Scottish football: five things we learned at the weekend, by Rob Maclean

Joe Garner celebrates scoring for Rangers
Joe Garner helped Rangers move into second spot in the Premiership on Saturday as the Ibrox side beat Kilmarnock 3-0

Rob Maclean continues his weekly assessment of the main talking points from the weekend's action.

And in second place...

There promises to be one almighty scrap for runners-up spot in the Scottish Premiership.

You might say it's a bit sad if we're getting excited about the fight for second place but Celtic are in a league of their own and next best does bring with it a place in Europe and a decent chunk of prize money.

I would expect Aberdeen and Rangers to battle it out for that consolation prize but wouldn't be shocked if Hearts or St Johnstone are contenders as well.

It's among those four, I reckon. And there's little to choose between them at the moment.

Three of them have 18 points so far with Rangers edging one ahead at the weekend.

It's a competitive league if you take Celtic out of the equation.

Mighty Joe Lewis

Aberdeen might have lost sight of the runaway leaders as they disappear into the distance but they've found themselves a top goalkeeper.

That was only confirmed at Pittodrie on Saturday. I've been raving about Joe Lewis in Sportsound and Sportscene commentaries for weeks. The Dons fans have been loving his work for three months.

Joe Lewis saves a close-range shot by Celtic's Moussa Dembele
Aberdeen goalie Joe Lewis saves a close-range shot by Celtic's Moussa Dembele in Saturday's narrow win for the Glasgow side

They were distraught when on-loan Liverpool keeper Danny Ward ended his loan spell at Aberdeen midway through last season, so impressive had the young Welshman been.

Lewis is a different type of goalie. Putting on a show is not his thing despite that spectacular save from Celtic's Scott Sinclair at the weekend.

It's generally all about getting the job done with the minimum of fuss and big Joe has been a giant-sized success so far.

Brown brings a presence

After another authoritative performance at the heart of the Celtic midfield, it's a warm welcome back to international duty for Scott Brown.

His Scotland retirement lasted only 70 days and not everyone will be pleased to see him back.

But Brown's been a big beneficiary from the Brendan Rodgers makeover at Celtic and he's been back to his best this season.

Scott Brown
Can Scott Brown make a difference to the Scotland midfield at Wembley?

He has real presence in central midfield. That's something Scotland have lacked in the last couple of matches as our qualification hopes have waned.

That quality will be crucial against England at Wembley and let's hope the Brown comeback is more than just a one-off.

A club transformed

The recovery continues for Inverness Caley Thistle who have now dug themselves into a solid mid-table Premiership position.

You were starting to fear for manager Richie Foran when the Highlanders lost their first three league games of the season.

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Highlights: Inverness CT 3-3 Heart of Midlothian

The last of those was a 5-1 thumping at Tynecastle so Saturday's 3-3 home draw with Hearts, which meant Inverness have lost only once in their last nine matches, was hard evidence of the transformation at the club.

Summer signing Lonsana Doumbouya has scored in his last three games and the Frenchman's overall play has improved in leaps and bounds as well.

The usual suspects continue to be the key to Caley Thistle's success but it's a big bonus when one of the new boys steps up to the plate.

'A Dutch of class'

Move over, Ajax. The famous Kilby have pulled out into the overtaking lane.

Lowland League team East Kilbride have equalled the world record for the most consecutive wins in association football set by the Johan Cruyff-inspired Dutch masters in the early 1970s.

East Kilbride lost 2-0 to Celtic in the fifth round of last year's Scottish Cup
East Kilbride lost 2-0 to Celtic in the fifth round of last year's Scottish Cup

They came back from 2-1 down to Vale of Leithen at the weekend - Kilby that is, not Ajax - to notch up their 26th successive victory. They'll surpass the record tally if they win their next league game against BSC Glasgow next Saturday.

East Kilbride are part of Scottish football's senior set-up but not, according to the Guinness Book of Records, a "top-level" team so their amazing exploits won't win them official recognition.

They have, though, been sent a congratulatory message by Ajax, which has to go down as a Dutch of class.

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