Motherwell 1-6 Rangers
Rangers produced their best performance of the season to blow away a poor Motherwell side in the Sunday lunchtime kick-off.
Rangers dominated the first half in Lanarkshire, but found themselves behind in the 13th minute. Motherwell defender Bevis Mugabi fired his side 1-0 in front after Rangers failed to deal with a cheaply conceded corner. The home side threatened once again as Tony Watt came close, but that ended Motherwell’s attacking display in the game.
Rangers eventually turned their pressure into goals; a wonderful James Tavernier strike levelled the score in the 43rd minute and barely two minutes later, Fashion Sakala sent his side into the interval 2-1 ahead.
There was little let up in the second half, and it was no surprise when Fashion Sakala made it 3-1 in the 63rd minute. Four minutes later, the game was all but ended as a contest when ‘Well captain Stephen O’Donnell picked up a second yellow card.
Glen Kamara’s deflected effort made it 4-1 before Fashion Sakala completed his hattrick with four minutes remaining. There was just enough time for a sixth goal; substitute Kemar Roofe rounding off the scoring in injury time.
Celtic 0-0 Livingston
Celtic missed the chance to heap pressure on Rangers and go top of the league, at least temporarily, before their rival’s visit to Motherwell.
Ange Postecoglou’s side struggled to break down the well organised Livingston defence, and when they did find a way through, they were denied by an impressive Max Stryjek performance in goal. Alan Forrest came close for Livingston in a rare display of attacking action.
There was to be a dramatic finish to the game. Livingston felt aggrieved not to receive a penalty as Joe Hart collided with Livi’s Ayo Obileye. The latter would be involved again as the game entered injury time; the defender lashed out at Celtic forward Kyogo after an altercation whilst his goalkeeper was safely in possession of the ball.
Obileye was shown a red card and Celtic awarded a penalty. However, Giorgos Giakoumakis’s spot kick was weak and easily saved by Stryjek in the 93rd minute.
The Greek striker would be further disappointed as deeper into injury time he was unable to convert when the ball landed at his feet from six yards. Frustration for the Glasgow side as a four-match winning run comes to an end.
Aberdeen 2-1 Heart of Midlothian
Aberdeen’s revival continued as they ended Hearts’ unbeaten start to the season.
The visitors took the lead on the stroke of half-time; John Souttar converting from the penalty spot after Dons’ ‘keeper Joe Lewis fouled Josh Ginnelly.
Hearts struggled to create any other real chances as the hosts turned up the pressure. Marley Watkins levelled at 1-1 four minutes into the second half, and with little over twenty minutes remaining Lewis Ferguson headed Aberdeen into a 2-1 lead.
There was little threat of an equaliser and Aberdeen eased over the line. Hearts’ cause was not aided by Andy Halliday, who received a red card for a rash challenge with a minute remaining.
Dundee United 0-1 St Johnstone
Ali Crawford’s 17th minute strike was enough to win the game, firing home from distance after Cammy MacPherson dispossessed Jeandro Fuchs in midfield. However, St Johnstone ‘keeper Zander Clark was the hero as he pulled off a string of outstanding saves as his side ended United’s impressive recent form.
St Mirren 0-1 Dundee
Dundee recovered from an embarrassing midweek 5-0 home defeat to Ross County and picked up three vital points in Paisley. Max Anderson with the winner after eleven minutes to lift pressure on manager James McPake.
Ross County v Hibernian
Ross County were due to welcome Hibs to Dingwall, but the game was postponed on Saturday as the visitors recorded two positive Covid tests amongst their squad.
What it means
Rangers extend their lead at the top to four points; Celtic move two points clear of defeated Hearts and Dundee United. Hibs, Aberdeen and Motherwell occupy 5th to 7th places all on 15 points with St Mirren a point behind.
St Johnstone move up to 9th, closely followed by Livingston as Dundee remain in the relegation play-off place, four points clear of Ross County at the bottom.