There were three games in the Scottish Premiership this afternoon as half of the top flight were in action – with three more games to follow tomorrow – and there was plenty of excitement across the grounds.
With only a few points splitting the top five, Rangers’ spot at the top was under threat going into weekend but Steven Gerrard’s side rode their luck to secure a win at Dundee.
Hearts and Motherwell were both among the sides who could leapfrog the Gers is results went their way but had differing fortunes as they hosted Livingston and Ross County, respectively.
Dundee’s first home league meeting with Rangers since a 1-1 draw in December 2018 ended in after the Premiership champions ground out a scrappy win over the dogged Dark Blues.
The Dens Park side were unbeaten in three against the Gers at home in the league going into the game but couldn’t extend that after Joe Aribo’s goal.
James McPake made one change from the midweek defeat by St. Johnstone, Paul McGowan dropping to the bench and defender Ryan Sweeney coming back into the side.
After arguably looking more likely to concede, Rangers made it 1-0 15 minutes through Aribo following a well-worked move through the midfield. Dundee had chances to draw themselves level, Leigh Griffiths spurning four or five, before the on-loan striker capped off a miserable afternoon by limping off before the break.
The Dens Park side were handed a perfect chance to draw level 15 minutes after the restart when Bobby Madden awarded a penalty when McLaughlin brought Paul McMullan down – only for the Scotland keeper to save Cummings’ spot-kick.
Rangers starting XI: McLaughlin, Tavernier, Goldson, Balogun, Bassey, Kamara, Lundstram, Aribo, Hagi, Roofe, Morelos
Dundee starting XI: Legzdins, Kerr, Marshall, Fontaine, Sweeney, McGhee, Byrne, Ashcroft, McMullan, Anderson, Griffiths
Livingston’s wait to secure their first league win at Tynecastle since May 2002 will continue after the Jambos maintained their strong start to the season by extending their unbeaten run to seven games.
Michael Smith and midfielder Alex Cochrane returning and Cameron Devlin all came into the side for the hosts as John Souttar, Gary Mackay-Steven and Armand Gnanduillet made way – Souttar missing out completely. Livi made two changes with Jack McMillan and Ben Williamson taking over from Stephane Omeonga and Cristian Montano, who both dropped to the bench.
It was Smith who broke the deadlock, rifling the ball home from distance after Cochrance’s knockdown off Barrie McKay’s deep ball, leaving Stryjek with absolutely no chance of keeping it out.
Hearts doubled the lead soon after when Liam Boyce slotted home from the penalty spot after Beni Baningime was brought down inside the area.
The result was put beyond doubt when Cochrane grabbed the Jambos’ third goal, blasting home after some good work by Barrie McKay
Hearts starting XI: Gordon, Smith, Halkett, Moore, Kingsley, Cochrane, Devlin, Baningame, McKay, Woodburn, Boyce
Livingston starting XI: Stryjeck, Devlin, Obileye, Fitzwater, Penrice, McMillan, Holt, Williamson, Lewis, Bailey, Shinnie
Motherwell have extended their unbeaten run to six games with a 2-1 win overRoss County at Fir Park – but the Steelmen might feel they were lucky to come away with a win after coming under plenty of pressure from County.
Both sides made one change to their starting XI from their previous outing as Rickie Lamie replaced Bevis Mugabi for Motherwell ans Keith Watson took over from Ben Paton for the Staggies.
County won 2-1 on their last visit to Fir Park to secure their place in the Premiership, and they did little wrong this time despite coming away with nothing.
Callum Slattery opened the scoring with only two minutes played when he lashed the ball home from 25 yards with a stunning volley.
Motherwell didn’t have it all their own way in the opening 45 and had Liam Kelly to thank after making three important saves before County equalised though Regan Charles-Cook just before the break.
County pushed their hosts hard after the break, and probably could have taken the lead in the early part of the second 45 but failed to take the initiative and get themselves in front.
After surviving the pressure, Motherwell grabbed the winner with ten minutes to go through Tony Watt to leave County sill looking for their first win.
Motherwell starting XI: Kelly, O’Donnell, Lamie, Ojala, McGinley, Grimshaw, Slattery, O’Hara, Woolery, Van Veen, Watt
Ross County starting XI: Maynard-Brewer, Baldwin, H Paton, Spittal, Callachan, Watson, Iacovitti, Charles-Cook, Burroghs, Tillson, White
NTOF now offers a YouTube channel featuring exclusive interviews, post-match discussion, in-depth debate, and much more – LIKE and SUBSCRIBE and don’t miss any of our videos.