John McGinn scored a first-half hat-trick as Scotland defeated San Marino 6-0 on an increasingly waterlogged Hampden pitch. Lawrence Shankland and Stuart Findlay got their first international goals during a second half played in terrible conditions. Stuart Armstrong made it six after a bizarre incident in the latter stages. The ball held up with every pass in the second half, with the heavy rain continuing throughout the game. A domestic match would unquestionably have been abandoned in similar circumstances but neither team nor the French match officials were looking to try again 24 hours later, as Uefa rules dictate. While there was a limit to what can be taken from beating the world’s lowest ranked team on such a pitch, Scotland did move up to fourth spot in Group I of the European Championship qualifiers. With Cyprus and Kazakhstan both losing, Scotland are now a point off third in advance of playing both teams next month, and have a chance to boost morale before the … [Read more...] about John McGinn hits hat-trick in Scotland’s hollow demolition of San Marino
Southwestern academy san marino
Björn, the wicked barman I met in Finland, was cutting. “San Marino is like the Åland Islands having their own league. You only need two barely functional legs and to be aged 18 to 40.” I was now 41, but San Marino was surely my best chance of playing a match on my travels. San Marino was the lowest-ranked league based on club results in European competition over the previous five seasons. Only Kosovo, unable to accrue ranking points until they became a member of Uefa in 2016, had a lower coefficient. My chances of playing were improved further by watching the final round of matches in the regular league season. And I even chose a dead match, Murata against Virtus, involving the worst team in top‑division European football. Murata had drawn one and lost 18 of their league matches and had a goal difference of minus 50. I spoke to Matteo, an Italian follower of my travels who compiles San Marino statistics – appearances, goals and subjective attributes … [Read more...] about A dog, a cat and 22 fans: watching European football’s worst top-flight team
Pro-independence parties have won a slim majority in the Catalan parliament. The regional election backfired on the Spanish government, but for now Madrid remains firmly in control, under emergency powers invoked in October. What if Catalonia were to secede eventually - would it be able to stand on its own two feet? Trappings of statehoodTo the casual observer, Catalonia looks like it has already got many of the trappings of a state. Flags. A parliament. But its leader, Carles Puigdemont, is in self-imposed exile in Belgium. The region has its own police force, the Mossos d'Esquadra. It has its own broadcast regulator, and even boasts a series of foreign "missions" - mini embassies that promote trade and investment in Catalonia around the world. Catalonia delivers some public services already - schools and healthcare, for example. There'd be much more to set up in the event of independence, though. Border control. Customs. Proper international relations. Defence. A central bank. Inland … [Read more...] about Could Catalonia make a success of independence?
Top story: ‘Drastically increased’ penalties for crime Good morning and welcome to this Monday briefing with Alison Rourke. Violent criminals and sexual offenders will face drastically harsher penalties to be laid out in the Queen’s speech this morning, as the government sets out its legislative agenda. Law and order will top the bill, including “drastically increased” penalties for foreign nationals who breach deportation orders. No 10 hopes it will wrestle the spotlight from this week’s delicate Brexit negotiations and set the stage for a general election that few in Westminster think will be long in coming. But it’s hard to see how any speech, from the Queen or not, will divert from this week’s political drama, with some EU capitals concluding over the weekend that it may now be impossible for the UK to leave the EU by 31 October with a deal. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, told diplomats last night that Boris … [Read more...] about Monday briefing: Johnson sets out election stall in Queen’s speech
Six weeks after 23,000 workers found they had been stiffed out of their wages following the collapse of MyPayrollHR, DailyMailTV has finally tracked down a photograph and video of the man behind the alleged fraud. And we have learned Michael Mann, who is now facing decades behind bars, brought about his own downfall by forging a document — which somehow found its way back to his largest client. Mann, 49, ran ValueWise, the Clifton Park, New York, based parent company of MyPayrollHR and a slew of other companies. When it went bust in the first week of September, the payroll company failed to pay workers in 2,500 companies, leaving many of their employees in dire financial straits. But his downfall started two years ago, DailyMailTV has learned. Unmasked: Michael Mann, the man behind the MyPayrollHR collapse that left thousands of workers without their paychecks, has been pictured for the first time by DailyMailTV Mann's businesses were spread throughout the United … [Read more...] about EXCLUSIVE: Unmasked – the MyPayRollHR CEO who stiffed thousands out of their salaries is finally pictured as worker tells how crude forgery sent the ‘Warren Buffett’ of Clifton Park into collapse