SIMPLY THE REST – THE BLOG THAT PUTS UP WITH WATCHING MICHAEL STEWART SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO.
Hamilton 1-3 Motherwell
Rumours were rife in Lanarkshire in the lead up to this game that the Motherwell squad had fallen victim to a sickness bug – rumours that led one noted blogger and podcaster to put Hamilton on his coupon. Unfortunately, it was Hamilton’s prospects that were afflicted by the FOXDIE virus, falling two goals down and being reduced to ten men after no less than 21 minutes. Alex Gogić (own goal) and Liam Donnelly (penalty) scored the goals and nominative determinism’s Jamie Hamilton was the man sent off for a hand ball on the goal line.
Despite Hamilton scoring a penalty of their own after a good hand ball decision from Andrew Dallas (I know kids, I’m scared too), Motherwell saw out the rest of the game without incident and scored a lovely goal through new striker Chris Long to seal their victory.
Hibernian 2-2 St Johnstone
In a very entertaining game at Easter Road, Hibs struggled to live with a resurgent St Johnstone and were fortunate to escape with a point. Paul Heckingbottom has problems all over the park –defensive stalwarts that are starting to look their age, a midfield that is bereft of bastards and his big summer signing Christian Doidge looking like a turnip up top. Most post-match criticism focussed on Heckingbottom’s stationing of Scott Allan on the right of a midfield 4, a task which he approached with the same enthusiasm as with which he would be greeted at the Louden. On the opposite flank, our own Glenn Middleton continued his decent start in Leith with his second assist in as many games after his driven cross was cleverly turned home by Florian Kamberi to put Hibs 2-1 up.
St Johnstone were almost unrecognisable from the team that got walloped 7-0 at Parkhead and struggled to a 2-2 draw at home against Livingston last time out. Michael O’Halloran capped a fine performance with a superb finish (yes, you did read that correctly) to briefly draw the Saints level at 1-1, and the impressive Jason Kerr scored an injury-time header to secure a point and cause Tommy Wright to lose the run of himself and blow several kisses in the direction of the Easter Road main stand. While St Johnstone do still look in desperate need of a striker, they at least showed enough on Saturday to suggest that they will not be dragged into the relegation fight this season – particularly given that Wright has reportedly fallen out with Ricky Foster and he is soon to leave the club.
Kilmarnock 0-0 Aberdeen
Saturday’s game at Rugby Park was the worst spectacle on plastic since Lesbian Vampire Killers was released on DVD. An unsurprisingly dreadful game ended goalless, with the best chance falling to Chris Burke after he rounded Joe Lewis but was unable to hit the target. Kilmarnock got their first point of the season but still looked like a shadow of their former selves – the longer this goes on, the more Steve Clarke looks like the greatest tactical genius this side of the Professor in La Casa del Papel. Eamonn Brophy, bafflingly linked to Rangers, is really struggling for confidence and as a result Killie look completely wanting of an attacking threat.
Talking of being wanting of an attacking threat, Aberdeen have now drawn a blank in 4 of their last 5 games. They appear to be overly reliant on Sam Cosgrove for goals and Derek McInnes is becoming increasingly spiky in press conferences, referring to his new players having to realise what playing for Aberdeen is all about. I would have thought that putting together a run of eye-bleedingly dull domestic performances while crashing out of Europe is exactly what playing for Aberdeen is all about, but there you go.
Ross County 1-4 Livingston
Livingston absolutely hammered Ross County in Dingwall to continue their unexpectedly good start to the season. Livi came out of the traps quickly and raced into a 3 goal lead courtesy of Jon Guthrie, Steven Lawless and Lyndon Dykes – aided and abetted by Ross County’s disastrous defending, which was funnier than anything you’ll see this year at the Edinburgh Fringe. Ross Stewart pulled a goal back just before half time for County but this was very much against the run of play.
In the second half, Livingston put the icing on the cake by scoring the goal of the season so far – a sweeping counter attack move which culminated in a nice cross field pass from Lawless being met full on the volley by new signing Jack Stobbs on his debut. This could well be a multi-award winning season for Stobbs, as he will be in for a shout for goal of the season having already secured the prestigious Worst Haircut in the League trophy.
Celtic 3-1 Hearts
The earth is currently in the midst of a climate crisis. Unless the world’s governments take action immediately, then our lives will be unrecognisable by 2050. On our present course, more than half of the world’s population faces 20 days a year of lethal heat, crop yields globally will drop by a fifth, the Amazon ecosystem will collapse, the Arctic will be ice-free in summer, and sea levels will have risen by 0.5 metres. In short, the scale of destruction is beyond our capacity to comprehend, with a high likelihood of human civilisation coming to an end.
One thing that will not have changed by 2050 however is that Craig Levein will still be picking Christophe Berra at centre half for Hearts despite him being clearly past it. It was the lumpen defender that scored Celtic’s first goal after some comical miscommunication with goalkeeper Joel Pereira, despite Vakoun Bayo retrospectively claiming the credit. Callum McGregor then scored a rasper to make it 2-0, with Craig Halkett adding another own goal (Bayo again pretending to have scored) to make it 3-0. Scott Brown gave away a penalty which Conor Washington scored on the rebound to make it 3-1, but the game was long done by then. Time will tell whether pretending to score 2 goals is as good for confidence as actually scoring 2 goals, but regardless I think we can expect Edouard to be back in the team next week for the game at Ibrox.
Next week’s fixtures:
Saturday 31st August
Aberdeen v Ross County
Heart of Midlothian v Hamilton Academical
Livingston v St Mirren
Motherwell v Hibernian
Sunday 1st September
Rangers v Celtic