Caniggia sparkles amid controversy

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The Independent Online

New eras were being established all over the Scottish Premier League on Saturday, but the most intriguing was delivered in a Spanish accent.

Claudio Caniggia inspired Rangers to a 3-0 win at Aberdeen, though he was accused of diving to win a penalty, yet the former Argentina striker would have admired the more traditional Latin skills of the young Spaniard David Fernandez, who announced Livingston's arrival into the big time.

Caniggia had a hand in Christian Nerlinger's opening goal at Pittodrie and later scored himself to seal the match, but it was the 69th-minute penalty he earned in between, which drew condemnation from the Aberdeen captain, Derek Whyte.

"It was never a penalty, there was no contact with Caniggia," said Whyte. "It's a South American thing and sometimes it can be an art."

Fernandez put his own imprint on the opening day of the season by making a goal for compatriot Francisco Quino and then striking an audacious goal himself in Livingston's 2-1 win over Hearts. The former Deportivo La Coruña striker said: "This is stage we want to play on and we must believe we can beat any team."

Hibernian came from behind as Ulrik Laursen preserved with an 83rd minute header to give them a 2-2 draw against Kilmarnock, while Jim Hamilton left it even later when his header secured a similar scoreline for Dundee United in injury time in the torrid city derby with Dundee at Tannadice.

Dunfermline owe thanks to their manager Jimmy Calderwood for buying Jack de Gier from his old club in the Netherlands. The Dutch striker scored twice on his debut as Motherwell were routed 5-2 at East End Park. David Kelly scored a penalty for the visitors but doubles from de Gier and Barry Nicholson secured victory.

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