Football / Scottish Round-up: Rangers rule despite absentees

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The Independent Online
RANGERS, the champions, remain the only Premier Division side with a 100 per cent record after just two Saturdays of the new campaign, writes David McKinney.

Their 2-1 win over St Johnstone was earned without Mark Hateley, the striker missing the game with pulled stomach muscles, while Ian Ferguson, who scored the winning goal, was later carried from the field with an ankle injury. Both, however, should be fit for the first Old Firm match of the season at Celtic Park on Saturday.

That is a game Celtic must look ahead to with some concern. Already two points behind their rivals, they will not want to trail by four points so early in the season, especially in view of Rangers' injury crisis. If Celtic are to mount a challenge it seems logical that they must do so in the early weeks, when seven international players are unavailable to Rangers.

However, Celtic lost their goalscorer, Charlie Nicholas, and his fellow striker Frank McAvennie to injury in the second half against Hibernian, before conceding a late equaliser and a precious home point.

A 2-1 win at Dundee continued Motherwell's good start to the season, leaving them in second place, ahead of Dundee United, who are credited with an interest in signing Maurice Johnston, the Everton striker. However, two headed goals by Christian Dailly in a 2-1 win at Partick Thistle suggested that the Tannadice club have already found their replacement for Duncan Ferguson. Aberdeen, in fourth place, are the third club on three points, courtesy of a Paul Kane winner against newly promoted Kilmarnock at Pittodrie.

Hearts, who beat Raith 1-0, last night signed Jim Weir, the Hamilton central defender, for pounds 300,000.