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Night train review for Scotland


Trains are wonderful, ”said Agatha Christie in her autobiography. “To travel by train is to see nature and people, cities, churches and rivers – in fact, to see life.” The Caledonian Sleeper invites passengers to board its 16 coaches in the evenings in London or Scotland and wake up in the morning across the UK. Departing from Euston every night except Saturdays, the train heads to Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Aberdeen or Fort William, with stops along the way for people to board. Operated by Serco on behalf of Transport Scotland, it became cult in these more deeply rooted times when the Swedish concept of tågskryt, translating to “bragging train”, is the wellness alternative to flygskam – ‘shame robbery’.

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Nathan’s last minute strike makes Stirling Albion fly


Stirling Albion manager Kevin Rutkiewicz was delighted to see his side start the season with an impressive 3-2 win over Cove Rangers on Saturday.

Winger Nathan Flanagan scored two goals on his memorable debut and was named the SPFL team’s star man of Day 1 for his exploits in the Premier Sports Cup draw.

Midfielder Rabin Omar also scored in his first appearance as the Binos claimed a shock victory at Balmoral Stadium, with Flanagan scoring a 94th-minute goal after Fraser Fyvie’s brace lifted Ligue 1 to level. eight minutes from the end.

Stirling is back on the north road on Saturday to face Inverness CT at Caledonian Stadium. Billy Dodds’ side did not play on day one and hosted Peterhead last night.

Skipper Ross McGeachie, midfielder Kurtis Roberts and new signing Dale Carrick and Ray Grant all missed the Cove game, but at least some of them should be available for the weekend.

It will be the teams’ first meeting since a 0-0 draw at Forthbank in this competition four years ago, with Caley Thistle winning the decisive penalty 2-0 after a flurry of missed penalties. Albion’s only visit to Inverness this millennium was for a Scottish Cup replay in January 2016, which was televised live on Sky Sports and ended in a 2-0 loss for the Binos.

Inverness made Kilmarnock defender Kirk Broadfoot their sixth new signing of the summer after Tom Walsh (Ayr United), Billy McKay (Ross County), Manny Duku (Raith Rovers), Reece McAlear (Norwich City, loan) and Michael Gardyne (Ross County).

Rutkiewicz knows his side will face another tough 90 minutes, but thinks they can be happy with the performance and the result against a strong side from Cove.

He said: “I’m delighted with the result – it’s a great way to start the season in a very difficult group where wins could be hard to come by. We gave up possession at times, but it would have been naïve to go out there and get involved in a gun shooting match.

“We tried to frustrate Cove when we were against the ball, but the important thing was to try to hurt them when we had it. The good thing is that we were very clinical – you have to score when you’re on top. The boys have invested a lot in the game so I’m glad they got their reward with a win. You could walk through the team – I thought it was a real team performance.

“We conceded a few goals and I think it was mainly due to fatigue, not just the time of the season, but the way Cove is playing. They move the ball from side to side and try to stretch the game – they’re a very good team.

Flanagan drew attention with two excellent goals, but Rutkiewicz knows the former St Mirren and Annan Athletic winger has him in his locker.

He added: “I’m not really surprised because I know his abilities. Both goals were class and he’s carried the ball a long way and also has that awareness and composure to hold back strong defenders while trying to finish – it’s not an easy thing to do.

“It’s great to see him in a Stirling jersey.”

Red Craig, Forres resident calls for speed limit reduction on increasingly busy Mundole road

The road to Mundole near Redcraig becomes dangerous as traffic increases with developments in the town.

A RESIDENT of a street on a once quiet country road requests speed restrictions as traffic continues to increase.

Having lived at 6 Red Craig near Mundole for almost 30 years, Donald Wilson has been the perfect place to see more and more vehicles using the rat-run from South Forres to the A96 at Findhorn Bridge.

He said, “Red Craig has about 32 homes, double that if you factor in Riverview Country Park. We have a mix of families including seniors and children. This is a narrow, three mile loop with passages, very popular with walkers, joggers and cyclists of all ages.

“There are several collection points on the road for schoolchildren. It is also used by residents returning from the bus stop on the A96. The road is now more commonly used as a fast lane for traffic to Inverness. It is constantly in use during the day and young drivers use it as a fast lane at night! “

Donald says traffic increased as more houses were built at the end of Grantown Road. More traffic and insufficient security measures are synonymous with danger.

Donald said: “There is a long straight line where you can hear the drivers put their feet on the ground. So far there have been three near misses in my area. I had a car that hit my gate, another in my hedge that I replaced with a wall and one in my neighbor’s hedge. Additionally, children waiting for the school bus have to cross the road and wait on the side of what is often treated as a race track.

Donald asked Moray’s advisor George Alexander to point out the issues on his behalf.

Cllr Alexander (Forres, Independent) said: “It was always only a matter of time until those living south of the city saw the Mundole road as a quick way to access the A96 if they are heading west. There is no junction until you reach the Findhorn Bridge and this compares favorably to negotiating traffic lights at Forres Care and Health Center, the delay at the Orchard Road junction if traffic is waiting to exit St Catherines Road, plus the fact that there is a 30mph limit to the Lidl roundabout. Ideally, the road should have a lower speed limit and more provisions for pedestrians. Dare I suggest that Forres needs a link road to the west! “

Donald would like to see a new speed limit on the road, which currently has a 60 mph restriction.

He said: “The road from Red Craig Place to the A96 junction should be classified as a built-up area and the same speed restrictions should be in place as you would find in town. If nothing is done to calm the speed in the area, we will have a major accident.

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Highland thief at dock after stealing charity box from northern community cafe


A habitual thief with a heroin addiction stole a charity box from a community cafe in the Highlands.

Inverness Sheriff Court has learned that 37-year-old mother of four Alana Syrjanen visited the Muir Hub Cafe in Muir of Ord on May 2, 2019.

Tax MP Pauline Gair said Syrjanen stood in the food queue but hadn’t bought anything – but asked if the cafe had any possible vacancies.

She was told no jobs were available, but when a staff member turned away to get her a phone number, she disappeared from the cafe.

It was later discovered that the British Red Cross charity box was missing – and a CCTV check showed Syrjanen had committed the offense.

The charity box was taken from the Muir Hub Cafe. Photo by Sandy McCook.

“A flagrant and stupid offense”

Ms Gair added: “Examining the CCTV showed she was the one who took it.”

Defense attorney John MacColl told Sheriff Ian Cruickshank his client’s record of dishonesty gave him little credit and attributed it to his heroin addiction.

He added: “It was a blatant and stupid offense captured on CCTV.

Mr MacColl added that his client had another case calling in Tain where an assessment of the drug treatment and testing order had been requested.

Sentencing has been deferred against Syrjanen, whose address was given to the court as Corrie Road, Muir of Ord, until August 26 to await the outcome of his suitability to participate in the drug program.

The British Red Cross helps people across the UK and around the world.

A spokesperson for the association said: ‘All donations to the British Red Cross ensure that we can continue our vital work in supporting people in crisis, from funding wheelchair loans to helping those affected. by war and natural disasters.

“We are grateful to people across the country for their continued support. “

Video incidents hit online meetings


SNP adviser Alex Nicoll’s mic blunder is far from the first incident to occur during an online meeting.

Mr Nicoll – seemingly unaware he was not mute – said other speakers could “be bored for Scotland” at a meeting of Aberdeen’s community planning board.

The incident saw the head of the council, Jenny Laing, call on the head of the SNP group to step down from his leadership position.

Other online events, which have become much more common due to the Covid-19 pandemic, have also been inadvertently disrupted.

“Streaker” destroys community council meeting

Earlier this year a meeting of the Inshes and Milton of Leys community council in Inverness was plunged into chaos when a discussion about a new housing estate was interrupted by a naked man.

The streaker appeared in front of the camera at the end of the meeting, having it turned off for the duration.

Although the community council did not see the man’s face well, they believed he was a man in his late 30s or early 40s.

The host of the community council meeting reportedly crossed the screen away from the camera, with his back to the screen at all times.

In December, a city council meeting that descended into chaos – with councilors exchanging slurs and ultimately fired from the Zoom call – became an unlikely internet sensation.

And last month, a woman working for a furniture company in California fell from her chair after she broke during a meeting with her CEO, leaving her colleagues in deep trouble.

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David Raven backs Billy Mckay’s goals to return Caley Thistle to fame


Caley Thistle legend David Raven believes Billy Mckay has the power to send the Highlanders back to the top.

His former ICT teammate was recruited by head coach Billy Dodds this summer after being deemed to be in excess of Ross County’s needs.

Settled in the Highlands, the 32-year-old was delighted to sign a two-year contract with the club for which he has scored 66 times in 157 appearances.

Having first joined the Caley Jags in 2011, he is now on his third stint at the club, having also returned on loan from Wigan Athletic four years ago before joining the county.

© SNS Group
Billy Mckay in action for Ross County against Caley Thistle’s Charlie Trafford in 2019.

Mckay is the club’s fourth-highest scorer, 16 goals behind Iain Stewart, with first-team coach Barry Wilson clearing 17 and Dennis Wyness the favorite with 101 goals.

Raven, who remains in touch with the former Northern Ireland international, believes it is a move that suits everyone and could prove fruitful in their race to promote the Championship.

Settled Mckay can use ICT in headline mix

He said: “Bringing in Billy Mckay and Michael Gardyne are good signings across the bridge. It’s local for them and they are top players. I spoke to Billy and he is more than happy to return to a club where he was scoring goals.

“Billy is at that age where his kids and family matter and so luck on Inverness’s part.

“It matters to footballers and if he, his children and his wife are happy in the area, he will generally play well. If he scores 20 goals, Inverness is promoted – it’s that simple.

“Billy Dodds, having worked there Neil McCann last season, brings a very good experience to this level. Looks like he’s building a solid squad and the club seems to be going in the right direction.

Raven, now the IMH Football Academy head coach at Ellesmere College in Shropshire, keeps a close eye on events at a club he served so well for six years until 2018.

One of the driving forces behind ICT’s 2015 Scottish Cup triumph, the former full-back admits the club really need to cross the finish line and make their comeback to the top flight.

Caley Jags is an attraction as big as Killie, says Raven

And he sees no reason why they can’t eliminate the Kilmarnock favorites in what should be a multi-club title hunt.

He explained: “The pressure is strong. The club must get out of this league.

“Kilmarnock might be the favorites because they might have a tiny bit of financial weight. The Killies have their history and are a big club, but listen, I really don’t see them as more of an attraction than Inverness.

“I really believe Inverness has a good chance. You don’t know how Hamilton will react to his relegation and what state of mind he is in.

“If you get a good 15-20 game streak, you end up in the middle of that. The beauty of the championship is that anyone can do it.

© SNS Group
Ross Draper, Carl Tremarco, David Raven and Gary Warren of Inverness CT celebrate with the Scottish Cup.

“Partick Thistle has been promoted so they will be at the top and Raith Rovers are another great club with the potential to rise to the challenge.

“This league, in many ways, is more interesting than the two-horse race in the Premiership where it comes down to who finishes third. The championship is wide open.

Caley Thistle is well known as slow beginners to collecting wins and they seem to pick up speed during the winter.

While Raven recognizes that the first few points are important, he also believes that staying strong until May is just as important.

He added: “Inverness will be looking to start quickly and getting points on board early on will be important, although you also need longevity to earn points throughout the season.

“I’ll be watching closely. I’m always on the lookout for their results and who they sign and don’t sign. I am still a fan and interested in the club and wish them well.

Caley Thistle started his competitive season on Tuesday with a home game against League One Peterhead in the Premier Sports Cup before welcoming Stirling Albion from League Two on Saturday.

Frenzied supporters ready for the football final


Football fans all over England relished preparing for a match that could see the country crowned European champions.

Houses were adorned with flags amid increased demand for England-themed paraphernalia and thousands of people descended on pubs and fan areas to watch the game.

Fan shoots fireworks in Leicester Square (Ian West / PA)
The Ye Olde King's Head pub in Santa Monica, Calif., Is packed with fans (Keiran Southern / PA)
The Ye Olde King’s Head pub in Santa Monica, California is packed with fans (Keiran Southern / PA)
English fans gather in the Trafford Park fan zone, Manchester (Martin Rickett / PA)
English fans gather in the Trafford Park fan zone, Manchester (Martin Rickett / PA)
England manager Gareth Southgate gave the green light as the team left the Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire (Jonathan Brady / PA)
England manager Gareth Southgate gave the green light as the team left the Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire (Jonathan Brady / PA)
Fans head to Wembley early Sunday afternoon (Zac Goodwin / PA)
Fans head to Wembley early Sunday afternoon (Zac Goodwin / PA)
English supporters board a bus near the ground (Zac Goodwin / PA)
English supporters board a bus near the ground (Zac Goodwin / PA)
Flares were set off as the numbers piled up (Zac Goodwin / PA)
Flares were set off as the numbers piled up (Zac Goodwin / PA)

The final – which is expected to attract a record-breaking televised audience – started at 8 p.m. and will end at 10 p.m. if it ends normally, but could end closer to 11 p.m. if there is overtime or penalties.

The victory would mark the men’s soccer team’s first victory in a major tournament since the successful 1966 World Cup, which also took place at Wembley Stadium in London.

The supporters were already in a good mood before noon (Zac Goodwin / PA)
The supporters were already in a good mood before noon (Zac Goodwin / PA)
Fans from outside the capital arrive at King's Cross station in London (Jonathan Brady / PA)
Fans from outside the capital arrive at King’s Cross station in London (Jonathan Brady / PA)
English fans line up outside The Faltering Fullback pub in Finsbury Park, London (Jonathan Brady / PA)
English fans line up outside The Faltering Fullback pub in Finsbury Park, London (Jonathan Brady / PA)

Skipper Harry Kane said the players hope to bring pride to the nation when they step onto the pitch: “We know how much this means to English fans across the country so we are proud to represent them and we hope we can make them proud again. “

Fans by a new mural in Nuneaton by artist Nathan Parker, depicting Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling (Jacob King / PA)
Fans by a new mural in Nuneaton by artist Nathan Parker, depicting Gareth Southgate, Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling (Jacob King / PA)
Local residents carry a giant official England campaign flag nationwide from Neeld Crescent to Brent, where Raheem Sterling grew up, at Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euro 2020 final (Jonathan Brady / PA)
Local residents carry an official flag of the Respect England Campaign across the country, from Neeld Crescent to Brent, where Raheem Sterling grew up, at Wembley Stadium ahead of the Euro 2020 final (Jonathan Brady / PA)
Artist paints a picture of the floor ahead of the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium (Zac Goodwin / PA)
Artist paints a picture of the floor ahead of the Euro 2020 final at Wembley Stadium (Zac Goodwin / PA)

Despite England’s advantage at home, Italian fans will also be present at Wembley and hope their side continue their streak of 32 games unbeaten.

An Italian supporter outside of Wembley (Zac Goodwin / PA)
An Italian supporter outside of Wembley (Zac Goodwin / PA)
A dog wearing an Italian shirt off the ground (Mike Egerton / PA)
A dog wearing an Italian shirt off the ground (Mike Egerton / PA)

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Tourism businesses “struggle to survive” in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB)


Four in ten Highland tourism businesses are struggling to generate sales and profits in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) study also finds that half are understaffed while a quarter are worried about their ability to survive, with one in ten saying they barely manage to keep up. flow.

According to most respondents, the boom in eagerly awaited stays did not happen as soon as travel restrictions were lifted.

The survey, conducted between May 25 and June 4, focused on tourism and hotel businesses in the Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) region and produced 290 responses.

FSB Highlands and Islands Development Director David Richardson said this paints a worrying picture.

“While the ambition has always been for the Highlands and Islands to have a truly mixed economy, the point is that most of this vast region depends, directly and indirectly, on tourism,” he said.

“It supports jobs and communities, and without its rich array of businesses and services, the quality of life we ​​all enjoy would be dramatically diminished. Tourism is everyone’s business and it is in all of our interests that it succeed.

“The fact that so many businesses in the Inverness, Moray, Badenoch and Strathspey area have described themselves as struggling is a serious concern, and it’s no wonder a quarter fear they won’t survive. until 2022.

“This is the time of year when these flagship companies need to build up the cash reserves needed to get through the long winter, undertake essential repairs and renovations, and start paying off all debts resulting from Covid loans.

“They just can’t afford to idle.

“The lack of customers, especially foreign visitors, is a real concern and the sooner travel restrictions are lifted the better. “

A breakdown of the results in the HIE area reveals that the west was generally outperforming the east, the weakest was the Shetlands and the best of all was the Northern Highlands – the area covered by the North Coast 500.

The FSB report calls on the Scottish government to embark on a range of actions, including removing the need for physical distancing and self-isolation once most of the adult population is fully immunized.

He is also calling on the UK government to pilot a remote visa for Highland and Island employers, with Mr Richardson saying that of all the problems businesses are currently facing, staffing is the most important.

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Most unlikely girls’ weekend destination on the green list


I triumphantly stalk a fridge magnet in the bookstore, but I am quite dismayed that a Faroe Islands sheep glossary of the 300 color combinations already exists. It’s even laminated for outdoor use. I’m devastated and need a drink. The Irish Bar is full of football fans, so I ask some young people on the street where three ladies like us might go – to which the answer is a puzzled ‘nowhere’.

We decide to buy sparkling, but the supermarket is absolute. “There is a store that sells alcohol,” reassures us the assistant. “But it’s closed – I mean it’s Saturday afternoon!”

We return to our hotel, and room service obligingly brings us a bucket of ice for our box of rosé. We are increasing Spotify and going a little crazy. The sun is coming out.

At 2 a.m., I go out the window and dance barefoot in my dressing gown on the grass roof. That’s crazy. It’s surreal. And yet, in these remote and enchanted islands, it makes perfect sense, and I can’t help but wish we stayed longer – kayaking in the ocean, snorkeling, horseback riding, “fish and cook”, do outdoor yoga and viking trekking – even if it sounds like hell’s hen party.

The essentials

How to do

62 ° N car hire from 1300 DKK (£ 150) per day (62n.fo). Hotel Foroyar offers double rooms from DKK 1,300 (£ 150) per night (hotelforoyar.fo). Guided hikes from 500 DKK (£ 58) (guidetofaroeislands.fo). Heimablidni is available on most islands starting at DKK 330 (£ 38) per person (eatlocal.fo). Koks tasting menu costs DKK 1,900 (£ 219) or DKK 1,400 (£ 162), including champagne and wine pairing (koks.fo). Mykines Boat Tour costs DKK 795 (£ 92) per person (guidetofaroeislands.fo).

Getting There

Fly from Heathrow to Copenhagen with British Airways from 164 € one way (britishairways.com), then to the Faroe Islands with Atlantic Airways, which operates a service from Copenhagen starting at DKK 1,185 (£ 137) each way (atlanticairways.com). If you prefer a direct flight, KLM offers flights from Edinburgh to the Faroe Islands from £ 188 one way (klm.fr).

The rules

Those traveling from Scotland must self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in the Faroe Islands, although fully vaccinated travelers from England are exempt if they have passed through Scotland in transit (this is i.e. if they traveled from England to fly directly from Edinburgh). All visitors must be tested on arrival at the airport (cost £ 36) and must self-isolate until they have received the result (usually within half a day), with a follow-up test to be carried out on the fourth day of their stay (free in the hospital). Unvaccinated travelers can only enter for a valid reason, detailed in en.coronasmitte.dk/rules-and-regulations/entry-in-denemark. For the most up-to-date advice, visit corona.fo.

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Race is on to earn a start in Europe, warns Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass


Aberdeen boss Stephen Glass has warned the race is on to earn a starting spot against BK Hacken in Europe.

The Dons begin their UEFA Europa Conference League campaign with a home clash against the Swedish team on Thursday 22 July.

Glass insists that every player now faces a battle to start the first leg of the second qualifying round in Pittodria.

The Reds stepped up their preparation for the Euro opener with a friendly 1-1 draw behind closed doors with Inverness Championship team Caley Thistle at Cormack Park.

It is hopes 2,000 supporters will be in Pittodria for the BK Hacken showdown – Glass’s first European meeting as manager of Aberdeen.

Glass said: “You will see the players really fighting for places against Hacken.

“It’s something we’re going to push anyway and the boys are getting fitter.

“You’ll see a different group reacting day in and day out from here to the Hacken match.”

© SNS Group
Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass, Gothenburg Great Neil Simpson and Scott Brown during a training session.

BK Hacken left the foot of Sweden’s Allsvenskan this weekend with a 2-1 home loss to AIK.

It was the first competitive game for new manager Per-Mathias Hogmo, who took over the Gothenburg squad at the start of the Swedish summer break.

Now nine games into his league campaign, BK Hacken also reached the Swedish Cup final before losing in a penalty shootout to Hammarby.

Hacken is in action on Monday night with an Allsvenskan home game against Kalmar FF and Glass will be studying the footage closely.

The Swedes will also face fourth-placed Norrkoping on Sunday, July 18, just four days before playing against the Dons in Granite City.

BK Hacken strengthened his squad ahead of the Dons clash by signing Turin midfielder Samuel Gustafson to a three-year contract.

The 26-year-old former Sweden Under-21 international started his career at Hacken but returned to club Gothenburg after five years in Turin, where he was also on loan at Perugia, Hellas Verona and Cremonese.

While BK Hacken has accumulated competitive actions, the Dons will take part in the Euro after three pre-season friendlies.

Friendlies will keep Aberdeen in tune

They will follow the draw with Inverness Caley Thistle with closed-door matches against Reading and St Johnstone on Friday July 16th.

Glass insists that friendlies will be key to leveling up the Dons for the Euro opener.

© Provided by Aberdeen FC
Aberdeen midfielder Scott Brown in action during the 1-1 draw with Inverness Caley Thistle at Cormack Park.

He said: “You can organize things as much as you want in the preseason, but the opponents come and want to do something different.

“This is the challenge you have to be prepared for.

“You have to find a way to impose your style and your way of playing.

“It’s important that we feel that over the next two weeks. “

Aberdeen has traditionally prepared for Europe by going to training camp and playing away friendlies.

In previous seasons, under former boss Derek McInnes and before the coronavirus pandemic, the Reds had used training facilities in the Republic of Ireland.

They had also made friendly pre-season tours to the Netherlands and the Netherlands under the guidance of former manager Craig Brown.

This summer, Glass chose to stay in the club’s bio-secure bubble in Cormack Park to minimize any threat of disruption from the coronavirus.

© Provided by Aberdeen FC
Aberdeen midfielder Lewis Ferguson in action in the 1-1 draw with Caley Thistle at Cormack Park.

Isn’t glamor friendly the right choice?

All pre-season friendlies at the £ 13million training complex are also closed to supporters, meaning the The Red Army won’t see the new-look squad in action before BK Hacken’s draw.

Glass offered his first-team debut to summer rookies Christian Ramirez, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Scott Brown and Jack Gurr in the friendly draw against Inverness.

Other Scottish clubs involved in Europe in the coming season have opted for glamorous training camps and friendlies.

Premier League champions Rangers face Premier League Arsenal and Brighton at home and then Blackpool away before a glamorous match with Real Madrid at Ibrox on July 25.

Celtic traveled to a training camp in Wales and played friendlies against Sheffield on Wednesday, Bristol City, Preston and Premier League West Ham.

Hibs are another club that have chosen to train outside of Scotland, which are at a camp in Cheshire and will face Stoke City away and Premier League Arsenal at home.

Aberdeen will face Scotland’s other European representative, Scottish Cup and League Cup winners St Johnstone, next week.

Glass insists the option of forgoing going to training camp and playing glamorous friendlies is paying off.

He said, “The proof is in the pudding.

“Are you ready for the start of the season?

“It may be more glamorous to leave or with bigger games, but we managed to control the environment.

“We’ve only scratched the surface (against Inverness Caley Thistle) but everything is going well.

“We are happy with the decision to stay and I think it will be the right one. “