The finale to the first round of Scottish Premiership fixtures proved significant.
Rangers extended their lead at the summit to four points after Connor Goldson’s double earned them a 2-0 win at Celtic Park.
Aberdeen and Hibernian both dropped two points in goalless draws on the road against Dundee United and Ross County respectively.
There were away wins for St Johnstone and Kilmarnock while Motherwell had a second game in succession postponed because of their opponents’ Covid-19 issues.
Here are five things we learned from Saturday’s action – and inaction.
Rangers are title favourites
Steven Gerrard’s side were installed as the bookmakers’ favourites after a comfortable victory against a Celtic side who were unable to muster a shot on target. But celebrations were more muted than their previous Parkhead win in December last year, and not just because of the absence of their supporters. Rangers have capitulated after festive wins over Celtic in the past two seasons and need to focus on maintaining their form. Celtic manager Neil Lennon faces criticism and scrutiny but he will not panic after one defeat with the likes of Odsonne Edouard, Ryan Christie, James Forrest, Nir Bitton, Christopher Jullien and Hatem Abd Elhamed missing and both Albian Ajeti and Leigh Griffiths confined to cameo roles.
St Johnstone discover their scoring touch
Saints fired seven past Brechin the previous week to more than double their season’s tally but were aware their opponents were the worst team in the league last season. However, they followed it up with a 5-3 victory at Hamilton – with Stevie May making it five goals in two games – to score more goals in one afternoon than they had in their previous 10 league games combined.
Hamilton need to stop giving teams three-goal starts
Brian Rice would have bitten your hand off a few weeks ago if you had told him his team would score five goals in their games against Hibernian and St Johnstone. However, they have ended up with no points. For the third time in four games – including their Betfred Cup defeat at Annan – Accies have gone 3-0 down.
The 38-game season is looking more and more precarious
St Mirren followed Kilmarnock in requesting the postponement of a visit from Motherwell, after a third Covid-19 case left them with only eight outfield players and four goalkeepers out of self-isolation. The SPFL has a major decision to make as they investigate both clubs’ inability to field a team. With cases rising and winter approaching, four fixtures are already outstanding.
Two weeks in isolation did Kilmarnock little harm
Killie bounced back with a 3-1 win at Livingston several days after getting the bulk of their first-team squad out of self-isolation. “They’ve had two weeks without doing anything and to come in and put in a performance like that is very pleasing,” said manager Alex Dyer.