Despite having two less fixtures to take in this week, the Scottish Premiership still served up plenty of action at both ends of the table.
Join us at Brig Sport as we bring you our main talking point from all four games!
Liam Kelly – Get Him On The Bus!
Graham Alexander’s Motherwell side ran-out 2-0 winners at Easter Road thanks to goals from Jordan Roberts and Devante Cole, but it was another stellar showing from goalkeeper Liam Kelly that caught our eyes.
The Hibees almost doubled the expected goals (xG) output of their opponents, meaning Kelly’s four saves, one of which was a world-class stop from close range, went a long way in bringing the points back to Lanarkshire. In fact, Benjamin Siegrist of Dundee United is the only first-choice goalkeeper in the division to make more saves per 90 minutes than the on-loan QPR ‘keeper this season, and if his impressive form continues, surely Steve Clarke’s Scotland radar can’t be too far away!
Another impressive element of Kelly’s performance on Saturday was his distribution. In previous games Motherwell have been trying to play out from the back, attempting to build attacks through their central defenders. However, this time out Alexander seemed to change his plans as only one of the goalkeeper’s passes was to a player in his own third.
Impressively, just four of his 21 attempted long kick-outs failed to reach a claret and amber shirt, showing that as well as excelling as a shot-stopper Liam Kelly possesses many more of the attributes a modern goalkeeper needs.
Dons Still Lack Cutting Edge…
In Glasgow’s east end, Celtic narrowly defeated Aberdeen by a goal to nil (again). Derek McInnes’ side still sit in fourth place, but have worryingly only scored one goal in their last eight matches.
Saturday’s match perhaps showcased much of the Dons’ goalscoring problems. 85% of their xG came from defenders Tommy Hoban and Ash Taylor, whilst their only other main chance was a set-play finding its way to Andy Considine at the back post.
For one reason or another, Aberdeen are not getting the best from their attacking options. Whilst Sam Cosgrove wasn’t quite hitting his own expectations before his departure, the replacements have massively failed to find any sort of form. Scotland under-21 international Fraser Hornby suffered a serious injury not long after joining, while neither of Florian Kamberi or Callum Hendry have made the desired impact Aberdeen fans would’ve hoped for.
If a serious challenge is to be mounted on Hibs for third place, Derek McInnes’ Aberdeen need to start getting more from their attacking players.
Killie Stop The Rot – Mixed Fortunes for Medley
Kilmarnock looked to be heading for a ninth successive defeat when Dundee United took an early lead at Rugby Park.
It was a goal on-loan defender Zech Medley wouldn’t have wanted to see again, his poor control gifting the ball to Ian Harkes, who broke into the Killie box and set up Adrián Sporle. The resulting shot took a wicked deflection into the bottom corner.
The 20-year-old dusted himself off, however, and recovered to become a stand-out in the game. No player on the pitch made more interceptions, whilst his two shots on target (the highest of anyone in his team) perhaps showed he could be a threat in the opposition box as well.
Medley as a footballer is still fairly raw, and his error leading to the goal on Saturday perhaps conveyed this. That being said, there are a couple of attributes which make him look like a fairly decent defender at this level, and if Kilmarnock can uncover these they could have a more-than useful centre-half in their ranks for the run-in!
St Mirren Can’t Escape Diving Controversy
The Buddies took a massive three points in their quest for top six at the weekend as they defeated Ross County by single goal to nil.
The deciding goal, however, came packed with controversy after County’s Leo Hjelde was judged to have fouled Collin Quaner in the area, with Jamie McGrath converting the resulting spot-kick. The call from referee Greg Aitken has been described as soft to say the least…
St Mirren manager Jim Goodwin had previously demanded divers be “named and shamed” after his side had lost a questionable penalty against Celtic last month. However, several of his own players have since faced criticism. Even before the weekend’s match, Lee Erwin was another Saints player to be called out for simulation.
In all fairness, Goodwin has stood by his comments, saying that his own player should be punished if he was found to have taken a dive; however, there’s no doubt the St Mirren manager would have preferred the headlines to be about his team’s performance instead.
Featured Image Credit – The Times