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BACK PAGE BULLETIN: TIERNEY AND £100m CASH SPLASH: EMERY MAKES AMAZING ADMISSION, CONOR’S SURPRISE, STEPHENSON’S RAGE

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UNAI EMERY splashed £25million to lure Kieran Tierney from Celtic to Arsenal on England’s transfer deadline day after a two-month pursuit of the left-back.

The Spaniard also spent a club record £70million on Lillie winger Nicolas Pepe and £8million on Chelsea’s Brazilian centre-back David Luiz.

Amazingly, though, Emery admitted he does NOT know if his expensively-revamped Gunners pool of players is superior to the one last season that failed to clinch a place in the Champions League and finished the campaign among the also-rans.

Asked if his squad was better, the London side’s boss, speaking to Sky Sports News, replied: “I don’t know. Our idea is to improve on last year, to improve our work, improve our players, improve our challenge, to improve in achieving our target.

“But I don’t know if we are better or not.”

Tierney, who made only nine appearances for the Hoops in 2019 and was forced to undergo a double hernia operation in the summer, was not fit for selection in the team’s 1-0 win over Newcastle at St James’s Park last week.

The 22-year-old Scotland international defender could be out until October.

CONOR WASHINGTON, who scored Hearts’ winner in the 2-1 BetFfred League Cup-tie against Motherwell at Fir Park last night, admitted he was “surprised” surprisedn “surprised” by the quality of Scottish football.

The Northern Ireland international striker joined on a free from Sheffield United and netted his first club in 18 months.

Washington, speaking to BBC Sport, said: “Hopefully, that’s the monkey off my back now and I can go on and get some more.

“I knew it would be high-intensity, but I’ve been surprised by the quality, to be honest. The intensity is high, but we’ve got the legs.

“Getting to the Final would be absolutely brilliant for the club and us as a group of players, so that’s what we want to do.”

Right-back Michael Smith’s pulverising strike and Washington’s penalty giving them a 2-0 lead before Chris Long threatened to spark a late fightback.

 

STEPHEN ROBINSON slammed his Motherwell players after their Betfred League Cup exit following their 2-1 loss to Hearts at Fir Park.

The angry Well gaffer, speaking to BBC Sport, claimed: “We lost the game because four or five – maybe more – of our players didn’t turn up.

“We lacked real men. They had more men in their team. I don’t think they out-passed us or outplayed us. We played with no purpose. We passed for the sake of passing without trying to break them down.

“When Declan Gallagher is playing with a high temperature and flu and he’s the best player on the pitch for us, it tells you he’s a proper man, proper footballer.

“There were a few people missing in that first-half, didn’t do jobs, didn’t stay with runners for the first goal and we don’t front up from the throw-in.

“Players have a habit of making you look stupid, but that’s the level of player we’re able to recruit and we have to educate them. That has to happen sooner rather than later or they won’t play in the team.”

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Editor

Acclaimed author Alex Gordon wrote the biography of Scotland international legend Denis Law, entitled 'King and Country'. He is a former columnist with World Soccer magazine and Scottish correspondent of respected European journal L'Equipe.

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