18 August 2008

Scottish Premier League Review - 16/17 August 2008

After the first week of games, we saw a defeat for last years 3rd place team Motherwell and a win for new boys Hamilton and the old firm both winning their opening games as expected. This weeks games threw up a surprise or two and after Celtic's dubious penalty last week they were once again apart of some suspect refereeing in their game at Dundee United.

Hibs 3 - 2 Falkirk
A brace for Colin Nish helped give Mixu Paatelainen's men their first win of the season after last weeks disapointing defeat to Kilmarnock. Nish's early goal got them on their way and followed up with a second after 25 minutes with a low header after more suspect defending from the Bairns' defence. Michael Higdon's header got Falkirk back in the game 5 minutes with a powerful header. Nish had a hand in Hibs' third with a neat touch to Hanlon who made the game safe for Hibs just after the break. Higdon struck again after 53 minutes but Falkirk couldn't get an equaliser as their attacks fizzled out time after time.

Inverness CT 0 - 1 Hamilton
A Richard Offiong goal just before half time gave new boys Hamilton their second win of the season in a game which promised little and delivered even less. Both sides set our defensive stalls, Hamilton unchanged from last weeks win over Dundee United. Caley didn't get going in the first half and had were lucky not to go down a goal to an free header by Offiong. It was a mistake by the Caley defence that let in Offiong who cooly slotted past the Caly keeper. The second half had impressive performances by Adam Rooney of Caley and Simon Mensing of Hamilton who both should play a part in keeping their teams up in the SPL this season. 2 out of 2 for the Lanarkshire team.

Motherwell 0 - 1 Aberdeen
Aberdeen bounced back from their opening day defeat to get a rare away win at Fir Park. Motherwell looked the most dangerous throughout the game but their lack of firepower up front was there for all to see. Stephen Hughes looks sharp all game and his passing in the final third was ruined by a lack of movement in the motherwell box time after time. The game looked to be heading for a nil-nil draw when Aberdeen got a free kick 25 yards out, which the impressive looking Charlie Mulgrew dispatched into the bottom corner of the Well goal.

Rangers 2 - 0 Hearts
Pedro Mendes made his debut for The Gers and left quite an impression on the Ibrox faithful. After the drama of midweek this victory should steady the ship for Rangers who were rarely troubled by Hearts. They took the lead on 36 minutes with Northern Ireland striker Kyle Lafferty getting his first goal for the club with a good finish from just inside the box. Alan McGregor made a terrific double save to keep Rangers in the lead but wasn't troubled after that. DeMarcus Beasley and Kenny Miller came on for rangers in the second half as both looked good, with Beasley rounding the hearts defence and hitting a good low cross across the six yard box but Rangers strikers were slow to respond. substitute Marius Mikoilunas lasted less than 10 minutes before a booking for a dive was followed up with a second yellow card and a dismissal for a late challenge on Kenny Miller. Rangers sealed the game with a Kris Boyd penalty after Kenny miller jinked through the Hearts defence and was brought down with the mistimed tackle by Wallace. 2 wins and 2 clean sheets for Rangers.

St mirren 0 - 0 Kilmarnock
2 of the teams tipped for relegation again this season squared off with a boring nil-nil draw a fair result. Neither team settled in this scrappy match, with both defences looked solid through out. Apart from a jim Hamilton header against the bar in the second half, a goal never looked likely from either team so it the result wasn't a surprise.

Dundee United 1- 1 Celtic
After last weeks unconvicing win over St Mirren, Celtic looked to get a win over Dundee United to really launch their defence of the SPL trophy. In an entertaining first half the United defence coped well with Celtic's attacks and could have scored through Robertson who had good chance saved by Celtic keeper Artur Boruc. The Tangerines felt they should have had a penalty when Jan Venegoor of Hesselink grabbed on to Lee Wilkie in the Celtic box but nothing was given. The second half started out well again with Celtic getting the opening goal after 50 minutes, good work from Nakamura putting Paul Hartley through with a deflected shot off Kenneth. A stonewall penatly claim was then turned down in the Celtic box again when O'Donovan was tripped by Gary Caldwell, the home fans as expected were furious. As the game approached the last ten minutes Celtic looked good for the 3 points, United had 2 decent shouts for a penalty turned down, and thier frustration was leading to scrappy play. On 80 minutes however a conway cross was met by United's new spanish siging Sandaza who equalized for the home side. A draw was a fair result in terms of the overall play but Dundee United will feel really hard done with the poor performance of the officials.

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