30/12/2013 Sportscene


Jonathan Sutherland introduces highlights of the weekend's matches in the new SPFL Scottish Premiership, with comment on and analysis of the week's main talking points.

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Hello and welcome to our pre-Hogmanay Sportscene spectacular.


The final football fling of 2013, and what a way to go out. Some great


goals tonight, meaty talking points as always and two top pundits.


Steven Thompson and Pat Nevin join me for this last highlights show of


the year. A poignant start tonight. Six years ago yesterday the


Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell died on the pitch during a match


with Dundee United. It was always going to be an emotional day for all


involved with Motherwell Football Club. They were at Firhill to play


Partick Thistle. Commentary comes from John Barnes.


Alan Archibald makes only one change to his starting line-up. Stephen


O'Donnell returns at full-back in place of Jordan McMillan.


Francis-Angol is back in alongside McFadden, so John Sutton is on the


bench. And Partick Thistle get an early


lead! He scores against his old club. Craig insisted on a plate for


Lawless. Terrific save their by the


Motherwell goalkeeper, Twardzik. It is Lawless again, looking for his


second. A good start for Alan Archibald.


And Motherwell equalise! It's their captain, Leslie. Excellent skills


from James McFadden. And good awareness to spot Leslie on the run.


It is blocked away by Twardzik again.


And Francis-Angol puts Motherwell 2-1 in front! And it's his first


ever goal for the Fir Park club. He slots it away with his least


favoured foot. A deft flick from James McFadden,


increasing Motherwell's lead. Back in the starting line-up and on the


scoresheet for the second time this season. Good hold-up play from


Anier. Pick should have done better but McFadden was there to pounce. --


Piccolo. Great strike from James McFadden,


tried to catch out Scott Fox. The keeper was up to the challenge.


Thistle were looking for a penalty as the Motherwell players slid in.


The referee says no. A good effort from another former


Motherwell player. Twardzik, once more, doing well to turn it over.


Ainsworth! That is number four for Motherwell. Ainsworth's third goal


in three successive matches. Partick Thistle, caught out at the back


again and this time, Lasley the provider, Ainsworth with the finish.


A good day out for the Motherwell supporters.


Scott Fox, happy to grab that one, but McFadden, returning to something


like his best this afternoon. Once again, Partick Thistle are


punished at the back! Slack defending there. Not keeping his eye


on the ball, and Sutton, the substitute, scored his ninth of the


season. Scott Foxton eyes Ainsworth. --


denies Ainsworth. This will be their biggest win in the new top-flight.


I thought we were a bit fortunate to go in at half-time 3-1, Thistle had


a really good go and played some good stuff first half, but we showed


a good deal of character and some good football to take the lead and


then go ahead. Second half, it was a case of hip on the break. Very


disappointing to start the going so well, we were looking good, and then


it was bad decision-making. I think, try and keep going, but we don't


really organise and there are mistakes for the goals as well,


individual errors. It was a big day for Motherwell and


a fantastic win. It was great to see James McFadden playing like that


again. Absolutely. I would argue he is the most talented footballer of


his generation for Scotland. He gets this from a throw in, there is


nothing on here at all. He has such vision. He wasn't looking, he is


absolutely sure that Lasley will make the run. They have known each


other since they were young, but he is learning the intelligence side of


the game. When he sees the gap, and that is one hell of a gap between


the centre backs! We will get back to that later. But we're now seeing


him the way he was. Very few players think of scoring from throw ins.


When he looks fit, and his knees are fine, he is a joy to behold. That


was the James McFadden of old. He is a sensational talent. I spoke to him


last week in the tunnel, he was despondent, he hadn't got on, but it


just shows you, a week in football is not a long time at all. Hopefully


that gives him the shot in the arm he needs because if it James


McFadden is a real asset. You alluded to some poor Partick Thistle


defending. Let's look at it at more detail. One of those guys has got to


get in there. Get in, close down the space. No one is going near him. And


you can't do that at this level. Here, it's very simple. They it


inside, just don't lose the ball. Because Ainsworth is sneaking up the


back there, and he isn't so much space, so you can't take chances if


you are the final man. You certainly don't pass it to Lasley, he is


having a great season. I can't really speak about this, any ideas?


I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say he lost the ball


in the floodlights! This one is interesting. 18 metres between the


defenders, that amount of space, you wouldn't get that very often. You


are generally looking to get a yard of space, not 18 yards! Alan


Archibald was disappointed with the defending. Partick Thistle on


getting the services of Lyle Taylor, a good signing? Definitely, he got a


lot of goals for Falkirk last season. He plays on the shoulder, he


may be the missing link for Partick Thistle. They face Celtic in the New


Year. Next we're off to McDiarmid Park where goal-shy St Johnstone


were up against Dundee United. The last Saints goal had come in


November. In contrast Dundee United had been goal crazy in recent times,


but their superb run of form had come to a shuddering halt with


defeat to St Mirren on Boxing Day. Commentary comes from


Edwards found room for the shot. He made a difference when it came off


the bench against Celtic and he is off to us rightly start here. -- ace


rightly start. That is a penalty! And that was also


a red card. He wasn't convinced the header was reaching the goalkeeper.


He had a towel, it wasn't much, it was enough for a dismissal early on.


Stevie May scores his 15th of the season. And St Johnstone are ahead


against their rivals. He doesn't look too pleased, he


should be! It was hooked off the line by Andy Robertson. A towering


header, the keeper was beaten. That was a good effort from the St


Johnstone midfielder. It was really good build-up, quick passing and


movement. Looking for a response from his


team, Jackie McNamara. It's grammar clear by Dundee United.


-- scrambled clear. They are happy at the moment to be still in the


game under real pressure. That was close from Wilson! Good


effort from the full-back am just moved to much, I think.


The shot from the former Partick Thistle man, always rising.


Running a long way with the ball, David Wotherspoon, and a stinging


shot at the end of it. Steve May scores again! It has gone


right through the goalkeeper, it is a double for St Johnstone. He should


not really have been scoring from that position. The goalkeeper was at


fault as well as the defender. Good ball from Nigel Hasselbaink.


Agonising! He not that across goal, but there was just too much on it


for Steve May to make contact on the hat-trick hunt. Stephen Anderson.


He can set up Steve May! Hat-trick for the 21-year-old Saint Johnstone


striker. It is his 15th goal of the season. We started the game really


well and I just hope the performance is not undervalued because of the


sending off because I thought we were by far the better team up to


that stage. We emphasised the point that we wanted a high tempo game,


press them high up the pitch, and we did that, but I thought we also


played some good football. For me, that is a disappointing thing, the


concentration, the decision-making at times, to get the penalty in the


first instance for me was per decision making. It was a fantastic


victory for St Johnstone. How big was the sending off and was the


right decision? It is a game changer, a sending off is always


going to be a huge point in a game and for me it is a sending off,


without a doubt. He has his hand on his shoulder and at the last-second


peoples and back. It is a definite sending-off and unfortunately it is


a goal-scoring opportunity. Pat, do you agree? No option whatsoever for


the referee, so well done. Ten men, eight changes, away from home, not


much of a surprise. It is all about how you react. A lot of the talented


Dundee United youngsters were on the bench for various reasons. Lots of


scouts in the stands would have been disappointed. They did see Steve May


scoring a hat-trick. How difficult will it be to keep hold of him in


January? There will definitely be people looking at him. That was his


15th goal yesterday, after his hat-trick. He has a bit of


everything, he has been pivotal for St Johnstone. He can turn on either


fruit. Good finish. He has been a big player for St Johnstone and they


will be having to fend off teams because he has been sensational. He


has really lit up the Premier League. The only thing that has made


him bad in some peoples eyes is his unorthodox look and style. He looks


bulkier than he actually is, he is really quite quick. He is quite


scruffy but he is a superb player. Let us talk about Dundee United.


People were surprised when Saint Mirren turned them over. Thanks.


People will be saying the bubble has burst. Not at all. They have lost


two in a row, seven goals conceded and two sendings off. But before


that they were absolutely superb. It is just a wee blip and they have too


much talent in their squad. Plenty of us looking forward to the Dundee


United clash against Aberdeen. Aberdeen were playing Ross County


yesterday. A few changes to the says, with Mark Reynolds replacing


Russell Anderson. Barry Robson was dropped to the bench. As for Ross


County, despite their recent struggles, they had never ever lost


to Aberdeen. In fact one of their three victories was to Aberdeen in


October. There is not many better ways to


announce your return to the team than taking a free kick like this.


Nicky Low making virtually the entire stadium jump as Aberdeen took


the lead in just the second minute of the match.


And just ten minutes later it got even better for Aberdeen, when Peter


Pawlett was brought down in the penalty area. Good skill, no doubt


about the decision. Scott Vernon took the penalty responsibility, it


was a fine save from Michael Fraser to keep the score at 1-0.


Scott Vernon promptly got over his disappointment for another goal. And


the turn but the short distance -- good turn but the shot drifted wide.


Ross County had made changes from the side that lost to Hibs. They


were calling for a penalty and they might have had a case with the way


Mark Reynolds's handmade contact with the ball. Nothing was given and


Aberdeen were causing problems again for the side second bottom of the


Premiership. Scott Boyd deflected Niall McGinn's cross against his own


post. Some need play set up another Aberdeen chance. For once, Niall


McGinn's aiming was off. Overall, Aberdeen were the better side, as


they geared up for the New Year new firm derby. Cameron Smith with a


shot saved as it finished 1-0. I felt we were in total control of the


match. I was really enjoying watching my team played today. We


have been wasteful of good opportunities, getting into good


areas, and we have been there before. Missed penalties have come


back to bite us and thankfully it did not today. We did not do well


enough offensively today. Defensively, we kept their good


players quiet, and they are a very good side. Deserve to be where they


are in the league. It has been a difficult start to the season for us


and we are just having to hang on in there and trying to replace and


taking players in January. Nicky Low with his first league start. Also


his first senior goal in football and what a strike it was. Wreck to


Reef Derek McInnes's side halfway through the season, what you make of


this? -- a victory for them. He has been sensational. He has got a real


positivity about the club that had been missing. Big crowds coming to


the game, 11,000, semifinal of the, but it will not be enough for Derek.


He will see this as the start of his journey. Let's look at the report


card so far. Makes for pretty impressive reading. Played 19 games,


35 points, and have won 11 of them. What do you make of those? Superb


but not surprising in anyway. Aberdeen have underperformed for so


many years but I think a lot of people within the game looked at


them and thought, you got lucky getting him because he was very


unfortunate with what happened to him down south, many other teams


were interested, I think it took a little while to convince some


supporters but I think almost all of them are on board now. So many


people are looking forward to the derby between Dundee United and


Aberdeen, how do you see that going? It will be brilliant, cracking game,


3-3. I just want both teams to play at their best. If Dundee United play


at their best, this will be some game, if this little blip continues


it will be great. It will be goalless. Plenty more to come and


with New Year dear, up 1% of pictures -- a lot of fixtures are a


small while away. Some mouthwatering derby day


matches. After the horror show start to the


season, Kilmarnock had turned a corner in recent weeks. They made it


three wins out of four games. They were back in the capital to face


Hibs. Another victory would bring them level on points with the Easter


Road side. Hibs unchanged from their victory in


Ross County. They seek Terry Butcher's first home win. Kilmarnock


defeated Hearts last time out. The manager names the same side that


took to the field at Tynecastle. Sombre moment of reflection at


Easter Road in memory of the youth player David Paul who passed away.


One-handed save from Craig Samson. Good early play from Hibs. Stevenson


with that in well. Was heading to the top corner. Paul Hanlon got


free! Hibs ahead after 12 minutes. Another header from a corner and


this time it is Paul Hanlon. Kilmarnock would have been aware of


the fact that Hibs had scored from two corners against Ross County.


Hibs gather through Stevenson. Forcing the save from Samson. Lewis


Stevenson picked up on this clever little ball. He tested Craig Samson.


What a great run from the midfield from Scott Robertson. The ball was


not dealt with by Kilmarnock. Rattled the bar and James Collins


could not get it back on target. Kris Boyd has scored in his last


four games, he will be disappointed with that effort.


Worth a shot. Foreword to Robertson. Good stuff from Hibs.


The referee was well positioned. He waves away the protests of the Hibs


players. That was clever from Paul Cairney.


Hibs will break, James Collins leading the charge.


Some good end to end stuff in this game. Out why to Lewis Stevenson.


Shown the inside, and that is a mistake as he cannot finish. 13


minutes to play. Lewis Stevenson rise and get the


goal! Only his second in just over 200 appearances for Hibs, he rounds


of the afternoon in style. Cracking strike from Lewis Stevenson. I think


we have had seven goals and seven different goal-scorers. Spreading


the goals around. I don't mind that. If they keep working hard then goals


will come and they certainly did today. They made it difficult for


us. We have got to defend the corner better in the first place, the first


goal, especially when you see the week before they scored two goals


from corners. It is a poor goal to lose. We are all starting to detect


slight evidence of the Terry Butcher difference at Hibs. What do you see?


Good organisation, particularly set pieces. We will have a look at what


they showed us last week. All the players sitting in that really tight


area but what what happens when the ball comes in, there is a marker on


the scorer. In actual fact, for all this, the same game, but when they


split, the ball comes in, there is still a marker on the scorer, so


this is about desire, yes it is a clever little trick, the same again


yesterday we know what is going to happen, they are going to go a


different way, just that bit of confusion but once again, there is a


marker Hathaway -- have a yard away. You need the desire to win


that ball and I keep on using the word desire and that is the perfect


word to describe Terry Butcher. That is what he has brought to heads so


far. Seems to be more conviction. Yesterday, a threat would have been


Kris Boyd and Chris Johnson and clearly that was snuffed out.


Definitely, in the last five weeks they have been in top form, main


players for Kilmarnock, and Hebburn and managed to snuff them out. In


terms of Terry Butcher bringing organisation, you can see that


coming through. The battle is getting into the top six. Yes, they


need to score more goals, looking better now, the most important thing


is, 16 goals they have lost this season, only Celtic have lost fewer.


Next we're off to St Mirren Park where Steven Thompson's side were


hoping to carry on where they'd left off after their superb 4-1 victory


over Dundee United on Boxing Day. Just the one change to the team with


Danny Grainger coming in for Kenny Mclean. And St Mirren's chances of


another home win looked pretty good as they were up against the side


rock bottom of the Premiership. Hearts had lost their last five


matches. The only bit of real good news for


Hearts was that their last two wins had both come away from home. With


the story of the match in Paisley, here's Brian McLauchlin.


Steven Thompson has had no problem in finding the net. He gives Saints


the perfect start after three minutes. The Hearts defence in a


real model. -- model. His 11th goal of the season. The former Scotland


striker almost set up a second for the Saints. This is is through ball


to Naismith. His shot was parried away by McDonald, Granger just


failed to connect with the rebound. Hearts have lost their previous five


matches and scored just one goal but their equaliser is a contender for


goal of the season. Walker's Cross, initially cleared by the defence


only to Jamie Hamill. A thundering 30 yarder into the roof of the net.


Jim Goodwin has been in the news recently, he felt he had claims for


a penalty. The ball certainly struck the teenager, but not with intent,


thought the referee. Another chance for Thompson. Naismith with the


shot, Thomson's effort, just wide of goal. Jamie Walker has also had an


eye on goal this season for Hearts, this effort was also the wrong side


of the post, though. One final chance for Hearts in the final


minute stop substitute Smith with a run down the right, his cross met by


Pettersson only for the keeper to deny him. Both sides picked up a


valuable point. I thought today we made some poor


decisions on the ball at times, that was uncharacteristic of us. I don't


expect those mistakes from the group players we have. We never turned up


on Boxing Day, they were some choice words after that game and I think


the players responded in the right manner. It was important we put in a


performance for the fans. Whatever static strike from Jamie Hamill. It


has been a morale sapping few weeks for Hearts. How much will that have


meant for them? It's lovely that they can get that, but it won't help


them enough. It's the same thing every time, a bit of sympathy, not


pity, but simply because they are always having to deal with hard


times. But they never seem to give up fighting. You are absolutely


prolific it seems! We're going to focus on the man on the other end of


the pitch, Kello. He has been early on, he is making three, four,


top-class saves again. I know he is in contract talks with us at the


minute to renew his contract, if you are watching, hurry up ! You know


it makes sense! But he is a sub superb keeper. Some news for St


Mirren, Jim Goodwin has accepted a two match ban following this


incident on Boxing Day against Dundee United. St Mirren,


disappointed about Dundee United flagging this incident up on social


media, what is your take on it? The SFA will deal with it, they dealt


with it fairly lightly, two matches, it could have been a lot worse. But


there is no point to add fuel to the fire. It's been dealt with, it was a


terrible thing he did, no excuse at all. Anything to add? I thought that


might be the reaction. We finish with Inverness versus Celtic. The


reigning Scottish champions - and surely champions elect - have been


untouchable this season in domestic football. Top of the league and so


far unbeaten. For the largest part of the season they'd been pushed


hardest by Caley Thistle, but in recent weeks the Highlanders had


lost their grip on second place. How would they get on yesterday?


Commentary comes from Alasdair Lamont.


Bill Mackay is in fine form, eight goals in his last seven games.


Celtic make just one change, James Forrest coming in for Fisher stop


--. An early chance for Kris Commons!


Taken with some aplomb. A lovely 1-2 with Samaras, and a delightful


finish. Through the legs of the keeper. Celtic, within three


minutes, are in front against Caley Thistle.


Caley Thistle will look to respond quickly. That was done around, he


shot straight at Fraser Forster. A comfortable save in the end for the


England keeper. Stokes tried it all the way across


goal. -- dragged. I think he was looking to shoot there. John Hughes


and Lincolnshire in conversation, then that to get their side back on


level terms. Billy Mackay is usually so deadly in


that edition but on this occasion, his header was a rather weak one,


easy for Fraser Forster. That was a really powerful hit by


Shinnie. And again, Shinnie brings out a good


save from Fraser Forster. He has looked at Caley Thistle's most


potent threat, the full-back. Kris Commons was nipping in front of


the defender, almost clipping in the second goal of the afternoon. Good


movement from the front man. It almost came off. He has looked


really lively, Kris Commons. This was really good intelligence, just


an inch or two to five. -- too high. Brown flashes it wide. It was a


lovely Celtic move. Allowing for all, almost producing their second


goal. -- flowing football. It was worth a try, the ball was


moving. Straight into the arms of a grateful


Brill. Good play by Stokes. Brown didn't have the accuracy.


How did he miss that! Linesman's flag was up, but almost a dream


debut. He wasn't offside, Christie. Disappointed to lose a goal so early


on and after that put so much effort into the match and come away losing.


That is disappointing, but in terms of ball retention, passing it, very


good. Celtic knew they were in a game. We were off to a great start,


that seemed to settle us down a bit, but going forward, we could have


done better with the amount of the session we had. But six clean sheets


in a row domestically, we are playing very well. It was a good


start from Celtic. We're going to focus on the good and maybe the


slightly bad that we noticed in this match. Even historically, Celtic are


always good at intricate play through the centre of teams, even


back in the 80s. When Collins is involved, they always are. --


Commons. That is the oldest one in the book. But look how many players


test taken out of the game, four players have. It is intricate, quick


play, step overs. Countless Celtic teams have done it over the years. I


love watching them do that but it always has that guy Kris Commons


involved. A slight disappointment they didn't score more goals


yesterday. We're nit-picking now, but some of the defending at times


could have been tighter. Six and a half games since they lost a gold


domestic league. But if you do turn off, you pay for it eventually. Look


at Ambrose, he has just left him. It's a free header. Again here, back


post, three players, massive chance. Last minute of the game as well. I


have seen this creeping into the game and eventually will affect them


and it did against the much but it seems in Europe. Having said that, I


suspect they might still win the league! Your side face them soon.


Yes, on Sunday. It's always a very difficult game against them,


considering they have six clean sheets it's a difficult task. I


always enjoy the games against Celtic, a bigger atmosphere. It will


be a tough test for sure. A shocking incident in this match, I couldn't


believe this. This was a pushing incident on the referee. Crawford,


not very happy about it. I just can't believe it! It's funny, but it


would never crossed my mind to push the referee over. It's hilarious, he


has just pushed him over. Could have been a red card! It was like Paolo


Di Canio! I don't think so, I think the players within his rights here.


Get out of the way, I need to close him down! Emits me, I would push him


out of the way. -- if it was me. He is in my way, you shouldn't be


there. Get out of the way of the play. Did you ever do anything like


that? No, but I would have. The most important thing is you stop the


goal, you do whatever you can. That's why the referee didn't book


him. As he knows it's not deliberately offensive, nasty


thing, he's only trying to slow the way down. You are looking at me... !


Done it. Controversial stuff. The final table looks like this.


From everyone here, have a happy Hogmanay. Until next year, good




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