by John Reid
Celtic stumble again, Leigh Griffiths keeps on scoring and Rangers hit seven in this week’s round-up.
Celtic returned to the top of the SPL on goal difference but will be furious with themselves as they contrived to draw 2-2 with Dundee United despite being 2-0 after 88 minutes. Miky – with his first goal for Celtic – and Tony Watt had fired Celtic into the lead but a goal from the recently returned from injury Gary Mackay-Stevens and an Efe Ambrose own goal gave United a draw they probably merited. Celtic’s indifferent form continues as they prepare to face Barcelona on Wednesday.
Hibs join Celtic at the top of the table after a 2-1 win over St. Mirren. Kenny Maclean had given the Saints the lead but two goals from the free scoring Leigh Griffiths gave Hibs the win. Hibs’ transformation from the team hammered in the Scottish cup final to the team who are proving the biggest threat to Celtic this season is something that has surprised even Hibs boss Pat Fenlon.
Inverness continued their good run with a controversial 2-1 win at Kilmarnock, the winner coming after Killie keeper Cammy Bell was sent off, and Billy McKay scoring the resulting penalty. However, Killie manager Kenny Shiels has reported referee Euan Norris to the SFA amid claims the ref made a ’sarcastic remark’ to Shiels. Just like the refereeing controversies down south, no doubt this will run and run.
St. Johnstone’s good run came to an end as they lost 3-1 at home to Motherwell, with two of ’Well’s goals coming from highly-rated youngster Jamie Murphy.
Another team’s unbeaten run ended as Aberdeen lost 2-1 in Dingwall to Ross County, a Mark Reynolds own goal and a strike from Steven Ross putting County ahead before a late consolation from Niall McGinn.
And now one of football’s anomalies – Dundee won their second league game of the season, beating Hearts 1-0. The only other league Dundee have won? 1-0 versus Hearts. Matt Lockwood scoring the only goal, which puts Hearts boss John McGlynn under further pressure, particularly as city rivals Hibs are doing so well.
With no lower league football this weekend, the focus fell on the Scottish cup, with the most notable score being Rangers’ 7-0 win over Alloa. This partially made up for their 3-0 defeat to Inverness in the league cup quarter-finals in the past midweek. The draw takes place on Monday and involves all the SPL teams – could Celtic be drawn against Rangers? We shall see.
Next week’s games include on-form Inverness versus Hearts, Dundee United’s visit to Hibs and Celtic at home to St. Johnstone, whilst in arguably the most intriguing game of the weekend, in the first division the top two meet as Dunfermline visit Partick Thistle.