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5 things we learned from the weekend’s Scottish football

Heart of Midlothian v Hibernian – William Hill Scottish Cup – Semi Final – Hampden Park
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Hearts and Celtic set up their second consecutive William Hill Scottish Cup final meeting in a significant weekend of action in Scottish football.

The two sides prevailed in the delayed 2019-20 semi-final weekend while Rangers extended their lead in the Scottish Premiership to nine points.

Here are five things we learned from the weekend’s action.

Hearts have a Premiership standard team

Robbie Neilson’s Championship side matched high-flying Hibernian over 120 minutes at Hampden and edged into the cup final thanks to Liam Boyce’s penalty winner. The 2-1 triumph sparked emotional scenes after the death of former cup-winning skipper Marius Zaliukas and the club’s painful relegation following the curtailed campaign.

Dundee United can brush aside the off-field issues

Tannadice players were asked this week to accept pay cuts amid the ongoing financial impact of the pandemic. There were concerns that squad harmony might suffer amid reports that recent signings would be exempt from the measures. But United put the issue to one side as Nicky Clark’s double helped them record a 2-1 win over Ross County – their first Premiership victory in five matches.

Motherwell are coping well with their defensive injury crisis

Midfielder Mark O’Hara again deputised impressively in central defence and recent signing Aaron Chapman kept another clean sheet as Well won 2-0 at Livingston. It was a fourth Premiership win and clean sheet in five matches, despite a series of injuries at the back. Manager Stephen Robinson was missing two goalkeepers and six defensive options but his side were worthy winners.

Rangers can win at Rugby Park

Steven Gerrard had suffered three defeats at Rugby Park in two seasons but James Tavernier’s penalty was enough to earn a 1-0 win and only the club’s second league victory at Rugby Park in eight visits. The Ibrox team’s improved resilience was again evident as Rangers kept a 15th clean sheet this season in the face of second-half pressure.

Celtic are back to winning ways

After a four-game run without victory, Celtic resumed normal service with a 2-0 Hampden win over Aberdeen. Neil Lennon’s side had already started recovering from their injury-affected blip when they drew 2-2 with Lille in France in midweek and talk of a crisis was put into perspective as they put themselves within 90 minutes of winning a 12th consecutive domestic trophy.