Man charged with murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa

Nessa, 28, was killed as she walked through a park on her way to meet a friend.

He was charged on Monday, and will appear before Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday. Metropolitan Police via Metropolitan Police
He was charged on Monday, and will appear before Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

A 36-year-old man has been charged with the murder of primary school teacher Sabina Nessa.

Koci Selamaj, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, was arrested in the seaside town in the early hours of Sunday, and a light-coloured Nissan Micra was seized in a leafy residential street around half a mile away.

He was charged on Monday, and will appear before Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.

Nessa, 28, was killed as she walked through Cator Park in Kidbrooke, south-east London, on her way to meet a friend on September 17.

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Her body was found nearly 24 hours later covered with leaves near a community centre in the park.

The suspect is understood to have been working as a food delivery driver in Eastbourne and is thought to be originally from eastern Europe.

A worker in a newsagents near the flat where he was living said he would come in to the shop to top up his phone or energy key, but would not make conversation.

“He was so quiet, he didn’t say anything, just came to top up and left,” the member of staff said.

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Nessa taught a year one class at Rushey Green Primary School in Catford, also south-east London.

On Friday, hundreds of people – including her sister – gathered for a candlelit vigil organised in Pegler Square, Kidbrooke, in her memory.

Jebina Yasmin Islam, Nessa’s sister, broke down as she addressed crowds.

She said: “Words cannot describe how we are feeling, this feels like we are stuck in a bad dream and can’t get out of it – our world is shattered, we are simply lost for words.

“No family should go through what we are going through.”


Yousaf confident any COP26 coronavirus case rise can be ‘countered’

Some 25,000 people are expected to come to Scotland for the climate conference.

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Glasgow: Some 25,000 people are expected to come to Scotland for COP26.

The Scottish Government can take the necessary steps to counter a potential spike in Covid-19 cases caused by the COP26 gathering, health secretary Humza Yousaf has said.

As many as 25,000 people are set to arrive in Glasgow for the key climate summit, billed as the “last chance” to counter the effects of climate change.

But experts, including key government advisers, have raised concerns over a potential increase in cases associated with so many people being in a relatively small area.

Speaking on BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show, Yousaf said “of course” there will be Covid-19 cases associated with the event, but he was confident these could be contained.

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“There’s not a public health expert in the world that would say there’s no risk in the middle of a global pandemic to have tens of thousands of people descending onto largely one city,” he said.

“There is absolutely a risk of Covid cases rising thereafter, but we’ll do everything we can to mitigate that.”

He added: “We are also very, very assured by the protocols we’ve got in place (at the conference) to be able to isolate those cases as best as we possibly can.”

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Scottish Government: Health secretary Humza Yousaf.

Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “The health secretary simply had no answers to the potential impact of COP26 on our NHS.

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“We need to see action to speed up the booster programme, ramp up testing and to secure surge capacity for our NHS.

“We are looking down the barrel at a winter of extreme pressure on our NHS and potentially surging levels of Covid.

“We need action from the health secretary to avoid this, not warm words.”

Cases in Scotland were on the rise throughout the summer as coronavirus restrictions were relaxed, but began to fall in September as the vaccination programme reached its end with young people included, but the drop has levelled off, with cases in October rarely falling below 2000 per day.

Despite the stubborn statistics, the health secretary said there are no immediate plans for a return to tough restrictions.

“We’re not actively considering restrictions,” he said.

“We know the harm restrictions have had in the past and therefore doing things like ensuring as many people get vaccinated as possible, continuing to make face coverings mandatory in certain settings such as indoor public settings and public transport, ensuring that we have that universal testing offer and asking people to test themselves regularly.”

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But Yousaf said it would be “foolish” to speculate on possible restrictions at Christmas.

“I’m not going to tell you what’s happening in a couple of months time,” he said.

‘Take action against drink spikers rather than punish venues’

A number of reports of spiking – including allegedly with needles – have surfaced on social media in the past week.

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Spiking: A number of reports have surfaced on social media in the past week.

Scotland’s health secretary has said the focus should be on “taking action” against men who spike women’s drinks, as opposed to punishing venues.

Reports of a spate of spiking incidents against women, some involving the use of needles, have spread through social media in the past week, prompting police investigations across the UK.

Humza Yousaf, who was justice secretary earlier this year, said police were taking the incidents “incredibly, incredibly seriously”, but said he would not like to see venues punished.

“My view, having discussed this issue as a government, is that the night-time industry are very, very concerned and are doing everything they possibly can,” he told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Show.

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“I don’t think we want to beat the night-time industry over the head because of this issue.

“It is the perpetrators – the men, because let’s be honest it is men perpetrating this – that we need to get through to and if necessary take action against.

“We will continue to examine the law and enforcement to make sure it is robust to deal with this.”

He added: “I was deeply concerned to read those reports.”

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When asked what action the government can take to tackle the problem, Yousaf said: “We’re looking at the law at the moment to see if it’s absolutely robust.

“But I know from the justice secretary’s (Keith Brown) conversations with Police Scotland they are taking it incredibly, incredibly seriously and doing whatever is necessary.”

According to a report by the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC), almost 200 spiking incidents were recorded in the past two months, according to data from 40 police forces across the country.


What the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow could achieve

There is no big ‘Paris Agreement’ style deal to secure in Glasgow, but the conference needs to deliver on a number of fronts.

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Glasgow: There is no big ‘Paris Agreement’ style deal to secure, but the conference needs to deliver on a number of fronts.

The COP26 summit in Glasgow is being billed as the biggest UN climate conference since countries secured the Paris Agreement at talks in the French capital in 2015.

However, there is no big new deal like the Paris Agreement to agree at COP26 – instead Glasgow has to deliver on the promises made six years ago and, alongside the formal UN negotiations, drive action to tackle the worsening climate crisis.

Here are some of the key areas where action is needed and where momentum and new commitments could help Glasgow be seen as a success:

Keeping 1.5C within reach

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Glasgow has been billed as the last best chance to limit global warming to 1.5C in the long term.

Under the Paris Agreement, countries committed to curbing temperature rises to “well below” 2C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5C – beyond which worsening impacts of climate change will be felt.

But, back in 2015, it was clear the emissions cuts countries had signed up to left the world far off track to meet the global temperature goals so, under the Paris deal, countries were due to bring forward more ambitious post-2020 national plans ahead of COP26.

Even with new plans many countries have brought forward, the world is nowhere near on track for the 1.5C target, and there are concerns that some countries might turn their attention to post-2030 action, when much more efforts are needed within the next ten years.

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So UK officials want to see countries addressing how to close the gap between ambition and action required up to 2030, as part of the negotiated text that it is hoped will be secured by the end of the two weeks of talks.

Cash

The key to success at COP26 is delivering on a long-promised $100bn a year for 2020 to 2025 for poorer countries to develop cleanly and cope with the impacts of climate change.

It is seen as a matter of trust between developing and developed nations for donor countries to deliver on the promised private and public climate finance, and conversations will also begin on unlocking further funds after 2025.

There is pressure for finance to be split equally between efforts to cut emissions and to adapt to climate change, and also pressure to address demands on support for loss and damage caused by extreme weather and rising seas.

Coal

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, and polluting coal plants need to be phased out in the next two decades to meet climate goals, according to the International Energy Agency.

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The UK wants to see more momentum on ending the use of coal, and is urging developed countries and regions to commit to phasing it out by 2030, or by 2040 in the case of developing nations, and for commitments to no new plants.

Cars

Road transport accounts for a tenth of global emissions, so countries are being urged to commit to ensuring all new car and van sales are zero emission vehicles by 2035 or 2040 and put in place policies to boost uptake.

Vehicle manufacturers are also being urged to commit to selling only zero emissions vehicles by 2035 or earlier.

Trees

Healthy and restored forests can absorb and lock up vast amounts of carbon from the atmosphere, and protecting trees – along with other carbon-storing natural habitats such as peatlands – is seen as key to cutting emissions and helping communities and wildlife cope with climate change.

The pressure is on countries to take steps to halt and reverse deforestation, switch to sustainable agriculture and support efforts to protect or conserve 30% of the world’s land and oceans by 2030.

Methane

While the most significant greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, methane – from sources including livestock, agriculture such as rice production and fossil fuel extraction – is a powerful, but short-lived climate-warming gas.

Cutting emissions of methane is seen as a key way to curb warming in the short-term.

A US and EU-led “global methane pledge” which commits countries to cut their emissions of the gas by 30% by 2030 has already garnered a number of signatures ahead of its formal launch at COP26, where it is hoped more will sign up.

The Paris rulebook

Back in the negotiations, there are still some outstanding issues about how bits of the Paris Agreement are going to work, and they need to be sorted out to make it operational and effective.

There are three issues: transparency, Article 6, and common timeframes, and negotiating them will be key to COP26.

A transparency regime would see UN-run assessments of what countries are doing on climate, but all countries need to agree to face these reviews.

Countries are meant to submit updated climate plans – or NDCs – every five years under the Paris Agreement, but there is no coherence on how long a period those plans cover.

Agreeing common timeframes will make it clearer who is doing what and help comparisons.

And then there is Article 6: the part of the Paris Agreement which covers carbon markets.

Finalising the rules on how these markets work would allow countries to buy carbon credits that fund new clean projects or protect and restore forests to cover their emissions as part of climate action.

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‘We can restore our damaged peatlands – but we’ll need help’

Efforts are under way across Scotland to repair eroded peatlands in a bid to help fight climate change.

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Peatland experts believe ambitious targets to restore damaged landscapes can be met – but only if more specialist contractors are hired.

The Scottish Government has pledged to spend £250m restoring peatlands over the next ten years to help fight climate change.

Peatlands filter much of the water we drink, provide habitats for wildlife and draw in more carbon from the environment than forests.

When they are eroded and burned to be used as fuel and compost, they emit more carbon than they store, and experts believe 80% of Scotland’s peatland is damaged.

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‘Pathway to recovery’

Diggers are being used to smooth and recover peat at the Cairngorms National Park in a bid to restore them to their natural state.

Stephen Corcoran, peatlands programme manager at the park, which features some of the highest peatlands in the UK, said: “It’s a pathway to recovery, but the process does take a while.

“We’ll need more skilled contractors to help us with this project going forward because it is a massive area that needs to be restored.”

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The Scottish Government has pledged to spend £250m restoring peatlands over the next ten years.
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Meanwhile, peatland action project officer Sue White is working to restore damaged landscape in Shetland.

Peatland that should be naturally covered in protective vegetation has been exposed and is emitting carbon.

“This sort of landscape is losing somewhere around 23.8 tonnes of carbon equivalent every year and we’ve got 40,000 hectares of it in Shetland,” she said.

“That alone is putting a huge amount of CO2 into the air, but we can turn it around quite simply.

“This funding is a good start. Going forward it is going to need private investment, but investors are very interested because you can sell carbon.”

The Scottish Government said it hopes the funding will help to restore 200,000 hectares of peatland by 2030.


Hunt for man who exposed himself to woman and carried out solo sex act

Police said the flasher struck in Linn Park, Glasgow, at around 6pm on Friday.

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Linn Park: The incident happened on Friday evening.

A manhunt has been launched to catch a flasher who exposed himself to a woman in a Glasgow park.

The man also carried out an indecent act on himself during the incident in Linn Park at around 6pm on Friday.

Police said he struck near to the waterfall viewpoint.

The suspect is believed to be in his late-30s and around 6ft 1in. He was also described as slim and bald.

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He was wearing a plain white vest and electric-blue basketball-style shorts with white leggings underneath.

Detective sergeant Nikki McPherson, of Glasgow CID, said: “Clearly, this was a disturbing and upsetting incident for the woman involved, who thankfully reported the matter to police.

“We are asking the public to get in touch if they think they know who this man is, or have witnessed similar incidents recently.

“We will be carrying out extensive enquiries to find the man responsible.”

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If you have any information, call 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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Firms under ‘enormous pressure’ from rising energy prices

The Scottish Chambers of Commerce has written to the UK Government on the issue.

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There are calls to introduce a small and medium enterprise (SME) energy price cap.

Rising energy costs are putting Scottish firms under “enormous pressure” and could lead to closures and job losses, business leaders have warned as they called for more UK Government support.

Dr Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC), said that many businesses are still operating in “survival mode” amid Brexit and the pandemic and are finding it impossible to keep pace with energy price rises.

Ahead of the UK Government autumn Budget, she has written to UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak, calling for the introduction of a small and medium enterprise (SME) energy price cap to protect Scottish businesses from the increasing price of gas and electricity ahead of the winter months.

The SCC has asked the UK Government to look carefully at this option as quickly as possible.

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Dr Cameron said: “In the past few weeks, the UK has reached a crisis point over gas and electricity prices, and businesses are feeling the consequences.

“Many businesses in Scotland are still operating in survival mode and continue to recover from the dual challenges of the UK’s departure from the EU and the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s impossible for firms to keep pace with these exorbitant rises in energy prices and these cost pressures are putting many businesses under enormous pressure and resulting in these rising cost pressures increasingly being passed on to the consumer.

“The UK Government needs to support business recovery over the winter months and SCC believes there is now a clear case to create an SME energy price cap, including for microbusinesses, to protect smaller firms from some of these price increases which they would otherwise face.”

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In her letter to Sunak, Dr Cameron said it is “essential” that the upcoming UK Budget focuses on economic recovery and recognises the “energy price crisis” that Scotland’s businesses are facing.

She said: “Scottish businesses urgently require support to mitigate these rising costs that threaten recovery and could lead to the permanent closure of businesses and the loss of jobs across Scotland.”

One Scottish hotel group, the Caithness Collection, which operates across the north Highlands, has reported a potential rise of £53,170 per year in electricity costs as it moves to a new contract, the equivalent to a 70% increase on its current yearly bill.

Andrew Mackay, owner of the Caithness Collection hotel group, said: “The hospitality sector was one of the hardest hit throughout the pandemic and recovery is already proving challenging, with difficulties finding and retaining staff, increased wage demands, other supply chain issues and tax increases.

“Rising energy costs are creating huge burdens and challenges for the business and it’s vital that Scotland’s businesses are afforded some buffer to guard against energy prices that are hitting them hard.”

The SCC network comprises 12,000 member businesses and a network of 30 local chambers of commerce.

The UK Government Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been asked for comment.

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A UK Treasury spokesman said: “The Budget and Spending Review next week will set out how we will continue to invest in public services, businesses and jobs while keeping the public finances on a sustainable footing.”


Keeping the 1.5C target alive: What it means and why it matters

COP26 in Glasgow has been billed as the last best chance to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C.

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Climate change: COP26 has been billed as the last best chance to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C.

COP26 in Glasgow has been billed as the last best chance to keep global temperature rises to no more than 1.5C. Here’s why that is important.

What is the significance of 1.5C?

When the Paris Agreement – the global treaty on climate change – was negotiated in 2015, there was a strong and ultimately successful push by nations such as low-lying islands to include the 1.5C target in the deal because they felt letting temperatures go any higher would threaten their survival.

As a result countries pledged to keep global temperature rises to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit warming to 1.5C over the long-term.

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Will limiting temperature rises to 1.5C really make a difference?

Yes, according to a special report by the UN’s climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in 2018.

It found a 2C rise would lead to more heatwaves, extreme rainstorms, water shortages and drought, greater economic losses and lower crop yields, higher sea levels and greater damage to nature.

In one of its most sobering findings, the report said coral reefs would decline by 70-90% with global warming of 1.5C, but would all but vanish in a 2C world.

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The latest report from the IPCC this summer – described as a “code red for humanity” – also warns that every additional 0.5C temperature rise leads to clear increases in the intensity of heatwaves, rainstorms and flooding, and droughts in some regions.

With the world already experiencing more damaging climate extremes at 1.2C of warming, 1.5C is not seen as a safe level, but things get much worse if it goes above that.

Is it game over if the world warms by more than 1.5C?

No. Scientists say the 1.5C or 2C thresholds are not cliff edges that the world will fall off, but that every bit of warming makes a difference, so it is important to curb temperature rises as much as possible.

As Professor Richard Betts, from the Met Office Hadley Centre, puts it: “Like the speed limit on a motorway, staying below it is not perfectly safe and exceeding it does not immediately lead to calamity, but the risks do increase if the limit is passed.

“Limiting warming to 1.5C clearly needs much more urgent emissions cuts than is currently happening, but if the target is still breached we should not assume all is lost and give up – it will still be worth continuing action on emissions reductions to avoid even more warming.”

Are we off track to meet a 1.5C limit?

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Yes, way off track. The 2018 IPCC report said to limit temperature rises to 1.5C the world would have to cut carbon emissions by 45% on 2010 levels by 2030, and to net-zero – with any remaining pollution absorbed by measures such as planting trees – by 2050.

But the latest assessment from the UN shows the national plans for cutting emissions put forward by countries under the Paris Agreement would lead to a 16% increase in emissions on 2010 levels by the end of the decade.

Other analysis suggests that even with the latest pledges and targets, we are heading for around 2.4C of warming.

Glasgow isn’t going to change that, is it?

Some countries have still not brought forward more ambitious, updated climate plans as they have promised to do, but even with those, there will still be a gap between the 1.5C goal and the action needed to get there.

COP26 president Alok Sharma has said he wants the summit to keep the 1.5C target within reach – “keeping 1.5 alive”.

Because of the way that climate-warming emissions build up in the atmosphere, we cannot carry on as we are and think we can do more later, so keeping the 1.5C target within reach is going to take an awful lot of action between now and 2030.

The hope is there will be a negotiated outcome – formal agreement by countries – from the talks that sets out how the gap will be closed and spurs further action in the next decade.

COP26 will also be focusing on areas such as ending the use of coal, moving to selling only ultra-low emissions cars, ending net deforestation, and curbing the powerful but short-lived greenhouse gas methane.

That is because while targets and agreements are important, it is action that counts.

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Vin Diesel walks Paul Walker’s daughter down the aisle at wedding

Meadow Walker, 22, married actor Louis Thornton-Allan in a small ceremony in the Dominican Republic earlier this month.

Meadow Walker via Instagram
Family: Vin Diesel walked Meadow Walker down the aisle.

Vin Diesel walked the daughter of his late Fast and the Furious co-star Paul Walker down the aisle at her wedding.

Meadow Walker, 22, married actor Louis Thornton-Allan in a small ceremony attended by friends and family in the Dominican Republic earlier this month.

She shared photos from the beachside event on Instagram and wrote: “We’re married!!!!”

A black and white video also showed Diesel, 54, escorting her down the aisle.

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According to Vogue magazine, the bride wore a custom Givenchy Haute Couture wedding dress designed by Matthew Williams, creative director of Givenchy.

Her Hollywood star father, who was famed for his work in The Fast and the Furious franchise, died in a car crash in 2013 when he was 40.

He starred alongside Diesel, playing racing rivals, and the pair remained close friends.

Meadow told Vogue she and her now-husband said their vows in front of a smaller gathering than hoped.

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She said: “The pandemic impacted our plans. Louis’ family wasn’t able to attend.

“A lot of close friends whom we consider family were also unable to attend due to travel restrictions.”

Walker played Brian O’Conner in The Fast and the Furious films and was set to star in Furious 7 at the time of his death.


In pictures: When Clydebank reached the Scottish Cup semi-finals

Clydebank took on Celtic at Hampden in the 1989/90 Scottish Cup semi-finals.

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Sean Sweeney can't believe he hasn't scored for Clydebank after leaving Celtic keeper Pat Bonner on his knees.

Clydebank are back in the Scottish Cup for the first time in 20 years – and will take on Elgin City in a televised second-round clash on Monday.

It’s been a rollercoaster couple of decades for the former league stalwarts, whose name was controversially wiped off the football map following a takeover by Airdrie United, before they rose from the ashes as a junior outfit.

Now plying their trade in the West of Scotland Premier League, they’ve earned a spot on the road to Hampden, the venue for their 1989/90 season semi-final against Celtic.

Although they lost 2-0, they gave Billy McNeill’s side plenty of scares on a memorable afternoon for the Bankies, who were once sponsored by chart-toppers Wet Wet Wet.

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In pictures, here’s a look back at the time Clydebank reached the last four of the Scottish Cup, their best ever run in the competition.

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Andy Walker gets the better of Jim Gallagher to open the scoring for Celtic.
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Celtic goalkeeper Pat Bonner pushes a shot from Clydebank’s John Davies round the post.
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Clydebank’s Paul Harvey and Celtic midfielder Steve Fulton battle for possession.
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Sean Sweeney thinks he’s scored for Clydebank, but his effort drifts wide.
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Clydebank goalkeeper Jim Gallagher.
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Clydebank’s Sean Sweeney chases Celtic striker Dariusz Dziekanowski.

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