris Mitchell, who accused the council of being “in denial” about a vermin problem that was “getting worse and worse”.

He launched a “rat register” in September to encourage people to record any sightings of the rodents, amid increasing concerns on social media and the emergence of photos and video of rats in the street.

Bags of rubbish were dumped outside of Glasgow City Chambers on Saturday as part of a day of action calling for more investment to tackle the “waste crisis”.

The rubbish dumped in George Square was collected by action teams from different streets and backcourts in Govanhill, Govan, Partick and Dennistoun, as evidence of what campaigners from GMB and Living Rent said is the council’s “neglect”.

Taxi driver Stef Shaw, also known as the poetry-writing Glasgow Cabbie, questioned Glasgow City Council’s head of communications on Scotland Tonight this month.

He asked Colin Edgar what city was Scotland’s dirtiest.

Mr Edgar said Edinburgh was dirtier than Glasgow and added that the city’s cleanliness would not stop a climate deal being reached.

Despite attracting national media attention for the state of its streets, Glasgow is cleaner than the capital according to environment charity Keep Scotland Beautiful.

Mr Shaw launched a petition calling for the council leader to resign because of the “state of the rat-ridden city”. It has more than 5500 signatures with people commenting on graffiti, rubbish and the number of homeless people failed by the city.

Parts of the Glasgow began locking down at the weekend ahead of the United Nations climate conference.

The summit is being held at the Scottish Event Campus on the banks of the River Clyde from October 31 to November 12.


Hunt for men on the run after their vehicle crashes into police car

Officers checked by paramedics and police helicopter deployed following incident in Dalkeith.

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Police are trying to locate three men after crash in Midlothian.

A search is under way for three men who ran off after their vehicle crashed into a police car in Midlothian.

The officers inside the car were checked over by paramedics following the incident, which took place in Dalkeith at around 5.15pm on Monday evening.

A Police Scotland spokesperson said; “The police helicopter assisted in a search for three males after a vehicle crashed into a police car on Eskfield Grove, Dalkeith.

“The officers have been checked over by paramedics and enquiries are ongoing to locate the three men who made off from the car following the collision.

“The incident occurred around 5.15pm on Monday 25 October, 2021.”

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RMT criticises ‘arbitrary deadline’ to avoid COP26 strikes

Members of the union who work for ScotRail will strike during the two-week global climate conference in Glasgow.

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Strike: RMT has been set Wednesday deadline to accept pay offer.

The RMT rail union has said a gun is being pointed at its head after a Wednesday deadline was set for accepting a pay offer that would avoid a strike during COP26.

Members of the union who work for ScotRail will strike during the two-week global climate conference in protest at pay and conditions, with action due to begin on November 1.

Its workers on the Caledonian Sleeper are also set to strike.

The Scottish Government said it will focus on “making alternative plans for rail operations during COP26” if ScotRail’s offer is not accepted by Wednesday.

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RMT’s AGM in Leeds on Monday voted to reject the latest proposal.

The union’s general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We have been given a wholly arbitrary deadline of 5pm on Wednesday to accept this deal or the whole pay offer will be pulled.

“You cannot conduct serious negotiations with that sort of gun pointed at your head.”

He added: “Our message to Nicola Sturgeon, Transport Scotland, Abellio (operator of ScotRail) and Serco (operator of the Caledonian Sleeper) is that there is still time to resolve the pay disputes but it requires some serious movement, the lifting of bogus deadlines and genuine talks.

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“The union is available to get those talks on anytime, any place, anywhere. ”

Rail services in Scotland have been crippled for months by strike action, with few trains running on Sundays.

Three other unions have since settled their disputes with ScotRail.

Scotland’s transport minister Graeme Dey said he was “utterly perplexed at the position the RMT leadership is taking”.

He said the most recent offer to the union, which was made on Sunday, consisted of a 4.7% pay increase over this and next year and a £300 payment for COP26.

It also included an additional payment equivalent to three hours salary for booking on for a rest day shift for the rest of the year, he said.

The minister said the pay offer was “fair and good”, adding: “We understood that we were close to agreement with negotiators apparently happy with the offer, RMT leaders have then moved the goalposts”.

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He said: “What the RMT is now asking for is neither reasonable nor affordable.

“The travelling public deserve and need to know what rail service will be operating in the next two weeks.

“That is why we put a deadline of Wednesday for this offer to be accepted – the enhanced offer remains on the table until then.

“At that point, we must focus on making alternative plans for rail operations during COP26.”

He added: “There is still time to avoid a situation which no-one surely wants, where train services are severely disrupted and hardworking RMT members lose out – but following this decision by the RMT, regrettably that is where we may now find ourselves.

“ScotRail will now go ahead and honour the pay offer for those unions which have accepted it and also those who are not members of unions.”

Council workers across Scotland set to strike over pay dispute

Unions announced on Monday that the strikes will take place between November 8-12, as Glasgow is hosting COP26.

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Strike: Council workers to take industrial action.

Council workers across Scotland are set to go on a five-day strike over a pay dispute.

Unions representing workers in sectors including school catering and recycling announced on Monday that the strikes will take place next month between November 8-12, as Glasgow is hosting COP26.

The industrial action will also include employees working in school cleaning, school janitorial, waste and fleet maintenance services.

The Joint Trade Unions, made up of Unite, Unison and GMB, say they have mandates to take action in half of Scotland’s local authority areas and that it could be the start of an escalating period of action if “the employer does not change their position”.

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They have also written to the cabinet secretary for finance, local government and education calling on them to intervene saying that it is not credible for the Scottish Government to wash their hands of workers by arguing technicalities of the bargaining machinery. 

The Joint Trade Unions say it is ten months since they submitted their pay claim, on behalf of the 200,000 local government workers covered by the Scottish Joint Council negotiating machinery.  

Johanna Baxter, Unison Scotland head of local government, said: “It is the combined failure of both Cosla and the Scottish Government to reward these key workers that has led to the situation where we have now been forced to issue notice of targeted strike action.

“Our members are at breaking point and are worth more than what is on offer – it is deeply regrettable that they should have to withdraw their labour for the employer to recognise their worth. 

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“Over 55% of LG workers earn below £25,000 per year, and the vast majority have received no reward at all for their efforts during the Covid pandemic. 

“The current offer does not even bring the lowest paid LG workers up to £10 per hour.”

Wendy Dunsmore, Unite industrial officer, said: “Unite’s members across 11 local authorities will be taking targeted strike action due to the abject failure by Cosla and the Scottish Government to pay workers a fair and decent wage.

“The incredible professionalism and sacrifice by local government workers has not been recognised during the Covid-19 pandemic, and Unite’s members will no longer tolerate being treated as the poor relation in our public services.”

And Drew Duffy, GMB senior organiser, added: “Today, thousands of these low paid workers will be telling their employer that they will be going on strike across schools and waste to fight for a decent pay rise.

“Scottish council leaders and Scottish ministers have let these workers down by failing to value the work they do, so these workers will now be forced to close schools and leave household waste uncollected to force these leaders to pay them what they deserve.

“It’s been over 18 months since any of these key workers had a pay rise and that is a disgrace given the work they have done over the last 18 months.”

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Councils are offering local government workers earning below £25,000 a year an £850 increase in wages, with smaller rises for those earning more.

This would see staff earning between £25,000 and £40,000 get a 2% rise and those on £40,000 to £80,000 getting 1%, while those earning more than that would get an extra £800 a year.

However the unions insist all workers should get a rise of either 6% or £2000, whichever is greater.

A Cosla spokesman said: “We appreciate everything that local government workers have been doing, and continue to do, to support people and communities during the pandemic and as we begin to recover.

“We continue with ongoing constructive negotiations.”

Strikes are currently scheduled to take place in the Aberdeenshire, Angus, Argyle and Bute, Clackmannanshire, Dundee City, East Ayrshire, East Dunbartonshire, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow City, Moray, North Lanarkshire, Orkney, South Ayrshire, Stirling and West Lothian council areas.


First weekend of enforcement of vaccine passport scheme ‘unmitigated disaster’

The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) say staff have faced' intolerable levels of abuse' and some venues saw a drop in footfall of up to 40%.

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The first weekend of enforcement of Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme has been an “unmitigated disaster”, according to a hospitality sector body.

The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) said that staff have faced “intolerable levels of abuse” and some venues saw a drop in footfall of up to 40%.

It is calling on the Scottish Government to scrap the scheme, which has been legally enforceable since October 18.

Proof of full vaccination is required to enter nightclubs and large events as part of the Scottish Government’s efforts to limit the spread of coronavirus and increase vaccine take-up.

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The measures technically came into effect from October 1, but an 18-day grace period was announced following backlash from affected industries and significant problems with the new app.

SHG spokesman Stephen Montgomery said: “The first weekend of the vaccine passports scheme has been one of unmitigated disaster – and that responsibility lies entirely at the door of the Scottish Government.

“The Scottish Hospitality Group has been warning the government for weeks that their vaccine passports scheme is not ready – but the government’s attitude has been to tell us to ‘get on with it’ whilst offering no safety net of support for businesses or our hard-working staff.

“The experience of this weekend shows that the result has been intolerable levels of abuse of our staff, and the creation of an atmosphere that will totally undermine anyone’s enjoyment of our night-time venues.”

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The SHG comprises many restaurant and bar businesses, including the DRG Group, Buzzworks Holdings, Signature Pubs, Montpeliers and Manorview Group.

It said that over the weekend members reported more than 550 instances where venue staff had to refuse entry to a customer because they had no vaccine passport, an ineligible vaccine passport, or a potentially fraudulent vaccine passport.

There were also a “concerning number” of reports of abuse of hospitality staff over rejections and queues at venues, and continuing problems were reported with the vaccine passport app and its update.

The vaccine certification scheme applies to late-night premises with music, alcohol and dancing between midnight and 5am.

Montgomery said the SHG is seeing some venues closing at midnight to “take themselves out of scope of the regulation for reasons around recruitment and staff welfare”.

He said: “The Scottish hospitality industry as a whole has paid enough for government failures in this pandemic, and it’s time the Scottish Government scrapped this scheme altogether.”

The Scottish Government has been asked for comment.


Girl backs candle-free Halloween after hair fire horror

Karla Peacock suffered serious burns after being set on fire by a candle.

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Karla Peacock was practising blowing out candles ahead of her fifth birthday when her hair suddenly became engulfed in flames.

Instead of celebrating with friends and family, she endured eight weeks in hospital with second and third-degree burns to her scalp and has been left with lasting nerve damage.

Now 16, Karla is backing a new Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) campaign urging people to abandon real candles this Halloween in favour of battery-operated alternatives.

Karla, from Port Glasgow, said: “All I can remember was shouting ‘fire, fire’, and my mum screaming and then me being in an ambulance. I was in hospital for a long time and I’ve had multiple operations since.

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“My injury has had an impact, not just on my appearance, but also how I feel about myself. With the skin grafts, my scars are only visible now if I point them out, but they are always visible to me.

“Due to my surgeries I’ve been left with nerve damage and spinal pain and I also get panicked when I smell smoke and hear alarms or sirens.”

Karla is now in college studying theatre make-up and construction, and credits her recovery to help and support received from the Scottish Burned Children’s Club.

She said: “This Halloween, my advice is to go flameless and switch to reusable candles. With no naked flame it totally removes any risk of injury.

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“Children are curious and don’t see the dangers others are more aware of. I want to share my story to stop another child having to experience what I have.”

The SFRS Go Flameless campaign is warning that Halloween costumes can often burn more quickly than normal clothing.

Deputy assistant chief officer Alasdair Perry said: “I commend Karla for her bravery in sharing her story, which shows only too starkly why children should never be left alone near a naked flame and lit candles should never be left unattended.

“We want everyone to have a fun Halloween, but we also want it to be safe. We’re urging people to swap tealight and other candles with a naked flame for a reusable flameless type instead as this simple step completely removes the risk of fire and the dangers it brings.”

Stop, Drop and Roll

What to do if you or someone else catches fire:

  • Stop what you are doing.
  • Drop to the ground.
  • Roll around to extinguish the flame.

Teenage girl dies in crash as six-year-old boy fights for life

The 14-year-old died in hospital on Sunday following the crash last week.

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Crash: Four people were taken to hospital.

A teenage girl has died as a result of a crash in West Lothian that also left a six-year-old boy fighting for his life and two others injured.

The two-car collision, involving a brown Ford Focus and back Volkswagen Golf, took place on the M8 westbound, near to junction 4A for Whitburn, on Sunday, October 17.

Emergency services attended and the four occupants of the Ford Focus, a man, a woman and two children, were taken to hospital for treatment.

Police have now confirmed that the 14-year-old girl died in hospital on Sunday night, a week after the crash, and the six-year-old boy remains in a critical but stable condition.

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The roadway was closed for approximately five hours for collision investigation works, with these being ongoing since the crash happened.

Investigating officers are now appealing for witnesses.

Sergeant Jennifer Forbes said: “Our thoughts are with the girl’s family at this incredibly distressing time. We continue to support them as we investigate how this crash happened.

“I’d ask any witnesses to the crash who are yet to come forward to do so at their earliest opportunity.

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“Anyone with information should contact Police Scotland on 101.”


Scotland coach admits defeat to Afghanistan ‘tough pill to swallow’

Afghanistan claim 130-run victory over Scotland at the T20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates.

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Burger: Disappointed at defeat to Afghanistan in Sharjah.

Scotland head coach Shane Burger admitted a chastening 130-run defeat to Afghanistan was “a tough pill to swallow” but now expects his side to show their character in the rest of the T20 World Cup.

Kyle Coetzer’s team had upset the odds to reach the Super 12s, the first time they had gone past the first round of any World Cup, but were largely unable to contain Afghanistan’s batters on a sticky night in Sharjah.

A tournament-high total of 190 for four was always likely to prove challenging, especially with Afghanistan’s vaunted spin attack, including the number three-ranked bowler in the world in Rashid Khan.

In the event, his introduction came when Afghanistan were well on the way to beginning their tournament with a win in what was their first international since the Taliban regained control of the nation.

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Mujeeb Ur Rahman took three wickets in an over en route to figures of T20 international-best five for 20, starting the collapse that saw Scotland lurch from 28 for none to 38 for six and then eventually 60 all out.

“It’s obviously a tough pill to swallow,” Burger said. “We’ve had really good momentum recently so you get into a rhythm of what that feels like.

“That will be really tough to swallow but this competition doesn’t allow you to think about it for too long, we’ve got another game in a couple of days’ time, we have to just regroup, reset and go again against Namibia.

“The game is all about fine margins at times and we didn’t quite get momentum on our side and they just showed that with a few of their world-class players they were able to just pile on the pressure at the right times.”

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Mujeeb and Rashid, who polished off the tail by taking four for nine, came to the fore after Afghanistan’s batters – led by Najibullah Zadran’s 59 from 34 balls – had ruthlessly exploited the short, square boundary on one side, registering 11 sixes.

Mujeeb and Rashid have played in some of the biggest franchise tournaments in the world and Burger admitted that could be considered a factor in their heavy defeat.

“When you’re able to play cricket all the time against some of the world’s best players on the biggest stage, you’re only going to keep getting better,” Burger added.

“We have some world-class players in our team but given more opportunity, given more time in the middle under pressure like we’ve just had, I have no doubt that performances will keep being more consistent.

“I don’t think this defines us as a team or defines them as individuals, it’s just a game of cricket where things turn pretty quickly and character is defined by how you come back from something like this.”


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