World Cup qualifiers

Murray title + Barton ban extended

andy-murrayTennis – China Open: Andy Murray won his 40th career title and fifth of 2016 by defeating Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov 6-4 7-6 (7-2) in the final in Beijing.

Murray, who did not drop a set throughout the tournament, now has his sights set on seizing the world number one position from Novak Djokovic who did not play because of injury.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the match, Murray said: “It’s been the most consistent year of my career, getting to the latter stages of most of the events I have played.

“It was a great week for me. Today’s match was a very high-level match. Grigor fought right to the end and made it extremely tough to finish it in two sets.

“It’s been an excellent week and I’m very happy with the way that I have played the last couple of matches. I will look forward to Shanghai now.”


Joey BartonFootball – SPL: Rangers midfielder Joey Barton looks increasingly unlikely to play for the club again after his suspension was extended.

He has been told not to report back for training on Monday morning following the expiry of an initial three-week ban over an alleged altercation with a fellow players.

It is understood the club is agonising over a £2million pay-off if they cannot find grounds to sack him.

A statement from the club said: “Joey Barton has been informed that his suspension by the club has been extended by one week.

“This is part of a formal disciplinary procedure and Joey has been instructed not return to Ibrox or Auchenhowie (training ground) until further notice.

“Neither party (the club and player) will make any further statement or comment.”

Barton is also being investigated by the Scottish Football Association over allegations he broke strict betting rules.

The 34-year-old has been given until Wednesday to respond after he was charged with placing 44 bets on games between July 1 and September 15 this year.

Barton rejected a £35,000-a-week offer from former club Burnley to move to Scotland where he signed a £20,000 a week deal with Rangers.


Gordon StrachanFootball – World cup qualifier: Scotland 1 Lithuania 1

A sigh of relief descended on Hampden Park as substitute James McArthur headed an equaliser for the hosts with a minute left of normal time to secure a valuable point.

Scotland dominated for long spells, but were disjointed and ineffective in front of goal. Robert Snodgrass, the hat-trick hero of Malta, and Chris Martin proved particularly patchy and it was no surprise when Scotland fell behind to a 59th minute goal from Cernych.

Gordon Strachan’s team selection came in for some criticism, choosing to leave Celtic marksman Leigh Griffiths on the bench.

McArthur replaced Fletcher and Griffiths arrived with 20 minutes remaining to replace Matt Ritchie, both giving the team more scoring options.

But Strachan’s decision to replace Oliver Burke, one of the better performers, with James Forrest was less understandable.

Despite late salvation this will be regarded as two points lost as Scotland head to Slovakia on Tuesday for what is likely to be a sterner test.

Starting line-up:

  • Marshall
  • Paterson
  • Martin
  • Hanley (Booked on 52mins)
  • Robertson
  • Bannan
  • Fletcher (McArthur 45 minutes Booked on 90mins)
  • O Burke (Forrest 57 minutes)
  • Snodgrass
  • Ritchie (Griffiths 71 minutes)
  • Martin_____

    Other results: England 2 Malta 0

  • Sturridge (29′)Alli (38′)

    Gareth Southgate completed his first match as England’s interim manager with three points, though an uninspired second half performance leaves him with much to contemplate.

    Northern Ireland 4 San Marino 0

  • Davis (26′ pen),  Lafferty (79′, 90’+4min)Ward (85′)
    The victory puts Northern Ireland in third place in Group C on four points. They sit behind Germany and Azerbaijan who are on the maximum six points.

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