Scott Binnie brings us the latest results from North of the Border in the weekly Scottish Round-Up.
Scottish Premier League
The weekend’s best game in the SPL saw six goals shared at Pittodrie on Sunday by Aberdeen and league leaders Motherwell as the visitors lost a two-goal lead with six minutes left on the clock. Gavin Rae gave Aberdeen a brilliant start with his sixth minute header and Aberdeen’s first goal in four games, but Motherwell rallied and they were level just before half time through striker Michael Higdon, who took his tally to an amazing seven goals in his last four. Shortly after the break Shaun Hutchinson put Motherwell in front with a header before the excellent Henrik Ojamaa passed up two great opportunities to extend the Steelmen’s lead.
It appeared to be smooth sailing for Stuart McCall’s table toppers from there and Nicky Law looked to have the points sewn up when he converted Jamie Murphy’s flick on from a Tom Hateley corner. Two minutes later Motherwell were considerably less comfortable as substitute Niall McGinn put a bullet header past ‘Well keeper Darren Randolph to reduce the deficit to one goal. The home fans dared to hope for a shocking comeback and they exploded in injury time when Josh Magennis converted from Andrew Considine’s scuffed shot to make it 3-3 and end the Dons’ run of four goalless draws at home in the league. The result also saw Motherwell pass up the chance to go three points clear of Hibernian at the top of the SPL and four points clear of champions Celtic, who of course still have a game in hand over the teams around them.
Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama scored either side of half time as Celtic sought to bring an end to their worst league start for 14 years at home to Dundee. Captain Scott Brown saw his penalty saved just before Hooper opened the scoring and Dundee really could have been on the receiving end of a tanking at Parkhead, James Forrest and Charlie Mulgrew both drawing top saves from ex-Celtic keeper Rab Douglas. Celtic’s third league win of the season was always certain though and their 2-0 victory leaves the Hoops just a point off the top spot with a game in hand. Dundee on the other hand are rooted to the bottom of the table with just four points from seven games.
With Hearts coming into their visit to Tannadice without a goal in three league games and without a win in five it looked like they would struggle against a side many had tipped to be among Celtic’s closest challenges this season, but a double from Callum Paterson either side of a goal from Arvydus Novikovas saw John McGlynn’s Jambos secure a resounding 3-0 victory over Dundee United that the Edinburgh club will hope will spark their season into life.
Hearts’ city rivals Hibernian had a chance to go top of the table with a victory over Inverness at home but they blew a two goal lead to draw 2-2 with the Highlanders. Eoin Doyle and David Wotherspoon had the hosts 2-0 up after half an hour but Conor Pepper got Caley back into the game before half time after Hibs had battered their opponents. It was Richie Foran who popped up late on in the game to earn his side a surprise 2-2 draw and a point that already looks huge in this season’s relegation fight.
Kilmarnock are enjoying a fine start to the season and Kenny Shiels’ men carried that into their game with St Mirren, Cillian Sheridan putting the hosts 1-0 up after 26 minutes with a header. After half time Killie kept the pressure on the Buddies and James Fowler made it 2-0 before James Dayton scored a screamer to make it 3-0 with just over an hour gone. Seven minutes from time St Mirren’s Paul McGowan converted after Sam Parkin had knocked down a cross and Buddies boss Danny Lennon will be upset that his side couldn’t capitalise on having by far the better of the game in the early stages.
Ross County’s phenomenal unbeaten league run was finally ended by a resurgent St Johnstone at Victoria Park, Liam Craig putting the Saints into the lead after half an hour before Sandy Morrow equalised mid-way through the second period. St Johnstone played most of the game with 10 men after Rowan Vine was sent off for violent conduct shortly after Craig’s opener and County mounted a huge assault on the Saints goal but the visitors held up strongly and Frazer Wright stole the points for St Johnstone in the last few minutes.
Scottish First Division
In the First Division there were six goals shared by the bottom two clubs Dumbarton and Hamilton their 3-3 draw.
Ali Crawford put Hamilton into the lead after 21 minutes but Lee Kilday’s own goal made it 1-1 shortly after. Two goals in four minutes from James Lister and Bryan Prunty made it 3-1 to Dumbarton but James Keatings scored twice in the last two minutes to earn Hamilton a point that continues their poor start to the season.
The team just above those two struggling sides haven’t got themselves going either and stuttering Livingston suffered a comprehensive defeat at East End Park to Dunfermline. A double from Andrew Barrowman and goals from Jordan McMillan and Ryan Thomson gave the Pars a 4-0 lead that kept them three points behind league leaders Partick Thistle.
Partick themselves made it six wins from six with a 2-1 win over Cowdenbeath, Aaron Muirhead’s first half penalty cancelled out by Jamie Stevenson’s delightful effort from range before Scott Linton put a cross past his own keeper to give Thistle the win.
Morton beat Raith Rovers 1-0 at home to leapfrog the Kirkcaldy side into third position in the table, Stephen Stirling’s thunderbolt goal from 25 yards in the second half enough to give the hosts the three points.
Airdrie United denied Falkirk their first home win of the season as Alan Cook levelled for the Diamonds after Stewart Murdoch had put Falkirk into the lead from the spot in the first half.
Scottish Second Division
There was a goalfest in the Second Division that managed to eclipse even the Dumbarton vs Hamilton game – the 4-4 draw between Albion Rovers and Stenhousemuir. David Crawford opened the scoring for Rovers after 13 minutes which was then cancelled out by Stewart Kean just over 10 minutes later. Kean then added a second on the half hour to put Stenny 2-1 up at half time. Mark McGuigan made it 2-2 just after the restart before Stenhousemuir were put back in front by Andy Rodgers. Gary Philips and Crawford scored within two minutes of each other to put Albion 4-3 up but Kean completed his hat-trick in injury time to ensure both sides shared the points after an exhilarating game.
League leaders Queen of the South remain unbeaten after their 3-0 victory at Brechin City. First half goals from Chris Higgins and Derek Lyle were added to by William Gibson’s second half penalty to keep Queens three points clear at the top of the table.
Second placed Forfar Athletic produced a resilient performance to earn a point away to third placed Arbroath despite playing the last half an hour with nine men. Michael Bolochoweckyj had put the visitors into the lead early in the first half but was then sent off just inside the half hour mark. Steven Doris scored from the spot in the second half to make it 1-1 and Stephen Tulloch was the second Forfar man dismissed just 10 minutes later. The ground-out result leaves Forfar unbeaten in five.
10-man Stranraer were put to the sword comfortably by Alloa Athletic, the Wasps running out 3-0 winners at home thanks to goals from Kevin Cawley, Martin Grehan from the spot and Graeme Holmes.
Ayr United finally earned their first win of the season away to East Fife with a 3-2 victory, the 88th minute winner coming from on-loan Rangers defender Kyle McAusland. Jamie Pollock had put East Fife, also looking for their first win of the campaign, into the front early on but David Sinclair scored twice to put the visitors 2-1 up at the interval. Robert Barr’s stunning volley looked to have divided the points but McAusland’s header left East Fife empty handed.
Scottish Third Division
Third Division pacesetters Queen’s Park demolished Elgin City in the Highlands 4-0. Lawrence Shankland and Anthony Quinn gave the visitors a 2-0 half time lead and Jamie Longworth’s late double completed the rout.
Queen’s Park are just one point ahead of city rivals Rangers now after the Gers cruised past Montrose 4-1 at Ibrox. Dean Shiels put Rangers in front but Anestis Argyriou’s own goal made it look like Rangers were on course for another disappointing result. However it was a much-changed performance from the hosts in the second half and Lewis MacLeod, Lee McCulloch and Robbie Crawford all got on the scoresheet as Ally McCoist’s side returned to winning ways after a disappointing couple of games.
Peterhead dropped a place into third with their 2-1 defeat to Annan Athletic. Graeme Ramage put Annan 1-0 up after two minutes and Michael Daly made it two after the restart. Martin Bavidge pulled one back for Peterhead with five minutes to go but it wasn’t enough for the Blue Toon.
It’s five defeats in as many league games for Stirling Albion now after their 4-1 loss to Berwick Rangers. Lee Currie and Darren Lavery had the hosts 2-0 up and cruising at the interval and John Ferguson scored twice either side of Jordan White’s debut goal for Stirling to give Berwick all three points and leave Albion at the bottom of the table.
Stirling had been beaten by East Stirlingshire a week before and the Shire secured another big win, this time a 3-0 victory over Clyde. Kevin Turner and Paul Quinn scored in the first half for East Stirling and Joseph Savage added a third in the 90th minute to pull Shire up to eighth in the table.