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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Greetings, friends. If the frantic football festive season passed you
by it's time to play catch-up. The Sportscene Christmas tree is gone -
Steven Thompson and Pat Bonner helped me chuck it out the back door
a short time ago - and the first Sunday highlights show of the year
is here, and we have five cracking matches for you to help vanquish any
January blues. We start in Paisley where Steven
Thompson's St Mirren team were hoping to stop the Celtic
juggernaut. Neil Lennon's side aiming for three points and to reach
the milestone of 20 league games unbeaten this season. Commentary
comes from Rob Maclean. Despite losing at Kilmarnock, then
none sticking with the same team. Just someone changed to the Celtic
team. Anthony Stokes is on. Scott Brown's pass. Kris Commons. Charlie
Mulgrew. So unfortunate this bounced back into the arms of Marian Kello.
Mulgrew. It is Commons. A wonderful effort. Celtic denied twice. Brown
to Matthews. Good run from Adam Matthews. Mulgrew. This time, the
post is kinder to mould grow. Celtic have believed.
Joe Ledley. Anthony Stokes. Celtic are 2-0 up in Paisley. It is a
devastating start. A quick double. James Forrest, waiting for the run
of Adam Matthews. Good play from Matthews again. James Forrest.
Unconventional goalkeeping from Marian Kello. It was crucial he got
there in time, got there before Kris Commons. Kris Commons's corner,
Mulgrew header. That was great from Scott Brown. Commons. Stokes. Celtic
continue to work Marian Kello. He has been a busy keeper. St Mirren
Park hemmed in. That was a great cross for Celtic's third. His 16th
of the season. That was a lovely delivery will stop right over the
top of Marian Kello. St Mirren are being blown away by Celtic. James
Forrest, Commons. It is explosive, and it is 4-0. Make that 17 for the
season for the outstanding Kris Commons. Celtic have destroyed St
Mirren. There has been nothing Danny Lennon's team have been able to do
about it. Stokes with a free kick. It could so easily have been a hat
trick. He has got to be happy with this. What display from his claim.
He is foiled. The terrific bit of defending there. Is there to be any
crumb of comfort for set Mirren? Filed by Efe Ambrose. -- fouled by
Efe Ambrose. And it was a yellow card.
Second half, Celtic certainly stepped it up. They were really at
us and caused those all sorts of problems. I thought they were
exceptional from start to finish. It was a magnificent team performance.
I can't ask any more of them. Great display from Celtic. In the
first half, a couple of chances but a bit flat at times. Yes. They were
really compact between the last four. This was the first goal. It
was good to see Charlie back in there. The second chance was a
beautiful bit of play from Commons. I thought it was a great save.
Commons has been sensational. What was the general mood at half-time? I
thought we were organised in the first half. For the first ten
minutes of the second half, the same pattern was there. You cannot afford
to switch off for a second against Celtic. There was a 20 minute spell
where I thought they were sensational. You could say St Mirren
should have defended this much better. They really struggled. This
is the second goal. A vital goal. Danny Grainger past it. Jason
Naismith was on the end of it. It was OK here. Joe Ledley had the
ball. Beautiful little touch. The third goal, the ball comes in. John
McGinn is the wrong side there. He has too much to do. You have to
defend the situation better. Celtic were flying at that stage. You see
Jason Naismith out of position. And another fantastic finish from
Commons. He drives into the box, hungry for a goal. A lot to be
critical of, but John McGinn, a player that has impressed you not
just in this game but throughout the season. You see him breaking up
play. He does an exceptional job. He's a player. He is an emerging
young player. He is really developing and mature ring as a
player. He has got a lot stronger. I feel like he has turned into a man's
in the team. And there is more to his game. A beautiful pass. A
beautiful pass. He drives at people with the ball. He should do this
more often. First tackle, buying. Into the second tackle, bank. This
young man does not give up. He is going in the right direction. What
is his nickname? Meatball. Sorry. Next we're off to Rugby Park,
Kilmarnock versus Aberdeen. Both sides had started off 2014 in
dramatic fashion. In stoppage time, Peter Pawlett
looks like he has scored. It is a big day for 17-year-old
Robbie Muirhead. They have to get their noses in
front. Michael Hector. It is an up and
under. Boyd is putting the pressure on. We get away from Anderson. The
referee blows. Chris Boyd. The referee disagrees.
Good ball from Peter Pawlett. Taking on Jeroen Tesselaar. Wonderful
skill. Peter Pawlett. And still it won't go in. Good play from Barry
Robson against Jeroen Tesselaar. Flood. He is in all kinds of trouble
now. Boyd is away from him, pickpocketing the Irish manner --
and Langfield with the save and preventing Boyd from scoring his
13th of the season. A real man in form is Boyd. Langfield has not been
doing too badly himself. A big switch to Clohessy. He thought
about coming to meet him. Boyd, then it comes to Johnstone. He is another
in good form and good goal-scoring form as well, Chris Johnston. Under
19 Player of the Season from the last campaign. Langfield may have
got a touch to that. Kilmarnock of won three of their last four
matches. That is Anderson. Well, it is a corner, but it could
have been worse from an Aberdeen point of view. Chris Johnston
knocked it back in, Anderson, just over his own bar. Cling and can hit
them from here and that is what he has done! -- Sammy Clingan. He
brings out the best in Langfield. He pats it round his post. Derek
McInnes will want better from his team in the second period but
another free kick chance for Sammy Clingan and another save from
Langfield. Different kind of free kick, that time. Aberdeen's victory
at Tannadice New Year's today really did lay down a serious marker for
their season. As Paula drags it back to him again and Craig Samson is
there. -- Peter Pawlett drags it back to him again. McGinn thinks he
should have scored. A big, big chance, this, for Aberdeen. The best
of their second period. His effort saved, by Craig Samson.
It is Kilmarnock giving it away in the midfield area. McGinn has Peter
Pawlett to his left and that is where it goes. He could have tried
it himself, Niall McGinn. Again, it is Samson who has been called into
action a couple of times against -- and this is McGinn's corner.
Reynolds! Another league goal for Aberdeen and it could be another win
for Aberdeen! Mark Reynolds leopard inside the penalty area, a rare
foray for him into the Kilmarnock box and it reaps rewards. Nicky
Low, the Dons playing out the last few minutes here. It is late,
Clohessy, a red card for the Aberdeen substitute. He was late on
Clohessy. It looked like he tried to pull out of the tackle but Craig
Charleston flashes red at the Aberdeen midfielder. It is hard to
take, the first half we had a couple of great chances, we could have
taken our chances and it would be a different game. We were
disappointing with set plays. We did not cause enough problems. It was
pleasing to get the winning goal, it was deserved. The first half we were
a better team. Let's start with the moment of
controversy, the Kris Boyd disallowed goal. What do you think?
Should it have stood? It is his left hand on Russell's shoulder. If his
hand had been lower you could see he was using it to push himself. I
can't believe you're not striking up for the strikers. He puts his hand
on his shoulder and that is what does him in the end. He pulls back
muscle. There is not an awful lot in it. I can understand why Boyd is
disappointed. I must agree. I watched them last week and he did
not play that well but he got the vital goal. When he's on the team he
is a vital player for Kilmarnock, with Young Chris Johnson coming in
off the side and linking with him. I dobbing we have criticised the
Kilmarnock defending at times this season. It was better to date apart
from one vital moment. They defended well. There is Craig Samson again,
outstanding, not just in taking crosses but he had to Clohessy three
excellent saves. I know you picked him out last week but generally he
defended really well. Nice and compact, putting in headers when it
mattered, this is where they let themselves down. I think it is Kris
Boyd who is marking him. He has a couple of looks in the run-up to the
header and Kris Boyd is doing jumping from a standing start and
Reynolds has run. It is about man-to-man marking. Here, it was
neither. When you have to run on somebody you can always get six
inches harder. I would be disappointed if I was a goalkeeper
and seeing the defenders not doing their job. Nowadays we have two
Clohessy post but most people now take them off. I like to have one on
the post but it depends how they are playing that corner in. One player
on, but if you take them off the post they have to do a job, no point
going out there and standing around watching the game. I don't trust
strikers! A moment of controversy, with Nicky Low sent off in this
match as well. What do we think of this? A sending off for you?
Unfortunately, it is. It is when both feet leave the ground. The
referee is left with no option. He tries to... It is a definite
sending-off. I know he is young, energetic, he has come off the bench
today but as soon as you leave the ground two footed, whether side,
back or front, you are off the pitch. Aberdeen, favourites for
second spot for you? I like the way Derek McInnes has built the team and
Robson coming into the team, they have Flood, an experienced player,
Peter Pawlett has done exceptionally well, a young player coming through
the system. Decent defence. They have a good unit and a good
structure. A few contenders for that position. It has been the season for
bad will for Dundee United, not a win to be had after six straight
wins. There have been three straight defeats. Talk of the bubble bursting
at Tannadice. Good Jackie McNamara steadied the ship? Hips were
visitors. In contrast did, it has been a great season for Hibs. He
helped bring the gift of much-needed Premiership points, a place in the
top six and victory over Hearts. Paul Hoffman and James Collins
started up front. Commentary from Paul Mitchell.
Gray gets into position. Off the line by John Rankin. Paul Hanlon
tried to turn it in. Collins got up well. Good defending by Rankin on
the post. Forward to Sicily. -- Ciftci. His goalkeeper has missed
it, he turns back but the flag is already up! Well, Mackay Stephen
looks up at the referee. The flag stayed down, the goalkeeper shouted
for it, for fresh air and was lucky the flag went up for offside.
The ball has come back to it and he scores! Great passing from Paul
Heffernan and hips have the lead and a sliding celebration of the
captain. Dundee United under no pressure. Wilson was losing side.
This is a clever flick from heaven. A great run by Liam Craig and easily
beat the goalkeeper. Hibs are head with seven minutes to play until
half-time. -- Hibs are ahead. He gets it out wide, against Forster.
Turned away by Ben Williams. Didn't want to hold it. He pushed it clear.
Good overlapping play from Andrew Robertson. The goalkeeper dealt with
that. Hibs pushing again, desperate to get the ball into the box.
Souttar got it away. That is delightful, the finished just wide.
He gives Hibs are different to mention, Paul Heffernan. Watch this
for a piece of skill. Setting himself up, it would have been a
great goal. Souttar into Collins, a penalty! He
put up at least one hand on him on the header, in fact, there was two
there. That is an easy goal. He made his own error here, James Souttar.
This 42-0. -- this is foot 2-macro-0. Mine for the season, Liam
Craig. Cierzniak went one way, he put it the other. Hibs are two
ahead, just over an hour played. The message from Terry Butcher, keep the
ball. Good lay-off by Armstrong. Gary Mackay-Steven away from... That
is a good save. He had to react. Well, you could watch Barrie McKay
Steven Davis all day unless you are Hibs fan. Wonderful skins --
wonderful skill. He thought better of it, with Brian
Graham. Inside onto Goodwillie, taken! Forster, Goodwillie. This is
a really good finish from the on loan striker. Seven minutes to play,
a glimmer of hope for Dundee United. The goal-scorer, David
Goodwillie. His side, trying to get level full stop Dundee United, three
games played, three games lost recently.
Mackay-Steven, went for the glory himself. Hibs will be quite happy to
see that sent wide. So many options, that was the wrong one. United being
urged on. Robertson on the angle, McGivern tries to get the ball away.
Dylan swings it in. David Goodwillie with a chance, a goal for Brian
Graham! The striker's instinct was perfect. As the clocks hit 90 at
Tannadice, Dundee United hit the equaliser. They have come from two
goals down, it is two apiece. Brian Graham is the hero. It was a great
test of character, the lads kept pushing there. We got just rewards
in the end. The players' heads down because they feel we dropped two
points but it is part of our experience and what doing. We were
more than matched Dundee United today and we are proud of how we
played. That start with Liam Craig, he has
had a good season and that is him up to nine goals. What a return for the
central midfield player. Since he gave him the captaincy he has taken
on more responsibility within the team. That is a tremendous finish.
If you have the midfielder making these runs, John Souttar has to do
better, give better depth. It is a good finish from Liam Craig. He is
making forward runs all the time. He could end up a tremendous return.
Absolutely. This goal here, I think the young defender, he did not know
where he was, his movement is in great going backwards. Is it a
penalty? Onesie raises his hands you can see the referee giving it and
Craig sticks it in the net which he has done on a number of occasions. A
good finish. The young defender will be disappointed. Not the first
important penalty Craig has dispatched. Again, he is an
underrated goalkeeper. He puts it in the same area. He is an important
player for Hibs. Making runs forward for a striker is important because
without the ball at times... They are running past you, taking the
centre half away, brilliant for the striker. Graham got the equaliser.
How bigger point was this for Dundee United? Crucial. They have gone
three defeats in a row at home against a revamped Hibs team but
they were 2-0 down and looked as if they would lose. This was crucial to
get in there. We have talked about the way Dundee United played the
young players they have and the way they have to start defending a
little bit better and that today will raise the confidence and get
them back on the road to winning a few games. Showed character to come
back. There is no doubting that Terry Butcher from the impact at
Hibernian. Let's look at it in statistical form. Nine games so
far, one defeat, 1-0 at Celtic Park. Pat, what has Terry Butcher brought
to Hibs for you? When you are in the dressing room and someone walks in
with his presence, the ex-England captain, Rangers captain, manager
going through a great period up in Inverness, what you have to say is a
great combination of the two of them, you are inspired right away
and the way he says -- sends out the team, the structure, he will not
have players playing out of the back and doing that, he will have them
compact and onesie gets own players in not maybe this time around but in
the summer, then you can see a real Hibs team. What can Hibs hope to
achieve under Terry? Now they are into the top six I think it will be
difficult for them to come out of it in the form they are in. I would
predict them to finish in the top six. Plenty more to come from Hibs
and on sports scene as well. Next weekend after all the best of
madness, a semblance of normality returns. Join David Currie at 4:30pm
on Saturday. We are back on Sunday night.
Next to Hearts who started the day 17 points behind their opponents
this afternoon, second bottom Partick Thistle. With relegation to
the Championship looking virtually assured for Hearts now - especially
following the derby day defeat to Hibs - just finding enough players
to field a team has become a real struggle. Ryan Stevenson captained
what remained of the threadbare Hearts squad. If it wasn't for
Hearts, Partick Thistle might be more worried. They'd slumped down
the table after ten games without victory. But they had high hopes for
new striker Lyle Taylor who made his second appearance after arriving on-
loan from Sheffield United. Commentary comes from Rob Maclean.
Kevin McHattie with the corner kick. He could not get that finishing
touch. Good skills from O'Donnell. Steven Lawless. A shot on target for
Partick this. Not one that was likely to find its way past
Macdonald. ( Kallum Higginbotham, and through goes Lyle Taylor. His
first goal for Partick this. -- Partick this. This whole ahead after
14 minutes. -- Thistle ahead after 14 minutes. Ryan Stevenson. Every
match an important match for heart. -- Hearts. Lyle Taylor scores. It is
2-0 five minutes before half-time. In off the post. That was Ryan
Stevenson. Jordan McGhee. Callum Paterson. David Smith whips it
back. Ryan Stevenson could not keep that down. It was good play from
Smith. Scrapping for everything, Ryan Stevenson. Reflected.
Fortunately for Thistle, back off the bar. Fouled by Stuart Bannigan,
and that is a yellow card for him. Kevin McHattie's free kick, a major
disappointment. Aaron Taylor-Sinclair, Stuart Bannigan.
Well, a second yellow is issued. Stuart Bannigan might well have gone
off with a red card. Jordan McGhee had a chance to get Hearts on the
scoresheet. No joy whatsoever for the home team.
You have to be brave when you play at home. Too many times, there were
not enough options. The second half was better. I thought we deserved
it. I thought we were never so hard. We cannot afford to feel sorry for
ourselves. We have got another game next week. We will have to work hard
on the training ground. The second appearance from them. I
think we will see more goals. Look at his strength and speed. He makes
his own North. Good strength, Thistle have missed the focal
point. Great build-up play. It was the first time since October that
Partick this had scored two goals. Disappointing. He has got a bit of
pace. It was a big task for him to play up front on his own. There
could be a fight between yourselves and Partick Thistle. You have to
bring in a player to make an impact. In terms of the Hearts
defending, there are flaws here. Yes. Ryan Stevenson loses the run.
He just loses a yard. He drops back onto the line. I think everybody has
come to the point of thinking Hearts will get relegated. How much of a
loss would it be? It would be a huge loss. It would be very disappointing
for the fans. It is another derby time, and that the big derby. Fans
have been incredible throughout the whole thing. Supporters have been
immense. It is phenomenal. Do you think Hearts are gone? With every
week, it is getting more difficult. Today, I think Ryan Stevenson was
one of the most experienced players in that team.
With four matches today - and Motherwell versus Inverness
called-off due to a flooded pitch - there was only one Saturday match in
the Scottish Premiership. It was in Dingwall where Ross County were
hoping to keep their momentum going after a morale boosting victory in
the Highland derby over Inverness Caley Thistle. St Johnstone arrived
in search of their own morale boost after a heavy defeat to Motherwell.
Commentary from Liam Mcleod Chuck that all together, what does it
Ross County looking to build. They are making early inroads. We saw
them scoring heavily before losing handsomely to Motherwell. That is
not a bad ball, headed over by Jordan Slew. It was Evangelos
Ikonomou's cross. David Wotherspoon. The delivery from Chris Millar.
Davidson. Chris Millar. Graham Carey is poleaxed. You can see why.
Alan Mannus takes no chances with that. Nigel Hasselbaink. Stevie May
a thriving in the middle now. Ikonomou there. It was Stevie May
who started this move. Nigel Hasselbaink helped.
Nigel Hasselbaink has Chris Millar galloping to his left. Chris Millar
looks a better option. Here he is. Wonderful counter attack from St
Johnstone, though. They were defending a corner. Chris Millar
could not find the target. This game could go either way.
Richard Brittain's free kick is headed past by McLean. Another
chance. That is what the spoon. He would
have liked to have got more purchase on this effort, David Wotherspoon.
Boyd got the final touch on the header. Ahead of Stevie May. Stevie
May almost in again. He has managed 15 this season but it is away at the
other end. Frazer Wright has been robbed. Carey is waiting and that
looks like it could be the winner! Just two minutes left on the clock.
Frazer Wright didn't cover himself in glory at all that. Melvin De
Leeuw, on as a substitute, but it on a plate for Graham Carey and after
six defeats in a row it looks like County will win back-to-back games
for the first time this season. A quick check of the watch and Derek
Adams is almost there. They are looking to wrap this one up
now. This is Tidser. That would have been some debut, the Ross County
substitute. A couple of yards wide in the end. We want to win the game
but so do St Johnstone. You have come off a defeat last week and then
of a win Derby. It is a good start the year for us and six points in
two games. Their goalkeeper had a lot to do of the differences were
not and that is the disappointing thing. We should be coming away with
at least a point and we are not because of a mistake. We will have
to adjust ourselves and move on to next week. There is not a lot we can
do about it. It was a poor game to lose. There
was very little in it between the teams. You expect the defender to go
quicker to the ball, deal with it, get it back to the goalkeeper and
ecstatic with -- instead it is caught in the ball. It is a nice
finish from Graham Carey but you are right, Frazer Wright has to deal
with it one way or the other, just put it out of the bag. You can see
here, he gets caught out a little bit. He expected the defenders to do
better. Here's presuming Fraser will clear it. He has two three yards on
him. It has been a fantastic 2014 for Ross County after victory in the
Highland derby. Last year, 11 matches unbeaten, eight Matt --
eight wins. Can you see anything similar happening this time round?
Why not? They have added four players in the window. The chairman
and the manager recognised the start of the season have not been good
enough. Fair play to the chairman for coming out. Give him credit.
Four new signings, the possibility of another couple. Jordan Slew with
the pass. Impressive. He has brought a bit of belief to this team. He has
a pedigree and he is a big, strong man. They needed to do something and
they brought him in and in that game he had an influence. Ryan McGregor,
for a man who has his heart and soul in the club, given the funds Derek
Adams to bring buyers into Ross County, you have to give credit to
him and the way he has gone about his business. It will be interesting
in terms of the play-off place at the bottom of the table. St
Johnstone slip into the bottom half of the table after being in the top
half for such a long time and in terms of their fixtures coming up,
these three fixtures against bottom six sides will be games they would
hope to win? An easy game, the first one. It is getting really tight at
the bottom. That is the great thing about the competition this year, we
can assume Celtic will win the league, who will be fighting for
second place? Down at the bottom is so tight between three or four, now
St Johnstone are in the mix and there are great games coming up. St
Johnstone will find it tough. The You think St Mirren will be in the
play-off mix at the bottom? Or do you have loftier aspirations? Of
course we do. Our season will be shaped in the games coming up, St
Johnstone Festival but a reasonably disappointing period and we need to
get back to winning ways and we hope to do that on Saturday. You can't
predict games this year. Even teams at the bottom beating teams the top.
The only team walking away with is Celtic but the rest are there and
all capable of beating each other. Who do you think will finish in
second bottom play-off spot? You put me on the spot. I don't really know.
Thistle was favourite for a period, I watched them but now they have
brought in a player which has made a big difference. Guys, thank you very
much. What does it mean in terms of the Scottish Premiership table?
Celtic, 54 points, 13 points clear of Aberdeen, who are second, one
point clear of Motherwell, who have a game in hand. At the bottom,
Partick Thistle are two points behind St Mirren and here we have
it, second bottom, Ross County are now 19 points clear of Hearts.
Ominous for them. That is it, that was the best Sunday highlights show
off the year so far. With a bit of luck we will have six great games
next weekend. From all of us here, thanks for watching. Good night.