26/02/2012 Sportscene


26/02/2012

BBC Scotland's round-up of all the action from the weekend's Clydesdale Bank Premier League games, presented by Rob Maclean.


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For Celtic, the title countdown continues. For Rangers, the painful

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process of job cuts is days away. For some, the European dream

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beckons. For others, survival is at stake. The latest SPL action is

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coming your way. And Motherwell captain Stephen Craigan is here.

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His team were at Celtic Park yesterday after both were Wednesday

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 60 seconds

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Neil Lennon with the luxury of He was brave. It has gone quiet

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around Celtic Park. The home support is waiting patiently for a

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 60 seconds

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the main stand. Motherwell under Randolph. He sensed the danger and

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 60 seconds

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minutes from time to ask any You were on the bench and had a

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good look at the game. Were Motherwell happy because you are

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competitive at Celtic Park or frustrated because can --

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creatively you didn't do enough? There is a fine line. You have to

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find a balance between keeping in the game as long as you can.

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Sometimes it's detrimental with regards to your attacking play. We

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kept the ball, and tapped things over but the last two times we have

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been to Celtic Park we have lost 5- 0 and 4-0. When you miss the

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creative spark, the players scored 19 goals in the last few games,

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Celtic are tough to break down. Gary Hooper was getting stick at

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times from Neil Lennon but then he pops up and does this. The back

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Ford didn't really have a huge impact. They dig through the goal

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but with regard open play and set pieces, the team defended well.

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They are at Celtic Park and when a chance comes along, they are on

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their toes and Hooper is just that. You can't afford to switch off.

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They can't. They have worked hard and are doing well. I think the

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all-round game was excellent and Hutchinson also. You have to ask

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questions and keep possessions and the boy did that. The vital

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statistics are impressive. 20 domestic wins in a row, a massive

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turnaround taking into account the 10 point deduction for being in

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administration. All that time without losing a goal. They have

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even overtaken one of Martin O'Neill's records which is maybe an

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ultimate plaudit. The whole perception of him as a manager has

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changed, hasn't it? Yes. Way he has come from as the manager, taking on

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a big job, it must be the hardest gig ever. As a former player he has

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things to live up to. He has grown into the job, looked more relaxed

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and I think he has a good balance in the squad. They are valuable and

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he could sell them on but they are hungry and want to do well. All is

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looking good for him. Charlie Mulgrew is in the squad. What a

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week he has had. The armband yesterday. He goes from strength to

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strength. When he signed 18 months ago, some people raise their

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eyebrows but he has been given an opportunity to express himself and

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progress his career at Celtic. Not many players get the opportunity to

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come back but he did and he has grasped it, playing left midfield

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and testament to him, he has been called up for Scotland. He can make

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passes and set up attacks. Credit to him. Is he a contender for

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Player of the season? He has to be. There is not a real stand-out this

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year. No one has scored up to 30 or 35 goals. Johnny has built up into

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it. Yesterday was disappointing for Motherwell. Up until then, unbeaten

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in seven. Some good wins and building up a head of steam in

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getting close to Rangers. Yes, vital wins. There was a sticky

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spell at the start of January. Hearts over to focus and St

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Johnstone close the gap. We have played St Johnstone and beat them

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at home and Hearts at home and Hibs in the week. With two games and

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hand in the start if -- at the start to Janet, we won them both.

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There is a spark at the right time. He has lifted the supporters.

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it the day and today cooled the Champions League tat? That was

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everyone else asking questions. They have played themselves into

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the position where people will ask that question. It is right to ask

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us is the Champions League possible. We have had banter about it but our

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first rain -- aim is top six. crisis-hit Rangers kicked off in

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Inverness today 23 points adrift of Celtic and only three ahead of

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Motherwell. Ally McCoist & Co looking to bounce back from their

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first Ibrox defeat of the SPL fans so then -- show their

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solidarity with the club. An early Billy MacKay was included from the

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start as well. Troubled Rangers had so disappointing defeat at home to

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the touch. Just the start Rangers would have wanted. Particularly

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 60 seconds

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Little. The angle was against him. But he beat biggy -- goalkeeper at

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Here is Williams with the header. there. A deep bolt from Sone Aluko.

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Off the line. -- deep ball. Inverness survived for now you. It

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was headed off the line. Good play from Little. He checks that he is

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on side and McCulloch celebrates on side and McCulloch celebrates

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on his face. Just keeping ate end. It is away from Perry. That is a

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good ball. McGregor was offside. -- he was offside, McGregor was not to

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know that. McGregor denied him. Not the best of afternoons for Terry

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Butcher. Not a great corner kick. The ball bounces on the other side

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of the bar. Cleared away. Let's take another look. That looks like

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it was over the line, should have Was the shock factor is still very

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much involved seven days ago? Looking at today's performance and

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result you could probably say yes. It would be interesting to know how

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much they trained before last week's game. There was so much

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going on at Ibrox. I just wonder how much they trained and how much

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focus was on the Kilmarnock game. That is not taking anything away

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from Kilmarnock. I think Rangers will have been glad to get last

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Saturday out of the way. After today's result I think everyone

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feels better. Sami Turk has been around that Rangers for a while and

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he did not do himself any harm. seems to have been a cult hero at

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Ibrox and he has only played here and there. Today he got his first

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start and an opportunity to show what he is all about. Having had a

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hand in a few of the goals he showed he can be a useful player.

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If he can do it in upcoming games there could be an opportunity for

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him to stay. Also an important time for and the little in terms of

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proving his value at this crucial moment. -- Andy Little. Today was

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an opportunity to express themselves. Author of those players

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did a good job today. -- both of those. That man today gave Rangers

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a little bit extra. I suppose Rangers will find out in the middle

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of the week how the administrator plans to make savings. What route

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will be going down, will it be big earners or fringe players who are

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not going to damage the crowd? think they will give Ally McCoist a

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figure he has to work to to get a squad on the pitch and it is then

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up to 10 to decide which players go home. He is the one who has signed

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them and given them contracts and he will have to face them and say

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it is time to go. They have a difficult few days ahead. We have

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the highlights of the match at Perth. St Johnstone verses

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Dunfermline looked good for us and Johnston. -- for St Johnstone.

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Murray Davidson almost got his head to this one. St Johnstone would

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keep knocking at the Dunfermline door. Lee Croft back in the

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starting line-up. His header saw Murray Davidson arrive at just the

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right time. His first SPL goal of the season. Two minutes later at St

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Johnstone were setting about Dunfermline again. This was a touch

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of real skill. A breathtaking pass from the Spaniard and Callum

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Davidson with the goal. This is his second spell at the club. His last

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St Johnstone goal was in January 1998. Into the second half and St

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Johnstone continued to look bright and dangerous. Lee Croft showed

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that the or only way was towards the goal of Dunfermline. Could

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Dunfermline give their fans any sort of hope? They were very much

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second best but in the 73rd minute Paul Burns tried his luck and hit

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the back of the net from the range. But just five minutes later, a fine

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display of pace and power from Lee Croft and a brilliant finish pretty

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much finished this game as a contest. This was his second St

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Johnstone goal. A worrying lack of fight from MacIntyre's side. When

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Kelly in Sheridan rocked Boston can it look like things might finish

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differently. It ended 3-1. Certainly they are in the frame for

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a European place. That is a credit to the job Steve Lomas has done.

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think that is key. When he took over the role as and Johnston were

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on a good run. I think the fact that he has not changed much is

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credit to them. He has worked away and kept the players playing. He

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has picked up some good results and to be sitting in 4th, I think he

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said himself that budget wise they should not be where they are. I

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think it is testament to the manager. The three shots of the

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Post showed, as there as a very vibrant and alive Leighs and

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Johnstone side, that Dunfermline were pretty awful yesterday. Their

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own managers suggested after the match that their effort was not

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there. It is tough. When you are losing games sometimes players look

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around each other for inspiration. The manager will be trying to get

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the message across that someone has got to grab the game by the scruff

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of the neck and lead the team on. It is a tough spell for them. They

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are only three points behind Hibs. I think they stand a great chance.

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And now let's see Hibs chance at getting themselves away from the

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finish! It is his first goal for Hibs. He finishes really well. He

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cracked it past the keeper. Hibs have been struggling in the SPL,

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they are now ahead. It is coupled end and clipped the crossbar. A

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lovely effort. It was bending down but just not enough. Behind here

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Hibs move forward. Griffiths has a chance for a 2-0. He did not get

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enough power on it. Bail was able to recover. -- bell. The ball pools

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back into the box. A simple header away. That is brilliant from

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defects. Bail with the saved again. -- Bell. Great control by the Hibs

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player. It is a good save. breaks down to O'Donovan who finds

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the top corner at the start of the second half. The Hibs fans are

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delighted. It is a first Hibs goal for Roy O'Donovan. He found the top

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for Roy O'Donovan. He found the top corner past the stretching keeper.

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Up off the line. Excellent play from Nelson. The defender was there.

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Griffiths has been at the heart of things for Hibs today. That is

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deflected. Tom Sawyers is there and it is three. The lead by three

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goals to nil. A great finish. Farm were realised the danger but he was

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made to pay. Two very unhappy Irishmen. Shiels loses out. Pushed

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back by Doyle. It is a pretext. Shiels was taken out. -- it is a

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free-kick. Shiels! Great finish! This may only be a consolation but

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that his great skill. He curled it all the way. The keeper had little

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chance. Out wide. Kilmarnock still trying to attack as the ball comes

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across. It is sent behind. Maybe a push in the middle as the header

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was deflected. Kilmarnock saving their best for last. A sliding

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challenge. Once again the ball flicked forward. It came back to

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Wilson. There were a few shouts for a penalty as it was flicked across.

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These two are clearly disagreeing. There might have been a little bump

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in the back but the referee was clearly satisfied. Hibs scored

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three goals at Rugby Park on Wednesday night but they did not

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get anything from that game. Yesterday defensively the look a

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whole lot tighter. -- they looked. Yesterday was a huge game for them.

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To see what kind of character of the team has. Maybe the Hibs fans

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and players will tell you they have been lacking a little bit this

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season. The league table does not lie but sometimes you just need

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something to change your fortunes and maybe that has just done it for

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them. Two players scoring their first Hibs goals. It was

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interesting to look at the line-up yesterday and the number of new

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players. Six of the starting 11 brought in on loan or on new deals.

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If you add Leigh Griffiths whose loan was extended, that is seven

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out of 11. On the evidence of yesterday, it is starting to work?

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It is a tough time to bring two players in never mind seven to your

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first 11. Part of me will be hoping that yesterday is something to

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build on. The manager will be trying to build more. He will be

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hoping things started yesterday with that good result and they can

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push on from here. We did wonder if money might be the difference

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between Hibs and Dunfermline. Hibs ability to pay wages with Sawers

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coming on loan from the Premier League for example. There are

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constraints and now the Scottish Cup has that as well. There was no

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point in bringing someone in if they did not have the money but

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bringing in players to carry a threat and can do something

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different, sometimes in January or in any window when you can bring a

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player in can give you the spark to do something special. People have

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always been saying they are too good and can climb away but up

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until yesterday the results had not been good enough. People thought

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that Hibs were a good club and needed to win games. The first

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match of the SPL weekend wear in Paisley with St Mirren and Aberdeen.

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-- was in Paisley. Had that been on target! Sampson is rooted to the

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spot! Good effort from the Icelander. It is bought through.

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Good play between the two Aberdeen youngsters. This man made a good

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run. They have had four 0-0 goals in their last five games. They earn

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 60 seconds

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and two Jack, the flag is up! That winner in July and Ian Paisley has

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done it again. What a pass from 6th of the season. -- Hasselbaink

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minute Aberdeen are back on level terms. Scott Vernon so deadly from

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either team any good as far as the top six are concerned. A handful of

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Apology for the loss of subtitles for 60 seconds

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were 55 goalless minutes and two came along at once. This shows what

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saying Merryn are good at - passing play and a wonderful thing this by

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Hasselbaink. -- wonderful finish. He is good at body strength and the

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last man using his pace. Aberdeen responded immediately. The way news

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caught it is vital to make sure you have the ball away from your goal.

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Unfortunately, they couldn't get it clear up. Vernon always scores

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goals. At times he plays on his own but here he comes up and get a

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point. Aberdeen had been to without a goal so it would have been

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surprising if it had been goalless. A draw didn't suit any of them.

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With five games left, they probably have to win the three or four to

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get themselves in the top six. Both managers will be disappointed. They

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will have to put a run together. There has probably been quite a lot

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of that, just below the top six and teams cancelling themselves out and

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getting nowhere. That is the SPL. Yesterday, at Aberdeen got back but

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the amount of games where the team's cause first and become hard

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to break down, that is what the League is about. Sometimes it can

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be difficult to pick up points. Scott then and's goal rescued a

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point for Aberdeen. He is well on the way to scoring all sorts of

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gulls and he gets an end product. He does. His movement is good as

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well. Here he is always on the end of things and anticipating things.

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As a striker, you can gamble and try to get yourself in position.

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I'm sure Craig would like a bit more support. They still could be

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the difference between Aberdeen at making the top six. When you score

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goals, you have to put up points but he will be disappointed other

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people haven't chipped in. Dundee Utd were looking to maintain

0:38:290:38:39
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momentum after their midweek the lead. Rankin scores. That is 4-

0:38:480:38:58
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Dundee United but it was Hearts who began brightly at Tynecastle

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Stadium. With just the one point from the last four games, Hearts

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were trying to shrug off the lake is -- lethargy. Steven Elliott had

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a great chance but the shot was straight at the keeper. From a well

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off floodlit corner, Gunning's deflected header produced a fine

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save. What Donald did well. Peter Hughes done's side not quite at

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their best and Hearts were perhaps the better. But then judge -- Jon

0:39:440:39:54
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Daly put a them 1-0 in front. His 70th goal of the season. Losing a

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couple of players to injury didn't there. The boot of Gavin Gunning

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eventually denied Stephen Elliott. Frustrating for heart and it would

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get worse five minutes from time with Gunning with the goal. Jon

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Daly and a real threat from the dead-ball situations. The three

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points were heading north as the Hearts than -- Hearts fans headed

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for the exit. It was very nearly 3- 0. But 2-0 is how it ended end

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United is up to 5th and Hearts slipped to 6th.

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A great month for Dundee United and it was all spiked far -- by the

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Scottish Cup win at Ibrox. Peter would probably tell you that it

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will take his -- has taken his side longer to gel. Rankin got a goal.

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There is no coincidence that teams play well when their top players

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are on form. Foray man whose job was in jeopardy, Houston has really

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rebuild the team well. He lost so many big players over the summer.

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It takes a while to gel for a team and he is trying to get in a few

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players in a few months. Football can be fickle and you have to share

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pace since and loyalty. Hearts were third not so very long ago. They it

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over to cure team. What a slump from their one point of a possible

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15. Now they look like they are struggling. It has been turbulent

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for them. All the talk of players leaving and the financial trouble.

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They didn't have a great run of form. They pushed themselves and

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for some reason they seem to have changed. They didn't lose as many

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players as people thought they would lose and they still have a

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good attacking threat. It is surprising but, from being third

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place -- third place to having to fight it could be a blow for them.

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Dundee United are a factor in that as well. They hit form at the right

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time. They have picked up points and are pushing on. They have to

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play teams above them to gain even more points so it is in a good

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position for them. A this is the Clydesdale Bank Premier League. The

0:43:200:43:25

20 point gap at the top Rhys Celtic having nine games to go. Motherwell

0:43:250:43:35
0:43:350:43:56

bottom. Next weekend looks like Action from five of those games

0:43:560:44:04

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