Jonathan Sutherland introduces highlights of the weekend's matches in the new SPFL Scottish Premiership, with comment on and analysis of the week's main talking points.
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Pat Fenlon Sportscene Constituency wants
High energy autumn weather. Enjoy tomorrow if you can, the driest day
of the working week before further spells of wet and windy weather come
across the UK. We Scottish football is never short on
drama and this Managerless Hibs without James Mc
pak. In come Maybury, Forrester and Hefernan.
Just wide. Managing to escape his marker in the
middle. Given away cheaply by Hibs and given
immediately back. Firing off target in the end.
He worked that opening himself. Elusive play from Hefernan. When he
cut in, you expect him to be working the goalkeeper. Hibs with plenty of
early possession. Stevenson bursting into the box.
Flinging himself at that. Simon Ramsden looks as if he's pulled up
with hamstring trouble. It is an early change, his match is over.
20-year-old Fraser Kerr takes his place.
Stephen McManus, another one at the front and it is his first goal for
the club. Good play from Sutton. This looks
promising. It spins off the glove of Williams. It could so easily have
gone in for goal number two. Suspended James McPake in the stand.
That is a clearance. From Neil son. Blocked by the goalkeeper. He should
have hit that quicker. That must have brushed the post.
Great run from the midfielder. So close to adding to Motherwell's
advantage. Robertson into a threat threatening
position and the shot comes off the heel of Hutchinson. And spins
behind. It might have been heading wide. But
Neilson wasn't going to be taking any chances and helped this on its
way. Taken out by Sean Hutchinson, it's
outside the box but it is still going to be a red card. A big chance
for Hibs as well. Did well to make contact outside.
Vine, off the wall. That's a real anti-climax for Hibs.
Is there to be one last chance? Big moment for the substitute and he
fires wide. Robertson's pass. There's Hefernan,
great stop by Neil sen and Motherwell look like they are
hanging on for all three points. It was a good foul by Hutchinson, he
genuinely went for the ball. We get that, thankfully. But I think
overall with the chances, we deserved to win the game. How did
the players respond to everything that's gone on? Well, I just thought
the first half we were better than that. There seemed to be a lack of,
lacking something, as if there's something eating away at them.
Second time was better. Half-time, getting into them a bit because of
it. Great three points for Motherwell, but how strange will the
preparations have been for Hibs players Pat Fenlon leaving on Friday
afternoon. It will be strange for them, a quick turn around for
Sunday's game. It is strange especially the ones he brought in
for the game. But looking at the team they played, it was the same
team, so they have a job to do and it's not too bad. We will talk more
about the managerial situation later on. But in terms of their form, not
so great and again today, bit slack at the back. When it really mattered
most, they needed a performance for Pat Fenlon, but it is easy to turn
round and say it, but as a player, they care about their manager, we
are going to do it for him. It was difficult for Jimmy Nichol
yesterday, but they go into the game and defending is not there and that
is one of the reasons why Pat Fenlon lost his job, poor defending that
lost Hibs a goal yesterday. Let's look at the goal here. Was Ryan ma
give earn at fault? The front two that shifted out of the area, that
is for starters, they both got attracted to the ball. You are
looking at ma given, he should do better. McManus wants it, attacks
it, poor defending again all round. I think so, clever Motherwell, they
try and move the front man and they take Stevenson gets attracted
towards the man and leaves a gap where they attack. Hutchinson
attacks the -- McManus attacks it brilliantly. Stuart not too upset
about the red card situation. What did you make of that? It was a good
foul. In the end he knew what he was doing. It was towards the end. I
think the young fullback has got to help him. The fullback has got to
come in to take Vine. Once he has gone the wrong side, I don't think
there's anything else he can do. In the end, Hefernan has a good touch.
Once he is there he is in trouble and should be five yards left of
him. Once they gets there he has to take one for the team. It's paid off
for them. They have won the game 1-0, so I think Stuart McCall will
be a happy man to take three points. We will talk about Butcher and the
Hibs managerial situation in depth shortly. How do you see that
situation briefly developing over the next few days? We will see, it
remains to be seen. Looking at it and you would say rod Petrie has got
to get it right. There's been four or five managers going into Hibs and
it's not gone right, and he is under pressure. It is going to cost top
dollar to get Terry Butcher. They must make it the right signings.
Hibs fans have not been happy. But if you get kwp butcher with the job
he's done, you will have to pay top dollar. It is going to cost them a
few bob if Hibs get him. We will revisit this shortly. Celtic started
the weekend six points clear at the top of the table. Thoughts would
soon turn to another Champions League mid-week mission, this time
to Amsterdam. Dundee United were in the east enld of Glasgow looking for
their first victory at Celtic Park in 20 years.
Armstrong scored here last season. That is a lovely ball for Gary
Mackay Steven. Really good play from United. So
many attacking options here. Great one-two between stokes and
Forest. It is a double clearance. Good defending by the youngster.
That's Graham. Forrester forced into action. A couple of times the big
Celtic number one has had to make a save.
Didn't have the power to trouble the goalkeeper. A bit more pace on the
ball perhaps he might have been able to generate more power in that
header. Celtic looking for the opener before
the break. That is for Ambrose. United managing to scoop it clear.
What a run that was from Armstrong, he's in here and it's 1-0 to the
visitors. A superb goal for Dundee United. Stuart Armstrong, finishing
it off, but it was the Celtic rearguard was open, still had a lot
to do, but do it he did. United think this came off van dyke.
They have a corner, do Celtic. It's over again. Anthony Stokes was
the match winner the last time the teams met at the end of August.
Another good ball. Stokes is in. United just managing to keep Celtic
at arm's length in the first half. They are looking for another one
here. Armstrong almost in, but for a terrific challenge from van Dyke. It
was good defending. Celtic continuing to knock on the
Dundee United door. That should have been 2-0. How he's
missed that, I don't know. Terrific instinct reaction from the
goalkeeper. He takes the plaudits. Clock continuing to tick down.
Dundee United haven't won here since 19 92 and that run is going to
continue by the looks for things because Charlie Mulgrew has rescued
a point in stoppage time. Flicking home the cross. Dundee United look
to the heavens, they cannot believe this. I am very happy we dug out a
point. We could have done better at times, particularly in the final
third, but we have preserved an unbeaten run, so I am happy about
that. We have four or five back for the game on Wednesday night. I
thought we were going to see it through. I thought the players were
fantastic for the first minute, the effort they put in and passed the
ball well at times and caused problems. We were gutted at losing a
goal late on, but it shows how far they have come that sappoint
disappointed. Good point for Dundee United. One of those points,
probably feels like a defeat for the Dundee United players, the way they
lost at the end there. How good were United yesterday? Excellent. Just
the way they set up the play, four, two, three, one and two sitting
midfielders, Rankin and Gomez, this is a kick out, but it is the type of
movement they showed all day, to get forward at will. It was a good first
half, Celtic played their part, had a few chances but United were always
dangerous in their movement. It was right throughout the game, great
ball there, gets Mackay Steven, they were excellent from turning defence
into attack. And they caused Celtic problems. You can see the movement
here again. That is Rankin, he goes forward. The de defenders defenders
are poor. Take nothing away from them, it is an excellent finish,
great movement. A neat finish in the end from Armstrong. You have seen
Dundee United this season, they have this huge attacking potential. This
was a glaering miss from Graham. It was a fantastic ball N he is caught
in two minds. Looks like he is going to go for the heading volley but for
me it is the two defensive midfielders, they do so much work,
cover so much ground, allows the front four to go and play. They get
the fullbacks high and wide as well. Two really good attacking fullbacks.
Robertson has been a star this year. They are a great counterattacking
team. Playing at Parkhead when they can play on the counter probably
suited them. So close to getting that first victory in 20 years.
Celtic created chances but once again passed up plenty of chances.
First half, they were excellent as well. It was a real end to end game.
Stokes had a few chances. You see stokes cut nothing here. The second
half, one shot, they had an unbelievable save from, usually
Celtic, that is the save there, what a save it is, but usually they are
throwing the kitchen sink at you, the goalie is picking off save after
save. I have seen it years, year after year, at Celtic Park if you
are 1-0 up, you are holding on by the skin of your teeth. United will
be disappointed to lose that goal. They want to stay in this unbeaten
run. It sounds bad to say, but they have some massive games coming up. I
think it is very, very difficult to play these high intensity games all
the time. People might say why can't they, but it takes so much out of
them mentally and physically. There, to come away with a 1-1 draw, Neil
was delighted. You could tell he was delighted. Mulgrew has gone in
there, wasn't a great ball n but he's gone and attacked it. I think
Dundee United will be very disaprointed but it was a good point
for Celtic. Ajax on Wednesday night for Celtic. Still to come on
Sportscene tonight: Rain of biblical proportions in
Paisley as St Mirren took on Ross County.
With Celtic stalling slightly the chance for the trailing pack to
perhaps make up some ground. Inverness had such an exhilerating
start to the season had faltered slightly losing their last two
league matches. Terry butcher keen to ensure it was just a blip.
Kilmarnock won their last two league matches putting to an end a horrible
start to the season. Kilmarnock looking to win three
straight league games. One change, Mackenzie replaces Barry Nicholson.
Straight to the goalkeeper. Jackson has a good strike on him. Watkins
gets involved. Watkins with a chip ball for Mackay. Deflection! Kaly
thrustle take the lead after six minutes. -- Cali Thistle take the
lead after six minutes. That looks like an own goal.
Goalkeeper sent the wrong way. Draper made a great run. Didn't have
a great finish though. Just too high.
He's on his favourite left side and opened up for them and he curls it
in. He is aplague out of position as a
right back, normally a left fullback. Looked like he was out of
position here. Wonderful finish from Graham, his first goal in over a
year. Darren Barr, that is his first
Kilmarnock goal and it is a great finish, too. Kilmarnock find
themselves back in the game, with 15 minutes to play.
Danny Williams is up. It's knocked behind.
A job well done I think. Kilmarnock are sticky oi poenents. They passed
it well. They look like a threat, pushing four men up at the end. We
needed the third goal to kill them off. They put us under a lot of
pressure, they had their wind on the side as well, it was difficult
conditions. The way they played in the second half, if you keep playing
like that and putting teams under that much pressure, you get your
rewards. Front of the newspapers today, speculation on television and
roo that Hibs are interested. It was on the front page of a national
newspaper this morning. So I was told. That is all it is,
speculation. It is a headline. We will see what happens. But, no, as
far as I am concerned, that is all it is, speculation. Terry Butcher
batting it. Huge speculation, he could be the next Hibs manager. How
big a loss would Terry Butcher be to Inverness. A huge loss. You can
understand why his name has been linked. He has done a fantastic job
in the last couple of seasons. He is a character. He's one of these guys
that seems to get the best out of his players. It would be a big loss
for Inverness, especially up there. Again it is only speculation, there
will be a few more managers names popping up in the next week or so. I
don't think it will be Terry. I think he will be one of the
frontrunners. He turned down Barnsley, he seems to enjoy life up
in Inverness, you could look at the Hibs job as a bit of a poisoned
chalice? Well the way it's gone you would have to say that, a right good
job as well, if you are looking at Hibs and the size of club and what
might be there if you get it right. But it's certainly enticing, a hard
decision for him, a great team spirit up there, he's done well. He
will leave a really good group of players for somebody to take over.
Hibs need a -- they demand a certain style of play. The fans want that
and they want a win. It is a tough job to go in there. Does Terry Butch
irfit into that? I think managers can adapt and hi gets results. I
think he can get players. To go in there and sort out the dressing
room, if there are problems, there are a few stories leaking out. Let's
look at the goals, it was an important victory for Inverness,
because they lost their last two league games. What did you make of
the goals? Good play from Mackay. They have been unlucky in the last
couple of weeks, but get a bit of luck there. There is the strike,
going wide but sometimes you get your luck. It was good play. In this
goal, the young lad Johnson switches off a bit. I played right back a
couple of times but got hooked after 60 minutes I was that bad. It was a
great finish. It was maybe naive for Johnson great going forward. It
shows you the benefits of that, because people having a go,
Stevenson playing right back, you have Graham playing right back,
comes in and it is the only way he scores, because it suits his left
foot shot. You have seen in the last couple of years, left siders playing
on the right side, and I think I always used to have a problem
playing against left ciders out there, it is difficult to play
against. You had a lot of problems! . You don't win anything with kids,
apart from Edinburgh derbies. Hearts youngsters may have been written off
as relegation certainties but they are staring victory over Hibs meant
they should have gone into a home match brimming with confidence. The
Perth side also had a spring in their steps.
There was hope within Tynecastle that Wednesday night's cup win over
Hibs would give the league campaign a boost it requires. When Walker
came close with this effort early on, confidence within the home fans
began to grow. Lockside hadn't won at home in the league since August.
Saints boss was hoping his side would grab three points on the road
for the first time this season. It was Hearts who continued to push
forward. Stevenson knocking the ball down for Jason Holt, his effort just
over. The striking partnership of Stevie May has Hasselbaink was
beginning to click into gear. However on this occasion, McDonnell
pulled off a point blank save to deny saits the lead. Mistakes by
Hearts defence are part of the reason for the club's poor run of
form and once again questions will be asked. Hasselbaink played in
Chris Miller, his cut back with aid of a deflection bouncing high for
Hasselbaink to nod home. Hasselbaink allowed time and space to drift in
between the central defenders. Magee scored a winner against Aberdeen
earlier this season for Hearts and came within inches of an equaliser
here. It was Walker with space down the right hand side, his cross not
box, Magee stretching his leg out, couldn't get enough on the ball to
force it into the net. Hasselbaink is not well-known for scoring with
his head, but feels he should have found the net for a second time this
afternoon when he was in between Magee and McGowan and heading over
the cross bar. Saints started the second half in whirlwind fashion and
scored a second in controversial circumstances. McDonnell clearly in
an offside position when he received the pass. There was nothing he could
do about Stevie May's sublime finish.
A poor call by the standside assistant. But nevertheless, a
magnificent finish from Saints top scorer. May finding the net for the
ninth time this season. Saints almost made it three. Mackay's cross
Hasselbaink with a chance and on this occasion over the top of
McDonald's goal. One last chance for the home side, Carrick lewding the
Saints defenders before firing a shot over the cross bar. There was
to be Saints day. Wednesday night was a huge game and maybe
psychologically it's taken a lot out of players, but at the same time St
Johnstone played the other night as well, so I am not going to use that
as an excuse. We never started the second half well enough. It's been a
tough week but a great week, three wins and three clean sheets, and
really pleased with the effort and performance today because we showed
a lot of quality at times. You enjoyed watching that. A great win
for your side. How good is this partnership, this develops
partnership between May and Hasselbaink. It is good at the
moment. The partnership between Stevie and him is really good. If I
had to put these two upfront, obviously scored last Sunday and
scored again a couple of goals each. Good play by Nigel here, managed to
shift the ball quickly and continue his run. He wanted the ball there.
Great for your team, but McGowan should be throwing himself at that.
Nigel wanted to win it again. Target man in the box. It was good. It was
a decent game first half, pretty even. We got a little bit of luck
here, a touch offside, but again, a lot of momentum in the second half,
started the second half really well. That was a great finish. He can do
no wrong at the moment. The Scotland squad is announced tomorrow. Is
there a chance May could be in it? Probably too soon. It would be great
if he is, I would be over the moon if he is, but he's developing, we
have been so pleased with him this season. Stephen MacLean, he is up
playing with somebody with so much experience and he helps him. Some of
the things he learns during the game, we can't teach him. It is only
when you playing with somebody upfront, he is getting better and
better. He wanted to stay at St Johnstone, which is a massive thing.
He wanted to stay. He wants to improve and play every week. If he
carries on doing what he is doing, he's got a great chance. I see more
Scotland caps in the future. Are you teaching those celebrations as well?
You are on a great run at the moment. Great win against Motherwell
last weekend. Stevie May and Hasselbaink very much at the fore.
How high can they finish this season, could you finish second?
Make sure we are safe, that is the biggest thing, make sure we are
safe. We are bringing through more youngsters as well. It is tough. But
here again, mortgageon played extremely well, a tough game for us
and a bit of luck at the end of the game. As far as the seedson is
going, a blip after the European games, we have managed to get
ourselves back on track and hopefully that can continue. Wru do
you see St Johnstone finishing? If they get some work like that with
their goalkeeper, they should be finishing seshgd. They will be up
there, good team spirit, good momentum. You would expect them
fourth. That is your target. The Scottish rain is something we are
used to. It can lead to faster pitches and more exciting football,
it can also ruin everything. St Mirren and Ross County would be
doused by the elements in Paisley. So, too was our match commentator
John Barns. Ed Neat turn by McGowan and off the
cross bar. Tenacious play by the St Mirren
player. A good turn and a good effort.
Paul McGowan, scores for St Mirren. After 25 minutes. A fine finish. As
others lost their footing, he managed to remain composed and in
the end it was a Nieto poke into the corner. -- neat toe poke not corner.
That's number two. Another delicate finish there by the big striker. A
lovely through pass there from John McGinn and Thomson didn't hang about
before dispatching it beyond Mark Brown. Conditions are getting worse.
The rain continues to fall. That pass held up in a piddle and that's
allowed St Mirren to go on the attack. The effort carried away by
Brown. The underfoot conditions setting up that opportunity for St
Mirren. The referee has called a halt to the
game and he is encouraging the players to make their way towards
the tunnel. That was that. The match was indeed abandoned. Now it's not
very often we would show you footage from an abandoned match but we
wanted to give you an idea of what the conditions were like in this
match. It sparked massive debate. The referee spent half an hour
trying to decide whether or not the match could continue. Eventually he
decided it couldn't continue, and afterwards he spoke to us. When we
came out for the second half, the pitch had become worse than what it
was before half-time. Players having to check their tackles, watch their
run, the ball was thickened and the pitch had become unplayable and
dangerous. The referee has prime responsibility for the players ae
safety. I gave the ground staff at least two attempts to try and work
hard on the pitch. They did work very hard, I am grateful to them for
that. My prime responsibility is for the safety of the players and we
deemed it wasn't safe enough to continue the match. There is no
doubt in my mind we would have given ourselves a very good opportunity to
go on and pick up all three valuable points today and the way the games
are going, it looks as if ewe could have jumped a couple places on the
back of that. Two games back-to-back abandoned. Yes, it is frustrating,
but today it is obviously different, because we are obviously behind in
the game. We had an opportunity to maybe score just after half-time.
But all in all, it is difficult to accept but we have to accept that,
because it is the correct decision. So, what is it the right decision by
the referee? I think so, when you look at the pictures in the first
half and second half, there was a big difference. In the end the
safety for the players, the conditions there, it's farcical.
Players are risking getting injured and that is what you want to ajoyed.
You are disappointed, you have been making every effort to say the pitch
is great and get it along and don't worry about the puddles. It is
always tough for the referee. He can't win, whatever decision he
makes, people are going to have a go at him. But looking at that, he said
the safety is paramount and for the younger viewers, a few years back,
same conditions, momentum took McCoist, smashed his jaw, he was out
for months, safety was the most important thing there and the
referee called it right. In Dutch football they start off when they
replay the match from the point they finished, so they would play 38
minutes of this match with St Mirren leading 2-0. Good idea? No. Why not?
What rules do you make, you keep it the same 22 that were on the pitch,
when will you get that, somebody may get injured. It is a hard one. The
referee called it right. You have to start the game again. Looking at the
goals, Tom will be devastated, because the water helped his touch.
It was an unbelievable first touch for the goal. It is one of those
things. But they will need to start the game again. Nothing lost,
nothing gained for St Mirren but what about the rest of the sides.
Let's look at the table. Still one match to be played this
weekend, Aberdeen with a chance to regain second place in the table if
they can manage a win at home to par tick thistle. You were at this match
and if Aberdeen get a similar result tomorrow, they will be delighted.
They played well this game, even though sometimes they might lose
goals thistle, they usually play a lot of football. Aberdeen to their
credit, they were a different class that day. Thistle tomorrow, it is a
tricky one for Aberdeen. They have the momentum, they are still in the
cup. Thistle are doing well. Two good performances one against Celtic
and they beat Inverness. How do you see it going tomorrow? It will be
tough for thistle. They have had an excellent start to the season.
Aberdeen have a lot of their big players back. It will be a tricky
one for Thistle. Will Aberdeen finish second? I wouldn't want to
put pressure on Derek, but they have a good squad. He's building a squad
that is getting stronger and strong stronger. Is that how you feel,
second place for Aberdeen, that was your tip at the start? I have said
all season, good mix of youth and experience, they have that momentum.
Certainly have confidence. They will be should be finishing second with
the squad they have. We will have highlights of tomorrow's match on
the BBC sport website from midnight tomorrow night. All the other
matches are already there. Let's look at tomorrow's back pages to see
what the guys in frint are saying. Ajax manager, having a tough time of
it in the Dutch league, they play Celtic on Wednesday night. Let's
talk about that Champions League match. Celtic obviously hoping for
victory in Amsterdam. Do you think he can get it? I think they K the
problem is that Ajax are struggling in the league. Might be a relief,
they are quite a young team, it might not work in Celtic's favour.
But they have a great chance. Probably the key game in the league
for them. If they can get a result over there, there is still a good
chance. Do you see Celtic managing to get three points on Wednesday
night? They might have Commons back and this Ajax defence doesn't look
the strongest. Big bonus for them, those players back, but away
performances have been excellent in this campaign so far. And in the
last couple of seasons. Certainly they can win it, but they would be
delighted with a point, because to get to that AC Milan game at home, I
think Celtic will win that and hopefully results elsewhere will
enable them to go through. They have been excellent so far in the
campaign. They deserve that bit of luck. I think they could take
something out of the Ajax game on Wednesday. We shall see. That is all
we have time for this week. Thanks to Callum and Billy. Hope you
managed to avoid the downpower this weekend. -- down pour this weekend,
at least it wasn't snoechlt good night.