SPFL fans were treated to goals galore in Match Week 7 as the top three smashed their opposition by a combined 12 goals and each of them maintaining their clean sheets.
Celtic have temporarily silenced critics with their dominant display over Ross County as their backline was imperious in Saturday’s win. Lennon’s choice to use a three-man defensive line with Christopher Jullien, Kristoffer Ajer, and Brighton loanee Shane Duffy paid dividends as they tormented County’s attackers from the get-go. Captain Scott Brown effectively shielded the defense as well with 4 successful tackles and 2 interceptions.
With most of Celtic’s play being channeled through the center, McGregor and Ntcham picked up an assist each and were instrumental in constructing attacking moves for the defending champions. Goals came from each of the strikers with Odsonne Edouard slotting home a penalty in the fourth minute followed by a goal from new signing Albian Ajeti in the same half. Substitute Patryk Klimala got on the scoresheet in the second half, with fellow substitute Elyounoussi assisting the goal. Defenders Ajer and Duffy rounded off the scoring.
Neighbors Rangers were firing on all cylinders as they slotted four past newly-promoted Dundee United at Ibrox. The Gers also broke a 114-year-old defensive record held by Celtic as they kept their seventh clean sheet in as many matches since the start of the campaign.
Starting as a number 10, Ianis Hagi provided an assist to Ryan Kent to kick off the scoring. James Tavernier was on target as he netted the Blues’ second of the game. Super-sub Scott Arfield, who was brought on to replace the injured Alfredo Morelos, capitalized on his chance in the penultimate minutes of the game as he scored from Hagi’s second assist. Arfield also provided the assist to Kemar Roofe in the 68th minute.
However, manager Steven Gerrard will be feeling a mixture of agony and joy after the end of Match Week 7. Rangers FC boss would be disappointed because he lost 3 players, namely, Ryan Jack, Brian Barker, and the aforementioned Morelos, to injury during the match as well as Leon Balogun’s withdrawal from the fixture due to the same reason. Nevertheless, the Rangers won comfortably despite the injuries highlighting their strength in depth, which should provide Gerrard with some degree of comfort. The situation is unpleasant for the Gers as they have to deal with Europa League fixtures as well, with their latest one against Gibraltar’s Lincoln Red Imps coming up in a few days.
Second-placed Hibernian kept up the chase to Rangers as they recovered from their stumble the previous matchday. Kevin Nisbet opened the scoring for Hibernian with McGinn providing the assist. Midfielders Joe Newell and Martin Boyle starred against St. Mirren as they set up each other’s goals before being subbed off in the 87th minute together.
St. Mirren maintained possession and finished the match with the same number of shots as their opponents. Much of the match was left in the balance as both sides were equal on and off the ball. However, they were not clinical in front of the goal and will certainly rue their missed chances.
Hibernian take the 3 points home in Match Week 7 and will be looking to cause an upset against first placed Rangers next week. With Gerrard’s men coming off a European fixture, the Hibees will fancy their chances.
Elsewhere in Scotland, Motherwell won their first game of the season as they beat St. Johnstone 1-0 at home. The Accies have now won 2 of their last 3 as they condemned Livingston to a 2-1 defeat. Aberdeen pick up their fourth win in a row as they narrowly beat Kilmarnock with a 1-0 scoreline, pushing them up to fourth, despite playing 2 matches less than the rest of the league.