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Old Bhoy Brown heaps pressure on Hibees boss – Scottish Premier League roundup

September 26, 2010

Goals from Glenn Loovens and Scott Brown helped Celtic continue their unbeaten start to the season and heap even more pressure on the under-fire Hibernian boss John Hughes.

Having seen his side beat Inverness 6-0 during the week in the CIS Cup, much of the pre-match speculation was on who Celtic manager Neil Lennon would choose to lead from the front. In the end, Lennon decided on Gary Hooper and former Hibees striker Anthony Stokes, who had made a deadline day switch from the Scottish capital. Stokes, making his first appearance against his old club, was the centre of the early attention before Brown, himself a former Hibernian player, opened the scoring in a rather lacklustre affair.

After a neat one-two with Efrain Juarez, the Celtic captain volleyed past Mark Brown for his first goal since March. Hibs looked like a side short on confidence and failed to even string a succession of passes together, never mind supplying decent service to lone striker Derek Riordan. Feeding off scraps, Riordan was almost gifted a chance early in the second half by his former strike partner. Stokes’ back-pass was under hit but Riordan failed to capitalise. Minutes later, Riordan did find the net with a lob of real quality; but Celtic had already doubled their lead with Looven’s flicked header from Shaun Maloney’s corner somehow conspiring to evade every Hibernian defender.

Hibernian were vitalised by Riordan’s goal but it all came a little too late. The visitors could have been best served starting the game in the manner that they finished it and though both sides had chances to scrape a point or make safe the victory, they were all wasted. In the end, Celtic held on for a deserved victory that took them to 6 wins out of 6 and three points clear of Rangers.

Less than twenty four hours later that three point lead was evaporated by the reigning Champions. Despite being two down after just thirty-three minutes at Pittodrie, Rangers produced a spirited comeback to return to the top of the SPL table with an eventual 3-2 victory over Aberdeen.

The home side were much quicker out of the blocks against a team that looked to have more than one eye on Wednesday’s Champions League clash with Bursaspor. Scott Vernon fired The Dons into a tenth minute lead and twenty minutes later, Chris Maguire swept Darren Mackie’s cross home to double the lead. Aware that two-nil leads don’t come along often against Rangers; Mark McGhee looked hopeful that his side would make it to the break in charge but mere moments later, Kenny Miller pulled one back from the spot.

Vladimir Weiss’ weaving run was ended unceremoniously by Jerel Ifill and Miller duly obliged from twelve yards. The Scotland striker then scored his tenth goal of the season seven minutes into the second half when he smashed home Steve Davis’ pull back. The goal brought the visitors level but such was their momentum, it didn’t look like the last time they would breach the Aberdeen defence.

Soon enough the comeback was completed. Lee McCulloch put Steven Naismith clear of the Aberdeen defence and he squared the ball for Nikica Jelavić, who is cup-tied out of Wednesday’s game, to place home the winner and send Rangers back to the summit of the Scottish Premier League.

Weekend Results
Saturday
Celtic 2-1 Hibernian
Dundee Utd 1-0 St Johnstone
Hamilton 2-2 Kilmarnock
Hearts 0-2 Motherwell
St Mirren 1-2 Inverness CT

Sunday
Aberdeen 2-3 Rangers

Hearts and Motherwell, two of the closer teams to the rampant Old Firm before the weekend, swapped places following Well’s 2-0 win at Tynecastle. After been dumped out of the CIS Cup by Falkirk in midweek and having not won at home so far this season, Jim Jefferies was not pleased to see his side concede thanks to two defensive lapses. Chris Humphrey was the architect for both Motherwell goals in a pretty-even affair. Two enterprising runs from the winger set-up Nathan Blackman and then John Sutton to score and though Hearts had their chances they were unable to force themselves back into the contest in the latter stages.

At Tannadice, Dundee United were made to work hard for the three points as they beat St Johnstone 1-0. The Saints ended up with nothing from a fairly even affair after David Goodwillie stabbed home the winner just over an hour into the game.

Kilmarnock scored twice in the last ten minutes to save a point against Hamilton. Flavio Paixao and Nigel Hasselbaink’s first goal for the Accies looked to have done the job for Billy Reid’s side only for Killie to break the home crowd’s hearts. Jamie Hamill scored a retaken penalty before Conor Sammon got his head onto Rui Miguel’s seemingly wayward shot and glanced the ball into the open goal.

The final game of the weekend saw St Mirren remain rooted to the bottom of the SPL. Two goals from Eric Odhiambo were enough to earn Inverness Caledonian Thistle three precious away points. Paul McGowan did rifle in a goal for the home team but they were unable to produce a leveller.

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