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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Hello. It has been a weekend of staggering financial figures. The
death of a genuine Scottish football legend. Plus, the small matter of
six matches in the Scottish Premiership, each of them with a
real edge. It is turning into a hugely exciting and dramatic end to
the season. With us to review the latest
instalment, Pat Nevin and the former Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
And it is the Edinburgh derby we start with. A huge match, this.
Hearts already relegated, but arguably the form team of the bottom
six, and desperate to drag Hibs closer to the play-off spot. Not
outwith the realms of possibility that the next Edinburgh derby could
take place in the Championship, particularly given the contrasting
fortunes since the last meeting four weeks ago.
A derby win for Hearts. 30 years in the top flight is officially over
for Hearts. The future of Hearts appears more
secure at a major step The future of Hearts appears more
entering into Administration. We are 90% of the way. Somebody has
lifted a huge weight off my shoulders.
Hibs or moving on to nine games without a win.
We will fight. We have a big derby. Terry Butcher rings in the changes
as Hearts look to bounce back from several defeats in a row.
Brad Mackay is on the key to drop out of Hearts, Wilson back from
suspension. -- is unlucky. The much preceded by a minute's
Applause for Margo MacDonald, MSP, and for Hearts legend Sandy
Jardine. A terrible run of results for
Hearts, it is not happening for them -- for Hibs. Cummins has yet to
score for the club, the 18-year-old. Hearts or in great form, they could
score for the club, the 18-year-old. be the spoilers of the bottom six. A
header for Callum Paterson, a stunning moment towards half-time as
Hearts go in front and Callum Paterson sends Hibs into even more
bother. A 500th goal in an Edinburgh derby for Hibs. Hibs have had the
better chances but they find themselves behind yet again and that
is a free kick. That was harsh. Nicholson was all over his back. And
in again by Callum Paterson! It is scarcely believable! Hibs have had
the better opportunities and Callum Paterson has scored two in
the better opportunities and Callum minutes before half-time and the
Hibs funds are heading for the exit. Surely not a third before the break?
-- fans. That is a free kick to Hibs. Hearts shouting for handball
against Craig. Good play by Thomson. That has gone
for a corner. He does not score many, Kevin Thomson. A drop of the
shoulder. Still a lead for Hearts. Quickly done. This is the
substitute. Jordon Forster, it is game on!
Jordon Forster gives a lifeline to Hibs. In the Edinburgh derby. That
is a fantastic header, it shot past MacDonald. Hopes have been raised
for Hibs. Stanton. Danny Rose and did enough. Hearts
are in trouble. Collins! That should be 2-2. It has come to him very
quickly, James Collins, he is not expecting it. But he has to do
better than that! Just a couple of points separating
them, seventh and 11th, it is so tight. Ryan Stevenson, this would
kill it. No! And still Hibs art alive. They thought Stevenson was
offside! -- are alive. He played on, but it stays at two. Stoppage time.
Collins! What a save from Donald! There was a flag. This will not
register as a save but tremendous goalkeeping.
We had to dig in because Hibs put us under pressure, they got up on
second balls and made it hard. But you saw the team spirit, everybody
was fighting and putting their heads in and that is why we got three
points. A good effort from the players, hard work this week and in
the game today, the players were committed. We had two slack pieces
of marking that cost us dearly in a game we should have got something
from. Craig, you and every other Hearts
fan must have loved that. It was good, they are fighting to the end.
There is still plenty to fight for and they are trying to finish less
than 15 points behind Hibs, a good motivational factor until the end of
the season, so another good day. Callum Paterson. You used to be a
the season, so another good day. striker for Hearts, he is back
the season, so another good day. the goals against Ashley used to. He
looks natural in the air, and there was a comfort at the start. -- used
to be. At the start, Hibs were the better
side but you need to want to defend. It is a great ball and header, but
he wants it more than the defenders and on both occasions, it comes into
an area where if you do not win the ball, you have to take something.
They were clean headers. Hibs do not score many but Jordon Forster took
it well. Yes, Hearts is all over the place and he has two stop the
it well. Yes, Hearts is all over the and that leaves a hole in the
middle. De she has to stop. and that leaves a hole in the
attacks it so well. one winner.
Hibs cannot score one winner.
that. This is Collins. He can take this round the keeper.
that. This is Collins. He can take confident, he does not do that and
he is losing confidence like a confident, he does not do that and
of the players. If you have players like Anthony Stokes, he scored the
goal. That is the difference, it is two goals in 10.5 hours for Hibs and
both of those have come from losses so it is scary times. There was a
minute's Applause for Margo MacDonald and Sandy Jardine.
How well did you know him? You would meet him at Ibrox but remembered my
first meeting for Sandy Jardine, I played for Clyde and he was a great
player. City football and he put his arm round my shoulder and gave me
technical advice about why I should get closer to to him because if I
turned him, he would not get back. Why was he telling me that? Because
he was a classy guy, a classy player. He said, you have to be
going down South quite soon anyway, he wanted the best full Scottish
football. It did not matter if you were Hearts, a gentleman of the game
who cared about everybody else. A class act. Ross County began the
weekend second bottom in the play-off place. Anything other than
victory over Kilmarnock would see them stay there. And probably fair
to say most neutrals hoping for a County win, to further Stoke the
excitement at the bottom end of the table. There for us was Rob Maclean.
Ross County without the injured (. And a return after suspension. The
same Kilmarnock team that lost last weekend at home to Partick Thistle.
This buoyed looking to add to the goals he has called already this
season. -- Kris Boyd. A powerful run from Jordan Slew, still going and
season. -- Kris Boyd. A powerful run held back by Jeroen Tesselaar.
season. -- Kris Boyd. A powerful run He clearly polled at his shirt which
the thistles -- the officials He clearly polled at his shirt which
missed. -- pulled. The offence is clearly outside the box. Chasing the
goal, such an important day for both teams. That is Jordan Slew. And
Filip Kiss! He opens the scoring. For Ross County. His sixth goal for
the team. This could be very significant. The game needed a touch
of class and this was it. Guided in significant. The game needed a touch
by Filip Kiss. 1-0. A lovely pass from Graham Carey.
Ben Gordon. Richard Brittain. And the referee is pointing to the
penalty spot. Got this wrong, the referee is pointing to the
young centre back. A knee the referee is pointing to the
moment in Ross County's season. And Richard Brittain gets the job done.
2-0, Ross County. The substitute. Headed away. In four
are McKenzie, missed by Scott Boyd. -- in from. Not missed by Kris Boyd
who has scored again against Ross County and it brings the game back
to life for County and it brings the game back
from time. McKenzie's cross was misjudged. Kris Boyd in for 2-1. Can
Allan Johnston's team strike again? A corner. A free header. It is
turned around the post by the keeper, Mark Brown. The up and under
from Richard Brittain. Turns away from Ashcroft. The shot is
deflected! A great save, Ross County would love a third goal. It looks as
if 2-1 will be enough. That final pass was missing today.
Polity crosses in the box -- quality crosses. Lacking that. We have shown
we can play big games and give big performances and today was a big
game and a big performance. A great win for Ross County. Jordan
Slew is interesting, he has got no goals, 17 appearances, but he does
make things happen. Yes, he seems quite unpredictable and quite
ungainly at times. He is a big presence and awkward to play
against. He has travelled a long way and he gets a couple of shots and
should have got a foul, just outside the box. He plays a nice pass here
so he is contributing to the team. He is setting up goals, that is a
good strike, so definitely contributing in other areas.
A much-needed result for Ross County, how worried should
Kilmarnock fans be? In the end it is Kris Boyd, if he scores and keeps on
scoring goals they have a good chance to get out of it. Fortunately
they have got Kris Boyd because they are other teams who do not have
goal-scorers. He is capable of dragging them to where they need to
be, but only just. I'd macro a very tense and wet evening at Firhill in
Glasgow. Both sides with a spring in their steps.
The Lisney Smith. Back with Higginbotham. -- there is me Smith.
Kris Doolan. He heads Thistle in front with his 10th goal of the
season. He will be first to acknowledge what Higginbotham did.
He was audacious and managed to get himself away from his marker to head
the ball in. It is 1-0. Kelly's cross helped on by Thomson. Indigo
's Naismith, down goes me Smith, penalty given. This will not happy
with Calum Murray but he reckoned there was enough of a push from
Higginbotham on me Smith to award the spot kick right on half-time. It
is Kenny McLean and he stayed high school to side foot in his seventh
goal of the season. It school to side foot in his seventh
important for St Mirren who have school to side foot in his seventh
that they will go in in the interval all is we are. Josh Magennis
powering his way forward. It is McQueen and it is off the post.
powering his way forward. It is Kenny McLean could have turned this
game completely on its head. Kenny McLean could have turned this
Wonderful technique, just off target. Kelly, Higginbotham, cleared
by McCausland. Straight back for Gary Fraser. In four peeler. On side
and that is back off of the bar. The looping header almost catching out
the goalkeeper. It was a very soft penalty. He had maybe nudged him. I
have got penalty. He had maybe nudged him. I
praise to my players in terms of going one goal down away from home
and in terms of the character to get back in the game speaks volumes of
the team spirit there is at the moment.
Just two points separate the teams fighting the play off spots. Let's
look at the last six results in terms of those sides. Hearts are
very much the boring team in care of those results and Hibernian are at
the very bottom. Can you see Hibernian finishing second bottom?
Yes. They are not scoring goals, they are -11 for the last seven
games. It does not look very good for them at all. They can only hope
that somewhere along the line they can pick up a point to pool
something out of the bag. Let's look at those last remaining games. It
does make for interesting reading. Will it go all be read to the wire?
I will be surprised. If you had asked me a couple of weeks ago I
would have said look at the 10th of May, Partick Thistle and Ross
County. I am now looking at Hibernian and Kilmarnock. Hibernian
do not have any momentum just now. The two teams with the coolest form
in the last couple of games, I am almost certain it will be down to
the last week. It is not happening for Hibernian at the moment, I will
be get out of it? The manager says he is confirmed -- convinced they
will stay up but are you? I am not. The negative is that there is no
great creativity in the team and no obvious goal-scorer, those are two
things you need at this stage of the season. They are the team who do not
seem to have one player to get them out. Let's get away from all this
doom and gloom and talk awards. They were held this evening in Glasgow,
the ones voted for by the players and managers in the Scottish senior
game. The player of the year is Kris Commons. 26 goals this season. The
young player of the year was Andrew Robertson. Playing at amateur level
with Queens Park and then the United, making his Scotland debut.
And this is the manager, his team may well finish second in the
Premiership this season. There was a merit award for Frank McEwan, he is
the firefighter. The race for Europe remains very much alive. Aberdeen
still with plenty to do to seal their place as runners up in the
Premiership. They have just one win in their last six games but St
Johnstone have a sturdiness around them just now.
They have won five out of their last six matches. Robertson has given it
straight to Stevie May, a chance force and Johnston and Stevie May
does not miss that. Eight minutes played, St Johnstone in front and
Stevie May punishes Clark Robertson with his 27th goal of the season.
The corner breaks away. A solid chance from Adam Rooney. The date
for Ryan Jack. Back to Anderson. Willo Flood. Chris Millar. He has
given Willo Flood. Chris Millar. He has
the chance for an equaliser. Another defensive mistake proves costly,
this time for the visitors. Bruni accepts the opportunity. -- Bruni.
-- Rooney. The Gtech and there is McManus. He had to deal with that
one. He's again with the corner. Clark Robertson up for the set piece
trying to make amends for his earlier error. Logan. Reynolds
decides to go back the way. Jamie Langfield! Dear oh dear, what the
howling mistake by Langfield, almost allowing it to run into his own net.
Croft with the corner and Steven Anderson this time up there going
Croft with the corner and Steven close. Robson. No Logan. Is this the
chance for a winner? It is he is. Nick Manas again there to keep out
the home side. Acrobatics there from Jonny Hayes. The ball nearly went in
and there was a great header almost hitting the back of the net but
overall a draw was a fair result. It was not our best performance but it
is important to pick up points. That might well prove to be a big point
for us going forward. I am not sure we can blame the North Sea are for
those terrible back passes in the game. What goes through your mind
when you see passes like that? When Jonny Hayes gets into that position
you are expecting him to hit the back of the net. I am not sure if
Adam Rooney had looked around him but you do not see many finishes
like that. The good things here is he got wide of his post. That was
one hell of a bobble. I think goalkeepers are getting nervous.
They are under pressure. To be honest, there were two great through
balls during that game. Who would you have gone for in the manager of
the year? I think Neil Lennon is doing fantastic for Celtic. I think
he will be disappointed. At the same time, Derek has got the best out of
Aberdeen and got the cup they have waited so long for. I think it would
have been close between those two. The Young player of the year has
been fantastic, playing for Queens Park and Scotland. Surprise that
Stevie May did not win it? I am. Certainty that Stevie May had to be
in the running. I think when the votes came he was having a dip. He
can count himself unlucky and Kris Commons, no surprise there. For
Motherwell to improve their chances yesterday they had to do something
they had not managed all week and beat in the United. -- then the
United. There is applause for a member of
the Dundee United Hall of Fame who has passed away. Hamill has given
the ball away. Check G, Armstrong, away from McManus. He opens up to
Cifci. Nadir Ciftci. Armstrong set it up,
Nadir Ciftci finished. United are flowing at the moment.
Nadir Ciftci. Outrageous, a chance. The goalkeeper is out muscled. Nadir
Ciftci rightly gets a lot of press and coverage for his goals but his
passing is wonderful. Motherwell cannot link up, Stuart
Armstrong. Nadir Ciftci to the side. A chance for Nadir Ciftci. Nielsen
with a save. Armstrong and Nadir Ciftci working their magic again
almost. A chance for Motherwell. That has rolled out onto Keith
Watson to start the attack. A little short. Watson might get it back. Out
wide, chasing it is Armstrong, into the middle. Nadir Ciftci! 2-1.
Brilliant again from Dundee United. They moved the ball
Brilliant again from Dundee United. sweetly. Armstrong opened up the
foot and trickled it into the corner and it is a double for Nadir Ciftci.
A long throw. It will fall for Keith Lasley. It should have been 2-1.
What a chance for Keith Lasley! To bring Motherwell back into the game.
It is long, McManus has to be careful, that will not go back to
his goalkeeper. He is under pressure. There was a hold on the
jersey. The referee says, no penalty. There certainly was
Nadir Ciftci again. A chance for something.
Nadir Ciftci again. A chance for Armstrong! And he scores! He set up
the first two goals and he helps himself to one here, he outpaced
Shaun Hutchinson who has got good speed. Armstrong did the rest.
Brilliant from Ryan Dow. United three ahead.
When they are on form, Dundee United are simply irresistible and here
they go again. A chance for Ryan Dow. Nadir Ciftci goes in. Nielsen
got a touch. No penalty is given, Nadir Ciftci cracked it in, he is
looking for a hat. -- a hat-trick. Armstrong again. No answer to United
this afternoon from Motherwell. A chance for four, it is four! They
are slicing through Motherwell and with 18 minutes, a fourth goal of
the season for this player. Great all to stop the pass. The
goalkeeper, no chance. -- great ball. That came off Armstrong.
Ainsworth, he ball. That came off Armstrong.
Robertson. A chance here for Graham! It is five! Dundee United have five
goals for the third time this season and the ball into -- the ball in
behind the defence and the strikers have done the rest, straight down
behind the defence and the strikers the middle. Brian Graham gets on the
scoresheet. Lionel Ainsworth, away from his man,
it has taken a deflection. Lionel Ainsworth, away from his man,
solitary spot Lionel Ainsworth, away from his man,
A very impressive Dundee United A very impressive Dundee United
four games, so a great A very impressive Dundee United
the back of a disappointing A very impressive Dundee United
performance last week. The boys responded well in training this
week. It is frustrating because we put in
such a strong performance last week and the majority of the season. We
were not good enough today. Every aspect of the game, they were far
better. I get accused of gushing about
Dundee United but they were superb yesterday and Motherwell cannot
handle them. There are lots of reasons. Look at
this, the ball comes up, Armstrong knows Nadir Ciftci is a good player
and he keeps running. You know if there good players around you, you
can take a chance they will do something special, and that was a
special finish. Armstrong thinks, he is going to backheel that, I will
get in there. Other teams, you are waiting to see what will happen.
They trust their team-mates to have quality. When they played their
best, they are unstoppable, it could have been six, seven.
You feel Jackie McNamara is them freedom to play. Players like Nadir
Ciftci, clearly enjoying themselves. He is the linchpin holding
everything together. He is the main focal point. He allows so many
others to get forward. That is him making the pass. He brings other
people into play, it is not just goal-scoring, it is the support and
pace, that is the reason Motherwell could not handle the pace. It could
have been any score. Three Dundee United players
nominated for the player of the year award today. Andrew Robertson won
the award. A lot of young players have come and gone, are these the
real deal? They can be but it is about what happens next. I really do
hope. I understand a lot of people go down South like I did when I was
18, 19, but they need to learn up here, get first team for all --
first-team football. They will not be as wealthy but a well be better
players. Too many players have left Scotland to early and they get lost
down there. Still great players but a couple more years up here. Could
you still see Motherwell finishing second?
It is looking more difficult. It is still possible but I cannot see
Aberdeen dropping enough points to allow them back. But they have
enough to keep going and they have to hope they can close the gap and
for Aberdeen to throw it away. The last match of the show was also
the last match of the weekend. The champions Celtic had wrapped up the
title weeks ago, but Neil Lennon's side still hopeful of breaking the
100-point barrier. As for Inverness, they still had faint hopes of a
European spot, but the last time they were at Celtic Park, they were
thrashed 5-0. Both these clubs drew last week.
Three changes for Celtic and for Caledonian Thistle. Nick Ross makes
his first start in eight games. Always a threat coming forward.
Griffith initially thought there was a handball -- Leigh Griffiths. The
ball breaks back, a good touch round the post. They will be leaving
Celtic Park in the summer. Anthony Stokes, and the opening goal for
Celtic. Anthony Stokes, five goals in his last five games. A simple
header poorly defended by Caley Thistle. Jon Hughes will not be
happy with the loss of the opening goal. -- John Hughes. A good save at
the post ID in Braille. Adam Matthews in the last three games. --
by Adam Rhyl. -- Brill. Good control, Stokes gets
there! On the stroke of half-time, Celtic make it 2-0. Beautifully
taken down by Leigh Griffiths. Commons could not get to it. Tucked
away by Anthony Stokes. Leigh Griffiths showing his quality
already. Anthony Stokes taking the chances.
That was not easy. The referee says, penalty. Caley Thistle did not look
to have much contact. The referee says it is a penalty. Looking for
his second hat-trick of the season. Anthony Stokes. Not normally on
penalty duties. But when a hat-trick calls, you do not pass up the
chance. Caley Thistle, two wins in the last
eight matches since they played Celtic. The challenge by Virgil van
Dijk and the penalty has been given. Fraser Forster complains. Mackay
moves away from goal, not much in it for me. A poor penalty. Credit to
the goalkeeper for the save. It did not have pace or precision. It takes
more than that to beat Fraser Forster.
Virgil van Dijk, closed down. Billy McKay wants it in the middle, a
chance for Caley Thistle. Fraser Forster has been there this season.
Another decent save. Billy McKay hits this well, a good save. Celtic
still unbeaten at home in the league this season. I want to get to 100
points. Anthony Stokes wants it of golf. -- they want to get. That is a
decent ball. -- Anthony Stokes once another goal.
Stokes found space and he quipped it. Leigh Griffiths had all the time
in the world. -- clipped it. Celtic have been impressive. Anthony
Stokes with the hat-trick. He could set up Leigh Griffiths. 4-0. A
hat-trick by Leigh Griffiths. And in the finish. He gives the credit to
Anthony Stokes. A great run, ambitious. It worked for him.
Position in the pass. The finish was perfect. -- precision.
John Hughes is unhappy, he has every reason to be. The header from Efe
Ambrose. Celtic get five. A great finish. A lovely somersault from Efe
Ambrose! Kris Commons across it. Efe Ambrose tucked it in the corner.
The sides last met in March, 5-0 today. Celtic come forward today
again. And he gets on the scoresheet! Celtic get six. On
course for the biggest league win of the season. Not
course for the biggest league win of the league itself. He put that away.
When you give the ball away cheap, big put you wide open and that is
what happened. You have to learn from it, it is not acceptable,
bitterly disappointed, but we have games coming up that we can get act
to winning ways. Some people have individual targets,
Anthony Stokes for 20 goals. Kris Commons, 30. 91 goals this season.
They are still putting in the effort for that.
A superb somersault from Efe Ambrose. Neil Lennon talking about
targets. A great hat-trick today. Ambrose. Neil Lennon talking about
These are big shoes to fill. Along with the understanding he is getting
with Leigh Griffiths, there was a great understanding with him and
Anthony Stokes. Kris Commons as well. Slightly less pressure on them
that their well. Slightly less pressure on them
screw holes. So you do not need to well. Slightly less pressure on them
score over time. -- score goals. That helps, Leigh Griffiths will
remember that. He could have had a shot and he could have been greedy
but he played the correct ball, he has been super this season.
Difficult for Inverness. A sense they have tailed off slightly but
have they exceeded expectations this season?
Yes, they have done all right. It is a transitional period. John Hughes
is trying to change their style of play to play out from the back, they
got caught today and they will learn from that. Hopefully it will stand
them in good stead for next season and they can use the experienced of
the last couple of weeks for next season. -- the experience.
Neil Lennon was nominated for manager of the year. Reports today
he was on the short list for the Norwich City job. How would you see
that? I cannot imagine he would imagine
going to Norwich if they go down and there is a good chance of that. I
think Neil Lennon can get a really good job in England. What has
happened to David Moyes has had a negative effect. Why leave Celtic
just now? I do not think you should because there are other things they
can do. There is a really good argument he has done so well this
season, and 72 is the goal difference. Maybe at least one more
season Neil Lennon has to stay and he was in the running for manager of
the year but he did not get it. And after that stonking win, Celtic
very much keep alive their hope of finishing the season with over 100
points. They could also hit the 100-goals total!
The race for the second and third European spots remains alive, after
Aberdeen could only draw with St Johnstone and Motherwell were
thumped by Dundee United. And we have already had a look at the
bottom six, but how tight is that? Two points separating five teams.
It promises to be a fantastically dramatic end to the Scottish
Premiership season. But sometimes, football needs put in perspective.
Sandy Jardine was a true legend of the Scottish game. He will be hugely
missed. From all of us here, goodnight.
Sandy Jardine has had the match of his life!
One each! Sandy Jardine! You've become an Eeyore.
And you've got to be a Tigger.