27 August 2023

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

27 August 2023

Both St Mirren and Motherwell gatecrashed the top three places in the cinch Premiership after the third weekend of the season.

The Buddies should be topping the table but were denied a hat-trick of league wins by Aberdeen striker Bojan Miovski’s penalty equaliser 10 minutes into stoppage-time amid VAR controversy.

Here are five things we learned from the latest fixtures.

All’s not well at Celtic

Celtic went two domestic games without scoring for the first time since May 2018 after a flat display in a goalless draw with St Johnstone. Manager Brendan Rodgers incurred the wrath of a section of fans afterwards and attacker Sead Haksabanovic later appeared to imply he was keen to move on amid a lack of starts. Daizen Maeda this weekend admitted previous manager Ange Postecoglou’s tactics were instilled in his game and he needed to improve as he adapted to Rodgers’ style. It appears others are finding the adjustment difficult too.

Rangers attackers come in from the cold

Michael Beale spoke on Friday about striker Kemar Roofe and attacker Tom Lawrence being key to his plans this season despite nine new signings. Roofe, beset by injury problems during his time in Govan, was handed his first start in 16 months against Ross County in Dingwall on Saturday and scored the opener with his first goal since February. Lawrence, out for a year with a knee injury, made a cameo appearance in the 2-0 win. The introduction of pace in the shape of Abdallah Sima and Rabbi Matondo after the break added another layer of potential for Beale, who seems to be getting his group together following their shock opening day defeat at Kilmarnock.

Motherwell don’t need strikers

The Steelmen lost a third striker to injury in the build-up to their game against Kilmarnock when Conor Wilkinson joined Jon Obika and Mika Biereth on the sidelines. Stuart Kettlewell handed winger Joe Efford his first start in almost 11 months up front with Theo Bair. His side defied the odds after falling behind early on as goals from centre-back Dan Casey and midfielder Harry Paton ended Killie’s impressive unbeaten run.

Lee Johnson runs out of favour

The former Hearts midfielder has never really convinced the Hibernian fans and he knew he was in trouble after a third consecutive Premiership defeat, a 3-2 loss against a Livingston side who had not scored in their previous nine away games in the league. Johnson was sacked to leave David Gray facing a tough caretaker assignment against an Aston Villa side who are five goals up from the first leg of their Europa Conference League play-off.

European exertions are posing issues

Hibs have struggled to cope with juggling European and domestic games and Aberdeen and Hearts also failed to follow their play-off first legs with positive afternoons, although the Dons somehow clawed a point from their game against a dominant St Mirren. Hearts suffered their first league defeat against Dundee. Hibs and Aberdeen are in the bottom four while Hearts are level on points with Dundee, Kilmarnock and Livingston.

The best videos delivered daily

Watch the stories that matter, right from your inbox