Fulham hold Bournemouth to stay top

Fulham clung onto top spot in the Sky Bet Championship after coming from behind to hold second-placed Bournemouth to a thrilling 1-1 draw at Craven Cottage.

Marco Silva’s side dominated proceedings in the first half and could easily have gone into the dressing room two or three ahead, but it was the visitors who struck first, when Dominic Solanke fired in seconds after the restart (46).

As Fulham looked to recover, they went close with a host of chances, with 21-goal frontman Aleksandar Mitrovic denied on several occasions, but with six minutes to play, Tosin Adarabioyo’s header salvaged a point

That equaliser denied Cherries boss Scott Parker a winning return to south west London six months after his departure. With both teams recording a third draw in succession, they remain in first and second spot, separated by just a point.

Tosin Adarabioyo celebrates his late equaliser for Fulham against Bournemouth
Tosin Adarabioyo celebrates his late equaliser for Fulham against Bournemouth

How a Championship blockbuster ended all square

Despite the fact they had been held to draws by Derby and Preston in the last two games, which had ended a run of seven straight wins, Fulham had climbed above Bournemouth into top spot – and it was immediately clear they were, by no means, prepared to vacate it.

Adam Smith registered the game’s first real chance when he hit a low shot at Marek Rodak after a direct run from Emiliano Marcondes, but soon Fulham began to turn the screw and looked particularly threatening on the left, with Neeskens Kebano forcing two strong saves from Cherries goalkeeper Mark Travers.

The experienced Gary Cahill then blocked a shot from Fabio Carvalho after a short pass from Mitrovic, before the hosts had a penalty appeal turned down by referee Tim Robinson, when Harry Wilson was caught by Solanke, though the Welshman’s overly theatrical reaction did his cause no favours.

Right on the stroke of half-time, there was a display of sheer bravery from Bournemouth skipper Steve Cook, who put his body on the line twice in a matter of seconds to first deny Mitrovic and then Carvalho seconds later.

Craven Cottage – which is still only populated on three sides, due to construction of the new Riverside Stand – was stunned into silence as the second half got under way. Intricate build-up caught Fulham off-guard, with Solanke able to emphatically fire past Rodak after he was located by a smart ball from Philip Billing.

The introduction of Tom Cairney and Bobby Decordova-Reid undoubtedly gave Fulham the spark they needed to rescue something late on. The former found Mitrovic, who looked despondent as another header failed to hit the back of the net, before threading the ball through for Kebano, who drew Travers from his line to make a crucial save.

Travers was then called into action to deny the Serbian frontman with a stunning one-handed save, but just when it looked as though it wasn’t going to be Fulham’s day, Cairney whipped in another sumptuous ball, which Adarabioyo glanced home to keep the Cottagers top of the pile.

Man of the match – Steve Cook

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Bournemouth’s captain Steve Cook put his body on the line twice to stop Fulham from scoring.

Without that stunning double block from the Bournemouth captain, the Cherries may not have even taken so much as a point from the game in the capital. It sent the teams in level at the break, which no doubt gave the visitors the confidence to burst out of the traps afterwards and quieten the home threat that had been so prominent beforehand.

What the managers said…

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Fulham boss Marco Silva thinks his side played better over the ninety minutes and deserved the win against Bournemouth

Fulham’s Marco Silva: “I think anyone can see that we clearly deserved more. During the 95 minutes, we were the best team on the pitch, the team that created and had more chances to score. There were some very good saves from the goalkeeper. We knew before the match it would be a tough one and I have to say that I am proud of my players.

“For one second we lost the focus, discipline and organisation and they punished us. At this level, you cannot concede a goal like that; I think our backline slept completely in that moment. After the first half, we knew they would be dangerous from counter-attacks because we would be on the front foot. The way we reacted, I’m really proud, because it’s not easy to play against a very good side. We never gave up and we score, but we had so many chances.”

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Bournemouth boss Scott Parker was full of praise for his sides draw away from home against his former club Fulham.

Bournemouth’s Scott Parker: “I’m really pleased and I’m proud of my team. There’s no denying we have had it difficult over the last couple of weeks with injuries – there were four or five players out there with one day’s training and I’m very proud of the team, to be quite honest. There are bits of our game we need to improve but tonight, in terms of the circumstances we find ourselves in currently, nothing but pride for the team and the players.

“Hopefully now, in the next couple of weeks, we can get more training in the boys that have been injured and are coming back, and some more back from injury as well.”

What’s next?

Both sides are back in action at 3pm on Saturday, December 11. Fulham travel to Kenilworth Road to take on Luton, while Bournemouth host Blackburn at the Vitality Stadium.

Gloucester claim bonus-point win over Bristol

George Skivington’s Gloucester secure bonus-point win in Friday’s Premiership clash vs Bristol; Jack Singleton and Chris Harris score before a second-half penalty try; scrum-half Charlie Chapman claims a fine solo score in the final minute

Last Updated: 03/12/21 10:25pm

Chris Harris was among Gloucester's try-scorers vs Bristol on Friday

Chris Harris was among Gloucester's try-scorers vs Bristol on Friday

Chris Harris was among Gloucester’s try-scorers vs Bristol on Friday

Gloucester ended a run of five successive Gallagher Premiership defeats against Bristol as they won an intense West Country derby 27-10 at Kingsholm.

Gloucester’s bonus-point victory took them into the Premiership play-off zone, moving three points above Northampton in fourth place, but Bristol remain in the bottom three.

And it was another performance that underlined the strides Gloucester are making under head coach George Skivington.

Gloucester’s first Premiership success against Bristol since 2018 was secured by tries from hooker Jack Singleton and centre Chris Harris, before a second-half penalty try sealed the deal and substitute scrum-half Charlie Chapman claimed a fine solo score in the final minute.

Fly-half Adam Hastings kicked a penalty and conversion, while Bristol replied through a try from their former Gloucester back Henry Purdy, Callum Sheedy converting and kicking a penalty.

Wing Louis Rees-Zammit returned for Gloucester following Wales’ Autumn Nations Series campaign, and he was among seven changes following victory over Wasps last time out as the likes of Harris, No 8 Ben Morgan and flanker Ruan Ackermann also featured.

Fiji star Semi Radradra was named on Bristol’s bench after recovering from a knee injury that had sidelined him since the Olympic sevens tournament in Tokyo this summer, while fit-again England international scrum-half Harry Randall and skipper Steven Luatua also returned.

Gloucester made a bright start, piling pressure on Bristol following scrum-half Ben Meehan’s clever chip and chase, before the visitors infringed and Hastings kicked a sixth-minute penalty.

The home side exuded confidence, yet Bristol managed to secure a degree of territorial dominance that ended with Sheedy slotting an equalising penalty.

The game went through a scrappy, scruffy period as both sides displayed plenty of intent, but their endeavours were undone by poor handling or wrong decisions.

Ultimately, though, Gloucester’s close-range driving lineout play served them well again as they went back in front just before half-time.

Their first attempt to shunt Bristol backwards ended with another penalty and a team warning to captain Luatua.

But Gloucester took maximum advantage from an identical platform as Bristol went into reverse gear and Singleton touched down in the corner.

Hastings could not convert, and although Bristol ended the opening 40 minutes by launching a sweeping attack that saw them go close to a try, Gloucester secured an 8-3 interval advantage.

Radradra appeared for the second period, replacing Alapati Leiua, who took a knock, and he was soon heavily involved in the action.

Bristol attacked virtually from the restart, and after Radradra and Randall both made inroads, Sheedy’s well-placed kick saw Purdy gather a kind bounce and claim a try that Sheedy converted.

It was a setback for Gloucester, who then saw Morgan limp out of the action, with Jordy Reid replacing him as Bristol continued to exert pressure.

But Bristol were then undone by a sublime piece of midfield work by Mark Atkinson, whose exquisite rolling kick allowed his centre partner Harris a clear path to collect the ball and score.

Hastings’ conversion opened up a five-point gap approaching the final quarter, and it got even better for Gloucester with 14 minutes left as referee Christophe Ridley awarded them a penalty try.

Bristol were punished for pulling down a maul close to their line, and it also cost them a player for 10 minutes when Ridley sin-binned flanker Dan Thomas.

And there was no way back into the contest for Bristol after that as Gloucester finished strongly through Chapman’s try to claim a notable scalp during a season that continues to show considerable promise.

Ronaldo landmark as Man Utd edge Arsenal in front of Rangnick

Cristiano Ronaldo’s double, which included his 800th career goal, inspired Manchester United to a 3-2 victory over Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Watched from the stands by new interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who has been granted his permit to begin work at United, the hosts found themselves behind early on after Emile Smith Rowe’s controversial opener (13).

The England international’s shot found the back of the net with David de Gea down injured after his ankle was stood on by team-mate Fred, but with referee Martin Atkinson not blowing his whistle, the goal was eventually given after a VAR check.

United hit back through Bruno Fernandes just before the break before Ronaldo’s landmark goal turned the game on its head seven minutes into the second half.

In what was a topsy-turvy game, Arsenal found their own response just two minutes later through Martin Odegaard, but goal 800 was quickly followed by 801 as Ronaldo converted from the penalty spot after Odegaard was penalised for a foul on Fred after another VAR check.

It was enough to secure United a much-needed victory in what was Michael Carrick’s final game at the club: an announcement came shortly after the final whistle confirming Carrick had chosen to step down from his role as first team coach following the conclusion of his spell as caretaker manager.

The victory sees United, who ended a run of four games without a win in the league at Old Trafford, move up to seventh ahead of Rangnick’s first game in charge against Crystal Palace on Sunday.

United are now two points behind fifth-placed Arsenal, whose fifth defeat of the season meant they missed out on the opportunity to move into the top four.

How Ronaldo inspired United to victory over Arsenal…

Arsenal started on the front foot and Man Utd needed Marcus Rashford to hook Benjamin White’s goalbound header away from goal in the early stages.

The Gunners did take the lead in the 13th minute in bizarre circumstances through Smith Rowe’s strike.

United goalkeeper De Gea went down injured after Fred had stepped on his boot as the Gunners lined up a set-piece. United’s players, unaware of the contact with a team-mate, believed De Gea had been fouled and expected play to be stopped.

Player ratings

Man Utd: De Gea (6), Dalot (7), Lindelof (7), Maguire (6), Telles (7), Fred (7), McTominay (6), Sancho (6), Bruno Fernandes (8), Rashford (7), Ronaldo (8).

Subs: Lingard (n/a), Martial (n/a), Van de Beek (n/a).

Arsenal: Ramsdale (7), Tomiyasu (6), White (6), Gabriel (7), Tavares (6), Partey (6), Elneny (6), Smith Rowe (6), Odegaard (7), Martinelli (8), Aubameyang (5).

Subs: Saka (6), Lacazette (n/a), Nketiah (n/a).

Man of the match: Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, there was no whistle from referee Martin Atkinson with Smith Rowe’s strike flying past De Gea, who was on the ground, and the goal was allowed to stand after a long check.

After the goal, it was the hosts who began to take control of the game, dominating possession as Arsenal dropped further and further back in an attempt to defend their lead.

However, it backfired for Arteta’s side as United equalised just before the interval through Fernandes.

After White’s poor attempted clearance, Jadon Sancho played in Fred and the Brazilian cut the ball back for Fernandes to finish from close range.

United started the second half brightly and claimed the lead after 52 minutes through Ronaldo, who took up a good position in the box as Rashford broke down the right and was in the right place to sweep home the England forward’s cross for his landmark goal.

Team news

  • Cristiano Ronaldo returned to the starting line-up as Michael Carrick made three changes for his final match as caretaker Manchester United boss. The 36-year-old came into the side along with Diogo Dalot and captain Harry Maguire against Arsenal, with newly-appointed interim manager Ralf Rangnick watching Thursday’s match from the stands.
  • Arsenal made two alterations as Gabriel Martinelli and Mohamed Elneny came in for Bukayo Saka and Albert Sambi Lokonga

But the smile was quickly wiped from Ronaldo’s face as Arsenal hit back two minutes later. Gabriel Martinelli was picked out down the right and the Brazilian fired the ball into the box for Odegaard to guide the ball past De Gea for the equaliser.

All Odegaard’s good work was undone though when the Norwegian’s rash challenge on Fred handed United a penalty.

Referee Atkinson awarded the penalty after the VAR advised he watch the pitchside monitor, with Ronaldo keeping his cool in front of the Stretford End to lash home what proved to be the winner.

Opta stats: Carrick ends United career on a high…

Manchester United's temporary coach Michael Carrick walks off the pitch at the end of the English Premier League soccer match between Manchester United and Arsenal at Old Trafford stadium in Manchester, England, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. United won the match 3-2.
Michael Carrick has decided to step down as first team coach at Man Utd

Man Utd scored three goals in a home Premier League game versus Arsenal for the first time since February 2016, with current caretaker manager Michael Carrick completing all 90 minutes that day.

Arsenal have lost more Premier League matches versus Manchester United (25) than they have versus any other opponent in the competition’s history (Liverpool, 24).

Following the opening goal of the game, Man Utd had conceded nine consecutive Premier League goals at Old Trafford without scoring themselves in between, their longest home league run of goals conceded without reply since November 1961 (also nine).

Man Utd have conceded in 15 consecutive home games in all competitions, their second-longest such run, after only a 21-game streak ending in March 1959.

What’s next?

Monday 6th December 7:00pm

Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

Manchester United now host Crystal Palace at 2pm on Sunday in the Premier League, while Arsenal are at Everton on Monday Night Football at 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League.

Kyogo strike sees Celtic open gap on Hearts

Kyogo Furuhashi’s strike saw Celtic edge to a 1-0 victory in a pulsating match against Hearts, opening up a five point gap over their opponents.

It was a fast-paced, breathless Scottish Premiership encounter, with Celtic dominating the opening period. They deservedly took the lead too as Kyogo (33) scored for the first time in three games, although there were questions of offside.

Hearts were much improved after the break – wasting no time in introducing Liam Boyce from the bench – but despite their best efforts, could not find the net. Celtic, meanwhile, were kept at bay by a string of superb saves from their former No 1 Craig Gordon as well as some inspired Hearts defending.

Scot Prem table December 2

But the one goal was enough to secure a vital victory for the hosts, who are now four points behind leaders Rangers with a healthy gap to Hearts in third place.

The only dampener on the evening for Celtic were injuries to Anthony Ralston, Jota and Stephen Welsh – the latter two substituted in quick succession ahead of a busy festive period.

How Celtic saw off a spirited Hearts

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Kyogo Furuhashi rifles the ball to the near post to put Celtic ahead against Hearts

It was a lightning fast start at Celtic Park, with the hosts seeing a raft of early chances. Hearts were almost the masters of their downfall inside 10 minutes when Gordon’s back pass put Cammy Devlin under pressure, allowing David Turnbull to easily nip in and steal the ball back.

He then found Jota down the left, but his shot was well saved by Gordon – atoning for his own mistake – and as he scrambled to keep the ball under his control, James Forrest came in at the back post. However, his toe-poke hit the bottom of the upright.

Team news

  • Celtic made three changes. Cameron Carter-Vickers, James McCarthy and Leil Abada drop to the bench, with Carl Starfelt, James Forrest and Tom Rogic coming into the side.
  • Hearts also made four changes. Beni Baningime and Andy Halliday were not included in the matchday squad, with Liam Boyce and Gary Mackay-Steven on the bench. Peter Haring, Aaron McEneff, Ben Woodburn and Josh Ginnelly came into the side.

Jota also saw a decent effort curl just wide of the far corner, before Callum McGregor’s effort from range pinged off Craig Halkett’s leg, forcing a leaping save from Gordon. The defender had Hearts’ best effort at the other end too, sending Stephen Kingsley’s free kick goalwards, but it went straight at Joe Hart.

But Celtic deservedly took the lead just after the half-hour. Tom Rogic held the ball up well before slipping in Ralston. It was then a low cross that found Kyogo in the six-yard box as he slotted home at the near post. Hearts had their hands up for offside, but with no flag raised or VAR to check, the goal stood.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 02: Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon gets enough on the ball to put off James Forrest during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park, on December 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Williamson / SNS Group)
Hearts goalkeeper Craig Gordon made a string of saves to keep Celtic from scoring a second goal

Celtic picked up where they left off in the second half, having two early efforts. Gordon made another superb leaping save to keep out Rogic’s effort from the left, before Turnbull saw a fierce drive well blocked. Hearts went close too, Kingsley unable to get a strong head onto Barrie McKay’s corner.

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 02: Celtic's Stephen Welsh goes off with an injury during a cinch Premiership match between Celtic and Heart of Midlothian at Celtic Park, on December 02, 2021, in Glasgow, Scotland. (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Stephen Welsh was one of three Celtic players to pick up injuries

As the clock ticked over into the 70th minute, Celtic were forced to make two injury substitutions. Ralston had already been replaced in the first half, injuring himself as he crossed for Kyogo’s goal, before Jota and Welsh were taken off in quick succession, giving Ange Postecoglu a potential selection headache.

Hearts began to see the upper hand, with McKay unfortunately seeing bottles thrown at him from the stands as he took over corner duties. He almost equalised late on for Hearts too, sending the ball flashing across the face of goal after Gary Mackay-Steven had lost his footing. Robbie Neilson was booked for his protests – thinking Mackay-Steven had been fouled – but in fact, there was no contact on the forward.

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Hearts’ Barrie McKay was struck by a bottle whilst attempting to take a corner against Celtic

Gordon kept Hearts in the hunt for a point too with some wonderful late saves, denying Rogic and Forrest in quick succession, but Celtic already had enough to take the points.

Man of the match – Carl Starfelt

A really good performance from Starfelt on his return to the Celtic XI. There was some concern he may also have picked up an injury in the second half, but he saw out the game to help his side to a clean sheet.

What’s next?

Thursday 2nd December 7:00pm

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Sky Sports Football HD

Celtic travel to Dundee United in a game you can see live on Sky Sports Football on Sunday at 12pm, while Hearts visit Livingston also on Sunday, with the game kicking off at 3pm.

Son helps Spurs see off Brentford and move sixth

Tottenham earned back-to-back Premier League wins under Antonio Conte for the first time as a 2-0 victory over Brentford moved them up to within two points of the top four.

With Sunday’s postponement at Burnley denying Spurs the chance to respond to last Thursday’s embarrassing Europa Conference League defeat at NS Mura, their first-ever top-flight meeting with Brentford presented Conte’s men with the opportunity to bounce back – and it was one they seized.

Ben Davies forced an early own goal from Sergi Canos, and Heung-Min Son wrapped up the victory with a sweeping counter-attacking second midway through the second half as Spurs, who remain far from the finished article, showed signs that Conte’s methods were finally beginning to bear fruit.

For Brentford, having arrested their five-game winless run against Everton last time out, it was another defeat to digest for Thomas Frank’s side, who shaded possession but lacked the attacking quality as their late barrage on the Spurs goal proved to be in vain.

The victory sees Tottenham extend their unbeaten run against Brentford to 12 matches in all competitions and lifts them up to sixth in the Premier League, while the visitors drop a place to 12th after suffering their fifth defeat in seven.

Son helps Spurs up to sixth

Tottenham's Heung-Min Son challenges for the ball with Brentford's Bryan Mbeumo
Son challenges for the ball with Brentford’s Bryan Mbeumo

Spurs were keen to start on the front foot and could have opened the scoring in the opening 10 minutes as Harry Kane played in Lucas Moura, but Alvaro Fernandez was equal to a fizzing shot at the near post.

It did not take long for them to break the deadlock, although there was some fortune involved. Son sent in a wicked cross after a short corner which Pontus Jansson headed against team-mate Canos while under pressure from Davies, and the ball flew into the net.

Tottenham players celebrate after going ahead against Brentford
Tottenham players celebrate after going ahead against Brentford

Tottenham continued to look the more threatening team and only a fine stop from Fernandez, who got a strong hand to Son’s 20-yard shot, stopped them extending the lead. The Bees goalkeeper was also busy from the resulting corner as he stopped Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s shot with his face.

Spurs had a chance to double their lead early in the second half but Kane’s struggles in front of goal continued as he shot straight at Fernandez having been played through by Oliver Skipp.

Team news

  • Davinson Sanchez and Oliver Skipp returned as Spurs made two changes to the side which came from behind to beat Leeds a fortnight ago.
  • Brentford named an unchanged team after ending their five-game winless run against Everton on Sunday.

The important second goal eventually came in the 65th minute, courtesy of a lightning-quick Spurs counter. Kane sent Sergio Reguilon free down the left and his ball across goal was perfect for Son to tap in for his first goal since mid-October.

It was his 75th Premier League goal for Spurs and it killed the game. Brentford searched for a way back into it and Ivan Toney forced Hugo Lloris into a save with his feet but Conte’s side saw it out with ease.

Conte home comforts – Match stats

  • Tottenham have won all three of their home matches under Antonio Conte in all competitions, with the Italian the fourth consecutive Spurs manager to start his tenure with wins in each of his first three home games in charge (also Jose Mourinho, Ryan Mason and Nuno Espírito Santo).
  • Having lost to Chelsea in October and Tottenham tonight, Brentford have suffered defeats in back-to-back league London derbies for the first time since March 2016, when they lost to Charlton and QPR.
  • Tottenham have won 28 of their last 32 Premier League home games against promoted sides (D2 L2), including each of their last three without conceding.
  • Sergi Canos’ own goal was the first Brentford have scored in the Premier League, meaning 49 of the 50 sides to play in the competition have now put through their own net at least once, with Cardiff City the only side not to (76 games, 0 own goals).
  • Heung-Min Son scored his 75th Premier League goal for Tottenham, and fifth this season; no other Spurs player has scored more than two league goals in 2021-22.

What’s next?

Tottenham host Norwich and Brentford travel to Leeds in the Premier League on Sunday at 2pm.

Dundee see off St Johnstone to win again

Dundee secured back-to-back Scottish Premiership wins for the first time this season thanks to a 1-0 victory over St Johnstone at Dens Park.

The home side were in a confident frame of mind after beating Motherwell 3-0 at home on Saturday.

And they picked up where they left off against Saints, deservedly taking another three points thanks to a first-half Danny Mullen goal.

The result lifts the Dark Blues up to ninth in the table, above their opponents whose winless run stretched to three league games.

Dundee were quickly into their stride and had a half chance in the first minute but Luke McCowan’s shot from the edge of the Saints’ box was blocked.

Home skipper Charlie Adam then had an opportunity of his own from a Paul McGowan corner but St Johnstone goalkeeper Zander Clark comfortably held his headed effort under his crossbar.

Dundee goalie Adam Legzdins was called into action shortly after when Ali Crawford whipped in a free-kick from the left with the ‘keeper having to acrobatically punch the ball away to safety.

Adam was in the mood and the former Scotland and Rangers midfielder produced another moment of magic, sending a superb crossfield pass to Paul McMullan galloping down the right but the winger’s composure deserted him as he advanced into the Saints’ box and his shot flew well wide.

DUNDEE, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: Dundee's Danny Mullen celebrates during a Cinch Premiership match between Dundee and St. Johnstone at Kilmac Stadium, on December 01, 2021, in Dundee, Scotland.  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Dundee have now won successive Scottish Premiership games for the first time this season

McGowan came close to breaking the deadlock in the 36th minute when he hit a superb shot from 22 yards that clipped the outside of Clark’s left-hand post.

However, the Dark Blues did take the lead just three minutes later. McGowan played a pass into the feet of Mullen 16 yards from goal and the striker turned smartly before firing low past Clark for his second goal in successive games.

DUNDEE, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: Dundee's Danny Mullen and Paul McMullan celebrate making it 1-0 during a Cinch Premiership match between Dundee and St. Johnstone at Kilmac Stadium, on December 01, 2021, in Dundee, Scotland.  (Photo by Paul Devlin / SNS Group)
Dundee’s Danny Mullen and Paul McMullan celebrate after Mullen scored for the hosts

Saints looked to hit back straight away and Eetu Vertainen tried his luck from long range but his shot was easily gathered by Legzdins.

Just three minutes after the restart, Dundee came close to doubling their advantage. Jordan Marshall sent a cross in from the left with Mullen producing a superb header that Clark tipped over his bar.

St Johnstone did have a chance on the break but Vertainen’s final pass to Chris Kane was too heavy and the opportunity was lost.

Dundee had a great opportunity to put the game to bed in the 82nd minute, but McMullan shot just over with the goal at his mercy.

What the managers said

Dundee manager James McPake: “It should have been more but I’ll take it. St Johnstone are a very good side – that’s the fourth time I’ve played Callum’s team and that’s the first time I’ve won.

“We should have been more comfortable but what we saw at the end was real heart and real desire not to concede.

“We outfought them which is one of their strengths but they have good players and a very good coaching team. Tonight we were the better team and the better team won the game.

“Big Zander Clark – every time we play against him he does my head in because he pulls off saves. He’s been the difference before but it changed tonight and I’m delighted for my players.”

St Johnstone manager Callum Davidson: “I’m bitterly disappointed. What we pride ourselves on is hard work, our defensive shape and our attitude to win the ball. That was lacking I thought. They were better all over the pitch.

“When you do that you make it really hard for yourselves to win a game of football. That cost us.

“That’s probably the most disappointing thing [being outfought]. I said that after. In any game it’s important how you battle and fight.

“It’s never easy to win a game. We had a good travelling support on a cold Wednesday night and didn’t do it justice.”

What’s next?

Dundee travel to champions Rangers, while St Johnstone host Ross County, with both Scottish Premiership games kicking off at 3pm on Saturday.

Hedges, Bates on target as Aberdeen see off Livingston

Ryan Hedges and David Bates netted their first cinch Scottish Premiership goals of the season to ease the pressure on Aberdeen manager Stephen Glass as the Dons overcame 10-man Livingston 2-0.

Hedges drilled home a low effort midway through the first half and was on the receiving end of the challenge that saw Jackson Longridge sent off for a second booking after 61 minutes.

That left the visitors facing a challenging final half-hour and Bates sealed the points as he turned home a Jonny Hayes free-kick at the far post to seal the points for the home side.

Both sides were looking to bounce back from defeats against the Old Firm at the weekend, Aberdeen having lost 2-1 at Celtic, while Livingston succumbed to a 3-1 defeat at home to Rangers.

An away win would have seen Livingston climb above Aberdeen in the standings but the victory saw the home side stay in touch with the battle to reach the top six, while Livi dropped to second-bottom as a result.

The home win was a fair reflection of a match that saw the Dons largely dominate at a cold and occasionally snowy Pittodrie.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: Aberdeen's David Bates celebrates with his team mates during a Cinch Premiership match between Aberdeen and Livingston at Pittodrie Stadium, on December 01, 2021, in Aberdeen, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
David Bates added an Aberdeen second on Wednesday evening

Scott Brown was first to threaten with a 20-yard shot he fired high and wide after a superb move that dragged Livingston from right to left and back again.

The home side had a penalty claim turned away after 17 minutes as a swift counter saw Hedges’ attempted cross seem to hit an arm as Nicky Devlin and Stephane Omeonga slid in to block, but referee Craig Napier was satisfied there was no foul.

The pressure was building, though, and Aberdeen got their reward after 23 minutes as another neat move saw Jay Emmanuel-Thomas slip a neat pass to Christian Ramirez.

He moved the ball onto Hedges and the winger deceived goalkeeper Max Stryjek by drilling the home with a low finish at the near post.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: Livingston's Jackson Longridge is sent off during a Cinch Premiership match between Aberdeen and Livingston at Pittodrie Stadium, on December 01, 2021, in Aberdeen, Scotland.  (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Livingston’s Jackson Longridge is shown a red card for two bookings

A similarly-flowing move should have seen Hedges double his tally but this time Stryjek read his intentions and was able to save with an outstretched leg.

Longridge picked up his first booking just 90 seconds into the second half for a foul on Funso Ojo and his late challenge on Hedges saw him depart the just after the hour mark.

Emmanuel-Thomas had seen another penalty claim turned down just two minutes before the red card, with Odin Bailey seeming to have handled his shot, but again the referee was unmoved.

It mattered little, though, as Bates turned the ball home from close range at the far post from Hayes’ left-wing free-kick with 15 minutes remaining to seal the points, despite Livingston’s stern second-half resistance.

What’s next?

Aberdeen entertain St Mirren on Saturday, while Livingston host Hearts on Sunday, with both Scottish Premiership games kicking off at 3pm.

St Mirren rue missed chances in Ross County draw

St Mirren passed up a series of second-half chances in a goalless draw with Ross County – the Paisley side’s eighth stalemate of the season.

County also had a number of opportunities early in the game and could have snatched the three points with a late break.

However, the home side were left to rue more missed opportunities after failing to convert from 24 efforts at goal, compared to the visitors’ 12.

County had the better of the opening exchanges, getting the ball in space in the final third as St Mirren adjusted to the loss of Joe Shaughnessy through suspension. Richard Tait had dropped into the back three.

Blair Spittal twice threatened from the edge of the box before Joseph Hungbo and Harry Paton forced decent saves from further out.

Their best first-half chances fell to Dominic Samuel, who was making his first start since July.

The striker did everything right from the first opportunity after a long ball put the Buddies in trouble, but stand-in captain Jak Alnwick produced a brilliant diving stop. Samuel later did well to make space for himself in the box but shot high and wide.

PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: St Mirren's Scott Tanser has a shot on goal during a Cinch Premiership match between St. Mirren and Ross County at SMISA Stadium, on December 01, 2021, in Paisley, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Scott Tanser has a shot during the Scottish Premiership game

St Mirren improved as the half progressed. Connor Ronan saw a powerful strike saved and Eamonn Brophy had an effort cleared from the goalmouth before failing to get a proper shot away with County defender Alex Iacovitti down injured and about to be taken off for Keith Watson.

Samuel forced a save from Alnwick near the start of the second half after failing to make the most of Hungbo’s cross but Saints were having most of the play.

The home side’s chances were regular and often clear-cut. Kristian Dennis headed wide from eight yards and shot weakly straight at Ashley Maynard-Brewer from even closer in.

Brophy shot straight at the goalkeeper from a decent chance, Ronan had a dangerous effort pushed wide and Maynard-Brewer made a brilliant stop with his foot from Curtis Main’s volley moments after the striker had come on.

County left-back Jake Vokins, making his league debut following foot surgery, made an excellent block from Kyle McAllister, and Saints wing-back Scott Tanser failed to make the most of two good chances.

PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: Ross County's Blair Spittal rues missing a chance during a Cinch Premiership match between St. Mirren and Ross County at SMISA Stadium, on December 01, 2021, in Paisley, Scotland.  (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Blair Spittal reacts after missing a late chance for Ross County

Maynard-Brewer pushed over Greg Kiltie’s effort and County centre-backs Baldwin and Watson combined to stop Main’s shot finding the net after the sub was played clean through.

County almost won it on the break with two minutes left but Alnwick made an excellent double stop from Spittal and Paton.

What’s next?

St Mirren travel to Aberdeen, while Ross County visit St Johnstone, with both Scottish Premiership games kicking off at 3pm on Saturday.

Late Roofe winner sees Rangers beat Hibs

Giovanni van Bronckhorst maintained his perfect start as Rangers manager after a late Kemar Roofe penalty secured a 1-0 victory away to Hibernian.

It looked like the Scottish Premiership leaders were going to be frustrated at Easter Road, but the substitute’s spot-kick, after Ryan Kent was deemed to have been fouled by Ryan Porteous, made it three wins on the spin for Van Bronckhorst and took Rangers seven points clear of Celtic at the summit.

There was one alteration to the Hibs team that started the 2-1 victory over St Johnstone at the weekend as top-scorer Martin Boyle returned from suspension and took the place of Jamie Gullan in attack. It meant the hosts began with the same XI from their Premier Sports Cup semi-final win over Rangers 10 days previously.

Van Bronckhorst made one change to the side that won 3-1 at Livingston on Sunday, as Steven Davis replaced Scott Arfield in midfield.

The away end was illuminated at kick-off time as several visiting supporters had managed to smuggle pyrotechnics in, but the game itself was something of a slow-burner.

The first notable moment came in the 13th minute when Hibs goalkeeper Matt Macey had to push a Davis cross behind for a corner.

Four minutes later, a Paul McGinn through ball released Boyle down the right but the Hibs forward’s first-time shot from a tight angle was easily dealt with by Allan McGregor.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: Referee John Beaton awards a penalty after a foul by Ryan Porteous on Rangers' Ryan Kent (right) during a Cinch Premiership match between Hibernian and Rangers at Easter Road, on December 01, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland.     (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Referee John Beaton awards a penalty after a foul by Ryan Porteous on Rangers’ Ryan Kent

Rangers midfielder Joe Aribo glanced a header wide from a James Tavernier cross in the 29th minute before Ianis Hagi saw a low shot from the edge of the box take a deflection off Hibs left-back Josh Doig and run agonisingly wide of the post five minutes later.

The visitors should have gone ahead in the last minute of the first half when Aribo picked out the unmarked Alfredo Morelos with a cross from the right but the Colombian sent a free header wide from seven yards.

The second half started in livelier fashion than the first, with Boyle seeing a thunderous half-volley charged down by Borna Barisic after Josh Campbell’s cross found him 16 yards out.

Moments later Rangers attacker Kent sent a powerful strike just wide from 25 yards.

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 01: during a Cinch Premiership match between Hibernian and Rangers at Easter Road, on December 01, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Craig Foy / SNS Group)
Roofe fires home his penalty to see Rangers ahead

Hibs went desperately close in the 53rd minute when Joe Newell ran on to a quick throw-in and sent an inviting ball across goal, but Connor Goldson somehow hooked it away with Kevin Nisbet waiting to knock it into the net.

There was a brief delay to proceedings in the 57th minute after supporters from both ends threw smoke bombs on to the pitch.

Kent then threatened with another couple of efforts, with the first blocked by the head of Porteous and the second – a few minutes later – pushed wide by Macey.

Hibs wing-back Chris Cadden fizzed an angled shot inches wide from just inside the box in the 71st minute and, at the other end, Aribo shot into the side-netting after finding some space inside the box.

Rangers eventually made the breakthrough when Roofe tucked his penalty away, much to the dismay of Porteous who felt Kent went down too easily.

What the managers said

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Hibernian boss Jack Ross questions if Rangers should have been awarded the penalty that decided their match at Easter Road

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Rangers boss Giovanni van Bronckhorst describes the 1-0 victory at Hibernian as ‘very big’ with his side now seven points clear at the top of the Scottish Premiership

What’s next?

Hibs entertain Motherwell, while Rangers host Dundee, with both Scottish Premiership games kicking off at 3pm on Saturday.

Salah double helps Liverpool cruise to derby win

Mohamed Salah scored twice as Liverpool avenged last season’s Merseyside derby despair with an imperious 4-1 victory over Everton at Goodison Park.

With Everton having taken four points off the then-reigning Premier League champions last term, and inflicted a season-altering injury to talisman Virgil van Dijk on Liverpool’s last trip across Stanley Park, the visitors used the 239th meeting with their rivals to ruthlessly exorcise some demons.

Captain Jordan Henderson curled Liverpool into the lead (9) before Salah put the visitors two up inside 19 minutes at a stunned Goodison, where a number of the home faithful sought an early exit.

Those who had left early missed Everton grab a lifeline before the break through Demarai Gray (38), but it failed to inspire a second-half Toffees comeback as Salah punished Seamus Coleman’s error to double his tally (64), before Diogo Jota’s stunning fourth (79) wrapped up a comfortable Liverpool victory.

The victory sees Jurgen Klopp’s side keep pace with Chelsea and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League, while Everton remain in 14th, without a win in eighth and with the pressure increasing even more on manager Rafa Benitez after their heaviest home defeat at the hands of Liverpool since 1982

Player ratings

Everton: Pickford (6), Coleman (5), Godfrey (6), Keane (6), Digne (5), Doucoure (6), Allan (5), Townsend (6), Gray (7), Richarlison (6), Rondon (6).

Subs: Delph (5), Gordon (6), Tosun (n/a).

Liverpool: Alisson (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Matip (6), Van Dijk (7), Robertson (7), Fabinho (6), Henderson (8), Thiago (6), Salah (8), Jota (7), Mane (6).

Subs: Milner (5), Oxlade-Chamberlain (n/a), Minamino (n/a).

Man of the Match: Mohamed Salah

Ruthless Reds inflict Merseyside misery on Toffees

Jordan Henderson celebrates his early opener
Jordan Henderson celebrates his early opener

Just three minutes were needed for the contrasting fortunes of the two Merseyside rivals to be underlined, as Liverpool created and then squandered two gilt-edged opportunities to make the dream derby start.

The returning Joel Matip steered a free header wide with barely 90 seconds on the clock before Salah got caught in two minds whether to attack Jota’s cross with his head or his boot, and ended up hooking another glorious opening over. But the misses were soon a distant memory for Liverpool.

Team news

  • Richarlison and Demarai Gray returned as Everton made two changes from the defeat at Brentford.
  • Joel Matip replaced Ibrahima Konate in Liverpool’s only change from the victory over Southampton.

After Jordan Pickford had got down well to prevent Salah converting from Sadio Mane’s cutback, the Toffees stopper was soon picking the ball out of his net, as captain Henderson meet Andy Robertson’s cutback with an exquisite left-footed finish into the corner.

There was nothing Pickford could do, such was the quality of Henderson’s strike, and though he did manage to tip Trent Alexander-Arnold’s drive behind for a corner, Liverpool’s relentless start soon yielded a second.

Mohamed Salah celebrates after doubling Liverpool's lead
Mohamed Salah celebrates after doubling Liverpool’s lead

Having scored the opener, Henderson turned provider, playing a pass in behind the advanced Lucas Digne which Salah raced onto before opening up his body and finishing emphatically into the far corner.

With Liverpool two up inside the opening 20 minutes of a derby at Goodison for only the second time in Premier League history, some Evertonians had seen enough and headed for the exits. Those who kept the faith, however, were given renewed cause for optimism when Everton halved the deficit.

Against the run of play, Richarlison brought the ball under control and quickly released Gray into space between Matip and Alexander-Arnold, and the forward held his nerve to finish through the legs of Alisson Becker.

Demarai Gray pulls a goal back for Everton
Demarai Gray pulls a goal back for Everton

Mane and Abdoulaye Doucoure both saw efforts cleared from the goal mouth before the first half was up and the new-found competitiveness continued into the second period, where a crucial Ben Godfrey block denied Mane from restoring Liverpool’s two-goal lead.

But Everton’s defences were to be breached for a crucial third time. They were architects of their own downfall as, from an attacking corner, the ball was played back to Coleman, but his mis-control was pounced on up Salah, who raced away and slotted his second and Liverpool’s third on 64 minutes.

Diogo Jota wheels away after scoring Liverpool's fourth
Diogo Jota wheels away after scoring Liverpool’s fourth

Before Everton were put out of their misery, three became four 11 minutes from time when Jota turned Allan inside out with a brilliant drop of the shoulder before ramming a shot into the roof of the net to underscore Liverpool’s dominance and their rivals’ recent struggles.

Reds run riot at Goodison – Match stats

  • Liverpool scored four goals in an away league match against Everton for the first time since a 5-0 win in November 1982 under Bob Paisley.
  • Rafael Benitez tonight became the first person to take charge of a Merseyside derby at the helm of both his current club Everton, and Liverpool.
  • Since the start of last season, no current Premier League side has lost more home games in the competition than Everton (12, level with Leicester City).
  • Liverpool have scored at least twice in each of their last 18 games in all competitions, the new longest record in history by an English top-flight side.
  • Everton’s Demari Gray scored his fourth league goal of the season, equalling his best top-flight tally (also 4 in 2018-19), whilst he’s also the Toffee’s outright top scorer in the competition this season.
  • Liverpool have scored 25 goals after their seven away games this season, a new Premier League record, and the most by a top-flight side since Burnley back in 1961-62 (also 25).
  • Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson is the first Liverpool player to score and assist at Goodison Park in the same Premier League game since Steven Gerrard in December 2005.

Man of the Match – Mohamed Salah

Mohamed Salah celebrates after doubling Liverpool's lead
Mohamed Salah celebrates after doubling Liverpool’s lead

Mohamed Salah has scored 13 Premier League goals this season, nine of which have come away from home. This is more than double the number of any other player so far (Firmino, King – 4), whilst he’s the first Liverpool player to register a goal or assist in seven consecutive away appearances in the competition.

Salah has been directly involved in at least one goal in each of his last 12 Premier League appearances (13 goals, 7 assists), the third player to achieve that feat after Stan Collymore (12, March – August 1995) and Jamie Vardy (15, August – December 2015).

What’s next?

Monday 6th December 7:00pm

Kick off 8:00pm

Sky Sports Premier League HD
Sky Sports Premier League HD

Everton now host Arsenal on Monday Night Football at 8pm, live on Sky Sports Premier League, while Liverpool are at Wolves at 3pm on Saturday.