Momentum shifts again at Scottish Premiership summit as Celtic stumble and Rangers strut

The Scottish Premiership continues to seesaw back and forth after another weekend of drama…

Football can be a fickle beast.

Peskily dependent on vaguely intangible metrics like “momentum” and “fan unrest”, sometimes not even the hallowed surety of the points column is enough to provide us with a proper account of a side’s fortunes.

The two Old Firm clubs are a fine case in point on that fact.

Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)
Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

On the face of it, Rangers’ four-point lead over Celtic could be seen as the kind of sprouting acorn which shot up into a mighty, unfellable oak last season, but things have been a little more complex than that of late.

For one thing, Steven Gerrard’s men have looked decidedly brittle in defence at times, and dropped points in recent draws against the likes of Aberdeen and Hearts have stopped them from properly locking in a full nelson on that top spot. By contrast, the Hoops may be lagging a little way behind, but they looked superb for most of October, and – whisper it – were genuinely starting to resemble the green and white juggernaut of old. Or at least they were for a bit.

Then this weekend happened.

Lurching about like a drunken bear, momentum at the top of the Scottish Premiership once again shifted – albeit this time in the direction of the defending champions.

For a division that so often feels like a two-horse cakewalk, the early knockings of this season has been more akin to a hectic Mario Kart race, and stragglers Livingston were only too happy to send a blue shell careering into Celtic’s rear bumper.

Despite have 86% possession and registering 16 attempts on goal to Livi’s paltry two, the Hoops simply could not find a way through at Parkhead on Saturday afternoon, and rather than leapfrogging Rangers at the summit, they were left watching on longingly as the Gers did the business against Motherwell on Sunday.

Perhaps it would be a little corny to drop in some kind of Halloween-inflected quip here, but needless to say that when Gerrard’s side hit their stride like they did at Fir Park, they are downright frightening.

It could, of course, have been a very different affair. Conceding the opener after just 13 minutes was an eerily familiar rerun of last Wednesday’s draw with Aberdeen, but alas, after a nervy half hour, the Gers were soon on their way to posting the kind of score that might make Scotland's T20 squad jealous.

In large part, they had Fashion Sakala to thank for their dominance in a relentless 6-1 win. The Zambian hit his first ever Gers hat-trick, and the man with the dapper moniker looks to have finally found his footing in Glasgow.

As for what his heroics mean for the title race, the reality is – of course – that it’s way, way too early to tell. But again, after just two matches – one that eventually went to plan and one that certainly didn’t – the vibe, for want of a better word, at the top of the table feels just that bit different.

Already, this is a season that has twisted and turned plenty, but if this weekend was a reminder of anything, it’s that the title race is still poised on a knife’s edge.