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Scottish Premiership roundup: Celtic win again as Rangers bounce back

Scottish Premiership roundup: Celtic win again as Rangers bounce back
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Hearts remain bottom of the pile.

Celtic took another step towards wrapping up the Ladbrokes Premiership title with a 5-0 win over St Mirren before Rangers claimed a much-needed 1-0 victory at Ross County.

The race for European and top-six places and the battle to avoid the drop heated up with Motherwell and Aberdeen a point apart ahead of their meeting on Friday.

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

Rangers have stopped the rot

Ryan Kent, right, celebrates his goal
Ryan Kent, right, celebrates his goal at Ross County (Steve Welsh/PA)

Steven Gerrard's side produced another unconvincing display but Ryan Kent's deflected goal in the 77th minute earned them a first win in four domestic matches. Three points and a clean sheet were Gerrard's key demands after a difficult week which saw Rangers follow their William Hill Scottish Cup exit against Hearts with a home defeat by Hamilton.

Hearts need to be more patient

So claimed Daniel Stendel after his side slipped three points adrift following a 1-1 home draw with Motherwell. The bottom side gave themselves an uphill task after gifting Christopher Long the opener but looked like they had the momentum after Conor Washington's 49th-minute equaliser. However, Stendel felt they rushed play and hit the ball long too early and Motherwell had some good chances before Hearts snatched at three stoppage-time opportunities.

Hamilton are finding consistency at the perfect time

Accies secured consecutive league wins for the first time in two years by following their Ibrox triumph with a late victory over Kilmarnock. Brian Rice's side also extended an unbeaten run to four matches and moved out of the bottom two. They could be back in after St Mirren play Hearts on Wednesday but they have the chance to leapfrog Ross County in Dingwall next weekend.

St Johnstone are top-six contenders again

Tommy Wright's side – bottom of the league at the start of December – put themselves a point off sixth-placed Hibernian and cut the gap on Livingston to three points thanks to Callum Hendry's late winner against the West Lothian side. They also have a game in hand against Rangers and travel to Easter Road next Saturday. With a run of just two defeats in 15 league games, the Perth men are a major threat to Hibs.

Leigh Griffiths is making an irresistible case for Scotland selection

Leigh Griffiths took the match ball home
Leigh Griffiths took the match ball home (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The Celtic striker netted his first hat-trick in four years to make it eight goals in 13 games this year after finding the net only three times in a 2019 which was beset by mental health and other fitness problems. Griffiths had declared himself eager and ready to make his international return on the eve of the game and Scotland boss Steve Clarke will surely pick him in a squad for the first time ahead of the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final with Israel.

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Leigh Griffiths in Celtic training on November 27, 2019
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rhs 2.0
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CCeltic30262289197080
2RangersRangers29214464194567
3Motherwell30144124138346
4Aberdeen3012994036445
5Livingston30109114139239
6Hibernian30910114249-737
7St Johnstone2981292846-1836
8Kilmarnock3096153141-1033
9St Mirren3078152441-1729
10Ross County3078152960-3129
11Hamilton AcademicalHamilton3069153050-2027
RHearts30411153152-2123

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