5 things we learned from this weekend’s cinch Premiership action

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

Celtic and Rangers both followed their very different derby experiences in similar fashion with the cinch Premiership’s top two hitting nine goals between them on Sunday.

There were important wins for three teams in the bottom six as St Mirren continued their good form against Hibernian, and Livingston and Ross County both won.

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

Celtic follow up their derby display

Daizen Maeda

Celtic’s Daizen Maeda celebrates scoring their fourth goal (Steve Welsh/PA)

The Hoops showed no sign of a comedown or difficulties adapting to the new pressure of leading the table as they thrashed Motherwell 4-0 at Fir Park. Just as they were against Rangers on Wednesday, Celtic were again 3-0 ahead following a dominant first-half display, and they maintained their levels after the break as they threatened time and again.

Top-six battle becomes bigger

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With Motherwell, Hibernian and Aberdeen losing, there is only a seven-point difference from the Steelmen in fourth to Ross County in 10th. Two points separate the five teams in the middle of the league and any team that can put a run together could see themselves propelled into a European position. Dundee United moved up into the top six despite failing to score for the third consecutive game.

Relegation dogfight simplifies further

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St Johnstone and Dundee look increasingly adrift in the bottom two and need wins soon to stay in touch. Saints are unbeaten in three and might look upon their point against United as a decent one after having Melker Hallberg sent off, but Dundee’s home defeat by Ross County was a major blow which left them eight points back from guaranteed safety and without a league win in nine matches.

Livingston win but Caleb Chukwuemeka endures misery

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Amid a dramatic encounter in West Lothian as 10-man Livingston beat Aberdeen 2-1, on-loan Aston Villa forward Chukwuemeka was brought on in the 84th minute and promptly taken off seven minutes later after giving away four free-kicks during his brief spell on the pitch.

Rangers show clear response

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The champions were under pressure to bounce back from their Parkhead humbling, especially after Celtic won at Fir Park earlier on Sunday. With Alfredo Morelos scoring a double on his return from international duty, the Light Blues did so emphatically as they thrashed third-placed Hearts 5-0 at Ibrox to kick-start their year following one win from their previous four league games.

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