Celtic have not signed a new player since November and are beginning to look stale. Their lack of creativity was again evident on Saturday as they drew 1-1 at home to Kilmarnock, showing themselves to be incapable to capitalising on the lead given to them by Regi Blinker on the half- hour mark. The chorus of jeers at the full-time whistle indicated the depth of feeling among the supporters, a couple of hundred of whom demonstrated against Fergus McCann after the game. Celtic's difficulties in prising open the packed defence will not be lost on Vitoria Guimaraes, their Portuguese opponents in the Uefa Cup.
To complete an important week for the Scottish champions, they travel to Ibrox on Sunday for the first Old Firm fixture of the season, trailing their great rivals by two points and without the services of Paul Lambert, who was sent off on Saturday.
Rangers again left Colin Hendry on the bench during their 0-0 draw with Dundee United. They have a date with Beitar Jerusalem tomorrow with doubts over Gabriel Amato, their Argentinian striker, who has a knee injury.
Hearts, who lost 2-0 at home to Dundee, will have to get past the man who denied David Batty at France 98 to have a chance of progress in the Cup-Winners' Cup. Carlos Roa, the Argentinian goalkeeper whose penalty save put England out of the World Cup, will line-up at Tynecastle on Thursday for Real Mallorca.
Aberdeen might have gone top at the weekend had they beaten Motherwell at home but had to settle for a 1-1 draw, while there was a similar scoreline between St Johnstone and Dunfermline.