Blazers take 2-0 lead against Thunder after big night from CJ McCollum

first_imgWill you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? The series shifts to Oklahoma City for Game 3 on Friday.“Now we’ve got to go on the road and get gritty,” McCollum said.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back ChrissSPORTSCoronation night?SPORTSThirdy Ravena gets‍‍‍ offers from Asia, Australian ball clubsRussell Westbrook, who had his ninth career postseason triple-double in Oklahoma City’s Game 1 loss, finished with 14 points, nine rebounds and 11 assists. He was pulled with 3:31 with most of his fellow starters after Portland built a 112-91 lead.Paul George had 27 points despite lingering questions about his right shoulder, which was covered with kinesiology tape. George insisted the shoulder, which kept him out of the Thunders’ regular-season finale, was fine at practice on Monday even though it was wrapped in ice. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Duterte says he will appoint Gamboa as next PNP chief Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award LATEST STORIES Westbrook collected three fouls in the half and headed early to the bench, as did Portland’s Enes Kanter, who was so successful against the Thunder in Game 1. Together the teams had 29 fouls in the opening half.McCollum nailed a 3-pointer off a pass from Lillard at the buzzer to tie the game at 54 going into the break. Then McCollum turned to the crowd and simply nodded.Portland pulled in front on McCollum’s jumper and extended it to 69-63 with Lillard’s long 3-pointer. Curry had back-to-back 3s to put the Blazers up 85-73 late in the third.The Blazers’ hopes for postseason success appeared to take a blow last month when center Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the season with a broken left leg. Nurkic was averaging 15.6 points and 10.4 rebounds when he sustained the gruesome injury during a game against the Brooklyn Nets.Kanter, signed just before the All-Star break after he was waived by the New York Knicks, has started in Nurkic’s place. Kanter had 20 points and 18 rebounds in Game 1 but finished with six points and five rebounds on Tuesday.TIP-INSThunder: Thunder coach Billy Donovan was emphatic before the game: “No injuries, no one out, no game-time decisions.” … It’s the first playoff series between the teams since the Thunder moved from Seattle to Oklahoma City.Trail Blazers: Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, who just signed a contract extension that makes him the highest paid player in the NFL, was among the fans at the Moda Center, as was Gonzaga coach Mark Few. … Jake Layman, who did not play in the series opener, came in to start the second quarter.UP NEXT: Game 3 is set for Friday night in Oklahoma City. Nuggets erase 19-point deficit to beat Spurs, tie playoff series Tim Cone still willing to coach Gilas but admits decision won’t be ‘simple yes or no’center_img Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, center, talks to Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George, right, and center Steven Adams during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Portland, Ore. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)PORTLAND, Oregon — CJ McCollum had 33 points, Damian Lillard added 29 and the Portland Trail Blazers took a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series against the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 114-94 victory on Tuesday night.Maurice Harkless added 14 points and nine rebounds for the third-seeded Blazers, who opened a playoff series with two wins for the first time since the 2014 playoffs, when they beat Houston in six games.ADVERTISEMENT Phivolcs: Slim probability of Taal Volcano caldera eruption The Blazers were up 91-75 after three and easily protected their lead in the fourth, with Seth Curry’s 3-pointer pushing the lead to 100-83.Portland’s victory in Game 1 snapped a 10-game postseason losing streak that included four-game sweeps in the past two seasons — first by the Warriors and then last year by the Pelicans. Lillard had 30 points in the 104-99 win on Sunday.Oklahoma City beat the Blazers in all four meetings during the regular season. The Thunder have been to the playoffs for eight of the last nine seasons, but they haven’t gotten past the opening round for the past two.Oklahoma City started with a lot more energy than in Game 1, when it fell behind by 19 points in the first half. When Westbrook hit a 3-pointer in the first quarter, he pounded his chest and the Thunder went on to lead 31-26 at the end of the quarter.Lillard hit a 3-pointer and was fouled to close the Blazers within 48-43. But the game began to get heated, with Lillard and Westbrook getting into it when Lillard tried to strip the ball. The officials reviewed it for a “hostile act” but concluded there were no fouls on the play. There was tension the rest of the way, and frequent jawing back-and-forth.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ P260,000 each in aid to displaced Marawi folk released by US Sarah Geronimo’s ‘Tala’ enters Billboard’s world digital song sales chart Comelec assures no disruption in operations with retirement of execs ‘Duterte legacy:’ Gov’t boasts achievements so far View commentslast_img read more

BLUES DROP THINK PINK GAME TO NO. 5 RAMS

first_img Preview Matchup History The University of Toronto Varsity Blues women’s basketball team dropped a 53-42 decision to the No. 5 Ryerson Rams on Friday night (Feb. 1) in their annual Shoot for the Cure game at Goldring Centre for High Performance Sport.TORONTO STATS: Third-year forward Nada Radonjic led the Blues with 10 points and five boards, while rookie forward Jessica Muha notched eight points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal on the night.Charlotte Collyer tallied seven points, five rebounds, two assists and one steal, with sophomore guard Samantha Robertson adding seven points, four rebounds and two steals in the loss.SHOOT FOR THE CURE: Junior Blues gymnastics put on their annual halftime performance after raising over $1,100 at their bake sale last week. Varsity Blues women’s hockey goalie coach Dave Wakabayashi, as well as current women’s basketball player Sara Knowles and her cousins, Mila K Lemay and Leah, all cut their hair in support of the cause at halftime.THANK YOU to Junior Blues Gymnastics for the fantastic halftime routine and for raising over $1,100 for this year’s Shoot for the Cure campaign!!!WE ALL #BLEEDBLUE #WeAreTO pic.twitter.com/IlquyorcNL— U of T Varsity Blues (@Varsity_Blues) February 2, 2019 Watch Live Full Schedule Roster Live Stats UP NEXT: The Blues travel to Sudbury, Ont., next Friday, February 8 to take on the Laurentian Voyageurs. Tip off is set for 6 p.m.For more information, scores and highlights on your favourite U of T athletes and teams, please visit www.varsityblues.ca. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat and Facebook for the latest and greatest in Varsity Blues intercollegiate athletics.  Print Friendly Version Next Game: at Laurentian University 2/8/2019 | 6:00 p.m.last_img read more

Warlock man arrested with gunshot wound

first_imgEast La Penitence executionAs Police continue their investigation into the murder of 31-year-old Paul Rodney, also called “Shirts”, a Warlock man was arrested on Tuesday evening.Police acting on information went to the house where the suspect was apprehended. He was found with a gunshot wound to one of his legs. From all indications, the suspect might have been shot during the altercation on Monday morning.Paul RodneyNew information reaching Guyana Times revealed that the now dead man might have been killed by his own firearm. The firearm is suspected to be illegal.This newspaper understands that Rodney, who is a known character to the Police, was beaten mercilessly by his attackers during an altercation following an argument over a deal that went sour. The confrontation started at a party in East La Penitence and ended at Avocado Avenue where Rodney’s body was found with at least seven gunshot injuries.He attempted to escape, but was shot to one of his feet and collapsed. A source close to the investigation told this newspaper that based on investigations, it was at this time that his assailants walked up to him and pumped several more bullets to his abdomen and chest. This newspaper was also told that the now dead man reportedly begged for his life when he was cornered, but his murderers did not spare him.The suspect is assisting with the investigations. Police revealed that at about 02:55h on Monday, a mobile patrol on Mandela Avenue heard several loud explosions and went to investigate. Upon arrival, a group of men were observed running as they discharged several rounds into the air.Upon checking the area, the Police noticed Rodney lying motionless on the ground and covered in blood. Without hesitation, he was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital (GPHC) where he succumbed to his injuries.At the dead man’s house, his uncle, Derrick Rodney, confirmed that his nephew was at a function when he was killed. He could not say what could have been the motive for the murder, but held out that his nephew was not involved in any criminal activities.In fact, he stated that the man provided for his ill father on a 24-hour basis, but the Police on the other hand posited that he was a known character. Police are continuing their investigations.last_img read more

Bale injury overshadows Ronaldo heroics

first_img0Shares0000Real Madrid’s Welsh forward Gareth Bale (R) is attended after being injured during the UEFA Champions League group against Shakhtar Donetsk at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on September 15, 2015. PHOTO/AFPMADRID, September 16- Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez fears Welsh star Gareth Bale could be set for a significant spell on the sidelines due to a calf muscle injury.Bale was forced off after just half an hour of Madrid’s 4-0 win over Shakhtar Donetsk to open the Spanish giants’ Champions League campaign on Tuesday. Karim Benzema opened the scoring before Cristiano Ronaldo struck his second hat-trick in as many games to move clear of Lionel Messi as the competition’s all-time leading goalscorer with 80.“Great win at home to kick off our #UCL campaign, gutted to go off but hopefully nothing too serious,” Bale posted on his official Twitter account.However, Benitez was more pessimistic over his chances of facing Granada on Saturday.“Bale had a spasm in his calf muscle,” said Benitez.“We must wait a day or two to see how serious it is. He had a similar issue last year.”Bale was sidelined for nearly three weeks with a calf problem last season that forced him to miss the second leg of Real’s Champions League quarter-final against Atletico Madrid.Should the injury be more serious, he could also miss out on sealing Wales’ qualification for an international tournament for the first time since 1958 when they travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina before hosting Andorra next month.Defenders Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos also had to be replaced due to minor ankle and shoulder injuries respectively, but Benitez is more confident that they could be fit for the weekend.“Obviously we have to wait, I said before two of them are knocks. Gareth is the only one that I am a little bit more negative with but I have to wait to see what the doctor says.”Early season fears that Benitez’s Madrid might not have the same attacking prowess as in previous seasons have been dispelled as Los Blancos have now scored 15 times in their last three outings.However, the former Liverpool and Chelsea boss was also keen to stress the importance of keeping their fourth consecutive clean sheet against a talented Shakhtar side.“It was a difficult game. They are a team that control the ball well and that makes it more difficult when it comes to defending,” he added.“They have fast and skillful players. Despite not shining, we had plenty of chances and were clinical.“I am satisfied to have taken our chances and to not concede any goals. The only negative was the injuries to the three players we had to substitute.”0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Decision time for World Cup format

first_img0Shares0000FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to stretch the World Cup format to 48 teams and 80 matches, an increase from the current 32 teams and 64 matches © AFP/File / Patrik StollarzZURICH, Switzerland, Jan 8 – After much discussion, argument and counter-argument, FIFA will determine Tuesday whether president Gianni Infantino can force through his vision of an enlarged World Cup.Infantino’s credibility will be on the line as the world body looks to revamp the four-yearly moneyspinner, potentially opening its door to 48 teams in 2026. That would stretch the action out to 80 matches as opposed to the 2014 format of 32 teams and 64 matches.Several options stand before the 30-strong FIFA council: maintain the status quo; extend to 40 teams featuring either eight groups of five or 10 groups of four; or got for 48 teams. That format would involve either a 32-team playoff allowing 16 winners to join 16 already qualified nations, or Infantino’s preferred option of 16 groups of three with the top two in each progressing to a round of 32.FIFA President Gianni Infantino wants to stretch the World Cup format to 48 teams and 80 matches, an increase from the current 32 teams and 64 matches © AFP / Frédéric HUGON, Paz PIZARROThe first World Cup in Uruguay featured just 13 countries, since when the tournament has evolved in a world of consumerism and on-demand global communication.For the 1982 finals in Spain, the event moved from 16 to 24 teams, then 32 for France ’98.Infantino puts forward a raft of arguments to back a further leap to 48, not least that by giving more countries a piece of the finals cake, interest will rise in more viewer markets, generating more revenue.According to a confidential FIFA report seen by AFP, a 48-team tournament would bring a cash boost of $640 million (605 million euros) over and above projected revenues for next year’s finals in Russia.The report forecasts television rights also rising by $505 million and marketing revenue by 370 million. And even if organisation costs would rise, the tournament could still function in a 12-stadium format, as per the 2018 model.– Infantino option –Yet the FIFA forecasts are hard to compare with a 2018 event whose own financial scope is somewhat clouded by the non-replacement, to date, of sponsors such as Sony and Emirates.The Infantini option, which AFP brought to light in December, has drawn criticism and UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin has complained of lack of information on the project while pointedly adding that in his view the current system “works”.The European Clubs Association, presided by former German international Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, also voiced opposition to expansion, citing an already overloaded calendar.Even so, Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo has since reported that figures including Real Madrid’s powerful president Florentino Perez and Barcelona counterpart Josep Bartomeu are backing Infantino.“If the format he is proposing wins out it is certain that will be a good thing for the clubs and football in general,” Perez told AFP in a recent interview.One of the major facets within the proposed revamp is the attribution of extra berths for each confederation, a crucial point which will be discussed Tuesday in Zurich.Whereas the shareout for a 40-strong event is already known — Europe would gain one slot to 14, Africa two and Asia one — the putative 48-nation distribution still has to be agreed on.Asia and Africa and “smaller” countries have much to gain from an enlarged format — that much was shown by opening up the Euro 2016 to more finals participants — but undecided camps have to be won over.Among those who are convinced by the argument of radically extending the tournament are former Cameroon international and Barcelona star Samuel Eto’o.“Do it for the poor, for those who don’t always have the chance to play a World Cup,” Eto’o recently appealed to Infantino.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more

Jurgen Klopp: Spurs face challenge to hang on to star player

first_img1 Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes Harry Kane’s rise to become one of the best strikers in the world presents Tottenham with a challenge in the next couple of years.The 24-year-old England captain has scored 15 goals in 15 appearances for club and country this season to maintain his rich vein of form which has seen him score 81 goals in 102 Premier League matches in the previous three years, leading to links with the likes of Real Madrid.Klopp, who experienced a similar problem in the summer when Barcelona tried to sign playmaker Philippe Coutinho, had a word of warning for Spurs.“It will be a big challenge for them in the next few years because Harry is not only one of the best strikers in Europe he is one of the best strikers in the world, 100 per cent,” he said.Last weekend Klopp succeeded in keeping quiet an in-form Romelu Lukaku, who had scored in seven successive Premier League matches before the goalless draw at Anfield.The job was made easier easier by United’s tactics and the Belgium striker’s reluctance to engage when out of possession but the Reds boss said Kane is a different prospect.“I don’t have to judge these two. They are both fantastic strikers,” he added.“The difference is that Harry is much more a part of the game when he is not scoring – but I am pretty sure Lukaku can make these steps too.“We avoided the balls to Lukaku and that must be a key for Harry as well but if we are too concentrated on one player then Dele Alli is everywhere or Eriksen shoots from everywhere with decisive passes.“It is a good team so you cannot be concentrated on one player.”Klopp will go to Wembley on Sunday without one his most potent attacking threats as Sadio Mane continues his recovery from a hamstring injury sustained in the last international break.Senegal coach Aliou Cisse has named the pacy forward in his squad for their World Cup qualifiers against South Africa on November 10 and 14, claiming there is “no doubt” the player would be 100 per cent fit.Klopp played down those expectations, however, as the initial assessment from the club’s medical staff was up to six weeks – which would take Mane beyond those dates.“I don’t know how he can know. I don’t know,” said Klopp. “Sadio is still in rehab indoors, he is not doing any exercises outside.“If he is fit earlier I would be really happy but no-one knows in this moment.“They have very important games – I think they need one point from two games to be qualified – so they feel the pressure a little bit but we cannot change the situation.“If Sadio is fit we cannot hide it, why should we do it? If he is fit we can do nothing to keep him here and he will go to Senegal but at this moment I don’t know.” Kane has scored 15 goals already this season last_img read more

‘Flushed Away’ box-office loser

first_img160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESurfer attacked by shark near Channel Islands calls rescue a ‘Christmas miracle’Last month, DreamWorks Animation Chief Executive Jeffrey Katzenberg said the studio could opt out of a five-picture deal with Aardman after the second film, “Flushed Away,” was delivered. DreamWorks last year announced production on the third collaboration with Aardman, “Crood Awakening,” co-written by John Cleese. The company did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday. DreamWorks Animation is poised to have a better year in 2007 with the release of the third installment in the hit “Shrek” franchise. The company also filed Wednesday for a secondary offering of shares prompted by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, who was a major investor in DreamWorks when it was formed in 1994 by Katzenberg, director Steven Spielberg and music mogul David Geffen. DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. said Wednesday it expects to take a write-down in the fourth quarter on its latest animated film, “Flushed Away,” which opened just two weeks ago. The recognition that the film will likely be a money-loser may mean the end of the relationship between DreamWorks and British animation company Aardman Animations, a partnership that produced last year’s Oscar-winning “Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit.” That movie, while a critical success, also disappointed both at the box office and in home video release, and DreamWorks was forced to write down $25.1 million of its cost, or 15 cents a share. On Wednesday, the Glendale-based animation company said it did not know how much the write-down for “Flushed Away” would be. The film, which chronicles the adventures of a pampered rat who is flushed into a world of tough sewer rats, cost DreamWorks $142.9 million and has so far taken in $40 million at the box office, the company said. last_img read more

Arsenal ‘bid for ace’, Chelsea’s striker target, Everton, Newcastle, Spurs updates

first_img Which teams do the best on Boxing Day in the Premier League era? Berahino hits back at b******t Johnson criticism – ‘I was in a dark place at Stoke’ Everton have emerged as holding an interest in Barcelona forward Malcom, who is also entertaining offers from the Chinese Super League. (Marca)Watford have no plans to sell Abdoulaye Doucoure throughout the January transfer window despite interest from Paris Saint-Germain in a £50million move for the midfielder. (Standard)Mesut Ozil’s agent has ruled out the German leaving Arsenal, as his client sees his future with the Gunners. (Goal)Bayern Munich have made a renewed offer for Chelsea’s wonderkid winger Callum Hudson-Odoi, raising their bid to £30million. (Sun) 4 Where Ancelotti ranks with every Premier League boss for trophies won Every time Ally McCoist lost it on air in 2019, including funny XI reactions And here are the top talkSPORT.com stories…EXCLUSIVE: David Seaman gives brutal response when asked aboutTottenham Hotspur’s title challengeEXCLUSIVE: Sam Allardyce sends warning to current Everton boss Marco SilvaEXCLUSIVE: Raphael Honingstein does not believe Christian Pulisic is a replacement for Eden Hazard Arsenal have made a £14.5million (€16m) offer to sign Keylor Navas, the Real Madrid goalkeeper. Roma are also believed to have bid for the Costa Rica international. (Sport)Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson remains a target of Chelsea’s, who want to complete a mid-season revamp following the signing of Christian Pulisic from Borussia Dortmund. (Mirror)Christian Eriksen is stalling on signing a new contract with Tottenham, leaving the club worried seeing as he has just 18 months remaining on his existing deal. (Standard)Newcastle are planning a January bid for Diego Laxalt, the versatile Milan and Uruguay player. (Calciomercato) Forbes list reveals how much Mayweather, Ronaldo and Messi earned this decade ADVICE shining Bayern are pushing hard to secure Hudson-Odoi’s signature RANKED Top nine Premier League free transfers of the decade EXCLUSIVE: Mick McCarthy does not want to pressure Declan Rice over international futureEXCLUSIVE: Adrian Durham tears into Arsenal fans for booing Unai Emery’s substitutionWest Ham want James McCarthy on loan from EvertonLiverpool have held several meetings with PSG star Adrian Rabiot about a moveDominic Solanke’s proposed move to Crystal Palace has reportedly fallen through already Son ban confirmed as Tottenham fail with appeal to overturn red card The Blues have also received a bid for Tammy Abraham, the England forward, from Wolves. Abraham is currently on loan at Aston Villa where he has been scoring for fun. (Sun)Crystal Palace defender Mamadou Sakho is a January target for Monaco, who also hope to sign Cesc Fabregas from Chelsea. (Independent)West Brom star Matt Phillips is being linked with a return to the Premier League, with both Cardiff and Burnley keen on the winger. (Mirror)Liverpool could offer Daniel Sturridge a new contract with his existing deal expiring at the end of the season. (Mail) 4center_img Ronaldo warned Lukaku how hard scoring goals in Serie A would be before Inter move no dice Oxlade-Chamberlain suffers another setback as Klopp confirms serious injury MONEY huge blow Latest Football News Laxalt only joined Milan last summer after impressing at the World Cup BEST OF REPLY Chelsea confirmed the signing of Pulisic on Wednesday, with the forward spending the remainder of the season on loan at Borussia Dortmund REVEALED 4 talkSPORT.com round up all the latest transfer news and biggest football gossip from Thursday’s papers and online… 4 REVEALED Premier League Team of the Season so far, including Liverpool and Leicester stars last_img read more

Man United close in on January signing as striker ‘reaches verbal agreement’

first_img Getty – Contributor Manchester United have allegedly come to a verbal agreement with Mario Mandzukic ahead of the Juventus striker joining in January.Mandzukic, 33, was linked with the Red Devils throughout the summer as they searched for a new forward after offloading both Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez. No striker eventually moved to Old Trafford and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side have struggled with only Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and Mason Greenwood to lead the line this term.Links with Mandzukic have resurfaced in the build-up to the reopening of the transfer window in January, especially given the former Croatia international’s lack of game time at Juventus.He has not made a single appearance for the Serie A giants since Maurizio Sarri was appointed their head coach during the summer, and even only appeared on the bench for three of a possible nine matches. Mandzukic is set to depart Juventus when the transfer window reopens LIVE on talkSPORT 1 Check out all the live commentaries coming up across the talkSPORT network this week Bulgaria vs England (Monday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORTSwitzerland vs Republic of Ireland (Tuesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2Cardiff vs Sheffield Wednesday (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2Everton vs West Ham (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORTBlackburn vs Huddersfield (Saturday, 12:30pm) – talkSPORT 2Tottenham vs Watford (Saturday, 3pm) – talkSPORT 2Crystal Palace vs Man City (Saturday, 5:30pm) – talkSPORTWigan vs Nottingham Forest (Sunday, 2pm) – talkSPORT 2 And, according to the Express, Mandzukic is set to depart Juve in January having already ‘reached a verbal agreement’ with the Red Devils over a switch to Old Trafford.Juve want to offload Mandzukic, but the report adds they will hold out for £10million before selling him in January.last_img read more

Scottish FA confirm Project Brave elite academy list

first_imgElite clubs will play each other three times a season and play performance level clubs once.Clubs were graded on a range of criteria including staffing and facilities, with measurable performance outcomes also taken into account. The top tier clubs will continue to receive funding from the governing body with additional funding for reaching the objectives. Clubs outwith the highest level will still receive some funding to continue their development work. The Scottish FA has released further details of its plans to reshape youth player development as part of its Project Brave strategy.Aberdeen, Celtic, Hamilton, Hearts, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, Motherwell and Rangers have all been accepted as elite clubs, with two lower tiers for clubs who did not meet the entry criteria.The governing body has grouped other clubs into progressive and performance categories as it maps out the structure for all age group football up to under-18 level for the start of the 2018/19 season.Ayr United, Dundee United, Forth Valley, Inverness Caledonian Thistle, Partick Thistle, Ross County, St Mirren and St Johnstone are all placed at progressive level with Dundee, Fife, Morton and Queen’s Park at performance level. Scottish FA performance director Malky Mackay said: “This is a significant milestone for Project Brave. Club Academy Scotland is a fundamental part of the process and a lot of work has gone into developing the criteria used to assess the clubs. From day one this has been a collaborative activity.“The clubs have been engaged at every step, with daily dialogue to help with their applications.“We have been heartened and inspired by so many of the positive things we have seen in regards to the development of young Scottish footballers and our aim is to assist clubs and encourage them to hit the highest possible standards.”He added: “What I would like to stress is that the bandings are not fixed and they will be reassessed in June 2018. No door is closed to clubs outside of the elite bracket with aspirations to move up.“As a result of the conversations we had with clubs, a new middle tier was created. The progressive category was designed to ensure ‘smaller’ but ambitious clubs with academies could find their natural place in the system, with scope to push on.“For those in the top tier, we will continue to monitor their work in conjunction with our independent auditors. This is only one more step but we believe it’s a crucial one.”Mackay has been tasked with improving the development of elite players and implementing a radical overhaul of professional youth structure and funding.The plan will cut the number of funded elite players from around 3000 to nearer 1000 as well as targeting the funding for academies.The governing body’s strategy has proved controversial, with some clubs concerned at the expense required to meet the eligibility criteria for elite academies. Clubs are expected to have a minimum number of full-time coaches, have long-term planning in place and will be measured on outcomes such as number of academy players in their first team, number on loan and level of success.last_img read more