Scottish Premiership: Celtic take New Year honours in Old Firm derby

Scott Sinclair scores the winner as Celtic claim the New Year honours in Glasgow by coming from behind to beat Rangers at Ibrox and earn a 15th successive league win.

  •  Old Firm derby on Hogmanay at packed Ibrox
  •  Miller puts Rangers ahead early on
  •  Dembele and Sinclair turn it around for Celtic
  •  Hoops maintain unbeaten domestic record
players-tunnel
Adversaries: Celtic and Rangers went head to head for the 404th time in a competitive game – and the first at Ibrox since March 2012 (Picture from Sky Sports)

Celtic claimed the New Year honours in Glasgow, coming from behind to beat Rangers and record a 15th successive league win in the first Old Firm derby at Ibrox in almost five years. 

Veteran striker Kenny Miller rewarded Rangers’ early enterprise by firing them into the lead from close range against his former club.

With their first shot on target, Moussa Dembele drew the Hoops level with a spectacular finish for his fifth goal against Rangers this season.

Celtic upped the ante in the second half and showed their powers of recovery, as Scott Sinclair scored the winner with 20 minutes remaining.

As 2017 approaches, Brendan Rodgers’ men open up a 19-point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership, with a game in hand to come against St Johnstone next month, heading into the winter break – the biggest ever advantage at this stage of a top-flight season.

The champions, seeking a sixth successive league title and first under Rodgers, have a hat-trick of derby wins this term after September’s 5-1 demolition at Celtic Park and the League Cup semi-final success the following month.

Rangers can take plenty of positives, with Barrie McKay excellent as an attacking force, but Mark Warburton’s side, who are now only two points ahead of third-placed Aberdeen, face a battle to secure the runners-up spot after suffering a first home defeat in 34 games.

Lining up with a back three, the hosts hit the front by pressing Celtic in wide areas from the outset.

It paid dividends in the 12th minute when Josh Windass released James Tavernier to cross low for Miller – wearing the captain’s armband in the injured Lee Wallace‘s absence – who finished well inside the six yard box for his 10th Old Firm goal.

But in the aftermath, fellow forward Joe Garner had to be stretchered off and was replaced by Martyn Waghorn.

Rangers continued to look menacing and ask questions of the Celtic defence but, after Sinclair struck the post and Clint Hill put the rebound behind for a corner, the visitors responded.

Stuart Armstrong’s deep delivery picked out Dembele, who had escaped the attentions of Danny Wilson, and the Frenchman instantly brought the ball under control before unleashing a powerful left-foot volley into the roof of the net for goal number 19 this season.

Celtic came out stronger in the second period to take a firm grip of proceedings, with Wes Foderingham in the Rangers goal the much busier keeper.

Armstrong and James Forrest brought good saves from the ex-Swindon man before Dembele hit the frame of the goal with a mishit effort after good work from Calum McGregor – returning after a one-match ban.

Rangers continued to offer a threat as McKay’s long-range effort and a Wilson header tested Celtic stopper Craig Gordon – celebrating his 34th birthday.

But the visitors struck the decisive blow to complete the turnaround in front of their delighted supporters as substitute Patrick Roberts found Armstrong in space and his inviting cross was touched in by Sinclair for his ninth of the campaign.

rodgers
Worse for wear: Rodgers appeared to injure himself whilst celebrating Sinclair’s goal (Picture from Sky Sports)

Celtic could have gone further ahead in the closing stages as Armstrong, Sinclair and sub Nir Bitton produced more saves from Foderingham.

And Rangers might have snatched a late leveller through Miller, who hit the base of the post from a well-weighted centre by Andy Halliday.

However, as referee Steven McLean – excellent on his Old Firm derby debut – blew the final whistle, the hosts could only reflect on an encouraging display despite their best efforts.

Meanwhile, Celtic ensured they signed off for 2016 by maintaining their domestic bliss after proving once again why they are looking such an unstoppable force this season.


TEAMS:

rangers-xi

Substitutes: Waghorn (on for Garner 16′), Dodoo (on for Windass 65′) and Forrester (on for Holt 83′).
Not used: Gilks (GK), Hodson, Crooks, O’Halloran.
Booked: Hill, Tavernier, Windass
Goals: Miller (12′)

 

celtic-xi

Substitutes: Roberts (on for Forrest 68′) and Bitton (on for McGregor 86′).
Not used: De Vries (GK), Toure, Gamboa, Mackay-Steven, Griffiths.
Booked: Simunovic, Lustig, Brown
Goals: Dembele (33′), Sinclair (70′)


MATCH OFFICIALS:

Steven McLean referee

Referee: Steven McLean – 9/10
Assistant referees: Douglas Ross and Frank Connor
Fourth official: John Beaton

Scottish Premiership: Late drama as Aberdeen see off Rangers

Substitute James Maddison’s stunning free-kick gave Aberdeen a dramatic late win over rivals Rangers at Pittodrie in the first meeting of the sides since 2012.

  •  First meeting of the bitter rivals since January 2012
  •  Sub Maddison strikes stunning free-kick in 90th minute
  •  Andy Halliday penalty cancels out Jonny Hayes opener
  •  Only Aberdeen’s second win over Rangers in 14 meetings
  •  Rangers only scored seven league goals in as many games

tunnel
Return: Rangers had won on their previous three trips to Pittodrie but couldn’t do the same as the bitter rivals renewed acquaintances (Picture from Sky Sports)
JAMES Maddison’s stunning late free-kick gave Aberdeen a dramatic victory over Rangers in a pulsating first meeting between the rivals for almost five years.

After a first half lacking in goalmouth action, the returning Jonny Hayes struck 22 seconds into the second period with a composed finish for the Dons.

He turned from hero to villain for tugging back Rangers captain Lee Wallace in the box, allowing Andy Halliday to superbly convert a 79th minute penalty.

But, in the 90th minute, substitute Maddison stepped up to produce a sumptuous effort from 22 yards, which flew past Wes Foderingham into the top corner.

A third successive win in all competitions lifts Derek McInnes’s team up to second place – four points behind leaders Celtic, who came from behind to thrash Kilmarnock 6-1 on Saturday.

But Rangers boss Mark Warburton was furious with the award of the decisive free-kick – when James Tavernier was booked despite appearing to poke the ball away from Hayes – and angrily confronted referee John Beaton on the pitch after the full-time whistle.

It leaves the Gers seventh in the table with nine points from seven league games – in which they have conceded the first goal in five of them.

But despite a respectable display and his side boasting 63 per cent possession, Warburton must be concerned as their winless run in the Scottish Premiership stretches to four games.

Nevertheless, it was a fantastic spectacle for the neutral – featuring nine yellow cards – as a long-awaited first meeting since January 2012 saw one of Scottish football’s most bruising rivalries renewed.

As predicted, there was a frantic and fast tempo to the opening exchanges in front of a near full house at Pittodrie, with both sides – who reached the Betfred Cup semi-finals in midweek – taking time to settle into a rhythm.

Harry Forrester’s shot deflected behind by Anthony O’Connor before an Adam Rooney effort at the other end was blocked by Danny Wilson – illustrating both sets of defences were on top in the first period.

The first flashpoint took 10 minutes to arise when Joe Garner took offence to a foul on him by O’Connor, but referee Beaton handled the situation well, reminding them in no uncertain terms who was in charge.

A lack of control early on was emphasised by Garner’s needless sliding challenge on Hayes, which earned him a yellow card.

The ex-Preston striker made his presence felt throughout and he should have done better when heading Tavernier’s delightful cross over the crossbar on 17 minutes.

Rangers – backed by almost 2,000 fans for their first trip to the Granite City since 2011 – enjoyed 61 per cent of possession in a first half during which they were increasingly dominant.

Tavernier’s free-kick from 20 yards couldn’t a way past the Aberdeen wall before Joe Lewis was required to make an excellent save, scampering across his goalline after Garner’s wayward shot looped up off Shay Logan’s foot and was bound for the bottom corner.

Jason Holt – on his 50th Rangers appearance – rifled a half volley straight at Lewis after Garner missed his kick from Tavernier’s cutback before Barrie McKay curled off target on his right foot.

Aberdeen sat deep for long periods and struggled to carve out any kind of chances, with a Kenny McLean drive tipped over superbly by Foderingham the closest they came.

But after a first half lacking in goalscoring opportunities, the second period exploded into life as the Dons – who introduced Maddison for Peter Pawlett at the interval – drew first blood in no time at all.

A simple long ball forward by Lewis was flicked on by Rooney into the path of the onrushing Hayes, who easily escaped the Rangers defence to slot underneath Foderingham.

The Gers mustered a positive reply as Halliday’s free-kick flashed across the face of goal and drifted wide, before Wallace fired over from range but an effective end product continued to desert them.

Waghorn, fresh from a hat-trick against Queen of the South on Tuesday, then scooped over inexplicably from six yards after McKay’s cutback caught Garner by surprise.

Aberdeen largely offered a sporadic threat on the counter thereafter but remained a solid unit to thwart the Gers, who sent on Niko Kranjcar and Michael O’Halloran in place of Forrester and Waghorn.

Hayes got clear again down the left and his low effort was denied by Foderingham at the near post, after the Dons soaked up a sustained period of pressure.

But the Irish winger was at fault after bringing down the marauding Wallace, who was released in behind by substitute Kenny Miller.

It gave Rangers fan Halliday the chance to step up and send Lewis the wrong way from the spot, for his second goal in as many games.

From then on, Aberdeen pressed for a winner and, as the end of normal time approached, 19-year-old Maddison supplied it in dramatic fashion with the deadliest of free-kicks – surely a goal of the season contender.

Rangers desperately tried to respond but time was against them as they suffered their second league defeat of the season, while the Dons recorded a first win over the men from Govan since 2009.

James Maddison
Catching the eye: The on-loan Norwich midfielder scored for the second successive league game after netting in last Sunday’s 3-1 win at Dundee (Picture from Sky Sports)
Aberdeen 2 (Hayes 46′, Maddison 90′)
Rangers 1 (Halliday 79′ pen)


TEAMS:

Aberdeen XI
Four changes: Mark Reynolds, Adam Rooney, Jonny Hayes and Peter Pawlett came in for Ash Taylor, Jayden Stockley, James Maddison and Wes Burns (Picture from Sky Sports)
Substitutes:  Maddison (on for Pawlett 45′), Burns (on for McGinn 78′) and Taylor (on for Rooney 90+1).
Not used:  Alexander (GK), Storey, Storie, Stockley.
Booked:  Hayes, McLean, Shinnie, Reynolds, O’Connor

 

Rangers XI
Four changes: Lee Wallace, Wes Foderingham, Harry Forrester and Barrie McKay replaced Lee Hodson, Matt Gilks, Niko Kranjcar and Michael O’Halloran (Picture from Sky Sports)
Substitutes:  Kranjcar (on for Forrester 63′), O’Halloran (on for Waghorn 69′) and Miller (on for Garner 77′).
Not used:  Gilks (GK), Hodson, Senderos, Dodoo.
Booked:  Garner, Wilson, Kranjcar, Tavernier


MATCH OFFICIALS:

John Beaton referee
Mixed: Beaton started the game well and was on top of most things but was often too quick to issue cards and shouldn’t have awarded the decisive free-kick late on (Picture from Sky Sports)
Referee: John Beaton – 7/10
Assistant referees: Dougie Potter and Andrew McWilliam
Fourth official: Don Robertson

Attendance: 19,263


REACTION:

Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes:

Derek McInnes
Second time: The former Rangers midfielder’s only previous win over the Gers as a manager came in a 4-1 success with St Johnstone in 2010 (Picture from Sky Sports)
“It was a sensational winner. The players fought hard for that. First half, I was really annoyed with how we played. Getting the [Jonny Hayes] goal gives the players that belief and confidence to go and get the win. They [Rangers] get a lifeline with the penalty kick. Wee James [Maddison], what a free-kick. We should be shouting from the rooftops with how good that is. We deserved the three points.”

Mark Warburton
Crucial decision: Warburton felt the referee handled a difficult game well before awarding the free-kick which allowed Maddison to struck a memorable winner (Picture from Sky Sports)
Rangers boss Mark Warburton:

“We dominated the ball first half completely but went in at half-time frustrated it was 0-0. We gave away a schoolboy goal and for three or four minutes we looked a bit rocky. We lost our composure then got the ball down, then played. We got our rewards via the penalty and I thought there was (only) one team in it. I said to (assistant) Davie Weir we’d be frustrated to only get a point here when we have come and delivered a really good performance. I am never happy to drop a point, never mind three. I will be careful what I say about the free-kick. Everyone saw the ball move. The fourth official on the sidelines saw the ball move and made a comment. And yet a free-kick is given.”

Rangers striker Joe Garner told the club’s official website:

“We’re obviously very disappointed. I think the first half we played very well and over the last couple of games we have played well but we need to start picking up points now. You could say that we dominated or that we were the better side but that happens in football. We just have to try to take our chances and be positive.”

SkyBet Championship: Aston Villa hit back to deny Newcastle

Substitute Aaron Tshibola headed a late leveller for Aston Villa as a profligate Newcastle drew for the first time in the Championship this season.

  •  Tshibola’s late header cancels out Elphick own goal
  •  Two former Premier League sides produce all-action affair
  •  Fourth successive draw for Villa
  •  Newcastle drop points for third time in league this term
celebs
Elation: Villa celebrated wildly after 21-year-old Tshibola picked the perfect time to pop up with his first career goal in front of the Holte End (Picture from Sky Sports)

AARON Tshibola’s late equaliser earned Aston Villa a morale-boosting point as Newcastle United were left to rue a host of missed opportunities at Villa Park.

The substitute headed in his first Villa goal from a Jordan Ayew corner two minutes from time.

In a pulsating clash between two sides relegated from the Premier League last season, Newcastle were in complete control for long periods and looked set for a seventh win in nine league games as Villa captain Tommy Elphick turned DeAndre Yedlin’s cross into his own net in the first half.

But Mohamed Diame and Dwight Gayle passed up crucial chances for the visitors before Villa rallied late on and could have won it themselves.

Rafael Benitez’s side, considered favourites by many to win the title this term, remain fifth after their first league draw of the season – five points adrift of leaders Norwich, who they welcome to St James’ Park on Wednesday night.

Although their winless run extends to six games, Villa – without the injured Ross McCormack and ill-disciplined Jack Grealish – will be encouraged by their improved second-half display as they moved on to nine points from as many league matches this term.

For the first time in the second-tier, two Champions League winning managers went head-to-head – and Villa boss Roberto di Matteo will undoubtedly be the happier after seeing his side put under severe pressure in the first period.

Jordan Ayew
Off target: The Nigerian has yet to score from 27 efforts at goal in the Championship this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

Villa – who handed a first start to Albert Adomah – had started relatively well, with the former Middlesbrough winger releasing Jonathan Kodija down the right in the opening stages.

But the £15m summer buy from Bristol City cut inside unnecessarily, which allowed former Villa defender Ciaran Clark to get a block in.

Before long, the Magpies – who responded to last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat against Wolves by beating the same opponents in the EFL Cup in midweek – seized command and ran Villa’s three-man backline ragged with their movement in the final third.

This was emphasised when Elphick, wary of Gayle lurking with intent behind him, diverted Yedlin’s centre beyond Pierluigi Gollini just before the half-hour mark.

The ex-Bournemouth centre-back almost gifted Newcastle a second straight away when dwelling on the ball but Gayle could not finish one-on-one against Gollini.

With the hosts all over the place, Nathan Baker then had to make a crucial intervention when a menacing Gayle bore down on goal before Diame fired waywardly over after Gollini blocked a Matt Ritchie effort.

The only edgy moment for a dominant Newcastle in the first period came when Jonjo Shelvey was fortunate to receive only a yellow card for leaping into a challenge on Ashley Westwood in a reckless manner.

Clearly concerned by the visitors’ superiority, di Matteo threw on former Reading midfielder Tshibola in place of Baker and switched to a back four at the break.

There wasn’t an immediate change in pattern, as Newcastle pushed for the insurance goal to kill off the hosts.

The influential Shelvey tested Gollini from range before intelligently setting up Diame, but the former West Ham and Hull midfielder couldn’t open his Magpies account, slicing a glorious chance wide from 12 yards.

DeAndre Yedlin prepares throw-in
Concern: DeAndre Yedlin may have given Rafa Benitez another problem after coming off with an injury in the second half (Picture from Sky Sports)

The visitors were given a warning about complacency when Mile Jedinak was left free to head in Ayew’s pinpoint free-kick but was flagged offside.

Villa, who sent on top scorer Rudy Gestede for Adomah, had firmly sprung into life and Ayew came within inches of a spectacular goal when his rasping right-footer from 20 yards clipped the post.

But the forward played his part when the resurgent hosts levelled up, as his well-flighted corner picked out Tshibola and the summer signing – who was correctly booked for diving minutes earlier – escaped Isaac Hayden’s attentions to head home from two yards.

Having been on top for so long, it was Newcastle hanging on for dear life during six minutes of stoppage time, as an impassive Benitez was left to reflect on his side’s failure to add to their slender advantage.

However, it could be a significant turning point for Villa, who themselves have struggled to see out positive results this term, after fighting back from the abyss to secure a draw they feel was merited in the end.

Aston Villa 1 (Tshibola 88′)
Newcastle United 1 (Elphick 28′ og)


TEAMS:

Aston Villa XI
One alteration: Jack Grealish’s place was taken by Albert Adomah in the solitary change from last Saturday’s goalless draw at Ipswich (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Tshibola (on for Baker 45′), Gestede (on for Adomah 63′) and Hepburn-Murphy (on for Westwood 86′).
Not used:  Bunn (GK), Hutton, Richards, Cissokho.
Booked:  Chester (41′), Baker (44′), Tshibola (79′)

 

Newcastle United XI
Three changes: Yedlin made his first league start in place of the suspended Vurnon Anita, while Clark and Gouffran were restored at Chancel Mbemba and Ayoze Perez’s expense (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Tiote (on for Yedlin 75′) and Mitrovic (on for Gayle 80′).
Not used:  Darlow (GK), Hanley, Lazaar, Atsu, Perez.
Booked:  Shelvey (27′)


MATCH OFFICIALS:

Chris Kavanagh with Nathan Baker
In control: Kavanagh kept the game flowing and didn’t rush to his pocket – he correctly booked Tshibola for diving but was lenient with Shelvey’s first-half challenge (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Manchester) – 8/10
Assistant referees: Nick Greenhalgh & James Mainwaring (Lancashire)
Fourth official: Simon Hooper (Wiltshire)

Attendance: 32,062


REACTION:

roberto-di-matteo-before-ko-v-newcastle-24th-sept-2016
Positive reaction: The former Chelsea and West Brom boss saw his side salvage a point to maintain their unbeaten home record so far this term (Picture from Sky Sports)

Aston Villa manager Roberto di Matteo:

“I said [at half-time] lets just put them under pressure and lets ask some questions. We changed the formation a little bit as well and managed to get more of a hold of the ball and created some real problems for Newcastle. I really thought that towards the end we would have the opportunity to win the game as well. We had plenty of chances and we got into very good positions. Just the last pass was missing, but there was somebody at the end of the last cross.”

rafael-benitez-looks-on-v-aston-villa-24th-sept-2016
Frustrated: Benitez will wonder how his side were unable to turn their first-half dominance into another victory (Picture from Sky Sports)

Newcastle United manager Rafael Benitez:

“Di Matteo will have another vision of the second-half, but the first-half we were so dominant that we could finish the game and then we would be sat here talking about another thing. But that is football, you have to take your chances. We had to defend better second-half, but you have to give credit to them. The positives for our team were in the first-half and the negatives were in the second as we allowed them to stay in the game.”

SkyBet Championship: Preston beat Lancashire rivals Wigan

Jordan Hugill’s early goal at Deepdale saw Preston North End claim their third league win of the season in the first Lancashire derby against Wigan Athletic in over a decade.

  •  First meeting of Lancashire rivals since May 2005
  •  Early Hugill goal the difference in tight contest 
  •  Three Preston wins in four games in all competitions
  •  Wigan stay in bottom three and winless in seven games
Jordan Hugill
Great from the start: The 24-year-old has now scored three goals from four starts this season (Picture from Sky Sports)

JORDAN Hugill’s early goal earned Preston North End a third Championship win of the season as they edged Wigan Athletic in the sides’ first Lancashire derby since 2005.

The striker diverted home Aiden McGeady’s mishit effort with his knee to score the only goal after seven minutes.

Hugill was denied a second by a fine low save from Adam Bogdan two minutes after the break.

Wigan dominated for long periods and Nathan Byrne struck the post after being kept out initially by Preston keeper Chris Maxwell, on his league debut.

Preston recovered from the heaviest defeat of Simon Grayson’s tenure, 5-0 at Brentford last weekend, by knocking Premier League side Bournemouth out of the EFL Cup in midweek.

And the Lilywhites, who had lost six of their previous eight league games, continue their momentum by recording a third win and clean sheet in the league, in front of Deepdale’s biggest crowd so far this term, to move up one place to 18th.

In contrast, Gary Caldwell’s men make the 13-mile journey back down the M6 with the disappointment of failing to make their superiority count still raw as they suffered a fifth defeat in six league games.

The Latics, who have now lost all five of their away games this season, remain 22nd ahead of Saturday’s games and could end the weekend bottom of the table.

The visitors were under severe pressure from the outset and Preston were rewarded for their enterprising start in unorthodox fashion.

McGeady got on the end of Tom Clarke’s knockdown and the Irishman’s half-volley into the ground was innocuously diverted in by Hugill, who notched for the second home game running after his spectacular strike against Cardiff.

Jordan Hugill 7 mins (Preston 1-0 Wigan)
Fortuitous: On-loan Everton winger McGeady’s shot was heading wide before Hugill’s touch wrongfooted Bogdan (Picture from Sky Sports)

But Caldwell pointed to a foul by Clarke on Shaun MacDonald in the build-up, which went unnoticed by the officials.

Shocked into action, the Latics responded well and top scorer Will Grigg could have added to his five goals this term on 17 minutes but headed over Jordi Gomez’s left-wing cross from six yards.

Gomez fired wide of Maxwell’s goal shortly before the break after Max Power’s clever pass around the corner got him clear of the Preston backline.

Preston, without the departed Joe Garner and injured Jermaine Beckford, couldn’t impose themselves in attack, as midweek hat-trick hero Simon Makienok struggled to use his physicality against the equally tall Dan Burn.

Wigan enjoyed 64 per cent of the possession and were the more progressive side in the first half, yet chances were few and far between at both ends.

Preston began the second half the way they started the first and almost doubled their lead within two minutes of the restart.

Alan Browne linked up well with Makienok before setting up Hugill but the former Port Vale striker’s low effort, bound for the bottom corner, was tipped around the post superbly by Bogdan.

Makienok, who scored his first Preston goals on only his second start against Bournemouth on Tuesday, then steered a back-post header from Paul Gallagher’s centre narrowly over the crossbar.

Despite the early introduction of Nick Powell from the bench, the visitors lacked firepower in the final third but Byrne had two quick-fire opportunities to level just after the hour.

The ex-Wolves and Swindon winger, on his first Wigan start, was picked out by Yanic Wildschut from the left, but was denied by the legs of Maxwell before striking the rebound against the post.

Preston’s intentions to protect their advantage were clear, with midfielders Ben Pearson and Daniel Johnson thrown on in place of Makienok and Gallagher to stifle Wigan’s supply lines.

Wigan – who sent on Craig Davies for Byrne in the closing stages – pushed for an equaliser, without ever posing a threat to the hosts’ stubborn defence.

Powell blazed over from 20 yards and Gomez curled a free-kick straight at Maxwell, as a dogged Preston held out to secure back-to-back home wins – and their first victory over the Latics since 2000.

But the problems mount for a frustrated Caldwell and Wigan, whose winless run since their only victory of the campaign against Blackburn on August 13 extends to seven games.

Preston North End 1 (Hugill 7)
Wigan Athletic 0


TEAMS:

Preston North End XI
One change: Nathan Byrne replaced the injured Alex Gilbey from last weekend’s goalless draw with Fulham as Caldwell reverted to a back four (Picture from Sky Sports)

Subs:  Pearson (on for Makienok 72′) and Johnson (on for Gallagher 72′)
Not used:  Lindegaard (GK), Huntington, Pringle, Humphrey, Doyle.
Booked:  Cunningham (30′), Browne (75′)

 

Wigan Athletic XI
Three changes: Chris Maxwell, Simon Makienok and Bailey Wright came in for Anders Lindegaard, the injured Marnick Vermijl and Eoin Doyle from the 5-0 loss at Brentford (Picture from Sky Sports)

Subs:  Powell (on for MacDonald 52′), Perkins (on for Jacobs 59′) and Davies (on for Byrne 79′)
Not used:  Jaaskelainen (GK), Garbutt, Woolery, Le Fondre.
Booked:  Burn (45+1′), Perkins (67′)

Referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands)
Attendance: 13,077


REACTION:

grayson-ft
Moving on up: Grayson, who has been in charge of the Lilywhites since February 2013, will hope his side can start climbing the Championship table (Picture from Sky Sports)
Preston North End boss Simon Grayson told the club’s official website:
“It was a decent game; it was quite open, with plenty of chances for both teams. We got off to a good start with the goal, but from then on in the first half we were probably two yards off the pace. We allowed Wigan to get into the passing game that they are very comfortable and good at doing – without really hurting us too much. We got better in the second half and whilst the stats will prove they had more possession that us, we had the far clearer chances.”
Gary Caldwell
Tough task: The former Celtic defender faces a difficult job to turn around Wigan’s fortunes if they are to remain in the second-tier (Picture from Sky Sports)

Wigan Athletic boss Gary Caldwell told the club’s official website:

“I am disappointed for the fans of course. As I said before the game, these matches are for the fans and I thought they came out in great numbers to support the team so I am disappointed for them. They saw a team that gave absolutely everything again, played some great football, but just couldn’t get back in a game that the referee gave Preston a goal start in.”

Newcastle beat sluggish Derby to continue winning Championship run

Goals from Yohan Gouffran and DeAndre Yedlin secured Newcastle a fourth successive league win against a toothless Derby County at the iPro Stadium.

  •  Newcastle’s fifth straight win in all competitions
  •  Gouffran and Yedlin on target for the Magpies
  •  Derby suffer back-to-back Championship defeats
  •  One goal in six league games for the Rams
Newcastle celebrate Yohan Gouffran goal
Full of joy: Gouffran celebrated with team-mates after scoring his first Newcastle goal since January 2015 (Picture from Sky Sports)

NEWCASTLE United re-affirmed their Championship promotion credentials with a fourth successive league win as Derby County’s slow start to the season continued.

Yohan Gouffran’s stunning 12-yard volley broke the deadlock at the iPro Stadium after 20 minutes.

Derby – toothless in the first period – went closest when Craig Bryson’s effort tested Matz Sels and debutant Ikechi Anya’s cross fortuitously hit the crossbar in the second half.

But the assured Magpies sealed a deserved win in stoppage time through substitute DeAndre Yedlin, who slid in with Martin Olsson to bundle home from close range.

It was also a fourth successive clean sheet for Rafa Benitez’s men, who put in another solid display as they moved up to second in the table on goal difference.

Rafa Benitez
Revolution: Rafa Benitez has steered the Magpies to five straight wins in all competitions since losing their opening two games against Fulham and Huddersfield (Picture from Sky Sports)

Derby, meanwhile, slip to 19th as their struggles in front of goal continued against the promotion favourites, now boasting just a solitary goal in six league games under Nigel Pearson.

The former Newcastle assistant manager handed debuts to on-loan Watford winger Anya and record signing Matej Vydra, and a first start to James Wilson, to add more firepower after the surprise 1-0 defeat to Burton Albion before the international break.

Derby imposed themselves early on and had a penalty appeal waved away on 12 minutes after Olsson went down under Vurnon Anita’s challenge but referee Darren Bond – a late replacement for James Linington who pulled his calf in the warm-up – was not interested in the slightest.

Newcastle – who recalled Jack Colback and Dwight Gayle for Isaac Hayden and Ayoze Perez – grew into the game and took the lead eight minutes later.

Jonjo Shelvey delivered a deep corner and Gouffran watched the ball all the way before connecting with a sweet right-foot volley, which beat Johnny Russell for pace on the goalline.

Yohan Gouffran in action
Sporadic: Gouffran has drifted in and out of the Newcastle team since arriving from Bordeaux in January 2013 (Picture from Sky Sports)

The Frenchman’s first goal of the campaign bred confidence into the Magpies, who monopolised possession for long periods and tamed any hope Derby had of a quick response.

The Rams, without last season’s 13-goal top scorer Chris Martin who joined Fulham on loan on deadline day, were unable to test Newcastle’s rookie keeper Sels at all in the first half.

With Pearson’s words still ringing in their ears, Olsson curled a cross-cum-shot and then sent a looping header narrowly wide as Derby offered an immediate improvement after the break.

Sels beat away Bryson’s stinging drive midway through the second half – Derby’s first shot on target – before Anya’s deflected cross clipped the top of the woodwork.

But that was as good as it got for the misfiring Rams, with Newcastle holding a measure of command – much to the frustration of Pearson and the anxious home crowd.

Nigel Pearson
Differing experiences: Pearson won the Championship title with Leicester in 2013-14 but faces a tougher task to get Derby into the Premier League (Picture from Sky Sports)

The resolute Magpies, who lost 3-0 in their last meeting with Derby in February 2010, didn’t create many opportunities of their own – their best second-half efforts coming from Mohamed Diame, one wide of the target and one straight at Scott Carson.

Benitez appeared to have shut up shop with the introduction of Yedlin for Gouffran, but the American international popped up in the right place to wrap up the win in stoppage time.

The right-back, making his second substitute appearance since arriving from Tottenham for an undisclosed fee, will at least claim the goal after getting on the end of fellow sub Perez’s low centre.

Although Olsson may be credited with an own goal, it was merely academic as Newcastle beat fellow promotion contenders for the second game running to establish themselves in the top two.

However, there is plenty of work to do for Derby – who have been in the play-offs for the last three seasons but a third league defeat of the season means they face being cut adrift of the challengers even at this early stage if they don’t improve quickly.


TEAMS:

Derby County XI
Three changes: Ikechi Anya, James Wilson and Matej Vydra made their first starts in place of the departed Chris Martin and benched duo Tom Ince and Jacob Butterfield (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Blackman (on for Wilson 65′), Ince (on for Anya 78′) and Bent (on for Shackell 88′)

Not used:  Mitchell (GK), Pearce, Johnson, Butterfield.

Booked:  None

Goals:  None

 

Newcastle XI
Decisions: Besides two changes from the Brighton win, Shelvey made a first away start of the season but new signings Daryl Murphy and Christian Atsu didn’t make the squad (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Yedlin (on for Gouffran 73′), Perez (on for Gayle 76′) and Hayden (on for Diame 88′)

Not used:  Darlow (GK), Clark, Lazaar, Mitrovic.

Booked:  Shelvey (24′), Gouffran (60′), Gayle (76′)

Goals:  Gouffran (20′), Yedlin (90+1′)


MATCH OFFICIALS:

Darren Bond in action
Stepping in: Bond, who was due to be fourth official, did a good job of controlling the game overall after replacing Linington in the middle at the last minute (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee: Darren Bond (Lancashire) – 8/10
Assistant referees: James Wilson (Cheshire) and Mark Russell (Somerset)
Fourth official: James Linington (Isle of Wight)

Attendance: 30,405


REACTION:

Derby County boss Nigel Pearson: “For us, it is another frustrating day but in a different way to the Burton game. Our application was good, we took the game to our opponents but unfortunately for us conceded a goal probably when we were causing them quite a few problems. I cannot fault the application.”

Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez: “It’s not me – it’s the players who does a great job. The main thing for me is to see the team working as a team but there is still room for improvement.”

Five-star Celtic thrash 10-man Rangers in season’s first Old Firm derby

Moussa Dembele’s hat-trick helped Celtic thump five past Rangers in the first Old Firm derby in the Scottish Premiership for five seasons to maintain their 100% start to the league campaign.

  •  Dembele nets perfect hat-trick: header, left foot & right foot
  •  First league Old Firm for four and a half years
  •  Rangers suffer first Scottish Premiership defeat of season
  •  Rodgers gets better of Warburton as bosses clash in dugout for first time
dembele-goal-2-0
Star of the show: The Frenchman took his tally of Celtic goals to seven in all competitions already this season with a stunning hat-trick showing (Picture from Sky Sports)

MOUSSA Dembele scored a sensational hat-trick as a dominant Celtic swatted 10-man Rangers aside in the Scottish Premiership’s first Old Firm derby for five seasons.

The former Fulham striker, who only started because Leigh Griffiths was ruled out through injury, notched a double in the space of nine first-half minutes with a header and fine finish.

Joe Garner – on his first start for Rangers – gave the visitors hope by nodding home Kenny Miller’s header from close range on the stroke of half-time.

But Dembele set up Scott Sinclair, who netted for the fourth successive league game, before completing his historic treble to seal the deal.

And substitute Stuart Armstrong added gloss in stoppage time for the Hoops, who have now recorded four wins from four at the start of a league season for the first time since 2010.

The 20-year-old’s first career hat-trick was the first in an Old Firm league game since Stevie Chalmers in 1966, as the eagerly-awaited first league meeting of Glasgow’s fierce rivals since April 2012 delivered in every department and gave the Manchester derby a run for its money.

In truth, it was a comfortable afternoon for the champions, who laid down an early marker in their quest for a sixth successive title, as Brendan Rodgers enjoyed a winning Old Firm debut and his side maintained their 100 per cent start to the campaign in some style.

Brendan Rodgers with Chris Davies and John Kennedy
Sitting pretty: Rodgers, centre, watched on as Celtic moved four points clear of Rangers at the top of the table with a game in hand (Picture from Sky Sports)

In contrast, it was a rotten first trip to Celtic Park for opposite number Mark Warburton as the Gers lost Rob Kiernan to injury and debutant Philippe Senderos to two daft bookable offences – before assistant manager Davie Weir was ordered to the dressing room.

Rangers began brightly but quickly faded away to become second best by some distance as their unbeaten, yet stuttering, return to Scotland’s top-flight came to a painful end at the home of their city neighbours.

For Celtic, it was the perfect warm-up for the start of their Champions League group stage campaign against Barcelona on Tuesday, with the only worry being Scott Brown’s withdrawal with a minor injury on 74 minutes.

Even though it failed to reach breaking point, the Hoops skipper – in his 23rd Old Firm appearance – enjoyed the hugely-anticipated duel with Joey Barton. And the recently retired Scotland international had the last laugh with another verbal jibe, claiming it was “men against boys”.

Although that was the case by the end, it was much tighter in the typically frantic opening exchanges, when lots of inflatables made their way on to the pitch and added to the carnival atmosphere inside a packed Parkhead.

griffiths-in-stands
Watching brief: Celtic’s leading scorer, who missed Scotland duty after coming off against Aberdeen, sat out again with a hamstring injury (Picture from Sky Sports)

Tom Rogic, who scored in April’s Scottish Cup semi-final before missing the decisive spotkick, had a couple of early sighters off target as he took up some intelligent positions in behind Rangers’ three-man midfield.

After an even opening, Celtic came on strong and started the unexpected rout on 33 minutes when Dembele rose above Kiernan to meet Sinclair’s corner before leaving Senderos for dead to confidently finish past Wes Foderingham and put the hosts firmly in control.

Rangers appeared to have dragged themselves back in contention before the interval as Garner bundled in Miller’s header from a James Tavernier cross – the club’s first league goal at Celtic Park in four visits.

After Andy Halliday replaced an ineffective Kranjcar for the start of the second half, the Gers briefly threatened to draw level when Barrie McKay curled a shot wide of the far post.

But the champions soon settled into their rhythm once more as Dembele’s defence-splitting pass released Sinclair, who clipped in off the post to continue his impressive start since arriving from Aston Villa.

As Celtic’s Patrick Roberts and Rangers forward Martyn Waghorn made their respective comebacks from hamstring injuries off the bench, Gers keeper Foderingham had to deny Armstrong and Dembele from distance.

Joey Barton
Me and my big mouth: Barton was made to eat his words as he failed to turn up on the big stage – and Celtic counterpart Brown delivered a statistical masterclass (Picture from Sky Sports)

Rangers began to unravel and a debut to forget for Senderos was compounded when the experienced former Arsenal defender, booked for a foul on Sinclair earlier, was dismissed by Willie Collum for a deliberate and daft handball.

It got worse when Warburton’s right-hand man Weir also received his marching orders for a foul-mouthed rant at fourth official Kevin Clancy.

Celtic showed no signs of letting up and ruthlessly cashed in on the numerical advantage in the closing stages, as Dembele took down a Mikael Lustig cross and fired home his third. He could be forgiven for the overzealous celebrations which earned him a booking.

Armstrong, in his first taste of the famous rivalry, had the final say with a goal his excellent cameo merited – tucking into the bottom corner from Kieran Tierney’s cutback in added time.

The headlines, though, belonged to one man and, with Griffiths confirmed to be absent for the trip to the Nou Camp, Rodgers will be hoping the irrepressible Dembele can continue in the same vein.

As Celtic reflected on setting the standard in the first of four expected Old Firm showdowns this term, Rangers were left to lick their wounds and re-evaluate their options whilst scurrying out of the back door in the east end of Glasgow unnoticed.

But the real winner is Scottish football: the Old Firm is well and truly back, and here to stay!


TEAMS:

celtic-xi
Four derby debutants: Summer signings Dorus de Vries, Kolo Toure, Scott Sinclair and Moussa Dembele tasted the Old Firm for the first time (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Armstrong (on for Rogic 54′), Roberts (on for Forrest 64′) and McGregor (on for Brown 74′)

Not used:  Gordon (GK), Gamboa, Izaguirre, Ciftci.

Booked:  Bitton (8′), Toure (49′), Roberts (80′), Dembele (84′)

Goals:  Dembele (33′, 42′, 83′), Sinclair (61′), Armstrong (90+2′)

 

rangers-xi
Old Firm initiations for five: Philippe Senderos, Josh Windass, Joey Barton, Niko Kranjcar and Joe Garner all lined up against Celtic for the first time (Picture from Sky Sports)

Substitutes:  Halliday (on for Kranjcar 45′), Waghorn (on for Miller 63′) and Forrester (on for Kiernan 72′)

Not used:  Gilks (GK), Hodson, Hill, O’Halloran.

Booked:  Kranjcar (29′), Senderos (63′), Kiernan (68′)

Sent-off:  Senderos (75′)

Goals:  Garner (44′)


MATCH OFFICIALS:

willie-collum-referee
Under the radar: Scotland’s Euro 2016 referee gave seven yellows and a red but managed his third Old Firm derby very well and came through unscathed (Picture from Sky Sports)

Referee: Willie Collum (Scotland) – 8/10
Assistant referees: Douglas Ross and Frank Connor (Scotland)
Fourth Official: Kevin Clancy (Scotland)

Attendance: 60,000


REACTION:

Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers: “It was a great day for the club and the team. If you think of all the travelling this team has put in over the last couple of weeks, with a lot of players away, to get back in and produce that level of performance with that energy in the team, I thought it was an outstanding team performance.”

Rangers manager Mark Warburton: “It was hugely disappointing. We were just talking in there that the fans were magnificent for us. I thought we were good in the second half. McKay had a good chance and we were in a good shape but we made some poor decisions and gave away cheap goals. As a group in there, we know that.”

2018 World Cup Qualifier: Scotland make winning start on road to Russia

Robert Snodgrass netted a treble as Scotland thrashed nine-man Malta in Valletta to make a winning start to their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign.

  •  Hull City’s Robert Snodgrass scores hat-trick
  •  Malta have two men sent off in second-half
  •  Scotland sit top of Group F after matchday one
  •  Gordon Strachan pleased with team’s mental strength
Gordon Strachan in Tbilisi (v Georgia - 4th September 2015)
Raring to go: Strachan said he was “excited” and “inspired” by the young players in his squad ahead of his second full qualification campaign in charge (Picture from Sky Sports)

ROBERT Snodgrass scored a hat-trick as Scotland made the perfect start to their 2018 World Cup qualification campaign with a convincing victory over nine-man Malta.

The Hull City winger, who missed all of the Euro 2016 qualifiers through injury, opened the scoring after nine minutes with a cross-cum-shot before Malta striker Alfred Effiong headed the hosts level soon after.

Surprise starter Chris Martin stroked home Matt Ritchie’s fine cross to restore the lead and Snodgrass converted a penalty following the controversial dismissal of Jonathan Caruana for fouling Martin as the last man.

Substitute Steven Fletcher added a fourth before Snodgrass slotted in after Fletcher hit the crossbar to complete his treble and cap a memorable evening for him and the Tartan Army at the Ta’Qali National Stadium.

Malta also had Luke Gambin dismissed late on for kicking out at Snodgrass as Scotland took control to clinch a vital win and top Group F after matchday one ahead of England, who needed an injury-time goal to beat Slovakia 1-0 earlier on Sunday.

In what was probably their easiest away game of the campaign on paper, the Tartan Army delivered the goods and passed the first step of overcoming the disappointment of being the only home nation to fail to qualify for Euro 2016 with flying colours.

However, although Strachan was delighted to begin the road to Russia 2018 with a comfortable win, it was another topsy-turvy evening for Scotland which wasn’t truly reflected in the final outcome.

With Celtic’s Scott Brown announcing his international retirement last month, West Brom’s Darren Fletcher returned to captain a side which contained Hearts’ Callum Paterson and teenager Oliver Burke, who made their senior competitive debuts.

Scotland encouraged their 4,500 travelling fans with a bright start, as 19-year-old Burke – who became the country’s most expensive player last week – showing his intent to make an impact while Malta keeper Andrew Hogg rushed off his line to block from Robertson.

The resulting corner was only half-cleared to Snodgrass, who cut inside on the right wing and hung a cross which looped over Hogg and underneath the crossbar to give the Scots a ninth-minute lead.

The goal should have settled any nerves but Malta responded four minutes later when Gareth Sciberras crossed for Effiong to get in front of Paterson and head into the top corner.

Scotland should have been back in front when Paterson’s cross found Snodgrass unmarked eight yards out but he headed straight at Hogg.

The visitors, despite enjoying the lion’s share of possession, found a Maltese side who hadn’t lost by more than a single goal in any of their previous six home games difficult to break down.

Aside from Burke’s dazzling running ability, Scotland showed little sign of getting in behind but Grant Hanley headed his Newcastle team-mate Ritchie’s free-kick wide and Robertson curled wide of the target just before half-time.

Hull’s newest recruit David Marshall, preferred to Craig Gordon in goal, had to be alert early after the break before the Tartan Army regained their lead when an excellent Ritchie cross was converted by Martin, making only his third international start.

The turning point was the penalty awarded by Ukrainian referee Yevhen Aranovsky, when there looked to be little if any contact as Caruana chased Martin into the six-yard box while Fulham’s on-loan Derby striker stretched to reach Robertson’s cross.

Snodgrass took full advantage to send Hogg the wrong way and give Scotland the platform to put the result beyond doubt.

Indeed, it got worse for the hosts as Sheffield Wednesday striker Fletcher met Ritchie’s deflected centre to guide a header home and could have scored a second when rounding Hogg to dink off the crossbar.

But Snodgrass got his reward for not giving up to calmly finish from close range, and record only a second competitive hat-trick in 47 years for Scotland.

The former Leeds man was the victim of a two-footed foul by Barnet winger Gambin, who saw red in stoppage time – yet it didn’t spoil a good night’s work for Scotland, who will be looking for more of the same against Lithuania at Hampden Park next month.

Scotland's upcoming 2018 World Cup qualification fixtures


TEAMS:

Malta:  Hogg, Caruana, Agius, Borg, Scicluna (Camilleri 79′), Fenech, Sciberras, Gambin, Zerafa, Schembri (Briffa 66′), Effiong (Mifsud 89′).
Unused subs:  Bonello (GK), Failla, Baldacchino, Farrugia, Kristensen, Muscat.
Goals:  Effiong (13′)
Booked:  Fenech (56′), Effiong (61′)
Sent-off:  Caruana (60′), Gambin (90+1′)

Scotland:  Marshall, Paterson, R Martin, Hanley, Robertson, D Fletcher (c), Bannan, Snodgrass, O Burke (Forrest 66′), Ritchie (Anya 86′), C Martin (S Fletcher 68′).
Unused subs:  Gordon (GK), Hamilton (GK), Hutton, Greer, Berra, McGinn, Morrison, McKay, Naismith.
Goals:  Snodgrass (9′, 61′ pen, 84′), C Martin (53′), S Fletcher (78′)
Booked:  N/A


MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee: Yevhen Aranovsky (Ukraine) – 7/10
Assistant Referees: Oleksandr Voytyuk and Serhiy Bekker (Ukraine)
Fourth Official: Anatoliy Zhabchenko (Ukraine)

Attendance: TBA


HIGHLIGHTS:


REACTION:

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan: “Winning was all we had to do. We like to try and perform, obviously. We got too strung out after 20 minutes but we sorted it out in the second half. At 1-1, it’s not easy to play in a situation like that. Nerves, stress, and a lack of fitness take over and you wonder if you might end up on the end of a historic result. They gave Italy a good game here, so you know it’s not going to be easy. Our ability has shown and our mental strength has shown as well. We’re lucky we’ve got a bunch of lads who can deal with the stress that manifests because of that goal [Malta’s equaliser]. A lot of teams don’t have that.”

Scotland winger Robert Snodgrass:  “On a personal level, to score three goals is a great achievement. It was a brilliant result for us.”

Scotland striker Chris Martin:  “I was surprised to find out this morning I was starting and it was nice to repay some of the faith with the goal. I maybe could have had another one but all in all a very positive start to the campaign.”

You can vote in a poll about Scotland’s qualification prospects here.