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Celtic take step closer as Mark McGhee keeps clothes on – 5 things we learned

Ross County v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Global Energy Stadium
(Image credit: Robert Perry)

Celtic took a big step towards claiming the title on another significant weekend in the cinch Premiership season.

The Hoops restored their six-point lead over Rangers on Sunday while there were also big results at the bottom of the table.

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

Sakala steps up

Fashion Sakala

Fashion Sakala earned a penalty for Rangers (Andrew Milligan/PA)

With Alfredo Morelos and Kemar Roofe out injured, Fashion Sakala led the line for Rangers at Fir Park on Saturday. The Zambia international is a totally different type of attacker to either member of the aforementioned Ibrox duo but his contribution was significant. Sakala drove at the Motherwell defence before setting up Scott Wright to fire 10-man Gers back in front early in the second half, before winning the penalty that allowed James Tavernier to wrap up a 3-1 victory.

Mark McGhee will keep his clothes on

Mark McGhee

Mark McGhee is still looking for a first win as Dundee boss (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Dundee players made McGhee promise to go naked for a week if they beat St Johnstone on the back of their manager turning off his heating and going on a diet to ensure he was cold and hungry in anticipation of the big game. Jordan Marshall fired the Dee ahead but Shaun Rooney levelled midway through the half. The equaliser ensured Dundee remain five points adrift with McGhee still looking for a first win in 10 matches and more pressing matters to worry about than his clothing.

Aberdeen and St Mirren remain in trouble

Livingston and Hibernian all but secured their top-flight status with wins at Pittodrie and the SMISA Stadium respectively but the hosts were left still nervously looking over their shoulders. St Johnstone are now five points behind both sides and host St Mirren next weekend. The Buddies have lost seven out of eight league games under Stephen Robinson while Aberdeen have only won one Premiership game in 2022.

Celtic can host a party against Rangers

Celtic fans

Celtic fans are anticipating a title party (Robert Perry/PA)

A 2-0 win over Ross County – thanks to goals from Kyogo Furuhashi and Jota – gave Celtic the chance to move nine points and at least 21 goals ahead of their city rivals at Parkhead next Sunday. Derby victory would spark title celebrations among the home fans even if nothing can be officially secured. Rangers can reduce the gap to three points but, with the goal difference, would still need Celtic to drop points twice in their final three matches.

No change in the race for Europe

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The three teams chasing the final two European places all lost. Dundee United had the chance to extend their one-point lead over Motherwell and County but fell to a 3-2 home defeat by Scottish Cup finalists Hearts. The battle for the two Europa Conference League places further heats up next weekend when Motherwell visit Tannadice and County bid to take advantage at Tynecastle.

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