SPFL sides prepare for competitive action as friendlies continue: Premiership round-up


With Aberdeen in Europa League action this Thursday, it was a young side that was sent up to the highlands by Derek McInnes to face Highland League side Brora Rangers. It was the Dons who took an early lead through Toby Wells but the Highland League side showed their experience as the game went on, eventually running out 3-1 winners after goals from Colin Williamson, Paul Brodie and a Kyle MacLeod penalty.


Celtic had two fixtures on Saturday with the first-team squad playing away to Shamrock Rovers while Brendan Rodgers’ young guns faced Lowland League champions, East Kilbride.

It was an emphatic 9-0 victory for the Hoops in the Republic of Ireland after defeating Shamrock Rovers at the Tallaght Stadium. The away side took the lead early on when Mikael Lustig scored before Stuart Armstrong, Moussa Dembele and Scott Sinclair struck before the break. Five more goals followed in the second half with Armstrong and Sinclair grabbing another goal apiece while James Forrest, Johnny Hayes and Tom Rogic also got in on the act. An easy victory in the end for Celtic ahead of their Champions League Qualifier this midweek versus Linfield.

Speaking after the game, Brendan Rodgers said: “I thought defensively, fundamentally, we were very good in terms of our pressing. These are the games where you are building up that element of fitness to go and press and get on the ball, and then from that, our quality came through. We were very good in some of our play and some of the goals we scored. It was very pleasing.”

While, the Young Celts remained in Scotland, they faced up to a stern test against Lowland League side, East Kilbride. All goals came in the second half with Mark Hill and new signing Kundai Benyu scoring to put the Hoops 2-0 up before Kieran Gibbons pulled one back for Billy Stark’s side. Thomas Caffrey scored to make it 3-1 as Tommy McIntyre’s young Celtic side ran out victorious against East Kilbride at K-Park.


It was a short trip to Gayfield in Arborath for the Dees as Neil McCann”s side ended up grabbing a late win. It was a Steven Doris penalty which had opened the scoring, after the Red Lichties striker was upended in the penalty box by Jack Hendry. However, late strikes from Faissal El Bakhtaoui and new Dutch signing Randy Wolters secured a victory for the Dark Blues in front of an impressive 2,000+ crowd on Saturday afternoon.


It was a young Accies side which was victorious on Saturday afternoon in Oban after a mini-tournament took place. The regular pre-season event was also attended by Alloa Athletc, Dundee United, South Lochaber Thistle and hosts, Oban Saints. It was the young Hamilton side who lifted the trophy after an enthralling afternoon of action. A 2-0 win over Dundee United was followed up by a 5-0 thrashing of South Lochaber Thistle before winning 4-0 and 2-0 respectively against Oban and Alloa. A positive afternoon’s work for the club from Lanarkshire.


A 4-1 victory saw Hearts leave Northern Ireland with a victory. After a defeat during the week, and after losing an early goal to Jamie Mulgrew on Saturday, Ian Cathro will be delighted with the overall performance and result against a tough opponent in Linfield. It was impressive youngster Harry Cochrane who levelled matters on 25 minutes before Jamie Walker fired the Gorgie club in front before the break. Goals from Ismael Goncalves and Cole Stockton rounded off victory for the men in Maroon.

The Jam Tarts also competed in the Ronnie Swan Trophy over the weekend. Hibs, Edinburgh City and hosts Spartans were also involved. Hearts lost out on Saturday after defeat against Lowland League side Spartans at Ainslie Park. Blair Anderson opened the scoring for the hosts with a penalty just before half time which ended up being the only goal of the match with the young Hearts XI losing out 1-0 in the opening fixture. Come the Sunday, it was a similar side who faced Edinburgh City who were filled with trialists. The men in Maroon ran out 5-1 winners. It was City who took the lead, however, through a trialist but goals from Andy Irving twice, an own goal, Callumm Morrison and Lewis Moore sealed victory for Hearts in their second and final game of the two-day tournament. 


It was Lewis Stevenson’s testimonial match yesterday at Easter Road and just over 9,000 fans packed into the ground to see the newly promoted Hibernian take on freshly relegated English Championship side, Sunderland. It was the Black Cats who took the lead with Wahbi Kazri then Jerome Lens scoring. However, their was to be a twist in the tale with the Hibees not letting the long-serving Stevenson down. Goals in the second period by Martin Boyle and Simon Murray restored parity. While the Edinburgh side weren’t to end with a victory on the left-back’s big day, it was a good work out for Neil Lennon’s men who are just 5 days away now from their opening BetFred Cup match.

Speaking at the end of the 90 minutes, the Hibs Head Coach said: “I was pleased with the performance. I thought we were very good in the first-half and didn’t think there was too much between the teams. To go in a goal down, I don’t think we deserved that. Then, we didn’t play well for the opening fifteen minutes of the second half and we were 2-0 down. We made a few changes as fatigue was beginning to set in and after that, we did great.”

The young Hibees were also in action over the weekend as they were also involved in the Ronnie Swan tournament held at Spartans. On the Saturday, they hosted Edinburgh City, drawing 1-1. Ex-Hearts striker Craig Beattie had fired Gary Jardine’s in front but the youthful Premiership side were to equalise in the second half. The following day, Hibs faced hosts Spartans but were to lose to their Lowland League opponents. It was Spartans who took the lead through a trialist before a second goal for the hosts early on in the second period, scored by another trialist. Lewis Allan pulled a goal back for the Hibees but it wasn’t enough as Blair Atkinson fired home late on to seal a 3-1 win for the hosts. A disappointing weekend for the young Hibs side who were unable to pick up a victory over the two games. 


It was a 1-0 victory for Killie on Saturday at home to Livingston. New signing from Alloa, Callum Waters, scored the only goal of the game, with manager Lee McCulloch saying he knows Killie can play better than that. After a training camp in La Manga, Spain, it would be good for McCulloch to finally see his troops in action ahead of Friday night’s hotly anticipated Ayrshire Derby.


It was a defeat for the first time this pre-season as Stephen Robinson’s men lost 3-2 to Gateshead. Macauley Longstaff, Kieran Green and Tom White all scored for the Tynesiders before Well scored two late consolation goals through former-Heed player Ryan Bowman as well as summer recruit Andy Rose. On a day in which rumours were rife about the future of striker Louis Moult, Robinson will be glad to get back up to Lanarkshire to prepare for his side for the start of competitive action this weekend.


As Thistle continue their pre-season preparations, they have travelled to Essex in England. On Saturday afternoon, they played English Football League club Southend United in a closed-doors match which ended all square, in a 0-0 draw. After a 4-2 win against Dunfermline last weekend, Alan Archibald, I’m sure, will take the positives out of this game as the side from Maryhill get ready for another tough campaign in the Scottish Premiership.

Ross County

After a 1-0 win over Highland rivals Elgin City last weekend, the Staggies have travelled to Spain. After winning during the week in a friendly, they played French club Valenciennes this weekend. County lost 2-1, with Dutchman Alex Schalk scoring for Jum McIntyre’s men. Another good workout for the Premiership side who have had two victories in the last week, as they prepare to head home for the BetFred Cup kicking off this weekend.


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