Celtic laid down the marker on the opening weekend of the Scottish Premier League as Ally McCoist got a first hand look at how hard the transition from assistant manager to manager can be. Motherwell meanwhile brought their fine form from the 2010/2011 season with them into the new campaign as they ended Sunday at the top of pile.
At Easter Road, Anthony Stokes put his end of season worries behind him to net Celtic’s opening goal of the new campaign as the Hoops beat Hibernians 2-0. The former Arsenal striker endured a mix debut season last year mixing goal scoring displays with indiscipline in equal measures.
However that was put to one side on 14th minutes when the Dubliner pounced on a mistake by another former Gunner Graham Stack in the hibs goal to give Celtic the lead.
Stack was beaten again on 63 minutes as Celtic went two up however he made amends for his opening error when he saved a Gary Hooper penalty late on.
The result means Celtic join Motherwell as the only victors on the opening weekend in Scotland, Stuart McCall’s side topping the one game old table on goals scored following an impressive 3-0 win over Inverness at Fir Park.
Darren Randolph, who broke the Motherwell record for clean sheets last season, continued in the same vein with an opening day blank while Jonathan Hayes and Richie Foran both had a day to forget for Terry Butchers side. Foran was the only Irishman in the SPL to get a yellow card, entering the referee note book on 72 minutes for unsporting behaviour.
Meanwhile Trim native Tim Clancy started at right back as Dean Shiels was denied a first competitive win as Kilmarnock manager following his side’s 1-1 draw away to Dundee United. Sean Dillon and Jon Daly were joined by the returning Willo Flood in the Dundee United line up with Daly earning the free that lead to United 70th minute equaliser.
The summer arrival of John Sutton was an indication that Stephen Elliott would not start as regular as he did last season and that certainly seemed the case on the opening day of the season with Sutton preferred to the Dubliner. The former Sunderland striker managed to come on 6 minutes in the second half but he couldn’t add to Hearts tally and instead it was Rangers who scored next to rescue an opening day point at Ibrox.
Recent signing Cillian Sheridan played 76 minutes while Alan Maybury was an unused substitute as St Johnstone began the season with a hard fought point away to 10 man Aberdeen.
Dunfermline and St Mirren will round off the opening weekend’s action when they face off against each other on Monday night at East End Park (kick off 7.45pm)
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