5 things we learned from the Ladbrokes Premiership weekend

Moussa Dembele in action for Celtic. Picture: SNS/Rob CaseyMoussa Dembele in action for Celtic. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey
Moussa Dembele in action for Celtic. Picture: SNS/Rob Casey
Week six of the Ladbrokes Premiership saw champions Celtic move clear at the top of the table as Aberdeen dropped points at home to Kilmarnock, while Dundee recorded their first win of the league campaign.

Here, we at five things we learned from the latest round of action.

Three ain’t easy for Pedro Caixinha

The Rangers boss saw his team’s erratic alter-ego return on Friday night as they were held to a 2-2 draw by Partick Thistle. The clash was the Portuguese coach’s 20th game in charge but once again his attempt at stringing three wins together fell flat. In fact, you have to go back to December last year to find the last time Gers won more than two games in a row.

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Rangers controlled the first-half with Alfredo Morelos netting his eighth goal in nine games. However, they did not press home their advantage with defensive issues rearing their head in a captivating second half. The decision-making of both centre-halves can be called into question with regards to the two Thistle goals.

Unless he can implement a more consistent edge into Gers performances, Caixinha’s leadership will continue to be scrutinised on a game-by-game basis with Celtic up next in the league, plus another trip to Firhill during the week.

Moussa Dembele hits the ground running on his comeback

Celtic’s French ace returned from a lengthy lay-off against Ross County on Saturday and reminded Hoops fans of his talents. The 21-year-old had recovered from a hamstring injury which had restricted his game time this season to a Champions League qualifying double-header against Linfield.

Unusually, Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers chose to play both Leigh Griffiths and Dembele in a two-man attack against the Staggies at Parkhead as the Northern Irishman demonstrated his squad’s flexibility and his tactical nous.

Such is Celtic’s standing that the Champions League defeat had led to questions but they responded in dominant fashion with the big bonus being Dembele getting off the mark for the season with the second goal in a convincing 4-0 win which took the champions two points clear of Aberdeen at the top of the table.

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Jamie Walker shows he has the stomach for the fight with Hearts

Walker’s commitment to the Jambos was questioned last month as he came close to sealing a switch to Rangers, while fans pointed accusatory fingers at the playmaker for his role in the team’s defeat to Motherwell. Yet, with that move now off until January at the earliest, he is now knuckling down and concentrating on helping Craig Levein’s men.

His performance at the SuperSeal Stadium drew praise from his manager as he provided the drive in the middle of the pitch, playing a huge part in setting up Ross Callachan’s first goal for the club in the 2-1 win over Hamilton Academical.

He also felt the wrath of Accies midfielder Darian MacKinnon who launched a furious tirade his way at point-blank range as he accused him of taking a dive. Although some in the ground thought he was being targeted for rough treatment from Accies’ players, with MacKinnon perhaps still angry after being nutmegged by Walker in the build-up for the opening goal.

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Alan Muir unlikely to be on Tommy Wright’s Christmas card list

It is fair to say the St Johnstone boss was less than impressed with the performance of the referee and his assistants during his side’s 3-2 defeat at Dundee. Muir may have awarded two penalties to Saints, but the decision to disallow a headed goal from Steven Anderson moments before awarding a disputable spot-kick at the other end left Wright spitting feathers.

The Perth manager refused to openly criticise Muir after the match, but admitted he had been to see him at the final whistle where he may not have been so restrained.

Yet, it may be part frustration after watching his side outperformed again this season. It has been a good start of the Saintees but results have masked the general level of performance.

As for Neil McCann, he was left delighted by the performance, result and attitude of his players who had to be brave to play with anxiety coming from the Dens Park crowd as they tried to play from the back. If McCann’s gets his team to clock they should be one of the more atheistically pleasing teams in the league.

Hibs are vulnerable from aerial balls

To say Neil Lennon wasn’t please after watching his Hibs side blow a two-goal lead at home to Motherwell is an understatement. He had choice words for his defence and goalkeeper.

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Israel international Ofir Marciano failed to command his six-yard box in the 2-2 draw against Motherwell with several in-swinging corners flashing across the goalmouth. Hibs got away with them but Lennon was hugely critical, and rightly so, of his keeper and his team’s defending after Louis Moult sparked Motherwell’s comeback when he headed home Craig Tanner’s free-kick from only two yards out.

Moult then weaved his way around two meek challenges from John McGinn and Efe Ambrose before beating Marciano at his front post from the edge of the box. Hibs are yet to keep a clean sheet in the league.

As for Motherwell, even in these nascent stages they appear to be the most improved team in the league under Stephen Robinson. Holding on to Moult was crucial and he has shown no sign of disgruntlement about remaining at Fir Park where he is loved by the Well fans. Although he has competition for their affections in centre-back Cedric Kipre.