SPL Action Round Up + Scottish Cup
Our weekly round-up of the SPL action with the added bonus of the Scottish Cup action thrown in.
There were only three games in the Clydesdale Bank Scottish Premier League this weekend due to the Active Nations Scottish Cup.
The pick of the three games that took place would have to be the match at Fir Park between Motherwell and Hearts. Motherwell have been in brilliant form since Craig Brown and Archie Knox took over, while Hearts form has been indifferent under returning manager Jim Jeffries.
Motherwell got off to a dream start when defender Mark Reynolds lost his marker from an early corner and slotted the ball into the net. John Sutton then stroked the ball into the net after thirteen minutes, and the game already looked beyond Hearts.
Jim O'Brien made it three after sixty-eight minutes just to make absolutely sure of another three points for the Steelmen. Templeton did get one back for Hearts a minute later, but Motherwell always looked comfortable.
Motherwell have now gone twelve games unbeaten and have moved up to joint third with Dundee United, although they have played two more games, but it is still a great achievement for Craig Brown who hopes to clinch a Europa League place.
The other two games in the SPL this weekend were relegation dog fights, first up Hamilton Accies took on St Mirren.
St Mirren would have been hoping for a morale boosting win to take into the League Cup final with Rangers next weekend, but went down 1-0 thanks to a goal by Accies' Flavio Paixao deep into injury time. This was a valuable three points for Accies as it has helped them overtake St Mirren by two points with a game in hand.
Finally, Falkirk welcomed St Johnstone to the Falkirk community stadium in a must win game for the Bairns. Falkird did take the lead midway through the first half when Marc Twaddle scrambled the ball into the net from a Pedro Moutinho free-kick.
St Johnstone were level just before half-time when Liam Craig converted a penalty which was conceded after a Brian McLean handball. St Johnstone sealed all three points when Kenny Deuchar netted six minutes from time.
Falkirk now face an uphill struggle to survive in the SPL this season. They find themselves four points behind St Mirren at the bottom, although they have played one game less.
On to the Active Nations Scottish Cup quarter-finals now. Rangers will have to face Dundee United in a replay after the two teams fought out a 3-3 draw today.
Old firm rivals Celtic had no problems in reaching the semi-finals. On loan Robbie Keane fired in a second half hat-trick against Kilmarnock to become the first team through to the semis.
Hibernian welcomed Ross County to Easter Road for the first ever competitive meeting between the two, and expected to have no problems, but Ross County made it hard for them despite Hibernian taking the lead in the seventh minute thanks to a Colin Nish goal.
Ross County were on level terms though in the sixteenth minute after Ian Murray put the ball into his own net. However Hibernian were back in the lead only three minutes later when Derek Riordan smashed the ball past McGovern. Ross County were not for giving up though and got their goal almost ten minutes from time through perseverance thanks to Gardyne.
Dundee were favourites to reach the semis in their game at Dens Park against Raith Rovers. However Raith got off to a flyer when Simmons scored in the third minute, and Ellis made it two only seven minutes later. Dundee got one back though seventeen minutes from time through Forsyth to set up a nervy finish, but Raith managed to hang on to reach the semi-finals for the first time since 1963.
The semi-final draw is made on Monday.
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