Scottish roundup: Liam Boyce’s hat-trick beats Caley in Highland derby

Hearts manager Robbie Neilson holds the matchball

A Liam Boyce hat-trick settled a thrilling Highland derby in Ross County’s favour as they beat Inverness 3-2 in the Scottish Premiership.

Boyce scored two goals in the first half and once after the break, and although Scott Boden and Ross Draper replied for Inverness, County clung on for their first win of the season.

The game was played at a frantic pace throughout, with the Dingwall club dominating first-half proceedings and Caley Thistle ending the game by bombarding the Staggies’ box with long balls. However, Boyce’s fine performance left the home side with too much to do.

Kilmarnock fought back to beat Hamilton 2-1 away, at the SuperSeal Stadium.

The Accies midfielder Louis Longridge broke the deadlock in the 26th minute of a poor first half, which was edged by the home side.

Killie were not much better after the break and the game appeared to be drifting towards a Hamilton win. However, the striker Kris Boyd restored parity for Killie with a header in the 70th minute before substitute Souleymane Coulibaly scored the winner three minutes later, with a fine curling effort high past the goalkeeper Remi Matthews to leave the Lanarkshire side beaten.

Steven MacLean took advantage of some poor goalkeeping by Craig Samson to earn St Johnstone a 2-1 win against Motherwell at Fir Park. The Motherwell midfielder Chris Cadden opened the scoring from close range two minutes after the half-time interval, but Danny Swanson hit a fine solo equaliser within nine minutes.

The Saints sealed their second comeback victory in four days – having beaten Hearts 3-2 in the League Cup – when MacLean headed in after Samson had clawed out Chris Kane’s strike from around 25 yards out.

Hearts striker Tony Watt missed two good opportunities to score in the second period as they battled out a 0-0 draw with Aberdeen, whose best chance at Pittodrie was headed wide by Peter Pawlett.

Aberdeen started the began the better of the two sides and went close after three minutes when Jayden Stockley met a Peter Pawlett cross wide to head wide. The pace of Wes Burns was also causing trouble for the Hearts defence as they started brightly but he blasted a chance wide of the target.

Hearts looked shaky and it took some composed defending from John Souttar to read a Niall McGinn pass to Stockley who would have been in on goal.

All this action was before the 10th minute and Aberdeen did not look like relenting.

McGinn nipped past both John Souttar and Callum Paterson with a nice bit of skill but Faycal Rherras got across from left-back to make the tackle.

Callum Paterson then fired a volley across the Aberdeen goal as the visitors looked to gain a foothold in the match.

It was a short-lived flurry forward for Hearts as Burns then hit the crossbar with a header as the game resumed its course.

The match was beginning to become more physical and with this Hearts began to settle into their stride.

When Watt flicked in Sam Nicholson he appeared to be brought down late by Shay Logan inside the box but the penalty claims were waved away. For his vociferous appeal, Robbie Neilson earned a talking to from referee Kevin Clancy on the sidelines. After the break, the stalemate remained and chances were few and far between.

But Hearts had the better of opportunities when Watt, who was in possession of the ball with options either side, had his shot blocked by Anthony O’Connor and it was collected by Joe Lewis. And with the last chance of the match Watt fired over with time on his hands from 12 yards.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Nial Briggs, for The Observer on Saturday 13th August 2016 19.00 Europe/London

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

 

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch