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The Stephen Craigan Column: Celtic reach special 67 as Rangers rise above McInnes speculation

Former Motherwell star and BT Sport pundit Stephen Craigan offers his take on the latest round of Ladbrokes Premiership action and the persistent rumours linking Aberdeen boss Derek McInnes with a switch to Rangers.

Derek McInnes

So Celtic reached the magic 67 unbeaten games in domestic football with a comfortable 5-1 win over Motherwell in the Ladbrokes Premiership on Saturday.

With 1967 being the year the club won the European Cup - such a poignant moment in their history - then getting to that particular number without defeat will have felt all the more special.

Odsonne Édouard, signed on loan from PSG in August but used sparingly by boss Brendan Rodgers until now, bagged a hat-trick with James Forrest notching the other two.

Rangers, meanwhile, made it two wins in five days against Aberdeen with a 2-1 triumph at Pittodrie in what many seem to think will be Derek McInnes’ last game in charge of the Dons as a potential switch to Ibrox looms.

Neil Lennon's Hibs kept up their good run of form with a narrow 1-0 win at Partick, Adam Barton putting through his own net to leave Thistle four points adrift at the bottom of the table.

Neil McCann and his players made it back-to-back wins for the first time this season as Dundee claimed an impressive 2-0 success in the Highlands against Ross County.

It was chaotic at Tynecastle as Hearts and Hamilton played out a 1-1 draw, with Jambos boss Craig Levein and assistant Austin McPhee both sent off after clashing with Accies chief Darian McKinnon. It was a good point for Hamilton, but it's now six games without a win for Hearts.

St Johnstone's stumbling season continued as they lost 2-1 at home to Kilmarnock. Steve Clarke's side have been ever so impressive on the road but they will need to get their first home win of the season soon if they are to push up the table.

'Celtic couldn't be in better form for Anderlecht'

After seeing off Motherwell three times in a week, it's all about the Champions League for Celtic now on Tuesday night.

Having European football to look forward to after Christmas is the main focus and not losing against Anderlecht at Celtic Park will guarantee that.

The Celtic players couldn’t be in better form and it’s a game they’ll relish for sure.

I must say they have the in-form player in the country at the minute in James Forrest.

The turnaround in his career under Brendan Rodgers has been incredible. He’s affecting big games and is coming up with crucial goals too.

There was always a concern about his consistency but he’s addressed that issue and now is one of the first names on the team sheet.

Many people thought that when Patrick Roberts returned to Celtic in the summer it was to replace Forrest but the Scot has risen to the challenge and is coming out on top.

'Rangers' new boss will get a team on the up'

The speculation won’t go away regarding McInnes becoming the next Rangers manager.

It raised its head again over the weekend and it has slightly detracted from two impressive Rangers performances against Aberdeen  that yielded six well deserved points.

Graham Murty has been very professional and dignified since taking over as interim boss but even he has admitted the club need a full-time manager ASAP.

With Rangers now up to second place, the new manager is getting a team full of confidence and going in the right direction.

Yes, the squad needs a major overhaul but the commitment and desire shown in the last couple of games form the current bunch will be encouraging for the new man in charge.

Whether it’s McInnes or someone else the instruction for the new manager will simply be to get the club back challenging for major honours.

Unfortunately for Gers fans desperate to move on from the Pedro Caixinha era, I do feel it may be a slow process.

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