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5 things we learned from the Scottish Premiership this weekend

Dundee United v Rangers – Scottish Premiership – Tannadice Park
(Image credit: Willie Vass)

Rangers maintained their firm grip on the Scottish Premiership title race as they made it 27 games unbeaten this term with victory at Dundee United.

Here the PA news agency takes a look at five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

A return to bad habits for Alfredo Morelos

Ibrox boss Steven Gerrard leapt to the defence of his striker as he insisted he did not deserve to be sent off for an incident involving Dundee United defender Mark Connolly. Gerrard was adamant the Colombian did not use an elbow but his forearm certainly made contact with Connolly’s face. Rangers have done well to clean up their disciplinary act this season but Morelos – sent off seven times already in his Ibrox career – could easily have put at risk a win sealed thanks to James Tavernier’s 13th goal of the season and a Connor Goldson header.

Celtic back on track in time for final fling

Celtic v Kilmarnock – Scottish Premiership – Celtic Park

Shane Duffy (second right) scores Celtic’s second goal against Kilmarnock (Jane Barlow/PA)

Celtic’s 2-0 win over Kilmarnock was significant and timely. After winning their Europa League dead rubber against Lille on Thursday night, the Hoops recorded back-to-back wins for the first time since a run of eight successive victories ended in early October. The win keeps Celtic 13 points behind Premiership leaders Rangers with two games in hand and it also adds much-needed confidence ahead of the William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hearts at Hampden Park next Sunday where the Parkhead club look to win an unprecedented quadruple domestic treble.

The Hibernian bandwagon rolls on

Hibs’ 4-0 win over Hamilton on Saturday was impressive and it took them into second place in the table for 24 hours. Jack Ross’ slick-moving side are on a terrific run of form with only one defeat in 90 minutes in the last 14 matches. It was also the Leith side’s seventh success from 10 league games on the road. Splitting the Old Firm is still probably a bridge too far but they are comfortably the third-best team in the land at the moment.

Jake Hastie has found his fitness

On-loan Rangers' winger Jake Hastie is starting to discover his best form at Motherwell

On-loan Rangers winger Jake Hastie is starting to discover his best form at Motherwell (Jeff Holmes/PA)

The on-loan Rangers winger hasn’t started a game for Motherwell since the second match of the season and has only been used sporadically off the bench. But manager Stephen Robinson was encouraged by his display as a substitute during Saturday’s 1-0 defeat by St Mirren after claiming the 21-year-old had been lacking fitness and confidence when he returned to Fir Park. Robinson believes a fit Hastie can ignite his season.

St Mirren on the march after Covid woes

The Paisley side have undoubtedly been the team worst affected by the coronavirus this term having been issued two 3-0 forfeits for breaching rules aimed at curbing the pandemic’s spread. On top of that, they were also forced to bring in Hearts keeper Bobby Zlamal on an emergency loan after all three of their first-team goalkeepers were forced to self-isolate. But Jim Goodwin’s team have put those troubles behind them and Jamie McGrath’s Fir Park winner has now fired them off the bottom of the table and out of the relegation zone after a fourth league game without defeat.