SCOTLAND: SPL Week 28 Review



Celtic faced the other half of Dundee at the weekend, following the previous weeks 6-2 victory against Dundee United which proved to be one of the games of the season.  Not as one sided as the score suggested. This week proved different, apart from a 10 minute spell before half time where Fraser Forster saved a volley and a header from Gary Harkins the Bhoys in green outclassed Dundee as many would have expected.  With new manager John Brown in charge and watching from the stands he saw Celtic take an early lead through skipper Joe Ledley who pounced on a mistake from Dundee goalkeeper Rab Douglas to knock in the opener, while James Forrest added a second-half penalty following Matt Lockwood’s dismissal for a foul on Gary Hooper. Dylan McGeouch then steered in a header as the depleted visitors began to wilt. Ledley hammered in his second goal from ten yards and Gary Hooper completed the scoring with a lovely volleyed finish. Celtic are now only four more wins required to secure the SPL title.



Johnny Russell’s late penalty earned Dundee United a point against Hibernian but the visitors will feel aggrieved because Ryan McGivern’s trip on Gary Mackay-Steven was outside the box. A clearance by Hibs keeper Ben Williams cannoned off John Rankin for a bizarre United opener in six minutes. James McPake headed home Leigh Griffiths’ cross as Hibs pulled level. And a superb strike by Griffiths looked to have won the match for Pat Fenlon’s side before the late controversy. That late penalty prevented Hibs from joining third-placed Motherwell and fourth-placed St Johnstone on 40 points in the Scottish Premier League.



Hearts 2-3 Inverness CT

Kilmarnock 1-1 Aberdeen

Ross County 3-0 Motherwell

St Johnstone 1-0 St Mirren



Last week has seen two great pieces of business from two of Scotland’s most cash strapped clubs.  Without a doubt the Motherwell fans will be purring with excitement, seeing an idol from almost ten years ago return to Fir Park. McFadden started his career at Fir Park, scoring 32 times in 70 matches, before joining Everton in 2003.  He has since been a success at Goodison without ever really being a regular under Moyes, leaving for Birmingham in a 5million deal.  He was one of Birmingham’s stars and would have been for a number of years if he hadn’t suffered a cruciate injury in 2010.  He contract expired in 2011 and since them he has had 2 unsuccessful spells back and Everton and latterly at Sunderland.

Returning north gives the 48 capped Striker a chance to get back to form and prove his fitness, with aim of course being a return to English football and to get back in Gordon Strachan’s national team.  The short term deal is a win win situation for Motherwell and will surely help get some Lanarkshire arm chair fans back into Fir Park to support their team.

Through in Ayrshire, one time hit-man for Rangers and SPL all time leading goal scorer with 164 goals has returned to Rugby Park.  Boyd left Kilmarnock and moved to Rangers under Alex Mcleish where he scored a barrel load of goals under 3 different managers.  Despite this record his work rate and basic ability was always questioned and given his time at Middlesbrough, (successful loan at Forrect), Eskisehirspor, Portland Timber in MLS all being classed as failures many would feel justified in their opinions of the player.  However, my thoughts have always leaned towards him being an old fashioned lazy poacher with a killer instinct inside the 18 yard box, all he needs is service.  If you want step-overs and a turn of pace then Boyd’s not your man, even a simple 1-2 can be made to look hard. But put the ball in the box I would fancy him to nick in on the end of it.  He would admit his idols would be Inzaghi rather than Ronaldo, so that gives you an idea of the type of player he is.  Again I feel this a real coup for one a club like Kilmarnock, he will help them push for a European place in the final months of season and should be ready to make an impact from the start given he has been training with Rangers since December to remain fit.

Tony Hocking

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