Soccer

5 things we learned from the weekend’s Scottish Premiership action

Rangers won at Hibernian (PA)
Rangers won at Hibernian (PA) Rangers won at Hibernian (PA)

Rangers beat Hibernian 3-1 at Easter Road on Sunday in the final game of the cinch Premiership’s weekend action.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the round of fixtures.

Depleted Rangers too strong for Hibs

Rangers eased to victory at Easter Road
Rangers eased to victory at Easter Road Rangers eased to victory at Easter Road (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Michael Beale had Connor Goldson, Alfredo Morelos, Glen Kamara and Scott Wright join the long list of Rangers absentees, while Rabbi Matondo was on the bench but unable to come on.

Malik Tillman, Ben Davies, Ryan Kent, Borna Barisic, Antonio Colak, Kemar Roofe, Tom Lawrence, Steven Davis and Filip Helander were also missing.

Yet Rangers still had too much for European-chasing Hibs as goals from skipper James Tavernier, Ianis Hagi and Todd Cantwell sealed the points before Paul Hanlon scored a consolation goal in added time.

Saints alive

St Johnstone secured their safety with a 1-0 win at Kilmarnock as the bottom three all lost.

Ross County were edging out of the danger zone only for Motherwell striker Kevin van Veen to score in his ninth consecutive game in the 10th minute of stoppage time, while bottom club Dundee United suffered a third defeat on the trot at Livingston.

Jim Goodwin’s side need a result at home to Killie on Wednesday while County host St Johnstone before what could be a final-day decider at Rugby Park.

St Mirren trouble Celtic again

Curtis Main scored twice for St Mirren
Curtis Main scored twice for St Mirren Curtis Main scored twice for St Mirren (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Until Rangers got the better of Celtic last week, only St Mirren had beaten the cinch Premiership champions in a domestic game this season.

And for a while at Parkhead it looked like Stephen Robinson’s side would record another victory, but Callum McGregor earned the hosts a 2-2 draw in the 81st minute.

The battling Buddies remain in sixth place but they are still in with a chance of a European place.

Race for third hotting up

Aberdeen remain in the driving seat but the race for third place and likely European group-stage football appears set to go to the wire.

The Dons looked on course to seal it when they led at Tynecastle on Saturday but Hearts roared back in impressive fashion to win 2-1.

With their five-point advantage having been chopped to just two, Barry Robson’s team – without a win in three – are now under pressure to defeat St Mirren on Wednesday, which should be enough to ensure third.

If they fail to see off the Buddies, however, Hearts will fancy their chances of overhauling them on the last day of the season when Steven Naismith’s men host Hibernian and the Dons face Celtic away.

Josh Ginnelly proving his worth

Since the World Cup break, only Kevin van Veen, Kyogo Furuhashi and Lawrence Shankland have scored more league goals than the 10 Hearts forward Josh Ginnelly has notched.

The Englishman has netted 13 in all competitions this term and would surely be pushing the 20-goal mark if he had not been a peripheral figure in the opening months of the campaign.

Fans are growing increasingly anxious about the fact the attacker – whose contract is up at the end of the season – is yet to sign a new deal. If he leaves, he will be a hard man to replace.