by John Reid

Bizarre managerial decisions are the order of the day as the Stramash returns.

Dundee harshly sacked manager Barry Smith last week, despite the fact he only had weeks to prepare a team to take on the SPL, as it took so long to decide what would happen to Rangers this season, and Dundee are still in the Scottish Cup. They are certain to be relegated, but that was always going to be the case. Oddly, former Rangers player John Brown – last seen threatening a war with Charles Green outside Ibrox in the summer – has taken over as manager until the end of the season. Brown, who was a player with Dundee in the 80’s, was not manager for Sunday’s visit to Celtic, coach Ray Farningham was as Celtic ran 5-0 winners, to be fair Dundee has competed quite well until Matt Lockwood was sent-off and the floodgates opened. Joe Ledley was Celtic’s star man with two goals.

Inverness are up to second after winning a five goal thriller 3-2 at Hearts. Inverness had been pegged back twice after taking the lead, but a fine goal from Gary Warren – his second of the game – gave Caley the points.

Ross County’s fine form continued as they trounced Motherwell 3-0, Ivan Sproule was County’s star man with the opening goal. Motherwell have now lost both of their games since the return of prodigal son James McFadden.

St. Johnstone followed up their midweek point against Celtic with a 1-0 win over St. Mirren, Rowan Vine with the only goal of the game.
Kilmarnock and Aberdeen drew 1-1 in a game dominated by the away side, but the talking point was Niall McGinn being booked for diving, when it seemed a definite penalty. Kilmarnock have signed Kris Boyd until the end of the season, but he didn’t play on Saturday.

In Sunday night’s game, Dundee United and Hibs drew 2-2 in a match that will be remembered for a brilliant Leigh Griffiths goal which put Hibs 2-1 up, and a dubious late penalty which enabled Johnny Russell to equalise with five minutes to go.

The first division title race is still close, with Morton and Partick both winning, Morton are five points ahead while Thistle have two games in hand. Morton won at Dunfermline, whose players are reporting the club to the SFA over unpaid bonuses.
Queen of the South remain miles ahead in division two, beating Albion Rovers 3-0 to go 21 points ahead of Alloa. In the third division, Rangers won 3-1 at Berwick Rangers, but the game was marred by sectarian chanting which was reported by ESPN which Rangers than apologies for in a statement.

There is a full SPL card in midweek, Aberdeen playing Ross County on Tuesday, whilst Wednesday has Motherwell against Celtic, Dundee United at Inverness, Hibs facing Killie, Dundee taking on St. Johnstone and a preview of the league cup final as Hearts play St. Mirren. The Stramash will return on Thursday with a round-up of these fixtures and a look ahead to next weekend’s Scottish Cup quarter finals.