Monday, February 26, 2024

Celtic never stop, but could Michael Beale? cinch Premiership talking points

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 1 Oct 2023


It was a dramatic Saturday in the cinch Premiership.

The day started with one of the most thrilling finales to a game at Fir Park for years and there was soon a bigger story up the road in Glasgow.

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

Michael Beale is on the precipice

A four-match winning run failed to silence many of the doubters among the Rangers support after a heavy defeat by PSV Eindhoven and a home loss to Celtic led to calls for the manager to be sacked. Those demands were reignited after Aberdeen’s 3-1 win at Ibrox left Rangers seven points behind their city rivals after losing three of their first seven league games. The board may see a lengthy injury list as a mitigating factor and question whether changing manager for a second time inside 12 months is advisable. But Beale has little room for error if he is to remain in the job.

Alex Lowry is making his mark

The on-loan Rangers midfielder has been on the Hearts bench for the past four games but he will be difficult to leave out next weekend after following up his midweek Viaplay Cup winner at Kilmarnock with an assist for Alan Forrest’s headed winner against Ross County in Dingwall. Head coach Steven Naismith said of the 20-year-old: “I challenge him all the time to give us an end product, and I thought he was really good off the ball today. We can’t have a luxury player, he needs to be in certain positions and I thought he did that really well when he came on.”

Celtic still never stop

Ange Postecoglou’s mantra helped Celtic to some last-gasp wins in the past two seasons and they were at it again at Fir Park when Matt O’Riley netted seven minutes into stoppage time, moments after Blair Spittal had levelled for Motherwell. Luis Palma had only opened the scoring for Celtic in the 87th minute. The winner sparked wild celebrations and the Celtic fans’ feelgood factor was further fuelled by the news from Ibrox later in the day.

St Johnstone still looking for elusive win

Dara Costelloe gave the Perth side the lead at home to Livingston but captain Liam Gordon later conceded a penalty and received a red card in separate incidents as Sean Kelly earned Livi a 1-1 draw from the spot. Steven MacLean’s side are still playing catch-up after a slow start to the transfer window but they are four points adrift with a trip to in-form Aberdeen to follow and the wait for a first win could become a millstone.

Aberdeen find consistency

The Dons have hit their groove in emphatic fashion after a poor start to the season. Barry Robson’s side made it three wins in a week with their Ibrox heroics, following wins over Ross County in both the league and Viaplay Cup. Despite failing to win their first five matches, Aberdeen now find themselves just four points behind Rangers and with plenty to look forward to, starting with Thursday’s visit of HJK Helsinki in the Europa Conference League.


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