Scottish Premiership winners and losers: Celtic's £16m boost, 4-4-2, long punts, Rangers steel, Aberdeen direction, Ross County's key man and Edinburgh's failures

A day late but Joel Sked looks back on the fifth weekend of the Scottish Premiership season.

Stephen O'Donnell made a key assist against Hibs on Saturday. Picture: SNS
Stephen O'Donnell made a key assist against Hibs on Saturday. Picture: SNS


Mohamed Elyounoussi

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Celtic could have secured themselves an attacking player who is not only going to be of benefit to them domestically but help push them on on the European stage. It took less than 200 seconds for the Norwegian to set up James Forrest for the only goal of the game in the win at Hamilton Academical.

Stephen O'Donnell made a key assist against Hibs on Saturday. Picture: SNS

More than that he gives Neil Lennon extra quality in the attacking third. Not only as a £16million player but someone who is versatile in operating in different attacking roles.

He has experience of playing in both the Champions League and Europa League, starring for Basel, while he has 24 caps for Norway so is more than used to having to concentrate on his defensive responsibilities also.

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Harry Paton

The Canadian midfielder spoke in the summer of his desire to make a mark at Ross County. He joined the club on a permanent deal in June 2018 but struggled for game time in the Championship-winning campaign having impressed hugely at Stenhousemuir. However, the step up to the Premiership may actually suit a player of his quality more.

It is an area of the pitch which has question marks for the Staggies. They have had to deal with injuries, such as Ross Draper, meaning Iain Vigurs has been paired with Joe Chalmers or Tom Grivosti in the centre. Despite a decent start the outings against Livingston and Aberdeen showed the struggles of a four-man midfield, especially with Vigurs as one of the two.

On Saturday, against St Mirren, Ross Stewart was moved wide, Vigrus slightly deeper and Ewan Henderson and Paton ahead of him in a 4-1-4-1.

While the centre of the pitch is slightly on the light side, it was Paton who shone the most with a Bugs Bunny-esque performance. He seemed to be everywhere and doing everything.

Still just 21, what marked him out was his willingness to take responsibility, whether it was through communication and organising or simply getting on the ball and trying to make things happen.

Direct football

One man's punt is another man's laser-guided pass. That was the case at Rugby Park where Stephen O'Donnell's glorious assist for Liam Millar's opener against Hibernian didn't get the credit it was due by some.

Plenty was made of Scott Allan's sublime assist for the Easter Road side in their 6-1 defeat to Rangers earlier in the season. While that may be more aesthetically pleasing there was something so deliciously straight-forward about O'Donnell's.

Collecting the ball outside his own box, he knew exactly what he wanted to do and where he wanted the ball to go. Lined himself up and with great gusto sent the perfect pass across the pitch over Ryan Porteous, the centre-back with a look of someone watching their drone smash to the ground, and into Millar's path.

It took the ball six seconds to hit the back of the net after leaving O'Donnel's foot. Simple, direct, effective.

Sherwin Seedorf

It was all about the variety of noises. There was the ball thudding off the bar, then crashing against the net. The unexpected joyous screams of the Motherwell fans. The indignant booing from the home crowd.

Seedorf pounced on a loose ball and drove straight for goal. As ever with forwards there was a selfishness. Wallop. The ball was hit and stayed hit until it had zoomed past Colin Doyle, crashed against the bar, then the net and eventually stopped moving.

It was a goal the Surinamese-born winger deserved. He was a constant outlet for the visitors out left. With Hibs still untying Steven Whittaker from the knots he was put in by the player, it was Jamie Brandon's time. The right-back being put in a daze by his opponent.

Seedorf is clearly still raw. He will have his off days, days where he frustrates Stephen Robinson but what he showed on Saturday was a willingness to do the stuff his manager will want, working hard, not getting his head down, trying to win the ball back if he lost it.


Coming into the match with Livingston after the Old Firm defeat it was always going to be the case of 'what are Steven Gerrard's men made of'.

For a while it seemed that they could be falling five or even six points behind rivals Celtic. Yet, after going behind against an in-form Livi following some rubbish set-piece marking they rallied and displayed their aptitude and they they are made of sterner stuff.

James Tavernier looks like he is getting back up to speed, Brandon Barker made a positive impact and, of course, Alfredo Morelos. The Colombian was back in the starting XI and showing he is the club's No.1 striker.

It is not been a scintillating start to the season for Gerrard's men with Europe perhaps taking its toll but they showing they are mentally tougher than in previous seasons.


Ross Laidlaw

There are some fans of Raith Rovers who are still coming to terms with Ross Laidlaw as a Premiership goalkeeper. Yet, he never once let Hibs down and did a decent job for Dundee United in the Championship last season.

So far he has been steady for Ross County. He made a great stop to deny Conor Washington when the Staggies visited Tynecastle.

Then he made what could be the worst goalkeeping error of this season, allowing Tony Andreu's shot to squirm under his body and into the back of the net.

Dons' reaction

There will be a crumb of comfort for Laidlaw in that even the league's best goalkeepers can be made to look silly. Enter Joe Lewis.

He took approximately 37 years to get down to Michael O'Halloran's trundling shot in the 1-1 draw with St Johnstone. By the time he hit terra firma it appeared that his hands had evaporated as the ball was allowed to get past him.

If there is any Dons player with credit in the bank, it is him.

What was most concerning, however, was the reaction after the break. Derek McInnes' side never once looked like getting back into the game. In fact, they never once looked like they knew how to get back into the game.

There is something not quite right at Pittodrie.

Long punts

Long balls have a place in the game, especially Scottish football. They can be highly useful and effective. But they should be split into two categories: a long pass (see Stephen O'Donnell's assist) and long punts (see Heart of Midlothian on Saturday).

Hearts had the most basic of gameplans in their 3-2 defeat to Motherwell at Tynecastle. Only the introduction of the diminutive Ryotaro Meshino gave the team any sort of creativity and ingenuity.

Before his substitution the plan seemed to be 'Colin Doyle to kick it hard and long in the direction of Uche Ikpeazu'. It didn't work.

Peter Hartley told Liam Donnelly to sit in front of the Hearts striker as the Motherwell captain was behind him. Nullified.

It showed the lack of ideas in the home side. It was best epitomised by Christophe Berra. He got the ball in an abundance of time and space on the edge of the box. He turned back towards his own goal and passed it to Doyle the goalkeeper. Boos ensued.


It has not been a good season for 4-4-2 so far.

There was another moment from the Hearts v Motherwell game where the visitor's midfield trio made three passes between them, around the home side's midfield duo which allowed Liam Polworth to get he ball in space and feed Devante Cole for a great chance.

Craig Levein's side have had no success with 4-4-2. Ross County's failings showed up against Livingston and Aberdeen. They moved one of their forwards wide in the win over St Mirren. Hibs attempted 4-4-2 with Scott Allan wide. No, just no.

The formation can work but it needs particular players to be well drilled. That has not been the case.

Hibs attack

The Easter Road side have been really poor at both ends of the park. The defence has understandably come in for stick. Six goals conceded against Rangers, two against St Johnstone, three at Motherwell, two at Kilmarnock plus the three given up to Greenock Morton.

Yet, they have not been flourishing at the other end. Against Killie they created very little with shots coming in from distance.

Manager Paul Heckingbottom has been switching around personnel and formations but they appeared disjointed once more at Rugby Park with Scott Allan playing somewhere between the centre and wide and Stevie Mallan vice versa. It has left Florian Kamberi isolated in attack.

Ryan Kent

It was one of the summers' transfer saga. Will he, won't he. Eventually he did return with Rangers paying Liverpool what will be a substantial amount.

There was excitement about his inclusion against Livingston.

He left the pitch injured in the first half.