Football: Hignett on a high as Dons delight

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CRAIG HIGNETT inspired Aberdeen to a bright start to the new Scottish Premiership season yesterday with a 2-0 victory away at Dens Park against promoted Dundee.

The only consolation for Dundee is that they will not meet players of Hignett's class every week. The former Middlesbrough midfielder was the pick of the seven newcomers on view. Dundee had five new signings in their line-up for their first campaign in the top flight for four years.

Aberdeen were on top from the start and went ahead in the 21st minute when Billy Dodds sent in Eoin Jess, who rounded the keeper to score. Within minutes, the game was over as a contest after a goal manufactured south of the border. Mike Newell chipped a cross to the far post and Hignett chested the ball down and shot into the corner from 12 yards.

Dundee United lost by the same score at Kilmarnock despite making a bright start. Once Kilmarnock had put their defence in order they took control and won with superb goals from Paul Wright and Pat Nevin.

Killie went ahead in the 32nd minute through Wright. When Martin Baker's powerful header from an Ian Durrant corner was only partially cleared by the United defence, Wright reacted quickly to score with an overhead kick. After that, United's Sieb Dykstra was then by far the busier goalkeeper, pulling off two super saves, but there was nothing he would do to stop Nevin's chip in the 72nd minute.

A superb strike direct from a free-kick by Gered Stirling gave Motherwell, with seven new faces in their line-up, a 1-0 victory over 10-man St Johnstone, who had Paul Kane after half an hour for high tackle on Jan Michels.

As English clubs continue their build-up to the new season, Birmingham City had another promising outing, beating Sheffield Wednesday 4-0, with Peter Ndlovu scoring twice. He opened his account in the 26th minute with a raking low shot pass Kevin Pressman. He moved quickly on to a hard cross from Simon Charlton 13 minutes later for his second goal as Wednesday's defence struggled to cope. Paul Furlong added Birmingham's third goal in the 57th minute and Dele Adebola made it four in the last minute.

Two goals by the Brazilian Anderson helped Barcelona kick-off their English tour with a 3-2 victory over Wolves at Molineux. Mario Rosas scored Barca's other goal, while Steve Bull and Simon Osborne were the Wolves scorers.

Charlton, preparing for their first Premiership season, scored two goals in a three-minute spell midway through the first half to beat Wycombe 3-0. Superbly taken goals from new pounds 1m signing Neil Redfearn and Clive Mendonca broke Wycombe's resistance and Steve Jones added a third from the penalty spot.