Dundee United 0-3 Celtic
Celtic ease to victory at Tannadice as Dundee United’s drop in form continues; the home side have won once in their last seven outings.
The visitors started well and enjoyed the better of the early play. The best Dundee United opportunity was created by Celtic ‘keeper Joe Hart’s misplaced pass. The pressure paid off in the 19th minute; Tom Rogic weaved past three defenders and placing a fine finish past Bejamin Siegrist. David Turnbull had already squandered two big chances, but five minutes from half-time, he doubled Celtic’s lead. Callum McGregor’s chipped pass into the United area was expertly met by Turnbull, who flicked the ball over Siegrist’s head and tapped into the empty net for a goal of the highest quality.
It was more of the same after the interval, Kyogo and Liel Abada both denied twice as Celtic pushed to extend their advantage. Adrian Spörle had Dundee United’s best chance, but it was comfortably saved by Hart. Dundee United were fortunate to keep both the losing margin to three and eleven men on the park, Callum Butcher only receiving a yellow card for a dangerous challenge on David Turnbull. Nine minutes from time, Celtic added a well-earned third to wrap up all three points through substitute Liam Scale’s deflected shot.
Rangers 3-0 Dundee
Rangers recorded a comfortable home victory against an improving Dundee side to maintain Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s winning start as manager.
The Champions took control of the game from the start; Fashion Sakala twice threatening the Dundee goal in the early stages. The breakthrough came after thirty-six minutes; Joe Aribo’s shot looked to be a comfortable save for Dundee ‘keeper Adam Legzdins, but the ball squirmed away into the net to a deflection.
Dundee’s luck didn’t improve much in the second half and with ten minutes played Joe Aribo’s cross was poked into his own net by Ryan Sweeney to put Rangers 2-0 ahead; an unnecessary error as there appeared to be no immediate danger. Alfredo Morelos secured the points, making it 3-0 with twenty minutes to go, taking advantage of unconvincing Dundee defending to finish from seven yards.
Livingston 0-1 Heart of Midlothian
Hearts were fortunate to pick up the points in Sunday’s visit to neighbouring Livingston – their first away win since August.
Livingston went into the game without a win in their last five outings, but it was the strugglers who had the best early chances. Winger Allan Forrest sliced an effort wide of goal before an extraordinary period of play saw Hearts’ Craig Gordon deny Andrew Shinnie, then produce a world-class save from a long-range Jason Holt strike. The home side continued to press, Hearts needing defender John Souttar to block a Jack McMillan chance, then Allan Forrest again sliced wide.
However, four minutes into the second half, it was the visitors who opened the scoring; Barrie McKay releasing Liam Boyce into the penalty area and Max Stryjek could not prevent the powerful finish going into the net. Hearts thought they had made it 2-0 when Barrie McKay scored after Stryjek parried an Alex Cochrane cross, but Liam Boyce was adjudged to have been offside in the build-up.
Hibernian 1-1 Motherwell
Both sides were left to rue missed chances as they shared a point in the capital.
Hibs were looking to improve on recent form, having won just once in seven league games. Motherwell were the dangerous side in the first half, Dean Cornelius and Tony Watt with chances to give the visitors the lead. However, it was Kevin Nisbet who put Hibs ahead after thirty-three minutes, cleverly finishing after shaking off the attention of Motherwell’s Bevis Mugabe.
The story of the first half reversed in the second, as Hibs enjoyed the better of the play, but were unable to find the second goal. Josh Campbell, Kevin Nisbet, and Ryan Porteous all came close to a Hibs second, but it was Tony Watt who equalised for Motherwell, finishing excellently off the inside of the post as both sides had to settle for a point.
Aberdeen 4-1 St Mirren
Big win for home side moves Aberdeen into the top six.
It was a whirlwind start to the game for Aberdeen who were 2-0 ahead within nine minutes thanks to Marley Watkins and Christian Ramirez. Scott Tanser had his side back in the game three minutes before half time, but Aberdeen restored their two-goal lead within a minute through Marley Watkins. Christian Ramirez got his double with nineteen minutes remaining to wrap up an impressive 4-1 win.
St Johnstone v Ross County was called off due to a waterlogged pitch.
The Big Picture
This weekend’s results see the top three begin to pull away from the chasing pack: Rangers remain top on 39 points; Celtic four points behind but five clear of Hearts; both sides have a game in hand over the third placed side. Dundee United and Motherwell are tied in fourth and fifth, Aberdeen move up to sixth. Hibs slip into the bottom six as the relegation battle tightens up. Six points separate seventh placed St Mirren and bottom side Ross County. Dundee, St Johnstone, and Livingston occupy, ninth, tenth and 11th respectively.