Celtic’s fine fitness and 4 more things we learned from Ladbrokes Prem
While Aberdeen’s 4-0 demolition of Kilmarnock drew admiring glances from fans across the Ladbrokes Premiership, Celtic also deserved a share of the plaudits, recovering from an exhausting draw with Manchester City to force a victory at Dundee.
So, with a ton of praise – and a smattering of criticism – to dole out, here are the big talking points from the weekend’s action.
Celtic have quality to shrug off fatigue
It’s been quite the week for Hoops captain Scott Brown, with the 31-year-old proving his critics wrong with a pair of fantastic displays – netting the only goal in the 1-0 win at Dundee, less than 72 hours after a midfield masterclass against Manchester City.
But Brown was far from the only man to impress in both games. Indeed, 10 of the starting XI against City also began the game at Dens Park, and produced a disciplined, dogged and well-deserved victory, in spite of their midweek exertions. But as for Dundee…
Dark Blues need to fix home slump
There’s no shame in a narrow defeat to the Ladbrokes Premiership champions, but losing to the Hoops at Dens Park continued a home slump which will trouble Dundee boss Paul Hartley.
The Dark Blues have taken just two points from the last five games on their own patch, failing to score more than one goal in any of those outings.
Two red cards in that run suggests Hartley’s charges are deeply frustrated, but there are ways to reverse their fortunes. If the hardworking Dee midfield can offer more service to fleet-footed frontman Faissal El Bakhtaoui then they can end that winless home run against Partick Thistle later this month.
Hearts hotshot Nicholson boosting his reputation
While Hibernian’s Jason Cummings has grabbed the headlines due to his goalscoring, there’s arguably an even better local talent across Edinburgh in the form of Hearts’ Sam Nicholson.
The 21-year-old winger has scored four goals and set-up three in eight Ladbrokes Premiership games this term, with his exceptional footwork and neat finishing suggesting that Nicholson has all the attributes to be among the league’s most influential players this season.
Aberdeen’s cruise control a worry for contenders
Derek McInnes’ men hardly broke a sweat at Rugby Park on Saturday, easing to a 4-0 victory over Kilmarnock in which the visitors dominated every area of the game, from shots to possession and corners.
It was the kind of breezy away win long regarded as a trademark of the Old Firm sides – but Aberdeen are building a reputation for cruising to victory on the road, having eased to a 3-1 win at Dundee in their previous road trip. Expect them to cause more damage against Hamilton Academical on their next league away day.
Hamilton must learn how to hold on
Talking of Accies, they dropped two points once again, following Liam Polworth’s 93rd minute equaliser at New Douglas Park on Saturday for Inverness CT. That’s now 14 points the Lanarkshire outfit have thrown away in their opening eight Ladbrokes Premiership outings.
Admittedly Liam Polworth’s equaliser was sweetly struck, but yet again Martin Canning’s men have failed to protect a lead, and remain close to the bottom. On the upside, they’ve netted in all eight of their league games, so there’s every chance they’ll quickly rise up the table if they can solve these defensive lapses.
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