Heart of Midlothian 0-0 Hibernian
The first Edinburgh derby of the season finished goalless but not due to a lack of goalmouth action. Both sides were left to rue missed chances while also thanking their goalkeepers.
Hearts’ Ben Woodburn, on loan from Liverpool, went close in the 14th minute when his well-hit shot from twenty yards narrowly went over Matt Macey’s bar in the Hibs goal.
The visitors nearly took the lead when Josh Doig’s cross deceived everyone and came off the crossbar.
Stephen Kingsley went close for Hearts but his low shot from Alex Cochrane’s corner was turned away at the right post by Kevin Nisbet – although it may have been heading just wide.
Gary Mackay-Steven was next to test Macey with a shot from 25 yards, but it was comfortably pushed past the post for a corner
At the end of the first half, the visitors then came close again through Martin Boyle, breaking well from a Hearts’ corner, Boyle raced in on goal and his shot looked destined for the bottom right corner, only to be denied by Gordon’s fingertips.
The battle of the goalkeepers continued in the second half, this time it was Matt Macey with a fantastic save low to his right shortly after half-time. Woodburn’s pass played in Mackay-Steven as Hearts looked certain to take the lead only for his shot to be brilliantly kept out.
There was still time for Craig Gordon and Matt Macey to pull off a phenomenal save each. Gordon was at full-stretch to prevent Kyle Magennis from giving Hibs the points and Macey reacted well to Paul Hanlon inadvertently firing an Alex Cochrane cross at his own goal.
Celtic 3-0 Ross County
Celtic eventually secured a comfortable win against a stubborn Ross County side who gave the Glasgow side a scare.
— Celtic Football Club (@CelticFC) September 11, 2021
For a long time, it did not look like it was going to Celtic’s day.
Liel Abada’s early shot was impressively touched onto the bar by Ross Laidlaw in the away goal and David Turnbull rippled the side netting from distance.
Ross County nearly took the lead on 10 minutes as Regan Charles-Cook seized on a misplaced Celtic pass to race towards the penalty box and lay the ball to Blair Spittal whose cross was nearly poked home by Ross Callachan, but the midfielder could not get enough on it.
There was a growing sense of frustration as Celtic struggled to break Ross County down in the second period and resorted to shots from distance.
However, it was a shot from distance that would turn the game. Debutant Cameron Carter-Vickers’ harmless looking low long-range shot took a wicked deflection off County player Jordan Tillson and looped over the head of Ross Laidlaw.
County were nearly level with minutes. Charles-Cook continued to cause the Celtic defence problems and his cross found substitute Dominic Samuel but the striker’s header was too close to Joe Hart and he made the save.
Six minutes after the opener, it was 2-0, Albian Ajeti stretching to head in from a perfect Liel Abada cross. David Turnbull came close before Ajeti finally made it 3-0.
James McCarthy’s header was tipped onto the bar by Ross Laidlaw but Ajeti was there to nod home his second of the day.
St Johnstone 1-2 Rangers
Rangers went top of the table as James Tavernier’s spectacular winner secured them the points in Perth.
— Rangers Football Club (@RangersFC) September 11, 2021
Rangers survived a scare after 10 minutes when goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin rushed out of goal and brought down Saints’ striker Michael O’Hallaron. Fortunately for the away side, it was only deemed to be a yellow card.
There were few chances of note before half-time, Kemar Roofe producing a save from Zander Clark in the Saints’ goal.
The game came to life in the 51st minute. St Johnstone’s striker Michael O’Halloran, who had a spell at the Ibrox club, got onto the end of a long clearance, beating defender Filip Herlander to fire past McLaughlin for 1-0.
The lead was short-lived, seven minutes later Kemar Roofe converted from the penalty spot after Hayden Muller had fouled Ryan Kent in the box.
St Johnstone nearly regained the advantage with under 20 minutes to go, Chris Kane’s dangerous cross into the six-yard box was not effectively cleared by Leon Balogun but Ali Crawford blazed his chance over.
Moments later Kemar Roofe had the ball in the net again, but he was ruled to have fouled Zander Clark.
With 11 minutes remaining Rangers got the winner. James Tavernier unleashed a spectacular dipping shot towards the angle of the box from twenty-three yards which flew into the St Johnstone net to make it 2-1.
There was a speculative overhead kick outside the box by St Johnstone’s Eetu Vertainen but Rangers saw the game out for an important win.
Motherwell 2-0 Aberdeen
Motherwell continued their impressive recent run with another win, this time at the expense of Aberdeen.
Aberdeen striker Marley Watkins missed an opportunity to give his side the lead on the 22nd minute, but his header was straight at Liam Kelly in the Motherwell goal.
Motherwell’s Tony Watt passed up a chance from close range as his header went off target in the 25th minute. Sixty seconds later, Motherwell were ahead.
A superb Kaiyne Woolery cross was headed home by Dutch striker Kevin Van Veen from five yards.
Marley Watkins again forced Liam Kelly into a save after 54 minutes but five minutes later, Kevin Van Veen turned from goal scorer to goal provider.
His cross from the left met by defender Juhani Ojala who headed in off the bar to make it 2-0. That is how the game would finish as Liam Grimshaw was unable to make it 3-0, he could not get the ball under control after Joe Lewis had parried a Kevin Van Veen cross which had founds its way on target.
Livingston had Max Stryjek in goals to thank for their first point of the season as he produced three brilliant saves in a 0-0 draw in Dundee. Dundee welcome back Leigh Griffiths who re-joined the club from Celtic, but he could not find a way through.
St Mirren and Dundee United also played out a 0-0. Eamon Brophy thought he had put St Mirren in front, but a foul had been given in the build up against striking colleague Curtis Main.
St Mirren nearly snatched the win at the end, but Richard Tait’s volley was brilliantly saved by Trevor Carson of Dundee United. Dundee United could also have won the game with St Mirren defender Joe Shaughnessy clearing off the line.
What it means
Rangers went top of the table leapfrogging Hibernian and Hearts who, despite remaining the only unbeaten clubs in the league, drop to second and third respectively.
Motherwell are up to fourth with their win as Celtic remain one place behind them followed by Aberdeen and Dundee United. The bottom five – St Johnstone, Dundee, St Mirren, Ross County and Livingston – all remain winless.
👀 A look at the #cinchSPFL league tables after the weekend’s action!
Who impressed you this weekend? pic.twitter.com/44FfPfDa8g
— SPFL (@spfl) September 13, 2021