Category: Scotland

Majority of Scots (54%) now in favour of independence says new poll, as Nicola Sturgeon calls for second referendum

THE majority of Scots are now in favour of independence according to a new poll as Nicola Sturgeon calls for a second referendum. Support for …

Majority of Scots (54%) now in favour of independence says new poll, as Nicola Sturgeon calls for second referendum

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#ScotBiz – Keith Skeoch steps down from Standard Life Aberdeen… #UKBiz #BizNews

Keith Skeoch steps down from Standard Life Aberdeen

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#PositiveCoronavirusNews Scotland – Ballet Company offers to help stressed hospital staff

Coronavirus in Scotland: Ballet moves to help stressed hospital teams

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#ScotBiz – Scottish Garden Centres plea for a rethink…

Coronavirus in Scotland: Garden centres plead to reopen after ‘illogical decision’

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The most lusted-after spots in Britain during lockdown

BRITS cooped up in their houses during lockdown are pining after family days out and nature spots. Among the top spots in Britain are Trebah Garden …

The most lusted-after spots in Britain during lockdown

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Dave King leaves the Rangers and reveals funding plans “pending” due to the coronavirus crisis

Rangers President Dave King has officially resigned from his role in Ibrox. King announced in November that he intended to leave the “new year” and …

Dave King leaves the Rangers and reveals funding plans “pending” due to the coronavirus crisis

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Coronavirus: Stay home plea as Scotland deaths rise to 33

Eight more people with Covid-19 die in Scotland as the FM urges people to observe lockdown rules this weekend.

Coronavirus: Stay home plea as Scotland deaths rise to 33

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Coronavirus could have ‘already infected HALF the population – and it’s been spreading since January’

Coronavirus could already have infected HALF the British population and has been spreading in the UK since January, a new study claims. Oxford …

Coronavirus could have ‘already infected HALF the population – and it’s been spreading since January’

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Nicola Sturgeon urges employers “not to let staff worry about the decision to work from home”

The Prime Minister urged employers to decide whether staff should work from home rather than letting employees decide during the coronavirus block. …

Nicola Sturgeon urges employers “not to let staff worry about the decision to work from home”

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Scottish Business News / ScotBiz – New Coronavirus Helpline Launched for Scottish Businesses…

A new helpline has been launched to supply Scottish businesses with tailored advice on coronavirus.

It will be open Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 17:30, based at Scottish Enterprise’s call centre in Clydebank.

Call handlers will answer questions from businesses related to Covid-19 as well as relaying the challenges faced by businesses to the Scottish government.

It comes as the UK enters the second phase of virus management.

The helpline number is 0300 303 0660.

Where are the Scottish cases?. . .

On Thursday the Scottish government advised that gatherings of over 500 people should be cancelled from Monday to free up the emergency services.

People with symptoms of the virus – namely a fever or a new cough – are now urged to stay at home for a period of seven days. 

Those who have been in contact with someone who is experiencing symptoms should only self-isolate if they begin to experience symptoms. 

There have now been 60 cases of Covid-19 confirmed in Scotland – a rise of 24 from Wednesday.

Economy Secretary Fiona Hyslop said the situation presents a “significant risk” to the global and domestic economies, which is why there was a need for the new business helpline.

She said that work was under way to identify further needs of businesses including calls for planning authorities to relax their approach to restrictions on shop delivery times and opening hours.

Ms Hyslop said: “I also chaired a meeting with representatives from Scotland’s business support organisations including the STUC to hear their concerns and provide reassurance that the Scottish government will do everything in our power to protect the workforce, businesses and our economy. 

“I’d also encourage everyone to refer to the new guidance on Covid-19 that includes workplace advice on reducing the spread of infection.

“Following the UK government’s budget we also require urgent clarification on what funding Scotland will receive from the announcements made by the UK government, at a time when prospects for the economy and public finances remain very uncertain as the short term impacts of Covid-19 unfold.”

For more on this BBC Article please click the link.

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Scottish Business News / ScotBiz – £320m Scottish Business Coronavirus Rescue Package From Scottish Government…

Scottish Finance Secretary Kate Forbes has announced a £320m rescue package for businesses.

The cash is being made available to support business through the Covid-19 outbreak.

She also revealed that a £50m hardship fund will be made available to people who lose their jobs as a result of a downturn caused by the virus. 

The action has been taken to try to limit the impact of the pandemic on Scotland’s economy.

The first Scots fatality was confirmed on Friday after an elderly patient with underlying health issues died in the NHS Lothian area.

During the 2020-21 financial year, business will be boosted with:

  • 75% rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure sectors with a rateable value of less than £69,000 from 1 April 2020
  • £80m fund to provide grants of at least £3,000 to small businesses in sectors facing the worst economic impact of Covid-19
  • 1.6% rates relief for all properties across Scotland, effectively reversing the planned below inflation uplift in the poundage from 1 April 2020
  • Fixed rates relief of up to £5,000 for all pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 from 1 April 2020
Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Finance secretary Kate Forbes

Image captionFinance secretary Kate Forbes has offered £320m to help business

The finance secretary will also write to all local authorities urging them to respond positively to requests from ratepayers for payment deferrals for a fixed period.

Ms Forbes said: “Covid-19 will have challenging implications for businesses and the economy over the coming weeks and months. 

“As well as following the latest health and travel advice, it’s also crucial we consider the latest economic analysis and listen carefully to what the business community is telling us. We know that the tourism and hospitality sectors are facing immediate pressure, which is why we have directed support to them in particular.”

She said that all ratepayers would benefit from a relief that effectively reversed the planned inflationary uplift that was due to come into effect in April.

Hardship fund

She also said the Scottish government was preparing a £50m fund for people who lose their jobs as a result of measures taken to limit the spread of the virus. This makes up the rest of the £360m-plus grant given by the Treasury in last week’s budget. 

She told BBC News: “£50m will go to a hardship fund which will be announced shortly. That will look at, for example, people who are self- employed or people who have lost their jobs.

“We have allocated every consequential penny we have received towards business support but I would believe and hope that further support comes to help us meet business needs.”

Business reaction

David Lonsdale – Scottish Retail Consortium

“In dealing with this unprecedented scenario the Scottish government has listened to business and has taken steps which should improve cashflow and confidence for those impacted by the virus. These are the right decisions for the present, albeit both the UK and Scottish government may have to take further steps as this very unpredictable and unprecedented situation evolves.”

Andrew McRae – Federation of Small Businesses Scotland

“While the shape of this help is slightly different to the support being offered to businesses south of the border, it is a substantial attempt by ministers in Edinburgh to help perfectly sound businesses facing severe short-term cashflow problems. Time is of the essence, so this new money must be easy to access. This is no time for bureaucratic hold-ups. Further, should this initial package of measures prove insufficient, we must not hesitate in delivering a further expansion.”

Liz Cameron – Scottish Chambers of Commerce

“The Scottish government have outlined an initial number of measures that will be welcomed by businesses – particularly in the most affected sectors such as retail, hospitality and tourism – following on from the measures introduced in the UK Budget earlier this week. This is a positive initial response by the Scottish Government, but the situation needs to be reviewed on a daily basis to identify what additional support is required, particularly around how business can retain employees and the cost of businesses changing their operating models, for example to flexible working practises.

Tracy Black – CBI Scotland

“These are substantive steps from the Scottish government that will be hugely welcomed by business. Sector-specific support is vital in hospitality, leisure and retail. Freezing rates and introducing direct grants are also important elements – and more may be needed, as knock-on effects are emerging daily in sectors and businesses of all sizes. So the scale of response must keep pace with the impact. Agility is essential.”

Gail Macgregor – Cosla

“We recognise that the Scottish government is taking action to mitigate the impacts of coronavirus and the measures announced today will help local businesses and communities. Cosla will continue to work closely with the Scottish government and other agencies to ensure our businesses and communities across Scotland are supported during this exceptionally challenging period.”

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France blow best Grand Slam chance in a decade…

There will be no Grand Slam. France’s best chance in a decade to pull that off was ruined at Murrayfield by a stellar Scottish performance, featuring a brace from Sean Maitland and a back-breaking red card for the France tighthead prop Mohamed Haouas for a punch at the end of the first half, from which the visitors never recovered. 

The outcome also capped off a good weekend for England, who have now gone top of the Six Nationstable on points difference ahead of France with one round to go.

As Haouas departed here, rightly sent off for a punch to the head of Scotland’s Jamie Ritchie after the two came together in a ruck, you sensed that France were once again destroying another golden opportunity. Haouas’ mindless act brought back memories of Sebastian Vahaamahina’s own implosion in Oita at the Rugby World Cup, red carded for an elbow on Aaron Wainwright that killed off France’s hopes of progressing to the semi-finals.

Haouas’ exit, a third penalty by Scotland fly-half Adam Hastings and then a well-worked try to put Maitland over in the corner all came in the space of less than five minutes. Collectively it felt like a knockout punch, not only in the context of the match but for France’s Grand Slam hopes as well, even with the second half still to come. Maitland’s second try shortly after the interval – made by a fine break from Chris Harris, slipping past Paul Willemse then combining with Ali Price – hammered that point home.

For more on this and other news please follow the link.

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Business Confidence in Scotland ob the up…

Business confidence in Scotland bounced back this month, according to a survey.

Bank of Scotland’s February business barometer rose by 19 points to a net balance of 15%, with firms reporting more confidence in their prospects as well as higher economic optimism.

This was reflected in businesses’ hiring intentions, with a net 5% of firms expecting to hire more staff during the next year.

Across the UK, overall confidence was unchanged on 23%.

Businesses in London had the highest confidence at 29%, ahead of the West Midlands at 28%, and the East Midlands at 27%.

Those in Wales were the least confident, with an overall confidence of -2%.

Across the UK as a whole, overall business confidence fell slightly in the services sector but grew strongly in the manufacturing sector. The construction and retail sectors saw smaller increases in confidence. 

The survey was conducted with 1,200 companies, including 84 businesses in Scotland. 

Image copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Construction site

Construction was among the sectors that saw confidence rise last month

Fraser Sime, regional director at Bank of Scotland Commercial Banking, said: “This increase in confidence shows great resilience from Scottish businesses. 

“However, companies are likely to act with an element of caution throughout 2020 as some political and economic uncertainty remains.” 

In a further sign of a lift in the business outlook, trade body Scottish Engineering registered a sharp reversal of the downbeat assessment of its members at the end of last year. 

Its latest survey also tested opinion on measures to combat climate change. More than 90% agreed it was a challenge that had to be addressed, 64% said they were taking measures to limit harm, and 18% saw it as a business opportunity.

Migration ‘squeeze’

Meanwhile, the EY Item Club of economists has said it expects lower migration to squeeze the Scottish economy in the coming decade.

Its latest forecast, using the Treasury’s economic model, estimated that growth will be as low as 0.8% this year – slightly lower than forecast by others – before picking up to 1.4% in total economic output during next year.

The rest of the UK showed wider growth disparity between different cities than in Scotland, with Edinburgh continuing to outpace other cities. 

The report said Glasgow and Stirling were expected to come close to the capital’s expansion rate, with Aberdeen the only city forecast to see employment fall. 

The services sector was seen as most likely to be the driver of growth.

The forecast concluded that consumer spending was likely to continue driving some growth, but that could slow towards the end of this year in the face of Brexit uncertainty.

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Scotland hosts fifth international festival for public relations professionals – Scottish Business News

TODAY, PRFest, the world’s only festival dedicated to the public relations profession, has launched its first tranche of tickets, a brand new format and an international line-up for its event on Thursday, 18 June in Edinburgh. Public Relations and Communication Association (PRCA) has also confirmed its support.

Founder Laura Sutherland, a Chartered PR practitioner and crisis PR expert, from Glasgow, said: “I have spent time considering PRFest and what it means to those who come every year, from across the UK and beyond. I’ve also visited other events across the world in order to research content, format and best practice. I want to retain the intimacy of the event, but we need more conversation, sharing and action, underlining the value that public relations adds to organisations and this year, looking at purpose as our core theme.”

The first keynote announced is Alex Myers, founder and CEO of Manifest, an independent brand communications agency with offices in London, New York, Stockholm and Manchester. As well as coordinating Manifest’s operational growth, Alex has led creative communications strategies for brands as diverse as Virgin, BrewDog, Samsung and Help for Refugees.

Alex’s session “Building a creative process fit for the purpose economy”, will be followed by a second international speaker, Mary Beth West, a senior strategist from Maryville, Tennessee, who will host a conversation about “Waging ethics battles for positive outcomes”, reinforcing the ethical role public relations has and should play within an organisation.

PRFest will also focus on PR professionals as individuals, introducing elements of the programme including wellbeing and personal finance. Further programme announcements will be published on on 13th March and 1st May, timed with next level tickets being released.

Francis Ingham, director general of long-time PRFest partner, PRCA, said: “We’re excited to support and come along to PRFest once again on 18th June in Edinburgh. The event offers a fresh approach to out-of-office learning and has a richly deserved reputation for sharing intelligent thinking on the latest PR trends.”

“PRFest offers communication professionals the perfect opportunity to get away from London and other cities, and network with colleagues from across the UK and beyond.”

Added benefits this year include a free PRFest headshot for all ticket buyers and a buddy system for people new to PRFest. The annual influencer dinner, a let-your-hair-down opportunity for speakers, sponsors and attendees, will take place on the evening of the event.

— Read on

Global tech investors lined up for EIE20 in Edinburgh – Scottish Business News

HOMEGROWN entrepreneurial talent and global tech investors are among those to feature at this year’s EIE20 in Edinburgh. 

EIE is an all-year round investor readiness programme run by Informatics Ventures and highlighted by Scotland’s leading tech investor event where 50 ambitious data-driven startup to scale-up companies pitch to investors from Scotland, the UK and around the world for seed to series A funding.  This year’s EIE returns to the University of Edinburgh’s McEwan Hall on Thursday 23d April.  

Michael Welch OBE, who sold online tyre retailer to Michelin for almost £100 million in 2015, will share his thoughts with attendees on his experience of taking an early stage venture through the startup stage to a successful exit to a multinational.  Welch, who is also the founder of Edinburgh-based fashion site is currently splitting his time between Edinburgh and Miami from where he recently launched, an online tyre retail site aimed at the US market.  

Mike Welch said: “Launching a startup is not for the faint hearted. The setbacks, stress and isolation are enough to put most off! But if you get it right, the rewards, in more than just monetary terms, can be so much greater than that achievable from a ‘normal’ job.

“A big part of getting it right is choosing a group of investors that you can develop a working relationship with. But getting the right investors on board is a tricky process and can make or break early stage companies.  It can also be a distraction for the leadership team that can take people away from the main task in hand – making sales and growing the company.  It’s great that the Informatics Ventures team and EIE provide a format that can help navigate founders through that minefield’. 

On the investor side, IBM Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank and Octopus Ventures will join EIE20’s investor panel.  Deborah Magid, Director, IBM Ventures said: “I have coming to EIE every year since the very beginning when it was still a small event.  I was introduced to EIE by the person at IBM who handled our relationships with academia.  It’s now so popular that people come from all over the world!  There is a reason I come back every year – everything about the event is extremely well done, for the way they coach the companies, right down to the small details.”

Informatics Ventures will be announcing further keynotes, featured investors, partners and sponsors in the run-up to EIE20.  The team is also surveying its 500-plus alumnus companies for the latest edition of its Scottish Startup Survey, findings of which will be released in advance of EIE20.  

— Read on

Steven Gerrard jokes he’s ‘on the next penalty’ as Rangers’ spot-kick woes continue in Europa League win

Scotland News - ScotBiz Blog

Scotland News - ScotBiz Blog

Steven Gerrard jokes he’s ‘on the next penalty’ as Rangers’ spot-kick woes continue in Europa League win

Steven Gerrard joked he would take Rangers’ next penalty after watching his side fail to convert from the spot during their Europa League match on Wednesday.

It didn’t affect the result of their round-of-32 tie, though, as Ryan Kent’s second-half strike saw Gers win 1-0 at Portuguese side Braga and go through 4-2 on aggregate.

Kent’s left-footed strike puts Rangers into the round-of-16

The penalty, taken by Ianis Hagi, was saved by Braga keeper Matheus but was the only negative part of the evening for Gers.

It does raise more concerns going forward as that was Rangers’ sixth penalty failure in ten attempts this season and their fourth miss in their last five.

The misses have come from a variety of players, too – captain James Tavernier was taken off penalty duties after his third miss of the season, then Alfredo Morelos in the Betfred Cup final, Scott Arfield and now Hagi have failed to score. Jermain Defoe is their only successful scorer.

Hagi is the latest Rangers player to fluff his lines from the spot

After the game, Gerrard, who scored 82 per cent of his 57 penalties at Liverpool, joked he may need to show the Rangers players how it’s done.

He told BT Sport: “I’m on the next one!

“We are trying to find a solution in that area, penalties are tough especially in pressure situations.

“We have some younger players but we will try to find the next solution … and if all else fails I take them myself!”

Rangers are through in the Europa League but their form from the spot will be a worry

Rangers now must wait to learn who their round-of-16 opponents are and they could be pitted against long-time rivals Celtic if the Hoops get through their tie against FC Copenhagen on Thursday.

And Gerrard says he and his players will be “ready for whatever comes our way.”

He added: “This is a team who finished top of the group and hadn’t lost to anyone else under this manager.

“Over the course of the match, the players deserve this, this is no fluke. It is something that has been earned with sheer hard graft.

“I am proud of the players – to a man they were outstanding.

“It is one thing giving a team a game plan, but you have got to trust them to carry it out. I thought they were faultless, certainly out of possession.

“The game plan was to go out and soak it up at times but also carry a threat.

“What we need to do is enjoy tonight.

“We will be really proud when we sit there and we’ll be ready for whatever comes out way.”

— Read on

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Steven Gerrard challenges Ryan Kent Rangers as he locates his unknown Braga hero

Steven Gerrard challenges Ryan Kent Rangers as he locates his unknown Braga hero

Overjoyed Steven Gerrard threw a paternal arm around his players and told them that they made him proud.

The Rangers boss has amassed praise on his team for their heroes in Braga as they secured an extraordinary 1-0 victory and passage in the last 16 of the Europa League.

Ryan Kent’s second half gave the Light Blues a 4-2 aggregate victory when they became the first Scots since Celtic against Blackburn in 2002 won both stages of a knockout round in Europe.

The Rangers are tied in Nyon, although Gerrard refuses to consider taking on Neil Lennon’s team at this stage if they see Copenhagen tonight.

Gerrard has taken a verbal stick for his players in the past few weeks as internal waste has almost cost them a chance to win the Premiership this season.

But he has done nothing but pay tributes on them in Portugal for an extraordinary victory and performance of immense tactical nous, even if Ianis Hagi has missed his sixth free kick from the 10 assigned this season.

Gerrard said: “The players made the game plan and gave it to the fans and the club.

“For now, it’s about enjoying the win against Braga. We look forward to the draw on Friday and will be proud of whoever we run into.

“The players deserve all the praise that comes to them as they have taken a little in the past few weeks.

“It was a big change for a man out of control. They also went out and injured a really good team on the ball, so the job is done.

“I am very happy. The players had to make the maximum effort.

“We have played against

a high-level opposition, which is probably the best form in which it has been present for some time.

“They have a really bright young manager who knows what he’s doing while he overtook their group in the Europa League and was the top scorer.

“However, my players have been exceptional for a man in both games. I am really proud of them. “

Gerrard took one of the biggest bets of his nascent managerial career when he dropped Niko Katic and replaced rookie George Edmundson.

He was rewarded with an exceptional defensive performance when the 21-year-old hooked up with Connor Goldson and just smelled the guests.

Gerrard added: “Everyone has committed themselves to the defensive form and what was needed tonight. Against the best players and one of the best teams, you can’t do it with one unit.

“Allan McGregor was a great artist for us – I wouldn’t have sat here in this competition if it wasn’t for him.

“The collaboration of the two central backrests was also impeccable. George has been deeply involved but there is a way to experience Europe.

“At some point a manager has to trust you, whatever the challenge is. He came forward and imagined it and delivered with the help of Connor, who played as a captain, a leader.

“He’s someone who has had a bit of a stick since the weekend in St Johnstone, along with all of us, so going back and publishing that kind of performance was great.

“Connor was exceptional and he and George were supported by two full-backs on both sides who clashed with some really dangerous and first-class operators.

“The rear five were exceptional, shielded from the three in front of them. From a defensive point of view the game plan was delivered by them, so they deserve credit. “

Kent scored his first goal in Europe for the Rangers, giving them a victory that will increase the country’s UEFA coefficient and cash in his club with around £ 3 million in revenue.

In the first half he lost a team, but remained composed to win the winner in a game in which Flo Kamberi also shone on his first start in Europe.

Gerrard added: “We need that level of Ryan contribution. Recently there have been many opinions about Ryan about what kind of shape it is on.

“But it offered a great time for us and he could have had two.

“People do not give him the merit he deserves in terms of the amount of race he does for us, but he came great and scored the important goal.

“Hopefully this will make his trust in the world of good because there will be times when people are not happy with him and he is a bit up and down.

“It’s part of being a footballer in a high-level club, but some of the opinions I read recently about Ryan are ridiculous. He is the best player.

“Flo also did a really disinterested job for the team.

“Sometimes when you’re alone in Europe you have to sacrifice yourself. You have to run hard and lift the ball for us to create dangerous situations.

“That was probably the biggest game Flo played and I was really happy for him. He came in to replace Alfredo and he deserved to play. “

Kent, Kamberi and Hagi took all the super opportunities to score in the first half, but the Rangers remained composed after the break and the former

Liverpool star Kent collected the reward.

Gerrard added: “Worried about missed opportunities? When you have such moments, you will always think of going halfway.

“But the game came out exactly as we thought in terms of Braga playing five and moving the ball very quickly.

“What I was really happy with was that we were carrying a threat when the ball was shot. I was still confident that more opportunities would come.

“Braga beat Porto in a cup final, beat Sporting Lisbon, Benfica and Wolves. They are a high class opposition and we have beaten them twice in a week. “

Gerrard’s mind is already fixed on the complicated Scottish Cup tie at Tynecastle on Saturday night.

He said: “The most important thing now is that we have to back up this performance and go to Hearts and qualify for another competition. This is the priority. “

— Read on

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Celtic reportedly back proposal for Champions League reform – #Championsleague

CELTIC have given their backing to a new proposal that would require fewer matches to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League, according to reports.

The “Copenhagen Access Model” – named after the Danish club who have submitted the plan – would still see the top four leagues of England, Spain, Germany and Italy retain their four places in Europe’s top club competition, but would likely strip some clubs of a guaranteed place in the group stage.

Under the proposed format, as reported by The Athletic, all 79 clubs that have qualified from the tournament would be ranked in an “entry list” based on European results over the previous 10 years, with the top 20 qualifying directly for the 32-team group stage.

The following 12 clubs would enter in the play-off round, the next dozen in the third qualifying round, the next 13 in the second and the remaining 22 would enter at the first round of qualifiers.

Celtic have reportedly shown their support to the revised model alongside Dutch champions Ajax, who reached the semi-finals last season.

Had the suggested shake-up to the format been implemented this season, Neil Lennon’s side would have entered the qualification process at the third round – the same point where they were knocked out by Cluj earlier in the campaign.

In such a scenario, five clubs who had to compete in the play-off round – Ajax, Dynamo Kiev, Olympiakos, Porto and PSV Eindhoven – would have been guaranteed a group-stage berth. Of the quintet, only Ajax and Olympiakos qualified for the Champions League proper.

— Read on

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Six Nations RESULTS: France see off Wales to keep Grand Slam hopes alive, Scotland cruise to victory against minnows Italy

Six Nations RESULTS: France see off Wales to keep Grand Slam hopes alive, Scotland cruise to victory against minnows Italy

Shaun Edwards was given a Cardiff return to remember as France stayed on course for a Six Nations Grand Slam as they got the better of Wales with a 27-23 win.

Former Wales defence coach Edwards, who is now performing the same role with France, looked on as his team ran in tries from full-back Anthony Bouthier, lock Paul Willemse and fly-half Romain Ntamack.France are looking more and more like Grand Slam winnersNtamack added three conversions and two penalties for a 17-point haul, with Les Bleus claiming a first win on Welsh soil since 2010.And it proved richly deserved despite Wales clawing back to one point behind early in the second period through prop Dillon Lewis’ first try for his country and fly-half Dan Biggar touching down late on.

Biggar booted two conversions and three penalties, collecting 18 points, yet Wales could have few complaints after falling to a second successive defeat under new head coach Wayne Pivac.The reigning Six Nations champions suffered a first home reversal in the tournament since England toppled them three years ago.

They now have to pick themselves up for a Twickenham appointment with England in two weeks’ time, while resurgent France will complete a Six Nations clean sweep if they see off Scotland at Murrayfield, followed by Ireland in Paris.France looked like they were going to run away with things but Wales stayed in touch with a late fightbackScotland cruised to a straightforward 17-0 victory over Italy to claim their first victory of the 2020 Six Nations campaign.Scotland had failed to score in either of their opening defeats to Ireland and England, but Stuart Hogg – guilty of horror spills in both those losses – made amends after 23 minutes with a brilliant individual solo try as he darted 50 yards to score in the corner.

Scotland celebrate their first victoryTomasso Allan then fired a penalty against the post as Italy wasted a late chance just before the break to trim Scotland’s 5-0 lead.The visitors got their second score on 47 minutes as Chris Harris squeezed over as Italy’s brave resistance gave way after 17 phases of sheer Scottish grunt.Italy had to play out the final stages a man light after Federico Zani was sin-binned for a tip-tackle on Grant Gilchrist.

— Read on

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Scottish 6 Nations News

Scottish 6 Nations News 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏉📰
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Celtic team revealed for Kilmarnock clash while Hoops waits for Scott Brown

Celtic team revealed for Kilmarnock clash while Hoops waits for Scott Brown

Celtic will wait to see if Scott Brown is fit enough to play in Sunday’s Premiership clash with Kilmarnock.

The veteran midfielder came out with a calf injury in the second half of Celtic’s 1-1 draw in the Europa League with FC Copenhagen in Denmark on Thursday and will be assessed.

Lennon hopes that Leigh Griffiths and Greg Taylor will return after losing the European game with a knee and hamstring blow respectively, while Hatem Abd Elhamed (groin) and striker Mikey Johnston (knee) remain out.

Rory McKenzie is a doubt for Kilmarnock.

The attacker suffered a blow to the leg during Sunday’s defeat against Hibernian and lost when Killie was unloaded from the William Hill Scottish Cup in an extra-time 4-3 thriller with Aberdeen.

Striker Harry Bunn will certainly be absent again with a complaint in the calf while midfielders Innes Cameron and Adam Frizzell are still confined to the treatment room with knee injuries.

Planned training

Temporary Team Celtic:

Forster, Frimpong, Bauer, Hayes, ajer, Bolingoli, Simunovic, Taylor, JULLIEN Bitton, Brown, McGregor, Rogic, Ntcham, Christie, Forrest, Soro, Elyounoussi, Edouard, Klimala, Griffiths, Welsh, Gordon, Bain.

Temporary team Kilmarnock: Branescu, O’Donnell, Findlay, Hamalainen, Broadfoot, Del Fabro, Dicker, Power, El Makrini, Brophy, McKenzie, Burke, Kiltie, Kabamba, Millen, Lyle, Connell, Johnson, Koprivec.

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Scottish 6 Nations News 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿🏉📰

Captain Stuart Hogg says Scotland must “learn quickly” if they are to become Six Nations contenders.

His side takes on hosts Italy on Saturday looking for a first win in the 2020 tournament after bonus-point defeats against Ireland and England.

Hogg, 27, believes the team are still moving in the right direction despite once again failing to threaten a Six Nations title challenge.

“We need to get our stuff spot on,” said Hogg.

“We are constantly learning, but we need to learn quickly. We can’t be sitting here in a couple of years’ time saying exactly the same things. We’ve said that for a while now.

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Rugby News 🏉📰

Manu Tuilagi and Ben Youngs are set to return to England’s starting XV for Sunday’s pivotal Six Nations showdown with Ireland at Twickenham, according to reports.

The Leicester pair are expected to take over from outside centre Jonathan Joseph and scrum-half Willi Heinz when head coach Eddie Jones names his side late on Friday morning.

Tuilagi is likely to be included in the wider midfield channel, rather than at inside centre, even though Henry Slade is back in selection contention after injury.

That means George Ford and Owen Farrell will continue their 10-12 alliance despite the physical threat posed by Ireland’s imposing centres Bundee Aki and Robbie Henshaw.

Italy 🇮🇹 make one change for their game against Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿

Italy have made one change to the starting line-up for this weekend’s game against Scotland.

Alessandro Zanni comes back in at at lock for Dean Budd, who now drops to the bench.

Zanni has played 118 Tests for Azzurri and played against Wales.

Italy: 15 Jayden Hayward, 14 Mattia Bellini, 13 Luca Morisi, 12 Carlo Canna, 11 Matteo Minozzi, 10 Tommaso Allan, 9 Callum Braley, 8 Abraham Steyn, 7 Sebastian Negri, 6 Jake Polledri, 5 Niccolò Cannone, 4 Alessandro Zanni, 3 Giosuè Zilocchi, 2 Luca Bigi (c), 1 Andrea Lovotti; Replacements: 16 Federico Zani, 17 Danilo Fischetti, 18 Marco Riccioni, 19 Marco Lazzaroni, 20 Dean Budd, 21 Giovanni Licata, 22 Guglielmo Palazzani, 23 Giulio Bisegni.

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Fuel prices push UK inflation to six-month high – 🇬🇧💼📰

UK News

UK News

Fuel prices push UK inflation to six-month high!

UK inflation in January rose to a six-month high as petrol and house prices rose, official figures show.

The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) stood at 1.8% last month, up from 1.3% in December, the Office for National Statistics said .

“The rise in inflation is largely the result of higher prices at the pump and airfares falling by less than a year ago,” the ONS said.

The rise is ahead of economists’ CPI forecast of 1.6% in January.

CPI remains below the Bank of England’s 2% target for inflation. Wednesday’s inflation data pushed the value of the pound above $1.30. Versus the euro, the pound had started the day down 0.25% but rose back to trade flat against the single currency.

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RWC Game 40: JPN vs. SCO

RWC Game 40: JPN vs. SCO

RWC Game 40: JPN vs. SCO

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