5 things we learned from the Scottish Premiership this weekend
Leaders Celtic were held by Motherwell and second-placed Rangers lost again at home.
Leaders Celtic were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Motherwell in their Ladbrokes Premiership clash at Fir Park on Sunday which brought some controversy with the dismissal of Well defender Cedric Kipre.
The Hoops extended their lead at the top of the table over Rangers to 10 points with a game in hand over the Ibrox men.
Here, Press Association Sport looks at five things we learned over the weekend.
1. Referee Craig Thomson courts more Motherwell controversy
Motherwell defender Cedric Kipre was shown a straight red card by referee Thomson in the 41st minute after appearing to flick a foot out at Hoops captain Scott Brown who had pushed him when both fell to the floor in a challenge.
The 21-year-old Frenchman was also sent off by Thomson for conceding a penalty in Celtic’s Betfred Cup final win at Hampden Park in November and according to Well manager Stephen Robinson, this most recent decision left the player “distraught”.
Thomson sent off three Motherwell players against St Johnstone earlier in the campaign and is certainly not popular with the Well fans who let him know their feelings at the end of a hard-fought 90 minutes in which the Steelmen deserved their point.
2. Rangers are on the ropes
The Light Blues went into last week’s Old Firm derby at Ibrox with talk of a potential title race in the event of a win. A week later the complexion has changed totally.
The 3-2 defeat by 10-man Celtic was compounded by the 1-0 loss to Kilmarnock in Govan on Saturday.
There have now been seven home defeats in the league in this campaign for Rangers – the most since 1914/15 , a club record – and the fear is the Gers beat that unwanted record before the season ends.
3. Kilmarnock continue to prosper under Steve Clarke.
The turnaround since Clarke took over at the Rugby Park club last October has been remarkable.
Then, Killie were bottom of the table. They now sit in fifth place with Hibernian in their sights.
A fine win at Ibrox means Kilmarnock have taken seven points from nine against Rangers and have lost only once in 90 minutes in their last 19 games.
4. Partick Thistle revert to type
On the back of a promising defensive performance last week and a first clean sheet since December, Alan Archibald could have been forgiven for thinking Thistle had finally turned a corner at the back.
However at Tynecastle they were all over the place and failed to respond to a quick start by Hearts as they slumped to a 3-0 loss.
Individual errors punctuated their performance, with Baily Cargill guilty in the build-up to Steven Naismith’s effort and the entire defence failing to deal with a simple long throw before John Souttar netted. The lacklustre performance had all the hallmarks of a team destined for relegation.
5. Aberdeen gunning for second place
Aberdeen moved to within two points of second-placed Rangers with a game in hand after a 1-0 win over struggling Dundee.
Graeme Shinnie scored the only goal of the game but it was a comfortable win for Derek McInnes’ side, who must fancy their chances of securing second spot again this season
With Celtic sure to secure their seventh successive title, the race for second place is set to hot up and the pressure will be on Rangers.