SIMPLY THE REST – THE BLOG THAT PUTS UP WITH WATCHING MICHAEL STEWART SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO
Hamilton 0-1 Celtic
Saturday’s game at the Fountain of Youth Stadium was like reading the Guardian’s list of the 100 best albums of the 21st century – instantly annoying, but making you pay attention to the end despite knowing that the end would ultimately be depressing. Celtic took the lead after 4 minutes through a James Forrest tap-in, and then despite Hamilton huffing and puffing for the rest of the game a Celtic victory never seemed in any serious doubt.
As we know, games on plastic pitches are to be survived rather than enjoyed, and Celtic will have been satisfied to have got through the game without any injuries other than a head knock for Christopher Jullien. According to Neil Lennon, the big defender was so out of sorts that he mistook his manager for a high-profile ginger sportsman that has had his tax and sexual affairs exposed in the tabloid press. While Jullien meant Boris Becker, it was to be fair an easy mistake to make.
Aberdeen 1-1 St Johnstone
Aberdeen continued their sluggish start to the season by drawing 1-1 with St Johnstone. Aberdeen had the better of the opening stages, and eventually took the lead after the ball broke kindly for Ryan Hedges in the box and he lashed home. This blogger once saw Joe Lewis down a Jägerbomb while on crutches with great aplomb, but he was much slower to get down to Michael O’Halloran’s trundling effort just before half-time which restored parity.
St Johnstone had the better of the second half while Aberdeen struggled to get anything going whatsoever. Derek McInnes was left to count the cost of a bruising encounter with Craig Bryson, Funso Ojo and Jon Gallagher all incurring injuries, whereas Tommy Wright no doubt left Pittodrie with a spring in his step, ready to continue his entertaining beef with pop songstress Amy McDonald.
Hearts 2-3 Motherwell
Hearts’ fans apoplectic rage at Craig Levein’s continued employment is getting funnier with each passing result, and Saturday’s collapse against Motherwell was no different. Despite Levein’s preference for a tall side containing more feet than Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Declan Gallagher scored a header from a corner to give Motherwell a 1-0 lead at half time. Sherwin Seedorf scored an absolute belter to make it 2-0 early second half after running onto an accidental defence-splitting pass from Uche Ikpeazu, which was met with incredulous joy from the away support and some of the best booing you will hear this side of St Mirren Park from the Tynecastle faithful.
Despite Ikpeazu making amends with a goal Don “The Rhino” Kitchenbrand would have been proud of to make it 2-1, Hearts’ comedy capers continued. Jermaine Hylton managed to put Sean Clare and Colin Doyle on their backsides simultaneously and then finished well to make it 3-1. The bright Ryotaro Meshino, who already looks out of place next to his lumpen teammates, added a late second for Hearts which was ill-deserved on the balance of play. Motherwell then currently look like the best of the rest, whereas Hearts look to be in real trouble ahead of their trip to Easter Road next week.
Kilmarnock 2-0 Hibernian
Despite initially appearing to have the same predilections as Junior Soprano, Angelo Alessio now seems determined to not go down. Kilmarnock continued their upturn in form with a comfortable victory over Paul “What the” Heckingbottom’s hapless Hibernian. After a goalless first half, Killie took the lead through Liam Miller, who finished neatly after a fantastic 80-yard pass from Stephen O’Donnell – yes, the same Stephen O’Donnell who was coming off the back of a couple of Argyriouesque performances in a Scotland shirt. The impressive Mohamed El Makrini scored the second with ten minutes to go.
The only solace Hibs fans can take from this season so far is that Hearts have been even worse than them. Swedish international Melker Hallberg made his debut but did not seem to make any great difference to a midfield which is still far from suited to the Scottish Prem. Next week’s Edinburgh derby promises to be a great laugh whatever happens, and you would think that the losing manager will be in receipt of his jotters immediately following the match. Will Paul Heckingbottom tenderly mouth “I’m sorry, I love you” to Craig Levein before kicking him in the chin and sending him into retirement? Probably.
Ross County 2-1 St Mirren
The road from Dingwall to Paisley will have felt like something out of a Cormac McCarthy novel for St Mirren after conceding a last-minute goal to go down 2-1 to Ross County. In what was an entertaining game containing equal amounts of good play and idiocy, St Mirren thought they had taken the lead just before half-time. Sadly for them, Jonathan Obika proved to be the worst thief since that lad that looked like David Schwimmer by poking an already goal-bound shot home from an offside position.
Early in the second half, County scored the opener through Ross Stewart after good work down the left by Mr Amy McDonald. Kyle Magennis was very unlucky to hit the woodwork on two occasions with long range efforts after strong runs, but St Mirren eventually equalised in comical fashion after Ross Laidlaw made a complete Horlicks of trying to save Tony Andreu’s weak free kick. The Staggies were the team to find the winner late on, after captain Marcus Fraser got on the end of a deep cross from Michael Gardyne.
Next week’s fixtures
Saturday 21st September
Livingston v Aberdeen
Motherwell v Ross County
St Mirren v Hamilton
Sunday 22nd September
St Johnstone v Rangers
Celtic v Kilmarnock
Hibernian v Hearts