Rangers and Celtic come from behind to win – 5 things from the cinch Premiership
There was more than a fair share of goals, red cards, penalties and drama across the latest round of cinch Premiership fixtures.
Both Rangers and Celtic came from behind to win as the champions maintained their nine-point lead, while there were important results in the race for European and top-six places.
Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the weekend’s action.
Unrest at Rangers continues
Rangers emerged 4-2 winners against Motherwell in an eventful game at Fir Park on Saturday but once again the focus was on disgruntled Gers fans. The away supporters held up banners with the faces of sporting director Ross Wilson and managing director Stewart Robertson on them, crossed out with a red stripe, saying ‘Time for Change’. At the last Premiership game against Kilmarnock at Ibrox, ultras-style fans’ group Union Bears had held up banners aimed at the board which read: “After 55 titles you took your eye off the ball, time for change”, so there is momentum building. Beale, in a difficult position, insists the protests have not yet affected the dressing room but continuing off-field issues will not help in the run-in to the end of the season.
Race for third place takes twist
It has looked for long spells of the season that Hearts would finish immediately behind Celtic and Rangers. However, the Jambos’ 3-0 defeat by resurgent Aberdeen at Pittodrie has now cast doubts on that prediction. The Dons were three in front thanks to a double from Luis ‘Duk’ Lopes and a Mattie Pollock header and interim boss Barry Robson’s side continued on their fourth win from their last five matches as they moved to within four points of their third-placed opponents. Robbie Neilson’s side have now lost three in a row in all competitions and with the Dons on the march they have to rediscover form as soon as the international break is over.
Livingston get back on track
David Martindale’s side went into their crucial home game against Ross County on Saturday on the back of their worst run of form of the season, four defeats and a draw in all competitions. Goals from Joel Nouble and captain Nicky Devlin – both of whom Martindale expects to move on in the summer – gave the Lions a 2-1 win over the struggling Staggies who tumbled down to 11th place in the table. Livingston leapfrogged St Mirren into sixth place in the table and a favourable fixture list after the international break will give them hope of a top-six finish.
Officials and VAR remain under the microscope
There was controversy all over the fixture list. Hibs boss Lee Johnson called for full-time referees after claiming Steve McLean was wrong to award a red card to his striker Elie Youan and penalties for each team, while Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou bemoaned the disruption that led to 15 minutes of stoppage time. Kilmarnock manager Derek McInnes was frustrated that two handball decisions did not go his way while there was scepticism over the accuracy of the offside lines at Fir Park. Meanwhile, Dundee United manager Jim Goodwin could not see any contact after St Mirren striker Curtis Main went down under a challenge from home defender Loick Ayina to win a penalty that cost United two points at Tannadice.
Oh-Hyeon-gyu offers another dimension to Celtic
Celtic had 35 shots at goal against 10-man Hibs but it took until the 81st minute for them to take the lead and the breakthrough came through the sheer strength and willpower of their South Korean substitute, who had joined Kyogo Furuhashi up front. The 21-year-old muscled Josh Campbell out the way to head home David Turnbull’s corner for a straightforward goal.