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Stephen Craigan Column: Almost all of Scotland wants Celtic to beat Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League

BT Sport's Stephen Craigan reviews the weekend in Scottish football and looks ahead to Celtic's huge game with PSG in the Champions League.

FOOTBALL 11/09/17 13:45
Stephen Craigan

Weekend headlines

Celtic, Aberdeen and St Johnstone remain unbeaten in the Scottish Premiership after round five while Rangers picked up their first home league win of the campaign at the third time of asking by defeating Dundee 4-1.

Motherwell won a third consecutive league match for the first time since March 2016, and Partick Thistle got their first point on the table to leave Alan Archibald breathing a major sigh of relief.

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Celtic

With Celtic having 14 players away on international duty it would have been an easy excuse for the players to have a lacklustre performance against Hamilton on Friday night.

However, that couldn't have been any further from the truth as they ran out convincing 4-1 winners as three goals in the opening 45 minutes blew Hamilton away.

A Scott Sinclair double and one from Stuart Armstrong, who is getting back to his best, took the game away from the Accies.

Then, in the second half, a debut goal from Odsonne Edouard killed the game off with Brendan Rogers revealing that the players and staff gave the 19-year-old a standing ovation for his performance.

If anything the win told me more about the mental toughness of this Celtic squad. Nothing affects them or puts them out of their stride and the green and white bandwagon rolls on.

Rangers

Pedro Caixhina and Rangers had endured a frustrating opening to their league season at Ibrox after a defeat to Hibernian and a draw with Hearts.

They put that behind them though, as they romped past Dundee in emphatic fashion with a 4-1 victory on Saturday.

The man of the moment, Alfrdeo Morelos, grabbed his sixth and seventh goals of the campaign and he already looks like he will be a fans favourite.

Rangers have steadily improved as the season has progressed and the manner of the victory will give the players and manager plenty of heart as they move forward as they look to challenge at the top end of the league.

They’re not the finished article, far from it, but they have a settled look about them and the players seem committed to what their manager is demanding.

As for Dundee, their manager Neil McCann said prior to the game his team weren’t going to sit in and park the bus, well, maybe he wished they had!

Best of the rest

Hearts returned to Edinburgh at the weekend after four away games on the spin but at the unfamiliar venue of BT Murrayfield as opposed to their spiritual home of Tynecastle.

Craig Levein was back in the dugout for the home side after a 13-year absence and he immediately halted the winning run of Aberdeen.

Had it not been for Joe Lewis in the Aberdeen goal then Levein would have been celebrating three points instead of one, but the positivity and optimism seems to be back amongst the Hearts supporters. As for Aberdeen it’s another game unbeaten particularly when they weren’t at their best.

Motherwell have surprised a few people so far and collected their third win in a row to climb into the top six. Yes, it is early in the season, but they now have won eight out of 10 games in all competitions and the feel good factor is back courtesy of Stephen Robinson.

As for Kilmarnock, a single point from their opening games will be a major cause of concern for Lee McCulloch and he will want an upturn in results as soon as possible.

St Johnstone still remain unbeaten in the league but only just as Neil Lennon’s Hibernian almost nicked a win in Perth.

Tommy Wright wasn’t happy with his teams performance but they showed great resilience to hang in for a point when the momentum was against them.

Partick Thistle were the last team to put a point on the board with a hard earned draw at Ross County even though its now 11 games without a league win for Alan Archibald’s side and a major concern for the Jags.

County stopped a run of four straight defeats in all competitions and it was a well-deserved point but Jim McIntyre will hope it kick-starts their season.

The week ahead

Celtic face the might and the money of PSG in the Champions league on Tuesday night with Neymar, Mbappe and Cavani rolling into town, while on Friday night we have a Glasgow Derby with Partick Thistle hosting Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.

Celtic have earned the right to face one of the most glamorous sides in the world currently by working their way through three qualifying rounds.

Everyone (well, almost everyone) in Scottish football will be backing them in their quest to compete first and foremost then hopefully progress into the latter stages of the competition. This is a game not to miss for sure.

Onto Friday and Rangers look to continue their recent winning run as they visit Partick Thistle, who themselves look to win for the first time this season.

The big talking point

Scott Brown was a lucky man on Friday night, as it looked like he aimed a kick at Hamilton defender Giannis Skondras while he lay on the ground during a coming together.

Ex-Celtic striker, and my fellow pundit, Chris Sutton said it was petulant and deserving of a red card and I agree.

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