17 October 2021

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

17 October 2021

There was plenty of drama on Saturday when all six cinch Premiership fixtures took place.

Top two Rangers and Hearts could not be separated at Ibrox and Celtic recorded their second consecutive away win as they beat Motherwell 2-0 at Fir Park.

Elsewhere, there were wins for both Dundee teams plus St Mirren and Livingston.

Here are five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

The league is wide open

Rangers dropped points for the third time this season when Craig Halkett’s late equaliser at Ibrox maintained Hearts’ unbeaten record. Dundee United moved three points off the top with a 3-0 victory at Hibernian while Celtic are just four points adrift of the leaders despite losing their first three away matches. Only six points separate the top six around a quarter of the way through the season – the gap was double that at the same stage last year. There is still plenty of time for one or two teams to pull away but the added competition is enjoyable for the neutral while it lasts.

Graham Alexander is paying the penalty

Graham Alexander felt his side should have had a penalty (Steve Welsh/PA) (PA Wire)

The Motherwell boss noted it was much easier to give spot-kicks against his team than for them after substitute referee Chris Fordyce missed a “blatant” handball by Boli Bolingoli with his side trailing 2-0. Alexander claimed his side were denied an obvious penalty against Rangers last month and against Aberdeen last season. Well have yet to get a penalty in the league this season and have conceded three, the most in the league along with Dundee.

Stephen Glass is looking over his shoulder

Some Aberdeen fans predicted Glass would be “sacked in the morning” after their 2-1 win at previously bottom Dundee, making it 10 matches without a win. The Dons boss “totally understood” the chants and added: “Results like this, you don’t know what is going to happen. The proof will be in the pudding.” They are on their longest run without victory since an 11-match spell during Mark McGhee’s first season in charge in 2010. The Gothenburg Great did not see out the year as manager, getting sacked after a separate six-match losing streak.

Leigh Griffiths is up and running

The striker netted the first goal of his loan spell at Dundee five matches in and only his third in 2021. Dundee boss James McPake will now hope his former Livingston and Hibernian team-mate can go on and hit the sort of form he produced for most of his career, which has yielded 233 goals.

St Mirren are on a roll

The Buddies followed up triumphs against Aberdeen and Livingston with a 3-2 victory over Ross County. From searching for their first win of the season, the Paisley side are now just a point off the top six and unbeaten in six games. They are also on their best winning run in the top flight since late 2008, when they beat Falkirk, Inverness, Kilmarnock and Hamilton.

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