McDiarmid Park has been lined up for Wednesday’s cinch Premiership encounter between Dundee and Rangers if Dens Park fails a pitch inspection on Tuesday.

The Scottish Professional Football League is eager for the game to be played before the post-split fixtures begin even though Dundee clinched the final place in the top six with a draw at Aberdeen on Saturday.

The match has been postponed twice because of a waterlogged surface. The game was initially called off last month 90 minutes before kick-off and last Wednesday saw the fifth postponement at Dens Park this season.

In a statement, the league announced its contingency measures.

“The SPFL has appointed an experienced pitch consultancy, which is regularly used by UEFA and other sporting bodies, to report back to the league with guidance on the condition of the pitch in advance of Wednesday’s match,” it read.

“Dundee were also informed on Thursday that they must provide the pitch consultants, SPFL and Rangers with daily updates on the playing surface and weather forecast, and immediately report any concerns regarding Wednesday’s match being played at Dens Park.

“It has further been agreed that the match official will carry out an inspection of the playing surface on the morning of Tuesday, April 16, after which, taking weather forecasts into account, a final decision will be taken on whether to play the game at Dens Park.

“If the game cannot be played at Dens Park, the SPFL has confirmed that it will be moved to St Johnstone’s McDiarmid Park on Wednesday, April 17, with Dundee making arrangements for fans of both teams to attend.

“If the game requires to be moved to McDiarmid Park, it will still be categorised as a Dundee FC ‘home game’.

“The SPFL is grateful for the assistance of St Johnstone and will make a further announcement (on Tuesday).”

Rangers added in their own statement: “Following strong representations from Rangers, supporters who have tickets for Dens Park will be able to attend the game at McDiarmid Park, should it move.”

The post-split fixtures are not expected to be announced on Monday.

Ross County delivered a body blow to Rangers’ cinch Premiership title hopes in Dingwall with their first win in their history over the Ibrox side.

When Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes it already looked a long way back for the home side but two goals in three minutes soon after the break from Simon Murray and George Harmon turned the game on its head before Josh Sims added a third after 69 minutes.

Gers skipper James Tavernier netted a penalty in the 89th minute following VAR intervention but the spirited home side held on for a momentous 3-2 win which also boosts their bid to avoid relegation.

After 20 defeats and four draws in 24 games against Rangers, the Dingwall club had at last registered a long-awaited win over the Govan club and its ramifications affect both ends of the table as second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone.

With six fixtures remaining Philippe Clement’s side are four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night but it is the Hoops who now look to be in command.

Once again Rangers, with Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell, Todd Cantwell and Abdallah Sima back in the side, found themselves under the pressure of trying to reduce the gap behind their Old Firm rivals.

Ross Laidlaw, Yan Dhanda, Sims, Victor Loturi and  Harmon were restored to Don Cowie’s side who started the game nine points ahead of bottom side Livingston.

County had the first attempt on goal within minutes when Michee Efete’s cross from the right found Harmon at the back post but under pressure from Sima he scoped the ball over the bar.

Rangers struggled to get into their rhythm but they were gifted the lead following Tavernier’s corner from the right.

Portuguese attacker Silva headed on and in his attempt to clear while facing his own net and challenging Gers defender John Souttar, Baldwin succeeded only in knocking the ball over the line as Laidlaw failed to keep it out although it took a while before the goal registered with the travelling fans at the other end of the ground.

The game opened up further and Laidlaw saved a decent shot from Cantwell before Gers keeper Jack Butland kept out a low drive from Sims with Laidlaw saving further efforts from Sima and striker Cyriel Dessers.

In the 38th minute, amid a spell of County pressing, Harmon lifted a shot high over the bar from close range as did Dessers at the other end before the break.

The game took an unexpected twist at the start of the second half when energetic County striker Murray levelled at the second attempt, driving in after Butland had blocked his first shot with his foot.

Rangers were still coming to terms with that setback when Murray found himself with space again before unleashing a drive which Butland spilled but Harmon was on hand to drive into the net.

The Govan side shook themselves and Dessers and Sima had efforts of varying quality before Sima used his hand to knock the ball into the County net with the ‘goal’ ruled out.

The home side ran up the pitch moments later and scored a third, Murray breaking into the box and setting up Sims to show composure before beating Butland from close range

Cantwell struck the bar with a terrific effort six minutes later and then VAR Andrew Dallas flagged up a possible handball from County substitute Brandon Khela inside the box and referee Matthew MacDermid awarded a penalty after a monitor check which Tavernier converted, but there was to be no comeback.

Rangers slipped up against the most unlikeliest of opponents and it may prove fatal.

Philippe Clement revealed Rangers failed to heed his half-time warning before slipping to a historic defeat to Ross County which dented their cinch Premiership title hopes.

Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes of a first half in which the home side could have netted at least twice against a below-par Gers outfit.

County then scored two quick-fire second-half goals through Simon Murray and George Harmon before Josh Sims added a stunning third and the hosts survived a late penalty from Gers skipper James Tavernier to win 3-2.

It was the Dingwall club’s first victory over Rangers after 20 defeats and four draws in 24 previous meetings.

The result left the Light Blues four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee on Wednesday night, while second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone as they go into the split.

Clement said: “We threw away the points today. We didn’t start well enough in the first half on the ball and in the duels.

“We had chances but we were not lethal with the chances we had in the first half, a few of which were clear ones.

“You come into half-time in a good way 1-0 ahead and I warned the players it was not good enough in the first half and I wanted to see more second half and keep the clean sheet, but then you concede two goals in five minutes or something like that and start to chase the game.

“That makes it more difficult and you give energy to the opponent who get more energy and put their bodies in front of the ball all over the pitch to make a decisive duel.

“In the last half hour, I saw the urgency and I wanted to see that 90 minutes long, not 30 minutes long.

“There were too many mistakes made in our defensive part which is not usual from our team.

“There were some strange goals to concede and we didn’t score enough with the opportunities we had.

“In the end we give a lot of energy to our opponent and all credit to Ross County who defended with a big heart until the end. We need to see the opposition team don’t get so much energy by being better with and without the ball.”

County boss Don Cowie believes his players “took real belief from what was happening on the pitch” to get a “big win.”

He said: “Even though we conceded the goal we had created a couple of really good chances.

“We weren’t clinical enough and didn’t take them. But you sense it as a player. You realise what’s happening. And they built from that.

“The message at half-time was that we had done really well and we were disappointed to be behind. It was about coming out fast and being positive and they certainly did that.

“At the end of the game it got a bit nervy and that is natural.

“They got the penalty. But I saw a group of players putting their bodies on the line to make sure we got the three points and that was very pleasing.”

Clement explained why he did not shake hands with Cowie immediately after the game – he waited until they met at post-match media duties.

The Gers boss said: “I went inside directly. I wanted to prepare really well what I had to say to the team. Nothing towards him, a lot of credit for him and what he has been doing here.”

Cowie said: “He apologised that he didn’t shake my hand, which I have got no problem with.

“It is a game that he probably expects to come up and win and he is in a pressured situation in terms of fighting for the league title. I had 10 minutes with him prior to the game and he was very respectful. No issues there with me.”

Ross County delivered a body blow to Rangers’ cinch Premiership title hopes in Dingwall with their first win in their history over the Ibrox side.

When Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes it already looked a long way back for the home side but two goals in three minutes soon after the break from Simon Murray and George Harmon turned the game on its head before Josh Sims added a third after 69 minutes.

Gers skipper James Tavernier netted a penalty in the 89th minute following VAR intervention but the spirited home side held on for a momentous 3-2 win which also boosts their bid to avoid relegation.

After 20 defeats and four draws in 24 games against Rangers, the Dingwall club had at last registered a long-awaited win over the Govan club and its ramifications affect both ends of the table as second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone.

With six fixtures remaining Philippe Clement’s side are four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night but it is the Hoops who now look to be in command.

Once again Rangers, with Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell, Todd Cantwell and Abdallah Sima back in the side, found themselves under the pressure of trying to reduce the gap behind their Old Firm rivals.

Ross Laidlaw, Yan Dhanda, Sims, Victor Loturi and  Harmon were restored to Don Cowie’s side who started the game nine points ahead of bottom side Livingston.

County had the first attempt on goal within minutes when Michee Efete’s cross from the right found Harmon at the back post but under pressure from Sima he scoped the ball over the bar.

Rangers struggled to get into their rhythm but they were gifted the lead following Tavernier’s corner from the right.

Portuguese attacker Silva headed on and in his attempt to clear while facing his own net and challenging Gers defender John Souttar, Baldwin succeeded only in knocking the ball over the line as Laidlaw failed to keep it out although it took a while before the goal registered with the travelling fans at the other end of the ground.

The game opened up further and Laidlaw saved a decent shot from Cantwell before Gers keeper Jack Baldwin kept out a low drive from Sims with Laidlaw saving further efforts from Sima and striker Cyriel Dessers.

In the 38th minute, amid a spell of County pressing, Harmon lifted a shot high over the bar from close range as did Dessers at the other end before the break.

The game took an unexpected twist at the start of the second half when energetic County striker Murray levelled at the second attempt, driving in after Butland had blocked his first shot with his foot.

Rangers were still coming to terms with that setback when Murray found himself with space again before unleashing a drive which Butland spilled but Harmon was on hand to drive into the net.

The Govan side shook themselves and Dessers and Sima had efforts of varying quality before Sima used his hand to knock the ball into the County net with the ‘goal’ ruled out.

The home side ran up the pitch moments later and scored a third, Murray breaking into the box and setting up Sims to show composure before beating Butland from close range

Cantwell struck the bar with a terrific effort six minutes later and then VAR Andrew Dallas flagged up a possible handball from County substitute Brandon Khela inside the box and referee Matthew MacDermid awarded a penalty after a monitor check which Tavernier converted, but there was to be no comeback.

Rangers slipped up against the most unlikeliest of opponents and it may prove fatal.

Ross County delivered a body blow to Rangers’ cinch Premiership title hopes in Dingwall with their first-ever win over the Ibrox side.

When Staggies skipper Jack Baldwin scored an own goal after 15 minutes it already looked a long way back for the home side but two goals in three minutes soon after the break from Simon Murray and George Harmon turned the game on its head before Josh Sims added a third after 69 minutes.

Gers skipper James Tavernier netted a penalty in the 89th minute following VAR intervention but the spirited home side held on for a momentous 3-2 win which also boosts their bid to avoid relegation.

After 20 defeats and four draws in 24 games against Rangers, the Dingwall club had at last registered a long-awaited win over the Govan club and its ramifications affect both ends of the table as second-bottom County moved to within a point of 10th-placed St Johnstone.

With six fixtures remaining Philippe Clement’s side are four points behind leaders Celtic with a game in hand against Dundee at Dens Park on Wednesday night but it is the Hoops who now look to be in command.

Once again Rangers, with Borna Barisic, Kieran Dowell, Todd Cantwell and Abdallah Sima back in the side, found themselves under the pressure of trying to reduce the gap behind their Old Firm rivals.

Ross Laidlaw, Yan Dhanda, Sims, Victor Loturi and  Harmon were restored to Don Cowie’s side who started the game nine points ahead of bottom side Livingston.

County had the first attempt on goal within minutes when Michee Efete’s cross from the right found Harmon at the back post but under pressure from Sima he scoped the ball over the bar.

Rangers struggled to get into their rhythm but they were gifted the lead following Tavernier’s corner from the right.

Portuguese attacker Silva headed on and in his attempt to clear while facing his own net and challenging Gers defender John Souttar, Baldwin succeeded only in knocking the ball over the line as Laidlaw failed to keep it out although it took a while before the goal registered with the travelling fans at the other end of the ground.

The game opened up further and Laidlaw saved a decent shot from Cantwell before Gers keeper Jack Baldwin kept out a low drive from Sims with Laidlaw saving further efforts from Sima and striker Cyriel Dessers.

In the 38th minute, amid a spell of County pressing, Harmon lifted a shot high over the bar from close range as did Dessers at the other end before the break.

The game took an unexpected twist at the start of the second half when energetic County striker Murray levelled at the second attempt, driving in after Butland had blocked his first shot with his foot.

Rangers were still coming to terms with that setback when Murray found himself with space again before unleashing a drive which Butland spilled but Harmon was on hand to drive into the net.

The Govan side shook themselves and Dessers and Sima had efforts of varying quality before Sima used his hand to knock the ball into the County net with the ‘goal’ ruled out.

The home side ran up the pitch moments later and scored a third, Murray breaking into the box and setting up Sims to show composure before beating Butland from close range

Cantwell struck the bar with a terrific effort six minutes later and then VAR Andrew Dallas flagged up a possible handball from County substitute Brandon Khela inside the box and referee Matthew MacDermid awarded a penalty after a monitor check which Tavernier converted, but there was to be no comeback.

Rangers slipped up against the most unlikeliest of opponents and it may prove fatal.

Derek McInnes was thrilled after his Kilmarnock side edged closer to securing European football with a confident victory over St Johnstone.

Killie deservedly took the lead midway through the first half when Joe Wright turned home Liam Polworth’s pin-point delivery – and the visitors were denied on multiple occasions to extend their advantage by the heroics of Dimitar Mitov.

The game was settled with nine minutes remaining after Marley Watkins tapped home his 13th goal of the season.

Kilmarnock have extended their advantage in fourth place to eight points, with just five games remaining.

“I thought first half we were very good,” McInnes said.

“Coming away from home, we tried to impose ourselves. We spoke throughout the week about the importance of matching their motivation.

“We knew we were up against a team with so much riding on the game, we had to match that and a bit more.

“I was bemoaning the fact we didn’t get that second goal, which we maybe merited for our first half dominance as an away team – to have that control was really pleasing.

“We never got started in first 20 minutes of the second half but thankfully we got the second.

“It’s not easy winning games in this league, especially away from home – we did a lot right and credit to our players.”

Despite moving one step closer to returning to Europe for the first time since 2019, the Rugby Park boss insists there is still work to do.

Kilmarnock have lost just one of their 11 Premiership encounters since returning from the winter break in January.

He added: “There’s still work to be done and hopefully a few more special days to have.”

Craig Levein felt his team failed to hit the heights of recent performance during a lacklustre showing.

Saints were unable to build on their excellent victory against Hibernian at Easter Road as they slumped to defeat at McDiarmid Park.

St Johnstone remain 10th in the table and look set for a battle to avoid the play-off position in their post-split fixtures.

“The rollercoaster is back in operation. It was a hell of a frustrating afternoon,” Levein said.

“After the last two games I’ve been talking fairly confidently about continuing at that level.

“We didn’t play with the confidence I thought we should’ve done because of our previous performances.

“Individually we didn’t have that many players who played anywhere near their best.

“Kilmarnock didn’t batter us by any stretch of the imagination and we had some good chances.”

Brendan Rodgers feels Celtic are coming alive at the right time after an impressive second-half display against St Mirren gave them a 3-0 win which sends them four points clear in the cinch Premiership.

The champions struggled to create chances in a ponderous first-half display which saw St Mirren create the better openings.

But Celtic upped their intensity at the start of the second half and Reo Hatate produced a classy finish with the outside of his boot in the 52nd minute.

Kyogo Furuhashi and substitute Adam Idah both headed home to complete a 3-0 victory which keeps the destiny of the title in their hands as well as Rangers, who are due to play twice before the split.

Rodgers, whose team face Aberdeen in the Scottish Gas Scottish Cup semi-finals next weekend, said: “I really look forward to this period, this is when Celtic comes alive. Five games to go, trophies at stake, Scottish Cup at stake, so bring it on.”

Rodgers, whose side led for the vast majority of last weekend’s 3-3 draw with Rangers, added: “We’re in a really good position and when you know that everything is with you – and you decide what your destiny is.

“That’s why the result at Ibrox was huge for us, as well as the performance. We played really well last week and when we had to bite down on the gum-shield, we were tough and (have) seen it through in a difficult environment.

“That bodes well for us. We know we can play football, play with speed, and we can score goals. We’ve also shown a steeliness which will be important in the run-in.”

Although Celtic have lost Daizen Maeda to a hamstring problem, the return to fitness of Hatate and Callum McGregor has been a major boost.

On Hatate, Rodgers said: “We are trying to build him up and he was outstanding at Ibrox. When he went off, we lost a wee bit in midfield.

“But he’s had a really good week’s training and he got his goal, which will be great for his confidence. He’s a huge player for us.

“Reo had come back a few times and broke down while away with the Japanese squad. He was devastated at that.

“We have to be careful with all the players. We have to manage him and Callum, who was more like himself and had a fantastic cameo .

“But with Reo, or any top player, you try to have the right plan for him which allows him to peak at the right time.”

On Maeda, Rodgers said: “I’m not sure Daizen will feature too much, it’s such a small window now. I’m not sure if he will feature before the end of the season.”

St Mirren manager Stephen Robinson bemoaned the injuries which disrupted his side’s positive first-half display. Elvis Bwomono went off following a head knock midway through the opening half and others would soon follow.

“We were excellent for 45 minutes and then we can get undone by two excellent goals,” Robinson said.

“Kyogo’s movement for the second goal was fantastic and the delivery as well. And the first goal was a super finish. That’s the difference in levels. The first one wasn’t a clear opportunity but they made the best of it.

“The two injuries before and at half-time stopped a bit of our momentum. It takes players time to get into the rhythm and the shape. Scott Tanser and Elvis going off seemed to stop our rhythm and then Greg Kiltie and Richard Taylor have to come off too.

“We maybe had five enforced changes that we didn’t want to have to make. Sometimes Lady Luck isn’t shining on you.

“Credit to Celtic for the quality they showed when they needed to. That’s the difference in levels.”

Hearts manager Steven Naismith admitted he always expected his team to respond after coming from two goals down to beat Livingston 4-2.

The hosts were punished for a slow start after going two down inside 22 minutes following a Stephen Kelly brace.

But Hearts fought back in emphatic fashion after scoring through Jorge Grant, Yutaro Oda, Cammy Devlin and Lawrence Shankland before the break.

The win kept Hearts 11 points clear in third place in the cinch Premiership and confirmed European football for next season, with the Jambos now guaranteed at least a top-four finish.

Naismith insists he was not surprised by the manner of his side’s comeback.

He said: “We didn’t come out the changing room for the first 10-15 minutes. It was a poor start, really poor, really sloppy, and then brilliant.

“We lost two goals but it’s the third time we have come back. When the second goal goes in there’s a frustration from me and the fans.

“I knew when we were 2-0 down we’d come back into the game because we have shown it before. The element of having a ruthless streak and being more clinical is something we have talked about.

“And that part I am really happy with because our speed of attack, our bodies in the box, that’s what gets us back in the game. There were some really good goals.”

Naismith handed Craig Gordon his first league start since Christmas Eve 2022 ahead of the goalkeeper playing in next Sunday’s Scottish Cup semi-final against Rangers.

He added: “He’s been playing in the cup and I thought it was a good opportunity to get him a game before the semi-final. That was the decision.”

Livingston remain nine points adrift at the bottom ahead of the final five post-split matches and manager David Martindale insists the way the match unfolded summed up their season.

He said: “I think what you saw there in the first half was the story of our season played out in 45 minutes.

“We started the game really well and should have scored a third when Tete (Yengi) was clean through against Craig Gordon. That was an unbelievable chance.

“Stephen came up with two good goals. To give Hearts their due, they scored two decent goals but we gifted them the goals.”

Asked why Tete Yengi received a second yellow card just seconds after being substituted, Martindale added: “The kid comes off the park frustrated, he’s kicked one of our bottles. He’s kicked it into our dugout.

“I’m not saying what he’s done is right but I think you need to give him some leeway. I just think there has to be a bit of common sense applied.”

Tony Docherty emphasised his pride in his Dundee players after seeing his side clinch their spot in the cinch Premiership top six after a trying week.

The Dark Blues weathered an early Aberdeen storm but grew into the game and dominated proceedings, although only Lyall Cameron’s 70th-minute effort, which was blocked by Angus MacDonald, really threatened the home goal.

The hosts had a late flurry before captain Graeme Shinnie saw red deep into injury time for a second bookable offence.

Docherty, whose side’s game against Rangers was called off in mid-week due to a waterlogged pitch, said: “There’s an enormous sense of satisfaction and pride in the players. They deserve all the credit for everything they’ve done.

“There are certain seasons a team can get to a cup final by winning four or five games, but to do it over the course of a season, from being the newly-promoted team. It’s the youngest group in the league and it’s huge testament to them.”

Dundee’s top-six spot was confirmed thanks to Motherwell’s late equaliser against Hibernian.

“Our kitman was keeping in touch with the Hibs game, but the supporters got there before him,” added Docherty.

“It was a day where we had to adapt. We threw on strikers and then the goal (for Motherwell) comes so we throw on defenders.

“Today was a fantastic, gritty performance, but we’ve earned it over the course of the campaign. It’s testament to the players and I’m so pleased for them.”

Aberdeen caretaker Peter Leven felt his side had to score when they were in the ascendancy in the first half.

He said: “I thought we were really good first half, but I turned to the bench and said we need to score when we’re on top.

“We caused Dundee problems and they had to change their shape, then they changed personnel, but we really had to get that goal.

“We lacked a bit of cutting edge. We generally played well in our tempo and intensity, but in front of goal we’re a wee bit shy.

“I’ve not seen the red card as yet. I didn’t even know if it was for a second yellow, but I’ll need to watch it back.”

Nick Montgomery admitted finishing in the bottom six is unacceptable for Hibernian after seeing his side surrender a late lead against Motherwell at Fir Park.

Hibs’ prospects looked optimistic as they were set to move one point ahead of Dundee into sixth in the Scottish Premiership as they led Motherwell 1-0 courtesy of Myziane Maolida’s 64th-minute penalty.

But Shane Blaney fired home a thunderous equaliser in the last minute of added time with Motherwell’s first shot on target as both teams saw their top-six hopes came to an end.

The travelling supporters were furious and vented their anger towards the Hibs players and staff at full-time and Montgomery understands their frustrations.

“It’s not good enough for Hibs,” he said.

“You have to earn the right to get anywhere in football. You have to earn the right to get into the top six. As a club we have failed to hit one of our targets and that was the top six.

“The other two were progress in the cups, which we did to a good level. But the big target was to try and get into the top six. I’ve tried everything I can to get there.

“We’ve had stuff that’s probably been challenging for us, but as a club, yeah, we have to look back at the start of the season, before pre-season, and how we’ve ended up in this position where we’re going into the last game 20 seconds away from the top six.

“It’s 20 seconds away from not being good enough and unfortunately the results – last week as well – have gone against us and it’s really hard to explain how that’s happened.”

Motherwell boss Stuart Kettlewell praised the mentality of his side after another late goal salvaged a draw.

And they could even have won it at the death but Oli Shaw fired wide from a few yards out.

“I thought we snatched it at the end,” said Kettlewell. “It’s probably no surprise to myself or anyone in the room as we’ve become renowned this season for playing to the last whistle.

“We want to be ahead in games but we always rally and we have four strikers and two attackers on the pitch at the end – it was all out attack.

“I thought Oli had put the ball in the net, that was my gut instinct, when he got across the front post. But we left it late over the course for the top six but I can only credit my players.

“People had written us off for the top six and looked at us more towards the bottom of the table but we’ve shown brilliant personality and picked up points.”

Motherwell and Hibernian saw their top-six hopes ended following a high-stakes encounter at Fir Park where the Steelmen snatched a late equaliser in a thrilling finale.

Shane Blaney struck deep into stoppage time to earn a 1-1 draw for the hosts after Myziane Maolida had put Hibernian ahead with a 65th-minute penalty.

Both sides entered the encounter with aspirations of finishing in the top six with Motherwell needing a win to have any chance of catching sixth-placed Dundee.

A draw could have sufficed for Hibs – if Dundee lost their last two games – but it ultimately was not enough as Dundee picked up a point against Aberdeen to secure their top-six place ahead of facing Rangers on Wednesday night.

Hibs looked comfortable at Fir Park after taking the lead through Maolida’s second-half penalty but Blaney killed their dreams at the death with a thunderous left-footed finish beyond David Marshall.

Motherwell should have won it just 30 seconds later when Oli Shaw somehow diverted the ball wide from yards out but the result left the Hibs support furious as they made their discontent known towards the players at full-time.

The wind caused havoc for both sides on a blustery afternoon in Lanarkshire and there was a distinct lack of quality on show but a three-minute spell in the second half was pivotal.

Motherwell had the ball in the net through the in-form Theo Bair after 62 minutes following a sublime turn and pass from Lennon Miller but it was ruled out for offside with VAR backing up the linesman’s initial decision.

And just two minutes later, Hibernian were awarded a penalty when Stephen O’Donnell clumsily connected with Will Fish as he attempted to turn and Willie Collum did not hesitate to point to the spot.

Maolida stepped up confidently and rolled the ball past Liam Kelly in front of an ecstatic away support.

However, those same fans were left far from happy at the end following Blaney’s late intervention.

Chances were at a premium in the first half with Chris Cadden coming closest for the visitors when Liam Kelly tipped his powerful effort over the bar while Motherwell failed to click as an attacking threat.

Hibs, however, had the better opportunities after the break with Emiliano Hansen failing to connect properly with a dangerous fizzed cross from Nathan Moriah-Welsh before Elie Youan fired tamely at Kelly just minutes later.

There was a flashpoint after 56 minutes when Rocky Bushiri went down in the box with the travelling contingent screaming for a penalty but ref Collum was unmoved.

The experienced referee booked the Hibs centre-back before a flare-up ensued between both sets of players with Blair Spittal and Martin Boyle also cautioned for their involvement.

Dundee sealed their place in the top six of the cinch Premiership as they completed a controversial week with a goalless draw at Aberdeen.

The Dark Blues were the better side for long spells of a match that saw Dons captain Graeme Shinnie sent off in injury time.

After the postponement of their midweek clash with Rangers, the visitors arrived at Pittodrie knowing their place in the top six would be confirmed if they matched Hibernian’s result away to Motherwell.

But the home side had other ideas.

The lively Duk was brought down by Antonio Portales in the opening stages, with the defender earning the first of three bookings for fouls on the Cape Verde man in the first quarter of the game.

From the resulting free-kick Leighton Clarkson’s effort was pushed over the bar by Jon McCracken in the Dundee goal.

Another Clarkson set-piece saw Nicky Devlin head tamely towards goal before Bojan Miovski’s persistence in the right channel fashioned an opening for Clarkson himself, only for the former Liverpool man to hit wide.

Dundee had been lively without creating a clear-cut chance until Connor Barron’s lose touch after 20 minutes allowed Luke McCowan to steal possession before playing in Lyall Cameron, but Kelle Roos stood up well to block.

A lull in the action followed until Joe Shaughnessy’s knock-down gave Dundee’s Amadou Bakayoko a chance at the edge of the area, but he sliced well wide.

Cameron then tried his luck from 20 yards, but his effort clipped the bar on the way over.

Dundee had found their feet and had the first chance of the second period as McCowan flashed a free-kick well wide.

Miovski’s neat touch allowed him to create a chance for Duk, who saw McCracken push his crisp strike wide at the near post.

But it was the visitors who had the better of the second period and Cameron should have broken the deadlock when Scott Tiffoney picked him out at the corner of the six-yard box, only for Angus MacDonald to block.

Substitute Curtis Main thought he had broken the deadlock after 72 minutes, but the flag went up for an offside against Bakayoko.

With Hibs wining at Motherwell, the Dark Blues were now throwing everything forward in search of a winner, Main again threatening, this time with a bicycle kick.

That of course left spaces at the back and Aberdeen suddenly sparked into life, with a late Duk header forcing a save from McCracken, just before news of a Motherwell equaliser got the visiting fans off their seats.

Stefan Gartenmann flashed a bicycle kick wide for the Dons deep in injury time before Shinnie, already booked for a foul on Dara Costelloe, picked up a second yellow for a late challenge on Malachi Boateng.

Hearts secured European football for next season after coming from two goals down to beat Livingston 4-2.

Basement team Liv stormed into a two-goal lead after 22 minutes courtesy of Stephen Kelly’s brace.

But Hearts produced an emphatic response to score four goals before the interval, with Jorge Grant, Yutaro Oda, Cammy Devlin and Lawrence Shankland all finding the net.

The victory meant Hearts, who remain 11 points clear in third place, can finish no lower that fourth in the cinch Premiership, while Livingston remain nine points adrift at the bottom.

The big team news pre-match was the return of Craig Gordon in goal for Hearts for the first time in a league match since Christmas Eve 2022.

The 41-year-old goalkeeper’s inclusion was with an eye on next weekend’s Scottish Cup semi-final with Rangers.

But it was a difficult start for Gordon and his team-mates against a Livingston team fighting for their lives.

The Lions started well and wasted a great chance to open the scoring after nine minutes.

Sean Kelly’s pass down the left was missed by Hearts defender Frankie Kent and Tete Yengi came in on the blindside but his tame shot was easily saved by Gordon.

That warning was not heeded by the hosts as the away team stormed into a two-goal lead.

The first came just a minute later when a long ball over the top was intercepted by Gordon outside his area.

But the Scot allowed his touch to get away from him and Stephen Kelly swept a stunning first-time shot into the unguarded net from 40 yards.

The boos rang around Tynecastle in the 22nd minute as Livingston doubled their lead. Kent’s attempted clearance was charged down by Yengi and the ball broke to Stephen Kelly, who slammed a right-footed drive past Gordon from 18 yards.

But Hearts’ response was emphatic as they scored four unanswered goals before half-time.

The first arrived in the 29th minute when Shankland’s left-footed cross was forced in by Grant.

The equaliser was a near mirror imagine as Oda tapped in another Shankland cross at the front post.

Hearts kept coming and added a third with another delivery from the left flank, this time Alex Cochrane’s low pass being squeezed in by Devlin.

And the fourth arrived from the penalty spot in first half stoppage time when Shankland slotted home after Lions goalkeeper Shamal George tripped Oda.

The second half was less eventful although Livingston striker Yengi was shown a second yellow card by referee Colin Steven just seconds after he had been substituted.

Hearts controlled the half and went close through Shankland and Devlin.

Kilmarnock continued their European surge after a comfortable 2-0 victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park.

Joe Wright opened the scoring midway through the first half, and Derek McInnes’ side could have been out of sight had it not been for the heroics of Dimitar Mitov.

The game would be put out of reach with nine minutes remaining when Marley Watkins tapped home his 13th goal of the season.

Killie have moved eight points ahead in fourth spot in the cinch Premiership, while their hosts remain in a battle to avoid the relegation play-off after another poor home showing.

Kyle Vassell took his goal tally for the season to 10 last weekend and he really should have opened the scoring after getting on the end of Danny Armstrong’s cross in the second minute.

The ball dropped nicely at the feet of the striker, but he failed to make a proper connection, resulting in an important block by Dan Phillips.

It took a brilliant challenge by Andy Considine to prevent a potential breakaway after Luke Robinson carelessly surrendered possession to Vassell.

St Johnstone had failed to create anything of note going forward. However, Matt Smith’s wind-assisted cross almost caught out Will Dennis.

Kilmarnock made the breakthrough on 23 minutes, Liam Polworth sent over a tantalising delivery, which Wright stretched to turn beyond Mitov from six yards.

Armstrong went close to doubling the visitors’ lead with a free-kick that narrowly missed its mark, while at the other end, Robinson worked Dennis after a positive forward run.

The chances kept coming for Killie. Watkins was denied by a smart stop from Mitov, before Matty Kennedy’s quickly taken corner struck the face of the crossbar with the Saints keeper still organising his defence.

Mitov was having a busy afternoon and was called into action again when Watkins latched on to Armstrong’s clever through ball.

Craig Levein’s side looked brighter after the restart. David Keltjens sliced over, then Max Kucheriavyi stung the palms of the keeper with a curling strike from the edge of the box.

They were almost punished for their lack of cutting-edge however, as Stuart Findlay struck the side-netting after a rare lapse of concentration by Mitov.

It required a tremendous goal-line clearance to prevent Watkins doubling Killie’s lead with 23 minutes left on the clock.

The loose ball then broke the way of Polworth who fired a goal-bound effort that Mitov brilliantly parried around the post.

There was another scare from the resulting corner for the home side, Liam Donnelly rose highest to connect, but the home keeper produced more heroics to keep the deficit at one.

After surviving an onslaught, Saints almost got back on terms when Dennis somehow pushed Ryan McGowan’s close-range shot on to the post.

With nine minutes remaining, Killie finally got the goal their pressure merited.

A well-worked set-piece routine saw Findlay nod Armstrong’s delivery back across goal – and Watkins was left with the simple task of knocking home from a yard out.

Benjamin Kimpioka tried his luck with an acrobatic attempt that crept over the crossbar, rounding off a disappointing afternoon for the home side.

Reo Hatate scored his first goal for six months to kick-start Celtic’s 3-0 win over St Mirren.

The midfielder produced a classy finish as Celtic recovered from a slack and goalless first half to take control of the game early in the second period.

Hatate has endured an injury-hit 12 months but he stepped up his comeback from calf problems by easing the tension around Celtic Park.

Kyogo Furuhashi and Adam Idah also netted as the cinch Premiership leaders moved four points ahead of Rangers, who have still to play twice before the split.

With Daizen Maeda absent with a hamstring problem, Celtic missed the wide player’s dynamism in a tepid first-half display.

Yang Hyun-jun was handed a start in Maeda’s place despite his poor defensive work when Rangers equalised at Ibrox last weekend. Callum McGregor started on the bench as Celtic continue to manage his Achilles problem while Maik Nawrocki replaced the injured Liam Scales.

The centre-back was fortunate to escape an early booking for a late aerial challenge on Toyosi Olusanya after misjudging the flight of the ball in his first appearance for seven weeks.

He was far from the only Celtic player to start slowly and referee Steven McLean again frustrated the visitors when he gave them a free-kick just as they broke two on one.

Ryan Strain came on for St Mirren after Elvis Bwomono went off with a head knock and the Australian was quickly booked for a foul on Yang.

That was a rare moment of progress for the South Korea winger though and Celtic only managed one shot in the first half, Matt O’Riley’s drilled effort blocked by Caolan Boyd-Munce.

Boyd-Munce was showing strength and composure in the Saints midfield and Alex Gogic was breaking out of defence to spring some counter-attacks.

The visitors looked the more threatening team in the opening half. Greg Kiltie had a great chance from Olusanya’s square ball but could not make the required contact. Strain had an effort blocked and Olusanya fired over from a tight angle.

Whatever Brendan Rodgers said at half-time had the desired effect as Celtic immediately stepped up several gears.

Furuhashi glanced a header wide when Cameron Carter-Vickers looked likely to score behind him but Celtic did not have long to wait for the breakthrough in the 52nd minute.

Alistair Johnston’s pass inside found Hatate and the Japan midfielder took a touch before quickly guiding the ball into the top corner with the outside of his boot from 16 yards.

Yang miskicked when presented with a good chance moments later but Furuhashi doubled the lead on the hour mark when he headed home Johnston’s cross from six yards.

Zach Hemming saved from Greg Taylor, Hatate and substitute Luis Palma as Celtic kept up the pressure.

St Mirren had seen Scott Tanser and Kiltie, through injury, go off at the start of the second half and the visitors were now struggling to impose themselves.

McGregor was among four substitutes who came on in the 71st minute and the home side were able to make a sixth replacement, James Forrest, because of Bwomono’s concussion.

The winger came close before being involved in the move that led to Idah nodding home from close range in the 86th minute as Celtic outnumbered the visiting defence.

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