Football: Edinburgh exerts influence

Scottish round-up
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The Independent Online
At a time when the powerbrokers in the Scottish game are advocating a new league, there is a novel look to the apparently unfashionable Premier Division. Hearts and Hibernian, the Edinburgh clubs, lead the way and although the Glasgow giants are poised for a take-over bid, the challenge from the east might be sustained.

Hearts broke new ground on Saturday when they opened their new Gorgie Road stand, which takes their capacity up to 18,000, and they celebrated on the field by moving to the top of the Premier Division for the first time since 1992. In a team being rebuilt by Jim Jefferies it was the veteran John Robertson who scored the winning goal on the hour.

Hibs, who had led since the start of the season, surrendered top place with a 1-1 draw against Motherwell. Perhaps last season such a result would have been acceptable but these days more is expected at Easter Road. Hibs have already beaten Celtic this season but it is consistency against clubs other than the old firm that will determine the success of the Edinburgh challenge this season.

Already Rangers are poised to strike. Despite the disappointment of their form in Europe, the Scottish game does not pose as serious a challenge. A 2-0 win over St Johnstone has left the Glasgow side in third place two points behind leaders with two games in hand.

Celtic, who comfortably disposed of Aberdeen thanks to two goals by Henrik Larsson, one victory behind Hearts with one game in hand.

Kilmarnock took some time to recover from their 3-1 European defeat at the hands of Nice on Thursday. Their game with Dunfermline was put back to yesterday but it took a goal two minutes from time from the penalty spot by Paul Wright to give Killie a point after Dunfermline had gone ahead in the 62nd minute through Andy Smith.