·28 May 2023
·28 May 2023
Rangers and Celtic both finished the cinch Premiership campaign with convincing wins, while 10-man Hearts earned a point in a stormy Edinburgh derby against Hibernian to hold off their city rivals in the battle for fourth place.
In the bottom half, Dundee United’s relegation was confirmed as they lost to Kevin Van Veen-inspired Motherwell, while Kilmarnock ensured their survival and consigned opponents Ross County to a play-off.
Kilmarnock secured their top-flight survival with a deserved 3-1 win at home to Ross County. The Ayrshire side will have been relieved to avoid a two-legged play-off with free-scoring Championship side Partick Thistle. Instead it is County who must overcome a Jags side who have scored 16 goals in their four play-off matches against Queen’s Park and Ayr if they are to remain in the top flight for a fifth consecutive season.
Dundee United’s relegation was confirmed after they suffered a fifth consecutive post-split defeat away to Motherwell, for whom Kevin Van Veen scored in an 11th consecutive match. Despite his involvement in their disastrous campaign, United have placed their faith in manager Jim Goodwin – who presided over just three wins in 12 matches since taking over in March – to bring them back up. The Irishman was handed a new two-year contract on Saturday and faces a big task over the summer to ensure they are equipped to live up to expectations of promotion from the Championship at the first attempt.
The Hoops had dropped off after clinching the title at Tynecastle, claiming only one point from their subsequent three games. But Ange Postecoglou picked what looked his strongest side for trophy day and their tempo blew Aberdeen away as they cruised to a 5-0 win that sets them up nicely for the Scottish Cup final against Inverness.
Rangers concluded their campaign with a commanding 3-0 win over St Mirren in Paisley that left them on 92 points, seven behind champions Celtic. Boss Michael Beale, who took over from Giovanni van Bronckhorst last November, highlighted a generally impressive points tally. The Ibrox side went unbeaten at home in the league with 16 wins and three draws. Away from home there were just four defeats and two draws yet it was still not enough to stop Celtic landing back-to-back titles. Standards will have to be even higher next season.
Steven Naismith’s seven-game reign as interim Hearts manager ended with a hard-fought draw against Hibernian that secured fourth place and European football. The 36-year-old would have hoped for more than two wins from his seven games in charge but three spirited draws from positions of adversity against St Mirren, Rangers and the Hibees helped convince many Hearts fans that he deserves a crack at the manager’s job on a permanent basis. Naismith declared himself ready for management after Saturday’s stormy derby, and the Hearts board must now decide whether to stick with the rookie boss or go for a more established figurehead.
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