by John Reid
It’s a tale of two ‘unfashionable’ clubs in the SPL this week as Ross County and Hibs continue their good starts to the season. Ross County have continued their superb start to the season, as they followed up last week’s highly creditable 1-1 draw with Celtic with a 1-0 victory away to Dundee, Richard Brittain getting the only goal from the penalty spot. Whilst Ross County remain unbeaten, things haven’t went as well for Dundee, as they remain stuck on 1 point.
Hibs’ improvement in the last couple of weeks has come as a bit of a shock, as they followed last season’s 5-1 Scottish Cup Final hammering by city rival Hearts with a 3-0 defeat in the opening game away to Dundee United. However, since then things have improved and they sit joint top of the SPL following a 2-0 victory against St. Johnstone. The real test for Hibs’ early season progress will come on Saturday when they face Celtic in a top of the table clash.
Celtic went top after a surprisingly easy 4-2 win at Inverness, a ground where they have toiled in the past. 18 year old Tony Watt was the star man for a patched-up Celtic, with two well-taken goals.
A bit of a surprise at Rugby Park where the previously unbeaten Dundee United self-destructed in ten minutes and lost 3-1 to Kilmarnock. Kilmarnock’s mixture of youth and inexperience will be looking to kick on from last season’s League Cup triumph, and this victory could be just the start.
Aberdeen and Hearts played out a goalless draw in a match Aberdeen dominated. Hearts, understandably tired after their superb effort against Liverpool in midweek will look on this as a point gained, whilst for Aberdeen it was yet another case of too many chances missed.
Mother and St. Mirren also drew, 1-1, which featured goals in the first and last minutes. Despite falling behind early on to a Michael Higdon goal, St. Mirren were well worth the point the gained from an injury time Thomas Reilly goal. Motherwell’s Shaun Hutchinson was red carded in this game, which followed his red card against Levante in the Europa League last week.
In the lower divisions, Partick Thistle continued their good start to the first division season with a 1-0 victory against Dumbarton. They are now the only team in Scotland with a 100% record. Dunfermline, Cowdenbeath and Falkirk also recorded victories.
Arbroath and Queen of the South are joint of the second division after victories against Alloa and Albion Rovers respectively. There was more excitement for Queens after they were drawn away to Rangers in the Quarter-Final of the Ramsden’s Cup.
Talking of Rangers, their indifferent start to life in the third division continued as they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Berwick Rangers. Ally McCoist considered the performance ‘embarrassing’ and admitted that Rangers were lucky to get a point.
Looking ahead to midweek, realistically it seems Celtic have the only chance of remaining in Europe, as they prepare to face Helsingborgs at Celtic Park with a 2-0 lead. Watch for some significant work in the transfer window from Celtic if they do make the Champions League. As for Hearts and Motherwell, it seems they have too much to overcome in their ties away to Liverpool and Levante respectively.
The League Cup also continues this week, the most notable ties being Falkirk’s visit to Ibrox and Queen Of The South against Hibs.