Scottish football as it happened

Ross County claim three valuable points at St Johnstone after a late win for Dundee United over St Mirren and Partick Thistle's victory against Hibs.

15 March 2014 Last updated at 12:15 GMT

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As it happened

  1. 12:15: 

    Good afternoon, Scottish football fans. We kick off our coverage this afternoon with Dunfermline's visit to Ibrox to face Scottish League One champions Rangers.

  2. 12:18: 

    The kick-off at Ibrox is in just under half an hour. Rangers fans are planning a protest against the current board, with a card display and perhaps a serenade or two. However, we hear that Dave King, the former club director keen to empower the fans by drip-feeding their season ticket money to Rangers, will not be attending the game today.

  3. 12:24: 
    GET INVOLVED

    As ever, we love to hear from you throughout the afternoon. Please send your texts to 80295 or use the hashtag #bbcsportscot on Twitter.

  4. 12:27: 

    In case you were out and about last night and missed Sportsound, there was some interesting news from Rugby Park before Kilmarnock's match against Celtic, which the league leaders won 3-0.

  5. 12:29: 

    Killie have a deal with the Bank of Scotland that will help clear the club's £9.4m debt, and Michael Johnston is to stand down as chairman at the end of the season.

  6. 12:32: 

    Craig Houston, from Rangers fans' group Sons of Struth: "Dave King met the fans' groups yesterday and then he was meeting the directors after that. He has the same concerns as us but he has more money than me and more contacts than me. I don't have any worries about his involvement. I'd be surprised if he wasn't here (at Ibrox) today."

  7. 12:33: 

    Craig Houston continued: "It's not about not buying season tickets. It's about having some security, the same as directors have when they give money to the club. We don't want to put demands up that are unachievable."

  8. 12:35: 

    BBC Scotland reporter Richard Wilson at Ibrox: "Dave King won't be at Ibrox today. Having opened discussions with the board he's observing protocol. King remains convinced fan power is key."

  9. 12:36: 
    LINE-UPS AT IBROX

    Rangers: Bell, Foster, Mohsni, Faure, Steven Smith, Crawford, Black, Peralta, Aird, McCulloch, Clark. Subs: Simonsen, Callum Gallagher, Daly, Emilson Cribari, Shiels, Wallace, Hutton.

    Dunfermline: Scully, Millen, Morris, Page, Grainger, Husband, Geggan, Whittle, Forbes, El Bakhtaoui, Shankland. Subs: Thomson, Williamson, Martin, Byrne, Goodfellow, Falkingham, Smith.

    Referee: Kevin Clancy

  10. 12:39: 

    With the title in the bag, Rangers manager Ally McCoist has rested Nicky Law, David Templeton and Andy Little for today's game.

  11. 12:42: 

    Rangers are 26 points ahead of second-placed Dunfermline in League One with eight games to go. Stranraer are the Pars' biggest threat to the runners-up spot. They are nine points behind Jim Jefferies' side.

  12. 12:44: 

    BBC Scotland reporter Richard Wilson at Ibrox: "Ally McCoist sticks to his word and gives some fringe players a start for Rangers today, including Robbie Crawford and Steven Smith. Lee Wallace and Jon Daly on the bench, probably with one eye on Monday's Scottish Cup replay against Albion Rovers."

  13. 12:45: 

    The Pars are in their traditional black and white strips today, much better-looking, in my opinion, than that turquoise number they sometimes sport.

  14. 12:46: 

    And here come the teams on to the pitch, with Dunfermline sportingly forming a guard of honour to applaud the League One champions.

  15. 12:49: 
    KICK-OFF

    Rangers begin the match as managers Ally McCoist and Jim Jefferies embrace and head to their respective dug-outs.

  16. 12:51: 

    It's a decent start by Rangers as striker Nicky Clark does well to direct a header just over the bar from Ian Black's whipped cross from the right.

  17. 12:53: 

    Ian Black switches to the left and sets up Fraser Aird, who scurries across the 18-yard line and tugs his right-footed shot a few feet wide. That followed a half-chance for Nicky Clark who tried to seize on a heavy touch by Pars goalie Ryan Scully.

  18. 12:53: 
    DUNFERMLINE SUBSTITUTION

    Dearie me. It's tough luck for the visiting goalie. He has his left boot off and is being helped off the pitch to be replaced by another Ryan, this time a Goodfellow, aged 20. It looks like he has pulled a muscle - bad luck or something lacking in the warm-up?

  19. 12:55: 

    Ross Forbes sends in a powerful cross from the left to keep Cammy Bell on his toes in the Rangers goal. It's all a bit stop-start so far.

  20. 12:57: 
    YELLOW CARD

    Bilel Mohsni is booked for a very heavy challenge on Ross Forbes, who takes a few minutes to get back to his feet. That was a sore one.

  21. 12:59: 
    CLOSE!

    From the eventual looping free-kick on the right wing, Callum Morris finds a few feet of space in the Rangers box and rises above Bilel Mohsni to head a fraction over the bar.

  22. 13:01: 

    It's good to see that Ross Forbes has recovered from that challenge. He swings in a peach of a cross from the left and Lawrence Shankland, resembling Ally McCoist in his prime, stretches out a leg eight yards out to connect. Unlike the Rangers goal machine of old, he just misses the ball.

  23. 13:04: 

    A juicy story from Jim Spence coming up...

  24. 13:05: 

    Before that, what was Cammy Bell thinking about there?! He was far too tame with his clearance from a perfectly good back-pass and rolled it straight to the Pars' Forbes, 25 yards out. His first touch is poor, though, and Rangers close down the danger.

  25. 13:07: 

    Dunfermline midfielder Stephen Husband tries his luck from out on the right. Cammy Bell pounces on it like a cat with a ball of wool.

  26. 13:07: 
    YELLOW CARD

    Danny Grainger is booked by Kevin Clancy for a clumsy challenge on Rangers midfielder Ian Black.

  27. 13:09: 

    With 18 minutes on the clock, the Rangers fans hold up blue cards to protest against the Rangers board. A similar display is expected at 72 minutes - 1872 being when Rangers were founded.

  28. 13:13: 

    Now to the story from Jim Spence. He reports that Dundee United have been refused their request to have their Scottish Cup semi-final on 12 April moved to a neutral venue, if their opponents are Rangers.

    The Tannadice club made an official request to the SFA that the match be played at a neutral venue, but say the governing body has rejected the request, citing examples from Uefa as a precedent for a club playing a semi-final on its own ground.

    Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson said: "This of course is all dependent on the result of Albion Rovers v Rangers. If it is to be Rangers, then we are not happy with the fact that it is not a neutral venue. A semi-final or final should be at a neutral venue.

    "This is not an issue with Rangers, it's with the SFA and putting commercial and sponsors' interests before that of fans. We wanted to play the match at Celtic Park but that was flatly denied."

    Thompson also said that he would not be sitting in the directors' box at Ibrox for the match if United do meet Rangers, but would instead be in with his own supporters.

    United say they have been given a maximum ticket allocation of 13,100 for the semi at Ibrox if their opponents are Rangers and say that initially they were offered only 11,000 tickets.

    Albion Rovers meet Rangers next Monday night at New Douglas Park in the quarter-final replay for a place in the last four.

    An SFA spokesperson said: "The clubs were informed of the venue just after the first round of the cup, due to Hampden Park being out of commission because of the Commonwealth Games.

    "There were no issues raised then at that early stage."

  29. 13:15: 

    Richard Wilson reports that the Rangers fans were chanting "sack the board" as they held their cards aloft in the 18th minute.

  30. 13:17: 
    YELLOW CARD

    Ricky Foster is booked for throwing up his hands as a free-kick came his way on the 18-yard line. The free-kick itself was awarded when Ian Black clipped the heels of an advancing Dunfermline player. From the second set-piece Ross Forbes curls a shot two feet wide of Cammy Bell's left-hand post.

  31. 13:19: 
    SUBSTITUTION

    Alex Whittle is not a happy bunny as he is taken off by Pars boss Jim Jefferies and on comes Shaun Byrne. His face is like thunder as he sits in the dug-out.

  32. 13:22: 

    Lawrence Shankland pulls his left-foot shot wide from inside the box as he rounds off some slick build-up play by Dunfermline. Still goalless.

  33. 13:26: 

    Ryan Goodfellow comes off his line to punch the ball clear, just as Nicky Clark was about to connect with Fraser Aird's deep cross. Play is stopped for a minute or so while Lee McCulloch receives treatment after his run into the box was blocked, accidentally I think.

  34. 13:28: 

    Danny Grainger wins a corner for Dunfermline, his cross coming off Robbie Crawford who recovered well after letting in the former Hearts man.

  35. 13:29: 

    Well, this is a game that could do with a goal. There are four minutes to go until half-time.

  36. 13:31: 

    Lee McCulloch hammers into Stephen Husband in mid-air as the pair contest a high ball. It looks as if the Pars midfielder was winded there.

  37. 13:33: 
    YELLOW CARDS

    Ross Forbes goes into the book for a dive in the Rangers box, then home skipper Lee McCulloch is shown a yellow card for another heavy challenge. Why, was that on Husband again?!

  38. 13:35: 

    The four minutes of injury-time suggests, correctly, that there have been lots of stoppages in the opening 45 minutes. Let's hope for a more fluent second period.

  39. 13:37: 
    The Rangers fans hold up blue cards as a protest against the club's board The Rangers fans hold up blue cards on 18 minutes as a protest against the club's board
  40. 13:38: 
    GOAL

    Rangers 1-0 Dunfermline (Smith) What a goal by Stevie Smith! In the final minute of injury time, Andy Geggan gives away a free-kick with a heavy challenge on Arnold Peralta and up steps Smith to curl a cracker of a shot into the top corner at the Copland Road end.

  41. 13:38: 
    HALF-TIME

    Rangers 1-0 Dunfermline Steven Smith's free-kick strike in injury time changed the perspective of the first-half, reports Richard Wilson. Until then, Dunfermline had played the better football at Ibrox, with Stephen Husband impressing in midfield and Lawrence Shankland a handful up front. Rangers lead 1-0, but the visitors will feel hard done by.

  42. 13:43: 

    Don't forget we have three Scottish Premiership matches later today. Dundee United welcome St Mirren and Partick Thistle play Hibs at 15:00, then St Johnstone host Ross County at 17:30.

  43. 13:46: 
    Ian Black congratulates Rangers goalscorer Stevie Smith Ian Black congratulates Rangers goalscorer Stevie Smith whose free-kick gives the home team a 1-0 lead over Dunfermline
  44. 13:54: 
    KICK-OFF

    We're under way once more at Ibrox.

  45. 13:58: 

    Faissal El-Bakhtaoui has rush of blood to his head as he gets sight of the Rangers goal and unleashes a shot from 25 yards...that drifts wide. Manager Jim Jefferies and assistant Neil McCann look none too impressed.

  46. 14:01: 

    It's a low-key opening to the second half as Dunfermline probe the Rangers back line but are kept at bay, 30 yards out.

  47. 14:04: 

    Rangers midfielder Ian Black attempts a pass down the left wing for Nicky Clark but it's too heavy and all Clark can do is knock it out for a throw-in.

  48. 14:06: 

    Ally McCoist made a change to the Rangers team at half-time, with Emilson Cribari replacing Bilel Mohsni, who was one of six players to be booked in the first 45 minutes.

  49. 14:08: 
    Ally McCoist and Jim Jefferies Managers Ally McCoist and Jim Jefferies are in jovial mood on the Ibrox touchline
  50. 14:08: 

    Dunfermline's Shaun Byrne makes an excellent sliding challenge on Fraser Aird as he surged forward towards the Pars box.

  51. 14:10: 
    SUBSTITUTION

    Rangers midfielder Kyle Hutton is given warm applause as he is given a half-hour run-out, as Lee McCulloch come off.

  52. 14:12: 
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    Regarding Jim Spence's story at 13:13, Ian in Cupar asks: "If United are only getting 13,000 tickets. How many are Albion Rovers gonna get?"

  53. 14:14: 

    Danny Grainger and Robbie Crawford leap to contest Rangers' in-swinging corner. The ball skims off the Pars man's head and Fraser Aird has another chance to make the set-piece count. Second time round, Ian Black can't quite connect cleanly and Dunfermline get it clear.

  54. 14:16: 
    Join the debate at #bbcsportscot

    Andrew Priestley ponders the home fans' card display and chanting: "Can you ever remember a club protesting so passionately and loudly after winning a second consecutive league title?"

  55. 14:19: 

    Rangers knock the ball about with confidence in midfield but the final ball is all too often over-hit.

  56. 14:21: 

    BBC Scotland commentator Rob Maclean: "Rangers have the goal advantage and there is nothing that Dunfermline are doing that is troubling them greatly."

  57. 14:22: 
    SUBSTITUTION

    Allan Smith has 18 minutes to inspire the Pars as he comes on for Fayssal El-Bakhtaoui.

  58. 14:22: 

    Seventy-two minutes into the match and the Rangers fans hold up their cards to protest against the board.

  59. 14:25: 
    SUBSTITUTION

    Rangers boss Ally McCoist introduces Calum Gallagher for goalscorer Stevie Smith.

  60. 14:27: 

    Allan Smith's tenacity is rewarded as he ferrets past Sebastien Faure out on the left on the goalline. He darts towards Cammy Bell's goal but the move ends when Arnold Peralta slides in to prevent the shot at the Rangers goal.

  61. 14:28: 
    RED CARD

    Dunfermline's Danny Grainger is red carded for scything down Calum Gallagher right on the edge of the box as the sub hared towards goal.

  62. 14:29: 

    Ian Black's resultant free-kick is headed clear. The Pars need to get the ball up the other end of the pitch and soon if they are to get something from this game.

  63. 14:30: 

    The attendance at Ibrox today is a whopping 44,110.

  64. 14:36: 
    Sandy Easdale is flanked by brother James and chief executive Graham Wallace in the Ibrox directors' box Sandy Easdale is flanked by brother James and chief executive Graham Wallace in the Ibrox directors' box
  65. 14:38: 

    Jonathan Page is well placed to benefit from a knock-down in the Rangers box but Ricky Foster makes a vital challenge just as Page was about to pounce in the six-yard box.

  66. 14:39: 

    BBC Scotland pundit Billy Dodds: "It's been really poor game, a woeful game. Stevie Smith's goal is the only thing the Rangers fans will remember."

  67. 14:41: 
    GOAL- Rangers 2-0 Dunfermline (Gallagher)

    In injury-time, sub Calum Gallagher slams home his first goal for Rangers, a reward for running down the right wing to support Ian Black's attack.

  68. 14:42: 
    FULL-TIME

    Rangers 2-0 Dunfermline A woeful game with two highlights, says BBC Scotland football pundit Billy Dodds. It's hard to argue with that. The goals were special; the first, by Stevie Smith, for its technical brilliance, the late second an impressive finish by Calum Gallagher as he scored his first for the club.

  69. 14:46: 

    BBC Scotland reporter Richard Wilson: "The enthusiasm that Calum Gallagher brought showed why it's worth taking the chance to put some of these young players in."

  70. 14:50: 

    We have two matches in the Scottish Premiership coming up at 15:00. Let's dig out the team news...

  71. 14:51: 
    LINE-UPS AT FIRHILL

    Partick: Paul Gallacher, Stephen O'Donnell, Balatoni, Mair, Sinclair, Erskine, Fraser, Buaben, Higginbotham, Taylor, Doolan. Subs: Fox, Craigen, Lawless, Piccolo, Elliot, McMillan, Moncur.

    Hibernian: Williams, Forster, Nelson, Hanlon, McGivern, Cairney, Taiwo, Stanton, Watmore, Collins, Cummings. Subs: Craig, Stevenson, Maybury, Handling, Murdoch, Heffernan, Haynes.

    Referee: Brian Colvin

  72. 14:56: 

    Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald: "They are all massive games now. They mean so much to us. (On his red card for dissent while playing for Thistle's under-20s.) Some referees you can speak to, some you can't. I said the same things that I've been saying on a pitch for 20 years. The game is changing."

  73. 14:58: 
    LINE-UPS AT TANNADICE

    Dundee Utd: Cierzniak, Watson, Souttar, Gunning, Robertson, Paton, Rankin, Mackay-Steven, Gauld, El Alagui, Ciftci. Subs: Dillon, Graham, Armstrong, Wilson, Dow, McCallum, Gomis.

    St Mirren: Kello, Naismith, McAusland, McGregor, Kelly, Magennis, Newton, McLean, McGinn, McGowan, Thompson. Subs: Campbell, Reilly, Teale, Brady, Dilo, Wylde, Declan Hughes.

    Referee: Craig Thomson

  74. 15:01: 
    KICK-OFF

    And we're off...

  75. 15:05: 
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    Iain from Perth: "Why would a small club like Dundee Utd need 20,000 tickets for cup game at Ibrox when they only get 5,000 crowds at their home games?"

  76. 15:07: 

    Richard Wilson emerges from the post-match media conference at Ibrox. He says Ally McCoist confirmed that the changes he made to his team were made with the Cup replay with Albion Rovers in mind. McCoist says he hasn't spoken to anyone at the club about Dave King's meeting with the club's board.

  77. 15:08: 
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    Anonymous text: "If Ibrox is a difficult stadium to segregate, why was it chosen as a neutral venue in the first place?!"

  78. 15:09: 
    GREAT SAVE!

    At Firhill, Partick Thistle goalie Paul Gallacher makes a brave save to prevent Jason Cummings getting on the end of a dangerous Paul Cairney cross.

  79. 15:10: 

    Hibs break swiftly and have the advantage in numbers as the Partick defence is exposed but a clumsy touch from James Collins sees a promising move break down at the edge of the penalty area.

  80. 15:12: 

    Steven Thompson shows early attacking intent for St Mirren at Tannadice, heading just wide of the United goal.

  81. 15:14: 

    Well, well, well. Scotland manager Gordon Strachan and assistant Mark McGhee are in the Firhill stand. Billy Stark's there too. Any suggestions as to who they might be watching?

  82. 15:15: 

    With Liam Craig on the bench for Hibs, Michael Nelson is wearing the captain's armband at Firhill and the big defender has already been ticked off by referee Brian Colvin for his back chat.

  83. 15:15: 

    Bad news from Cardiff in the Six Nations. We're hearing Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg has been sent for a late challenge.

  84. 15:17: 
    Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson still looks upset at the ticket allocation for his club at Ibrox Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson still looks upset at the ticket allocation for his club at Ibrox
  85. 15:19: 

    Hibs are looking the more menacing side at Firhill as winger Duncan Watmore gets in behind the home defence but his poked, low cross evades three team-mates in the penalty box.

  86.  
    GOAL- Dundee United 0-1 St Mirren (McGowan)

    Buddies playmaker Paul McGowan scores his third goal of the season, with his back to goal directing a header into the net from 12 yards to give the Paisley side a valuable lead in Dundee.

  87. 15:24: 

    Hibs' Duncan Watmore cuts in from the left to have a shot at goal. His effort takes a big deflection off team-mate Jason Cummings and goes wide. Much to the horror of the home side, referee Brian Colvin awards a corner. Luckily for the myopic official, nothing comes of the set-piece.

  88. 15:27: 
    Hibs holding midfielder Tom Taiwo battles with Thistle's Prince Buaben early in their Scottish Premiership match at Firhill Hibs holding midfielder Tom Taiwo battles with Thistle's Prince Buaben early in their Scottish Premiership match at Firhill
  89. 15:30: 
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    Anonymous text: "Re 14.46 Playing Calum Gallagher is not a risk. He will be 20 this year and has shown great pace and scoring ability for years. He should have been playing all season."

  90. 15:33: 

    At Firhill, Kallum Higginbotham powers forward and jinks past a couple of Hibs players before firing off a rising shot that Ben Williams does well to push away.

  91. 15:33: 

    Wales are leading Scotland 27-3 at half-time in the Six Nations in Cardiff. There's still time, boys, still time...

  92. 15:34: 

    Kallum Higginbotham has suddenly come alive for Partick Thistle, twisting Ryan McGivern in knots before shooting narrowly wide.

  93. 15:37: 
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    Mick in Glasgow sends an interesting text on Stuart Hogg's dismissal in Cardiff for a late tackle: "If you get a chance to see the sending off in the rugby, the boy got a yellow card (10 minutes in the sinbin) then they watched the replay, called him back on & gave him the red card. Maybe football could learn from this, a well deserved red card?"

  94. 15:38: 

    Back to the Scottish Premiership and the goal opens up for Chris Erskine as Partick Thistle apply more pressure on Hibs but the midfielder's shot is tame and easily scooped up by Ben Williams.

  95. 15:40: 

    BBC Scotland football pundit Willie Miller at Tannadice: "The (St Mirren players') body language is much better than the United players'. United look sluggish and St Mirren are taking advantage of that."

  96. 15:41: 
    Text us on 80295

    This text for my Sportsound Open all Mics colleagues made me laugh: "Could you lot stop talking rugby ? I've tuned in to this frequency for the fitba', have you got that? Fitba'. Go and work on the other frequency if you're so in love wi' rugby and gie me peace. A fitba'-loving rugby-hating Ian in Edinburgh."

  97. 15:44: 
    GOAL- Dundee United 0-2 St Mirren (Thompson)

    John McGinn's attack on the United goal is rewarded when his low cross comes off Gavin Gunning, and falls kindly for Stephen Thompson to score.

  98. 15:45: 
    GOAL- Partick Thistle 1-0 Hibernian (Erskine)

    Thistle are ahead as Chris Erskine slams a shot high past Ben Williams after the Hibs defence are befuddled by a nifty step-over from Kris Doolan.

  99. 15:48: 
    HALF-TIME- Partick Thistle 1-0 Hibernian
  100. 15:51: 

    Stretching to connect, Dundee United striker Farid El Alagui hits a shot over the St Mirren bar.

  101. 15:52: 
    HALF-TIME- Dundee United 0-2 St Mirren
  102. 15:59: 
    HALF-TIME- Scottish Championship

    Alloa 0-1 Queen of South

    Dumbarton 1-0 Cowdenbeath

    Hamilton 1-0 Falkirk

    Livingston 0-1 Dundee

    Raith 0-1 Morton

  103. 16:01: 
    HALF-TIME- Scottish League One

    Arbroath 0-1 Airdrieonians

    East Fife 0-3 Ayr

    Forfar 1-0 Stranraer

    Stenhousemuir 2-1 Brechin

  104. 16:02: 
    HALF-TIME- Scottish League Two

    Clyde 1-0 Stirling Albion

    Elgin 0-3 Annan Athletic

    Montrose 2-0 East Stirlingshire

    Peterhead 1-0 Berwick

    Queen's Park 2-0 Albion Rovers

  105. 16:04: 

    The latest score in Cardiff is Wales 44-3 Scotland.

  106. 16:04: 
    KICK-OFF

    OK, we're under way again at Firhill.

  107. 16:07: 
    Text us on 80295

    Anonymous text (please pop your name in them): "Same old huffing & puffing from Hibs. To be honest the end of the season can't come quick enough. No goal threat, no pace, no guile, no defence, no leaders. After following Hibs for 40 plus years I'd say this could well be the worst set of players I've ever seen wear the green & white! The question is, will it change next season?"

  108. 16:10: 
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    Ahead of the Scottish League Cup final, this from Willie in Inverness: "Dear Anti-Inverness Football and Media Establishment, I'm hardly surprised at your condemnation of Inverness Caley Thistle's cup hopes before a ball is even kicked but please remember that the last time Inverness played Aberdeen we beat them at Pittodrie. So please have your excuses at the ready for an Aberdeen defeat - even though the referee will have done his best to help you win!"

  109. 16:14: 

    Kallum Higginbotham accelerates away from a trail of Hibs defenders before pulling the trigger from 18 yards, forcing Ben Williams to make another good save.

  110. 16:16: 

    BBC Scotland football pundit Willie Miller at Tannadice: "A real mix-up in the heart of the St Mirren defence almost allows Ryan Gauld to put the ball in the back of the net but his shot drifts past the post."

  111. 16:18: 
    GOAL- Partick Thistle 2-0 Hibernian (Mair)

    The Jags double their advantage at Firhill as Lee Mair gets the better of Ryan McGivern to nod in a deep free kick from Kallum Higginbotham.

  112. 16:21: 
    GOAL- Partick Thistle 2-1 Hibernian (Watmore)

    Hibs immediately reduce the deficit as Sam Stanton weaves into the penalty box from the left to lay the ball off for Duncan Watmore, who looked to have lost his way with a bad first touch but recovers well to tuck away a lovely finish from 16 yards.

  113. 16:23: 
    Buddies midfielder Kenny McLean embraces St Mirren scorer Steven Thompson at Tannadice Buddies midfielder Kenny McLean embraces St Mirren scorer Steven Thompson at Tannadice
  114. 16:24: 

    Lyle Taylor is getting a lot of dirty looks from his Thistle team-mates as he tries to squeeze in a shot from a near impossible angle rather than picking out a pass.

  115. 16:25: 

    But Taylor almost makes amends - he's a stud's length away from connecting with Kallum Higginbotham's flashing ball across goal.

  116. 16:27: 

    Raith Rovers are back on level terms with bottom club Morton in the Championship thanks to Greig Spence's penalty in 68 minutes.

  117. 16:28: 
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    Rod in Aberdeen engages in a pre-cup final "war of words": "Willie in Inverness (16:10) must be a small man from a small town with a small mind, but a very big chip on his shoulder."

    Embo Fisher on the A9 to Glasgow: "Big game for Ross County this evening if results stay the same. The wee team in the Highlands could be facing the play-offs."

  118. 16:31: 

    Hamilton are back in front against Falkirk, leading 2-1 now thanks to Darian Mackinnon, after Mark Beck had headed the Bairns level.

  119. 16:36: 

    Partick Thistle's Aaron Taylor-Sinclair heads over the bar from a corner as the Jags try to put the game beyond Hibs.

  120. 16:39: 
    GOAL- Dundee United 1-2 St Mirren (Graham)

    Brian Graham gives the home fans hope as he scores from a suspiciously offside position to halve the deficit against St Mirren.

  121. 16:42: 

    At Firhill, a low cross from Paul Heffernan deflects off Thistle defender Stephen O'Donnell but keeper Paul Gallacher manages to save with a foot to prevent an own goal.

  122. 16:44: 
    GOAL- Dundee United 2-2 St Mirren (Armstrong)

    "Pure quality!" opines BBC Scotland football pundit Willie Miller as Stuart Armstrong calmly slots home to pull United level at home to St Mirren. Can they go on to take all three points?

  123. 16:48: 

    A defensive blunder leaves Hibs substitute Danny Haynes in the the clear but he takes for ever to get a shot away, allowing a defender to get back and make a diverting block. From the corner, Thistle are scrambling again as Duncan Watmore's effort is deflected over.

  124. 16:49: 
    LINE-UPS AT McDIARMID PARK

    St Johnstone: Mannus, Mackay, Anderson, McDonald, McLean, Hasselbaink, Dunne, May, Miller, Croft, Clancy. Subs: Banks, Cregg, Millar, Wotherspoon, Iwelumo, O'Halloran, Gilchrist.

    Ross County: Brown, Cikos, Boyd, Kiss, Brittain, De Leeuw, Tidser, Slew, Oikonomou, Arquin, Songo'o. Subs: McCarthy, Gordon, Quinn, Glen, Saunders, McLean, Dingwall.

  125. 16:51: 
    GOAL- Partick Thistle 3-1 Hibernian (Higginbotham)

    Just as Hibs had the Jags under the cosh, Kallum Higginbotham rounds off a Thistle break and keeps a cool head to slide the ball into the net from the edge of the box. It's a sickener for the Hibees.

  126. 16:53: 
    GOAL- Dundee United 3-2 St Mirren (Cifti)

    What a comeback by United as Nadir Cifti fires home a last-gasp winner at Tannadice. The Buddies were leading 2-0 with 12 minutes to play!

  127. 16:53: 
    FULL-TIME- Partick Thistle 3-1 Hibernian
  128. 16:54: 
    FULL-TIME- Dundee United 3-2 St Mirren
  129. 16:59: 

    Poor Danny Lennon. The St Mirren boss will feel like a man whose winning Lottery ticket was snatched by a seagull as he waved it above his head to celebrate...on a pier.

  130. 17:00: 

    It pains me to type this, but the final score in the Six Nations in Cardiff was Wales 51-3 Scotland.

  131. 17:01: 
    FULL-TIME- Scottish League One

    Arbroath 0-1 Airdrieonians

    East Fife 0-5 Ayr

    Forfar 1-0 Stranraer

    Rangers 2-0 Dunfermline

    Stenhousemuir 4-2 Brechin

  132. 17:04: 
    FULL-TIME- Scottish Championship

    Alloa 0-1 Queen of the South

    Dumbarton 5-1 Cowdenbeath

    Hamilton 3-1 Falkirk

    Livingston 0-2 Dundee

    Raith 2-1 Morton

  133. 17:06: 
    FULL-TIME- Scottish League Two

    Clyde 1-0 Stirling Albion

    Annan Athletic 3-0 East Stirlingshire

    Peterhead 3-0 Berwick

    Queen's Park 4-0 Albion Rovers

  134. 17:11: 

    The referee for the match at McDiarmid Park between St Johnstone and Ross County is Bobby Madden. That kicks off in just over a quarter of an hour.

  135. 17:18: 

    St Johnstone manager Tommy Wright: "It's a strange day but a pretty good day because Hibs got beat so a win for us tonight would give us a seven-point gap with a game in hand. (On four changes for visit of Ross County) I did say when I took over the job that the squad was strong and I wanted to use everyone I can."

  136. 17:22: 

    So, to Wright's changes for the Perth Saints. In come defender Tim Clancy, midfielder Lee Croft and forwards Nigel Hasselbaink and Steven MacLean, as Michael O'Halloran, Chris Millar, David Wotherspoon drop to the bench with Brian Easton out after suffering a hamstring injury during the midweek win over Dundee United. Staggies boss Derek Adams makes just one change from the side that started the 1-1 draw with Partick Thistle in their last outing, with forward Melvin de Leeuw in for the injured Stuart Kettlewell.

  137. 17:23: 

    Dundee United manager Jackie McNamara: "The two goals we lost were comical but the spirit was there to keep going for the 90 minutes...or the 93."

  138. 17:29: 

    St Johnstone and Ross County are about to exit the tunnel at McDiarmid Park. Here we go...

  139. 17:31: 

    BBC Scotland football pundit John Robertson at McDiarmid Park: "There's a lot to play for. That should add to the excitement. Both teams are desperate to win. They know how big the three points are."

  140. 17:32: 
    KICK-OFF

    Ross County get the match under way in their white away strip.

  141. 17:33: 

    Nigel Hasselbaink mis-times his leap and heads over Mark Brown's Ross County crossbar.

  142. 17:34: 

    Yoann Arquin just can't get enough power or angle on his header from 10 yards and the ball floats into St Johnstone keeper Alan Mannus's arms.

  143. 17:40: 

    Filip Kiss, on loan from Cardiff, flicks the ball up and positions his body nicely to thump a volley at Alan Mannus's St Johnstone goal, but his shot drifts wide of the target.

  144. 17:44: 

    Wee Nigel Hasselbaink scurries between two County players and across the halfway line. However, with the ball six feet ahead of him it invites Erik Cikos to rush across to clear the danger. The Saints striker looks in the mood this evening.

  145. 17:46: 

    Good to see referee Bobby Madden smiling and apparently enjoying himself in Perth. I had a chat with former grade one ref Willie Young the other night and was reminded of his often comical interactions with players during matches. Could the hashtag #bringbacksmilingrefs take hold?

  146. 17:48: 

    Nigel Hasselbaink, in the left-back position, launches the ball forward and big County defender Scott Boyd directs a header towards his own goal. However, it's a bit wayward and keeper Mark Brown has to rush from his goal to knock the ball out of play.

  147. 17:54: 

    We're midway through the first half, still goalless.

  148. 17:56: 

    County's towering striker Yoann Arquin is sporting that strange combination: short-sleeved jersey and gloves. I don't get it. Surely a long-sleeved top with thumb holes bored using a pencil is preferable.

  149. 17:58: 
    YELLOW CARD

    Tim Clancy is booked for hauling down The Gloved One (Arquin).

  150. 18:00: 
    GOAL- St Johnstone 0-1 Ross County (De Leeuw)

    It's a lovely finish by Dutch midfielder Melvin De Leeuw who finds space in the Saints box and smashes a low shot into the far corner of the net on the half-hour mark.

  151. 18:04: 

    And it's Melvin De Leeuw who, buoyed by that goal, races back to dispossess Nigel Hasselbaink as he jinked his way through the white-shirted retreating County defence.

  152. 18:09: 

    This game is being played at a good pace, with both teams keen to get the ball down and knock it about. It's just the goalmouth action that has been limited.

  153. 18:13: 

    Yoann Arquin beats Gary McDonald down County's right wing but no-one gets in the box to support and his cross flashes straight across the penalty area.

  154. 18:16: 

    Lurking at the back post, defender Dave Mackay has time and space to head home an equaliser for St Johnstone but the home captain nods back across the face of Mark Brown's goal and the chance is gone.

  155. 18:17: 
    HALF-TIME- St Johnstone 0-1 Ross County
  156. 18:21: 
    Striker Stevie May, seen here in action against Ross County's Evangelos Ikonomou, has had a quiet first half for St Johnstone Striker Stevie May, seen here in action against Ross County's Evangelos Ikonomou, has had a quiet first half for St Johnstone
  157. 18:23: 

    St Mirren Danny Lennon on his 3-2 defeat by United: "It was the right performance for us today but the wrong result. We nullified United's threats and created opportunity after opportunity and then a big decision turns the game on its head. The player who touched the ball was certainly offside (for the first goal). Sometimes when you're on the wrong end of it these things go against you and it's harder to take. There will be a few twists and turns between now and the rest of the season."

  158. 18:25: 

    BBC Scotland football pundit Craig Paterson: "It could have been a magical day for St Mirren. These results are absolute hammer blows. Danny is going to be asking his players why they can't see out games like that. That young Dundee United team, when they got that goal, it must have given them a massive lift. All Danny can do is pick up the troops. He's got to trust them. It's dog eat dog down there (the bottom of the Premiership) and that result puts them right in the mix."

  159. 18:29: 

    Partick Thistle manager Alan Archibald: "Hopefully we can go and build on that (the 3-2 win over Hibs).

    "I'm absolutely delighted. I thought Hibs controlled the first half, but I thought we showed a very good determination today to defend really well and also our front four players were very good.

    "I think it's the first time we've had the front four all on from the start, (Kris) Doolan, (Lyle) Taylor, Erskine and Higginbotham. When they link up, as you saw from the first goal, the quality they brought.

    "They were all involved in it, Doolan with a lovely step-over and then a great finish. To get them on the pitch at the one time they've all got to really work so hard, and as a management team we're more pleased with the way they worked off the ball as well, because we had to do that against a very good Hibs side."

    Hibernian manager Terry Butcher: "We're a goal down in the first half. We just didn;t take our chances. We felt at half time we should have a go. The free-kick into the box, Ryan McGiven doesn't pick up his man and we're 2-0 down. We can't say we're unlucky. We didn't do enough at either end. It's baffling for me. You organise these boys and send them out and say, 'go and play'. Top six now is extremely remote. We've got St Johnstone next week but it is going to take a miracle. The players have got to show me that they want to be here."

  160. 18:32: 
    KICK-OFF

    St Johnstone get us going again.

  161. 18:36: 

    Ross County make a bright start with several half chances coming their way but the blue jerseys are well organised and manage to clear their lines.

  162. 18:41: 

    Some patient build-up play by Ross County is ruined by a wayward cross by Richie Brittain. They look the team more likely to score in this second half.

  163. 18:43: 

    Rangers have released a statement following Dave King's meeting on Friday with the board.

    The statement describes the meeting as "a helpful, open and honest discussion, covering the important issues facing Rangers, the concerns of the fans and the Club's competitive aspirations".

    It continues: "Both parties agreed that the aims of the Club are to compete at the highest levels of Scottish and European football. The Board confirmed that the development of the Club's business plan is being undertaken on this basis.

    "Mr King was helpful in outlining the concerns of supporters in relation to communications from the Club and was reassured by plans to announce the results of the business review and trading update in the next few weeks, ahead of the season ticket renewal deadline, as part of the Club's commitment to improved supporter communication.

    "In response to Mr King's concerns about the security of Ibrox and Murray Park, the Board reiterated that it has no intention of using these properties for any measure of security.

    "The Board has previously stated that investment in the Club will be required as part of the medium term strategy. This position remains unchanged, however the timing and amount of such future investment has not yet been finalised. Fans will be kept informed of the Club's plans in this regard and the Board envisages that supporters would be given the opportunity to participate at the appropriate time.

    "The Board and Mr King agreed that the meeting was productive and that both parties share a common vision for the future of the Club."

  164. 18:45: 

    David Wotherspoon's dangerous cross to the back post is headed across the six-yard box by Steven Anderson and County's Filip Kiss gets a head to half-clear the danger, with Yann Songo'o making no mistake at the back post to gladly concede a corner.

  165. 18:47: 

    Saints striker Stevie May springs to life with a beautiful overhead kick that brings out the best in keeper Mark Brown. Excellent stuff from both.

  166. 18:49: 
    Join the debate at #bbcsportscot

    Shaun Thorpe: "Kiss having another terrible game. How he starts before Carey is beyond me. County playing well with basically 10 men all game #bbcsportscot"

  167. 18:52: 

    Saints' Steven Anderson is, um, "energetic" in his tackling of Melvin De Leeuw. Ref Bobby Madden awards the County midfielder a free-kick and Anderson slams the turf twice in frustration. No booking for dissent.

  168. 18:54: 

    BBC Scotland football pundit John Robertson on Ross County: "They are confident. They have kept a good home side at bay."

  169. 18:56: 

    It's Chris at the double as Iwelumo and Millar come on for St Johnstone, Nigel Hasselbaink and James Dunne making way.

  170. 18:58: 

    Stevie May claims for a penalty as he goes down in the box after tip-toeing his way towards goal. However, there were simply too many County defenders in his way and nowhere for him to place his foot forward. The white socks of the County defenders were cross-crossed before him like trees in a forest after a winter storm.

  171. 19:02: 

    BBC Scotland football pundit John Robertson: "St Johnstone have just not asked enough questions. County have been terrifically well organised. They are easy on the eye."

  172. 19:03: 

    Fifteen minutes to go in Perth.

  173. 19:06: 
    SUBSTITUTION

    County's Rocco Quinn replaces Melvin De Leeuw for the closing stages.

  174. 19:10: 

    Jordan Slew, who had sprinted forward as part of a break for County, is unlucky to have an attempted pass into his path bounce off his heel and go out of play. Saints could have been in bother had that found a way through.

  175. 19:12: 

    Gary Glen is now on for Slew.

  176. 19:17: 

    BBC Scotland football pundit John Robertson: "If they hold on, it is a well deserved three points. There has just been that wee bit more zip shown by Ross County today."

  177. 19:18: 
    CLOSE!

    Stevie May shows skill and strength to work the ball in to Dave Mackay 22 yards from goal. The Saints skipper's shot is deflected and Mark Brown makes a great fingertip save.

  178. 19:20: 
    DISALLOWED GOAL

    Oooooh! Controversial stuff in Perth as the linesman rules out Steven Anderson's equalising header deep into injury time. Anderson, eight yards out, heads the ball at goal and Mark Brown parries the ball towards Chris Iwelumo who heads the ball, possibly against his arm, towards Anderson. The Saints defender heads the ball a second time and it glances off Iwelumo's chest on its way in. Iwelumo and a County defender were standing on the goal-line at the time.

  179. 19:21: 
    FULL-TIME- St Johnstone 0-1 Ross County
  180. 19:25: 

    It's getting very tight in the relegation play-off spots. That win for County puts them on 29 points, the same as Partick Thistle. St Mirren have 27 points. All these teams have played 29 games. Just ahead, in eighth place, are Kilmarnock on 30 points from 30 games,

  181. 19:27: 

    Of course, the result is good news for Hibs fans. They remain four points behind sixth-placed St Johnstone although they have played a game more. The teams meet next Saturday in Perth.

  182. 19:31: 

    Ross County midfielder Richie Brittain: "We've had a fantastic win and we'll build on this for the end of the season. I'm told it was a hand ball (the disallowed Saints goal) so it's the correct decision. We can look forward to another hard game next week. There's a long way to go and we need to keep that form going."

  183. 19:34: 

    It's that time, dear readers, to call it a day. Thanks very much indeed for your company. We'll be back tomorrow with all the build-up to the Scottish League Cup final. All the best.

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As It Stood Table

Last updated 15 Mar 2014 UK

Scottish Premiership summary table; it charts each team by position, team name, games played, total goal difference and points
Position Team Played Goal Difference Points
No movement 1 Celtic 29 57 78
No movement 2 Aberdeen 28 14 54
No movement 3 Motherwell 28 3 51
Moving up 4 Dundee Utd 29 17 47
Moving down 5 Inverness CT 27 7 45
No movement 6 St Johnstone 29 3 38
No movement 7 Hibernian 30 -9 34
No movement 8 Kilmarnock 30 -15 30
Moving up 9 Partick Thistle 29 -14 29
Moving up 10 Ross County 29 -16 29
Moving down 11 St Mirren 29 -18 27
No movement 12 Hearts 29 -29 6