Sport Soccer

Friday 27 April 2018

In brief: Angry Lennon blasts defence

Neil Lennon blamed "slapstick defending" for his Celtic side, who drew 2-2, dropping two SPL points at home for the second week running.

The Hoops boss was raging after conceding an injury-time equaliser to Dundee United last week and watched in disbelief again as they passed up on the chance to leapfrog rivals Rangers at the top of the table after being two goals clear against Inverness and seemingly cruising.

Ki Sung-yueng and Paddy McCourt had given Celtic a 2-0 cushion before Richie Foran struck and Grant Munro levelled. "I'm livid. The first goal is slapstick defending," said Lennon.

Rangers calm over ref strike

Steven Whittaker insists the referee strike has not been a distraction for Rangers as they prepare to face Dundee United in the SPL today.

The clash at Tannadice will be officiated by Luxembourg's Alain Hamer, with the SFA drafting in match officials from all over Europe after Scottish referees voted to withdraw their labour this weekend. There was some doubt whether the fixtures would be able to go ahead as planned but Rangers midfielder Whittaker says the Scottish champions and current league leaders simply stuck to their normal routine.

"Our plan was to prepare for the game at the weekend as we normally would and we are looking forward to it," he said. "It's not been a distraction at all."

Sheehan to leave Wexford

GARY SHEEHAN, the Wexford Youths striker who has decided to return to his native Limerick, is good enough "to progress to the professional scene across the water", according to Wexford boss Mick Wallace.

Sheehan, who spent two seasons with the Youths, "will certainly be missed as he has developed into one of those few players who can really frighten opposition defences with his strong running, skill, work rate and electric pace", added Wallace.

After missing a few months of his first season, Sheehan played every minute of every game this season for the Youths apart from a suspension.

Mandaric to take over Owls

Milan Mandaric has won race to take control of Sheffield Wednesday after agreeing an £8m deal to buy the club. It is understood that all parties concerned have signed a contract and Mandaric's takeover must now be rubber-stamped by the club's shareholders at an extraordinary general meeting.

The 72-year-old Serbian-born businessman -- who will now resign as chairman at Leicester -- has agreed a £7m settlement with the club's main creditor, the Co-operative Bank, who were owed £23m. "A deal for Mandaric to buy the club has been agreed by everybody," a club source said.

Taarabt sends QPR five clear

Adel Taarabt was once again QPR's match-winner as Neil Warnock's side moved five points clear at the top of the Championship.

The mercurial Moroccan showed why he is regarded as one of the best players in the Championship with an another inspirational display, capped off with a second-half winner against second-placed Cardiff.

Craig Bellamy's first goal in seven games put the the Bluebirds in front in the first half at Loftus Road, but Kaspars Gorkss equalised soon after and former Spurs midfielder Taarabt struck in the second half to give Rangers a deserved victory. The Hoops are still unbeaten in the Championship and look destined for a long-awaited return to the top flight, while stuttering Cardiff have now lost their last two matches.

Leeds maintain unbeaten run

Reading and Leeds fought themselves to a standstill in a goalless Championship clash at the Madejski Stadium.

Both sides' defences were on top in a full-blooded encounter of few chances, with Reading closest to snatching all three points in the 87th minute when substitute Michail Antonio's angled shot from inside the penalty area hit the post.

But Leeds will also count themselves unlucky not to have grabbed a fifth away win in the Championship this season when skipper Jonny Howson's goal-bound shot was brilliantly saved by Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici deep in stoppage-time.

The Royals have now drawn their last four league matches, while Leeds stretched their unbeaten run to six games to hold on to their place in the top six.

Lindegaard to join Red Devils

Manchester United have completed the signing of Anders Lindegaard from Aalesunds FK on a three-and-a-half-year deal for an undisclosed fee.

The 26-year-old will officially join the Red Devils in January when the transfer window opens. Lindegaard, who is likely to deputise for Edwin van der Sar, has four caps for Denmark.

Sunday Independent

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