by John Reid
Celtic hit five, Partick Thistle hit seven and Craig Levein may be staying after all in this week’s Scottish football round-up.
Celtic warmed up for their visit to Barcelona on Tuesday with a comfortable 5-0 win at St. Mirren, the highlights being a thirty yard strike from Victor Wanyama and the acrobatic celebrations of Efe Ambrose after his first goal for the club.
St. Johnstone are now up to second place and having their best run of form since 1971, as they won 2-1 over Kilmarnock, goals from Davidson and Hasselbaink giving them the win.
Ross County recorded a 3-2 win over Hibs in a thriller, a late Colin McMenamin goal giving County their first win since August. Despite this loss, Hibs can be pleased with the way they’ve started this season and the prolific Leigh Griffiths scored for them once more.
Inverness continued their good run with a comfortable 4-1 win over Dundee, who remain rooted to the bottom of the table. As many feared, it seems like going up has came too early for this Dundee side, who it should be remembered finished a huge 24 points behind Ross County last season, and would not be in the SPL but for Rangers’ liquidation.
Dundee United and Aberdeen drew 1-1 after a pulsating game, Nial McGinn cancelling out John Rankin’s opener. It was a result which satisfied both teams, with United ending their run of defeats whilst Aberdeen kept their unbeaten run.
Hearts got their first home victory since the opening day of the season with a 1-0 win over Motherwell, a Danny Grainger strike being the difference between the sides. The win should relieve a bit of pressure on under-fire Hearts manager John McGlynn.
Looking ahead to next week’s fixtures, the most intriguing game looks to be the clash of two in-form teams, as Inverness play St. Johnstone. Friday night’s Motherwell-Hibs game looks good, and it will be interesting to see how Celtic cope after the rigors of Barcelona at home to Kilmarnock.
In the first division, Partick Thistle went back to the top after hammering Airdrie 7-0. They were further boosted with the news that previous leaders Dunfermline drew 2-2 with third placed Morton.
In the second division, Queen of the South stay top, despite being held 2-2 by Stenhousemuir. Despite this, they remain 7 points clear of second placed Forfar, who lost 3-0 to East Fife.
Rangers finally went top of the third division after a struggle against the amateurs of Queen’s Park. Watched by a crowd of almost 50,000, it took two second-half Lee McCulloch goals to give Rangers the win.
Finally, if reports in the press are to be believed, it seems that Craig Levein will remain Scotland manager for a while yet, at least until next month’s friendly with Luxembourg. It seems that having to pay compensation to Levein, the fact that he has so many players still behind him and the fact that he’s still popular with members of the SFA hierarchy are the main reasons he’ll still be boss, even after last week’s defeat to Belgium which ended Scotland’s hops of going to Brazil.