by John Reid

A later than usual round-up this week due to Monday night’s game, as we look forward to the biggest game in Scottish football for five years.

Celtic warmed up for their Champions League game with Juventus with a 3-1 win at Inverness.  Celtic played almost a reserve side, and fell behind when Nick Ross gave Caley the lead, but a Kris Commons leveller and goals from debutant Rami Gershon and Miku gave Celtic a comfortable win. Inverness stay second and they have now lost their last four games.

Motherwell failed to overtake Inverness in second as they went down 2-0 at Kilmarnock, an Stephen Hammell own goal and a goal from Gros giving Killie the win and to make matters worse for Motherwell both Fraser Kerr and Keith Lasley were sent-off for fouls on James Dayton.

Jackie MacNamara’s good start as Dundee United manager continued as they won 3-1 against Hearts, but the game was marred by a controversial red card for Hearts’ Ryan Stevenson when the score was 2-1. Hearts manager John McGlynn has said he is considering an appeal.  United’s scorers were Johnny Russell, Willo Flood and Michael Gardyne, whilst the impressive Michael Ngoo scored once more for Hearts.

Aberdeen and St. Mirren played out a goalless draw which was most memorable for the state of the Pittrodrie pitch, which resembled a potato field.

Dundee are even more isolated at the bottom of the SPL after losing 2-0 at home to Ross County, although the first goal was disputed as it seemed that Paul Lawson’s shot may not have crossed the line. Gary Glen made the points safe.

In the Monday night game, St. Johnstone cruised to a 3-1 win at Hibs, Rowan Vine getting two goals. It could have been even worse for Hibs as the Saints also missed a penalty.  St. Johnstone are now only one point behind Inverness and Motherwell.

In the first division, Morton took advanatge of Partick Thistle’s trip to Raith being postponed by beating Airdrie 4-0 and moving eight points clear, although Thistle have three games in hand. The teams meet in what is arguably the biggest game of the weekend on Saturday.

In the second division, Queen of the South are now eighteen points clear after beating Stenhousemuir 2-1, and Rangers partially made up for their loss to Dundee United by defeating Queen’s Park 4-0 in the third division.

The Celtic-Juventus game on Tuesday night is probably the biggest game in Scottish football since Rangers played Zenit in the Europa League final in 2008.  Even though Celtic are underdogs, they can take heart from their incredible win over Barcelona in the group stages.  It promises to be a fantastic occasion at Celtic Park.

Next week’s SPL games include Dundee United’s trip to Celtic, third against second as Motherwell take on Inverness and a Friday night game between Aberdeen and Dundee.  The blog will be back to cover all the action.