SPFL Week One Round-Up
The first games of the 2020/21 season were played at the weekend and here are the key moments.
Aberdeen 0-1 Rangers
The opening game of the season was played at Pittodrie where Aberdeen hosted Rangers. Rangers will be hoping to challenge Celtic for the league title this year and they got their campaign off the right way, when mid-way through the first half, Colombian international Alfredo Morelos played Ryan Kent through on goal with a magnificent ball. After Kent peeled away from the Aberdeen centre backs he was 1 on 1 against Joe Lewis and neatly slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.
These two teams have a fierce historic rivalry and the game was not short of fouls with 32 being committed by both teams combined. It won’t come as a surprise that there was a red card and it was experienced defender Andy Considine who was sent off for the Dons late on in the second half for a dangerous foul on Canadian Midfielder Scott Arfield.
Dundee United 1-1 St Johnstone
Newly promoted Dundee United faced St Johnstone at Tannadice Park for their first SPFL game since 2016. Just 6 minutes into the first half the Terrors were awarded a penalty after a fierce shot struck the hand of Liam Craig giving United a big chance to take the lead. Nicky Clark made no mistake as he placed it in the right-hand side sending the Arabs into the lead. On the brink of half time, Michael O’Halloran received a second yellow card for a bad foul reducing the Saints down to 10 men.
Despite being a man down and a goal down, St Johnstone came out strong in the second half and the pressure paid off when midfielder Liam Craig smashed home a volley into the top right corner from just inside the box. Dundee United looked good in attack and they maybe should have got 1 or even 2 more goals. Despite not winning the match they looked good and it will be interesting watching them throughout the season.
St Mirren 1-0 Livingston
Livingston travelled to Paisley to play St Mirren at the Simple Digital Arena. The Saints took the lead in the first half through a close-range header from defender Richard Tait which found its way into the top right corner 30 minutes into the game. For the most part, Livingston had the better game with more shots and corners, however, the Buddies managed to hold on to a narrow win and get the better of Gary Holt’s men. They got their season off on the right foot as they look to improve on last season’s league position of 9th.
Hibernian 2-1 Kilmarnock
Hibernian are looking to push for Europe this season and on the opening day, they faced Kilmarnock at Easter Road. Australian forward Martin Boyle was played through by Kevin Nisbet and he beat the Killie keeper to the ball and knocked it past the defender on the line. Hibs piled on the pressure and a dangerous counter-attack once again found Martin Boyle just inside the box and a low-driven shot found its way into the bottom left-hand corner giving Hibs a two-goal cushion
However, on the stroke of half time, a phenomenal free-kick from Chris Burke sailed into the top left-hand corner reducing the deficit to just one goal. In the end, though Hibs would hold on to the lead and give them the perfect start to a European push.
Celtic 5-1 Hamilton Academical
Reigning champions Celtic are looking to win their 10th SPFL title in a row and on opening day they faced Hamilton Academical at Celtic Park. It didn’t take long for the Bhoys to open the scoring and it was last season’s golden boot winner Odsonne Edouard who put the ball into an empty net after Greg Taylor fizzed in a low ball from the left-hand side.
It only took 10 minutes to get their second and it was almost a complete replica of the first with Taylor sending another dangerous ball along the ground but the goal scorer this time was young full-back Jeremie Frimpong once again tapping it into an open net.
The Accies weren’t going to give up and following a set-piece situation the ball landed at Scott Martin’s feet and his shot took a wicked deflection off of French centre back Christopher Jullien taking goalkeeper Scott Bain by surprise with the ball ending up in the bottom left-hand corner.
However Celtic came out flying in the second half and a low driven cross from Scottish winger James Forrest came to Edouard and he just had to steer the ball into the back of the net which he did with ease, giving Celtic breathing room again.
It soon became 4-1 when Hamilton keeper Ryan Fulton parried the ball straight into Edouard leaving him just having to guide the ball into the net and that completed his opening day hat-trick.
With only a few minutes left to play Polish striker, Patryk Klimala was sent through by Christopher Jullien. He still had a lot to do and he held off pressure from the Accies defender and managed to place the ball beautifully in the bottom left-hand corner.
The game finished 5-1 and Celtic currently sit top of the table on goal difference and have shown here why they are favourites to lift the SPFL trophy for the tenth time in a row.
Ross County 1-0 Motherwell
The final game of the week was up north in Dingwall when Motherwell travelled to face Ross County on Monday evening.
County were the dominant team in the first half and they hit the bar very early on but it would be a penalty that put the Staggies one-nil up. Declan Gallacher brought down young midfielder Harry Paton in the box with
Ross Stewart making no mistake from the penalty spot smashing the ball into the top right-hand corner leaving the keeper with no chance.
Mid-way through the second half, Motherwell were really getting back into the game and they ended up winning a penalty as well after Staggies centre back Coll Donaldson brought down Jordan White. Northern Irishman Liam Donnely stepped up and sent the keeper the wrong way but managed to miss the target with his shot leaving Motherwell still trailing by one goal. Towards the latter stages of the game, Ross County looked like they could be on a dangerous counter-attack but a high challenge from Callum Lang would reduce Motherwell down to ten men and Ross County would see the game out and come away with an opening day win.
Celtic signed Greek goalkeeper Vassilis Barkas from AEK Athens after agreeing on a £5.5 million fee for the goalie.
Aberdeen made two signings in one day after bringing in young striker Ryan Edmondson from newly promoted Leeds until January for cover for their injured strikers Cosgrove and Main. Tommie Hoban has also returned to the club on a 6-month deal after recovering from a serious injury.
Kilmarnock brought in Brandon Haunstrup from Portsmouth on a two year deal to help out in the full-back department.