Jonathan Sutherland introduces highlights of Dundee v Celtic, Aberdeen v Hearts, Rangers v Hamilton, Inverness v Ross County, Kilmarnock v Partick and Motherwell v St Johnstone.
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This could be something quite sensational. Right out of the top
drawer. It is outstanding. The shot is an absolute beauty. Oh, yes!
What a finish. Right here, right now, this is history.
Good evening and welcome to Sportscene. Mid-March and the
Premiership title could potentially have been one this weekend, but as
it happens it's delayed until after the international break and after a
long, hard season, we are looking forward to a well-deserved weekend
off, Thompson and Michael Stewart. Plenty of business to get through
this weekend. Let's get straight to the lunchtime match, Dundee at home
to Celtic. The champagne on ice for the champions, with points on top of
both sides, Liam McLeod was there for us. -- on offer.
Paul Hartley has restored Kevin Gomis to the side after a month.
Dundee are looking to bounce back from successive defeats. Calum
MacGregor starts and plays for Celtic's Burstein for the time. He
takes near Bitton's place in the side as he did at half-time in the
Derby last week. Sviatchenko is replaced as the champions look to go
within touching distance of the title. Before kick-off there will be
a minutes silence for the Celtic legend, Tommy Gemmill, who of course
served Dundee with distinction as well as player and manager. -- as
both player and manager. Plenty of height for Stuart
Armstrong to aim at. Headed wide, Dembele. I am sure he is targeting
the 40 goals that Leigh Griffiths got to last season. 32 at the
moment. Celtic are 22 points clear of
Aberdeen at the top of the top-flight. Lusted knocks it across.
Dembele could not quite gather. Still therefore Celtic -- Lustig.
This was the run from Callum MacGregor. He had a bit of the
jersey there, and he's already been done for that this afternoon. A
yellow card for it early on. In it comes. Holt. Armstrong. He
gets it back in. Then it is headed over by Boyata. Scored a couple in
single goal victories over St Johnstone and Aberdeen, Dedrick
Boyata. Former Dundee United midfielder
Stuart Armstrong getting some stick. He has been over just about every
set piece for Celtic. That is a better one. How on earth did that
stay out? Boyata must have thought he had given Celtic the lead here.
Armstrong's best delivery of the day and that has been blocked on the
line by McGowan. Armstrong again. James Forrest. That is a great
challenge by Kerr. Forest gets the break of the ball. And it has gone
in, it has crept in. Simunovic gives Celtic the lead right on half-time.
As they did against Dundee in Glasgow just before Christmas.
Simunovic's first goal of the season edges Celtic that bit closer to six
in a row. The big Croatian defender hardly caught that. It is the touch
of Kevin Gomis that has taken it away from the grasp of a pain. -- of
pain. Dembele. MacGregor. He keeps it going. Armstrong, Dembele down
the middle, and Armstrong. And that is terrific.
Paul Hartley will lament the defending but Brendan Rodgers
applauds as one of his men of the season gets on the scoresheet yet
again. He will surely win his first Scotland cap in the upcoming
double-header. James Forrest picked him out and they made its -- it look
so, so easy. That is a rare loose ball by Tierney
and Paul McGowan is in, and Marcus Haber. He has got to at least hit
the target with that. Celtic have only conceded four goals at home
this season, and Marcus Haber scored one of them. It looked all the way a
route back in for Dundee. Armstrong. James Forrest, who set up Armstrong
for the second goal for Celtic. Here is Tierney. A big chance for number
three. Dundee just about defend it. It's been a little bit too easy from
the Dundee point of view for Tierney to get on to that. It just bobbled
ahead of him. McGowan has shown too much of it for
Scott Sinclair, who thought about the early shop. We might be in any
way. Sinclair, Dembele, but a brilliant challenge by Gomez --
early shop. -- Gomis. Losing out to Sinclair with Dembele to his left.
Dembele did not bargain on Gomez. It is a good bit of defending.
Armstrong's latest corner. Lustig. Floated delivery, Scott Sinclair. He
must have lost sight of where the goal was as Dembele hits the deck
under the challenge of Ojamaa. No penalty. Scott Sinclair, and Dembele
went down way too easily. If Dundee are to get anything out of this they
are going to have to think about scoring pretty soon. What a touch
that was by El Bakhtaoui week, and he has a go. What a goal. Dundee
have a way back in. And it comes in spectacular fashion from Faizal El
Bakhtaoui. That is an absolute rocket. And it has halved the
deficit. He has smashed that past Craig Gordon. Inspired management by
Paul Hartley. And Dundee, who were 2-0 down, have
an opportunity to equalise. Away by Dembele, backing by Kerr.
Well passed from Haber. Not a prolific goal-scorer, Haber, but
he's done a good job in other ways this afternoon.
At times today we played fantastic football. We just failed to make the
final pass that would have made the game more comfortable, but like you
say, we know if we have to defend a game like that when it's coming in
early into the box, we can do that. And by the end we were very happy
with the win. We changed the shape and we had a real go and scored an
excellent goal through El Bakhtaoui E. Haber had a fantastic opportunity
and we put balls in the box. Celtic had to change to a back three, but
I'm pleased with the attitude of the players. No champagne today but yet
another victory for Brendan Rodgers's side. Stephen, how'd you
characterise that Celtic performance today? Not the best, and the second
week running they were under par. Not vintage Celtic but they have
shown the winning mentality -- winning mentality. They grind out
results, and they did that today. It was the little level of intensity
they have had this season, but it's to be expected. They have been at
such a levels for so long. For Scotland next weekend against
Slovenia, how many Celtic players should be in the starting XI? You
have five in the starting XI for Celtic who are in the squad. James
Forrest has been wonderful form all season long. He set up both goals.
Here is one from earlier on today, and I think I would be surprised if
he was not in the starting XI. Craig Gordon has gone from strength to
strength since getting back on the side and signing a new contract.
Unbelievable, wasn't it? Scott Brown is backing the team and is a certain
starter. That is a wonderful pass -- back in team. Very strong at
left-back as well. Here are the two of them combining well. You have to
remember that Leigh Griffiths is sitting on the bench for Celtic. He
started at Wembley in the last Scotland game. Stuart Armstrong is
the real gem at the moment. A wonderful run and a great header. He
is the one, breaking into the Scotland squad, the big question
will be whether he starts the game. I would be amazed if he's not
starting because he's in the form of his career and is playing
wonderfully well and scoring goals. Are you impressed by that header? I
thought the cross was superb from James Forrest, drilled it across.
You look at the five plays in the starting XI for Celtic they could
easily be in the starting XI for Scotland and Leigh Griffiths, you
could be looking at six Celtic players. Paul Hartley thought Dundee
were excellent in the second half and it was an excellent strike from
Faizal El Bakhtaoui E. An unbelievable strike and it was slack
from Celtic not dealing with the quick free kick, but El Bakhtaoui
drives at the heart of the defence that is a non-believable hit. That a
fantastic hit. He has struggled for me to make the step up to the
standard of the Premiership. He scored 30 goals last season. But
that was only his third in the Premiership. We know he has the
undoubted quality but he's not bringing it on a weekly basis but
that was an unbelievable strike. Dundee had done well to rally
towards the end but they could not get the result. Just needs to apply
a bit more consistency to his game will
you could apply that to Dundee as a whole. They've been very
inconsistent. He clearly has goal-scoring ability but he's not
able to maintain it this year. OK. The forlorn chase of Celtic for
Aberdeen in second place and we've known it for some time, but Derek
McInnes's side aiming to clinch the runners-up spot ahead of Rangers.
Hearts were the visitors this weekend. Andrew Consett iron is free
from suspension and returns to the fold at the expense of Jayden
Stockley -- Consett iron. They are aiming to win nine home games on the
trot. Ian Castro was that impressed last week that he has named the same
11 as last week and Aaron Hughes is fit again and sit -- sits amongst
the substitutes as hearts look for a first win of the season over
Aberdeen. It was a goalless draw between these two in August.
Aberdeen with the better of it. Hearts may be at the best chance, as
Nicholson goals -- goes for gold. That was a decent opportunity carved
out by Sam Nicholson. Taylor waiting for the corner. A bit of grappling
and there was a shout for handball by a couple of the Hearts players.
It might have been the midfielder it came off.
Hearts looking to build on the wonderful win over Hamilton last
week. Brilliant challenge by Logan. And Nicholson. That is the best
chance of the game so far. Tony Watt, who was on loan at Hearts,
when he missed his best opportunity at the tawdry. Considine for McGinn.
A good ball, and Logan is there. He once again has the important
delivery and Logan stole in from right back. He has enjoyed that one.
Aberdeen in front. Aberdeen won nine matches in a row,
and it was Hearts that stopped their run. He is offside, he is not in
agreement with the decision. Pretty much on line with Logan to be fair
to him. Brilliantly touched and Rooney is
there but he is offside. Celebrations cut short. Graeme
Shinnie, that was outstanding. His head and shoulders were in line.
Hayes. Both he and Graeme Shinnie will feel very aggrieved they are
not in the Scotland squad for the upcoming double-header. McLean has
been superb in recent times. McClean went after it. It's number
two. Nine in a row. He's on his way for Aberdeen. Oh dear. That is a
horror show. Jonny Hayes gobbles up the chance to double their lead and
it is the least they deserve. They are cruising.
Look at that. You know someone is playing with confidence when you hit
that from 30 yards. So unlucky, tipped over by Hamilton. Xinyi works
it to Hayes. -- Shinnie. Hamilton beats its way. McGinn's effort
blocked. Jonny Hayes is very difficult to keep a lid on. Sell
theirs is in here. There was no flag. Just what the Aberdeen defence
is looking for. Joe Lewis played to the whistle. It comes off the
Aberdeen defender. Aberdeen picked up their 100th victory over Hearts
just before Hogmanay. Victory number 101 is just about coming. Niall
thinks he should have made it 3-1. He was offered a contract by Hearts
in January. That should be easy. Jayden Stockley has become embroiled
and Stockley is off. It was a flailing arm. Steven McLean, the
referee will now sort things out. I think it's great as a manager when
you see a team so relentless with their work. Their honesty. I thought
we spoke before the game about players being aggressive. Pressing
the life out of the opposition. I thought we did that.
Much has been made from Craig Levein being in the dressing room in the.
How much influence does he have in the 90 minutes? I work in a certain
way, with collective staff, always been involved with technical staff.
People connected to us throughout the game. Everything you see or
focus on or want to try to create,. He is not providing coaching advice?
That's my job. Yet another great home victory for Aberdeen. Is it
that big a deal, Hearts director of football communicating with his head
coach Ian Cathro during the match? No. I think that's fair enough. They
are wise to utilise that vantage point from the stand. I don't have a
problem with that. In the 21st century I think they could get
something a bit better connected by running up and down the stands! I
think it's the changing room think that is the real issue. As a player,
you are sitting in the changing room and we are led to believe that they
have a bit of a gathering, ideas are spoken about. Craig Levein is not
speaking directly to the players but if you sit there for a couple of
minutes and wonder where the head coaches, then he eventually comes
through and you have another senior figure just standing net and not
saying anything, just the fact he's there, adds to the confusion. I've
never experienced anything like that. In the changing room it is
normally one voice, one leader. You do get a better view from the stands
sometimes. They are obviously comfortable with it but it's not
been communicated well exactly what the role of Craig Levein is. I don't
think Cathro explains it well either. They need some clarity. It's
understandable the supporters, media, people, the director of
football role is not normal in Scottish football so what is the
defining difference between what he's doing and what Cathro is doing?
It needs to be explained, more transparency. Another senior figure
in the change in creating confusion because as a player, you wonder who
is making decisions. Who is giving us the direction? His mere presence
is confusing. Confusion on the bench as well. When results are not
happening, you will get more scrutiny. At this point, there is a
line and as a full-back, you never want to cross that and get dragged
over. Look at his body position. He is closed off, he never looks. This
is the first occasion he knows that Logan is behind him. The cross comes
in. This happened all day long. You know Aberdeen, their strengths,
really using the wide areas and they didn't put enough pressure on the
Aberdeen wide men to stop crosses coming into the box.
He's got his back to him there. This continued right through the game.
You have to get touched tight. Right through the first half, it was clear
Hearts were getting forced onto the back foot. Aberdeen played
brilliantly. To be expected. They pressed them all over the park.
Hearts were on the back foot. They do it every week. Isolated upfront,
Steven? You can see the midfielder miles away from Hillier. -- away
from him here. Either it's a bit naive for them to
go chasing blindly. Aberdeen forced Hearts back the whole game and you
have to squeeze it out. We discussed Hearts in depth. This was a
fantastic victory for Aberdeen. Phenomenal home record. They are
playing with such confidence and what an achievement to equal Sir
Alex's record. He described it as relentless. You were there, does
that sum it up? Definitely. It epitomises Aberdeen under Derek
McInnes. They thoroughly deserved their victory. The more you talk
about two clubs challenging at the top of the table and Aberdeen are up
there, Hearts 1 million miles away at the moment. They've got a great
opportunity, Inverness at home next. A great chance to do it. Next,
Ibrox, Rangers keep the pressure on Aberdeen. Pedro Caixinha took the
reins for the first time and greeted the fans. Commentary comes from Rory
Hamilton. COMMENTATOR: Pedro Caixinha's first
selection as manager sees just one change. Jon Toral comes on. Four
goal loss at Tynecastle. The early ball forward finding
McKay. Danger for Hamilton. McKay for Holt. The shot is just too high
from Jason Holt. McKay kept his cool to pick out the past. Holt lacked
composure. Lovely turn from Martyn Waghorn. He goes for gold. -- goal.
A good record in this victory, scored in all three games this
season against Hamilton Academical. A turn to get away from the party,
very impressive. -- get away from Donati. Tavernier. He returns to
write back. Freedom to move forward. This is nice from Rangers. The first
goal of the Caixinha era at Ibrox is scored by Emerson Hyndman. A
fantastic flowing move. Tavernier picked out the American and he
scored for the fourth time since joining on loan from Bournemouth. 26
minutes in, Rangers lead 1-0. Hamilton have had precious few
chances. McMann. Crawford, the only man in the middle. Gillespie
arriving now and Crom but... You went for the spectacular. Easy
enough for Wes Foderingham. Crawford did score here on the very opening
day of the season. Wilson for Tavernier. Hooks up the line where
it McKay has switched flanks. Taken out of the play by Alexander Gudok
pitch. Rangers will have a free kick in a dangerous position. Jon Toral
assessing his options. He will swing this in with a left foot and it's a
good one. Rangers have their second goal. After 41 minutes. The
38-year-old has shown his instincts again to score for the third game
running. Kenny Miller couldn't get enough on it and Hill couldn't miss.
Tavernier likely to be the favourite. He struck it well. Just
couldn't get it to come down and nestle in that top corner. They get
it away but only as far as Waghorn who goes down under the challenge of
Donati and Robinson points to the spot. No doubt in the referee's
mind. Rangers have a penalty kick. No complaints from Donati either.
Woods faces Waghorn and Waghorn goes down the middle of the goal and
Rangers have their third. The results has rarely been in doubt.
His 15th goal of the season, five of which have come against Hamilton.
Wallace. Up the line for Barrie McKay. Far too much pace for
Sarries. McKay is in. Holt was arriving. The first touch seemed to
come off Darian MacKinnon. A little too close for comfort in knocking
that past his own goalkeeper. Toral, confidence flowing amongst the
Rangers players. Lee Wallace. Miller. For the return to his
captain. It comes back to Kenny Miller. Waghorn and into Lee
Wallace. That's will round it off very nicely. For Rangers. The
captain gets in on the action. 15 minutes left to play. The Caixinha
regime at Ibrox gets off to the perfect start.
All eyes on Pedro Caixinha, a dapper gentleman, like yourself. How do you
assess his first match in charge? Impressive. We managed to pick out a
few things that were not that worthy. Rangers were often
criticised for being laboured and predictable in the build-up under
Mark Warburton, but here they are direct, a long ball, a flick on, and
every time Rangers got the ball it seemed like their first thought was,
how can we attack? Kenny Miller was superb. Again, Rangers, how quickly
can we get forward, and when this comes into the box, you see five
men, and that was the theme for Rangers. It was very impressive.
Look at that attack. For Rangers fans at Ibrox, they were so
accustomed to see teams parking the box, but this is how you get around
that -- parking the bus. Watch Lee Wallace. Wants to catch it and
attack it. One end of the pitch to the other here and basically five or
six seconds, and it's fantastic. I think the Rangers fans will be
entertained by this more dynamic style. You see the first one, the
long ball over the top two Waghorn. That is not a punt up the park, it
is a great pass. It is entertaining to watch because as a fan you want
to see shots on goal and goals scored, and it was certainly a stark
contrast to what it had been like for a lot of the season, in
particular at Ibrox. Possession for possession's sake. And with the
workrate, big changes from what we saw under Warburton? We highlighted
the workrate last week and it was excellent but it struck me that
Hamilton could not string for five passes together and everything was
taken away. Rangers were hunting in packs to win it back and the
turnover was incredible, the amount of times they won the ball back and
they were superb. When they won it back, the first instinct was, can we
attack again? I think that has probably been the one thing for me
that Caixinha has brought in this week. The constant desire to attack.
Here is an example. When the ball back, what can we do with it? This
is another shot from Kenny Miller and he should have done better. I
think Rangers fans will be entertained. It's incredible in the
time he has been in. Five days. A huge difference in a short period of
time, given that Hamilton have shipped a lot of goals of late, 14
in the last three games. They've only scored one in five games. From
the Rangers perspective, a lot of positives. I felt we learned quite a
lot from that analysis. But you feel that from the semifinal in the
Scottish Cup against Celtic is where they will learn most. That is where
they will be judged. It is a massive game and then in summer he can check
out how good the recruitment is but that will be a game where he is
judged. Looking gloomy for Hamilton. Bottom of the table. Is that where
they will stay? There are not too many positives or lights at the end
of the tunnel to suggest they will drag themselves out of it. 14 goals
in the last three games, conceding far too many and not scoring enough.
Not a great combination. Motherwell are in trouble as well.
Steve Robinson was made permanent manager in the week and he took on a
St Johnstone side pushing for a top four place.
Having been appointed permanent Motherwell manager in the week,
Steve Robinson is forced into a defensive reshuffle. He welcomes
back Louis Moult following a ban. Tommy Wright lost the services of
Keith Watson to a knee injury in training but sees no need to make
any changes following the 2-0 victory over Dundee last time out.
Jewels wins the header. Craig gets Cummins on his way. It is Graham
Cummins. That is a good ball in. Craig had continued his run and he
finds the back of the net with the header, eight minutes played an St
Johnstone lead at Fir Park. It was Liam Craig who started the move,
Graham Cummins had time and space to measure the cross and Craig tucks in
his fourth of the season. Freer, and he's got plenty of pace down the
left-hand side. A good ball as well. McDonald goes down, claims he was
held by Brian Easton. No penalty. Cummins. Looking to go round the
outside of Jules, and he got the shot in. Samsung tips it over, and
he was fantastic last week. -- Samson.
Can't beat the first man, Cavan. Comes back to Frear, having to work
for his space. Into McDonald, and Cadden on the half volley could only
fire over the top as Motherwell threatened to equalise. Headed away.
Hamill returns it with interest. It might drop for Cadden. It was the
challenge from Payton. Louis Moult continues the attack, but they are
able to clear. It was Cadden who went down under the challenge from
Payton. Greg Aitken said no. McHugh. Moult, to McDonald. Lovely
interchange. It comes back to Scott McDonald and what an incredible miss
by the Australian. Well, he did the hard bit and the linkup with Moult
was almost perfect, and when it dropped for McDonald the footwork
was good but he could not apply the finish. Malta. He has done well here
-- Moult. Scobey. Clay. Might drop for McDonald, and persistence pays
off for Motherwell. They have got the equaliser just a minute before
the break. Scott McDonald makes no mistake this time. And he has Number
ten for the season, and it is all squared up at 1-1.
Frear. There is Jules. McManus called into action after coming on
at half-time. Jules. Tossing it back into the middle, and Louis Moult
can't get the header on target. Jules must have thought that he had
put Motherwell in front here. Great save. Incredible to think that
Motherwell have not won at home since mid-November. There is Louis
Moult, looking to change that. Their top scorer was not far away. St
Johnstone will not want to give him that much space again. Foster. Up to
Maclean. Swanson. Maclean is hovering on the right touchline.
Clearing header but only to Liam Craig. What a hit that is Liam
Craig. He has his second of the game, midway through the second
half. St Johnstone restored their lead -- restore their lead.
Ferguson's header did not do enough to clear the danger and Liam Craig
has made him pay. Swanson. Cummins. Another great ball in for Liam Craig
but he could not guide it into the net. Some hat-trick that would have
been. Took it down nicely, and Motherwell having to come from
behind again. That is for Louis Moult. That is the man, Stephen
Robinson would have wanted it to fall to him. Uncharacteristically,
he could not hit the target. McDonald gets it back. Looking to
supply for Bowman. It comes off the inside of the post, and somehow it
stays out. Motherwell cannot believe this.
When you come away from home and get three points, and it's a massive
three points as it almost takes us in the top six, the performance
probably at times could have been better. We had seven clear-cut
chances and one penalty, it's incredible how we didn't get it, and
that wasn't given. There was another debatable one but it just didn't go
for us. We hit the post in the last minute and Louis Moult has a chance.
Six or seven clear-cut chances. They get to when they put them in the box
and scored. Be done clay crosses into the box, is what happens. St
Johnstone up to fourth in the table -- if you don't clear crosses.
Motherwell had their chances and penalty claims as well. Should
either have been given? Should both of them being given?
This one I'm not convinced about. I've seen them given but I don't
think there's enough. He is already falling down. Where is this one, the
second one, no doubt at all that Cadden is taken out. As it drops
down, he gets his foot in the first and Payton clears him out. He's in a
really strong position. It is a definite penalty. He gets cleaned
out. That is a penalty as far as I'm concerned. Every right to be
aggrieved but they did create a lot of opportunities and probably should
have taken something. Yet they are in the mix at the bottom of the
table. Three points off the bottom of the table and they need to try
and stabilise quickly. Ibrox next week. They are just conceding far
too many goals and if you concede too many, you don't give yourself an
opportunity to stay in the game. They conceded more than any other
team this season. What about the tactic of that kick out? It is
random. They are trying to stop the keeper kicking early and accurately.
But it was largely ineffectual. I don't think it works particularly
well. Is it worthwhile at all? I've seen it done before but he's not
even putting the goalkeeper under pressure. Mannus is just kicking up
the park. We talked about conceding too many goals. I'm not saying you
can't concentrate on more than one aspect of the game, but from their
perspective, they are ineffectual, those things. You need to be getting
the defence sorted out, stop conceding goals. Too many crosses
into the box coming in easily and you will never get a chance to get
points and draws and wins if you Chuck goals in the back. Fantastic
victory for St Johnstone. Could be a European spot. You have three out of
the four semifinalists have an opportunity to win, and then fourth
place will be in Europe. You cannot give St Johnstone enough plaudits.
Year after year they continue to get in and around the European spots and
they are in fourth and looking comfortable, second-best away record
which normally you would expect at home, but away from home has been
the bedrock of success. Only Celtic have the better away record. Cannot
give them enough plaudits. Fantastic from St Johnstone.
Two more sides glancing at the trapdoor, with Inverness Caley
Thistle starting the weekend bottom of the table and Ross County just
four points ahead. Two changes from the side that drew
at Partick. Ross Draper comes back in from suspension and Brad Mackay
and Polworth give way. Two changes for the visitors after the loss
against Kilmarnock. Paul Quinn is injured and there is no Mark Wood
's. Andrew Davis and Christopher routers are recalled.
Might break for Vigurs at the edge of the area. That is a terrific
effort from Iain Vigurs. Scored his first senior goal for Ross County in
the Premiership against Inverness Caley Thistle and tried to get it on
target there the home side. Voices the runner. Naismith. Great little
ball across. And Alex Schalk is an inch away from the opening goal.
Lovely interchange with boys. It fizzed across that he could not find
the touch. Deep towards Davies, and he brings it down. Alex Schalk
tumbled in the box and Raven was behind him. He thinks he was fouled.
He yells at the referee and Davies won the header. Raven certainly made
contact with the player in the area. Played across. That is pure. Tansey
is calling for it and he gets it from Polworth. And he gets the
opening goal. The deflection was key, but Inverness Caley Thistle
don't care. Greg Tansey scores for the third time against Ross County.
Having enjoyed a difficult first 15 minutes of the first half, within
three minutes of the restart, Inverness Caley Thistle Lara head.
The goalkeeper with no chance. Davies with a deflection -- are
ahead. He should have put that in the stand, but he didn't. The leader
was perfect, and Tansey accepts. Polworth tries to work the 1-2.
Draper. Tremarco stealing in at the back post. Mackay can't get back in
time. Gardyne will slide in. Tremarco with a fine goal-scoring
season, seven already, he could not put it on target. That was inviting.
The last six games between these sides have found a winner. Ross
County have one to this season. Caley Thistle leading and looking to
add to it. Mackay tries to pick out Tansey in the middle. Naismith
chases after it. That will be a free kick. And the yellow card to.
Tremarco bearing the brunt of the challenge from Jason Naismith.
Having a fine game, but that was reckless. Tansey more than capable
from here. And the goalkeeper knew it. The Irishman popping it over the
top. Tested the keeper. Frazar. On two boys. Naismith --
onto Boyce. Great ball, and Craig Cummings is marked. He should have
scored. It's the chance he has been waiting
for. The former Tranmere and Carlisle man. He seemed to be in two
minds about what he should do. They have only kept one clean sheet at
home this season. They are driving and looking for another. It came
back to Tremarco. Tremarco. He holds off his man. Hits the bar. Billy
McKay does as all good strikers do, tried to anticipate to get in there
and he's a lucky. Naismith. Boyce. Into the middle it goes. Jim
O'Brien. Williams taking no chances. It was rising. O'Brien, one goal in
nine appearances for Ross County. Accepted the gift from Draper and
forced the keeper into the stop. It will come in. A nice touch. The shot
has broken away from Warren. Second touch, Jason, and the equaliser from
Alex Schalk. Four minutes to play and Ross County level. The
substitute, a brilliant header, took at two defenders and Alex Schalk was
calm and controlled, aiming for the top corner. Ross County are level.
Four minutes to play in the Highland derby and what a crucial goal that
could prove to be. It feels like a bit of a defeat but
we are a point better off than before the game. Proud of the lads.
We looked solid. We dealt with a lot of crosses into the box.
Disappointed with the goal we conceded but all in all I thought
the boys did well. Every team, is in a relegation battle.
Sometimes the look on players face can say so much. We see the close-up
on David Raven's face, it tells a story. First, I think it is a clear
penalty. I don't know whether the referee was an cited but you can see
the slow motion, Alex Schalk touches the ball and Raven comes in and
breaks the back of his calf. It's this one. He's looking for the
referee, saying, you didn't see that, did you? Thankfully for him,
the referee didn't. Should the referee Hasina? Absolutely, for me
it was fairly clear. The goal of Alex Schalk, into the realms of
anatomy, a hint of handball? It was a hint. All those Inverness players,
none of them claim for it. It is just his shoulder, I think he gets
enough of his chest, shoulder area. I think it's OK. You don't see any
of the Inverness players around him complain and also Richie Foran,
there were no complaints. A fair enough goal. No complaints from you
if you were doing that as a striker? Absolutely. It is a bit of a season
of thanks for both of the Highland clubs. We have spoken at length
about the fact Ross County should be doing a lot more with the quality
they've got. Inverness, Richie Foran's first foray into management
and it has been a bit of a struggle. But they seem to have a bit more
grit about them, a bit more like his character as a player. I think they
will have enough to see themselves out of this. A psychological boost
also, seeing lots of off the bottom of the table. It's a better for Ross
County. Inverness need to start turning those draws into wins.
Especially home games. Only six points between the bottom five side
so it will go right to the end and fascinating to watch. To the battle
for top six safety now. Partick Thistle began in possession of that
coveted spot. Kilmarnock hoping to replace them in the top half. Before
the match at Rugby Park, a minute's silence, for Joanne Johnson, the
wife of former chair Mr Johnson. WHISTLE
APPLAUSE COMMENTATOR: Kilmarnock have
experienced campaigners back after suspension. Robert Wilson dropped
the bench. Partick Thistle make one change to their line-up with
Christie Elliot, normally seen as a right-winger, taking the place of
Callum Booth at left-back. Six of the last nine meetings between these
sides have been draws. We expect another close encounter. An early
opportunity for the on loan Newcastle United midfielder, he's
been impressive in writing times Brash recent times for Kelly. Two
victories and two feats for Lee McCulloch. It is Boyd. Brilliant
save to deny Scott Boyd the opener for Kilmarnock. Terrific
goalkeeping. Taylor. Boyd and Sammon. It's Christie Elliot who
gets the final touch to deny Conor Sammon, giving Killie the lead.
Kilmarnock have started very positively. Jones. Looking towards
Mackenzie. Still Jordan Jones. He didn't quite get enough power on
that effort. A yard of space away from Christie Elliot.
Chris Erskine. Did well to create the opening for the shot. So close
from Chris Erskine. He's already got eight goals so far this season.
Tansey looking towards Gulen. Breaking away of Lawless. Kilmarnock
relieved to see that will come back off the crossbar. Still clear. It is
now. Scott Boyd's clearance straight to lawless who took the opportunity
well. Doolan. Ryan Edwards. Australian midfielder.
Missing the target as he's tried to steady himself.
Adam Barton. That looked as though it would be a scorer all the way for
the Partick Thistle midfielder, no wonder he's shaking his head. He
thought he had got his third goal for the Firhill club.
Chris Erskine. Partick Thistle in front. Chris Erskine claims his
ninth goal of the season. He got the break of the ball back off Taylor. A
fine strike to dispatch it beyond the woodman. Kilmarnock desperate to
get themselves back on level terms. Conor Sammon. Striking it. And
that's on its journey. Conor Sammon doesn't care. He fires that one in.
Straight through the goalkeeper's hounds. Kilmarnock are back on level
terms. That is Sammon's third goal since moving from Hearts. Killie
pushing for a winner. They are up in towards Boyd. Sammon. It breaks to
Boyd. Not quite sure what the infringement was. Didn't seem too
much there. Overall I will take the point.
Partick Thistle in the second half, probably they were the better team
today. We had a good victory last week. Got a point today so four
points out of six. I'm always looking at the positives. Kilmarnock
were better in the first off, very direct and played the Pitreavie
well. We didn't we caused a lot of problems on set plays and I think
the referee could have helped us out. They were blocking. The
officials didn't help us out. The second half was much better. He
praised the performance last week. Can't be perfect all the time. In
terms of what Alan Archibald was talking about, blocking at set
pieces, how big an issue was that? It's a big issue when you see the
highlights of how much space Kris Boyd gets. Partick defenders need to
do better. They allow themselves to get detach from Kris Boyd far too
easily. Alan Archibald said it was good movement to be fair to him.
Partick have to deal with it better. This shows you that Lee McCulloch
has clearly been working on a few different aspects of set plays. When
you are playing in these games that are really tight, sometimes set
plays can be the difference between getting three points and not. Lee
McCulloch obviously very much in his career, very good in the air so he
recognises that. There is something more about Kilmarnock at the moment.
They look better organise. The set plays are indicative of that.
Clearly getting up a good idea of what they are meant to be doing.
Partick Thistle conceded late goals, it was Inverness last week. A
different story in terms of points they got. They are in sixth place
just now, if they'd got four extra points and hadn't conceded the late
goals, I think they could have cemented that sixth place. And not
be too far behind Hearts. Disappointing for them but I think
at the same time, they will be glad they are looking to stretch that gap
to six. Quite a transformation. We had a chuckle and we talked about
Partick Thistle being a top side and the way things are going, they might
have half an eye on catching Hearts? They have a five-game unbeaten run.
I'll must feel reluctant to seem surprised by how well they've done.
Every year they do well and they've been fantastic this season. Full
marks to Alan Archibald. Partick Thistle are going up. There is not
more trajectory. Hearts are going down fast so it's not without the
realms of possibility that they could catch Hearts. We'll leave it
for them time being. Four games to play before the split, the table
looks like this. Let's start with the lower half for a change.
Brendan Rodgers' side might well do that in two weeks' time. That is
when we are back after the international break. Good luck to
Scotland as always. Until next time, goodnight.
Top Gear... Sweet!
Jonathan Sutherland introduces highlights of the weekend's Scottish Premiership action.
Champions Celtic look to take another step towards retaining their title with a win over Dundee at Den's Park. Elsewhere, Aberdeen take on Hearts and Rangers host Hamilton.
In a Highlands derby, Inverness Caledonian Thistle host Ross County, while Kilmarnock are at home to Partick and Motherwell entertain St Johnstone.