SPFL Round-Up: Rangers brush Dons aside, Shankland keeps going and Cove unbeatable?

By Greg Taylor 

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Scottish Premiership

 Rangers tore apart Aberdeen in a five goal thrashing at Ibrox this weekend. A James Tavernier double from the penalty spot and goals from Greg Stewart, Alfredo Morelos and Jermain Defoe saw the Gers come away with all three points at a canter. The Dons proved to be a thorn in Gerrard’s side last season so to win so convincingly will surely show progression. For Derek McInnes however things appear to be going from worse to worse. Aberdeen looked incredibly poor, almost accepting defeat before the first whistle. Despite a backlog of injuries, a performance this poor on the back of other bad results is raising increasing doubt over the manager. With another difficult run of games; Hibs, Motherwell  and Celtic, it’s difficult to see where points will be picked up.

Celtic dropped points earlier in the day meaning they now only sit one point ahead of their city rivals. A 1-1 draw with Hibs at Easter Road frustrated Neil Lennon’s side who felt they should have had a number of penalties in the first half. However Olivier Ntcham probably should have seen red for a deliberate shove to the face. It proves to be an excellent point for Hibs even though they now sit second bottom of the table. Celtic will be disappointed in dropping the points allowing Rangers to creep closer.

Motherwell reclaimed third place after a narrow win against St Johnstone. A Devante Cole goal just before half time was the only thing separating the teams by the end of the 90 minutes. However, the Well finished the game with 10 men after Liam Donnelly was deemed to have swung an elbow in the 94th minute. The loss leaves the Saints still searching for their first win of the season and floundering at the bottom of the table. Results better start picking up very quickly or it may be Tommy Wright on the way out.

Elsewhere Hamilton picked up a somewhat shock win against Livingston, the winner coming from an 85th minute penalty. That’s three losses on the bounce for Livi, a much better side than current form would show. Both Kilmarnock vs Ross County and St Mirren vs Hearts ended goalless meaning only 3 points separate 6th and 11th place.

Championship

 After a rocky few week Dundee United look to be firing back at all cylinders in a 6-0 win over Morton. Lawrence Shankland continued his unbelievable start to the season scoring another three. After a lacklustre few weeks this seems to have put United back on the right track to promotion. They remain tied on points at the top of the league with Ayr United, who managed to secure a 3-0 win . Despite losing manager Ian McCall, Ayr keep up their excellent start to the season winning six from their previous seven league outings. Ayr continue to show their strengths in a first half which blew Arbroath away. The highflyers will hope to get in a quality manager soon to keep the pressure on United throughout the season. As for Arbroath, it sees them drop to sixth in the table without a win in three league games.

After making the move from Ayr to Partick Thistle, Ian McCall managed to grab a win in his first outing with the Jags. They came away from a tricky away trip to Inverness with a 3-1 win thanks to goals from Zanatta, Miller and Palmer. Inverness were on a good run of form so will be disappointed to drop point. It’s the Jags first win of the season and takes them off the foot of the table on goal difference. It’s a brilliant start for McCall, one which they will hope to kick on from and restart their season.

Alloa dropped to the bottom of the table after sharing the points with Dunfermline. Alloa opened the scoring in the 50th minute through Adam Brown but could only hold on for 7 minutes before Kyle Turner equalised for the Pars. Momentum seems to be in Partick Thistles favour, so Alloa would have been hoping to pick up points here against a team who has also only won one game this season.

League One

 With results elsewhere going in their favour, Raith Rovers managed to pull two points clear at the top of League One. A 2-1 win away to Forfar was enough to secure all three points. However it took a 92nd minute winner from Kieran MacDonald to do so. Although a tight win against a mid-table Forfar, it’s important points like this that will potentially see them in contention at the end of the season with the likes of Falkirk.

East Fife held Falkirk to a 0-0 draw which leaves the Bairns sitting a point behind East Fife in third. With only two wins in the last five a disappointing start to the season continues for Falkirk who could have used this as a chance to leapfrog into second place and creep closer to the top. Consistently missing chances like this may come back to bite them later in the season, however you wouldn’t put it past this team to go on a long run of wins.

Montrose finally won their first game of the season in a seven goal thriller against Peterhead. A double from Webster and goals from MacBeath and Watson saw Stewart Petrie’s men claim their first three points of the season. Despite this they still sit bottom of the table, only a point behind Stranraer who drew 2-2 away to Airdrie. It will surely lift Montrose who travel to Clyde in a tricky fixture next week. They will have confidence now though to kick on and try catch up with the teams ahead.

League Two

It was a similar story in League Two this week as the top three teams continue to steamroll their way through the division. Top of the table Cove Rangers romped home in a 3-0 win over mid table Annan Athletic. Newly signed Fraser Aird managed to grab a goal for the home side in the 82nd minute. Hartley’s men still sit three points clear at the top having only dropped two points in eight outings.

Edinburgh City held on to win 2-1 despite a late scare from Queen’s Park. Edinburgh City went 2-0 up after goals from Shepherd and Harris on the 57th and 62nd minute. Queen’s Park pulled one back just before the 80 minute mark but couldn’t find an equaliser. City stay only one point ahead of Cowdenbeath who won 1-0 at home to Albion Rovers. With the pack chasing Cove Rangers performing so well, Paul Hartley will know it may only a few bad results for them to be on the backfoot. Long may this quality from the top teams continue though, as it could be very easy for Cove to run away with the title.

At the other end of the table Sterling Albion were only able to pick up a point against Stenhousemuir meaning they stay rooted at the bottom with only 5 points. Above them sit Brechin City who managed to grab a win against Elgin City which puts the two clubs on level points heading into the 9th round of league fixtures.

Player/Team of the Week

 A few honourable mentions this week; Morelos lead the line well for Rangers in their battering of Aberdeen, whilst Greg Stewart showed what he’s capable of via link up play with the Colombian centre forward. However this week’s player of the week goes to Lawrence Shankland again. A hat trick combined with his call up to the Scotland squad shows just what a brilliant start he’s had to the season. He may just be the quality finisher Scotland needs but time will tell on that. As for now he continues to be the jewel in United’s crown.

Team of the week this week goes to Rangers for their demolition job of the Dons. Despite the Dandies brutal performance, it was a clinical and professional performance from Rangers in a fixture that tends not to be about the quality of football. Signs of Rangers become a much better team continue to grow, with a real depth to their squad showing with the impact Greg Stewart made in this game. Hopefully the Gers winning form continues and we could have a real title race on our hands.

 

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