Scottish Premiership Round-up: Hearts go down fighting

ScottishPrem

Last weekend was the post-split weekend; the relegation play-off place has yet to be decided although Hearts finally went down. There will be a week off for most of the clubs as it is Scottish Cup semi-final weekend.

Hearts grabbed a win at Partick Thistle unfortunately for them; it was too little too late, as they will be playing their football in the Championship next season.

They fell behind at Firhill with five minutes on the clock, Lyle Talyor set up his strike partner Kris Doolan, the former Falkirk man’s through ball was perfectly waited allowing Doolan to race through the Hearts defence and smashed his shot beyond Jamie MacDonald. Thistle missed a further two chances as did their visitors before Hearts struck just before the half-time break. Goal hero from last week Billy King was the architect his cutback was headed into the net via a Dale Carrick close-range header.

That goal spurred the relegation-threatened side on. King turned from provider to goalscorer, the youngster raced onto a through ball before unleashing a 22-yard shot well beyond the reach of Gallacher to put his team in the lead. A further two goals in seven minutes sealed the points – both from Ryan Stevenson.  He got on the end of a corner glancing the ball into the net, for his second he collected a pass from Robinson before finishing in emphatic fashion with a shot into the corner. Thistle pulled one back through Jordan McMillan but it was too late for them to salvage anything form the match.

The match that made sure that Hearts went down was a five-goal thriller, between St Mirren and Motherwell.

Motherwell who are chasing second place, raced into a two-goal lead before the half hour. Henri Anier gave the Steelmen the lead, a long ball caught out the St Mirren defence, leaving Ainsworth one-on-one with Dillo the winger squared it for the Estonian striker to finish with ease. The second came via John Sutton. Stevie Hammell’s cross was played to Lionel Ainsworth whose pass found the head of Sutton. Their lead was cut in half just before the interval, Motherwell failed to clear a corner and Stevie Thompson fired home.

That goal just before half-time gave St Mirren renewed confidence. It showed, they won a penalty five minutes from time. Iain Brines pointed to the spot as Steven Thompson’s header hit McManus on the arm. Midfielder Kenny McLean stepped up and levelled the scoreline. The drama wasn’t over yet as the home side complete the comeback. Motherwell again allowing loose balls to ping around their box, Steven Thompson showed great composure to finish from a tight angle and win a precious three points for his side.

That result also dragged Ross County into the fight to avoid the play-off, as they lost the Highland derby on Friday night.

Inverness took the lead in this derby on the stroke of half-time. Mark Brown the Ross County goalkeeper made a great save to deny Greg Tansey from a free-kick, that allowed Billy McKay to find Doran and the Irishman thunder a high effort beyond Brown who had no chance of keeping it out.

Five minutes into the second period on-loan Slovak Filip Kiss levelled the score. Arquin only found fresh air with his attempt at an overhead kick, fellow Frenchman Songo’o missed the follow-up then Kiss fired the ball towards the back post, it took a wicked deflection off Carl Tremarco and found the net. Both sides had chances in this end-to-end affair, but Inverness’ top scorer Billy McKay with 11 minutes left won the game.  The Ulsterman was alert enough to pounce on Doran’s chip forward and kept his composure to volley past Brown.

Hibs are looking anxiously over their shoulder as another loss; this time to Aberdeen at Easter Road has them in the midst of a possible relegation along with rivals Hearts. The result meant Aberdeen tightened their grip on second place after Motherwell losing.

Aberdeen pilled on the misery for the Easter Road faithful taking the lead with 14 minutes gone, through Niall McGinn. The former Celtic man was quickest to react to some slack Hibernian defending before lobbing the ball over the helpless Williams. That gave the Dons a half-time advantage.

It was the same man who doubled Aberdeen’s lead after the interval. Adam Rooney’s cutback found the Northern Irishman who was given plenty of space to control the pass before finishing from 16 yards out to make sure the points where heading back to the north.

Dundee United warmed-up for the Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers by losing to The Gers’ arch-rivals Celtic.

The Arabs found themselves trailing by 2 goals going into the interval, Samaras gave Celtic the lead when he nicked in front of Gavin Gunning to side-foot the ball past the ‘keeper. Celtic’s second came through Anthony Stokes the Irishman was played in behind the United defence after a good passing move, he finished high beyond the Polish goalkeeper as Celtic were on easy street.

Dundee United rallied a little after the break introducing Gary Mackay-Steven to the fold, but could not find a way beyond Forster. It was all too easy for Celtic as United will have to dust themselves down and try and get to the final of the Scottish Cup on Saturday afternoon.

The other semi-finalist St Johnstone got a win before their clash with Aberdeen, defeating Kilmarnock, and coming from a goal down to do so.

Robbie Muirhead gave Killie the lead very early on, the youngster was quickest to react after Kris Boyd’s effort was saved by Mannus, the ‘keeper failed to hold the shot and Muirhead took full advantage by finding the back of the net. St Johnstone had a few chances before they equalised with 31 minutes gone. Centre-half Frazer Wright headed Lee Croft’s corner home after he escaped the attention of his marker. Just before the break, the comeback was complete. It was Wotherspoon’s corner this time and Wright’s central defensive partner Anderson who put the Perth club in front.

Both sides had their chances in the second period but the scoreline remained the same St Johnstone will take confidence from this win going into the cup-tie.

RESULTS

Partick Thistle 2-4 Hearts – Hearts are relegated

St Mirren 3-2 Mothewell

Hibs 0-2 Aberdeen

Ross County 1-2 Inverness CT

Dundee United 0-2 Celtic

Kilmarnock 1-2 St Johnstone

JamieCurrie

Click on Jamie’s name to follow him on Twitter

Advertisements