Scottish Premiership: What did we learn from the midweek fixtures?

It was a midweek Scottish Premiership card full of surprises.

Leaders Celtic needed a stoppage-time goal to avoid defeat at Livingston; Rangers were beaten at home by Hamilton Academical; and Hearts vanquished Hibernian in the Edinburgh derby to fleetingly move off the bottom of the division.

Here, BBC Scotland gives you one takeaway for each top-flight team after their latest fixture...


Celtic's patience pays off

Neil Lennon might have been thinking it was a case of deja vu after Lyndon Dykes bullied Christopher Jullien to set-up Scott Robinson and put Livingston 2-1 in front at the Tony Macaroni on Wednesday. It would have been Celtic's first away defeat in the league since October, when Livingston better the champions all over the pitch in a stunning 2-0 win, but this time was different.

Celtic showed their patience to get something from the game as they relentlessly pounded the Livingston rearguard in search for an equaliser, which finally came. A point would not have been what they were looking for pre-match but, with Rangers losing, it is one they will gratefully accept.

'I didn't know the score' - Lennon pleased as Celtic extend lead

Malaise continues at Ibrox

Another domestic game, another disappointment for Rangers. Manager Steven Gerrard admitted he had been at his lowest ebb in the job after the weekend cup defeat by Hearts but he had to revise that after the Ibrox defeat by Hamilton.

Thirteen points dropped in eight games has dismantled what had been a promising season for Rangers and confidence is low going into the Europa League tie with Bayer Leverkusen.

James TavernierMotherwell

Motherwell look like old selves

Manager Stephen Robinson was quite right to not only cherish a first home victory since early December, but also the manner in which his side bullied Ross County.

Motherwell "looked back on track again" according to Robinson after recent results suggested they had lost their spark. An early concession will grate, but their quick and direct attacking play suggests third place may now be theirs to lose.


Inconsistent Aberdeen still struggling

This team is as flaky as has they have ever been with Derek McInnes in charge. They have won just one league game in 2020 and, other than a run of three straight wins in the autumn, have not recorded back-to-back Premiership victories.

Their inconsistency was on show again at Rugby Park as defensive frailties helped Kilmarnock take a 2-0 lead, before two moments of quality from wide areas salvaged a point. They can be commended for the comeback, and can look forward to next month's Scottish Cup semi-final, but drastic improvement is needed quickly if they are to beat Motherwell to third place.

McInnes pleased with 'good point' at Kilmarnock

Europe still in view for Holt's men

You just can't help but admire this Livingston team. Not a game goes by where you don't see Gary Holt's men give absolutely everything for the cause, and Wednesday was no different. After the West Lothian side deservedly took the lead against Celtic, they were defensively resolute until Tom Rogic's crushing stoppage-time equaliser.

The result means Livingston drop six points behind third-placed Motherwell, but they are still just three points off Aberdeen in fourth - a position that might still see someone qualify for Europe.


Hibs get reality check

For all the good work Jack Ross has done since replacing Paul Heckingbottom, this was comfortably his lowest point. Against Hearts, Hibs were vulnerable at the back, second to every loose ball, gave it away far too cheaply, and missed chances when they eventually came. If anything, the scoreline flattered them.

There has been a lot of talk about whether they could challenge for a European spot. On that showing, it's probably best for them to just focus on cementing a top-six place.


Brophy a striker transformed

Eamonn Brophy's penalty against Aberdeen was his sixth goal in his last six league games, having not managed that amount in his previous 32 appearances.

Since the signing of the powerful Nicke Kabamba in January to partner him up front, the 23-year-old has been transformed. He was a buzz of energy once again at Rugby Park, striking a post and forcing Joe Lewis into three good saves in the 2-2 draw, as well as calmly converting the spot-kick.

If he can continue this form, rather than the wasteful first half to the season, he will be a sellable asset for Kilmarnock.

St Johnstone

St Johnstone miss opportunity

Tommy Wright said the draw at St Mirren represented another good point away from home. And, after Liam Craig's dismissal and their hosts' late onslaught, he was probably correct.

But St Johnstone were not a force in the game, something that must be disappointing given they are capable of catching Hibernian in sixth.

While they are unbeaten in six in the league, their last three have been draws, with tough games against Livingston, Hibs and leaders Celtic to come. Might this prove to be a costly two points dropped?

St Johnstone have lost just two league games since the start of DecemberRoss County

County struggle again on road

Ross County may have scored first at Fir Park on Wednesday, but they didn't do an awful lot more after that as Motherwell quickly regained their composure and duly returned with four goals of their own.

Steven Ferguson and Stuart Kettlewell may have bemoaned the manner of their defeat, but both will know that their side's troubles on the road started long before their hosts seized control.

County have picked up the fewest away points in the Premiership in their last five games outside Dingwall, and just one win and two draws in their last 10.

St Mirren

Goodwin's men unlucky to lose ground

In any ordinary week, a home draw with St Johnstone would be seen as a decent result. Especially when you consider that St Mirren are now unbeaten in their last six league games. But in a week where Hamilton and Hearts earned shock wins to drag the Paisley club further into a relegation battle, three points would have been invaluable.

Next up is Celtic, before a potentially decisive encounter with Hearts. A big couple of weeks lie ahead for Jim Goodwin's men before the international break.


Anything Hearts can do...

The odds were against Hamilton at Ibrox. Hearts' win the night before had left Accies bottom of the league, but David Moyo's strike and Luke Southwood's heroics in goal took them back up to 11th place in the division.

Are Brian Rice's side about to 'do another Hamilton' and stay up despite all predictions to the contrary?


Hearts must capitalise on momentum

Daniel Stendel's message to his team at full-time will have been simple. If they play like they did in their 3-1 win against Hibernian every game, they will stay up comfortably.

Though they are back at the foot of the Premiership table after Hamilton's shock win at Ibrox, they now have something they can really build on.

Their consistency over the coming weeks will be key, though, as this season has seen any steps forward met with multiple steps back.

Hearts boss Stendel 'very proud' after derby win

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