Celtic’s unbeaten domestic run has ended at 69 matches, and it ended with a thud.
Tynecastle Park was the scene for a 4-0 thumping at the hands of Hearts, a defeat started by a 16-year-old’s first Scottish Premiership goal.
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Harry Cochrane’s his name, and his 26th minute goal gave Hearts the lead, and it was 2-0 by halftime through Kyle Lafferty, the ex-Burnley and Norwich player.
David Milinkovic scored three minutes after halftime, as the wake-up call didn’t arrive at the break, and added a penalty kick late in the match.
Celtic has a two-point lead on second-place Aberdeen with a match-in-hand. Rangers sit five-points back.
Sixty-nine games! Remarkable in any league. Here’s what Rodgers had to say:
“But I also want to congratulate my players. To have gone through 69 games and this to be their first defeat; of course it’s a sore one when you are beaten like that but they can hold their heads up. They have been absolutely amazing over those 18 months.”
A precipitous and swift fall for Perry Kitchen at Hearts of Midlothian has reached its inevitable conclusion.
The American midfielder has reportedly departed preseason training with Hearts and is heading to Denmark to sign with Danish Superliga side Randers.
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Despite making 26 starts in 29 games last year in the Scottish First Division, Kitchen found his playing time decrease under new coach Ian Cathro, who was appointed in December 2016, and following the season Kitchen was stripped of his captaincy.
According to the reports out of Scotland, Kitchen was told he was free to find a new club to join this summer.
The news of a move to Denmark is surely a blow to Kitchen, who now finds himself on the outside of the U.S. Men’s National Team picture. He earned five caps for the national team under Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure and was a regular for the youth national teams during his time in high school and with D.C. United in Major League Soccer.
Perry Kitchen will be going to Europe if he stays with Hearts of Midlothian next season, as the Scottish side clinched a spot in the Europa League on Tuesday.
Hearts drew Inverness 0-0, guaranteeing a finish of no lower than third. Kitchen went 90 minutes in the draw, his fourth-straight start for Hearts.
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The hard-nosed midfielder has made five appearances in total since arriving on a free transfer after DC United didn’t meet his wage demands.
USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann called it “a huge move” for Kitchen.
Scottish Premier League club Hearts have been slowly falling deeper and deeper into administration since they declared their financial incapabilities in mid-June.
With debts reaching upwards of £25 million ($37.2 million), accountancy network BDO, who are in charge of the administration process, have taken a drastic step in finding an owner to take the club past their struggles.
At the risk of public ridicule, they’ve listed Hearts on the website BusinessForSale.com. Yeah, it’s that bad.
The listing says the club assets, brand name, and Tynecastle Stadium are a package deal in the sale. Among the properties listed in the sale description are “Heart of Midlothian Football Club brand and associated goodwill” and “Squad of 22 players, together with a highly skilled, loyal and experienced workforce.”
It’s been an odd past month for the Edinburgh club. Just before filing their administration paperwork back in June, a Scandanavian consortium of investors offered to inject an immediate payment of £500,000 ($775,000) in return for the promise of future payouts from any possible transfer sales of a group of named players. The offer was ultimately rejected by the club after a bit of negotiating.
It hasn’t been all bad news. Players such as 21-year-old defender Danny Wilson, recently named captain, announced their intentions to stick around despite the chance to leave. The club while in administration was given a transfer embargo, but a loophole allows certain players to make moves elsewhere. Wilson signed a 3-year contract extension Friday and said “I’m here for the long haul and hopefully we can come through this better.”
The parent company of Hearts is Lithuanian investment company Ukio Bankas Investment Group, who placed the club in administration.
Things in the Scottish Premier League have gone from bad to worse as Hearts is now preparing for administration.
The club confirmed the move on Tuesday, with a club spokesman saying: “We are not in administration yet but we have served our intention to appoint administrators.” It is widely believed that those administrators will come from KPMG, the mega-accountancy firm. Club creditors have been informed and a hearing is expected to take place in the next few days.
Hearts were issued a winding up order last week after Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs threatened legal action over an unpaid tax bill of £100,000. Although the majority of that sum is belived to be paid off, the club board at Hearts admitted they had entered a “critical” stage in their efforts to pay off debts of £25 million. They also admitted to not being able to afford to pay their players.
These admissions triggered an immediate transfer embargo by the SPL and the entire squad was put up for sale in a desperate move to raise the reported £500,000 needed to get the club to the start of the season. If Hearts do make it that far the club is likely to face a 15 point deduction by the league as SPL rules state that involvency will strip a club of 10 points or a third of their previous season’s tally, whichever is the greater. Hearts finished the 2012-13 campaign in 10th place with 45 points.
The sad news of Hearts only adds to the troubles that have plagued the SPL over the last few years.
Last summer, the league took what was arguably its biggest hit when Glasgow Rangers became insolvent and entered administration, resulting in liquidation when an agreement could not be reached with its creditors. The club’s business, name, history and assets (including the Ibrox Stadium) were purchased by a new company (The Rangers Football Club Ltd aka “newco Rangers”).
This purchase allowed Rangers’ Scottish Football Association membership to be transferred in time to enable the club to relaunch itself in the Scottish Football League’s Third Division for the 2012-13 season. Rangers finished first in the division and next season will be playing in the Second Division.
If such a transformation is to happen at Hearts, a white knight needs to save the club, and quickly.