Scottish Premiership: Wins for Hibernian, St Johnstone and Ross County
By Andy Swales
Last Updated: 08/08/17 2:17pm
Hibernian celebrated their return to the Scottish Premiership by overcoming an early setback to beat Partick Thistle 3-1 at Easter Road on Saturday.
Playing their first top tier fixture since May 2014, Hibs fell behind in the seventh minute when, after some patient play by the visitors, Stevie Lawless slipped the ball to Chris Erskine whose left foot shot nestled in the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
However, the hosts were level seven minutes later when the ball ricocheted nicely to Martin Boyle, who side-footed home into the bottom left-hand corner.
And with 33 minutes on the clock, Danny Swanson and Steven Whitaker combined for the latter to clip Neil Lennon's side ahead from 10 yards - it was not the most solid of strikes but enough to evade keeper Tomas Cerny.
Partick's Danny Devine had a header saved just before the break, with the hosts extending their advantage early in the second half.
Callum Booth fouled Boyle in the box and Simon Murray made it 3-1 from the penalty spot, after sending Cerny the wrong way.
Murray nearly grabbed his second of the match 20 minutes from time when he collected Boyle's cross but his effort, from seven yards, hit a post.
Thistle came close to pulling a goal back when Kevin Nisbet's header was tipped over by home keeper Ofir Marciano.
But Hibs remained in control to beat Thistle at home for the first time in more than 13 years.
Meanwhile, Michael O'Halloran netted a late winner as St Johnstone beat Kilmarnock 2-1 at Rugby Park.
Saints made most of the early running and came close to opening the scoring in the seventh minute when Murray Davidson's long range effort flew inches wide of the top corner.
Paul Paton headed over from close range but, with 10 minutes on the clock, the visitors went ahead thanks to an excellent run and shot from David Wotherspoon whose rising strike gave keeper Jamie MacDonald no chance.
St Johnstone almost added a second in the 25th minute when Davidson hit the bar with another attempt from distance.
At the other end, as Killie chased an equaliser, Alan Mannus saved from Chris Burke and it was all square in the 59th minute when Kris Boyd smashed home a free-kick from 25 yards.
As the buoyant hosts went in search of a second goal, Lee Erwin was denied by Mannus, who shortly afterwards touched a fierce Boyd strike onto the bar.
And with the game seemingly heading for a draw, O'Halloran stunned the home side with 89 minutes on the clock when he slipped past a handful of defenders before lashing his shot into the far corner.
Kilmarnock vs Celtic
August 19, 2017, 12:00pm
And there was also an away win for Ross County, who secured a deserved 2-1 victory over Dundee at Dens Park.
In an end-to-end contest there was plenty of action during the opening 45 minutes but just a single goal.
That belonged to Jamie Lindsay, who latched on to Andrew Davies' headed assist to blast home from just outside the box.
And just after the hour mark the visitors added a second, thanks to a close range header by Chris Routis following a corner.
The Dark Blues gave themselves hope four minutes from time when Jack Hendry nodded home Scott Allan's corner from close range.
However, although Darren O`Dea came close late on, Dundee could not force an equaliser.
Earlier in the day, reigning champions Celtic beat Hearts 4-1, while Sunday's matches feature Motherwell against Rangers, with Aberdeen hosting Hamilton.