16/03/2014 Sportscene


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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This afternoon's League Cup final was of huge significance to


Aberdeen. A club once laden down with silverware, they had gone


almost two decades without a trophy. But today's match was also


absolutely massive for Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Only in


existence for 20 years, this was their first ever appearance in a


major cup final. Football's most enduring memories are etched in


silver. 18 years since their last trophy Derek McInnis is firing up


Aberdeen once again, passionate and exciting. Formed just 20 years ago


John Hughes is determined to lead Inverness Caledonian Thistle to


their greatest ever achievement with a spirited, never say die team.


Aberdeen versus Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Who will make their mark in


the League Cup final? Two men who know all about what it meant for


both clubs join us this evening. The former Aberdeen striker Billy Dodds


and former Caley Thistle midfielder John Rankin. We will bring you the


Premiership highlights a little later, but there is only one place


to start. Celtic Park, the League Cup final venue transformed from


green into a sea of red with a pocket of blue as Aberdeen and


Inverness Caledonian Thistle took centre stage on a day that meant so


much for everyone involved. We must turn our attention to the


Premiership now. # this is going to be the best day


of my life, this is going to be the best day of my life. Everything is


looking up. This is going to be the best day of my life.


It is a wonderful atmosphere inside Celtic Park. A battle of the North,


Aberdeen from the East against Inverness Caledonian Thistle from


the Highlands. Where is the trophy going this evening? It has been on


the road to Aberdeen five times before. They are at the third most


successful club in this competition despite their generation not knowing


what it feels like for their team to win silverware. It has been season


after season of anti-climax and disappointment. The Dons' fans would


sell their soul for a win today. Inverness had just celebrated their


first birthday when Aberdeen won this cup. But they are well managed


on and off the park. They have stamped their standard on the top


table of Scottish football today. There are 40,000 supporters


supporting their team. Peter Pollard has succumbed to a leg injury. Cally


Bissell is without Warren. -- Inverness Caledonian Thistle. The


referee is Steven Maclean and it is his first major final. This could be


quite an afternoon. Inverness have yet to get the better of Aberdeen in


any cup tied. It is one draw and four Aberdeen wins so far. But this


meeting is very different to the ones that have gone before. This is


the fourth time the League Cup final has taken place here. He is already


in the waters, Hayes. He has landed on his shoulder. Hopefully it is not


too serious because there are only seconds gone.


That was a fabulous ball almost onto the penalty spot. Maybe you would


have liked to have seen Rooney on the end of that.


Robson was caught very late. Steven Maclean is going to speak to the


Inverness Caledonian Thistle captain. There was no contact of


note, but it is a free kick. Aberdeen claimed it was over! It


looked for all the world it was going to go straight in. It was good


defending. It certainly looked at one point as if it had crossed the


line. Yes, no debate, it was not over.


This might just light the fire under this League Cup final. Not a great


clearance from Dean Brill. But Richie Foran was there.


A lot of possession for Aberdeen. Can they do anything with it? Rooney


goes down! It is a goal kick as well. I think the referee is right.


He makes contact with the ball. I do not think it is a penalty kick. I


think that was a great decision. Oh, and he drops it. That was


horrible for Jamie Langfield. A nervous moment. He has not had much


to do, so he went and flapped at that one a little bit. He has got to


be more decisive. Dean Brill saves. It came off the


arm of Shinnie. Robson goes down. Better play again. We talked about


working the ball wide. Dean Brill was forced to save again.


That was the best effort from Robson so far. Aberdeen have had by far the


best chances in the game. Aberdeen have everyone back except Niall


McGinn. Richie Foran thinks he was fouled. Steven Maclean is not


interested. I thought it was Andrew Considine.


That is a goal kick. I thought Josh Meekings had touched that


originally. A massive chance goes begging. The defender does well to


put him under pressure and he tries to lift it over him. I think he has


to do better. Jack has not had a look in, really.


Nicky Low is asking why he did not get the pass. I think at this stage


of the game he just wanted to get the shot away.


That is the first real save of the match that Jamie Langfield has had


to make. It might have been going past anyway. Just three times before


a penalty shoot out has settled the League Cup final.


Saved by the Dons keeper! Advantage Aberdeen. No mistake from Barry


Robson! Greg Tansy scored in the semifinal,


but he puts it over. It is going horribly wrong in the shoot out for


the Highlanders here. Nicky Low is a substitute. What a moment this is


for him. And he scores! They are very close now are at the red Army.


He's got to score and he does. That certainly didn't lack conviction. A


great penalty kick Scott Vernon against Brill. A wonderful spot kick


from Vernon. If this misses, Aberdeen have won the League Cup.


Oh, it's cool as you like. There's still life in this shoot out, but


for how much longer? Aberdeen are so close to that long, long awaited


trophy. Addianroomy with a chance to win the Cup for Aberdeen. And he


does! The almost two decades of pain, hurt and, at times, ridicule


at the hands of others is over for Aberdeen feb Club. They've been


guided to silverware within a year of the new manager taking the job.


The sleeping giant of Scottish football has finally woken from its


slumber. And we can now speak to Barry Robson, one of the heroes. You


did it the hard way, but you did it. How does it feel? We won the game,


that's the most important thing. I don't care how we won it or how we


played, we just won the Cup. You won it the hard way, how do you feel?


Ecstatic. You can see how much it means to so many people. We had a


job we took on and it was a tight final, but we had the better


opportunities and once it comes down to penalty kicks, you have to back


yourselves and play with confidence. It's unfortunate for Inverness, it


was a good final and it was a tight game, but we wanted to win the game,


no matter how we did it. And after almost 400 appearances for the Dons,


he's from the granite city and in just a second or two, Russell


Anderson stands free and lifts the 2014 Scottish League Cup, which has


been won by Aberdeen. An absolutely fantastic day for an Aberdeen. Those


scenes say it all. Absolutely magnificent for the club. Billy you


won it almost 20 years ago, what does victory mean? It's huge. It's a


platform for them. The penalties, it could have gone horribly wrong for


them. There was a good mentality to get through that game today, because


there was a lot of text and pressures, but they came through. It


wasn't a great game to watch from a neutral perspective, why was that?


It was that tension and pressure, it took away from the game. But it was


still exciting because there was so much tension and the fans brought


the pressure as well. So nerves played a part, but the set-up? After


the last two results, 5-0 against cellic, I think the team were spot


on. They were compact and hard to beat and they sat deep and it was


hard for them to be broken down. And they're hunting in packs. They're


not letting anybody in behind them. Johnny Hayes unfortunately got


injured but the way Inverness were set up today, they were not letting


Aberdeen in behind them and it worked well for them And how much


was the loss of Ross to the gape? That was massive for them. And they


lost Johnny Hayes. Right now he's got nobody to pass to, so he's


delaying it and delaying it and eventually somebody gets into the


box. And again, Barry Robson is putting one in the box and there was


only one person there. And losing Hayes right at the start, did that


affect them? Yes, it has to. You can see, they've plenty of ball and


possession and usual usually those two will give them the chances, but


again, no focal point. Inverness defend in their 18 yard box. That


was their game plan, defend deep and don't let them in behind and they


let them have possession in areas where they shouldn't. Should


Inverness have had a penalty due to man handling? This was a certainly


pent for me. As much as Aberdeen had a lot of pain over the years, they


got lucky with this. Because Foran still wants to get his head on it,


he doesn't go for the ball and I think the referee's made up his


mind. A fantastic evening for Aberdeen. In the granite city they


can now celebrate this magnificent victory. Billy, you spent a large


part of your career there. What does it mean for the city? It's huge


because of what's gone on and the pain they've suffered. You can see


what it means to them. There will be a few sore heads tomorrow. They just


wanted to do well in the League and compete for silverware and it's nice


to see them getting it back, because they have had some Cup shocks along


the way. And a lot of pain, but now the fans are really enjoying it.


Let's hear from the Caley Thistle manager. They were at it and at it


and the fans brought it along. The two sets of support supporters were


fantastic out here and we ran them close. We played our part and I


could have been here standing talking to you as a winning manager,


but not to be. We'll get going again, but that's what football is


all about. And Aberdeen are so happy and Caley Thistle are hugely


disappointed. How do they bounce back? They haven't much time because


they've another game on Tuesday night. But I'm sure the manager will


have the team fired back up for Wednesday, because he has huge


passion for it. But they'll get on with it. Four important matches were


played over this weekend, and we start with Mirren. Could they pick


up vital points against Dundee United?


Thompson battles for it and wins it. In with a chance. It was a short one


and tame in the end. Showing good pace that time, Stephen Thompson.


Good movement from St Mirren. That's a good cross from Stephen Thompson


and the keeper happy to see that go wide. Thompson causing problems


again. The long ball and McGowan is free and he scores. The third of the


season for Paul McGowan and his first since October. He twisted


awkwardly but did really well to get this away from the goalkeeper.


Looking to build on their lead, St Mirren. Newton is still going.


Blocked and McGowan will try a shot. Well, they've started so well and


are causing lots of problems. Into the net it goes. A typical striker's


goal. You've got to be in the right place at the right time. Stephen


Thompson wheels away in celebration and St Mirren are 2-0 ahead. They


need some inspiration, Dundee United. Oh, that's a great ball.


Naismith trying to track him back. Just three away wins in the league


this season, St Mirren, as they come forward again. Thompson from


McGowan. The build-up play has been fun to watch.


No communication, and it's sent wide. It wasn't reaching the goal


goalkeeper and it was poke the over the top and wide.


McGowan spins the ball out idea. A chance again. Kenny has a sweet left


foot but that one was too wide. Oh, there was venom in that. He


managed to get across and it had real zip in it. A good save from the


keeper. That looked offside. They continue to go, but Graham wants it


in the middle. He looks offside but it's given. And Dundee United are


back in the game with 11 minutes to play. St Mirren desperately unhappy


at the decision. There's a different feel now to Dundee United. Armstrong


and united looked down on it to all intents and purposes, but two goals


in five minutes, since one from Shaun and there's six minutes still


to play. St Mirren will be kicking themselves that United have got it


back to 2-2. They'll have to be careful here. What a come back from


done dean United and now, as he has done in the previous three years,


finds the back of the neck. United with a tremendous come back. Yes, a


good win. I thought the first half the other then were far superior to


us. Every second ball it look us a while to get into the match. You


might not look at the video again, but would concede that one goal was


well off side. Yes, the player that pushes the ball was offside but


sometimes when you're at the wrong end of it and this sort of mix, then


these decisions are more difficult to take. A devastating outcome for


St Mirren. But, be honest, was the first goal offside. When you look at


it here, I think there are three players offside here. You I?


Ampullitis I think he looks on side Obviously after that, St Mirren


basically crumbled, is that how it felt to you? We didn't crumble on


the pip, but if we did score the third goal, it was going to be


massive and if we got that we'd go on and win the game. To be honest, I


didn't think it would take as long as the first nine minutes to score


the first goal. When we got the second goal we knew we could go on


and get another. And fair play to the boys, they got on the score


sheet again. A devastating blow for St Mirren. You could see what it


meant for Danny Lennon. It has to be a big hit me up from him and he has


to get his players going again. As the scramble to avoid the play-off


place heats up, we check on the progress of Partick Thistle, very


much in the mix. But could their opponents, Hibernian, still be


sucked into the relegation equation? Terry Butcher sounded a battle cry.


You are looking at the top six, so let's have a go at this. You


organise the boys and sometimes it is too much. Ross County are also


very much in the play-off place mix. They had a Saturday evening match


against St Johnstone and already knew St Mirren had slipped up. Could


they make up valuable ground on their rivals? St Johnstone one at


Tannadice by 4-0. Ross County make one change due to


injury. Two dabbles in his first two matches. No goals since then. Not


quite testing the goalkeeper, but good technique. -- doubles.


De Leeuw took the first touch brilliantly and the second was good


as well. He has made such an impact. He called for it and he wanted it.


The goalkeeper got a touch on it, but could not keep it out. Ross


County arrowhead. Concern on the face of Tommy Wright, the St


Johnstone manager. Jordan Slew is yet to score for his


club. That was a great run at the back


post, Dave McKay coming forward and nobody picked him up. He was all


alone, but he could not guide it on target. Derek Adams is happy enough.


His side are playing well. It was Filip Kiss who made the


clearance. Under pressure and he almost stepped


on him as well. It is a free kick to St Johnstone. Plenty of players


forward, but great height in defence for Ross County. That was Stevie Mae


and that is a good save. St Johnstone's top goal scorer this


season. Unbeaten in the last nine against


Ross County at home. That was awkward on the ankle. But he knew it


was a chance. St Johnstone are just not


functioning today the way Tommy Wright would have liked.


Brown with the fingertips once more. It was spending into the top corner


and the deflection made it difficult. Alan Mannus is having to


get back quickly. Anderson goes down and the referee sees no advantage.


Stephen Anderson has rescued a point for St Johnstone, but it might not


count. The referees will be conversing. It will not count. The


first header produced a fine save. But it came off his hand and that is


what St Johnstone did not want to see. Ross County remain ahead. We


are delighted with the start to the game we had and we are positive and


the team were ambitious and it paid off for us. The number of times this


season we have been able to do that. The midfield three played really


well. The first half was as bad as it has been at the club since I have


been in charge, but we are still in a great position. We will pick


ourselves up and have a clear week to get ready for Hibs next week. We


have got that top six to play for and we are still in the driving


seat. De Leeuw has popped up with a few important goals this season.


That was his sixth. Could he dig Ross County out of the situation


they are in? He could, it seems to be. He has got great technique. He


sets himself up with a great touch and that was low and hard on the


ball, the technique is great. It is a great touch and the finish was


phenomenal. How do you rate Ross County's chances overall to escape


the play-off places? They have to put a run together, and they are


capable of it, and they are too inconsistent this season. But that


was great for them to win that game and give them a boost to get away


from the relegation play-off. It looked like St Johnstone were going


to get a point. Was it rightly chopped off? That was some spot from


the linesman. It was an unnatural position from his arm. That linesman


was 40 yards away and he spotted that. It is the right decision and


good on him for having the bottle to make it. But it took us a few times


to see it. It definitely comes off his arm. He has hardly scored two


goals in his career! We would have to say it was a handball. What I St


Johnstone's chances of staying in the top six? They beat you the other


night. I fancy them to go into the top six. After a disappointing


result you would expect them to bounce back strongly. Is that how


you see it? The top six and the bottom six are all but done.


With a first home win finally recorded this season Partick Thistle


were looking for more of the same when they faced Hibs who had only


managed one single win in their last ten matches, but the beleaguered


Hibs fans remain optimistic. One more game still to come tonight. Is


it too early to look ahead to next week


some of them are not good enough to play for Hibs. He needs another


transfer window, to be honest. Thistle are looking for back-to-back


home league wins. Chris Doolan returns. There is still no sign of


Muirhead and Osborne. Terry Butcher's Hibernian have not won in


four matches. Youngster Jason Cummings starts. This is a big game


for both teams for different reasons. Partick Thistle are trying


to stay above the water line. Hibs are looking to push St Johnstone for


that top six place. That was Higginbottom. He draws a great save


out of Ben Williams. Partick Thistle's number 23 is a man in


form. James Collins is still trying to


live up to the transfer fee. Higginbottom looks like the most


likely is it for Partick Thistle. That was brilliant from Partick


Thistle! A wonderful finish from Chris Erskine. It was all because of


the dummy from Chris Doolan. It is his first on loan from Dundee


United. Hibs are having to respond. They have not won away from home


since Boxing Day. It is something they want to put right.


Look at the amount of space Higginbottom has. He had options and


he went himself. Higginbottom has got team-mates asking, where was the


past? The Thistle boss was sent off mid


week. He had a go at the referee. Suddenly it is two. Lee Mayor's last


goal for the Saints came in September, 2012. He has doubled the


Jags' advantage. Within a couple of minutes Hibs are


back in this. The man on loan from Sunderland. It is just his third


appearance for the club. He put that are beyond the outstretched Paul


Gallagher. It is a fine finish. It is a corner for Hibernian. Danny


Haynes went for glory himself. It's getting to be now or never time. And


it's Watt moor, e again. But he puts it over the bar. Partick Thistle so


close to another home win. They couldn't buy one a week ago, but now


they have a covariance and he finishes it. Wonderful! He rightly


celebrates. This was a tremendous goal. He had a similar opportunity


earlier on in the second half, which he didn't take. But, boy, has he


taken that one. Four in four for hiking Higginbotham. It's good for


the lads and good for their confidence. We just have to go and


build on it now. We've a rough run of games, like the rest of the teams


around us, but we know we've got to capitalise on the result. We haven't


done enough either end again. We've conceded three goals. It's baffling


for me and you organise these boys and set them out and you say, "Go on


and play," and some of them don't. It's just too much for them. He's


talking about dumping his first team players and playing the youth team


against St Johnston, and the Hibs players are simply not good enough


at the moment? You have to say that. They go back into their old habits


and they're not performing. Is it bad decision making? There's a bit


of greediness and selfishness. He's driving, but just put them in there


and he takes a shot, so it is bad decision making. Does that mean


you're not good enough? Well, it's either a confidence thing but


they're not consistent. They have options there, but they clearly take


the wrong option. They're lacking a real leader for me. When the leader


is not in the side they lack someone of the right quality to drag the


team through, that's it for me. Suddenly two home win wins for


thistle and they will boost them as they get off the play-off place?


Yes, I was there. And it was as if they won the World Cup final that


game against Aberdeen and sudden suddenly they took that performance


into the game against Hibs. Partick Thistle are in a good place to avoid


the relegation position. And that's it for me, Higginbottom, if he's


play playing into the final third and driving at players, he's hard to


stop. One more game still to come. Is it too early to look ahead to


next week yet? On Friday night, just ahead of their


match with cellic, it was announced that the chairman of Kilmarnock was


standing down. They were another team trying to avoid a play-off


place as well. Could they pick up anything against the champions


elect? Cellic gave a start to a


17-year-old, with Henderson making his first start.


The title countdown continues for cellic. Johannsen's pass. Stokes has


the ball in the net but it's not going to count. Cellic almost ahead


in the opening minute. It was here, as it was flick the on, the flag


went up. No goal. A useful ball in. Adam Matthews


struggling to deal with it as well. And Michael Gardine taken by


surprise as well. Greaves with a shot on target. He


was certainly on target last time out. A hat trick against Inverness.


Not that time, not adding to his total. Commons, a good shot a great


save and tiedied up by Slater. Kilmarnock can ill afford lost


possession. It came off Lee Ashcroft, who has been own goal to


cellic already this season and he doesn't want to do the same again.


Sampson wasn't going to hold that and happy just to turn away a


blistering strike. Charlie Mulgrew ups the tempo for


cellic. Collins continues the run and opens the scoring -- Commons.


Well, they haven't played like champions up till now but Celtic


suddenly switch on. 57 minutes, 1-0. Matthews fires it in and Chris


Commons is there again, with his 25 Goal of the Season. He doesn't play


as an out and out striker, but he certainly has a stricter's instinct


in front of goal, sniffing out the opportunity and making the most of


it. Oh, it's a good try from Anthony


Stokes and it wasn't far away. Curling and dipping towards the far


post. Just wide. Can Kilmarnock bring this game back to life?


Edemenko finding Boyd and here's Chris Johnson. A little shimmy and a


shot across the bows. Room for the drive into the box. It


is in off Commons, but it is not a hat trick. It's another offside


flag. Cellic cruising at the moment to


another three points, another step closer to clinching the title. And


it's Chris Commons who completes his hat trick. Make that 26 for the


season. And in for 3-0 cellic. We spoke at half time that cellic were


really fangs with the counter attack. But obviously they had two


many people forward. I thought there was misunderstanding at times and


the only real penetration we got was good and I enjoyed watching us at


the in. Friday night was a big night for Kilmarnock, not just on the


pitch but off it as well. Wiping out that department. A fresh start,


almost, for the club. That's great. In terms of the first-half


performance, did you see signs of positivivity for them? Yes, it's


been like that over the past couple of weeks and they lookedals though


they were coming tock as a team. You see the players all circled all


working hard off the ball and deny denying a lot of space. Kilmarnock a


side that have improved to are, for you, over the season? Yes, they were


going at it and trying to show the players down the first half. Look,


really tight. And obviously, the second half, when they tire, and


that's when cellic get a bit more space. It was cellic's game in the


second half and Chris Commons, 26 goals now for the year, is he your


pick of Footballer of the Year. He's a great example so think youngster.


As soon as he takes his touch he whats whatses it aloaning. And watch


this, he gets the ball and passes it wide. And as soon as he's passed it


on it's dangerous. And the third one is so intelligent because it's so


difficult to pick up. And he just drives it at the defenders and they


don't know whether to come to the ball or not. Is he in the running


for Player of the Year? Well, I love creative players, forward thinking,


I have to say. I think he's been excellent and I think he will be


Player of the Year, no problem. Thank you very much for the moment.


Let's look at the Scottish Premiership table as it stands this


evening and let's focus on the bottom of the table feet.


Celtic 24 points ahead of Aberdeen, not that Aberdeen care all that much


tonight. The sleeping giant of Scottish football is awake once


again. Congratulations to Aberdeen, from all of us here at Sportscene,


good night.


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