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SPL as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times BST)

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By Colin Moffat

1705: I need a lie down after all the late drama, so I'll sign off. Thanks for your company and remember to tune in again tomorrow for all the fun of the Edinburgh derby at Easter Road.

Handbags
1700:BBC Radio Scotland pundit Derek Ferguson reports that the scuffle I mentioned at Fir Park involved departing Motherwell chairman John Boyle. There was a bit of pushing and shoving - classic 'handbags'.

1658: Motherwell and Kilmarnock have taken big steps towards securing top-six finishes. The Steelmen were worthy winners against Aberdeen while the Ayrshire team rode their luck to claim a point in Perth.

1656: What a remarkable afternoon! Dundee United stun Rangers at Ibrox and Celtic stay top of the pile without even having to play, while St Mirren come roaring back from a goal down to sink Hamilton thanks to a rapid hat-trick from Michael Higdon.

Full time
1654: Full-time: St Johnstone 0-0 Kilmarnock

1653: There was a wee scuffle near the dugouts at Fir Park and wee Craig Brown looked up for a scrap. He might be 70 but I wouldn't mess with him - and he's got Archie Knox for back-up!

Full time
1651: Full-time scores:
Rangers 2-3 Dundee Utd
Motherwell 2-1 Aberdeen
St Mirren 3-1 Hamilton

1650: Murray Davidson's thumping header is cleared off the line and Jordan Robertson's follow-up is also blocked by a cluster of Kilmarnock defenders. What do St Johnstone have to do to score?

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Aberdeen are back in the game in injury-time as Nikola Vujadinovic heading a 91st minute goal for the Reds.

1647: GOAL Motherwell 2-1 Aberdeen (Vujadinovic)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
United break from a Rangers corner and David Goodwillie goes through on goal to finish well past Allan McGregor. A classic sucker-punch.

1645: GOAL Rangers 2-3 Dundee United (Goodwillie)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1644: Nikica Jelavic heads straight as Dusan Pernis as Rangers miss a chance to go back in front and soon after Steven Whittaker nods against the crossbar.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Moments after having a shot saved by Jamie Langfield, Shaun Hutchinson side-foots the ball beyond the Dons goalie to give Motherwell a two-goal lead. Aberdeen boss Craig Brown will be maddened by the poor marking as the Well player met Tom Hateley's corner uncontested.

1642: GOAL Motherwell 2-0 Aberdeen (Hutchinson)

1640: Alexei Eremenko hasn't been in the game at McDiarmid Park. Perhaps he is pining for his countryman Mixu Paatelainen. He won't be the only one - Killie fans must be gutted at losing their manager.

1639: St Johnstone squander another good chance as defender Michael Duberry takes an age to control a bouncing ball then balloons his shot from 12 yards high over the Kilmarnock crossbar. Still goalless in Perth.

Someone has struck the woodwork
1635: Rangers goalkeeper Allan McGregor touches David Goodwillie's swerving cross onto the crossbar. The home side look rattled.

1634: St Mirren goal-hero Michael Higdon goes off to a rousing ovation from the relieved home fans.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Rangers are pegged back for a second time as Johnny Russell gets across his marker to meet Paul Dixon's cross and plant a header into the net.

1633: GOAL Rangers 2-2 Dundee United (Russell)

1631: El-Hadji Diouf's inventive back-heel shot is plucked out of the air by Dundee United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Hamilton can start planning for life in Division One. Surely there is no way back for Billy Reid's men. This time it's Craig Dargo picking out Michael Higdon with a ball from wide on the right and the big striker completes his hat-trick in the space of 10 minutes, blasting the ball past Tomas Cerny. He then earns himself a booking for over-celebrating.

1630: GOAL St Mirren 3-1 Hamilton (Higdon, hat-trick)

Someone has struck the woodwork
1627: St Johnstone striker Peter MacDonald sends a looping header onto the crossbar and Collin Samuel fails to convert the rebound from close range.

1625: It's still finely balanced at Ibrox with Rangers looking to make the points safe and Dundee United looking to Danny Swanson for inspiration.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
It's all change in Paisley as Michael Higdon grabs his second goal in as many minutes. Martin Canning upends Paul McGowan and is sent for an early bath. Higdon is cool as you like as he drives the ball right down the middle from the penalty spot.

1622: GOAL St Mirren 2-1 Hamilton (Higdon)

Red card
1621: PENALTY TO ST MIRREN - Martin Canning (Hamilton) sent off.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
St Mirren are back in the game with Michael Higdon's 12th goal of the season, latching on to a David Van Zanten cross and heading the ball into the back of Tomas Cerny's goal.

1620: GOAL St Mirren 1-1 Hamilton (Higdon)

1617: Aberdeen's Chris Maguire makes a diagonal run from left to right into the Motherwell penalty box and his shot to the far corner of the goal is saved brilliantly by Darren Randolph.

1615: St Mirren midfielder Steven Thomson hits the side-netting as the hosts try to battle their way back into the match.

1615: Motherwell's Steve Jones somehow misses from four yards, ballooning an effort over the bar as he tries to convert Chris Humphrey's cross at the back post.

1614: St Johnstone are denied a penalty as Kilmarnock goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola fumbles then clatters into Peter MacDonald as he retrieves the situation. Harsh on the home side, according the BBC Scotland commentary team.

1612: Danny Swanson drives at the Rangers defence and tries to score from a tight angle but the effort slips agonisingly wide for the United man.

1611: "There's a bit of pressure building from St Mirren now - they've had a few corners in a row and they seem desperate to get something out of this match." BBC Scotland pundit Willie McStay in Paisley.

1610: "Things have picked up from Rangers, they look a yard sharper and they are winning the 50/50s." BBC Sportsound pundit Craig Paterson has changed his tune at Ibrox.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
As things stand, Rangers are back on top of the league with Steven Naismith firing home a volley after Dundee United struggled to clear their lines at a corner.

1608: GOAL Rangers 2-1 Dundee Utd (Naismith)

1606: Aberdeen's Chris Maguire is called offside but plays on when everyone else has stopped and smacks the ball into the net. Referee Steven Mclean is unimpressed but decides a talking-to is preferable to a booking.

1605: "It looks like a completely different United team from the first 44 minutes of the game." BBC Sportsound pundit Craig Paterson is impressed by the visitors' start to the second half at Ibrox.

1602: We're off again at Fir Park and Ibrox - a bit tardy at McDiarmid Park and St Mirren Park...

1559: Kilmarnock woke up a little in the last 10-15 minutes of the first half in Perth. St Johnstone continue to struggle in front of goal and they might pay for their profligacy if the visitors find their rhythm after the interval.

1554: "Hamilton have really taken the game to St Mirren and deserve to be in front. They've been playing with real urgency." BBC Radio Scotland commentator John Barnes.

1551: Well, well. Two goals right on the half-time whistle. If Hamilton can hold on for the win they will be just three points behind St Mirren at the foot of the table. At Ibrox, the home fans are grumbling as Dundee United plunder an equaliser with their only real glimpse of goal.

Half time
1547: HALF-TIME SCORES:
Motherwell 1-0 Aberdeen
Rangers 1-1 Dundee Utd
St Johnstone 0-0 Kilmarnock
St Mirren 0-1 Hamilton

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
Danny Swanson drives at the Rangers defence and sends an excellent pass through to David Robertson, not David Goodwillie as I said earlier, who finishes well past Allan McGregor to level for Dundee United.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
A sweet, left-footed strike from David Buchanan flies straight into the top corner of the St Mirren net from 25 yards. That is a big, big goal for Hamilton.

1544: GOAL Rangers 1-1 Dundee Utd (Goodwillie)

1543: GOAL St Mirren 0-1 Hamilton (Buchanan)

1542: Flavio Paixao goes one-on-one with St Mirren keeper Paul Gallacher but, after a 45 yard run, the Portuguese tries to be too smart and the Buddies keeper makes the save. The ball breaks to Ali Crawford but the youngster can't profit.

4titude2011 on Twitter is a fan of Kilmarnock's Finnish playmaker: "With regards to Eremenko [1527], who cares about fitness when you have the technique he has?"

1537: Rangers have a height advantage over Dundee United but the Ibrox side have not really exploited this at corners. United have settled since the loss of the goal and are feeling their way into the contest.

From a perplexed Kenny via text: "Just answering nature's call in a toilet cubicle in Ibrox and a ball has just bounced in - any explanation?"
Sorry buddy I can't help you with that one.

1534: St Johnstone continue to dominate in Perth but, not for the first time, they are finding it hard to make the vital breakthrough. Still goalless.

1531: The Aberdeen line-up is attack-minded, with Aluko, Blackman, Vernon and Maguire all playing but so far the visitors have been very quiet at Fir Park. It's been all Motherwell.

1528: Nigel Hasselbaink drifts down to the touchline and feeds the ball to Jim McAlister, but St Mirren keeper Paul Gallacher manages to parry the midfielder's shot wide.

1527:BBC Radio Scotland commentator Scott Davie is giving Killie player Alexei Eremenko a hard time for perhaps carrying a pound or two more than he should just as St Johnstone's Danny Invincibile draws a smart save from Anssi Jaakkola.

1525: "Some very positive play from Hamilton, you can see the influence from Alex Neil." BBC Scotland pundit Willie McStay at St Mirren Park. Still no goals in the relegation dogfight.

1524: Rangers' appeals for a penalty fall on deaf ears after Steven Naismith collides with Dundee United goalkeeper Dusan Pernis.

1523: Motherwell look to have the bit between their teeth, winning the ball back quickly when they lose possession and keeping Aberdeen pinned back. I imagine they may have a point to prove to former boss Craig Brown, now in charge of the Dons, of course.

1521: Hamilton's Alex Neil whacks the ball from 25 yards out, but fails to get over it and sends it over the St Mirren crossbar.

1520: Kilmarnock have been ragged in possession, barely stringing two passes together so far at McDiarmid Park.

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
El-Hadji Diouf's free-kick finds the head of Nikica Jelavic and the Rangers striker bullets the ball into the net.

1518: GOAL Rangers 1-0 Dundee United (Jelavic)

Goooooooaaaaaaaaal
First blood to Motherwell as Chris Humphrey shows a great turn of pace to make five yards up on Aberdeen left-back Steven Smith, nick the ball off his toe, race into the box and smash the ball past Jamie Langfield.

1515: GOAL Motherwell 1-0 Aberdeen (Humphrey)

1515: "United are working hard at making things difficult for Rangers." BBC Sportsound commentator Rob MacLean.

1512: It's all been rather cagey at St Mirren Park. We've had no clear-cut chances so far. Paul McGowan has just fired a decent ball to the back post but had no-one in a Buddies jersey is waiting to pounce.

macdonald26 on Twitter: "It'll be interesting to see how Aberdeen fare. In recent games, Nick Blackman hasn't seemed to fit in the team. 2-1 Aberdeen."

1509: Motherwell have made a lively start. Steve Jones cuts into the penalty box from the left, beats two players and smacks a shot over the bar. Soon after, Jamie Murphy tries his luck, again with a move down the left. This time, though, the shot flashes across the goal and goes narrowly wide.

1507: Another great chance for St Johnstone as Peter McDonald finds himself completely unmarked 10 yards from goal, only to take his eye off the ball and miss his header altogether.

It's sunny
1505: Glorious sunshine in Lanarkshire where the Dons are desperate for a win at Fir Parl to keep alive their slim hopes of finishing in the top six.

1504: Rangers appear to be targeting Dundee United in the wide areas after the Tangerines struggled to contain Motherwell on the flanks during the week.

1501: Collin Samuel lifts the ball over the head of Kilmarnock keeper Anssi Jaakkola but a visiting defender gets back to scramble it away. The St Johnstone striker rather scuffed the effort and really should have scored.

Whistle
1500: We're underway at Fir Park, Ibrox, McDiarmid Park and St Mirren Park. Hold on to your bunnets...

1456: "We have a great opportunity to go top of the league today but we've always had tough games against Dundee United," warns Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist on BBC Radio Scotland.

1453: St Johnstone have only conceded one goal in their last nine outings at home and they've only scored nine goals at home all season. We must be due a few goals in Perth today, surely?

1449: Dundee United's Peter Houston picked his manager of the month for March yesterday. The Tangerines have won their last five league matches but were woeful at Motherwell on Wednesday when they crashed out of the Scottish Cup.

1446: Manager Billy Reid has chopped and changed his mis-firing Hamilton side all season. For today's crunch game he's made four switches in personnel, with Martin Canning, David Buchanan, Nigel Hasselbaink and Tom Elliot coming in.

1443: TEAM NEWS FROM FIR PARK:
Motherwell: Randolph, Ross, Hutchinson, Gunning, Hammell, Humphrey, Hateley, Lasley, Jones, Sutton, Murphy. Subs: Hollis, Saunders, Craigan, McHugh, Forbes, Casagolda, Pollock.
Aberdeen: Langfield, McArdle, Vujadinovic, Considine, Smith, Young, Milsom, Aluko, Blackman, Vernon, Maguire. Subs: Howard, Pawlett, Paton, Magennis, Anderson, Shaughnessy, Robertson.

1440: TEAM NEWS FROM ST MIRREN PARK:
St Mirren: Gallacher, van Zanten, McGregor, Mair, Travner, Goodwin, Thomson, Murray, McGowan, McLean, Higdon. Subs: Samson, McKernon, Mooy, Potter, Dargo, Cregg, McAusland.
Hamilton: Cerny, Elliott, Elebert, Canning, Buchanan, McAlister, Crawford, Neil, McDonald, Flavio Paixao, Hasselbaink. Subs: Murdoch, Skelton, Graham, Wildig, Chambers, Gillespie, Antoine-Curier.

Michael, Greenock via text: "I can't believe Jim Traynor doesn't know that non-verbal communication is still communication."
It all got rather ugly on BBC Radio Scotland. I'm not sure Chick and Jim are still on each other's Christmas card lists after their on-air squabble on matters at Rangers.

Stephen, Powys, via text: "Why does the BBC employ James Traynor in any capacity? His arrogant performance today and treatment of Chick Young was tantamount to bullying. I am not a fan of Chick's, but Traynor overstepped the mark today."

1434: TEAM NEWS FROM McDIARMID PARK:
St Johnstone: Enckelman, Maybury, Duberry, MacKay, Grainger, Invincibile, Millar, Davidson, Craig, Samuel, MacDonald. Subs: Smith, Taylor, Moon, Robertson, Caddis, Novikovas, May.
Kilmarnock: Jaakkola, Clancy, Wright, Sissoko, Hay, Hamill, Bryson, Silva, Fowler, Eremenko, Gros. Subs: Letheren, Rui Miguel, Taouil, Agard, Evans, Fisher, McKenzie.

1432: TEAM NEWS FROM IBROX:
Rangers: McGregor, Foster, Whittaker, Weir, Papac, Naismith, Davis, Edu, Wylde, Jelavic, Diouf. Subs: Alexander, Fleck, Kerkar, Ness, Hutton.
Dundee Utd: Pernis, Watson, Dillon, Dixon, Douglas, Swanson, Scott Robertson, David Robertson, Gomis, Russell, Goodwillie. Subs: Banks, Severin, Conway, Buaben, Kovacevic, Shala, Armstrong.

1429: Kenny Shiels will be looking after Kilmarnock today, with Mixu Paatelainen having left this week to become the manager of his native Finland. How will the Rugby Park club cope with his loss?

1422: The postponement in Inverness is hugely annoying for fans and to add to the frustration the home club say the game could have gone ahead if the inspection had been delayed.

Jamie Clark from Balmaha via text: "I'm a Celtic fan. Left home at 8am, got to just outside Aviemore, turned round and have decided to go to St Mirren v Hamilton now. Bitterly disappointed by late call-off but would rather Celtic played on good pitches after our efforts at Motherwell and Hampden recently."

1416: Back to matters on the pitch at Ibrox. And Rangers will have the versatile Steven Whittaker in central defence, while Gregg Wylde retains his place in midfield.

1412: As ever, you can listen to coverage of all of the action on BBC Radio Scotland. Right now, the fall-out from yesterday's pronouncements from Ibrox are being discussed. Our very own Chick Young is robustly defending the story we brought you about chairman Alastair Johnston admitting that the club could go bust if a decision over tax payments goes heavily against them. Rangers have since issued a statement denying that this was the case.

1409: Hamilton, who have won just twice this season, are six points behind St Mirren. The Accies really cannot afford to lose today. I'm not expecting a classic at St Mirren Park but it should be a nerve-shredding experience for those going along.

1405: With the much-maligned split looming, teams are jockeying for position and today's remaining games will have a big say in who ends up where. Motherwell host Aberdeen, with Craig Brown making his first return to Fir Park since he left the Steelmen in December, while St Johnstone welcome Kilmarnock to McDiarmid Park.

1402: Rangers can take advantage of Celtic's inactivity and go top of the league if they beat Dundee United at Ibrox, while there is a classic 'six-pointer' at the foot of the table as bottom side Hamilton visit St Mirren.

1400: Good afternoon and welcome to our Scottish Premier League coverage. It might officially be summertime but we've already had one call-off, with Celtic's visit to Inverness postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.



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Scottish Premier results

2 Apr 2011 23:59 UK


Scottish Premier table snapshot

As it stood on 2 Apr 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Celtic 28 44 67
2 Rangers 28 35 65
3 Hearts 30 16 58
4 Dundee Utd 30 6 49
5 Kilmarnock 31 10 46
6 Motherwell 31 -8 40
7 Inverness CT 30 1 36
8 St Johnstone 30 -16 34
9 Hibernian 29 -14 32
10 Aberdeen 30 -17 31
11 St Mirren 30 -22 25
12 Hamilton 31 -35 16

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