Football Round-Up: Hagen in the groove

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The Independent Online
THE structure of the Scottish League may be subject to change but the balance of power remained the same after the summer break with Rangers kicking off their pursuit of a sixth successive title with a 2-1 victory over Hearts at Ibrox yesterday.

David Hagen, playing in attack while Ally McCoist recovers from a broken leg, tapped in the opening goal on the stroke of half-time, pouncing when the Hearts goalkeeper, Henry Smith, dropped Alexei Mikhailichenko's corner at his feet. Mark Hateley headed the second from an Ian Durrant corner, before John Brown's own- goal brought Hearts back to provide a little tension to the finale.

Celtic clawed their way back to a 2-2 draw at Motherwell after falling two goals behind. Doug Arnott and Alex Burns gave Motherwell a flying start with goals in the first 37 minutes, but Celtic scored right on half-time, through Stuart Slater. Upping the tempo paid off for Celtic when Frank McAvennie equalised in the 62nd minute, and it took a one-handed save from Motherwell's Sieb Dykstra to prevent Charlie Nicholas from stealing the game for them.

DAVID BARDSLEY limped off during Queen's Park Rangers' 2-0 win at Oxford United after aggravating an Achilles tendon injury, and he is doubtful for England's World Cup qualifier against Poland on 8 September.

John Barnes also failed to finish Liverpool's 4-0 victory at Burnley. The England winger went off in the 66th minute after a touchline challenge with John Francis left him nursing an ankle injury.

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