Scottish Football: Premier paucity of goal drama

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AFTER A WEEK when those concerned with creating a Super League for Scotland made promises of exciting football, the current Premier League is characterised by an inability to find the net, and three games into the campaign only Aberdeen and Hearts have scored more goals than games played.

There were just seven goals in Saturday's six matches, and it was left to the former Celtic and Scotland player, Roy Aitken, to secure for Aberdeen the only win of the day. His header three minutes from time against Falkirk took the Dons to the top of the table for the first time since October 1991.

With their summer signing, Duncan Shearer, weighing in with three and Scott Booth adding another, Aberdeen have hit the target five times in their three games - one more than Hearts, who occupy fifth place.

The defending champions, Rangers, drew a blank against Hibernian at Easter Road. At this stage last season Ally McCoist and company had celebrated goals on eight occasions. Paradoxically, they are a point better off this time.

Similarly Celtic, with a goal a game, have hardly had the defenders quaking, with Gerry Creaney the only recognised striker to have scored, his goal coming in midweek at Aberdeen. The Hearts defender, Craig Levein, scored an own goal for Celtic on the opening day; while the Parkhead club's English defender, Tony Mowbray, headed his side's opener against Motherwell, who responded with a Steve Kirk equaliser.

The midweek fixtures afford the big teams a break from the rigours of the league, with the second round of the Skol Cup. Dumbarton, the Second Division champions last season, would appear to be this week's sacrificial lambs, meeting Rangers at Hampden Park tomorrow. A 4-0 defeat at the hands of St Mirren on Saturday will have given the Sons a taste of what might be to come, but at least they will have the consolation of a fat cheque from what is their 'home' game.

Celtic also travel to Hampden to play Stirling Albion on Wednesday, and again they will look for a comprehensive win. However, a big team falls early every year in this tournament, and the holders, Hibernian, will have to be on guard against Raith Rovers, who beat St Mirren 7-0 on the opening day.