Siriki Dembele might beat brother Karamoko to the punch

Karamoko Dembele has long been touted to make a major mark in Scottish football but despite the hype since his early teens and spurned interest from at least one Premier League club in England he has made just seven league appearances for the Celtic first team. The 19-year-old has, of course, spent most of this season on the injury list having fractured his ankle in a friendly against Bristol City last summer.

In his period on the sidelines the success story of another member of the Dembele family has added an extra chapter. Dembele's elder brother Siriki moved to Bournemouth in the January transfer window having made rapid progress during his time at Peterborough where he scored 30 goals and had 30 assists in 147 games. The elder Dembele's route into professional football was an unconventional one. At the age of 18, Dembele did not have a club but managed to attract the attention of the Nike Academy at St George's Park before he was picked up by Grimsby Town where he showed enough promise to convince Peterborough to sign him.

The transfer to Bournemouth takes him into a new sphere, though. He did not come off the bench for Saturday's 2-0 win over Derby County but he has already given a glimpse of what he brings with a late winner in the victory over Blackpool last month.

Scott Parker, the Bournemouth manager, admitted then that Dembele would need time but that he had been impressed by what he had seen so far.

“He can beat a man one v one, he can bring people right tight to him and get out of tight situations,” said Parker. "He’s probably a one v one specialist in that, a dribbler. So he’s going to be a big help for us going into the run-in now."

The Scotland-eligible Dembele sounds like the kind of player Steve Clarke, the Scotland manager, could do with when it comes to breaking down stuffy, compact opponents but there's just one problem.

“If I’m honest, I have Ivory Coast in mind but the truth is I haven’t made the final decision on which one I would pick, Dembele said recently. “When the time comes, I’ll know. My family moved from Ivory Coast to London, not for footballing reasons at all. This was just my parents’ decision, not mine. Then we moved to Glasgow and we’ve been living in Glasgow ever since.”

Recalling Scottish heroics at Cheltenham

Watched a rerun of a race from the 2012 Cheltenham Festival last week. It was that thrilling Albert Bartlett novice hurdle when Brindisi Breeze – guided by Haddington's Campbell Gillies – clung on in the final furlong to record a gritty, ballsy win over hot favourite Boston Bob to strike a blow for Scottish trainer Lucinda Russell. Boston Bob would go on to win a Punchestown Gold Cup two years later but sadly, we never got to find out the extent of Brindisi Breeze's potential. Two months after that win at Cheltenham the horse leapt out of its paddock early one morning and ploughed straight into an oil tanker and was killed instantly. Five weeks later Gillies was dead after a swimming pool accident while on holiday in Greece. His death was a hammer blow to Scottish National Hunt racing, robbing it of one of racing's most naturally gifted jockeys. “You don’t try to let it but it does define you,” Fin Gillies – Campbell's brother – told me some years later. Ten years on, the great tragedy about his brother's defining moment at Cheltenham is that we knew there should have been so many more glories to come.

Swift still has wind beneath his wings

Two years ago, Stephen Swift, the then BSC Glasgow manager invited me into the dressing room for a fly-on-the-wall series detailing the Lowland League club's exploits as they reached the fifth round of the Scottish Cup. Minutes into the experience, it was pretty clear that Swift was a coach who had a higher ceiling. He did a pre-match talk on tactics for the forthcoming game against East Kilbride on the Thursday night. He reiterated them prior to kick-off on the Saturday, then whipped his players into a kind of dervish-like frenzy before they went and promptly thumped their opponents to set up a tie against Hibernian. It has come as little surprise to see the sterling work that has gone on at Stenhousemuir since Swift arrived in the summer, elevating the club from the bottom reaches of League 2 to the fringes of the play-off race. Saturday's 0-0 draw against fellow promotion chasers Edinburgh City was disappointing but not terminal to their promotion hopes. Don't be surprised if they just manage to squeeze in.

Fotheringham's German lessons

Mark Fotheringham was an intriguing candidate to be Neil Lennon's assistant manager at Omonia Nicosia before the former Ingolstadt and Karlsruher coach turned the job down with Cypriot side over the terms on offer.

Fotheringham spoke to Herald Sport in January about his time in Germany and offered an insight into what makes him tick as a coach and explained what he had learned from those he had rubbed shoulders with – particularly Bayern Munich legends Jurgen Klinsmann, Thomas Linke and Felix Magath.

“There is a saying in Germany which is immer weiter which means 'keep going'. That rubs off on me. We're always demanding more in Germany, we are just never satisfied, we want to win at all costs and we're always trying to improve, it's just relentless.”

Fotheringham went on to detail just how committed to his craft he was by rhyming off his 'working' week spent watching matches in Scotland, England, Germany and beyond. Astute, fluent in German, with a clear coaching mindset and his UEFA pro-licence almost complete it is surely only a matter of time before the 38-year-old is back in a job again.

Radacanu gives glimpse of her best

It's great to finally see Emma Radacanu recapturing some of the form that took her to US Open glory back in September. The big fear since the British tennis star achieved the feat is that the weight of expectation placed on her shoulders might cause her to crumble.

Certainly, her performances have not been entirely convincing. She'd had three wins out of six since capturing her grand slam at Flushing Meadows and exited the Australian Open at the start of the year in disappointing circumstances. At Indian Wells this week, though, she has shown that she might be starting to find something akin to her best form.

There have been plenty of distractions for Radacanu in the last six months – having become the face of Dior, Tiffany's and Evian water. Some 'experts' have tried to claim that those sponsorship deals have taken her focus off her sport.

But there has been plenty of unwanted attention, too. Not least concerning the recent stalking case in which Amrit Magar, who repeatedly turned up at the tennis star’s home, was given a five-year restraining order and 200 hours of community service.


The number of games it took Beni Baningime to score his first senior goal having made appearances for Everton, Derby County, Wigan Athletic and Hearts. Given that Baningime scored just one goal for Everton's Under-18s and Under-23s it could be some time before Hearts fans see another from their Congolese midfielder.