SCOTLAND: Scottish Premiership Week 5 review

Scotland

There were not many goals this week in the Scottish Premiership, Inverness and Celtic continued their decent starts to the campaign while St. Mirren boss Danny Lennon finds himself under pressure.

Dundee United 0-1 Celtic

Celtic maintained their good start to the league campaign, following their qualification for the Champions League group stages with a narrow win over at Tannadice.

Celtic started the brighter and almost took the lead when Van Dijk strode forward unchallenged into the United area before firing his effort just over, Stokes was next to come close but saw his volley just flash wide of the right-hand post with Cierzniak rooted to the spot. Celtic continued to attack with virtually no attacking response from the home side, Van Dijk flashed his long-range volley wide. United finally got themselves an opportunity but Goodwillie’s tame header went straight at Forster. Ciftci was next to test the Celtic stopper but saw his 20-yard free-kick well saved.

The second period began on a sour note, Lustig and Gunning challenged for an aerial ball – in which Lustig came off worse, clutching his ankle and rolling around in severe pain, he was immediately stretchered off with a suspected broken ankle. The play began again with Celtic on the attack Stokes burst into the box, he was tackled the ball fell to Commons who shot wide of the post. The goal finally arrived with 3 minutes left – Stokes looked to take a clear dive on the edge of the area, which the referee somehow missed and award the free-kick to the fury of the United players and manager, Stokes dusted himself down to fire the free-kick home to give Celtic the vital away win.

Inverness CT 2-0 Hearts

Inverness continued their fine start to the season thanks to a Billy McKay double to see off the challenge of Hearts.

The visitors started brightest in the highlands, a fine Hearts move ended with a Jamie Walker shot, which went wide from the right-boot of the midfielder. Hearts were to pay for the early miss, Inverness broke on them and Doran found Billy McKay free in the box to fire home despite MacDonald getting his fingers to the shot. Hearts came close to getting level, similar to the opening goal Inverness broke, Doran’s shot was blocked and it fell nicely for McKay to double the home side’s lead. Walker could not make it third time lucky when he latched onto Shinnie’s defensive error and smacked his shot off the face of the post.

Inverness looked for the third at the start of the second-half Warren saw his header hit the top of MacDonald’s crossbar before McKay set-up Vincent who tamely fired wide. Richie Foran was next to test MacDonald, his long-range effort looked in all the way but MacDonald pulled off a very good diving save to keep the deficit at two. Jamie Hamil saw red, following a goalmouth scramble, he blocked McKay’s shot with his head yet the referee awarded the penalty and the Hearts captain was given his marching orders. McKay took the spot-kick himself, the Ulsterman was denied by a good MacDonald stop.

St. Mirren 1-2 Partick Thistle

Partick Thistle continued their good start back in the top-flight, leaving St Mirren winless in four games and a manager in Danny Lennon who is under-fire.

Despite their poor form, the home side almost took the lead early on but Muirhead cleared debutant Bahoken’s effort off the line. John Baird had a shout for a penalty turned down when it looked like he was pushed over, then Craigen header over for the Jags when he really should have hit the target. Lawless came close to opening the scoring but his volley went inches past the post following O’Donnell’s knock-down.

Kenny McLean had a mixed opening to the second-half – first his slack pass let John Baird run clear for Thistle, the diminutive striker couldn’t make the most of it and fired over, the midfielder then gave his fans something to cheer when he swept home a cross from Van Zanten on the right. Thistle responded well but Craigen’s effort could not find the back of the net. St Mirren searched for the second but McLean could not add to his tally, with a header that went over the bar. Thistle eventually won all three points with two goals in three minutes. Higginbotham fired a superb 20-yard shot into the top corner after neat build-up play to level the game. Just three minutes later Thistle broke on St Mirren, which ended with Ross Forbes firing a shot into the bottom corner to give the away side all the points.

Motherwell 2-1 Kilmarnock

Motherwell moved up to third place as Killie are still searching for their first win of the season following the Steelmen’s win at home.

Motherwell should have been ahead inside fifteen seconds of this match; Iain Vigurs was put through but prodded his effort wide from fifteen yards as the Killie defence recovered to put the midfielder under pressure. Killie defender Darren Barr has a good few minutes, making a last-ditch block to deny Anier at one end before heading on for Stephen McManus to head into his own net to give Killie a one-goal advantage. The lead only lasted three minutes; Anier who was brought in to replace departing Henrik Ojamma fired his effort through Samson’s legs to level the score. Nicholson had the chance to restore Killie’s lead but his curling shot from 15-yards went straight at Hollis. Samson denied Vigurs at the other end, as he showed strong wrists to beat away the midfielder’s near-post drive. Sutton was next to be foiled by Samson, his shot on the volley was well saved by the Killie number one. Motherwell regained the lead just on half-time, Ramsden’s cross went all the way to the back-post where Sutton was waiting to pounce and he duly obliged.

Just after the break Sutton and Ramsden combined once again, the big striker saw his point-blank header saved. Killie did not lie down and take defeat they could have levelled through Kris Boyd but the all-time leading goalscorer seen his two efforts go wide of the post. Vigurs saw his effort tipped over as Motherwell looked for a third, Hollis pulled off three goal-line saves to keep the home side in front, despite the win they saw Ramsden sent off for a second booking after a foul on Rabiu Ibrahim.

Hibernian 0-0 Ross County

Hibs played out a less than exciting 0-0 draw with highland side Ross County as both continue their mixed starts to the campaign.

Hibs could have been ahead within two minutes of the kick-off at Easter Road, young striker Danny Handling failed to make that happen, as his headed effort went over the bar. County went close when Kovacevic’s shot hit the post after Ben Williams parried Kevin Luckassen’s shot. County should have taken the lead but Quinn managed to miss from 4-yards out when it looked easier to score. James Collins headed against the woodwork from McGivern’s cross just before half-time.

Laim Craig brought a good save out of Mark Brown, before Handling and Collins fired their respective chances over. County almost won it but Carey toe-poked past from 6-yards as the game ended all square.

Aberdeen 0-0 St Johnstone

Aberdeen are still winless in three games as they drew at home with St Johnstone.

The game began with Gregg Wylde in the thick of it; his left-foot volley from Mark Reynolds’ cross was well saved by Steve Banks. Saints came close, but Dave McKay’s free-kick was tipped over by Langfield. The ‘keeper had to come to Aberdeen’s rescue once more when he foiled Wotherspoon after the midfielder was set-up by delightful Hasselbaink skill.

At the start of the second-half Aberdeen pressed for the opening goal; Josh Magennis and Smith both brought saves out of Banks, St Johnstone responded but Murray Davidson fired over from 8-yards out. McGinn went close for the home side twice his volley hit the crossbar then his curling shot was tipped away by Banks, Wotherspoon cleared a late Russell Anderson header off the line as the match ended goalless.

 

STANDINGS

20130902 - Scottish Premiership 

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