Matchday 18 resulted in the most combined minutes for Australian’s in Scotland this season. Symbolising just how influential Scottish football is on the Australian football landscape.
Ange Postecoglou/Tom Rogic
Celtic 1 – Motherwell 0
Tom Rogic has continued his sublime run of form in Scotland after scoring the winner for Celtic at home against Motherwell.
The Australian playmaker put his name on scoresheet after a well-rehearsed set-piece – which teed up Rogic to hit the back of the net in the first half stoppage time. Additionally, the 28-year-old was instrumental in Celtic’s build up play, as he consistently aided swift transitions between midfield to attack all night long.
Coming off last week’s goal of the season contender, the ‘Wizard of Oz’ has undoubtedly proved the critics wrong as he scored for the third time this season.
Much of the credit regarding Rogic’s recent performances has been directed towards Ange Postecoglou. Pundits have praised how he has been able to implement Rogic’s strengths into a competitive squad – which is directly juxtaposed to previous managers at Celtic at Parkhead.
As Rogic put out a man of the match performance, it was an uncomfortable victory for Postecoglou’s side. Despite a barrage of shots on goals and maintaining 72% of possession, Celtic were only merely able to get over the line against fifth placed Motherwell.
“We missed some chances which could have made the game a bit more comfortable for us, but overall, it was an important victory for us” Postecoglou told Celtic TV
Unquestionably, these results are pivotal to keep in touch with Rangers as the season goes on. Although Celtic supporters would be pleased with the winning habit they have maintained under Postecoglou’s reign; they have won all four matches in December and aren’t showing any signs of slowing down.
Nevertheless Postecoglou will be keen to get his men to put these results behind them, as they look forward to some extremely crucial fixtures over the Christmas period – including the Scottish Cup final against Hibernian and the second edition of the Old Firm derby this season.
Celtic currently still sit second on the table, four points behind Rangers.
Matthew Millar vs Martin Boyle
St Mirren 1 – Hibernian 1
It was another battle between Aussies as Matthew Millar’s St Mirren hosted Martin Boyle’s Hibernian in a stalemate at St Mirren Park.
In a relatively even contest, it was late drama that proved costly for Hibernian, as St Mirren took advantage of the difficult conditions to earn a point at home.
Boyle looked very lively for his side as he put in numerous dangerous balls into the box and caused headaches for St Mirren’s defence on the wings. Ultimately, it was Boyle’s shot on target in the 52nd which caused a deflection – which enabled Josh Campbell to score from close range.
It has been a frustrating state of affairs for Boyle’sHibernian, as they have somewhat plummeted since their infamous victory against the Rangers in the Scottish Cup. Having won only one game in the last five matches, Hibernian sit seventh on the ladder – a far cry from their third-place finish last season.
Alternatively, in a refreshing sight, Millar earnt another start for the saints after missing out on a considerable portion of the season earlier on. The ex-Newcastle Jets defender slotted in nicely at wing back, consistently making dangerous overlapping runs for his side before coming off in the 65th minute.
Millar will hope to continue to impress for the Saints as they try and maintain breathing space from relegation.
Next Fixture: Matchday 19 St Mirren vs Celtic – 23 December 6:45am AEDT
Hearts 0 – Rangers 2
Coming up against the table leaders, Cameron Devlin’s Hearts were unable to stay on par with a clinical Ranger’s performance.
Despite being able to acquire their fair share of opportunities on goal and maintaining control of the midfield periodically, it was early goals by the Rangers that personified the rest of the evening’s proceedings.
Starting off with such an impressive debut season in Scotland, this fixture was one of Devlin’s more difficult days at the office. After being put under immense pressure early on and conceding twice within the first 13 minutes, Devlin was on the backfoot early on. The Olympian worked tirelessly to make an impact as he settled into the match as it wore on. However, it simply wasn’t enough to overcome the strong opposition at home.
In typical Devlin fashion, the result did not deter him from getting under the skin of the Rangers players throughout the evening’s proceedings. Especially in the 80th minute when a poorly timed tackle by Devlin led to rising tension on the field and ultimately a red card for Jambos attacker Josh Ginnelly.
Next fixture: Matchday 19 Dundee vs Hearts – 19 December 2:00am AEDT
Ross County 3 – Dundee 2
In an absolute spectacle for the neutral, a valiant come from behind win saw Ashley Maynard-Brewer’s Ross County overcome Dundee at home.
Unbelievably, Ross County have turned their season around and have gotten off the bottom of the table as they continue their four-match undefeated run in the Premiership.
Maynard-Brewer put on another decent shift in goals. Subsequently, both conceded goals were a result of quality finishing, rendering the 22-year-old helpless. However, Maynard-Brewer made an impressive reflex save during the advanced stages of the match which ultimately proved to be critical in getting his side over the line.
The young Australian has continued to make impressive strides in his career in Scotland, as he has started in goals for the last 11 consecutive matches in Scotland’s top tier.
In other news surrounding Australian’s in the SPL
Jason Cummings – Came off the bench in the 89th minute for Dundee as they lost 3-2 to Maynard-Brewer’s Ross County.
Dylan McGowan – In Scotland’s second tier, former Wanderers captain has continued to play an integral role for his new side Kilmarnock. McGowan picked up an unfortunate yellow card as his side lost 1-0 to Raith Rovers.
However, Mcgowan has been an essential figure in Kilmarnock’s defence this season, starting 16 out of the 17 matches so far. Kilmarnock currently sit fourth in the championship, as they fight their way to bounce back into the Premiership.