5 things we learned from the weekend’s Scottish Premiership action

By Sports Desk May 21, 2023

Rangers beat Hibernian 3-1 at Easter Road on Sunday in the final game of the cinch Premiership’s weekend action.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things we learned from the round of fixtures.

Depleted Rangers too strong for Hibs

Michael Beale had Connor Goldson, Alfredo Morelos, Glen Kamara and Scott Wright join the long list of Rangers absentees, while Rabbi Matondo was on the bench but unable to come on.


Malik Tillman, Ben Davies, Ryan Kent, Borna Barisic, Antonio Colak, Kemar Roofe, Tom Lawrence, Steven Davis and Filip Helander were also missing.

Yet Rangers still had too much for European-chasing Hibs as goals from skipper James Tavernier, Ianis Hagi and Todd Cantwell sealed the points before Paul Hanlon scored a consolation goal in added time.

Saints alive

St Johnstone secured their safety with a 1-0 win at Kilmarnock as the bottom three all lost.

Ross County were edging out of the danger zone only for Motherwell striker Kevin van Veen to score in his ninth consecutive game in the 10th minute of stoppage time, while bottom club Dundee United suffered a third defeat on the trot at Livingston.

Jim Goodwin’s side need a result at home to Killie on Wednesday while County host St Johnstone before what could be a final-day decider at Rugby Park.

St Mirren trouble Celtic again

Until Rangers got the better of Celtic last week, only St Mirren had beaten the cinch Premiership champions in a domestic game this season.


And for a while at Parkhead it looked like Stephen Robinson’s side would record another victory, but Callum McGregor earned the hosts a 2-2 draw in the 81st minute.

The battling Buddies remain in sixth place but they are still in with a chance of a European place.

Race for third hotting up

Aberdeen remain in the driving seat but the race for third place and likely European group-stage football appears set to go to the wire.

The Dons looked on course to seal it when they led at Tynecastle on Saturday but Hearts roared back in impressive fashion to win 2-1.

With their five-point advantage having been chopped to just two, Barry Robson’s team – without a win in three – are now under pressure to defeat St Mirren on Wednesday, which should be enough to ensure third.

If they fail to see off the Buddies, however, Hearts will fancy their chances of overhauling them on the last day of the season when Steven Naismith’s men host Hibernian and the Dons face Celtic away.

Josh Ginnelly proving his worth

Since the World Cup break, only Kevin van Veen, Kyogo Furuhashi and Lawrence Shankland have scored more league goals than the 10 Hearts forward Josh Ginnelly has notched.

The Englishman has netted 13 in all competitions this term and would surely be pushing the 20-goal mark if he had not been a peripheral figure in the opening months of the campaign.

Fans are growing increasingly anxious about the fact the attacker – whose contract is up at the end of the season – is yet to sign a new deal. If he leaves, he will be a hard man to replace.

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    Hearts and Hibernian have been served with a notice of complaint by the Scottish Football Association after disorder among their players and staff at the end of last weekend’s fiery Edinburgh derby at Tynecastle.

    At full-time, following a clash that ended 1-1, two skirmishes erupted on the pitch, one directly in front of the two technical areas and another just moments afterwards in the centre circle.

    Hearts goalkeeping coach Paul Gallacher and substitute shot-stopper Ross Stewart as well as Hibs manager Lee Johnson and unused substitute Rocky Bushiri were all shown red cards for their part in the post-match chaos.

    And on Friday it emerged that the two clubs have been charged, alleged to have breached disciplinary rule 204, which states that: “All clubs and recognised football bodies shall procure that its officials, team staff, employees and players conduct themselves in an orderly fashion at all times during and/or after a match.

    “In particular, clubs and recognised football bodies are responsible for ensuring that its officials, team staff, employees and players refrain from any one or a combination of the following: (a) becoming involved in a confrontation; b) conduct that is likely to lead to or to exacerbate or prolong a hostile or argumentative situation with players and/or team staff from the opposing team and/or match officials; (c) conduct that may otherwise incite disorder.”

    The hearing for both clubs is due to take place on June 29.

  • Tony Docherty delighted to bring experienced defender Joe Shaughnessy to Dundee Tony Docherty delighted to bring experienced defender Joe Shaughnessy to Dundee

    Tony Docherty has secured his first signing as Dundee manager after Joe Shaughnessy pledged to join the cinch Championship title winners.

    The former Aberdeen, Southend and St Johnstone defender will join Dundee when his St Mirren contract expires next week.

    Docherty told his club’s website: “I worked with Joe as a young player at Aberdeen and he is the type of person I want at this football club.

    “I know what I’m getting with Joe. He has a great work ethic and attitude. He has great experience of the league having captained both St Mirren and St Johnstone.

    “There was a lot of competition from other clubs to get him, so I’m delighted he has chosen to sign for us.”

    The Irish defender had an offer to stay in Paisley but opted to move on.

    The 30-year-old said: “I am really excited to get started at Dundee and work with the manager again. I’ve had positive chats with him over the last few days and I can’t wait to get in for the first day of pre-season and get started.”

    Lee Ashcroft and Harrison Sharp earlier signed two-year contracts to stay on at Dens Park.

    “I have loved my three years at the club so far and am looking forward to hopefully a successful season in the top division after winning the league last year,” 29-year-old former Kilmarnock and Dunfermline defender Ashcroft said.

    Goalkeeper Sharp made 14 appearances last season, seven of them in the league.

    The 22-year-old said: “I thoroughly enjoyed last season and some of the memories that we made as a squad are memories that will last forever, and now I can’t wait to be back playing in the league where we belong.”

    The pair follow goalkeeper Adam Legzdins, long-serving full-back Cammy Kerr and homegrown midfielder Lyall Cameron in agreeing to stay since promotion was secured early last month.

    The Dark Blues announced earlier this week that Alex Jakubiak, Jordan Marshall, Paul McMullan, Luke Strachan, Paul McGowan and Cillian Sheridan had not been offered new contracts.

  • Jonatan Giraldez: Barcelona’s experience will be vital in Champions League final Jonatan Giraldez: Barcelona’s experience will be vital in Champions League final

    Barcelona boss Jonatan Giraldez believes experience will be key in the Women’s Champions League final against Wolfsburg.

    The teams face off in Eindhoven on Saturday with Barca going for a second title and Wolfsburg a third.

    Barca have won one – in 2021 – and lost two – in 2019 and last year – of the finals they have played.

    Wolfsburg have been beaten finalists three times, most recently in 2020, and won the competition in 2013 and 2014.

    Giraldez said: “Experience is one of the most important things and that goes for all areas of life. The more experience you have the better you will do.

    “That doesn’t just go for Barcelona but also national teams. The more finals you have played in the better you know how to approach the week leading up to it, the match itself, mentally.

    “All of that is important in football and sometimes you need time to gain that experience.”

    Barca travelled to Eindhoven on Friday with a fully-fit squad after Lucy Bronze and Fridolina Rolfo were passed fit.

    Giraldez added: “We need to minimise their strengths. We will be wary of their quick attacks and set-pieces. We want to dominate the game and not let them show their strengths.”

    Wolfsburg finished second to Bayern Munich in the Frauen-Bundesliga this season and boss Tommy Stroot believes they can capture the title in Holland.

    He said: “It is a realistic objective, I have made so many positive experiences. This final is very special for me and it’s always been an objective.

    “It’s always the same thing for us, to decode the structure, to see what kind of frequencies they use. That is our daily work and my players know that as well.

    “It’s a final but it’s no different to the semi-final against Arsenal. We try to watch even more games and decode even more things just to be prepared for every scenario possible.

    “Our players are ready. It’s something special, not many teams have that privilege in a final. We have all the options to react on anything.”

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