5 things we learned from Ladbrokes Premiership (26-28 August)
The Ladbrokes Premiership table got quite the shake-up last weekend, with the bottom two ahead of play both winning – as Hamilton and Inverness Caledonian Thistle each chalked up late wins to record their first victories of the season.
Once again, Ladbrokes News looks back at a weekend of twists and turns across the top-flight, to examine the biggest talking points from the action…
Inverness finding form under Foran
Though Ross Draper’s brave header broke the deadlock just before the hour mark, there’s no denying that an Inverness goal had been on the cards for much of the game.
Having lost their previous four games, conceding 11 times in the process, it would have been easy for Richie Foran’s men to put in a nervy or dispirited display against St Johnstone – but they did anything but, with Liam Polworth’s skill here summing up their confidence.
— SPFL (@spfl) August 29, 2016
Richard Foster’s equaliser for the Sainties tested the hosts’ resolve, but the Caley Jags pushed on, and a determined goalmouth scramble ended with Josh Meekings tapping home a 91st-minute winner.
With their losing streak emphatically ended and a good display under their belt, the 15/4 for Inverness to win at Aberdeen for first time since 2014 looks like excellent value indeed.
Celtic hitman is unbe-Leigh-vable
Hoops’ striker Leigh Griffiths chalked up an early Goal of the Season contender to open the scoring in a 4-1 victory over Aberdeen, with this absolute rocket.
But Celtic’s overall performance will be what most impressed manager Brendan Rodgers, with the side’s 4-2-3-1 formation working a treat against the Dons, and the talented Tom Rogic pulling the strings with an intelligent assist and a coolly taken penalty.
Top of the table with three wins in as many games, the 1/6 for the Parkhead club to lift the title doesn’t flatter them one bit.
More injury-time woe for St Johnstone
Tommy Wright’s men seem to be trying to corner the market on late drama with seven goals in their games from the 80th minute onwards, in all competitions this season.
However, after a run of dramatic strikes in their favour, defensive complacency has caught them out in injury-time two weeks in a row – a run the talented but inconsistent Perth side will need to curb.
Ryan Christie’s 92nd-minute goal for Celtic at McDiarmid Park quashed any hopes of a point for the Saints the previous weekend, while this time round a failure to clear the ball provided Meekings with a winner at Tulloch Caledonian Stadium, meaning it’s no points from two games for Wright’s side.
Rangers look good – but not ruthless enough
Having averaged two points a game so far, it’s fair to say that Mark Warburton’s side have adapted comfortably to the life in the Ladbrokes Premiership. However, a lack of cutting edge in front of goal could see the Gers struggle to mount a serious title charge.
Despite facing 10 men at Rugby Park for much of Friday night’s game, Rangers failed to grab a winner against Kilmarnock, and in truth, they didn’t come very close to taking all three points – despite the man advantage.
Having also struggled to finish the job in a 1-1 opening day draw against Hamilton, the Gers’ frontline – which struck fear into Ladbrokes Championship defences last season hasn’t quite clicked in the top-flight. Yet.
Rangers head to Celtic Park for the Old Firm clash next, with 10/3 for the visitors to bag a first league win at Parkhead since 2010. There couldn’t be a more important time for Kenny Miller and co. to rediscover their shooting boots.
Heartbreak for Thistle as Neilson’s men impress
Tony Watt may never score a more memorable goal than his sweet strike for Celtic against Barcelona in the Champions League, but announcing yourself with a 90th-minute winner in a crucial away game isn’t too far behind.
The 22-year-old gave Heart of Midlothian a crucial victory at Partick Thistle, to ensure back-to-back wins, having served up plenty of exciting, attacking football both at Firhill and in the 5-1 demolition of Inverness in Gorgie.
With this Hearts side developing an intuitive understanding on the field, as well as possessing the nous of players like Conor Sammon and the flair of Watt and Sam Nicholson, they look good to continue this run against Hamilton, where the Jam Tarts are 4/6 for victory.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing