Rangers’ lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership table was trimmed to 21 points after they slipped up at Hamilton, while Hibernian cemented their grip on third with victory over Aberdeen.
Here the PA news agency takes a look at five things we learned from this weekend’s Scottish action.
Rangers still have work to do to claim title
The excited Ibrox faithful have been ticking off the results their team need to end a decade-long wait to be crowned champions once again. But the Light Blues’ countdown clock remains stuck on six wins to glory after they put in a slack display at Hamilton. Ross Callachan rescued a deserved point for Accies as he cancelled out Brian Easton’s own goal with the last kick of the game and Rangers will have to up their game if they want to get the title wrapped up before the split.
Celtic get their centre-back?
Neil Lennon has mixed and matched in the centre of his defence this season, with Kristoffer Ajer, Shane Duffy, Nir Bitton and Christopher Jullien all getting a chance at different times. Stephen Welsh could now get an extended run alongside Ajer. The 21-year-old academy product has played the full 90 minutes of the Hoops’ last two matches and scored his first Celtic goal in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Motherwell. Some solid defending to boot will likely see him get a run in the side.
Hibs steal a march in the race for third
It was only Hibernian’s third win in 21 league meetings with Aberdeen but could herald a reversal in fortunes between the teams this season. Dons goalkeeper Joe Lewis saved three one-on-ones to keep the score down to 2-0. While Hibs turned down bids for their star players in January, Aberdeen sold Sam Cosgrove and Scott Wright, while boss Derek McInnes has seen Ryan Hedges and now Greg Leigh suffer injuries. Hibs could well extend their lead before McInnes can get his new-look front line up to speed.
New Killie boss has a huge job on his hands
Tommy Wright is the leading contender to replace Alex Dyer and Kilmarnock’s head of football operations James Fowler hopes the new boss will be in place by Monday so he can get to work with his new team before Wednesday’s visit of Motherwell. And, judging by Saturday’s rudderless display at St Mirren, former St Johnstone boss Wright will have to work wonders if he is to save Killie from the drop this term. There was little sign of a game plan other than playing the ball long to Danny Whitehall in Paisley and the brilliant Buddies deservedly claimed a 2-0 win, with goals from Kyle McAllister and Jon Obika leaving Killie a point above the drop zone after 10 defeats in their last 13 games.
St Johnstone send Livi cup final warning
Saturday’s dress rehearsal for this month’s Betfred Cup final saw Callum Davidson’s team come out on top. Scott Tanser and Shaun Rooney gave Saints the win, with Scott Pittman’s reply not enough to save David Martindale’s 14-match unbeaten run as boss. The Perth side will now hope they have halted the Lions’ momentum and can double up on their victory when it really counts at Hampden on February 28.
— to www.bt.com