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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Good evening. We have had a splurge of gold this weekend. Last week,
just eight, tonight, almost three times that number plus four red
cards and one potential incumbent manager sitting in the stands. In
terms of the goals, Steven Thompson joins us in the studio, so too does
the former Hibs midfielder Stuart Lovell. It is at Hibs that we start
tonight. All week long the question had been would Terry Butcher take
the reins at Easter Road, with the added spice that Inverness
Caledonian Thistle were the visitors this weekend. As it was come
kick-off time Butcher was in neither dugout. The commentator is John
Barnes. Jimmy Nicholl makes one change to
the side. James Collins returns to partner Heffernan in attack. No
matter whether it was Terry Butcher or Maurice Malpas that selected the
team, they stick with the same 11 that beat Kilmarnock. Willie Mackay
looking to add to his nine goals so far this campaign.
The referee points to the spot. Shinnie nudged by James Collins. A
good, positive play by the fullback. He earns his side a penalty. Nick
Ross. Cars -- Caley Thistle in front. Ross's first goal of the
season after 14 minutes it comes. Williams got a touch to it, but he
couldn't manage to keep it out. Terry Butcher looks to have donned
his civvies today to take place in the stand to oversee his present
team and possibly his future team. A transfer number two, an excellent
finish by Billy McKay. He is now into double figures for the season.
It was great play by Shinnie to set up the opportunity. He still had
work to do from the angle. But Billy McKay delivered the perfect finish
for his 10th goal wrist campaign. Controlling things in the technical
area for Caley Thistle. It has come off the post. The
interception, dollar and really could have taken it on himself and
had a shot but unselfishly looked for Billy McKay and a sigh of relief
from the Hibs goalkeeper. Blocked by the boots of Ben
Williams. Billy McKay looking to get his second of the afternoon and it
was the Hibs goalkeeper who blocked him. An interested spectator, Kenny
Millar, second from the left in the bottom row. A one-time Hibs striker.
It is Jordan Forster up from the back, going close there. Is he
claiming for the corner? He rose well. Inches away. Is this the last
match in charge for Jimmy Nicholas -- forgery Nicholl as caretaker?
The Hibs players are appealing for a penalty. They believe the goalkeeper
took out Forster. I good ball, excellent defending by
Shinnie under extreme pressure from Collins.
He is appealing for the penalty there. Maybe he did seem to have a
hand on his back and took that the jersey. It would have been in the
soft category. Caley Thistle really have bossed
this game. A fine block by Hanlon to deny Billy McKay another opportunity
to increase Inverness's lead. It was a fantastic performance, started the
game brightly and once we scored the two goals we were romping for a
while. We needed a goal to get confidence and unfortunately it did
not work out like that. It was always going to be a struggle in the
second half but confidence is low anyway and the last thing we needed
was a couple of early goals. Whatever happens with Terry and the
two clubs we have a decision to make, until then...
It was insipid from Hibs, you would have to say, but all eyes on Terry
Butcher yesterday. Is it inevitable, do you feel that he will be the next
manager of Hibernian? The bookies would suggest is a done deal. I
wonder whether Terry might feel that he can take Caley Thistle a little
bit further. There is no question if you compare the two clubs, Hibs are
bigger club than Inverness Caley Thistle, always have been. I would
suggest they always will be. Nevertheless there they are sitting
second in the table with a Cup semifinal to look forward too
against hearts, which after what happened last season they will want
revenge -- Hearts. This is a difficult decision for him. I don't
think it is a done deal. It is not a no-brainer, like some people
suggest. Do you think it is a matter of time, could it happen tomorrow? I
think he could. You may see it tomorrow. Terry loves his life in
the Highlands and he is a very ambitious person. He has been up
there nearly five years now and I think he maybe feels he needs a new
challenge. Playing devil's advocate, sticks in the net Caley Thistle la
on a great run this season and yesterday they were much better than
Hibernian -- Inverness Caley Thistle. It would be mad to take the
Hibs job, wouldn't he? Managers like projects, we know that. They don't
often get the chance to see them through to the end. If you are
making comparisons between the two teams now then obviously the
sensible choice would be to stay where he is. Nevertheless Hibs is a
big club, you can't get away from that.
He is an ambitious guy, some guys have viewed it as a poisoned chalice
in the past. I am fascinated by what decision he comes to because he
really enjoys his time at Inverness and he is well looked after. What
about the point at Inverness he is Lord of the manor, he calls the
shots in terms of the footballing aspect and at a Bernie and he will
be working with Rob Petrie, who presumably will want his say on how
things go? I think the interesting thing is that Terry works as a team
with Morris and Steve and I do say if he is going to go to Easter Road
he will want those guys with him. People are saying, why has there
been a delay for him taking the job at Hibernian? Perhaps that is the
reason, he wants to make sure if he goes there he goes there on his
terms and gets the opportunity to work with the backroom staff he
knows and trusts. I quit --. It will be interesting. Jackie McNamara's
young side always liable to put on a show. Motherwell's recent form a bit
up and down. Goals always a possibility at Fir Park and it
finished 2-macro-2-macro in September. There was a minute's
silence in memory of the Faurlin conflicts across the globe. -- in
memory of the fallen, in conflicts across the globe.
A quartet of changes for the Motherwell side, and unfamiliar back
four, It comes in for Ryan Gauld.
Motherwell had a chance to clear, they didn't do so. The goalkeeper's
punch was poor and although he got a touch, it ends up behind him. Ryan
Gauld with a fourth goal of the season, neatly up and neatly in. Not
the start he was looking for. Francis-Angol isn't under pressure.
-- is under pressure. Paul Paton, 2-0 to Dundee United and
Motherwell are a mess at the back. Paul Paton schools for the first
time for Dundee United and Francis-Angol under severe
pressure, really should have cleared his lines. In the end it was pulled
back, came off comments. Paul Paton with a header in. Dundee United two
ahead and Motherwell are far from happy.
Sutton, on his weaker side, trying to get Motherwell back in the match,
John Sutton. A good hit, plenty of power.
United keeping up the pace. That is deflected, a really good save.
Robertson was always going to drag it back onto his left side, the
goalkeeper at full stretch there. United, just one loss in the last
seven, are flowing again. A great pass into Ryan Gauld, and
even better finished. Great football from Dundee United. 64 minutes gone,
a double for Ryan Gauld. The finishing touch, perfection from
Ryan Gauld. His first-ever Dundee United double and they look set for
all three points. He sends it wide onto Robertson.
That is the way to finish the game. Andrew Robertson, who scored against
Motherwell at Tannadice. The does the same at Fir Park. A wonderful
performance. The best performance I have witnessed from an away team at
this ground. Sometimes you think you could have done better, but they
have had a good run of form away from home. Took Celtic all we lost
week and I think they showed today for sub you only have to look at the
strength in depth on the bench to see what they have got. I thought we
were excellent. The team had a desire to get forward and help each
other. Disappointing, the above chances that we did not take a but
even to come here and create those chances, against a strong Motherwell
team, that has won five games out of six at home, that was a massive win
for us. Stuart McCall was very confirmatory
about Dundee United. Every week, we were -- wax lyrical about Ryan
Gauld, but it was the engine room of this United team that made the
difference. Yes, Paul Rankin deserves a mention. You need two
players playing their position to allow the front four to flourish.
They all do that. It is ironic that those of them are meant to be
holding midfielders. They are in the six yard box looking to finish. They
do this job very well. They press, and then pop it off to the guys who
can give them a cutting edge. They did their job very well for Dundee
United Jess today. They allowed the front four to win the game. --
yesterday. Just how good a side can they be, than the United? Brilliant,
and the scary thing is they are getting better as the season goes
on. Motherwell yesterday had three of their normal back for out and if
there is one thing you do not want to meet at this time in that
situation is Dundee United going forward, they are frightening. At
this moment in time they are a frightening prospect. Stewart, you
said that it could have been even more. Ryan Gauld, we talk about him
quite a lot, just how good can he be? He has got a touch of the Messis
about him, very low centre of gravity, he takes a break positions.
He needs to be given the ball in areas that he can hurt teams, and
Dundee United have found a way to get the ball in to him and allow him
to do his stuff, and he is flourishing in a team that is set up
perfectly for him. Things looking increasingly bleak for hearts as
they started the day on a less than inspiring -7 points. Eight league
games without a victory, and the last victory had been against
Aberdeen at Tynecastle back in August. Commentary from Rob Maclean.
Ryan Jackson itching to holding midfield role for Aberdeen alongside
Willo Flood. Gary Locke cannot make too many changes. This is a team
that lost at home to Saint Johnstone.
That was flicked on for Stevenson. Stretching out the right leg to make
the save, Jamie Lange field for Aberdeen. The corner kick from Barry
Robson. And Niall McGinn. Aberdeen ahead, midway through the first
half. Haas did not deal with the corner kick. Jamie Hamill with the
shot. Barry Robson blocked it. He's going to get a yellow card for
encroaching. He disputed, but he did take a couple of steps forward.
Robson slides it through for Pawlett. Skipping away from the
challenge from Wilson, then firing the ball across goal. That was
close. In, from Robson, and goes Zola, and Considine has the shot
lot, Dylan McGowan blocks the shot on the line and screams for a
penalty from Aberdeen. It took a deflection and reared up in the
direction of McGowan on the goal-line, appearing to strike him
on the face. Barry Robson, for Aberdeen. Peter Pawlett trying to
drive through. Mounting pressure on the Hearts goal, and that there is a
penalty. That surely struck the back of Meguid. --McGhee. And saved by
McDonald, good goalkeeping. Maybe justice done.
Hearts, looking to break with Jamie Walker. Jason Holt is bundled over
by Robson and there was going to be trouble, it is going to be a second
yellow card. For the midfielder. He looks aghast, but he will have to
take the long walk and Aberdeen are juiced to ten men. -- reduced. That
is touched over by Jamie Lange field -- Langfield. Johnny Hayes fires it
in and Scott Vernon. Almost making an impact from the bench. A neat
touch and a neat save from Jamie Macdonald. Danny Wilson is the
target. Jamie Walker is around Langfield and it is 1-1 at
Pittodrie. Nobody reacted quicker than Walker. Flicked on for Walker,
Newsround Hector, he turns it back and Paterson scores. They have
turned this game completely around have young Hearts. Paterson scores
and it is 2-1 at Pittodrie. Lovely pass. And Walker can set Paterson. A
big chance. And he just could not stretch far enough. Powerful header
clear, and now, Hearts on the counterattack. Jamie Langfield who
was up for the corner kick has to sprint back. Here, Hearts again. And
it is Stevenson mother blockbuster, to finish things off at Pittodrie.
-- with a blockbuster. The comeback is complete. Hearts have beaten ten
man Aberdeen 3-1. It was a fantastic performance, especially in the
second half. The sending-off changed the game a little bit. Every time we
look forward -- we went forward, we looked dangerous. We were not happy
with the second half performance last week but we have responded well
today. The handball on the line from McGowan, it has been five or six
yards before the ball fires up at them, whether it is difficult for
him to get his arm out of the way, that has denied us a goal, and
Richard have been a red card and a penalty kick. No doubt about that.
That was a key moment in the game. Let's have a look at these penalty
incidents. Jamie Hamill on Peter Pawlett. I think he kicks the back
of his leg. He tries to kick the ball but kicks the back of his leg.
I don't think that is a penalty. This is the handball from Dylan
McGowan. Look how many Aberdeen players appeal for it. They all see
the same thing which is that his arm goes up, maybe to protect his face,
but I think that does look like a handball and a red card. Not
convinced? No, but you have to look at the position of the referee.
Whether he has been influenced by the ones that he had not given...
Referees do not do that, do they? You can see why Derek McGuinness
would be disappointed with the second one. He was full of praise
for the Aberdeen performance. He said that they played comfortably
and well, but then went down to ten men with the sending-off of Barry
Robson. I don't think Barry can have any complaints with this. Referees
are told that if a player encroaches, don't forget, it is
direct, that there is a nailed on yellow card. I have a lot of
sympathy for Barry Robson. He is trying to check is tried and let him
go. I know that referees are told the book someone when a player is
impeded when in a promising attacking move. He is trying to get
out of the way, almost. I do not see that as a yellow card, that was very
harsh. Was that necessary for Pastor comeback into this match? -- for
Hearts to comeback. This was a wonderful touch from Walker. And a
lovely finish. He had an excellent match. Setting up the school, as
well. It was a massive three points for Hearts. Aberdeen, defensively
are magnificent, so you have to credit them, what a finish that was.
He's getting used to scoring these types of goals now. Hearts are going
to need many more results and performances like that to stand any
chance of escaping relegation. We have had some good results of late.
And the cup victory at Easter Road, but they still have a monumental
task on their hands. Still, a lot, to turn things around. Hearts,
making inroads at the bottom of the table. What about the teams in close
proximity? Partick Thistle had managed just the one win from their
last seven Premiership matches. They were also still without a victory at
home in the league. Add to that they went into this one off the back of a
4-0 thumping at Aberdeen. They had beaten St Mirren back in August but
that was when Saints manager Danny Lennon had been under severe
pressure. A sense now that things were on a
more even keel, with St Mirren having won two out of their last
three games. With the story of the match at Firhill, here's Brian
Mclaughlin. This was not to be a day that Partick Thistle fans or players
will want to look back on with any great relish. This challenge on John
McGinn by Stephen O'Donnell worthy of a yellow card. From the free
kick, the goalkeeper Scott Fox could only parry that effort around the
host for a corner kick. The ball, dipping and swerving towards goal.
From the corner kick, who else but Steven Thompson with a bullet header
to put Saints in front? Clinical finishing, but questions about the
marking. Many were surprised when Marian Kello join St Mirren last
month. But he has proved to be a top-class addition. On this
occasion, foiling Kris Doolan, as Partick Thistle look to get back on
level terms. The home side had plenty of possession but struggled
to break through the Saints rearguard, and when they did, Marian
Kello was on hand to save the day. Then they were denied what seemed to
be a clear-cut penalty, with the shot from Higginbotham heading the
outstretched arm of Jim Goodwin, but play with on by the referee, much to
the dismay of the Partick Thistle players. Then there was more woe for
the home side. Another yellow card, followed by a red for McGinn. No
doubt in the mind of John beaten. And St Mirren soon made the extra
man pay off. Newton fired the ball through the legs of Scott Fox. The
ball made by the pass from McGowan, and cool finish by the on loan
midfielder. The home side kept pushing forward, with James Craigen
having an effort on goal from outside the box, but again there was
no getting beyond Marian Kello. McGinn had been a thorn in the side
of the home defence all afternoon. This wally, just wide. -- volley.
And Ben Thomson finding space and time to fire home his second and the
third force in Marin, of the afternoon, taking St Mirren up to
ninth place in the table. So They are delighted, in terms of
the way they went about their business the discipline and shape,
they carried out their game plan. They have the rewards they deserved.
They stops the ball travelling, that is what he did, he wasn't close to
any of them. The shot was about ten yards away from him hitting it so I
have no idea why the proper decision wasn't given. A great win for your
side yesterday. We will talk about your goals shortly but first the Jim
Goodwin hand ball. Even you must admit this should have been a
penalty. I have no defence, really. It is a blatant penalty. I can
understand why Archie is furious. It is blatant, if you are Partick
Thistle via you are very frustrated. A few strange decisions tonight,
that is maybe the most blatant hand ball. Handballs seem to follow Jim
around. He was harshly dealt with with a hand ball given against him
in a semifinal of the Cup at Hampton and there was no question he was
dealt a harsh blow -- blow that day and maybe this is look going his
way. He dodged a bullet yesterday. Two great goals, it must have felt
good. It seems a real change of mood about St Mirren. What has happened?
There has been a lift around the place, we have managed to get form.
Yesterday in terms of what the manager said, our organisations and
shape were spot on. When you play against Partick Thistle they will
have a lot of possession of the ball and they like to play through the
lines of midfield but we dealt with it well, closed down spaces in the
final third. We caught them on the counter on a few occasions but it is
a big turning point, the penalty not being given. 3-0 was flattening --
flattering? There was a goal -- there was a man sent off, it was a
professional away performance from St Mirren. Tough for Partick Thistle
yesterday. Partick have been a breath of fresh air to the
Premiership this season. A lot of good young players. They have made a
good start. Having a sticky patch now. I am sure they will click with
a win. After a disappointing night in the Champions League await Ajax
in Amsterdam, Neil Lennon took his side up north to Dingwall. Not
entirely happy with the Saturday lunchtime scheduling, it is fair to
say. As for Ross County they were hoping for the sheer novelty of
completing a fixture after their last two matches were abandoned.
The Dutchman has a debut. Melvin De Leeuw goes up front.
Celtic have responded to European matches very well this season so
far. They are keen for that to continue. That was Virgil van Dijk.
We have seen him stride forward from defence already this season.
Account T corner. They haven't been able to impose themselves so far. --
County Court. Virgil van Dijk! He is off the back
now. His manager is delighted to see the Dutchman gets his first goal for
the club. He has threatened a couple of times already in this game.
Finally, he makes the breakthrough and Celtic lead in the Highlands as
we creep towards the half-time interval.
The wits of the left-hand post has denied Scott Brown. Celtic looking
for their second. It is another and it is another for
Virgil van Dijk. He is using his head.
He has given Celtic 2-0 lead. A tall order for County now, although vague
did win 3-2-macro last season but Virgil van Dijk got his first in the
first half, his second in the second.
He is being replaced by Ivan Sproule.
Ivan Sproul. They are back in it. Within a minute of coming on, the
Northern Irishman Ivan Sproul breathes new life into Ross
County's afternoon. Out of nothing, Ross County are back
in the game. Celtic are stunned by that Ross
County goal. That is Joe Ledley. The two goal
leaders restored within a few minutes. Joe Ledley's first goal of
the season. He got ten last campaign. It will be relief for him.
Mark browbeaten for the third time. -- Mark Brown, beaten for the third
time. That is Joe Ledley again! Celtic
four, is Joe Ledley School six seconds, just three minutes after
his first and that is the pick of the headers. Wonderfully taken by
the Welshman. Into the corner, away from Mark Brown.
Neil Lennon with -- will be delighted with the reaction his
players have given him from the defeat in Amsterdam. Almost a
hat-trick. Roberts had the initial effort and Ledley so unlucky. He
reacted first. We played well from start to finish,
we freshen things up in terms of personnel and formation. There was
zest, energy and quality about us today. It has been a frustrating
time in terms of set pieces and we had four in one game which is
incredible. It has been a very good day and we keep the unbeaten run
going. Defensively we haven't done well enough today. The cross ball
into the box, that is something we need to improve on. It has been the
story of our season. We have been working on it but individually we
have to do better in that case. How have you enjoyed your time in
Scottish football so far? Very good, still unbeaten in the league. That
is where we want to stay. Very happy, of course, after this. Virgil
van Dijk amongst the goals. He has looked a class act since they
arrived. We talk about him possibly forcing his way into the Dutch
international squad. How impressed have you been with him?
Very good defensively, a big, tall physical player. A wonderful header.
He is getting better with every game. If you have been given the job
of matching Virgil van Dijk, you have to stay with him and he loses
the run very early and does not stay with him. He is trying to get back
but it is too late. A couple of good finishes from him. Neil Lennon will
be delighted because we have talked a lot about Celtic creating chances
and games. Sometimes struggling to take them in the matches. At set
pieces as well, Neil Lennon has spoken about how he has been
frustrated with the lack of scoring from set piece opportunities but
yesterday they got it right. When they have Charlie Mulgrew who
delivers good ball and on the back of that they have great height in
their team, looking at the guys playing yesterday, Virgil van Dijk,
6-foot, another tall lad they have, Ambrose, it is hard to match up and
I know that Derek Adams will be frustrated but you run out of tall
players eventually. A tough day for Ross County but it was tough for
Celtic mid week in the Champions League against Ajax. They did not
show up compared to the games they have played so far. They were not
too happy to go to Dingwall for the early kick-off but it seemed like
the sort of performance Neil Lennon would have been delighted with.
Yes, five changes to the team and Celtic have a squad dealing with
that situation. It was a tricky fixture for them and it keeps their
unbeaten run in the league going. It was a superb performance from Celtic
yesterday. Celtic very much out in front. There is an international
break coming up but Sportscene never rests. We are back on Friday with
highlights of the Scotland Hyam Wash the Scotland-USA match. Join us for
that. On the same channel we have got live coverage of the away
fixture against Norway a week on Tuesday. Join us for that. If form
is fleeting then St Johnstone are moving in the right direction. Turbo
powered by the top end of the team tandem of Stevie May and Nigel
Hasselbaink. The duo have been a revelation with me being talked
about as a potential Scotland international in the not too distant
future -- with Stevie May being talked about. They want two out of
their last three games so perhaps Allan Johnson's side were not
without hope. When the going gets tough you need
your defenders to stand up. Nigel Hasselbaink opened the scoring after
24 minutes. If anything the Kilmarnock defending got worse.
Stevie May making it 2-0 just after half an hour. Jackson Irvine took a
tumble in the box and got booked for diving by the referee. That yellow
card would prove fateful, the second half. Jackson Irvine was booked
again, this time for a foul on Chris Millar. Really hard to say if he got
any contact with the ball. But he got his marching orders. Against the
ten men the class of Stevie May really began to tell. Chris Milburn
again found himself on the turf. Michael guidon -- Michael Gardyne,
in the box. From the spot. No mistake. Stevie May with his 11th
goal of the season from 18 appearances, 3-0 to St Johnstone.
The Kilmarnock fans were not happy, chanting Johnstone out and there is
only one Kenny Shiels. They did have a touch of fortune when Sean
Clohessy made it 3-1 but there might have been more goals for St
Johnstone. This effort cleared off the line. Tommy Wright was pleased
with what he was seeing and after picking up the ball, Caddis was
appended by Darren Barr. -- up ended. It will be one of those
yellow cards of the fateful variety. Little doubts about the merits of
this one. From the free kick, Stevie May went mightily close to getting a
hat-trick but there was a fine save. This was a bad day for Kilmarnock.
The fans are not happy with Johnstone and Johnston, chairman and
manager. They finished the game with nine men, Darren Barr shown a second
yellow. Kilmarnock's second bottom of the table, their lead over Hearts
is down to 13 points. The two goals came from longer
passes from deep and with Nigel's pace and Stephen's pace, that could
be a problem for defenders. We started well, passed the ball well
and to lose a goal in the way we lost the first goal, you can't do it
especially against these players. They were looking for the ball
behind and it is far too easy. Tough times for Kilmarnock but a fantastic
run for St Johnstone, four wins in a row. We talk about it week in and
week out, Stevie May, Nigel Hasselbaink partnership but you know
Nigel well from your St Mirren time together. It has clicked for them,
hasn't it? It has. They have pace and
directness. He is finding more consistency. They have not just got
pace but strength, both of them. He shrugs off the defender and composed
finish from Nigel. He is starting to did bring it into his game. We had
Callum Johnstone suggesting that he could finish second in the table,
but why not? It is a brilliant race for second when you consider that
Inverness Caley Thistle have had a great start the season, been there
from day one but Dundee United are getting motoring now, have had a
good start of the season, Aberdeen obviously St Johnstone, any one of
five very difficult to call. Terrible play at the back from
Kilmarnock for the first two goals of the game, in a sorry place at the
moment. The fans getting on their backs as well. Yes, they are, it
never really helps. He got a shout to leave it, it is a good finish. It
is difficult. The fans are disappointed. When you're on the
pitch and things are not going well, confidence is down, the last thing
you need is the supporters getting on your back. They are trying to get
up into the lead. It is better to be behind them. It seems to be early to
be falling for a change of manager, doesn't it? Ella Bob and it is the
world we live in in doubt, get rid is the mantra. I hope they stick
with him because as we have seen with St Mirren, it was a personnel
at six -- it was a perfect example of whether Danny Lennon was the
right guy and they have had a great run and you have to stick with your
guy and give him a chance. Lets see what that means in terms of the
table. That is what the new Scotland top
will look like. There is Terry Butcher, they talk about the scope
speculation that he might join Hibernian sooner. What about his
sartorial choice? He looks like he's auditioning. I quite liked it, quite
smart. Maybe it is what they were in Edinburgh. If this doesn't happen
and Terry Butcher doesn't go to Hibs, that is a disaster for the
Easter Road club, isn't it? They have to make preparations for the
possibility he might turn them down. I don't think they have a second
choice, we will find out in the next 24 hours. You think it will happen?
I think it will, there has been too much going on for it not to. Who
will take over at Inverness? At is an interesting question. That is it
from us tonight. No Sportscene next Sunday but we return to league
action in two weeks time. Let's hope for another eruption of goals then.
For now, good night from all of us.