5 things we learned from Ladbrokes Premiership (24-25 September)
Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic continued their domination of the Ladbrokes Premiership with a 6-1 demolition of Kilmarnock, but on the weekend’s evidence they could be up against genuine title contenders in an Aberdeen side mixing grit with greatness.
There was plenty of drama away from the top two, though, with midfield maestros and dismal defending catching the eye. Here are the big talking points of an action-packed weekend.
Celtic frontline are truly unstoppable
Kilmarnock’s Souleymane Coulibaly may have netted a Goal of the Season contender to open the scoring at Celtic Park, but it was the Hoops’ frontline who deserve the lion’s share of the plaudits following a 6-1 victory where the hosts could have won by an even greater margin.
Rodgers’ charges hassled and harried the Killie defence constantly, pressurising them into mistakes for the opening two goals – both taken superbly by Moussa Dembele. Record breaker Scott Sinclair, Leigh Griffiths, James Forrest and Tom Rogic all went on to net smartly, and the Hoops look almost unstoppable right now.
Having beaten Rangers 5-1 and Killie 6-1 in recent weeks, the 4/1 for Celtic to win by 4+ goals at struggling Dundee next weekend looks like terrific value.
Resolute Aberdeen are best of the rest
Yet again, Derek McInnes’ Dons produced a performance which highlighted their signature blend of magic and mental toughness. They produced another dramatic late show to take the points with a 2-1 victory over Rangers, to earn their first win over the Ibrox outfit in nine meetings.
Having scored after the 85-minute mark for the third game running, the frequency and skill of the Dons’ late strikes highlight the team’s qualities’. Rangers may have dominated chunks of the game, but James Maddison’s spectacular late winner proved Aberdeen are too clinical for their challengers right now.
Basic errors holding Partick Thistle back
It was the same old story for the Jags, who were once again undone by a defensive lapse. Scott McDonald was given the freedom of Firhill to nod home a late equaliser for Motherwell, to continue their winless streak to five league games.
While every side concedes the odd avoidable goal, Alan Archibald will be worried by the regularity of his side’s mishaps. From Tomas Cerny’s goalkeeping howler to gift Heart of Midlothian a winner at Firhill to the clumsy clearance gifting Kris Boyd an opener in the 2-2 draw with Killie, it’s been a month to forget for Thistle.
Ross County defence the backbone of top-six push
From a leaky defence to arguably the Ladbrokes Premiership’s best backline. Ross County have conceded just two goals in their last five outings, and Saturday’s 0-0 draw with Hearts confirmed their first back-to-back clean sheets since April 2015.
The Staggies kept Rangers and Hearts down to a combined eight shots on target over the course of the last two games, and their reliable centre-back pairing of Paul Quinn and Andrew Davies are building an excellent understanding.
If County can click at the other end, the 16/5 on them to win to nil against St Johnstone could be great value, while a third successive 0-0 draw for the Staggies is temptingly priced at 9/1.
Inverness attack following Tansey’s lead
Greg Tansey’s creative streak seems to be rubbing off on his teammates, with Brad McKay producing a pair of fantastic assists in the 3-1 victory over Dundee.
The 23-year-old whipped in a fantastic cross for Lonsana Doumbouaya’s opener, before providing a perfectly-timed through ball for Liam Polworth’s goal as the Caley Jags cruised into a 3-0 lead.
With a whopping five assists, Tansey remains the side’s most prolific provider this weekend, but it’s becoming clear that he’s far from the only talented weapon in the Highland side’s armoury. That wealth of creative talent also means the 5/4 for Caley to win at Hamilton Academical next weekend looks like something of a banker.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing