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Another Rangers comeback maintains their 100% start – Scottish Premier League roundup

October 3, 2010

Late goals from Kyle Lafferty and Steven Naismith in the last fifteen minutes of their clash with Hearts at Tynecastle helped Rangers avoid dropping points. Having ended their run of 12 European games at home without victory on Wednesday by beating Bursaspor 1-0, Rangers started the game like a side suffering a European hangover and it looked for long periods of Saturday’s early kick-off that the home side would walk away victorious.

Rudi Skacel, making his first start since returning to Hearts, pounced on some poor defending from the Scottish Champions in the twelfth minute to give the Edinburgh side the lead and they had a number of further chances to double their lead. Kevin Kyle had two good chances to beat Allan McGregor but was unable to convert either and it ended up costing Jim Jefferies’ side.

Lafferty, three minutes after being introduced, squeezed his free-kick under the Hearts wall as they jumped and his shot beat Marian Kello at his near post. The strike came ten minutes from time and just as Hearts had looked like the first side to take points off the Old Firm this season, Steven Naismith broke into the box. With just seconds of injury time remaining Naismith stepped inside a desperate Hearts challenge and placed the ball outside the desperate reach of Kello to complete another late comeback for Rangers.

Rangers weren’t the only Old Firm side to recover from a goal down though Celtic did it with much more time remaining on the clock. Hamilton shocked the Celtic Park crowd after just three minutes when Mark McLaughlin nodded home a corner that was lifted straight from the training pitch.

And though Hamilton did have their fair share of chances to add more goals to their tally it was Neil Lennon’s side that struck next. Shaun Maloney reacted first to Daniel Majstorovic heading Ki Sung-Yeung’s corner back across goal and the 5′ 7 striker stooped to head Celtic level on twenty-five minutes. It was Maloney again that scored the second Celtic goal just after the hour mark. Scott Brown was bundled off the ball by James Goodwin and Maloney stepped up to smash a superb free-kick past Tomáš Černý.

The victory was completed seven minutes later by Gary Hooper. Dogged by injury since joining Celtic, Hooper looked pretty pleased with himself as his pressure on the Hamilton defence forced a mistake. The ball broke kindly to the former Scunthorpe marksman and he drilled past Černý to send Celtic back to the top of the SPL table on goal difference.

Behind the Old Firm, Craig Brown’s Motherwell continue to lead the chasing pack thanks to a well-deserved victory over St Mirren. It was Chris Humphrey, the architect of both goals last week, that opened the scoring. Capitalising on a slip by Patrick Cregg on the edge of the Buddies’ area, Humphrey rifled the ball home though St Mirren levelled early into the second period.

Growing in confidence more and more as Motherwell went without a second goal, Gareth Wardlaw pulled back the deficit for St Mirren from Paul McGowan’s cross. But things were then undone for Danny Lennon’s side in the space of three minutes. Alan Gow won a penalty that was calmly dispatched by Tom Hately and then popped up moments later to cross for Jamie Murphy to confirm the win. Just as St Mirren looked set to earn a point that would have lifted them as high as tenth, the home side dug deep for their first home win of the season.

Results
Celtic 3-1 Hamilton
Hearts 1-2 Rangers
Inverness CT 2-0 Aberdeen
Kilmarnock 1-2 Dundee Utd
Motherwell 3-1 St Mirren
St Johnstone 2-0 Hibernian

At Rugby Park, goals from David Goodwillie and Jon Daly lifted Dundee United into fourth place. Kilmarnock took quite a while to get going and it wasn’t until their defender Frazer Wright had been sent off for a second bookable offence. Connor Sammon scored a very late consolation for Kilmarnock but it was too late for it to be anything more.

Elsewhere, Jonny Hayes sent Inverness Caledonian Thistle on their way to a first ever home win over Aberdeen with a spectacular, if fortunate, goal. The impressive winger’s cross looked to be poorly hit and it looped over Mark Howard in The Dons goal to give Caley the lead. Aberdeen pressed for an equaliser before Adam Rooney pounced on Xander Diamond’s inexplicable defending to complete the win.

While two second half substitutes helped St Johnstone to only their second win of the season against Hibernian. Liam Craig and Marcus Haber grabbed goals in the last fifteen minutes of the game to heap even more pressure on the under-fire John Hughes.

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