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Rangers respond in adversity – 5 things we learned from the cinch Premiership

Aberdeen v Celtic – cinch Premiership – Pittodrie Stadium
(Image credit: Andrew Milligan)

Rangers quickly regained top spot from Hearts after some dramatic Sunday action in the cinch Premiership.

With top spot up for grabs, Gers trailed to Hibernian before a Ryan Porteous red card swung the game in their favour on the way to a 2-1 Ibrox win.

Celtic, St Mirren, Hearts, Dundee United and St Johnstone had previously earned wins over the weekend. Here are five things we learned from the action.

Rangers can respond in adversity

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It was an anxious time at Ibrox when Scotland striker Kevin Nisbet headed Hibernian in front after eight minutes. When Hibs centre-back Porteous was shown a straight red card by referee Nick Walsh on the half-hour mark for a hefty challenge on Joe Aribo it still took time for Steven Gerrard’s men to get into top gear. Jack Ross’s side held out until the 59th minute when substitute Kemar Roofe levelled with a header before Colombian striker Alfredo Morelos grabbed a dramatic winner, also with a header, to move the Light Blues one point clear of Hearts at the top of the table.

Celtic can win away

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Jota’s 84th-minute strike at Pittodrie ended an eight-month, nine-match wait for Celtic fans to enjoy a victory on the road in Scotland. Although manager Ange Postecoglou is driven by his desire for all-out attack, he appreciated the other side of the game after his side survived some second-half scares before snatching a 2-1 victory over Aberdeen. The Hoops boss had his own private celebratory moment with a jubilant visiting support after full-time as he showed his determination to transform his team’s fortunes.

St Mirren have lift-off

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Almost suddenly it seems, St Mirren have turned their season around. The Buddies won their first Premiership match last weekend when they came from behind to beat Aberdeen and followed it up with a 1-0 win in Livingston. Manager Jim Goodwin had bemoaned bad luck previously but Saints were on the right side of fortune in West Lothian when a horrendous error by Livi goalkeeper Max Stryjek allowed Ethan Erhahon’s first-half strike to sneak in. Some crucial saves by St Mirren keeper Jak Alnwick helped the Buddies stretch their unbeaten run to five games.

Hearts are the only unbeaten team

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The Jambos topped the table for 24 hours after beating in-form Motherwell to the summit with a 2-0 win at Tynecastle and became the only unbeaten team in the league when Hibs lost at Ibrox. It was only three years ago that Hearts last topped the table following an even better start to the season under Craig Levein, but so much has changed since then. A downward spiral started by a lengthening injury crisis ultimately ended in relegation but they are as strong as they have been since then after emerging from their year in the Championship in much better shape with the help of some shrewd incoming transfers in August.

Glass struggling to enjoy managing Aberdeen

Stephen Glass

Stephen Glass has not tasted victory since August (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Dons boss was honest when he said “losing games is never enjoyable” after their late blow against Celtic left them ninth following nine games without victory in all competitions. Glass added: “The part of it that gives you hope and belief is the fact that the group of the players we have have been really good. Not massively enjoyable at the minute but I will enjoy fixing it.” That process might need to start at Dundee after the international break as losing to the bottom club would be even harder to stomach for Glass.