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. Welcome to Sportscene. We spruced the place up a bit, as
can you see. But some things stay the same, the best professional
football Scotland has to offer and the pundits couldn't be improved
upon, Pat nefb and Michael O'Neill join us -- Nevin. Celtic are
determined to stretch their unbeaten run. Hibs determined to bounce back
after defeat last weekend. Neil Lennon coming face to face with
Terry Butcher. The last time Celtic were at Easter Road, Pat Fernon was
still manager of Hibs. Hibs without injured Ryan McGivern.
Four changes including the return of Alex Harris. A first start for Sam
Stanton. ( Oh, mistake and mix up between
Forster and Nelson. Kris Commons makes them pay.
Eight minutes played, 1-0 Celtic. A 20th goal of the season for Commons.
It's brilliantly finished off. What a mess at the back for Hibs. It's a
gift. He hits the deck. The referee Craig
Thompson was very close and said no. Collins looks aghast here.
There's the contact. No penalty. Good strike. Beaten away by Forster.
It came off Van Dijk. It was heading goalwards. It was cleared in the end
by Izaguirre. Izaguirre didn't like that challenge
from Collins. Disappointed there not to be working
goalkeeper Forster. A lovely bit of skill which worked the opening. He's
caught the eye for Terry Butcher's team.
Zoubir flicked it in. It's claw add way by Forster. It looked as if he
was -- clawed away by Forster. That's another wonderful effort.
This time on the left foot. This is a good save. It bounced just in
front of the Celtic keeper. Good turn. Good hit! Wonder save
Fraser Forster. This looked to be heading in from
Stanton. What a strike, matched by the save.
Handball given. I think Hibs reckoned Samaras was offside. The
free kick and the booking for that handball.
Van Dijk, oh, something special! No goalkeeper was keeping this out. A
cracker from Van Dijk. 2-0. Now Celtic a lot more comfortable
have been with stood the Hibs pressure and then scored.
Teemu Pukki lines one up and it's gone in, straight through the gloves
of Ben Williams. Any doubt about the outcome here has
been removed. It's a fourth goal for Celtic from
Finnish striker Pukki. Penalty. What was he thinking? Well,
he should know better. It's Kris Commons to round things
off for Celtic. 21 goals for the season now. This is 4-0.
We had to rely on phraser to make a couple of exceptional saves. We're
going to get tested along the way. We weren't at our best for 15, 20
minutes of the game. We stood up to it, saw through. Our quality came
through at the end. It's another clean sheet, a fantastic win on a
difficult pitch today. The handball against Michael Nelson is bizarre.
The referee said it's hit his hand, it wasn't deliberate, about you it
stopped it going through to an opponent, who might have been in an
offside position and he was booked for. It the same referee and the
same player had the same incident at Aberdeen and it wasn't given. Yet it
was going through to an Aberdeen player in the box. He hasn't given
it. We had an incident against St Mirren where the St Mirren player
handled the ball twice in the box, might not have been deliberate, but
preventing the ball going through to one of our players and that wasn't
given. Butcher flummoxed by handball decisions, does he have a case? I
think he has. The important thing he said there, deliberate. The referee
suggested it wasn't deliberate, but he was still booking him. Look, have
a look at the laws. The referees tell me, look at the laws. Do you
what it is, it has to be deliberate. You don't think it's deliberate?
Have a look at the other ones, this is not being biassed. I don't think
that's deliberate either. Last weekend that was Adam Campbell. A
lot of people thought it should have been a penalty. I think that's a
penalty. As a manager I would be disappointed not to get a penalty. I
think that's a penalty as well. This is the confusing thing, I would give
them the penalties. But by the law, they're not penalties. That's the
odd thing. That's why Terry is coon fused. You don't know when they're
-- confused. You don't know when they're going to be given. Some
referees go for the deliberate, some ignore it. The managers don't know
where they are. The problem with interpretation we are all with
different views. Let's talk about Kris Commons, 21 goals for the
season. He's having a fantastic season. Had ewas helped to begin
with with hapless defending. Look at this, he goes back five yards there,
if he does, no problem, don't do this. Attack heap other. It's a
shame, but it was a pivotal moment. Celtic played really well. They
controlled. It it was good to see that Hibs didn't bottle it. They
came back into the game. James Collins had a shout for a penalty.
What was your view about Van Dijk involved? When you see the
interdent, it's a good ball here by Liam Craig down the side of Van
Dijk. Collins is in acres of space. Van Dijk has left his leg out. There
there is contact and a slight hesitation from Collins before he
goes down. For me, it's a penalty. If he goes down earlier, there is
contact there. There's no contact with the ball. That's a penalty,
Pat. Yes, there's contact and he's thrown himself to the ground. The
referee is in a great position there, fantastic referee. He just
got it wrong. Name Stanton resonates around Easter Road. He made his
first start for Hibs. How impressed were you? Hugely. He's been really
good. Their confidence and belief in the second half, even when they were
down, him and Zoubir and Harris, great to see Harris back as well. I
think Terry come onto this season by fluke as much as anything else. But
those three look great together. The most important point being it's the
man that's stopping them. Forster was great. Brilliant. We talk about
Celtic not losing games, no wonder with that. That's a fantastic save.
A few question marks about some of Lennon's signings this season, but
Virgil Van Dijk he's struck gold. What a goal today. He's been from
day one, even when he came in, a difficult time in the Champions
League qualifiers, we see the goal here, it's a phenomenal free kick
with pace on the ball. The goalkeeper has no chance. The
technique is superb. Just his all-round game, his ability, we've
seen n him at St Johnstone with a goal. His ability to come out with
the ball and strength defensively, he's an excellent piece of business.
Real find by Lennon. It's the argument for who is going to be the
Player of the Year. Everyone's talking about Kris Commons just now.
In fact, I'd look at Van Dijk. The icing on the cake is usually what is
the Premier League going to look at, Van Dijk, Commons? You know, it's
probably going to be Van Dijk. Heavy dollop of rain had threatened the
top of the table clash between Motherwell and Aberdeen yesterday.
It did get played, but there will be controversy come the final whistle.
Aberdeen on the road to revenge after giving Motherwell the gift of
three points on Boxing Day. And high spirited dons fans happy with life
under Derek. Really delighted with the way it's went this season. I did
get excited when they said Aberdeen signed Rooney. Adam Rooney is
exactly what we need. The best season we've had for a long, long
time. I'll take second and The Cup Final. Come on!
Caught there by Shaun Hutchinson. Some distress.
The referee deems this one to be a free kick. Looks like Hutchinson got
something of the ball but plenty of the man too. A yellow card shown by
the referee. Ryan Jack certainly felt the full force of that. His
game is over. Peter Pawlett comes on to replace him.
He almost made the most of that free kick. Inches too high.
Jaymy Langfield had to react -- Jamie Langfield had to react
swiftly. Robson is not far from finding the
goal. A good save from Gunnar Nielson.
This was swerving and it had a lot of power behind it from Jonny Hayes.
Parried by the keeper though. McManus! Straight after the
interval, a powerful Steve McManus header gives Motherwell the
breakthrough. This came off the head of McManus
then off the face of Sutton, who didn't know anything about it.
Luckily for them Lasley was on hand. Shaughnessy knock today back to him
again. -- knocked it back to him again. Motherwell had bodies on the
line. McManus was there.
Again, the fullback denied the equaliser.
He didn't catch that right at all. Aberdeen pressing and pressing for
the equaliser. There's Adam Rooney! The debutante
draws Aberdeen level. Paul Lawson robbed of possession by McGinn.
Rooney is onside as McGinn hits it. Too hot for Nielson to handle.
Aberdeen right back in this match. A good ball across goal. And John
Sutton and France Frantz combine -- Zaine Francis-Angol, difficult to
see who got the touch there. They're back in front.
Aberdeen must have thought they'd done the hard work getting back
level. They find themselves behind again, perhaps not for long. Rooney
should have scored. Anxious times for Aberdeen, into
injury time. It's bundled over the line and
Aberdeen do have a second equaliser. Surely now the points - oh, a hand
used there by Anderson. That's what the claims are for. But the referee
hasn't seen it. It's surely a point for Aberdeen. I
thought Aberdeen, at times, second half were terrific. They deserved
the point. It's sore to lose it so late and sore that it's a handball
by Anderson. Unfortunately, the referee's not been in a good enough
position to see it. Really disappointed with the challenge. It
was an awful challenge. There has been a touch on the ball by the
defender, but it's only a challenge that's going to hurt somebody. It
was a terrible decision to not give him a red card. I'm disappointed
with it. Let's start with that, Shaun Hutchinson with a tackle on
Ryan Jack. He thought it was a red card. Was it that bad? I didn't
think it was. I think he's at the edge of the box. You would expect a
tackle. He's come a long way. He has thrown himself, but he's not
particularly high. He catches Ryan Jack. The injury is maybe more down
to the fall than anything else. If you see here, he gets a tiny bit of
the ball, but I think that will be very hard to give a red card for
that. He's not going with two feet. I don't think he's particularly out
of control. He has a focus on winning the ball. Hip injury, going
for a scan tomorrow. Pat, where do we start with the Anderson hand of
God or whatever it was? Yeah, I don't think there's any great
argument. It has his hand that put it in. We can kind of show that
here. This was flagged up to me, Cowell it attack by Anderson here.
Watch this tackle here, see if you tackle like that with a punch and a
kick anywhere else in the field, you're getting a yellow card. Now to
be fair, the referee's not seen it. I applaud Anderson to some degree to
do everything to get in. There it's the last minute. But it was a
handball. It was a foul. Surprised there was no whistle from
the re? I think it -- ref? I think Russell has done everything, put
everything in the net which he essentially did. Again, I'm not sure
what view the referee had, but it happened so quickly. I can
understand Stuart's frustration. A lot of excitement amongst Aberdeen
fans. But Rooney, penalty-box predator. We see that here. Every
time he goes, he gets between the two defenders all the time. We were
chatting about this before. But he heads for the goals between the
post. He's not going to get there, he gets out and gets half a chance.
Every time the ball is into the box, look where he is. He's right on the
penalty spot. If I ball drops to him, he'll either score or he will
have a great chance of scoring. You know what, that's brilliant
striking. It's the simplest thing in the world. He's always between
defenders. He's not trying to get across the front of the defender. He
will be disappointed he doesn't score there. He seems to find the
wee pockets of space. It's one thing having seen Aberdeen this season,
they've lacked that. They have great wide players and create chances. He
will turn out to be an excellent signing. Was a real jewel yesterday
between the two best sides in Scotland, apart from Celtic, of
course. And between the two managers as well, McCall and McInnes, doing
great things at their clubs. Who is going to win out of that? I would be
surprise today Aberdeen tonight -- surprised if Aberdeen don't finish
second. I think their midfield is very strong with Robson and Flood.
With Hayes again, they have options across the midfield four/five, the
way he plays. I think that they'll have that a wee bit too much in the
second half of the season. Thanks very much. Next to the form team of
2014, Ross County, three wins and a draw so far this year, plus half a
team of enough players. As for Hearts, same old youngsters week in,
week out, being sucked inevitably into the championship, it would
seem. The same 11 are named from last
week. Songo'o in trouble in the opening
few seconds of the match. Shaky sfrart Ross County.
-- start from Ross County. He didn't have the Midas Touch that
he needed there. Good start from Hearts.
A good ball in! Just too much on it from Richie Brittain.
He was stealing in at the back post looking for a touch.
Play on says the referee. The post rescues County.
It came bouncing off the wood work from Smith.
Side net. This has come off Michael Fraser. The keeper came out, block
today from Carrick. -- blocked it from Carrick.
The big striker has made an impact for Adams since arriving at the
club. Gary Locke must be happy with what
he's seen so far, generally, in the game.
That got a flick through to Paterson. Hearts have the lead! As
the corner was swept in, McKay got a touch on. Paterson had the easiest
task of knocking it into what was an empty net. Where was the defence?
The referee wasn't happy with the challenge here by McGowan. He was on
the stretch. It is a free kick. It's headed into the net by Songo'o!
It's 1-16789 -- 1-1. It's the man on loan from Blackburn Rovers, who
drags County right back into this one.
Songo'o again! He levelled things in the first half and he has stung the
palms of McDonald in the second. Paterson battling for it in the
midfield area. It's the Hearts man who emerged with it. They have an
opportunity here, headed over, though.
Another opportunity for Hearts. There's been a vibrancy about the
visitors this afternoon. Robinson lashes in! The Hearts elead
is restored and -- hearts' lead is restored. 2-1 to the visitors.
If Hearts win this game, he will go into positive points for the season.
It's a big if at the moment. Ross County unbeaten since the turn
of the year, four matches they've played, looking at defeat here,
though. Hearts would go up to two points at
the bottom of the Premiership table. Fraser comes to meet him and does
enough. He waited too long, the Hearts left back.
Good run from him, though. Today's a game we should be winning
with the calibre of player we have in the side. We haven't done that
today. Too many of us had an off game. I can't be too critical on
them because they've been on a fabulous run since the new year. All
season you look at the league table and you're minus, the fact that
we're on two points is great. We'll not get carried away, it's only one
win. But I thought it was a great performance and a great result for
us. I think every game is very important that we show an
appreciation to the fans. If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't be
standing here right now. Undoubtedly the shock result of the
day, huge psychological boost for Hearts, in positive points finally.
Will they stay up? No. It's harsh, that's nothing against the Hearts
players or fans. I think the spirit has been unbelievable. It's shown
there. It's great to see the coming together between the players and
their fans there. Just even the fans when they were at the derby game
Gwens Hibs, the noise was incredible. They've stuck by the
team. Even that far behind. If there was anything given out for attitude,
they would be right up there. I think they've been fantastic for the
vast majority, even when they've not been winning, they've actually been
putting everything in. You can see how much it meant to them when that
shot hit the back of the net. It's a good finish. He gets it down early
and hits quickly. You see the reaction of all the players, the
young players that are losing a lot of games. It's difficult for them.
Hopefully it will give them an impetus. Strange sin cross Iity --
syncrhronicity about that game. Hearts were on a downer before, but
yesterday's win is even more meaningful. Yes, I think so. Maybe
they've had a few, felt hard done by in recent weeks. I know some
decisions they have felt have gone against them. That gives them
something, the three points, those players will be delighted with going
into training tomorrow looking forward to the League Cup sellily
final -- semifinal. That neatly leads us on to an interesting week
for Hearts. They have a mid-week game against St Mirren. Then next
weekend, the League Cup semifinals against Inverness Cally Thistle,
they have a chance. They're at Easter Road again. Earlier this
season, they will have Ryan Stephenson back for the semifinal.
He can be a big player, as we can see. Yeah, he gets these lucky goals
now and again! Fantastic goal. Stranger things have happened.
They've got a chance of winning the cup. Wigan last year, actually
winning the cup but going down. These things can happen. And the
fact that Celtic are no longer in the cup. What an incredible season
for them, they could go down and win a trophy, which would be
extraordinary. The fact is they beat Inverness Cally Thistle before at
Easter Road, League Cup semifinals as well, there is that chance of a
good omen at least. Yeah, there's a few omens there. They go into the
game, Inverness not maybe in the best of form either. I think that it
will be a game that Hearts will look forward to and are well capable of
causing the upset. That leads us into promoting the plethora of great
football coverage coming your way on the BBC very soon. On Sunday next
weekend: Just the one win in the last six
games for Inverness Cally Thistle manager John Hughes. He took a
Kilmarnock team desperate to climb away from the play-off place.
Kilmarnock looking for a quicker start than last week at Partick
Thistle. Murihead, great effort. Crashing
back off the post. It took a deflection en route.
A save by Brill. Good build-up play from them.
There's Ashcroft! Kilmarnock find a breakthrough, 16 minutes in. Fine
header by the young defender. He adjusted well to get on the end of
that free kick from Clingan. His first goal of the season.
An interested spectator there. Alexei Eremenko in the directors
box. Oh, Billy McKay, you'd expect him to
finish that effort. He's had 18 goals so far this campaign. That
surely should have been 19. Alan Johnston encouraged by his
side's start to this game. Back off the other post this time!
Again, it was a deflection that took it onto it.
Fine effort. Terrific save by Samson. He's been
in outstanding form this season. That's another great stop.
Kris Boyd! Kilmarnock 2-0 in front. Another excellent finish there by
the Scottish striker. It's his 13th goal of the season. It's his 180th
league goal in Scottish football. Terrific link-up play from Murihead
to find Boyd. It just dips over the bar. Cally
Thistle getting closer. You were waiting for the net to
bulge there from Kris Boyd. That should have been his second of the
afternoon. He skied it. It's Ashcroft to the rescue for
Kilmarnock. Billy McKay couldn't get newspaper purchase on -- enough
purchase on that effort. really well.
13th goal of the season for Kris Boyd, what more can we say about
him. I get the impression that the more you see of Boyd, the older he
gets, the more impressed you get by him. I thought you were going to
say, the older he gets the younger he looks. Or the younger he plays!
Look at this. First of all very good tackle by Murihead. But this is a
normal move, go behind. Don't run between them. Because you don't
think of that. He does, and he takes his time when he gets there, he
doesn't panic. Have a look at this. This is the pace of Boyd here. There
he is zooming across there. He's completely reborn. Kilmarnock are
five wins in nine games. Each of those games, Boyd has scored. That
hammers home how important he is. He's vital. I think his link-up play
has been very good as well. It's the variety of goals. The chip there
that we saw. That's a nice little effort where he just diverts it on
tarring E the header -- target. A great header against Hearts.
Speculation linking him with a move to Blackpool, possibly, it's going
to be a sweaty last week of the transfer window? It's got to be.
Because if you're goal scoring, teams in desperation, they will do
anything to get a goal scorer, because they think it will get them
out. A lot of tomorrow are looking at him now -- a lot of them are
looking at him now. Somebody's switched a light in his head. His
physique is better and his attitude is spot on. It would be no surprise
if someone tries to get him. Another interesting character turned up at
Rugby Park for halftime. Under that cap, Alexei Eremenko, you might
remember from a couple of seasons back. Talented Finnish international
and all the talk is he might sign again. What a difference would he
make to the side? Well, we see his goals here. But in fact it's his
creativity. If he has Boydy beside him that could be fantastic. That
would be good enough to get them staying in the SPFL. That's why
they're trying to get him. Not only a goal scorer, creator, he's that
wee bit of flair that anyone would like to have. Let's talk about John
Hughes. Just the one win in seven games now for him. Is he struggling
adapt his style to what was already different style that Inverness play,
but a successful style. Possibly. There was such a familiarity there
between Terry and Morris and the players. John has to go in now and
adapt his personality and how he wants to play on that squad. If you
look at the chances yesterday rkts I saw them -- yesterday, I saw them
against Aberdeen and they played very well. They played great
football on the counterattack. Yesterday, Billy McKay on another
day would have scored a hat-trick. It could have been a different
result. I don't think alarm bells are ringing. But there's a bit of
time for the players to get to know John. There have been positives in
their performances. . It might be late on a Sunday evening, but the
Premiership weekend is still not over. Tomorrow night, Dundee United
host St Johnstone. COMMENTATOR: Brilliant play from
Dundee United. Live commentary tonight as St Johnstone and Dundee
United go head to head. It's a key match for both these teams.
St Johnstone can leapfrog United with a win. United can leapfrog
Inverness if they win. Full highlights on the BBC Sport website
from midnight on Monday. We're standing up again tonight, it really
is all change. Let's talk St Mirren versus Partick Thistle, a tuftle
this in the scramble -- tussle this in the scramble to avoid a play-off
place. A familiar-looking line up on the whole, top goal scorer Stephen
Thompson leading the line. As for Partick Thistle, they won here in
August. The scorers that day were Higgins and Forbes.
SMIT After 26 minutes his game was over, after this challenge by
Naismith. Higginbotham requiring six stitches in a leg wound. The yellow
card shown to the defenderment -- defender.
Former Scotland international again on duty, saving from McGowan.
He came close early on in the second half.
Beating the keeper but rebounding off the post.
The rebound also cleared by the Thistle defence.
Taylor-Sinclair came close to become the hero.
His long-range effort hit the top of the cross-bar.
Neither side able to make the breakthrough. Today was pleasing.
It's been a wee while since we've kept a clean sheet. I'm delighted
for the back four and the whole group. I thought when we were asked
to defend today, we did it very well. I thought it went either way.
The second half was a lottery. It was end to end. We hit the wood
work, they hit the wood work. I thought we were better in the first
half. 0-0, not a game to live long in the memory. Let's talk about the
bottom of the Premiership table. The scramble for the play-off place.
Seventh to 11th place, just seven points separates those sides. Do you
think Hibs can be sucked into that scramble for that play-off place?
I'd be surprise today they are. I think Terry's made a difference
there. The Hibs' performance, work read, I can't see them being dragged
in there. The other four teams, it will be interesting, particularly
when they play each other. When they play each other, it will be huge.
For me, if I look at it now, I'm beginning to think, this next few
days will be so important. Who's bought by whom. Does Michael come
in? Does Boyd go. If they keep them, can they stay up? We didn't think
anyone would come in in this window. Partick Thistle in the second bottom
spot at the moment. Are they favourites to stay there? Oddly
enough, I do at the moment. These guys have been brought in or on loan
or whatever, I think that's the big difference there. I will be brutally
honest, if I'd have -- you'd have asked me a few months ago, I would
have said St St Mirren. Very much. Let's look at the Scottish
Premiership table: That's all we have time for tonight.
Hope you like the home improvements here. It's going to be a busy studio
over the next few weeks. Lots of football coming your way on the BBC.
From now, from all of us here at Sportscene, good night.