by John Reid
It’s an extra-special Stramash this week as we look at the midweek SPL games, the end of the transfer window and the upcoming Scottish Cup games.
Celtic rebounded from their league cup defeat with a 4-1 win over Kilmarnock, Adam Matthews being the unlikely hero with two goals.
St. Mirren’s great week continued with a 2-1 win over Inverness, who stay in 2nd place, a late goal from Hampden hero Stephen Thompson securing the points.
Hearts defated bottom placed Dundee 1-0, John Sutton getting the goal, whilst Hearts’ Edinburgh rivals Hibs went done 1-0 to Ross County, former Hibee Ivan Sproule getting the goal.
Aberdeen’s poor run of form continued as they went down 3-1 at St. Johnstone, whilst the Motherwell-Dundee Utd game was called off.
In managerial news, Jackie McNamara has become the new Dundee United manager, after leaving high flying first division side Partick Thistle. McNamara and assistant Simon Donnelly have an intriguing first match in charge, as we shall see later.
In transfer window news, the biggest story was the transfer that didn’t happen, as despite bidding for him four times, Norwich failed to sign Celtic’s Gary Hooper. There were no bids for Victor Wanyama, despite speculation, and Dundee United turned down a bid for Johnny Russell from Sheffield United. Another move that didn’t happen was Wolves turning down a load bid from Celtic for Kevin Doyle.
In the notable moves that did happen, Celtic signed a goalkeeper – Viktor Noring from Trelleborgs, Hibs, who have been recently crying out for creativity, signed winger Matt Done on loan from Barnsley, and St. Mirren got Paul Dummett back on loan from Newcastle. Ross County pulled off an interesting signing, Branislav Micic from Sion, but to be honest it was quiet up here, which was what people expected.
The Scottish Cup takes centre stage this weekend, and at Saturday lunchtime Jackie McNamara faces a huge first game in charge of Dundee United as they face Rangers at Tannadice. The atmosphere will be odd, as Rangers fans have officially boycotted the game, but there are rumours of up to 500 Rangers going to the match. United will be favourites, but Rangers have a raft of SPL quality players, so it promises to be a very interesting game.
Also on Saturday, two intriguing all SPL cup clashes are Kilmarnock at home to Inverness, and St. Mirren at home to St. Johnstone. Both those games seem impossible to call. Saturday’s other cup games are Falkirk against Forfar (weather permitting) and Dunfermline against Hamilton.
There are three intriguing games on Sunday as Celtic attempt to put their recent cup problems behind them at Raith, Dundee at home to first division leaders Morton, and a season defining game between Hibs and Aberdeen, the loser of that game knowing that their season will practically be over.
The one SPL game is Ross County vs. Hearts, and in the first division caretaker manager Alan Archibald takes charge of Partick Thistle for the first time at Cowdenbeath.
The round-up will be back on Sunday night with details of all this weekend’s games, and the news of the Scottish Cup quarter-final draw.