Scottish Premier League action round-up – August 2009

Welcome to A Different League’s coverage of all the action from north of the border as the Scottish Premier League gets underway for another exciting season. Be sure to keep up-to-date with one of the most passionate leagues in Europe as we offer monthly round-up’s for all SPL followers.

A sense of doom and gloom has permeated Scottish football due to several incidents impacting negatively on the game North of the border. Before a ball had been kicked in anger, the well publicized collapse of Setanta Sports put an immediate and unprecedented strain on the finances of many Scottish league clubs. A scarcely satisfactory contingency was put in place, with a greatly reduced joint television deal being offered by Sky and ESPN, putting an end to Scottish clubs’ hopes of a bidding war. On the continent, Scottish Premier League clubs crashed out of Europe at an alarming rate against such luminaries as Vaduz of Liechtenstein and Sigma Olomouc who despatched Aberdeen 8-1 on aggregate. Celtic were convincingly beaten by Arsenal in the Champions League qualifier, highlighting the gulf between the SPL and English football. Lower league Scottish football has been left in a state of farce due to Livingston’s on going appeal against their relegation to the third tier due to going into administration, resulting in fixtures in divisions one, two and three being counted “provisionally.” And last but not least, Scotland’s difficulties in qualifying for next years world cup became almost insurmountable after a catastrophic trip to Oslo.

It was left to the domestic game to provide some positive headlines when the SPL returned on August 15. Residing champions Celtic kicked off their league campaign with a tough looking fixture away at Mark McGhee’s Aberdeen. An excellent performance from a rejuvenated Aiden McGeady sealed the points for Celtic as they coasted to victory with a 3-1 win. McGeady, who had had his differences with the Hoops’ previous manager Gordon Strachan, scored twice before Scott McDonald netted the third just before half-time. Sone Aluko gave some respectability to the scoreline for the Dons with a second half consolation. Meanwhile Rangers got off to just as impressive a start with a 4-1 victory over Falkirk through a Kenny Miller brace alongside goals from Lee McCulloch and Steven Naismith.

Both Rangers and Celtic came through their second fixtures unscathed against Hearts and St Johnstone respectively and Hibernian were the third team to emerge from Week 2 with maximum points, setting up a tasty looking encounter at Easter Road where Celtic were to be the visitors during Week 3. Rangers beat Hamilton 4-1 the day before, with two goals each for Chris Boyd and Steven Whittaker. Hibs’ promising start under new manager John “Yogi” Hughes, included a 2-1 win over a St Mirren side that were reduced to ten men for much of the encounter. A late goal won the game for the Hibees, scored by Abdessalem Benjelloun, a player who had been out of favour and shipped out on loan last season by previous manager Mixu Paatelainen. The Edinburgh club looked far more assured a week later, triumphing 3-1 at Falkirk, with two second half goals from Derek Riordan winning the points.

Celtic then travelled to play Hibs in Edinburgh, in what was the first top of the table clash of the season, which proved to be a tight encounter with plenty of controversy. A Giorgios Samaras strike just before half-time proved to be the difference between the two teams, as Celtic held onto their lead in the second half. They were reduced to ten men after 62 minutes when McGeady was shown a second yellow card for diving. It was difficult not to spot the irony, the incident coming just days after Eduardo’s now infamous dive against Celtic and indeed, Tony Mowbray suggested it may have had a bearing on the referee’s decision. Replays suggested that McGeady had been harshly treated and it would have been hard for the winger to stay on his feet. However, ten-man Celtic put their backs to the wall and held on to their lead, but it took some excellent goalkeeping from Artur Boruc to ensure the Glasgow side returned home with three points.

After three games then, Rangers and Celtic occupy the top two positions with maximum points and a sense of business as usual pervades in the SPL. However, Dundee United have also enjoyed an unbeaten start to the season and big things are expected of Craig Levein’s side this season. The signing of striker Danny Cademarteri appears to be an exceptional transfer and the ex-Everton man has already scored three goals. United’s 2-0 victory over last season’s third placed side Hearts was probably the most notable result of the opening weekend. Cademarteri got off to a dream start converting a fourth minute penalty and finishing off Hearts with an 84th minute strike. After a disappointing 0-0 draw with St Mirren, United went third at the end of the month with a 2-1 win over Falkirk – Cademarteri and David Goodwillie providing the goals.

Hearts got off to a lacklustre start to the season and remain winless after three games played. As already mentioned, their opening day defeat to Dundee United was followed by another loss against Rangers and an away point at newly promoted St Johnston, who have yet to find a win themselves. Falkirk and Hamilton are the two clubs routed to the foot of the table, having yet to put a point on the board between them and things certainly look bleak for the Accies who have already shipped ten goals. St Mirren will have been glad to get a win under their belt against Kilmarnock after narrowly escaping relegation last season but will be nervously looking over their shoulder already. Aberdeen and Motherwell have got off to steady starts, Aberdeen recovering well from their opening day defeat to Celtic with a win over Hamilton and a 0-0 draw with Motherwell. Although it remains unlikely anyone will have be able to usurp the Old Firm, the competition for third place will be healthy, with Aberdeen, Motherwell, Hibs, Hearts and Dundee United all standing a realistic chance.

Full Results

Saturday August 15, 2009
Aberdeen 1-3 Celtic
Hibernian 2-1 St Mirren
Kilmarnock 3-0 Hamilton
Rangers 4-1 Falkirk
St Johnstone 2-2 Motherwell

Monday August 17, 2009
Dundee United 2-0 Hearts

Saturday August 22, 2009
Celtic 5-2 St Johnstone
Falkirk 1-3 Hibernian
Hamilton 0-3 Aberdeen
Motherwell 3-1 Kilmarnock
St Mirren 0-0 Dundee United

Sunday August 23, 2009
Hearts 1-2 Rangers

Saturday August 29, 2009
Aberdeen 0-0 Motherwell
Dundee United 2-1 Falkirk
Kilmarnock 1-2 St Mirren
Rangers 4-1 Hamilton

Sunday August 30, 2009
Hibernian 0-1 Celtic
St Johnstone 2-2 Hearts

Scottish Premier League action round-ups

Month 1 – August, 2009

Related posts

Leave a Comment