5 things we learned from another exciting weekend of cinch Premiership action
There were six wins in the cinch Premiership this weekend with Celtic and Rangers continuing their winning form at the top.
The bottom three all lost as Hibernian moved into fourth spot and St Mirren consolidated their top-six push while St Johnstone moved further away from danger.
The bottom three all lost and the only upset of the weekend was Motherwell’s victory over Hearts on Sunday.
Here are five things we learned from the weekend’s action.
Perfectly poised for Hampden
Both Celtic and Rangers extended their winning runs to nine games since they last met and ahead of their latest clash in the Viaplay Cup final next Sunday. The Hoops swept Aberdeen aside 4-0 while Rangers were 3-0 winners at Livingston. There was more positive news from Celtic as Ange Postecoglou stated he anticipated a full squad training next week after Aaron Mooy and David Turnbull missed the game with minor fitness issues. Rangers, however, have major doubts over midfielders Ryan Jack, John Lundstram and Malik Tillman to add to their long-term absentees.
Bailey Rice has a weekend that other teenagers could only dream of
The 16-year-old captained Scotland Under-17s to a 7-0 victory over Switzerland in the Pinatar Youth Cup in Spain on Friday – and then made his Rangers debut 24 hours later. The defender came on in the 88th minute in West Lothian in a sign that Beale expects big things from a player who Rangers signed from the Motherwell academy last summer. “It is a pleasing moment for everyone who has worked with him and his family,” Beale said.
Derek McInnes is fed up with VAR
The Kilmarnock manager felt there was no need for video assistant Steven Kirkland to intervene after John Beaton booked Kyle Vassell for a foul on Hibernian left-back Marijan Cabraja. After Beaton upgraded the punishment to a red card on review, McInnes said: “John deals with it at the time. He’s standing right next to it. We move on. I didn’t even think it was a yellow. They are in a sanitised room over 50 miles away watching that over and over again, telling the referee you need to have a look at that, that’s a red card. The game’s gone mad. That’s not a red card. I’m sick to death of this VAR.”
Mark Birighitti surpasses his Dutch disaster
The Australian goalkeeper appeared to have recovered from an ignominious start to his Dundee United career which included a 7-0 European defeat against AZ Alkmaar. But the low point of his campaign so far will surely be his costly blunder against St Johnstone. Birighitti took a touch after receiving a passback and was promptly tackled by Stevie May. The sliding challenge sent the ball into the goal and Birghitti into the air. May’s second goal at Tannadice proved the winner and the keeper suffered a suspected dislocated shoulder when he landed. The inexperienced Jack Newman came and now could be set for a full debut when the bottom side face relegation rivals Ross County next weekend looking to halt a run of five consecutive defeats.
Stuart Kettlewell is in pole position for Motherwell role
The caretaker manager made it two wins in a week to take the Steelmen six points off the bottom of the table. A 2-0 win over Hearts ensured he will certainly be in the mix when the Fir Park board discuss their managerial vacancy. Grant McCann and Ian Holloway, two men with limited experience of Scottish football, are the others in the frame and Kettlewell arguably looks the safer pair of hands for a relegation battle just now. A perfect week was topped off by the fact the three teams below Motherwell all lost.
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