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Scottish Premier League roundup

September 20, 2010

This weekend of Scottish Premier League football was very much business as usual for The Old Firm, while the teams chasing them all conspired to beat each other. Hearts produced a wonderful second half performance to see off Inverness while Hibernian once again failed to recapture the form they showed last season. Aberdeen and Motherwell played out the only draw of the weekend and elsewhere, St. Johnstone scored their first win of the season.

Rangers 4 – Dundee United 0

Having been gifted a ninth minute lead by Sean Dillon’s own goal, it then took Ranger an hour to break down the Dundee back line once again. On a day that Rangers were supposed to be vulnerable following their Champions League exploits, Dundee failed to really have a go. Their best chance saw a poor Maurice Edu clearance landing on the head of Daly who diverted it wide when the score was only 1-0.

Rangers were comfortable throughout. Vladimir Weiss and Nikica Jelavić were given the run of either flank and it was the latter that laid on Kenny Miller‘s first goal and Rangers’ second. Failing to clear their lines, the ball was shot up in the air and landed to Jelavić who squared for the unmarked Miller. The third once again saw Dundee fail to clear their lines; as an over-hit Weiss corner was allowed to bounce through to the back post. David Weir took his time to control the ball and then picked out the head of Steven Naismith before Miller added the fourth. Steven Whittaker intercepted a Dundee pass in the middle of the park and sent Jelavić racing down the right. The Croat looked up and squared the ball to Miller who knocked it past Pernis.

Kilmarnock 1 – Celtic 2

Celtic had to come back from a goal in Sunday’s SPL game after Kilmarnock had opened the scoring after just seven minutes. Spurred on by successive victories in their last two games, Conor Sammon raced onto a pass from Alexei Eremenko and placed the ball past Fraser Forster to stun the visitors. From there, Celtic pegged Kilmarnock back with a concentrated response. The equalizer, which always looked likely to come, was scored by Daryl Murphy from the penalty spot after Frazer Wright bundled Anthony Stokes to ground in the box in the 41st minute.

Stokes, who had replaced the injured Paddy McCourt in the 22nd minutes, then popped up seven minutes after half-time to score his first Celtic goal from close range. Reacting first to Izaguirre’s driven cross, Stokes put his foot out to complete the Bhoys’ comeback. Ominously, the victory means that Celtic and Rangers are already seven points clear of the chasing SPL pack after just five games.

Inverness CT 1 – Hearts 3

The nearest challengers to the two Glasgow teams are Hearts who produced a stunning second half performance to see off Caley Thistle. After a scrappy first half that saw both teams finding the back of the net, Hearts produced a confident performance in the second half to earn the three points. It was the introduction of Kevin Kyle for the injured Ian Black that proved to be the difference for Jim Jefferies’ side. While not the most mobile, Kyle was a handful of the Inverness defence and it was his pressure that got Hearts back on level terms.

Eric Odhiambo had given Caley the lead before Kyle’s pressure at the back post caused Chris Innes to volley through his own goal. Kyle was then involved in the Hearts second after the break. He nodded down Calum Elliot’s cross into the path of Ryan Stevenson, who scored from ten yards. Kyle then started the move for the third as he fed Suso down the right. The Spanish winger headed to the goal-line before pulling it back for Elliot to smash home the third.

Hibernian 1 – Hamilton 1

Having opened the scoring after nine minutes and then smashed the underside of the Hamilton crossbar four minutes later, all of the early signs at Easter Road indicated that Hibernian would break their poor run of home form with victory over Billy Reid’s side. And it was a feeling that seemed to filter through John Hughes’ side as they took their foot off the gas more and more, expecting the victory to simply come to them.

Derek Riordan reacted first to a poor pass-back to open the scoring and then watched as his glorious free-kick smashed off Cerny’s bar. But after that, Hibernian let Hamilton back into the game. Rather than trying to kill off the visitors, Billy Reid’s side were allowed to grow in confidence before Marco Paixao marked his birthday with the equalizer to add to Yogi’s frustrations.

St Johnstone 2 – St Mirren 1

St Johnstone crept off the bottom of the Scottish Premier League table by goal difference thanks to a win over fellow early season strugglers St Mirren. Andy Jackson and Sam Parkin put the home side two nil up before Sean Lynch’s deflected shot on 37 minutes set-up a nervy second half. The Saints did have chances to put the game beyond their visitors but in the end, the two goals were enough to send Hamilton crashing to the bottom of the table.

Motherwell 1 – Aberdeen 1

Two goals ten minutes either side of half-time saw Motherwell and Aberdeen fighting over the only draw of the SPL weekend. Jamie Murphy and Scott Vernon were the scorers in a game that have been stolen by either team. The result benefits neither team as they are leapfrogged into third by Hearts thanks to their 3-1 win.

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