Cowdenbeath win praise for drawing with Blades

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The preparations for the inaugural SPFL season moved up a gear on ­Saturday with sides from all four divisions involved in pre-season matches.

Games were held between teams from within the new organisation that now runs Scottish league ­football as well as against opposition from England and the Highland, Lowland and East of Scotland Leagues.

In a First Division versus League One meeting, Cowdenbeath and Colin Cameron were praised by the Blue Brazil player/manager’s Hearts ­Scottish Cup-winning team-mate David Weir after a 1-1 draw between the Fife side and Weir’s Sheffield ­United at Central Park.

Weir said: “I was impressed with Cowdenbeath. They try to play nice football and are obviously coached well. It was good to see my former team-mate again. He has done a good job here and I wish him well in the season ahead.

“It is early on in our preparation but I have been working the players hard and I am more than happy with how we are doing.”

Cameron added: “I thought the workrate from our guys was terrific and we have given ourselves a solid platform to build on for the rest of pre-season.”

The Blades, who had defeated Morton 1-0 last Wednesday, took the lead just before half-time when Chris Porter touched home a back post header from Harry Maguire following a cross from former Motherwell star Jamie Murphy.

Weir made ten changes at half time and the hosts pulled level on 64 minutes when summer signing Jordan Morton hit home from long range, sneaking the ball past George Willis in the Sheffield goal.

The Sheffield United manager will now be reunited with another member of the Tynecastle squad that defeated Rangers 2-1 at Parkhead 15 years ago when he takes his men to meet Grant Murray’s Raith Rovers on Wednesday at Stark’s Park.

In the Highlands, Inverness Caledonian Thistle showed little charity to Keith stalwart Graham Lonie in his testimonial match by knocking in nine goals without reply. Billy McKay hit a hat-trick, Ryan Christie and Graeme Shinnie netted braces with Gary Warren and Nick Ross also finding the net for Terry Butcher’s side. Ross County also defeated Highland League hosts with goals by Dutch signings Kevin Luckassen and Marc Klok seeing off Forres Mechanics 2-0. There was also a double sending off with the home side’s Ross MacPherson dismissed along with County’s Ivan Sproule after the pair got overly involved with each other.

County also sent a side to Strathspey and they drew 2-2 with Matty Bobrowski hitting a double for the Highland League side.

A young Hearts side defeated ­Selkirk 6-2 in a game from which half of the gate money at Yarrow Park was handed over to help the Tynecastle club. Robbie Buchanan and Gary Oliver both scored twice for Hearts along with Jordon McGhee and Sam Nicholson while Euan Pritchard and Kevin Barr found the net for Selkirk.

Motherwell went down 3-1 to Morton in a closed-doors game where a trialist striker had the Greenock side two up before Fraser Kerr pulled a goal back only for Martin Murphy to seal the win with a spectacular lob.

Queen of the South won 2-1 against Queen’s Park at Lesser Hampden in manager Jim McIntyre’s first game in charge. Aaron Splaine scored a late winner after Derek Lyle opened for the visitors and Tony Quinn ­levelled with a first-half penalty.

Alloa’s new recruit Willie Robertson gave his side the lead against East Fife but Jonny Stewart also marked his first game with new employers with a goal for the 1-1 draw.

Dumbarton scored three times in the second half as they defeated Civil Service Strollers 3-0 at Muirhouse with Chris Turner, Mitchel Megginson and Steven McDougall all scoring.

Jordan White netted late for ­Stirling Albion against his former club Falkirk to secure a 1-1 draw after the Bairns had led through Stephen Kingsley’s opener.

Forfar defeated Turriff 1-0 thanks to a goal by Omar Kader with three Second against Third Division meetings finishing with the same score.

Clyde defeated Airdrie courtesy of Ryan MacBeth’s goal, a Chris Aitken penalty gave Stranraer a win over East Stirling, while Stenhousemuir went down to Albion Rovers thanks to Liam Cusack’s goal.

Brechin City had a 1-0 win over Cove Rangers, but Angus neighbours Arbroath went down by the same scoreline at Craigroyston.

An Ally Love penalty and a Jordan Moffat tap-in helped Annan secure a 2-2 draw at Workington Town with Montrose seeing off Inverurie Locos 1-0 at Links Park.