05 March 2023

Celtic mark another milestone – 5 things from the Scottish Premiership

05 March 2023

Celtic restored their nine-point lead over Rangers with a 5-1 victory at St Mirren to round off the cinch Premiership action on Sunday.

There were wins for Rangers, Motherwell, Aberdeen, Hibernian and Hearts on Saturday and plenty of controversy across the weekend.

Here are five things we learned from the latest round of fixtures.

Ange Postecoglou’s Celtic hit the 250-goal mark

The champions hit the milestone 21 months into the former Australia head coach’s reign thanks to a five-goal second-half blitz against 10-man St Mirren. The leaders have now scored 87 league goals this campaign, just five fewer than last season’s tally. With 11 games remaining they look likely to surpass the 106-goal total of Brendan Rodgers’ Invincibles six seasons ago and could even emulate the Lisbon Lions’ campaign, which saw Jock Stein’s men hit 111 league goals while winning the European Cup. Celtic’s club record league tally is 116 during the 1915-16 season but the Scottish top-flight high of 132 achieved by Hearts in 1958 looks safe.

Motherwell can use their man advantage

The Steelmen’s 2-0 win over Ross County represented another step forward under manager Stuart Kettlewell. Motherwell have lost to 10-men Hearts, Celtic, Rangers and Ross County since the start of 2022, although Hoops skipper Callum McGregor was sent off late on, and they also let slip a two-goal lead against Kilmarnock after Alan Power was red-carded. Although they have beaten Livingston and Dundee United with an extra man this season they were already ahead when the red cards were shown. This time they took advantage after Jack Baldwin’s 70th-minute dismissal as Kevin van Veen took his Dingwall tally for the season to five with a late double.

John Souttar is back

The Scotland defender only got on in stoppage-time during Rangers’ 3-1 win over Kilmarnock but it was a major step forward for the centre-back, who had not featured since his debut against Livingston in July. The former Dundee United player underwent surgery on an ankle injury which preceded his move to Ibrox from Hearts and it has been a long way back for the 26-year-old who has had more than his fair share of injuries. Souttar was one of three late substitutes made by Michael Beale and, if nothing else, it indicated to the grumbling Gers support that more help to the defence is on its way.

Jim Goodwin suffers more blows from Aberdeen

The new Dundee United boss endured a 3-1 debut defeat by his former club weeks after being sacked by the Dons and the setback was compounded by being struck by a coin thrown from the visiting support at Tannadice. Other missiles launched in the Irishman’s direction included a pie and a cup of juice but the two late goals which handed Aberdeen their third away win of the league season would have been even more painful to take.

David Martindale’s ‘banter’ is not for everyone

The Livingston manager was sent off for raising his middle finger towards Hibernian goalkeeper David Marshall during his side’s 4-1 home defeat by the Leith club. Martindale later revealed it had been a joke after Marshall had asked how long was left in the final minute but referee Chris Graham was not amused. Martindale said: “The referee said he didn’t want to send me off and I said ‘but you did’. Surely in that context it is not offensive and that must carry a bit of weight. I would argue it wasn’t done in an offensive way. It was a bit of banter with Marshall. He laughed, I laughed and that was it.”

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