Another weekend comes and goes in the Scottish Premiership. The champions Celtic continued their run towards the silverware, while rivals are also moving within touching distance.
Let’s take a look at what happened in the Scottish Premier League this weekend.
DUNDEE 0-1 CELTIC
It was by no means a convincing performance, but Celtic will be pleased with getting a win at the Dens Park in the Scottish Premiership tie.
The Hoops went into Saturday’s game off the back of a 3-3 draw against Manchester City in the Champions League. So you could forgive them for being a little bit off the pace.
Dundee smelled a sense of weariness in Celtic, and Paul Hartley’s men looked to exploit the same by deploying five players in the midfield and crunched into everything.
Nir Bitton particularly received the rough treatment as the Israeli is known for preferring passing to tackling and this was smart from Dundee.
However, one man who loves a battle is Scott Brown. The Celtic captain thrived in the atmosphere and rough tempo of the game.
Indeed, it was he who got the goal just two minutes after half-time. What will delight Brendan Rodgers about this is the fact that players like Brown are stepping up when others are having an off-day.
Moussa Dembele, a two-goal hero in mid-week, struggled to get into the game. Scott Sinclair and James Forrest were as quiet as they’ve been all season. And Tom Rogic wasn’t being allowed any room around the box to find space.
Of course, this all came at a cost for Dundee.
They made hardly any inroads into the Celtic penalty area. Jordi Teijsse and Faysal El Bakhtaoui were supposed to be a strike partnership. Instead, they turned into two holding midfielders.
Dundee had a plan to choke the game, and it worked for long spells.
On Saturday, Parkhead registered their first clean sheet in the league this season. Jozo Simunovic and Erik Sviatchenko made an exciting partnership, looking classy and composed throughout but one of them is sure to be dropped for Kolo Toure when the bigger games come around.
However, it’s good for Rodgers to know that he has quality and depth in his squad.
So the Hoops roll on with another win, their 7th in eight matches and they’re setting up the pace really well.
RANGERS 2-0 PARTICK THISTLE
Rangers finally arrested a run of four winless games in the Scottish top flight.
The Glasgow derby against Partick Thistle was a must-win for Mark Warburton’s side, and credit must go to them for the character shown. They were up against severe criticism not only from media but also the fans, so they went out and got a result.
However, to say it was emphatic would be a massive overstatement.
The Ibrox men were second best for half an hour as Partick was finding space down the wide areas. Both Adebayo Azeez and Chris Erskine were giving the Rangers’ ll-backs torrid times. However, in typical Partick fashion, they never made the most out of it.
You don’t get chance after chance at Ibrox without having to take them, and Niko Kranjcar made them pay when he lashed into the roof of the net.
The Croat is beginning to show his metal, making the midfield look a little more energetic.
The goal gave Rangers confidence, and they started to find their range with passes. Andy Halliday and Jason Holt really put some energy into that Gers midfield.
Halliday got the second goal, and Partick looked deflated.
Philippe Senderos also returned to the Rangers defence and put in a steady performance. He hadn’t been around since his red card in the 5-1 Old Firm loss to Celtic.
Rangers are still missing a spark up front. Kenny Miller can only contribute so much, with Martyn Waghorn plying his trade on the right.
It was a solid win for Rangers, and they can look forward to two tricky away games in the next three weeks with some confidence.
KILMARNOCK 0-4 ABERDEEN
Recent results have been decent, but not the performance for Aberdeen. The 2-1 win over Rangers being the prime example of a great result but a relatively poor performance.
The Dons looked a lot more like the team of last season against Kilmarnock as they created chance after chance. Adam Rooney profited on terrific creativity, and the defence was composed and solid throughout.
Aberdeen possess an incredible talent and playing like this; they can give any opposition a real game.
Here, they were as motivated as they have been all the season.
Johnny Hayes and Niall McGinn were terrific. They stretched Kilmarnock for 90 minutes, allowing the attacking midfielders Kenny McLean and James Maddison to exploit the gaps.
Maddison, in particular, was a classy act. His range of passing is phenomenal, and he just dictates the midfield for Aberdeen.
Anthony O’Connor and Ash Taylor were no less magnificent in the heart of the Dons’ backline. The former continues to grow into a key player for Aberdeen.
Both the players are big and strong in the tackle and give strikers no space in the defensive third.
It would be a remiss not to mention the impressive qualities of Graeme Shinnie in defence. He’s usually lauded for being an attacking full-back. And despite bombing forward for long spells at Rugby Park, he knew when to sit back.
Stopping the likes of Rory McKenzie and Souleymane Coulibaly was a critical task, and he stood up to the threat well.
With Killie’s main threats stopped, it was all about Aberdeen.
The goals came from Rooney (x2), Considine, and Taylor which shows that the Dons have such a great variety in attacking threats. They have goals all over the pitch, and the opposition knows that.
Aberdeen is starting to hit their stride now. They’ve won their last four games and are unbeaten in five.
It’s the sign of title challengers when they go on runs like this. The main question is how long they can keep it up in the Scottish top flight?