Monday, September 29, 2008

Scotland Wrap Up

Due to an outpouring of support (one guy at least), I'll be reviving my once-a-week look at fitba from the league to the north of the EPL. Skip ahead if you like, but know this is the only post for at least half an hour.

This weekend saw the seventh round of matches take place. Rangers entered the weekend with a three point lead over Celtic. No surprises there, then. Hearts were one more point back. Hibs, Killie and Hamilton filled out the Top Six.

Saturday saw a slate of five games, with the big one being Celtic hosting Aberdeen. Early season from has not been kind to the Dons, at least at home. They nicked a point off of Rangers, but lost their other three home matches. On the other hand, Aberdeen came in perfect on the road, and, at one point, looked to be keeping that intact.

Celtic had the much better start, putting pressure on the Aberdeen backline early. It paid off in the 14th minute when Aberdeen failed to clear their lines, and Jan Vennegoor of Hessleink (now and forever to be referred to as JVoH on this site) slammed home from 10 yards out. Aberdeen upped their game for the rest of the half, and looked the better squad at the break.

That continued into the second half. In the 57th minute, a run down the right produced a cross that Lee Miller flicked on. All the Celtic defenders had run to the near post, leaving Charlie Mulgrew alone at the back from 15 yards. His volley found the back of the net. Twelve minutes later, Mulgrew took a blistering free kick from 30+ yards and beat both the wall and Boruc to the near post. Celtic should have immediately replied, but a open header from three yards out was bounced over the crossbar. No matter, Celtic would break my heart soon enough. Substitute Scott McDonald scored seven minutes after his introduction, and JVoH scored when the ball squeaked under Aberdeen keeper Jamie Langfield and off the post in the 90th. In a game where the teams were pretty even, it was one heck of a letdown for the struggling Dons. 3-2 Celtic.

The other Saturday games, i.e. the ones I did not watch, were home wins as well and went like this:
Dundee United slaughtered Heart of Midlothian 3-0. As the BBC guy said, this was a shoot on sight from 30 yards game for the Terrors. A couple of those went in, courtesy of Conway, Daly and Robertson.
Falkirk scored five against Hamilton Academical, but only four of them were in the correct goal. Scott Arfield scored a brace for the Bairns. Hamilton, which started their SPL campaign brightly, did not look good at all, and only a 90th minute own goal spared them sole honors for the worst defeat of the week. 4-1
Motherwell edged out St Mirren 2-1, reversing a 0-1 deficit from halftime. St Mirren felt hard done by in the 70th when the assistant referee signaled that Franco Miranda had elbowed his opponent while jostling for a throw in. The referee produced a straight red for the offense. To be fair, though, Motherwell had already taken the lead by that point.
Finally, Inverness CT continued their fine early season run by defeating Kilmarnock 3-1. Killie scored early, but Caley scored two in the first half and finished the game off in the 81st, shortly after Kilmarnock had Fowler sent off.

On Sunday, Hibernian hosted Rangers, and Rangers were not very nice. Hibernian had the early chances, with two clear efforts being saved. Rangers scored on the half hour, as Kenny Miller headed home against his former team. Miller scored again 10 minutes later and Madjid Bougherra produced the final goal of the match on the 73rd. The scoreline flattered the visitors, as Hibs had many chances. But,as we know, chances don't count unless converted. Rangers retain the top spot 0-3.

Updated table (team, points, goal differential)
Rangers, 19, +10
Celtic, 16, +7
Hearts, 12, -2
Inverness CT, 10, +2
Kilmarnock, 10, -1
Hibernian, 10, -2
Hamilton Academical, 9, -2
Dundee United, 8, -1
Falkirk, 7, -2
Motherwell, 7, -3
Aberdeen (sigh), 7, -3
St Mirren, 5, -3


The NY Kid said...

I'm going to start tagging my Ligue 1 Weekend Review with:

"just for dad"

Matt said...

Mulgrew continued the trend of Strachan send offs hurting Celtic. I expect Derek Riordan to score 8 goals his first trip to Parkhead with Hibs. Of course, with Hibs it is always "defense optional" so Celtic will win 9-8.

The Fan's Attic said...

the third place goal difference is shocking. minus 2 and in third place?

ü75 said...

Welcome to the SPL, where it's the OF and clubs in Europe spots with Everton GDs.

King Garry I Of Swandanavia said...

My mighty Celtic taking the title this year, without the need for fixture congestion. Hopefully.

Also, St. Mirren for the drop, and the Accies to just about stay up. Their early form appears to be slipping gently. Same GD as Hearts though, so who knows?

Also, I fully expect Riordan to thump us for making him spend so that time keeping the bench warm, he's probably worm a groove. Poor sod.