Scottish Premiership winners and losers - Rangers star fails to impress, imperious Celtic, Super Killie, worrying Hibs signs, Craig Levein comments, awful Aberdeen, Livingston's No.1

A look back the weekend's Scottish Premiership action.
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David Wotherspoon

Scott Arfield once again had a quiet game for Rangers. Picture: SNSScott Arfield once again had a quiet game for Rangers. Picture: SNS
Scott Arfield once again had a quiet game for Rangers. Picture: SNS

Going into Saturday's fixture with Hamilton Accies, St Johnstone were the only team in the league yet to pick up a win. Somewhat a surprise given the attacking talent Tommy Wright possesses. However, it was a Saints stalwart who played a key role.

Matty Kennedy impressed through the middle and had a hand in all three goals in the late 3-2 win. Ali McCann once again starred at the heart of the midfield, setting the tempo, bringing composure and direction to Saints' play.

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But it was Wotherspoon who stole the headlines. He had his critics last season among the Saints support for a host of mediocre displays but he linked well with the aforementioned Kennedy and Scott Tanser, while he took his two goals really well.

Wright said: "David is a wonderful footballer, he's two-footed and showed what he can do. That was his 250th game for the club and he's been a great player for us over the years."

David Wotherspoon was key for St Johnstone. Picture: SNSDavid Wotherspoon was key for St Johnstone. Picture: SNS
David Wotherspoon was key for St Johnstone. Picture: SNS


Saturday marked 100 days since Killie exited Europa League qualifying in embarrassing fashion to Connah's Quay Nomads. The knives were out for Angelo Alessio from the start. He would be lucky to last another 100 hours let alone 100 days.

Yet, come Saturday evening Kilmarnock were third, the position they finished the weekend in. It has been slow and steady progress under the Italian. They are not an exciting team but they are competitive and extremely difficult to play again, especially through the midfield with Alan Power, Mohamed El Makrini and Gary Dicker. The latter scored the only goal against St Mirren and his second in consecutive weeks after netting just once in 136 games for the club.

Summer signing Laurentiu Branescu had another solid game between the sticks and now is conceding just 0.76 goals per 90 minutes.

Celtic were electric in their win over Aberdeen. Picture: SNSCeltic were electric in their win over Aberdeen. Picture: SNS
Celtic were electric in their win over Aberdeen. Picture: SNS

Super subs

To say Ross County set up at Easter Road cautiously is probably an understatement. They were coming into the clash after a 6-0 thrashing at Celtic. Lewis Spence and Ross Draper were a robust midfield pairing with Richard Foster fielded as a winger.

Hibs should have put the game to bed, missing a number of chances. In the space of seven second-half minutes Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson made a trio of positive substitutes. Firstly, Brian Graham saw the Staggies go two up front. The ex-Hibee netted a fantastic goal to get the away side back in the game before missing a sitter seconds later to equalise.

Josh Mullin added more attacking penetration on the right, while Joe Chalmers gave the visitors a more technical option in midfield and it was him who scored the equaliser.

Matija Sarkic has been a steady presence in the Livingston goal. Picture: SNSMatija Sarkic has been a steady presence in the Livingston goal. Picture: SNS
Matija Sarkic has been a steady presence in the Livingston goal. Picture: SNS
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County have their issues in defence but they do have quality in midfield and attack.

Matija Sarkic

The English-born Montenegrin appeared to be signed on loan from Aston Villa in the summer to become the No.1 at Livingston following the departure of Liam Kelly. However, he had to bide his time behind Ross Stewart.

After some iffy performances from Stewart he was given his chance and repaid Gary Holt's decision. Again at the weekend he produced an excellent stop, saving a one-on-one with Uche Ikpeazu. He has been a steady presence as the last line of defence.

Sarkic was rarely troubled in the second half despite Livi playing with 10 men. While it showed the deficiencies in the Hearts attack, it also highlighted how hard the West Lothian outfit are to play against. Their organisation, structure and competitiveness.

Celtic's quality

Hibs allowed a two-goal lead to slip to Ross County. Picture: SNSHibs allowed a two-goal lead to slip to Ross County. Picture: SNS
Hibs allowed a two-goal lead to slip to Ross County. Picture: SNS

Celtic were superb against Aberdeen, especially in the first half. It is hard to do their performance justice with words.

Neil Lennon said: "It is just outstanding football, outstanding control of the game. We were magnificent, you can't ask any more."

You can't really say any more.

In the last week they have sent out a huge message, domestically and in Europe. They may lack the steady, consistent control of a Brendan Rodgers side, certainly on the domestic front. However, they are much more fun under Lennon. They take more risks, they are more direct, they are more anarchic.

There will be games where it doesn't click and they will get a bloody nose, but they will equally respond by stuffing teams. Because, I mean, what an array of attacking talent.

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In addition, Jeremie Frimpong. I wrote about him last week. But what a gem.


Hibs' fragility

You haven't won since the opening day of the season. You are 2-1 up and holding on, having been 2-0 up and cruising. There's a matter of minutes left on the clock. An opponent is lining up a shot from the edge of the area in front of your two centre midfielders. Block it, get your body in front of it, make the player feel uncomfortable and pressurised. Just do anything.

Stevie Mallan and Josh Vela showed exactly what not to do. The Hibs pair created the perfect gate for Joe Chalmers to fire in a late equaliser for Ross County. They may as well have just stood and applauded. Maybe chucked some celebratory confetti at the ball as it whizzed past like they do to the bride and groom at weddings.

As the ball hit the back of the net a sustained period of booing commenced, intertwined with some chanting. It lasted for more than a minute. Picked up again during stoppage time before reaching a crescendo at full-time.

Hibs should have won the match. They had the chances in either half to do so. But when Brian Graham turned Ryan Porteous far too easily and sent a shot flying past Chris Maxwell the home side weren't winning the match. If Graham had netted the chance he got seconds later the visitors would have went on to win it.

This is a fragile side who are on the verge of bringing back the term 'Hibs'd it'. And that lies at Paul Heckingbottom's door. Thirteen points dropped from winning positions.

Levein's comments

When Livingston attacker Aymen Souda had been shown the red card from referee Greg Aitken after a reckless attempt at an overhead kick which caught Hearts captain Christophe Berra many Hearts fans were not thinking 'perfect, we'll take control of the game'. It was closer to 'great, we're going to fail to beat 10 men'.

Afterwards Craig Levein said: "We have built on it [the Rangers result] to a degree because we lost 5-0 here last year. Today was a hell of a lot better than that."

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Such comments are not helping the Hearts boss' standing amongst the support. Fans feel it is a defeatist view, not fitting of a team with the ambition of the Tynecastle club.

Edinburgh football

More specifically, Edinburgh's top-flight clubs. They have now played 10 Premiership games each and amassed two wins between them. Embarrassing.

Kirk Broadfoot

The St Mirren defender didn't have a bad game. Far from it. The Buddies were arguably the better side in their 1-0 loss at Kilmarnock. They certainly created the better chances.

However, you could forgive Angelo Alessio to raising a smile at the fact Killie hit a late winner against a team containing Broadfoot.

The centre-back had some choice comments when he left Rugby Park earlier this season.

“It was night and day to what it had been like under Steve. He was super-organised and there was a real tempo to training in every session. When Angelo came in training was just so flat and there was little tempo to it. I didn’t feel fit or sharp. I ended up going to the gym to run on the treadmill to keep my fitness up. A few of us went out running separately just to get ourselves fitter. I love training and putting in the work but that wasn’t happening at Kilmarnock."

A lack of fitness is not something you can level at Kilmarnock. Sorry, third-placed Kilmarnock.

Scott Arfield

Last season the Canadian international was a key player for Rangers and Steven Gerrard. His influence saw a tweak to the formation, allowing him to play a narrow forward role.

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This season it hasn't happened for Arfield. In the last week he was largely anonymous in the draw with Hearts, a late sub in Porto and then off the boil once more against Motherwell.

His forward runs were so important to Rangers last term but he is being usurped by team-mates and could find himself on the fringes of the squad.


Hamilton are not a good team to watch. They don't try and control the midfield because other than Alex Gogic they don't have one. There is an inconsistency in attack and they no longer have an identity.

They have gone from a team who played decent football to one who were aggressive to one which doesn't really do anything. They almost nicked a draw at St Johnstone but it would have been undeserved.

It is hard to spot any real improvements under Brian Rice since taking over from Martin Canning. At times they look like a lower level team playing in the top flight.

Possession isn't the be-all and end-all but they average 35.7 per cent of the ball. St Mirren are next on the list with 43.9 per cent.


Hopeless and hapless. Worrying and wretched. Pathetic and p**h. That was their performance against Celtic, especially the first half. After a decent start to the game - five minutes - their man-marking job on the league leaders went askew.

As good as Celtic were, Aberdeen were bad.

They gave up easy goals and the confusion among the team was summed up by the pointing from the home players who seemed unsure of their team-mates' jobs and their own.

It appeared Kristoffer Ajer had an invisibility cloak on, given the freedom of Pittodrie he was afforded.

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