Football: Leighton denied route to Europe

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The Independent Online
Jim Leighton had the world in his hands when Scotland clinched their place in the World Cup finals in France on Saturday.

But the 39-year-old Aberdeen keeper is bitterly disappointed that the road to Europe through winning the Coca-Cola Cup has been blocked.

Leighton, fresh from helping Scotland secure a place in France next year, is now hoping to steer the Premier Division's bottom club through to the final tomorrow, when they face Dundee United at Tynecastle.

He said: "This is a big tournament for the players and the supporters. It is a trophy we certainly want to win. It is such a shame that there is no European place at the end of it and I fail to understand the reasoning behind that decision.

"We have not been doing that well in the League, although I feel we have not had the rub of the green. But in the Coca-Cola Cup we have played well and got the results we deserved.''

The former Manchester United keeper last won a medal in his homeland back in 1986, when Aberdeen beat Hearts to lift the Scottish Cup.

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