Five of the best Scottish football opening day goals

Scottish league football is back to a new campaign and the opening weekend certainly provided plenty of drama and excitement.

Chic Charnley wheels away in delight after netting a wonderful strike in 1997. Picture: SNS

There were also a number of eye-catching goals on display, including Ali Crawford’s terrific finish for Hamilton, Celtic’s breathtaking counter at Tynecastle and Lionel Ainsworth’s audacious chipin Motherwell’s win over Killie.

But how do those goals stand up against some of the best opening day strikes over recent years? We went through the archives to find out.

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Chic Charnley - HIBS v Celtic - 03/08/97

One of the most infamous goals in Scottish football over the past 20 years and certainly the most noted opening weekend strike. Not so much for the scorer or the goal itself, though Charnley’s low drive from 25 yards was certainly a great hit, but for the Celtic player unwittingly providing the assist. Making his league debut for the Hoops, a Mr Henrik Larsson played a dreadfully short pass in his own half, allowing Charnley to run on and win the match for Hibs.

Marco Negri - RANGERS v Hearts - 04/08/97

Negri had already netted in this contest when he produced a piece of magic. Replays and new virtual reality technology from Sky Sports would show his opener hadn’t crossed the line, though there was no doubting his second a short time later. Taking advantage of an error in the Hearts backline, he floated a superb chip from the corner of the penalty area over goalkeeper Gilles Rousset. The Hearts stopper could do nothing but stand and admire the effort. Rangers would eventually run out 3-1 winners.

Lee McCulloch - RANGERS v Falkirk - 15/08/09

The future Rangers captain demonstrated both sides of his game with this stunning effort. He initially won the ball with a perfectly executed slide tackle in midfield, before getting to his feet and unleashing a 30-yard thunderbolt that nestled in the top corner. Rangers would win the match 4-1 en route to their second successive title.

Greg Stewart - Kilmarnock v DUNDEE - 01/08/15

On opening day last season, Paul Hartley’s side embarrassed their hosts with a 4-0 romp at Rugby Park. Stewart and new signing Rory Loy each helped themselves to a double, with Stewart’s opener the pick of the bunch. Drifting out to the right, he picked up the ball before driving into the centre of the park and on to his stronger left foot. From there he took aim and found the top corner with a soaring effort from 25 yards.

Saulius Mikoliunas - Kilmarnock v HEARTS

The Romanov Revolution heralded itself with a dazzling 4-2 win at Rugby Park as Hearts showed off a number of summer recruits. Debutants Rudi Skacel and Roman Bednar each got on the scoring, though the most eye-catching effort on the day belonged to Mikoliunas, who’d signed for the club halfway through the previous term. The Lithuanian picked up possession cutting in from the right before curling a terrific effort into the back of the net from 25 yards. It put Hearts 3-1 up. They would eventually win 4-2.

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