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Scottish Premier League – Week 1 previews

Hibernian 1 Hearts 3

Two late goals earned Hearts victory in the Capital derby. Hearts had the perfect opportunity to go ahead when Callum Booth was short with a passback and Graham Stack brought down Stephen Elliott inside the box – but Ian Black’s penalty was saved by the Hibs ‘keeper. However Hearts went in front after the interval when Black’s corner was met by Webster and, although Stack blocked his effort on the line, Ryan McGowan made sure from close range. Hearts lead lasted only a minute as Hearts skipper Marius Zaliukas turned Danny Galbraith’s cross into his own net. The arrival of substitute John Sutton tipped the game in Hearts’ favour. First the former Motherwell striker set up Andy Webster for a low driven finish then he used his strength to set up fellow substitute Rudi Skacel for a left-foot finish to make it 3-1 and move Hearts up to fourth in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League.

Dundee United 1 Aberdeen 2

Aberdeen recorded their second win over of the season over United thanks to a wonder Kari Arnason strike. The home side went in front when Jon Daly rolled the ball home in a goalmouth scramble. Aberdeen responded when Arnason’s throw in was helped on by substitute Rory McArdle and fellow sub Mohamed Chalali scored with his first touch of the ball to head past Dusan Pernis. United brought on new signing Richie Ryan but his first appearance was overshadowed by Arnason’s strike, the Icelandic midfielder finding the net from 30 yards.

Dunfermline Athletic 0 Celtic 3

post4aCeltic solidified their position at the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League with a comprehensive win at East End Park. Celtic went ahead when Georgios Samaras’ misdirected header fell for Anthony Stokes, who beat Chris Smith with a clever chip. Celtic increased their lead just before the break when Charlie Mulgrew’s free-kick was side-footed home by Victor Wanyama. Mulgrew lashed in the third from a second-half free-kick and Celtic could have added to their tally as they closed out the victory well on top. The Pars remain bottom of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League and haven’t beaten Celtic at home in the last thirty-one meetings.

Kilmarnock 2 St Mirren 1

Kilmarnock moved up to seventh in the table thanks to a stunning last-minute Danny Racchi winner. Lee Mair headed Saints into the lead when he beat Cammy Bell from Graham Carey’s corner. The home side levelled when Paul Heffernan found space in the box to fire home. The game seemed set to end in a draw until Racchi made room to lob a classy winner over Craig Samson.

Rangers 3 Motherwell 0

Rangers won at a cost – already without groin injury victim Nikica Jelavic, they lost Kyle Lafferty for a month with a hamstring injury. Lafferty went off after eight minutes with John Fleck replacing him. David Healy put Rangers in front when he took Maurice Edu’s pass and beat Darren Randolph from a tight angle. Rangers increased their lead when Steve Davis and Healy combined to set up Sone Aluko for a crisp finish in a well worked goal. Lee Wallace’s cross was then turned into his own net by Motherwell skipper Stephen Craigan to complete the scoring for the home side.

Match Previews Week 1

Aberdeen v Motherwell

Aberdeen have won only one of the last six Pittodrie games against Motherwell – and haven’t won any of the last eight meetings of the sides. The Dons have Ryan Jack and Rory Fallon missing through suspension while Kari Arnason is an injury doubt. For Motherwell defender Tim Clancy is missing as he starts a two-game suspension but they have re-signed former favourite Stephen Hughes.

Dundee United v Hearts

post7aIan Black serves the second game of his three-match ban, while Danny Grainger is also suspended. Former Hearts defender Robbie Neilson has signed a short-term deal with United. United have won six of the last seven Tannadice meetings of the sides – but they’ve also lost four of their last six games. Reserve keeper Filip Mentel has returned to Tannadice after being injured while on loan to Clyde.

Hibernian v Kilmarnock

Hibs have axed Colin Calderwood as manager and have lost their last three home games, while Killie lost six goals to Inverness Caley Thistle last time out. Kilmarnock this week have shown an interest in Cliftonville’s teenage striker Rory Donnelly as Kenny Shiels looks to improve his squad. His son, Dean Shiels has scored four goals in Kilmarnock’s last four Clydesdale Bank Premier League games.

Inverness Caledonian Thistle v Celtic

Terry Butcher has defenders Thomas Piermayr and Chris Hogg available after they missed the comprehensive win over Kilmarnock through suspension. His side have scored eight goals in their last two games. Celtic could be without midfielder Ki Sung Yeung after he ended up in hospital with a virus and missed South Korea’s two World Cup qualifiers. Celtic have won on five of their last ten visits to Inverness but haven’t won by more than a single goal since Craig Bellamy and Alan Thompson secured a 2-0 win in March 2005. It was Celtic’s 3-2 defeat on their last visit to Inverness in May that played a big part in them missing out on the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title. Shane Sutherland hasn’t scored for Caley Thistle since that game.

Rangers v St Johnstone

post7cRangers – who are taking former Aberdeen winger Sone Aluko on trial – will be without Gregg Wylde who starts a two-match suspension. It’ll be the first game in charge for new Saints boss Steve Lomas. Rangers transfer target and St Johnstone midfielder Murray Davidson could figure after coming through 70 minutes of a bounce match against Celtic last week. The midfielder hasn’t started a game since being injured against Livingston in the League Cup in August. Rangers have won twelve of their fourteen league games this season. Saints haven’t won on any of their last 28 league visits to Ibrox – their last came in April 1971.

St Mirren v Dunfermline Athletic

St Mirre have won only one of the last nine fixtures between the clubs. Their Aussie midfielder Aaron Mooy is taking injections to try and cure a troublesome back injury, while skipper Hugh Murray played half of a bounce game against Motherwell. Saints have won only one of their last four home games. Dunfermline’s win over Hibs was their first victory in ten games – and their next two away games after Paisley are at Ibrox and Parkhead. Pars’ Gary Mason serves the second match of his two-game ban.