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Scottish Premiership: Will Celtic or Rangers win title? Who will finish in top six? How will relegation battle go? | Football News

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We’re into the final match before the Scottish Premiership split and there is still plenty to decide right across the top flight.

Celtic now have a commanding six point lead over defending champions Rangers in a title race that looked set to go into the final rounds of the season.

Hearts are on course to finish third, however, fourth to 10th are separated by just four points as clubs battle for European football and a top-six spot.

At the bottom, St Johnstone’s win over Livingston sees them move six clear of Dundee who are at the foot of the table but can Callum Davidson’s side catch those above?

Here, we assess the main battles from across the top flight and look at the fixtures that matter until the end of the season…

The table…

The fixtures…

Title race

Gio Ange

Rangers returned from the winter break with a six-point advantage over Celtic. However, Ange Postecoglou’s side are now six points ahead of their rivals with six games to go.

Sunday’s Old Firm win at Ibrox could have been a title-defining result for Celtic as the maintained their unbeaten run which now stands at 26 league matches.

Conversely, their rivals struggled for consistency after Boxing Day. Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side dropped seven points in their first four games back which saw Celtic leapfrog them in the table.

They have had a series of impressive results in Europe, but domestically they saw their unbeaten home record ended by their biggest rivals as hope of retaining the title slipped a little further.

The pride of being crowned champions will be more than enough for supporters, but this season’s Premiership title comes with an even bigger prize. A place in the Champions League is all but guaranteed. With that comes a cash injection of £30m and rising.

There’s now no margin for error for Rangers over the coming weeks if they are to have any hope of catching an impressive Celtic side.

Celtic

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Watch highlights of the Old Firm match between Rangers and Celtic as the away side come from behind to win 2-1 at Ibrox

Position: 1st
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 2.46
Current league form: WDWWWW
Next league fixture: St Johnstone (h)
Title Sky Bet odds: 1/20

Rangers

GLASGOW, SCOTLAND - APRIL 03: Rangers' Connor Goldson looks dejected at full time during a cinch Premiership match between Rangers and Celtic at Ibrox Stadium, on April 02, 2022, in Glasgow, Scotland.  (Photo by Rob Casey / SNS Group)
Image:
Rangers hopes of retaining the Scottish Premiership title are slipping away

Position: 2nd
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 2.28
Current league form: DDWWWL
Next league fixture: St Mirren (a)
Title Sky Bet odds: 8/1

Top-six battle

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - DECEMBER 22: Hibernians Ryan Porteous puts Hibernian 1-0 up during a Cinch Premiership match between Hibernian and Aberdeen at Easter Road, on December 22, 2021, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)

While Hearts are set to finish behind the Old Firm, it is anyone’s guess who will seal the fourth European spot and the remaining top-six places.

Dundee United, Motherwell, Hibernian, Ross County, Livingston, Aberdeen and St Mirren are separated by just four points, so who will finish in the top half?

Hearts

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - JANUARY 29: Hearts Manager Robbie Neilson during a cinch Premiership match between Hearts and Motherwell at Tynecastle Stadium, on anuary 29, 2022, in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Ross Parker / SNS Group)
Image:
Hearts are on course for third place in their first season back in the Scottish Premiership

Position: 3rd
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.68
Current league form: LWWDWD
Next league fixture: Hibernian (h)
Top six Sky Bet odds: Betting suspended

Dundee Utd

DUNDEE, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 09: Dundee United's Tony Watt celebrates making it 2-0 during a cinch Premiership match between Dundee United and Motherwell at Tannadice Park, on February 09, 2022, in Dundee, Scotland. (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)
Image:
Tony Watt joined Dundee United from Motherwell in January

Position: 4th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.25
Current league form: DDLDWD
Next league fixture: Dundee (h)
Top six Sky Bet odds: 1/6

Motherwell

Motherwell are without a win in their last six games
Image:
Motherwell picked up their first win of 2022 against St Mirren

Position: 5th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.21
Current league form: DDLDLW
Next league fixture: Livingston (a)
Top six Sky Bet odds: 5/2

Hibernian

Hibernian manager Shaun Maloney
Image:
Hibernian boss Shaun Maloney believes his side can finish in the top-four

Position: 6th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.18
Current league form: WDDDLD
Next league fixture: Hearts (a)
Top six Sky Bet odds: 4/9

Ross County

DUNDEE, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 05: Ross County manager Malky Mackay at full time during a cinch Premiership match between Dundee and Ross County the Kilmac Stadium at Dens Park, on February 05, 2022, in Dundee, Scotland.  (Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group)
Image:
Malky Mackay has guided Ross County away from relegation danger

Position: 7th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.15
Current league form: LWWWLD
Next league fixture: Aberdeen (a)
Top six Sky Bet odds: 11/4

Livingston

Livingston dominate the WhoScored team of the week with Alan Forrest named player of the week
Image:
Livingston finished in the top-six last season

Position: 8th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.15
Current league form: DWWLLL
Next league fixture: Motherwell (h)
Top six Sky Bet odds: 8/15

Aberdeen

Aberdeen Manager Jim Goodwin
Image:
Jim Goodwin is in charge at Aberdeen after leaving St Mirren

Position: 9th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.12
Current league form: DDLLWD
Next league fixture: Ross County (a)
Top six Sky Bet odds: 6/4

St Mirren

PAISLEY, SCOTLAND - FEBRUARY 09: St Mirren's Connor Ronan celebrates making it 1-1 with Jordan Jones during a cinch Premiership match between St. Mirren and St Johnstone at the SMISA Stadium, on February 09, 2022, in Paisley, Scotland. (Photo by Alan Harvey / SNS Group)
Image:
St Mirren just missed out on a top-six finish last season

Position: 10th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 1.12
Current league form: LLLWLL
Next league fixture: Rangers (h)
Top six Sky Bet odds: 7/1

Who could go down?

PERTH, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 02: St Johnstone's Michael O'Halloran and Dundee's Liam Fontaine in action during the cinch Premiership match between St Johnstone and Dundee at McDiarmid Park on October 02, 2021, in Perth, Scotland. (Photo by Roddy Scott / SNS Group)

Dundee – under new manager Mark McGhee – find themselves in the unenviable position of being bottom following their return to the Premiership this season.

The Dens Park club are now six points behind St Johnstone, whose manager Callum Davidson believes securing survival would match last season’s historic League Cup and Scottish Cup double.

Finishing 11th is the minimum aim for both teams, but a tricky relegation play-off final – live on Sky Sports – would still lie in store.

St Johnstone

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From League Cup and Scottish Cup winners to a relegation battle – here’s the story of St Johnstone’s rollercoaster 12 months

Position: 11th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 0.93
Current league form: WLLDWW
Next league fixture: Celtic (a)
To finish bottom Sky Bet odds: 15/2

Dundee

Image:
Mark McGhee has taken over at Dundee after James McPake’s sacking

Position: 12th
Games played: 32
Points Per Game: 0.75
Current league form: LDDLLD
Next league fixture: Dundee United (a)
To finish bottom Sky Bet odds: 1/16

The pre-split games coming up live on Sky Sports

NEW SCOT PREM BADGES IMAGE FOR 2021/22 SEASON

Further dates, kick-off times and television details to be confirmed – all fixtures subject to change.

Sunday April 10

St Mirren v Rangers – Kick-off 12 noon





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Pep Guardiola jokes he’s ‘sorry’ that he stopped Mikel Arteta from becoming Manchester City manager

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Arsenal will face City at the Etihad Stadium tonight, with Guardiola’s former assistant back on his old North West stomping ground in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Gunners head north leading rivals City by five points with a game in hand atop the Premier League, but acutely aware of the challenging taking on the frustrated Guardiola and company.

Arteta left Guardiola’s City setup in December 2019 to take the Arsenal helm, transforming the Gunners in remarkable fashion since.

“I am pretty sure if I would have left here before, he would be here [at City] and he would be the best, absolutely,” said Guardiola, of Arteta.

“But I extended my contract, I am sorry, and he didn’t wait, so it could not happen. But definitely it could have.”

Arteta joined Manchester City’s coaching ranks on retiring as a player in 2016, learning his craft under master tactician and serial winner Guardiola.

City’s former Barcelona boss revealed how Arteta would never celebrate goals against the Gunners, the team he represented more than 100 times between 2011 and 2016.

“He loves the club; I remember when we were together here and we scored goals, he jumped a lot and celebrated – except with one team,” said Guardiola.

“One team, every time we score a goal, I jump, look back and he was sitting there. It was Arsenal.”



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R Madrid 3 – 1 A Madrid

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Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior scored in extra-time as Real Madrid fought back to beat local rivals Atletico 3-1 on Thursday and reach the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

On a freezing night at a sold-out Santiago Bernabeu hosting its first game for 77 days due to the World Cup break, Real started slowly and Atletico had many dangerous counter-attacks.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata, right, celebrates with teammate Antoine Griezmann after scoring the opening goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Image:
Atletico Madrid took the lead against their rivals

Atletico captain Koke delivered a brilliant through ball to Nahuel Molina who ghosting in behind Reals defence and the full back set up Alvaro Morata, a former Real academy player, to tap the ball into an empty net in the 19th minute.

Eder Militao wasted a golden chance to equalise in the 32nd minute after Toni Kroos had delivered a perfect cross.

Atletico Madrid's Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring
Image:
Alvaro Morata celebrates scoring the opener

It was not only until Dani Ceballos came off the bench to replace the injured Ferland Mendy late in the first half that Real started to play better.

The 26-year-old midfielder injected a new dynamic into the team who were far more aggressive after the break.

Benzema wasted two good opportunities and Federico Valverde also sent a shot wide from just outside the box.

Real Madrid's Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates
Image:
Real Madrid’s Rodrygo celebrates with team-mates

Substitute Rodrygo equalised in the 79th with a delightful goal, dribbling past three defenders before finishing well.

With Real Madrid in full control, Atletico played most of extra time with 10 men after defender Stefan Savic was shown his second yellow card for chopping down Eduardo Camavinga in the 99th minute.

Five minutes later, Real substitute Marco Asensio sent a low cross into the box and Vinicius’s deflected shot reached Benzema who unleashed an unstoppable strike into the net.

Real Madrid's Karim Benzema, left, celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's second goal during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter final soccer match between Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Image:
Karim Benzema’s goal made it 2-1 in extra time

Vinicius secured Real’s win in the dying seconds with a brilliant individual goal, running half the length of the pitch before scoring with a low shot.

“We got behind very early and after Mendy’s injury the whole team had to be rebuilt. But we woke up and played really well after the break,” Ceballos told TVE.

“They played better in the first half, but the coach corrected things in the second; we took control of the ball and found the goal. Then, after the red card, everything was easier.”

Real Madrid joined Barcelona, Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao in the semi-finals.



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Everything we know about Chiefs’ QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle

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Patrick Mahomes examines his ankle last Sunday against the Jaguars.

Patrick Mahomes examines his ankle last Sunday against the Jaguars.
Image: Getty Images

It’s conference championship week. With only four teams on the NFL schedule this week — the Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals — one interesting storyline can dominate the entire conversation leading up to the games. This time, it’s QB Patrick Mahomes’ ankle.

The fact that this storyline is the dominant one heading into the weekend makes sense. He’s the best player in the league, and his team is hosting the AFC Championship Game against the Bengals who are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. Also, the game is taking place one week after he suffered a high-ankle sprain and was still able to hobble the Chiefs to victory — aided of course by a timely 98-yard touchdown drive that was led by backup quarterback Chad Henne.

How mobile does Mahomes look right now?

Since his right ankle got rolled against the Jacksonville Jaguars, no leg in America has had as much attention on it as his. Not even Brent Maher’s as he overcame his kicking yips during the Dallas Cowboys’ loss on Sunday to the Eagles. Mahomes’ ankle has so much attention on it that Fox 4 KC’s Harold R. Kuntz has been filming him walking down from the press conference podium the last two days. And by filming Mahomes, I mean only his legs.

Thursday update: Mahomes didn’t even need to use the stairs.

Knox’s assessment: Don’t be a hero… until Sunday.

Kuntz isn’t the only reporter on the scene sharing video footage of Mahomes’ mobility. During the portion of practice that was open to the media, many videos were sent out of Mahomes moving around. As the Chiefs were warming up, Mahomes actually jogged and spun as he headed toward his next station. He is certainly running better than he was on Sunday.

In their comments to the media, Andy Reid said that Mahomes “did a nice job and was “comfortable with what we did.” Mahomes said that he believed his Wednesday practice went, “better than I expected.”

For Chiefs fans — and those of us who want to see a well-played AFC Championship Game — this news out of Kansas City is the best we could’ve received. On the Chiefs’ most active days of practice, Mahomes was seen moving very well. Also, he and the head coach both gave positive updates about the health of the most important leg in sports this weekend.

Will the ankle affect Mahomes’ play on Sunday?

There is no possible way that Mahomes will be 100 percent against the Bengals. They are going to test that ankle by trying to apply the same type of pressure that disrupted the Buffalo Bills during the Bengals’ Divisional Round win on Sunday. However, if he can move around all game as well as he has been in practice, he will be able to play well enough for the Chiefs to have a chance at victory.

We’ve received the closeup and overhead views of Mahomes’ health. All that is left is the view at Arrowhead Stadium from the CBS cameras at 6:30 p.m. EST on Jan. 29, 2023.





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