Scottish Premiership winners and losers: Rangers fans' banner, Neil Lennon v Craig Levein, Hibs boss' comments, Livingston style, Tommy Wright, tickets prices and plastic pitches

The winners and losers from the latest Scottish Premiership weekend.

Bayo was a huge hit for Celtic fans against Hearts. Picture: SNS

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Vakoun Issouf Bayo

Bayo was a huge hit for Celtic fans against Hearts. Picture: SNS

The Ivorian has had to bide his time since signing for Celtic in January from Dunajska Streda in a £2million deal. He played just a minute of football for the club in the second half of last season and has been brought off the bench a couple of times in European football this term.

Handed his first ever start for the club against Hearts, he duly delivered.

Bayo's brace in the 3-1 win is up for contention - his celebrations or lack of suggest that at least one was an own goal - but it was his all-round performance which impressed.

He went close twice with headers but it was a moment in the second half which especially warmed the home crowd. He chased down Hearts left-back Aaron Hickey and won a throw in. On the face of it 'football player presses opponent' isn't a big deal but it displayed the player's application and attitude. It tells those watching that he is up for the fight with Odsonne Edouard and Leigh Griffiths.

It also means Celtic don't need to add a striker before the window closes.

Neil Lennon

Speaking about Bayo, Neil Lennon said: “His forte is getting on the end of crosses." It was an avenue which paid dividends for Celtic in their win over Hearts.

Craig Levein noted that his side had played well, keeping narrow and limiting Celtic's attack.Conversely, Lennon had said that it was a plan to switch play after seeing Hearts' game plan. And it worked.

Bringing Kristoffer Ajer into play high up the pitch proved effective. All three goals came from play down the wings.

Borna Barisic

The left-back has had a frustrating time at Rangers since arriving last summer. It was expected he would leave this summer. Just as he seemed to get back into the first-team fold he dropped out again, not even getting on the pitch in the Betfred Cup clash with East Fife when Steven Gerrard rotated.

However, he was pitched in against St Mirren and proved decisive.

He may have not had the best of games overall in terms of his general balance between defence and attack but when it mattered he netted an important goal to secure the three points. It was not just the goal itself but the manner, a superb curling free-kick.

Livingston style

Much was made of Livingston's style last season as they made a dent on their return to the Scottish Premiership. Direct, aggressive, up-and-at-em. But as the season progressed and they had all but secured their safety Gary Holt started to tinker and experiment. This meant a switch to a back four and alterations elsewhere, in terms of style and personnel.

As they became increasingly inconsistent, and with a number of key players expected to depart at the end of the season, the feeling was that they would really struggle this term.

That has not been the case so far. They have progressed into the quarter-final of the Betfred Cup and remain the only team outside the Old Firm to remain unbeaten after three matches.

On Saturday they swept aside Ross County 4-1 in Dingwall. Not only did it prove they can play on grass but that their direct game plan is continuing to work. It has been tweaked and they try to play a bit more 'football' but their aim is to target the balls they play into the final third then play entertaining, fun football.

Lydon Dykes, Marvin Bartley, Scott Pittman and Steven Lawless were all impressive.

Goal of the season

Signed by Livingston on loan from Sheffield Wednesday before the weekend, not a lot was known about Jack Stobbs.

However, the 22-year-old may have just hit the goal of the season already - watch it here.

The cross from Steven Lawless. The composure, awareness and execution from Stobbs. The helpless dive from Ross Laidlaw. Bonus points for the side footed finish.

Bizarrely, in the build up to the goal it seems there is an accusatory shout of time wasting from the Ross County fans. Maybe he was referring to his own players for wasting his Saturday.

Chris Long

Motherwell have had issued with their starting striker this season. James Scott has plenty of promise but not quite the experience to lead the line, while the contribution from the wide areas has been erratic.

Chris Long was signed in the summer and seemed to have dropped to second in the pecking order behind Scott.

But after scoring against Hearts in the disappointing loss in the Betfred Cup last week he was handed a start against Accies and impressed.

He showed good feet in the build up to the penalty which saw Motherwell double scoring before netting the confirmation goal in the second half with a fine individual strike.

Tommy Wright

It has been a trying summer for the St Johnstone boss, especially in the transfer window as he tries to sign a striker.

It's Sunday night and he has just realised there is nothing in the house for dinner or his pieces to take to work on the Monday. He has been driving around town, from supermarket to supermarket, shop to shop. But just as he pulls into the car park he is met with sign being turned to read 'Closed'.

But he could finally be about to find the open shop as the Stevie May deal appears to be back on.

In addition, Saints got a deserved draw at Easter Road with a late equaliser from Jason Kerr. It was met by Wright turning to the Main Stand, looking up at he director's box and celebrating with kissed gestures as if he is on the podium having won a gold in the rhythmic gymnastics at the Olympics.

Prior to the game he had laid down the law at the club with Richard 'Ricky' Foster being banished for verbally abusing the current boss and club legend.


Ross County's defending

By far the biggest loser of the weekend was the Ross County defence. After a strong start to the season, the Staggies defence capitulated in quite stunning fashion as they went down 4-1 at home to Livingston.

The away side led 3-0 within 26 minutes. In that time the County defence made at least 14 mistakes, from not picking up opponents in the box to falling over to faux slide tackles. They are all detailed here.

It was a performance of sheer self-deprecation.

Ann Budge

In an interview with the BBC, Hearts owner Ann Budge once again issued her backing to Craig Levein.

For many fans, the manager and director of football is at the point of no return in his future as the club's boss but that is not the case with Budge.

The businesswoman will be picked up on the quote: "I think he's done a really good job in terms of what I asked him do."

Expanding on that she said: "Now he's doing the manager's job, but in terms of everything else that he's built, we have an infrastructure on the football side that I think is second to none. That is really good for moving forward."

Levein has helped transform the structure at the club from when Budge took over with the backing of the Foundation of Hearts. On arrival they found an academy which was understaffed and generally not fit for purpose at a club the size of Hearts.

Yet she also said: "there's a pile of supporters who don't agree with me on this". Word choice is important, especially when feelings are running as high as they are among the support at Hearts. The term "pile" will have likely been a slip of the tongue and nothing more but it was noticed by fans.

Paul Heckingbottom's comments

Like Craig Levein in Gorgie, Paul Heckingbottom is under pressure in Leith.

Hibs twice let a lead slip at home to St Johnstone in a performance which was best described as static. The second equaliser in injury time felt inevitable among the home support.

It was something Heckingbottom picked up on in his post-match comments: "We were trying to get the boys to relax but the stadium the whole stadium was anxious and that spread to the players."

Vocal fans felt that their manager was putting the blame on the home support. Whether that was the case or not perception is important.

Plastic pitches

Scott McKenna's injury at Kilmarnock on Saturday was the latest in a line of injuries plastic pitches have been blamed for causing.

The perception is that they are harmful and also provide managers with a convenient excuse.

Not much is made of injuries picked up by players on grass pitches.

Ticket prices

This could be a common occurrence in this column for the season ahead and it shouldn't just be Hamilton who are being picked up on it, but charging £25 for away tickets for their local clash with Motherwell is not ideal.

The gate was nearly 1,000 down on the first derby at Accies last season, albeit that one was at the end of December.

Ticket prices, especially away from home. Just ask fans of the Steelmen. For three supporters to take in their game at Livingston on the opening day of the campaign it was £71.

Clubs obviously have a bottom line and ticket revenue plays a huge part but there need to be a bit of give and take, especially with away tickets. The Premier League introduced a cap and Scottish football should follow.

The atmosphere and general 'look' of the game is so much better when there is a bigger travelling support.


Rangers fans raised a banner aimed at the club over the punishment from Uefa for racist and sectarian signing during the club's Europa League qualifier against St Joseph's earlier this summer. Yesterday also saw fan group Union Bears issue a statement criticising the club for, among other things, "chasing appeasement from two dubious organisations in UEFA and FARE" and "actively facilitated the targeting of our group and support as a whole, whilst offering no form of defence."

One of the banners aimed at the club read: "Their crime was only loyalty".

Nope, I believe signing offensive songs was the crime.

The reaction from Rangers fans was mixed regarding the punishment but there was a sizeable proportion who recognise the need for the fan base to wise up. Some, however, may not.