The Scottish Premiership returned to action with a bang over the weekend, with champions Rangers picking up where they left off but Old Firm rivals Celtic enduring an end to the week befitting of the disappointment that went before.
Steven Gerrard’s side top the pile once more following a 3-0 win over Livingston, while Hearts ensured it was a losing start for new Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou with a late 2-1 win.
As a result it’s the league leaders and top-flight returnees that dominate the opening WhoScored.com team of the week of the 2021/22 campaign, with four representatives apiece.
The XI is completed by a St. Mirren duo following their 2-2 draw at Dundee and a Motherwell striker unable to prevent a 3-2 defeat to Hibernian, with the top five performers as follows…
5. John Souttar (Hearts) – 8.15
Notching a towering 89th-minute match winner against visiting Celtic, Souttar excelled at both ends to ensure Hearts’ first game back in the top tier was a memorable one. The 24-year-old centre-back was a handful in the opposition box all game, mustering two shots and creating a chance, while keeping the Bhoys at bay with two tackles, three interceptions and six clearances.
4. Michael Smith (Hearts) – 8.20
It was Smith’s delivery that set up Souttar’s late goal and the veteran wing-back was on top form at Tynecastle. He created a match-high of four chances during the game, along with producing two tackles, two interceptions and five interceptions against a Celtic side that dominated possession.
3. Kevin van Veen (Motherwell) – 8.24
Opening the scoring 12 minutes into his Scottish Premiership debut with Motherwell, it was a trademark headed goal from the Dutchman that set his new side on the path to a strong opening result. Their joy was short-lived, however, and despite Van Veen completing more than twice the number of dribbles of any other player on the pitch (7), the hosts eventually fell to a 3-2 defeat.
2. Jamie McGrath (St. Mirren) – 8.29
While his second-half penalty wasn’t enough to ensure all three points in Dundee, McGrath was the star of the show, putting in an all action performance from the middle of the park. As well as completing all five of his dribble attempts – the remaining 27 players on display managed just eight combined – he produced two tackles and two interceptions to break up play.
1. James Tavernier (Rangers) – 8.66
The top player in WhoScored.com’s ratings in the 2020/21 campaign, it was business as usual from Rangers captain Tavernier. The right-back ended the previous league season with an impressive nine assists and already has two to his name after gameweek one this time around, teeing up Ianis Hagi’s early opener and Scott Wright’s decisive second for The Gers. With three shots, three key passes and two dribbles he was, as ever, a constant threat down the Rangers right.