SIMPLY THE REST – THE BLOG THAT PUTS UP WITH WATCHING MICHAEL STEWART SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO
Aberdeen 3-0 Ross County
Aberdeen cruised to their first victory since the opening weekend with a straightforward victory over the increasingly hapless-looking Ross County. Greg Leigh scored the opener with a header from a dodgy, if well worked, free kick. There was no question about the award of Aberdeen’s penalty after County’s keeper wiped out Lewis Ferguson, and this was dispatched by Sam Cosgrove. Ryan Hedges then sealed the victory after bravely getting on the end of an excellent cross from Niall McGinn. Despite a ropey start, Aberdeen still look well placed to finish 3rd this season – albeit that is as backhanded a compliment as they come given the relative quality of the league.
Ross County made the bold decision to keep faith with their 4-4-2 formation which has begun to look as easy to play through as Goldeneye on Agent level. Shockingly, signing our old friend Ricky “Richard” Foster in midweek did not improve matters and they have now shipped 7 goals in their last 2 league games. They did however loan Ewan Henderson from Celtic on deadline day, which could be a bit of a coup for them – especially if it precipitates a move towards a 3-man midfield which would surely help them be a bit more solid.
Hearts 2-2 Hamilton
Ah, Hearts. Despite the excitement engendered by the loan signing of Ryotaro Meshino, the Jambos conspired to draw 2-2 with a Hamilton side as inconsistent as the writing in series 2 of Killing Eve. Sean Clare scored the opener for Hearts after good work from Craig Halkett. Tynecastle’s premier purveyor of pratfalls, Christophe Berra, then intervened by getting himself in a fankle with left back Aidy White which allowed George Oakley to equalise. Berra did roll back the years by scoring a header to put Hearts back in front, only for Oakley to equalise again with a neat finish following good work from Aaron McGowan.
Hearts seem to be in quite a mess, despite Craig Levein having amassed a squad that looks pretty good on paper (admittedly if the paper was from 3 seasons ago). It is hard to predict how the Hearts board will react to the fans completely losing the plot with Levein given he is on said board, but surely the status quo cannot last for too much longer. As for Hamilton, they signed a German attacking midfielder from the Belgian second tier on deadline day. Textbook Hamilton behaviour.
Livingston 2-1 St Mirren
When Avon Barksdale got jailed at the end of the first series of The Wire, it was left to his second-in-command Stringer Bell to keep business ticking over. So it was for Livingston on Saturday, after a weight lifting incident left manager Gary Holt indisposed and his assistant Davie Martindale in charge. Fittingly it was a corner that Livingston profited from in the first half, with Alan Lithgow scoring the opener from a free header. Lyndon Dykes continued his decent start to the season by adding a second after good work from Chris Erskine.
Jim Goodwin was forced to abandon his Buddienaccio approach in the second half, but despite scoring a cracking goal through Kyle Magennis St Mirren were unable to find an equaliser. Neither side made any signings on deadline day, but St Mirren have been strongly linked with Kirk Broadfoot after he terminated his contract at Kilmarnock. That would look to be a very good signing for a team in St Mirren’s position, particularly given centre half Sean McLoughlin was badly at fault for both Livingston’s goals on Saturday.
Motherwell 3-0 Hibernian
Ah, Hibs. Sherwin Seedorf dominated Steven Whittaker in the most X-rated display you will see this side of Casper Kent’s Instagram page, scoring the opener and causing the past-it full back all sorts of problems in the first half. Motherwell briefly threatened to allow Hibs back into the game by missing a hatful of chances, before Adam Jackson took matters into his own hands by giving away a particularly daft penalty to allow Liam Donnelly to put Motherwell 2-0 up. A late goal from Jermaine Hylton killed both the game, and potentially Paul Heckingbottom’s career at Easter Road.
Whittaker’s poor performance in covering for the injured David Gray was perhaps a factor in Hibs’ last move of the transfer window, signing former Ross County right back Jason Naismith on loan from Peterborough. If he recaptures the form he showed in Dingwall Naismith should be decent acquisition, but Hibs still look very light in the middle of the park unless the as-yet-unseen Melker Hallberg can provide the steel they have been lacking. Motherwell also made a loan signing from Peterborough, with former Kilmarnock and Dundee midfielder Mark O’Hara joining them for the season.
St Johnstone 0-1 Kilmarnock
Kilmarnock gained their first 3 points of the season through a hard-fought victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. Stephen O’Donnell scored the only goal of the game after an excellent surging run from Liam Miller down the left wing. Despite (because of?) introducing Stevie May off the bench, the Saints were unable to equalise and this result leaves them bottom of the table on just 2 points after 4 games.
Kilmarnock were the most active club in Scotland on deadline day, showing as much enthusiasm for loan signings as Michael Beale on Twitter. Killie loaned Osman Sow from Dundee United, centre half Connor Johnson from Wolves and winger Harvey St Clair from Venezia, to add to the loan of Dario Del Fabro from Juventus in the week. Kilmarnock have also been linked with Graham Dorrans following his release from Rangers, although it would be a surprise if his body was able to cope with the twin demands of playing on the Rugby Park pitch and training with Alan Power on a daily basis. St Johnstone meanwhile made a double Old Firm loan swoop, signing Anthony Ralston from Celtic and Jason Holt from our good selves.
Saturday 14th September
Hamilton Academical v Celtic
Aberdeen v St Johnstone
Heart of Midlothian v Motherwell
Kilmarnock v Hibernian
Rangers v Livingston
Ross County v St Mirren