Odsonne Edouard's constant greatness, Hearts man's redemption, target of Rangers fans' ire, Hibernian's defensive woes - Scottish Premiership Winners and Losers

The great and the not-so-great from this past weekend in the Scottish top flight

WINNERS

Odsonne Edouard (Celtic)

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With the number of bottles of champagne he receives for his continuous man-of-the-match performances, it’s a wonder the 22-year-old Frenchman doesn’t spend most of his spare time getting jaked. Against Hamilton Accies he was at it again, producing a terrific free-kick to draw his side level and immediately capitalise on the home side going down to ten men, then coolly slotting home the third to ensure that all three points would be coming back to Celtic Park as they extended their lead in the title race. There’s a fair chance his miss in injury time was just a ruse to make us believe he’s human after all.

Odsonne Edouard celebrates with Celtic team-mate Leigh Griffiths after scoring against Hamilton. Picture: SNS
Odsonne Edouard celebrates with Celtic team-mate Leigh Griffiths after scoring against Hamilton. Picture: SNS

Derek McInnes (Aberdeen)

The Aberdeen boss has come in for criticism and deservedly so. He’s got some exciting attacking players within his squad, several in fact, yet they’ve been absolutely horrendous to watch in recent weeks. They were hardly Brazil 1970 at Ibrox at the weekend as they earned a 0-0 draw, but any result against Rangers in Glasgow is a massive boost to Aberdeen fans and does give the long-standing boss a little more leeway with the support to get this team performing as they should against the stuffier members of the Ladbrokes Premiership. A shout out is also deserved for Ash Taylor. He looked like a weird signing in the summer but it seems the towering centre-back has improved in the time he’s been away from Aberdeen. He was excellent on Saturday.

Alex Dyer (Kilmarnock)

There are some football managers who are so bad at the whole managing a football team thing that they are incapable of winning any football matches. Now, we don’t know exactly how good a manager Steve Clarke’s former Kilmarnock assistant will be in the long run, but at least Dyer no longer falls into that category. He was helped out on Saturday by Ross County’s pairing of Stuart Kettlewell and Steven Ferguson seemingly being completely unaware that Killie have struggled in recent weeks when going 4-4-2 as opponents have overran their ageing centre-midfield. Instead of looking to also take advantage of this, they matched up against their hosts and were deservedly beaten despite taking an early lead. This season is still a bit of a shambles for Killie, but at least it’s not yet at plummeting-towards-the-Championship levels of incompetence.

Sean Clare (Hearts)

Last time the English midfielder played against St Johnstone he was mocked by his own supporters when leaving the field as they loudly cheered his substitution at Tynecastle. Just two months later Clare seems to have finally managed to do what he couldn’t in his first 16 months in Gorgie, and that’s win the affection of the supporters. All it took was a change of manager, change of position and a new-found propensity for scoring outrageously good goals. Easy.

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LOSERS

Sheyi Ojo (Rangers)

There were plenty of available targets for the Ibrox support to take their frustration out on this past weekend as their team dropped further ground in the title race, but the Liverpool loanee was someone who certainly got it with both barrels. When the winger first arrived he would always make an impact on games. He didn’t always make the correct decision, execute in the final third or even keep hold of the football, but he was there posing problems for opposition defences. His performance off the bench in the 0-0 draw with Aberdeen was the latest in a long string of appearances where he’s barely been noticeable. Rather than developing under Reds legend Steven Gerrard, he seems to be going backwards. It is therefore a little puzzling that Gerrard continues to place his trust in the winger, especially when he’s been so ruthless with other under-performing players during his tenure this far as Rangers manager.

Hibernian’s defence

Conceding two goals in the first 18 minutes at home to this St Mirren team is a footballing crime so heinous it should carry with it a fine or points deduction. Hibs were only able to draw with their relegation-battling opponents at the weekend because they had to overcome the early gifts they offered up to Jim Goodwin’s men. It’s been a common theme this season as they leaked goals at the back just as badly as their much-maligned neighbours across the city. On Saturday it was the Scottish Cup-winning defence of David Gray, Darren McGregor, Paul Hanlon and Lewis Stevenson that received the brunt of the criticism as the over-30s unit looked far from assured. Gray struggled especially before his half-time substitution. In fairness to the group and the club overall, they’ve been blighted by injuries to the back four all season and, as a result, have constantly had to chop and change things. While the aforementioned foursome have played together for almost five years, it’s the first time they’ve been on a pitch together since August. Add in Paul Heckingbottom believing that Chris Maxwell was a better goalkeeper than Ofir Marciano (haha!) and it’s no surprise that the constant state of flux has been contributing to a rotten defensive record.

Everyone except Mark Gillespie (Motherwell)

“Well, that was incredibly dire,” would have been the sentiment from just about every Motherwell fan leaving the Tony Macaroni Arena on Saturday after their side posted one of the worst performances of Stephen Robinson’s tenure as manager. The 1-0 defeat massively flattered the visitors, who were unresponsive in defence, ponderous in midfield and invisible up front. Were it not for Gillespie in goals then it would have been a real hiding. It was very much a bad day at the office for 91 per cent of the team and the kind of game you just can’t wait to get out of your system. Just as well then for Motherwell that they’ve got a midweek meeting with - *looks up fixtures* - Celtic. Oh dear.

Uche Ikpeazu (Hearts)

The striker was good coming off the bench against St Johnstone as he seems to be settling in nicely into a new role as impact substitute, even playing a part in Clare’s equaliser. However, nobody will remember that, not when you’ve taken five touches to try and control a ball with nobody around you, fail to do so and then hilariously fall over. We almost placed him in the ‘winners’ section for this piece of comedy gold, but he probably doesn’t feel that way.