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The ‘mental’ Airdrie cup final coincidence as Liam McStravick pays tribute to 2009 hero

Emotional Airdrie hero Liam McStravick has revealed how his path to cup glory was laid back in Northern Ireland – by the last man to win silverware for the Diamonds. The Belfast born teenager struck a sensational equaliser for Rhys McCabe’s side as they fought back to dump Welsh champions TNS in the SPFL Trust Trophy Final on Sunday. And in a remarkable turn of fate McStravick told how his mentor coming through the ranks at Cliftonville was Marc Smyth – the Scot who struck the winning penalty when Airdrie last lifted the trophy in 2009. The diminutive forward, who moved across the Irish Sea from Linfield last summer, was overcome with emotion as he joined in the party with thousands of supporters at the Falkirk Stadium. He said: “I’m buzzing. Unbelievable, the highlight of my career so far. It’s incredible. My old Cliftonville reserve manager Marc Smyth scored the winning penalty the last time Airdrie won this trophy. “That’s mental, isn’t it! It was obviously meant to be. I was texting him before the game. I thank him so much for what he’s done for me so far. “He’s given me the platform to achieve what I have so far and show what I can do. I then moved on to Linfield and kicked on from there. I can’t thank him enough.” McStravick took the roof off the Falkirk Stadium when he stepped onto Adam Frizzell’s pass and hit a dipping half volley into Connor Roberts’ net to cancel Ben Clark’s early opener. It set up a storming fightback as Nikolay Todorov slammed home the winner from the penalty spot in the second half. And the 19-year-old Northern Ireland youth international said: “It’s up there with the best goals I’ve scored. It was a brilliant ball from Frizz, it fell right on my foot and I just hit it and hoped for the best! It flew into the top corner didn’t it?! “I had my mum and dad and my granda up in the stand. That was amazing to have them here watching. “Coming over here I just wanted to play a lot of first team games and kick on. That’s what I’ve done and I’m enjoying it. It’s brilliant. We’ll push on from here. The aim is to get promoted so we’ll keep going.” Diamonds goalkeeper Robbie Hemfrey admitted getting his hands on a winners’ medal was a dream – coming just a fortnight after he was unemployed and having to train on his own. Airdrie handed the 22-year-old a return to professional football when regular number one Josh Rae was injured and nine days after signing the former Rotherham United keeper is clutching his first medal in senior football. He said: “It’s mad isn’t it? I knew a couple of weeks ago when I was talking about coming in here that there was a final coming up so that was always the aim. I wasn’t even training with a club a month ago. I was just doing bits myself and waiting for an opportunity to come. “It was all just gym work. Trying to keep myself focused and stay positive that something will come round the corner. You have to be like that, there’s nothing else for it. When the chance came I was in the right mindset to carry out the job. The gaffer and Airdrie gave me that chance. This has worked out perfectly. It’s a bit of a dream really.” Rhys McCabe’s side sit in the Premiership play-off spots with eight games remaining – and Hemfrey knows the season could yet get even better. He said: “We’ll enjoy this cup win and then focus shifts to Friday against Ayr United. We can only look up the table so hopefully we can cement that spot in the play-offs then take it from there.”

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Scott McTominay sheds Scotland sulk look as Man United smiling assassin turns back clock after Steve Clarke chat

Scott McTominay is Scotland’s smiling superstar after the key talks with Steve Clarke that brought back his boyish joy. The Manchester United midfielder casts aside hero status to claim he’s just a normal boy living the dream. But McTominay is a national treasure having enjoyed a spectacular year for his country. His two goals against Cyprus 12 months ago kickstarted a run that saw him bettered only by the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane and Cristiano Ronaldo in the scoring charts for Euro 2024 qualifying. The 27-year-old admits the surge coincided with Clarke sitting him down and having an honest discussion. At the time McTominay was struggling to get into his club side, feeling some unhappiness, perhaps even sulking a bit. Clarke sensed it. The manager’s chat struck a chord as the player said: “Yes, I’d say it did. That was the camp where the manager and I sat down and he said that I didn’t look happy, that I didn’t look like I was smiling about the place. “He just said he wanted to see the kid who was happy whenever he first came on the scene and was playing every week. He saw a boy who was smiling all the time. “I thought, ‘Maybe he’s right’. I spoke to my mum, my dad, my girlfriend at the time and they all pretty much said the same thing. “I feel like in my family it’s all about happiness and enjoyment. If my dad knows I’ve got a smile on my face when I’m playing, along with my grandparents, my mum, my sister and my girlfriend, then that’s all they want. “If maybe I’m looking like I’m sulking a little bit like maybe I was a couple of years ago or a year ago, then they want to know why and want to help you. They’ll say, ‘We’re here to help you, speak to the manager’. “That’s why it’s so important for young footballers to have a good support system around them. I’ve been very, very lucky in that respect. “Sometimes you just need to enjoy football, play with a smile and take it easy. Not everything’s the end of the world if you’re not playing so well and you’re not in the team, whatever. “Ever since that, I’ve just thought, ‘Let’s go for it’. It was a weight lifted off my shoulders. “You’re always going to have difficult periods in your career where you reflect on where you’ve come from and where you want to get to. Sometimes a conversation with the manager can be the best thing. It resets your brain, your mind and you think, ‘You know what, I can do this. I want to show that I can gain peoples’ trust’. “By speaking to someone, especially the manager because he’s honest and he’ll tell you up front, it can make a significant difference. I just want to do my absolute best for Scotland. People say, ‘You’re a hero’. No I’m not, I’m just a normal boy who is living his dream by playing football. I never look at myself as a hero or anything like that. “When I look back on my career it will make me very proud. But at the minute I just want to keep doing what I’m doing and not get too carried away with all the other things. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and say, ‘Listen, let’s just play football, how it was as a kid and enjoy it’. “I don’t like it whenever I’m not playing. It hurts me when I’m not playing so I’m obviously going to be upset whenever I come into camp. I’m running into the training ground, I’m not sulking, but I’m wanting to play. It’s your livelihood, you want to be a part of it as much as possible. “After that conversation,obviously things click a little bit and you just think, ‘You know what, you’ve got one career, you might as well go for it while you’re here’.” McTominay backed up his Cyprus double with another two against Spain three days later as Scotland set sail for Germany. He admits it was another huge boost and added: “I’ve never really lacked confidence, to a certain degree. I’ve always prided myself on how no matter how well I’m doing, I’ll still show myself, I won’t shy away from anything. Sometimes things just click.” McTominay’s push came after a spell playing in defence for Clarke. It was an unusual role but he said: “I know I was doing that for the team. “You can never sulk and say, ‘Bloody hell, what’s happening here?’ If that’s the role you’re given, then you take it and prove yourself. “Then, when the time comes you could maybe have a little conversation but I never had to because the manager is so good with me and he would always ask me certain types of things. I never had to knock on his door and say, ‘What’s happening here? I want to play’. He knows that I want to do that and that’s just the way that it went really.” McTominay spoke as he was named as the William Hill SFWA Men’s International Player of the Year and he said: “I look back at the players Scotland have had and winning this award gives me the most pride because of the amazing players we’ve had and following in their footsteps.” His chant is popular among the Tartan Army and he says it gives him “goosebumps” every time he hears it. As for the goalscoring form, it isn’t a shock as McTominay added: “I don’t want to come across as big-headed but I know what I’m capable of and I know that I’ve got more in the tank.”

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James Forrest has Celtic value beyond minutes as Joe Ledley sees title advantage in gradual transformation

Joe Ledley joined Celtic as James Forrest was starting out on his remarkable career of medal winning. Fast forward 14 years and the winger is still having an influence. And Ledley reckons his old team-mate and pal can again be a key contributor as the champions attempt to see off the challenge of Rangers and claim their latest crown. 32-year-old Forrest has been a peripheral figure through most of the campaign with Brendan Rodgers trying a variety of wide options. However, no one at the club has more experience of winning titles than Forrest and he gave notice of his current wellbeing with a stunning strike for a goal in Celtic’s last outing against St Johnstone 10 days ago. The attacker is now in line for another opportunity against Livingston on Sunday and Ledley says Forrest’s valuable nous will be key in the weeks ahead. The Welshman, who signed just a few weeks after Forrest made his top-team debut under the management of Neil Lennon against Motherwell in 2010, reckons there’s no substitute for know-how when it comes to the nitty-gritty stage of the term. With 23 winners’ medals on his CV including 11 titles, Rodgers, who was boss for two of those, knows he has a man who can star within his unit. Ledley said: “Obviously, Jamesy is very experienced now. It is definitely something that’s important and you only have to look back at what he has won for Celtic. It is remarkable. “It’s great to see him getting some more minutes on the pitch as well now because he has been unfortunate with injuries in his career and also through this season. To have someone like that with that vast experience of having been there and done around the training ground and bringing people on is massive at any time, but even more so this time of a season. “What you do off the pitch and away from a matchday can be just as valuable to a squad and to a manager. It is all about setting standards and making sure that everyone is up to speed. “Also making sure everyone around the group realises how much this title, and any title, means to the club. Seeing him come on the other day against St Johnstone and scoring is fantastic, but he can play a massive role off the park, too. “I know he has been limited with minutes at the moment with some of the other wingers doing so well. Daizen Maeda for example has been doing well and scored a hat-trick recently. “It is going to be difficult for him to get in there but once you get that chance, it is all about making an impact and Jamesy has shown for a long time he is capable of doing that. “What a fantastic career he has had at Celtic. I remember when I signed he was just coming through into the first team and I’m sure it was Lenny who gave him his debut. “You could see even way back then that he was going to be a special player. He had the pace and he had the balance and he just kept improving his game. “He just started to get more and more goals and assists and he has been unlucky in the last few years with injury. He has always produced for the club.” With eight games to go, every moment is going to be crucial in the flag fight as the Old Firm go head to head for the honour. With two league derbies in the season remaining, the outcome of the crunch clashes at Ibrox on Sunday week and Celtic Park after the split may be pivotal. Ledley, who will be back at his old club at the end of May to play in Celtic Legends versus Borussia Dortmund Legends charity match, knows what it takes to deliver in those matches having scored a winner for Lennon’s team as they defeated the Light Blues on their way to the title in 2011/12. However, although he is aware the head-to-heads are going to hold major significance, the former midfielder is wary about all emphasis going onto the double header. Both Celtic and Rangers have spilled points in other matches this term to reach this point and there could be twists and turns away from the derbies. Ledley said: “It is very tight and, of course, the games between the two teams look as if they are going to be deciding games that dictate who comes out on top. “But I have seen a few times this season that Celtic and Rangers have slipped up in games where you felt they would have won and they didn’t. So it is going to be tight. Getting that win against your rivals in the last two games in the league is vital. “But, as I said, we’ve seen it numerous times this season that there have been slips just when you do not expect it. So if Celtic get that win against Rangers, you can’t think that’s it and the game is over. It’s not. Far from it. “A draw somewhere and that is two points of the three points gained gone and it is all back on again. Goal difference is tight, points are tight, it is going to be one of the tightest finishes in a long time.”

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Dujon Sterling tipped for major Rangers run-in role as Alex Neil details star’s qualities and reveals his ‘perfect’ position

Philippe Clement is convinced Dujon Sterling can play anywhere he likes for Rangers. But if Alex Neil had got his way, he wouldn’t be at Ibrox at all. The former Chelsea youngster joined Gers on a free transfer and has quickly emerged as a fans’ favourite down Edmiston Drive. And his new boss has most definitely been won over too by the 24-year-old’s ability to plug holes in a team that’s been repeatedly hollowed out by injury misfortune. So far, Sterling has found himself filling in right across the Light Blues’ backline as well as a number of midfield slots both central and wide. Clement even joked last month he’s willing to try the ex-England youth cap between the sticks in the unlikely event that keeper Jack Butland drops his standards. Neil, though, is deadly serious when he admits he was gutted to miss out on signing the utility ace permanently last summer. The former Hamilton gaffer was the man who recruited Sterling on loan for his old side Stoke at the start of last season and hoped to convince Sterling to stay put with the Potters when his Stamford Bridge deal expired. “We wanted to sign him ourselves,” Neil revealed to Record Sport. “We tried before he went to Rangers but the lure of European football and the opportunity to win prizes was a lot for him. I took him to Stoke last year and he was excellent for us. Physically he’s top notch and defensively too he’s probably one of the best I’ve had. “I’m surprised he’s been playing midfield a lot for Rangers though. I think he did that when he was a kid but we predominantly used him as a right back or at left-back. We even used him at centre-back because he’s quick and powerful. But I’m not surprised to see that he’s broken his way into the Rangers team because I do have such a high opinion of him. “I always expected him to find his way in somewhere because he has great physical qualities and I’d expect that in the Scottish Premiership, he’d certainly be one of the best in that regard. He’s a good footballer, Dujon. He’s been at Chelsea since he was a kid, he’s had a lot of loan moves too, so he’s had a good footballing education. “I think he’d been at Blackpool, Wigan before coming to us at Stoke, so he’s well-versed in terms of playing at a couple of different levels and at a few different clubs. Technically he’s good as well – he’s just a good all-round player.” It was Michael Beale who left Neil disappointed when the former Ibrox boss won the chase to sign Sterling with an offer of a four-year deal. The Londoner’s plan was for Sterling to challenge skipper Tavernier for the right-back slot where he’d spent the majority of his early career playing. But Neil admits that might be the hardest of all the positions he’s covered this season to get a regular game given he’s up against a goalscoring freak whose Ibrox goal tally now stands at 122. “The biggest difficulty for Dujon is trying to get that right-back position at Ibrox from Tavernier given how many goals the captain offers their team,” said Neil, who parted way with Stoke in December. “If Tavernier is not the right-back, I think Dujon would be a perfect fit in there. There’s no doubt about that. The problem is that with Tav, he’s the captain for a start so he’s an influence in the changing room. “But also the number of goals he scores. You just can’t remove them from your team. Like any good player, however, Dujon will adapt in the meantime and will find himself a slot where he can be affective and show that he’s got other stings to his bow. Clement will try to get as many of his best players on the pitch as he can, and the way upon has been performing, he’s certainly been one of them.” Like Clement, Neil had no issue slotting a round peg into a square hole if it would help bend the opposition out of shape. He explained: “The biggest thing I always felt about Dujon was that if you played him up against somebody, if you asked him to deal with an individual, then that player would be in for a tough game because he can run, he can pass, he can tackle. “He’s got all that aspects you’d want. If we had a player in the opposition team who we felt would cause us a problem, Dujon dealt with him. That’s how we felt about him. He could just nullify threats because you can’t get away from him. He’s a type of defender that you need to beat two or three times to get passed him. He was excellent. One v one against any opponent last year, he came out on the right side of it.” Clement was shocked to learn after his October appointment that Sterling had made it into Beale’s side more often. But when the change of management offered an opportunity, he certainly took it. “With the modern-day game, the one thing that is absolutely certain is that things change at clubs quite quickly,” added Neil. “Whether that’s you as a player moving on or the coach is changed. It’s how you react to that change that defines your period at that club. And Dujon has clearly had a good reaction to the new manager coming in and has now found himself in the team as a regular. Watching a few of Rangers’ recent games, I’ve thought he’s been one of their better players and I think the manager will feel the same. I won’t be surprised if he kicks on now and finishes the season strongly.”

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Adani Ports buys Shapoorji Pallonji Group’s Gopalpur Port for Rs 3080 crore

The Gujarat-based Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) Ltd said on Tuesday it has acquired the Gopalpur Port in Odisha for Rs 3080 crore, buying a 56 per cent stake of the Shapoorji Pallonji Group and 39 per cent of Orissa Stevedores Limited in Gopalpur Port Limited (GPL). In a statement, the Adani Group, India’s largest private port operator, said the transaction is subject to statutory approvals and fulfilment of other conditions precedents. Located on the east coast of India, Gopalpur Port can handle 20 million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) of cargo. Gopalpur, a deep draft, multi-cargo port, handles a diverse mix of dry bulk cargo, including iron ore, coal, limestone, ilmenite, and alumina. GPL has received more than 500 acres of land on lease for development, with an option to receive additional land on lease to meet future capacity expansions. The Odisha Government awarded a 30-year concession to GPL in 2006, with the provision of two extensions of 10 years each, the Adani statement said.

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China hands down terms of life to 8 years for sports officials convicted of taking bribes

BEIJING (AP) — The former president of the Chinese Football Association has been sentenced to life in prison amid a wide-ranging crackdown on sports corruption. Chinese courts on Tuesday handed down sentences of between eight years and life in prison to officials in the Communist Party controlled sports programs, accusing them of taking bribes and committing other financial crimes. Chen Xuyuan, the former CFA president, received a life sentence for helping fix matches and using his various positions to commit financial crimes, state media reported. Other high-ranking officials sentenced to prison for taking bribes included the former head of the National Athletics Association, Hong Chen, who was sentenced to 13 years, former high-ranking soccer official Chen Yongliang, who received 14 years, and Dong Zheng, former CEO of Chinese Football Association Super League Company, for eight years. The league is largely backed by real estate firms that have become overextended and cannot deliver finished apartments or pay back their debts. The payments to players whom they hoped would make them ever-bigger in China and possibly international brand names have come askew amid concerns about company finances in the world’s second largest economy. China’s domestic soccer leagues have long struggled with corruption and financial instability, while the national men’s and women’s teams languish in the international ranks, despite earlier successes. Corruption in the sport is mainly linked to payoffs to players and referees to produce an outcome that benefits gambling syndicates. There have also been allegations that payments were made to gain players spots at training camps for top teams, including the men’s national squad, which is now ranked 88th by FIFA. The Chinese women’s team occupies 19th place. Xi Jinping, China’s head of state and leader of the ruling Communist Party, had previously announced plans to make China a football superpower through the enrollment of children in newly constructed academies aided by the construction of thousands of new pitches. An economic slowdown and government involvement in sports, culture and private business have weighed on the potential success of those goals. ___ AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer Associated Press, The Associated Press

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Bhopal: IGRMS Restoring Traditional Water-Operated Grinding Mill

Bhopal: IGRMS Restoring Traditional Water-Operated Grinding Mill HomeBhopalBhopal: IGRMS Restoring Traditional Water-Operated Grinding Mill Bhopal: IGRMS Restoring Traditional Water-Operated Grinding Mill Gharat from Uttarakhand represents ancient tech for milling grain Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, March 26, 2024, 11:01 AM IST Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The renovation work of a traditional water-operated grinding mill, known as Gharat, is currently underway in the Traditional Technology Park open-air exhibition of the Museum. This project aims to conserve and document the traditional implements that signify human adaptation to diverse climatic conditions. The Gharat, collected from Uttarakhand, represents an ancient method of grain milling powered by water. Over time, such traditional implements have faced the threat of extinction due to modernisation and technological advancements. Read Also Lok Sabha Elections: MP Congress Pushes Weak Fighters In Poll Ring; Bhopal, Indore, Balaghat Voters… However, recognising their cultural and historical significance, the Indira Gandhi Rashtriya Manav Sangrahalaya (IGRMS) has initiated efforts to preserve these invaluable artifacts. Six skilled artists from Uttarakhand have been entrusted with the task of restoring the Gharat to its former glory. Through meticulous craftsmanship and adherence to traditional techniques, they are breathing new life into this age-old device. The renovation process involves repairing structural damage, replacing worn-out components, and ensuring that the Gharat functions efficiently. The preservation of the Gharat serves as a testament to the ingenuity and resilience of communities in adapting to different climatic conditions. These traditional implements not only offer insights into historical practices but also highlight the sustainable use of natural resources. By conserving and documenting such artifacts, IGRMS aims to raise awareness about the importance of traditional knowledge and its relevance in the modern world. As the renovation work progresses, the Gharat will stand as a symbol of cultural heritage and technological innovation. Through collaborative efforts, IGRMS remains committed to safeguarding traditional practices. Follow us on RECENT STORIES Bhopal: IGRMS Restoring Traditional Water-Operated Grinding Mill Decades After, Two Ex-CMs In Fray For LS Seats Madhya Pradesh: 3 Dead, 2 Injured After Car Collided With Tree In Damoh Lok Sabha Elections: MP Congress Pushes Weak Fighters In Poll Ring; Bhopal, Indore, Balaghat Voters… Bhopal: Hubby Booked For Demanding ₹5L Dowry From Wife, Subjecting Her To Unnatural Sex

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Sterling Urges Nigerian Youngster To Join Chelsea

Raheem Sterling urged Nigerian youngster Hafiz Ibrahim to accept a two-week trial at Chelsea. Ibrahim will be looking to impress the Blues over the next two weeks in order to earn a contract and join the London club. Ibrahim, who plays for Nigerian club Ojodu City, recently scored 10 goals in six games at the Viareggio Cup to finish as the tournament’s top scorer. He will be on trial at Chelsea for the next two weeks in a bid to realise his dream of becoming a fully professional footballer. Ibrahim was recently targeted by Norwegian club Bodo/Glimt but the club reportedly failed to agree terms despite entering talks last month. Meanwhile, Ibrahim is expected to go out on loan to French club Strasbourg if he ends up signing a professional contract at Chelsea. The Express reports that Sterling was involved in convincing Ibrahim to accept the trial, with the England ace speaking directly to him on a video call.

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[New on the scene] Director Kim Hee-jin compelled by stories of marginalized – The Korea Herald

In her 2010 short indie film “A Brand New Journey,” Kim depicts the agony of a middle school student whose parents can’t afford the money for a school trip. Although the boy finds a way to save up money for the trip by taking on a part-time job, he is harassed by the tyrannical shop owner who doesn’t pay him. “I was attracted to the stories of marginalized people, whether I met them in my personal life or in books. So it was natural for me to shed light on the lives of such people through a story which values them,” Kim told The Korea Herald in an interview on March 20. In “My Name is Loh Kiwan,” which is based on the 2011 novel “I Met Loh Kiwan” by Cho Hae-jin, the majority of the scenes depict North Korean defector Loh Ki-wan (Song Joong-ki)’s struggles to obtain refugee status in Belgium. His encounter with Mari (Choi Sung-eun), who is despondent about life and love, is a breath of fresh air. “Loh’s misfortunes are something that we — as ordinary people — can’t imagine. Although the film begins with Loh sobbing next to his mother’s body on a wet, cold street, it ends by showing him reunited with and hugging Mari in a warm country. This could be seen as a fantasy by some, but I’m sure that others may view this as an opportunity for a precious life,” Kim said.

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Campbell back, Titans address ’embarrassing’ NRL start

Camera IconJayden Campbell will make his long-awaited return for the Titans in a boost for coach Des Hasler. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS) Credit: AAP Campbell back, Titans address ’embarrassing’ NRL start Murray WenzelAAPMarch 26, 2024 2:06PM Topics Share to FacebookShare to TwitterEmail UsCopy the Link

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