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Barcelona suffer their third home defeat in a row

Barcelona suffered a third consecutive home defeat for the first time in a season with a shock La Liga defeat to Rayo Vallecano. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaBarcelona suffered a third consecutive home defeat for the first time in a season with a shock La Liga defeat to Rayo Vallecano. Madrid can claim their 35th Spanish title by avoiding defeat by Espanyol on Saturday. After defeats to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarter-finals and Cadiz in La Liga on Monday, Barca have lost three straight home games for the second time in their history. Barca, knowing that a win would ensure a top four result and Champions League qualification, have only won twice in their last six games. Xavi's side should still secure a place in the top four but his side's form will worry the legendary Barca midfielder, who replaced Ronaldo Koeman in October. Koeman was sacked after Barca lost to Rayo and the Madrid side became only the fourth promoted team to complete a home-away double against Barcelona and the first since 1997-98. Garcia's movement allowed him to collect Isi Palazon's superb pass in front of Barcelona defender Sergino Dest and defeat home goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen with a low shot at his near post. Barcelona dominated possession as they looked for an equaliser, with Gavi hitting the bar with a rising shot in the first half. The home side continued to press in the second half, creating chances against a well-organized Rayo side after throwing at attackers Memphis Depay, Luuk de Jong and Adama Traore. Rayo keeper Stole Dimitrievski made several comfortable saves while defender Alejandro Catena cleared a Dembele shot off the line as Barca couldn't find a way despite nearly 14 minutes of added time.

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Steven Gerrard supports Philippe Coutinho to regain his form

The former Liverpool star, a team-mate of Gerrard at Anfield, has scored four goals and three assists in 13 games since arriving at Villa Park in January but his form has slipped in recent weeks. (Author: Gardener)

Steven GerrardSteven Gerrard backed Philippe Coutinho to get back in top form at Aston Villa as the club mull over converting his loan deal from Barcelona into a permanent deal. The former Liverpool star, a team-mate of Gerrard at Anfield, has scored four goals and three assists in 13 games since arriving at Villa Park in January but his form has slipped in recent weeks. Coutinho would cost around £30million and would be comfortably Villa's top earner - a significant financial outlay for a player who will turn 30 on June 12 Billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens to make Villa one of the top clubs in the country again. It's clear he's still backing Coutinho to the max. "Phil will be fine," said Gerrard. “We can't expect Phil to be the man of the match, the creator and the goalscorer every time he plays. "I don't have to defend Philippe Coutinho. We're playing against two sides now (Norwich and Burnley) where we should create chances. Philippe Coutinho has fought creatively for Aston Villa since his brilliant start. Steven Gerrard has supported his former teammate to find his form again this season. After that dismal draw, Leicester are firmly focused on the Europa Conference League semi-finals, one of their greatest games of modern times. If the Foxes defeat Jose Mourinho's Roma in two legs - with the first on Thursday at the King Power Stadium - they will reach their maiden European final. Manager Brendan Rodgers said: "We would love to have European football back next season and this competition gives us that opportunity."

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Barcelona plan a nosedive from Mohamed Salah while Liverpool's Andy Robertson aims for a brutal attack

Liverpool's Mohamed Salah could be set for a massive summer transfer move to Barcelona as Andy Robertson sought a cheeky relegation battle against Merseyside rivals Everton (Author: Gardener)

Mohamed SalahLiverpool's Mohamed Salah could be set for a massive summer transfer move to Barcelona as Andy Robertson aimed a cheeky relegation battle against Merseyside rivals Everton. Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah is on Barcelona's shortlist of potential summer signings. The Reds ace could leave Anfield this summer as his contract with the club expires at the end of next season. And Barca manager Xavi is reportedly keen to make Salah a key signing after the Spanish giants inked a multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with music platform Spotify. It comes as Andy Robertson aimed a brutal relegation battle against Everton after Liverpool's derby triumph. And Alisson embarrassed Everton counterpart Jordan Pickford after taunting him towards the end of Sunday's 2-0 win. Mohamed Salah has just 14 months on his contract at Liverpool and could move to Barcelona this summer (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson taunted Everton counterpart Jordan Pickford late in the Reds' 2-0 win on Sunday . Andy Robertson headed home unmarked at the far post and put Liverpool ahead in the 62nd minute before Divock Origi's close-range header secured the Merseyside derby for his side five minutes from time. Liverpool goalscorer Andy Robertson delivered a brutal dig at Merseyside rivals Everton after his side's 2-0 Premier League win. The Reds full-back converted a Mohamed Salah cross to put his side on the right track - and see Everton finish the weekend in the Premier League relegation zone. Spanish giants Barcelona are ready to make Mohamed Salah a priority signing this year after their financial crisis is resolved. But after inking a £236million naming rights deal for their stadium with Spotify, they appear to be back in business and ready to make waves in the summer transfer window. That could mean bad news for Liverpool as the Spanish outfit are ready to target Salah. The Egyptian has just 14 months left on his contract at Anfield - so the club could decide to concede him now rather than let him go for free at the end of next season.

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'We're in a difficult situation' - Xavi preparing to topple Barcelona for 'five finals'

Xavi watched Barcelona lose their third straight home game with his team a shadow of the group that beat Real Madrid 4-0 last month. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaXavi has told Barcelona they have "five finals" to play as they try to shake off their April blues and secure a Champions League spot. A third consecutive home defeat has left second-placed Barcelona 15 points behind leaders Real Madrid, who were expected to lift the LaLiga title on Saturday only to avoid defeat by Espanyol to be safe. While Barcelona's big rivals are set to celebrate, there is still work to be done for coach Xavi after his Blaugrana side were defeated 1-0 at home by Rayo Vallecano, who completed a league double against the Catalan giants. Andoni Iraola became the first manager to beat Barcelona home and away in his debut season in LaLiga since Quique Hernandez did so at Hercules in 1996/97. Alvaro Garcia scored the only shot on goal Vallecano managed all night and with luck Barcelona could have scored better but they are all unlucky at the moment. A Europa League loss to Eintracht Frankfurt and LaLiga defeats to Cadiz and now Vallecano were unexpected setbacks for a side that had an immense highlight five weeks ago when they beat Real Madrid 4-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu. Xavi assessed Vallecano's setback and its impact, saying: "I don't think the team lacks personality. It's a difficult situation and we have to face it. We have five finals left, we've complicated it." it for ourselves." Barcelona should still achieve a top-four result as they remain six points ahead of fifth-placed Real Betis, but Xavi wants more than to see his side stumble over the line. Their goal is to Ending the season strong and building momentum for next season, and performances like Sunday's disrupt the significant progress made since Xavi's appointment in November Speaking to Movistar LaLiga, Xavi said: "We weren't good in the first half but in the second we improved and the feeling is that we deserve a lot more. "In the first half we weren't, we didn't have the personality we needed to have in the game. He said Barcelona needed to show more will and pointed out how the visitors got their big moment in front of goal on Sunday The three shots attempted by Rayo Vallecano were their lowest total in a LaLiga game this season."Rayo had a chance and a half," said Xavi. "We're in a difficult situation. We're still in the Champions League spots, but we made it difficult for ourselves because if we beat Cadiz and Rayo, we almost qualified for the Champions League."

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Sheffield United 1: The Reds lift the trophy in style

Liverpool's front three stalks, Kiernan and Lawley led the way as the Reds ran wild before lifting the league trophy in front of fans at Prenton Park (Author: Gardener)

RedsAll that was left was to lift the trophy for the Liverpool women's team as champions of the FA Women's Championship. Yana Daniels provided width at right-back while Razza Roberts tucked in at center-back. Bo Kearns and Rachel Furness formed the midfield pair, while Leanne Kiernan and Melissa Lawley played as wingers with Katie Stengel in the middle. Niamh Fahey led the team onto the field to an honor guard provided by Sheffield United. It was a dream start for the Reds when Katie Stengel was passed through in the middle in the third minute. Melissa Lawley carried the ball down the middle and pulled the defenders towards her before releasing the ball for Stengel to run onto before the American coolly slapped the ball over the advancing keeper to give Liverpool a 1-0 lead bring! Mel Lawley proved a handful early in the game, recapturing the ball with a high pressing and then earning a free-kick just outside the Sheffield United penalty area in the eighth minute. The free-kick hit the wall and bounced off a Liverpool throw-in. Liverpool doubled the score in the 14th minute with a wonderful team movement, starting with Rachel Laws. The keeper played the ball to Katie Stengel, who chested the ball down under pressure and played it wide to Yana Daniels. The full-back played a magnificent ball down the right wing to Melissa Lawley, who ran at full speed on the ball and played a superb first ball over the goal wall to meet Leanne Kiernan's run at the far post. Missy Bo Kearns almost scored a third goal after being set up in the center of the box by Katie Stengel. The scouser hit a first shot with good power, but it was too close to the keeper. There was a scary moment after 30 minutes of play when Lara Miller flew over the billboard and into the front row of seats as she tried to chase a ball that went wide. She lay there for a few minutes but was eventually able to get up and play again. Katie Stengel took a hit on the noggin in the 40th minute and lay down for a moment. She could step back the pitch to continue a few moments after checking out. Melissa Lawley would have completed a hat trick with assists just before the end of the first half. She made a labyrinthine run down the left channel and put the ball in the box near the end line. She whipped in a driven cross that easily distracted the keeper and narrowly avoided Yana Daniels' attempt to slip off the back post. Liverpool looked to win the second half in spectacular fashion, working the ball down the left flank to Katie Stengel from kick-off. The forward sent a low ball over the goal and it dodged just as Stengel tried to play a wide pass to Taylor Hinds, but he was deflected off a defender straight into Leanne Kiernan's run. The striker charged the ball forward down the left side of the box and crossed it over the goal, this time catching the run of Melissa Lawley who found the net just two minutes into the second half! Players all walked over the celebrations with manager Matt Beard, whose father passed away just a few days ago. Leanne Kiernan again showed off her work pace and electric pace down the left side. Katie Stengel dropped low to receive a ball and played it wide to Kiernan, who flew past a defender and got to the end line before aiming it over the goal. Unfortunately none of the Liverpool players got the ball and Sheffield United managed to crawl the ball away. Matt Beard went on his bench in the 65th minute and brought on Charlotte Wardlaw and Ceri Holland for Leanne Kiernan and Rachel Furness. Wardlaw switched to right-back while Yana Daniels transitioned to a wide forward role. Liverpool netted a fourth just moments after the substitutions. Ceri Holland played an easy pass to Yana Daniels far to her right and the Belgium international played a cross which was met by Katie Stengel in the middle of the box to touch past the keeper! Rachael Laws was called into action when former Liverpool player Courtney Sweetman-Kirk sent a sweet volley from just outside the box towards the far corner of the net. Liverpool made two more substitutions in the 73rd minute. Niamh Fahey went down in significant pain in the 75th minute, holding on to her lower back after what appeared to be a harmless sequence. After being treated for a few minutes, she left the field. Sheffield United took a free-kick before they could get back into the fray and the looping ball was guided past Rachael Laws for the consolation goal. Liverpool roared back with a fifth goal just minutes after conceding. Melissa Lawley sent in a first cross from the right and tried to add a third assist. Ceri Holland fired the cross off the bar and the rebound came back to Katie Stengel. Instead of shooting herself, she sliced ​​the ball back, letting a defender slide past her, then calmly played the ball back to Bo Kearns. The Scouser didn't give the keeper a chance this time when she hammered the ball narrowly into the near post! Liverpool made their last substitution, bringing in Jade Bailey for goalscorer Missy Bo Kearns. Megan Campbell sent a corner kick deep into the far post where Ceri Holland was there to head it back over the goal. Liverpool came close to scoring a seventh goal with multiple apple bites. Katie Stengel sliced ​​in a cross which was met by Jasmine Matthews with a dive header. The ball was saved well but the rebound got to Jade Bailey who saw her shot blocked on the way to goal. Now all that was left was for the team to receive their winners' medals and lift the FA Women's Championship trophy aloft. Captain Niamh Fahey tapped her teammates before lifting the trophy for all to see! Liverpool are set to travel to Lewes next weekend for their final game of the season.

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Barcelona suffered a shock defeat to Rayo Vallecano at the Camp Nou

PETER JENSON AT THE NOU CAMP: Barcelona have lost their third straight home game under Xavi and their season is now threatening to fizzle out as it began under Ronald Koeman. (Author: Gardener)

BarcelonaBarcelona lost their third consecutive home game under Xavi and his season now threatens to fizzle out as it began under Ronald Koeman – flat, ragged, uninspired, ordinary. This was only the second time in the club's history they had been beaten three times at home and each defeat felt threadbare. But as Gerard Pique said at the beginning of the season, we could have played three hours without scoring. Alvaro Garcia gave Rayo Vallecano an early lead on Sunday night at the Nou Camp. They are still six points adrift of Champions League spots but after losing at home to Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League and Cadiz at home in La Liga it was a loss to a team that had just two all season away wins. Gavi ran into the ground in midfield and there were sparks from Ousmane Dembele but little else. Rayo scored the winner after seven minutes when Alvaro Garcia ran diagonally from the left wing to the centre-forward position. Isi Palazon picked him and although Sergino Dest had followed the striker, he had time to control Marc Andre ter Stegen and shoot past him. Barcelona had lost away to Rayo earlier in the season when a Radamel Falcao made the difference between the two sides and broke the camel's back Koeman fired after the loss. Midway through the first half, the Camp Nou had started whistling timidly about Barcelona's looser game. Xavi was also frustrated and when he felt Gavi should have been awarded a penalty in a clash with Alejandro Catena, the manager was cautioned. Rayo also helped Barcelona back into the game when Stole Dimitrievski passed the ball to Catena in the six-yard box and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang brought it down. When it fell to Frenkie de Jong he played it to Dembele and he crossed for Aubameyang who couldn't finish. Barcelona drew closer just before half-time but Ferran Torres was caught offside when he hooked the ball into the far corner after Gavi's shot bounced off the bar. Gavi and Dembele had at least ruffled a few Rayo feathers. Dembele ran to their defense in the 45th minute and drew a foul and a yellow card for Catena. Gavi hit the bar in the first half as Barcelona pushed for an equalizer at the Nou Camp. Ferran Torres put the ball into the net after the rebound but was ruled offside. With no improvement in the second half, Frenkie de Jong was sent off for the hour and replaced by Nico Rodriguez. De Jong resented going straight through the tunnel towards the dressing room without even looking over at Xavi. There were even more radical changes with 20 minutes remaining when Xavi eliminated Aubameyang and Eric Garcia and sent on Luuk de Jong and Adama Traore to great applause from the Camp Nou. Almost immediately, Ter Stegen almost miscontrolled his own line - things didn't get better, they got worse. Luuk de Jong's first chance came from Gavi's cross but his acrobatic scissor strike touched Isi rather than the ball, which drew blood from the side of his head and left the Rayo winger with blood from a laceration above his ear. De Jong was booked. There were chances late on but Dembele was ruled offside when he hit the post. And from Barcelona's last chance, Catena cleared his attempt just before the line. Previously, things might have been even worse for Barcelona when substitute Pathe broke Ciss and hit the post. One handed Rayo and it will now be a long week in Barcelona before they play again next Sunday. Ousmane Dembele had several attempts on goal but failed to hit the back of the net After the game, Xavi insisted his side should have earned at least a point but admitted they had to pay for such a slow start. It was another game where Barcelona conceded a weak goal after seven minutes. "There are games that get complicated because we don't start like we should," Xavi said. We're not lacking in personality, we just need to start games better, it's a shame because it was a golden opportunity.” Xavi's side have now lost three home games in a row in the last 10 days

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Live Text Updates: Peterborough United 0-1 Nottingham Forest

Live Text Updates: Peterborough United 0-1 Nottingham Forest (Author: Gardener)

Submission – Jack Taylor. Ricky-Jade Jones - Peterborough United - Left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved by the goalkeeper in the center of the goal. Submission – Harrison Burrows. Frankie Kent - ​​Peterborough United - Right footed shot from the center of the box goes up for a corner. Philip Zinkernagel (Nottingham Forest) - right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the right corner. Assist – Brennan Johnson. Josh Knight (Peterborough United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Josh Knight (Peterborough United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Sam Surridge - Nottingham Forest - Missed a headshot from the center of the box. Assist – Djed Spence with a cross. Peterborough United 0, Nottingham Forest 1 Sam Surridge - Nottingham Forest - shot his head into the center of the goal from just yards out. Assist - Brennan Johnson with a cross from a fast break. Sam Surridge (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked. Philip Zinckernagel - Nottingham Forest - right footed shot from the center of the box, close, but wide. Assist – Ryan Yates. Harrison Burrows - Peterborough United - left footed shot from outside the box is saved by the goalkeeper in the center of the goal. Kwame Poku (Peterborough United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Jack Marriott - Peterborough United - Right footed shot from the center of the box is saved by the goalkeeper in the center of the goal. Preparatory work – Kwame Poku. Preparatory work – Kwame Poku. Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest) - left footed shot from the center of the box, but the shot is blocked. Preparatory work: Philip Zinkernagel. Preparatory work: Philip Zinkernagel. Ryan Yates - Nottingham Forest - Headshot from the center of the box goes up. Sammie Szmodics - Peterborough United - right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the left corner. Assist - Harrison Burrows with a head. Jack Colback - Nottingham Forest - Left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Tobias Figueiredo (Nottingham Forest) - right footed shot from the center of the box, misses. Assist – James Garner with a cross from the corner. Assist – James Garner with a cross from the corner. Lewis Grabban - Nottingham Forest - Right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved by the goalkeeper in the center of the goal. Assist – James Garner. Harrison Burrows - Peterborough United - Left footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Preparatory work – Joel Randall. shot blocked. shot blocked. shot blocked. shot blocked. shot blocked. shot blocked. shot blocked. Jonson Clarke-Harris (Peterborough United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Jonson Clarke-Harris (Peterborough United) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Jack Taylor - Peterborough United - Missed a headshot from the center of the box. Assist - Harrison Burrows with a cross after the corner. Ryan Yates - Nottingham Forest - won a free kick on the right wing.

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Verratti's record to level with Saint-Etienne and leave it late - PSG's Ligue 1 triumph in the numbers

Paris Saint-Germain clinched the Ligue 1 title on Saturday. Stats Perform examines the numbers behind yet another national success. (Author: Gardener)

VerrattiGiven Paris Saint-Germain's underwhelming season, a record-breaking tenth Ligue 1 triumph was sealed with a home draw against Lens. So much was expected of PSG, given their amazing off-season recruitment, that ending the 2021/22 season with just one major title and failing to reach the final stages of the Coupe de France or the Champions League is anything but a disappointment. One of those superstar recruits - Lionel Messi - scored the goal for PSG on Saturday, although it was nullified late by Corentin Jean as the 10-man Lens hit back to earn a 1-1 draw. It was just a fourth Ligue 1 goal for Messi, whose move from Barcelona really didn't live up to expectations despite the 34-year-old providing 13 assists. In fact, he wasn't playing when PSG clinched the title and his 75 percent save rate, while impressive, doesn't surpass Keylor Navas's (78.4). It took Neymar most of the season to get going and without Kylian Mbappe the title race might have been a lot closer. PSG may not be able to count on the France star much longer and doubts remain over Mauricio Pochettino's future. Nonetheless, PSG have a title to celebrate which, alongside Saint-Etienne, makes them the joint most successful team in Ligue 1 history and eighth of the QSI era. They made it on Matchday 34 this time, although still later than 2018/19 (33), 2017/18 (33) and 2015/16 (30). PSG have averaged 2.29 points per game so far in 2021-22, which is the lowest total points in winning the title since 2014-15 (2.18). However, they are the first team to win eight French titles in ten seasons (Saint-Etienne and Lyon seven). Should they win their remaining four games, they will reach the fifth-highest score in Ligue 1 history (90). Marco Verratti played a key role in Italy's Euro 2020 success and the spirited midfielder has continued on that form this season. He was involved in all eight of PSG's title triumphs during the QSI era, becoming the first player to win Ligue 1 eight times. Teammate Marquinhos is second on the list with seven titles. Pochettino clinches his first title This is Pochettino's first league triumph as manager after PSG lost to Lille last season. The former Tottenham manager has won 39 of his 55 Ligue 1 games in charge, with the other 16 games split evenly between draws and losses. Pochettino's PSG have scored 2.2 goals per game and averaged 2.3 points per game, conceding 0.9 goals per game. He is the sixth Argentine coach to win a title in Europe's five major leagues, after Diego Simeone, Luis Carniglia, Alfredo di Stefano, Jorge Valdano and Helenio Herrera (the latter became a French citizen). Carniglia is the only other Argentine coach, with Nice, to have won Ligue 1. As you'd expect, PSG have dominated Ligue 1 stats so far. They've had more possession (62.9), made more passes per game (663), goals scored more goals per game (2.2) and had more episodes out of 10 + passes (21.5 per game). PSG have lost just two points from winning positions all season - one of which comes on Saturday - while they have gained 21 from losing positions, more than any other team.

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Rangers dreamers questioning Celtic's guts should know their team are the bottle dealers

Michael Gannon took your calls as Celtic narrowed the gap at the top to six points with a win in Ross County. (Author: Gardener)

CelticRangers have a big week ahead of them in Europe but all eyes are already on next Sunday's Premiership showdown at Celtic Park. The Hoops have a hand on the title after digging deep in Ross County, but the Gers aren't giving up the fight, surviving a red card to prevail against Motherwell. David Bryce, Troon, said: “Celtic dug up that win over Ross County. “Kyogo is a sensational footballer but he misses far too many babysitters. Stephen Mulhern, Dumbarton, said: “The thought of Celtic losing points was always a possibility after Celtic lost to Rangers. However, Ange Postecoglou's cup final came against Ross County and Celtic can play with more freedom at Parkhead next week knowing they are almost over the line. Gordon Ashley, Ayr, said: "Well done to the champions elect who rubbed Barry Ferguson and Kris Boyd's noses in it, along with all the other dreamers who questioned our guts. "Not a single Rangers player would get into our first XI because they are bottle dealers." Some Gers fans are still assessing their chances after last week's success at Hampden and Glasgow's John Bruce said: “Celtic players have dropped like flies. They've shown they don't have a strong bench to fall back on and they no longer have the luxury of playing cannon fodder teams now that they'll only be playing top six sides. “The pressure is on and it looks like Gio van Bronckhorst has his stable of champion thoroughbreds at the peak at just the right time, ready to sprint to the finish line.” John Davidson, Armadale, said: “Good, good, good . Nice to see Rangers' second row get a result for over an hour with 10 men to keep interest in the title race going. Meanwhile, Frank McFerran, Carrickfergus said: "If Connor Goldson wants to go, let him. "He's a decent player but if he doesn't want to be at Ibrox? Hugh McKirdy wrote via email: "I hope Dave Cormack is happy with his leadership of the club so far. "I've followed Aberdeen for 42 years and it's the most disjointed, miserable Aberdeen team I've ever seen. "I still can't understand why Derek McInnes and Tony Docherty were left out." The Dons had another painful reminder when their old boss led Kilmarnock to the league title. Stephen Johnstone, Ardentinny, said: “Kilmarnock did a job from Burke and Hare at Arbroath to snatch the league title and bring Derek McInnes' team back to the top flight in their first season. "Kudos to Billy Bowie for his confidence in McInnes after a rocky start." Gordon McIlwraith, Kilmarnock, said: "I'm delighted for the board, manager, players and fans that Killie is back in the Premier straight away League has moved up. McInnes was a great appointment as manager." Still in the north, Scotland umpires did it again at the weekend as Alan McPherson, Cullen Moray said: "Another Saturday with more evidence of the incompetence that was the performance of Grant Irvine at Pittodrie the worst I've seen this season. "As for VAR, my reason for opposing its introduction is the ability or inability of our officers to operate this extremely technical equipment." John Scott, Grassmoor, said: "Many Hibs fans would wholeheartedly support Kris Boyd's view agree that our officials lack consistency in decision-making. “A bit like his conflicting views when he doesn't comment on stonewall penalties and poor tackles that his favorites get away with. Dundee boss Mark McGhee did not have to remove his kit as promised, but Gary Stevenson, Newtonhill, said: "I would urge McGhee to put his clothes on when he goes to Dens Park on Monday. "He would look extremely stupid picking up his P45 with nothing on him. Gordon Strachan should also go and bring in real footballers for next year's championship fight."

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Five things we learned from Rangers' win over Motherwell

RANGERS kept the pressure on leaders Celtic with a 3-1 win over Motherwell on Saturday to bolster their title hopes ahead of a massive... (Author: Gardener)

MotherwellRANGERS kept the pressure on leaders Celtic to keep their title hopes alive for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his players with a 3-1 win over Motherwell on Saturday. RANGERS kept the pressure on leaders Celtic to keep their title hopes alive for Giovanni van Bronckhorst and his players with a 3-1 win over Motherwell on Saturday. An early Liam Kelly own goal sent the Govan side on their way to victory before Leon Balogun's first-half dismissal drew a reaction from the hosts. An early Liam Kelly own goal sent the Govan side on their way to victory before Leon Balogun's first-half dismissal drew a reaction from the hosts. Ross Tierney's header leveled the score before Rangers rallied in the second half, goals from Scott Wright and James Tavernier separating them from their opponents. Ross Tierney's header leveled the score before Rangers rallied in the second half, goals from Scott Wright and James Tavernier separating them from their opponents. It was good work for Van Bronckhorst and company, who now turn their attention to the first leg of their Europa League semi-final at RB Leipzig on Thursday night, and there were plenty of interesting details to consider ahead of the momentous clash. The Rangers boss opted for a front three of Amad Diallo, Wright and Fashion Sakala and although the triumvirate was reduced to a duo when Diallo had to be deposed following Leon Balogun's sacking, they combined well to carry the champions to victory to help . The Zambian international played a crucial role in his side's second and third goals - it was Sakala's sharp run and pass that propelled Wright into Rangers' second goal and the 25-year-old won the penalty for the third - but it was his best - Round game that caught the eye. He stretched the Motherwell defense and looked a real threat as he sliced ​​inside and headed straight for goal and Van Bronckhorst will be looking for more of the same from Sakala on Thursday night. The former Aberdeen winger had a big hand in the opener at Fir Park when he threw himself on the ball and although it's counted as an own goal for Motherwell keeper Liam Kelly, Wright's determination was a deciding factor. The inside forward looked a bit rusty at times and occasionally had to be called out by a teammate to pick up the right positions, but Wright's willingness to drive the ball, take on opponents and attack directly proved crucial in the encounter. He finally scored the goal his game deserved within minutes of the restart and when it arrived it was well hit, drilling the ball deep into the bottom corner. Any chance of a Rangers title win this season seems remote, so it was understandable that Van Bronckhorst had his eye on Thursday night's semi-final first leg against RB Leipzig. The Dutchman made the decision to give some key players a break and give others a run-out and it's a decision that has paid off for the Ibrox boss. Five first-team players - Calvin Bassey, John Lundstram, Ryan Jack, Joe Aribo and Ryan Kent - were rested for the Premiership clash in Lanarkshire to preserve their energy, and although Bassey and Aribo were 3-1 during the win , the break should do the quintet good. Rangers fans may not have given up hope of retaining their Premiership title just yet, but Van Bronckhorst was right to shuffle the cards on the occasion. Team selection didn't matter much in the end as Rangers drove to victory, but it was a calculated gamble by Van Bronckhorst - and one that worked. Motherwell, emboldened by his numerical advantage, put the visitors under real pressure late in the first half and actually made their opponents look very uncomfortable. Van Bronckhorst opted for a 4-3-2 form after Balogun's red, with Sakala and Wright playing more central when they started the game. It didn't really work as the forwards were easily skirted by Motherwell's defense leaving Rangers vulnerable without possession. That all changed after the restart, however, and Van Bronckhorst deserves credit for finding a solution. Instead of playing with a flat midfield three, Scott Arfield was pushed into an attacking midfield role, allowing Wright and Sakala to drift further out and take advantage of the space between the full-backs and the centre-backs. It was an approach that paid off almost immediately, as Sakala and Wright combined to regain the Rangers lead two minutes into the second half, and the third goal was another that obviously benefited from the change in form. Rangers played the vast majority of the game with 10 men, but you wouldn't have noticed if you were watching from the stands. The fact they had a lead to defend for most of the second half helped as little attacking load was placed on them, but the control the visitors exercised over the game was telling. For a Motherwell team to have worked so hard with an extra man, especially in the last third, doesn't reflect very well on the rest of the Premiership.

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