Football Round-Up: Hagen in the groove

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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.