Five things we learned from the Scottish Premiership this weekend

Just five points separate the top six teams in the Ladbrokes Premiership as Hearts, Celtic, Kilmarnock, Livingston and Rangers all emerged victorious.
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Hearts 2 - 1 Aberdeen: Hearts overcome injuries to maintain lead

Here Angus Wright takes a look at five other things we learned from the weekend’s top-flight action:

1. Hearts’ summer spending spree pays off

Hearts manager Craig Levein celebrates Arnaud Djoum's opener at Tynecastle. Picture: SNSHearts manager Craig Levein celebrates Arnaud Djoum's opener at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS
Hearts manager Craig Levein celebrates Arnaud Djoum's opener at Tynecastle. Picture: SNS

The news that key men John Souttar and Uche Ikpeazu both face five months on the sidelines through injury might have crushed Gorgie dreams of a title tilt for many at Tynecastle but Craig Levein was not among those fretting. The manager splashed out on 13 signings during the close-season to ensure his side could cope with injury and suspension and those reserves came in handy as his team claimed an important 2-1 win over Aberdeen to protect their slot at the top of the table.

2. Celtic getting back to their best

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The champions sent a warning to the title challengers with a 4-2 win over Hibernian at Parkhead. Brendan Rodgers’ side won 6-0 at St Johnstone before the international break and were as goal hungry in the 4-2 win against Hibs which took them above the Edinburgh side and into second place. Although Neil Lennon’s team had a good go at the home side and twice exploited defensive lapses, it was only the woodwork and a good performance from keeper Adam Bogdan which prevented a more emphatic scoreline.

3. James Tavernier keeps his nerve to cure Rangers’ travel sickness

Having blown four chances to claim an away victory this season, the Gers skipper could be forgiven for feeling the strain as he stepped up to take a spot-kick with seven minutes remaining of their clash at Hamilton. But Tavernier refused to blink and fired Steven Gerrard men back ahead before repeating the trick as the Ibrox side eventually claimed a 4-1 win. The Light Blues penalty king has now netted seven times from 12 yards this term but, more importantly, his side remain in the chasing pack behind Hearts after recording their first league win on the road since February.

4. Nothing gets past Derek McInnes

The Aberdeen manager suddenly went off on a tangent during his post-match press conference to say: “Somebody’s asking: ‘What do you want from the Indian?’.” The Dons boss had noted the contents of a text message that flashed up on a journalist’s phone as it recorded his analysis. “That’ll be the best question I get,” he added after his side slumped during a spicy Tynecastle encounter.

5. Bottom four are already cut adrift

Hamilton’s 4-1 defeat to Gers means there is now a five-point gap separating the bottom four clubs from the rest of the top-flight pack. Basement boys Dundee’s fortunes failed to improve under new boss Jim McIntyre as his first game in charge ended with a 4-0 hammering by Livingston, St Mirren lost against Kilmarnock while Motherwell suffered injury-time heartache at home to St Johnstone. Unless one of these strugglers can find some form to join the breakaway, then the relegation battle looks set to be an epic four-way fight for survival.