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It’s as you were as top two slip up – 5 things we learned in cinch Premiership

Rangers’ James Tavernier levels at Aberdeen with late penalty (Andrew Milligan/PA)
Rangers’ James Tavernier levels at Aberdeen with late penalty (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The cinch Premiership returned after the international break and as usual there was plenty of drama and excitement.

Celtic surprisingly dropped two points at home to Motherwell on Saturday but Rangers failed to capitalise at Aberdeen, depending on a late James Tavernier penalty for a 1-1 draw, leaving the Hoops still eight points clear at the top albeit the Light Blues have a game in hand.

Hearts, St Mirren and Hibernian all won and Livingston remain bottom after another defeat.

Here, the PA news agency looks at five things that caught the eye.

Rangers blow chance to move closer to Celtic

Skipper James Tavernier scored a last-gasp penalty to give Rangers a 1-1 draw with Aberdeen at Pittodrie but it was an afternoon when the chance to boost title hopes was passed up. The visitors fell behind after just 11 minutes to a Bojan Miovski strike and hit the woodwork twice after the break. But just when it looked like Philippe Clement would lose for the first time as Gers boss,  there was a VAR intervention. After checking his pitchside monitor, referee Nick Walsh decided Aberdeen’s Stefan Garternmann had pulled Connor Goldson’s jersey at a corner and pointed to the spot. Tavernier scored for a point which keeps Celtic eight points clear at the top having played a game more.

Hoops pay the penalty

David Turnbull slotted home an 86th-minute spot-kick to open the scoring against Motherwell but Luis Palma had earlier become the third Celtic player to miss a penalty this season, following Reo Hatate and Turnbull after Liam Kelly saved his effort. However, Motherwell quickly levelled through Jon Obika following Turnbull’s goal. Brendan Rodgers admitted he had identified issues with Celtic’s penalties after they missed three last season and the issues from 12 yards could prove costly.

Lawrence Shankland’s purple patch continues

Just over a month ago, Lawrence Shankland was on an eight-game scoring drought. Things have changed significantly for the Hearts striker over the past month or so, however, to the extent where he is capable of scoring even when he does not know much about it – as was the case in Saturday’s 1-0 win over St Johnstone. Liam Boyce’s well-executed shot appeared to be netbound anyway but it deflected off Shankland’s leg on the way in and was subsequently credited to the Scotland forward. Shankland now has 11 goals for the season at club level, with six strikes in his last six outings for Hearts.

Livingston are on the slide

David Martindale’s side are bottom of the table, one point behind St Johnstone and Ross County, following their sixth successive defeat. Sean Kelly’s first-half own goal gave all three points to hosts St Mirren and Livi have now failed to score in five or their last six games. They have three home games coming up, against Ross County, Hibernian and Kilmarnock, to try to get their season back on track.

No win for Derek Adams on Ross County return

Adams this week returned to the Staggies’ hot-seat for the third time, following the departure of Malky Mackay. His first game was against Kilmarnock at home but there was no new manager bounce. Killie had yet to win on the road and once again came up short, having to settle for a point from a goalless draw. The Dingwall outfit have gone 10 games without a win in all competitions and have not scored in the last three. Adams has his work cut out to get County back to form.