Missing McGregor and Greive’s reprieve – 5 things we learned in Scotland

Celtic and Rangers both topped the table in the last weekend of action in the Cinch Premiership.

The Gers went top with a 4-0 win over Hearts on Saturday midday before the champions regained pole position with a 2-1 win over Motherwell.

Aberdeen, St Mirren, Hibernian and St Johnstone also recorded victories.

Here are five more things we learned from Saturday’s games.

Celtic will have to do without Callum McGregor

The Hoops skipper will miss his first game in eight months after being sent off late against Motherwell after denying Ross Tierney a scoring opportunity. McGregor doesn’t miss many games – he returned to the team 11 days after breaking his cheekbone in two places in January. The last game he missed was a loss to Bodo/Glimt and Celtic won just one game in four when he picked up a hamstring injury in September last year. Aaron Mooy could fill in for Saturday’s trip to Perth against St Johnstone, while Oliver Abildgaard made his debut as a very late substitute against Motherwell after being signed to cover in central midfield.

Ryan Porteous handles the hype

The Hibernian centre-back returned to the league at Dingwall after making a hugely impressive Scotland debut in midweek to help Steve Clarke’s men gain promotion to the Nations League. Hibs boss Lee Johnson then claimed Porteous was underpaid as he mulled over upcoming contract talks. But the 23-year-old showed focus to get the opener in the 2-0 win over Ross County.

No sorrow for Alex

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson on Friday morning expressed his frustration that New Zealand striker Alex Greive had still not returned from international duty, despite his Australian team-mates Ryan Strain and Keanu Baccus following Tuesday’s friendly against the All Whites returned to Scotland. All was forgiven when Greive came off the bench to meet a late winner against Livingston. “I gave him a bit of a stick when he came back but it’s not quite a return trip from Belfast I assume it was from Auckland,” Robinson said. “He’s a great boy with a lot of enthusiasm, so we’ll forgive him.”

Certainty is still to help Dundee United

The Tannadice board handed Liam Fox the post of manager on a permanent contract during the international break after three games as caretaker. Fox had won one of those in the Premier Sports Cup but his home debut as manager ended in a 2-1 home loss to Tayside rivals St Johnstone. United are still aiming for a first league win of the season and remain bottom of the table. “To be clear, we’re in a position where we need points – and we need them soon,” Fox said. “You can’t hide from that.”

Ben Davies is ready to play his role for Rangers

Rangers fans hadn’t seen much of the former Preston centre-back since joining from Liverpool in the summer, but he made his first appearance at Tynecastle in more than six weeks and was only his second Gers start. Sporting director Ross Wilson had previously revealed that Davies had been hampered by a lack of pre-season training, with Giovanni van Bronckhorst continuing to play with American midfielder James Sands in central defense for much of the early part of the season. Helping Rangers keep a clean sheet in his first 90 minutes for the club for the first time in six games has given Davies confidence.

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Mike Fahey

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