5 things we learned as Celtic extended lead over Rangers at top of Premiership

Celtic v Dundee – cinch Premiership – Celtic Park
(Image credit: Steve Welsh)

A super Sunday of Scottish football saw a significant development in the cinch Premiership with Celtic winning against Dundee and Rangers drawing at Dundee United.

There was also a welcome win on Saturday for St Johnstone against Hearts.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

Giakoumakis starts to find top form

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Giorgos Giakoumakis had a slow start to his Celtic career, but now he is showing why Ange Postecoglou brought him to Glasgow. The Greece striker scored a hat-trick in the 3-2 win over Dundee at Parkhead, with his dramatic winner coming just four minutes from time. It was his sixth goal since the winter break and it took Celtic three points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers at the top of the table as the season heads towards the home straight.

Another domestic slip for Rangers

Rangers dropped points at Dundee United

Rangers dropped points at Dundee United (Jane Barlow/PA)

After the euphoria of their 4-2 Europa League win at Borussia Dortmund on Thursday, Rangers were brought crashing back to earth with a 1-1 draw at Dundee United. Rangers could have won by a few goals if they had been more clinical. But the bottom line is the champions are in serious danger of relinquishing their crown after a fourth slip-up in seven league matches. Rangers were six points clear at the top at the end of 2021 but now trail rivals Celtic by three points and have an inferior goal difference.

Robbie Neilson under the cosh again

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Robbie Neilson’s uneasy relationship with a section of Hearts supporters is once again entering a fraught phase after his team were loudly booed off following their dismal 2-1 defeat at St Johnstone. Last year, in the wake of a Scottish Cup humiliation at the hands of Brora Rangers while making heavy weather of winning the Championship title, it seemed the vast majority of the fanbase wanted him sacked. The club kept faith with Neilson and were rewarded with an impressive start to this season, but despite sitting third, Neilson is feeling the heat again after a run of four league games without a win.

Jim Goodwin’s Aberdeen era under way

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Jim Goodwin’s move from St Mirren to Aberdeen was confirmed on Saturday morning and hours later he was in the dugout at Fir Park. The Dons fans had barracked their players at the same venue the previous week after a 2-1 defeat by Motherwell in the Scottish Cup and manager Stephen Glass paid for the defeat by losing his job. The travelling support and Goodwin cheered when Vicente Besuijen scored his first goal for the club but that was was cancelled out by a Mark O’Hara strike as the Dons’ winless run reached seven games. Goodwin must find a way to drag his side up the table.

St Mirren carry on regardless

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St Mirren players woke up on Saturday morning to discover Goodwin had left for Aberdeen. Goalkeeper coach Jamie Langfield was put in interim charge for the trip to Livingston and he ensured the Paisely side remained unbeaten in 2022 with a 1-1 draw.

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