• SPL round-up

Celtic hit four to extend league lead

ESPN staff
December 22, 2012
Celtic forward Lassad Nouioui set up strike partner Gary Hooper for his second © PA Photos

Celtic celebrated drawing Juventus in the last-16 of the Champions League with a 4-0 thumping of lowly Ross County, while Inverness went second and Aberdeen moved into fourth spot.

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Gary Hooper scored a double for Celtic to add to Scott Brown's opener and James Forrest finished matters off with a low shot into the right-hand corner.

The home side looked stuck in third gear in the first 45 minutes but took less than 60 seconds to rectify that in the second half, through Brown.

Hooper doubled the lead seven minutes later with a header into the top right corner after being set up by his Tunisian strike partner Lassad Nouioui. The 24-year-old added another just after the hour-mark before turning provider for substitute Forrest.

The win over Ross County extends Celtic's lead to five points at the top of the league.

Inverness now head the chasing pack after overtaking Motherwell to go second thanks to a 4-1 win at home to Dundee. Caley scored four goals last weekend only to draw against Dundee United but Terry Butcher's men ran a much tighter defensive line at the Caledonian Stadium.

Billy McKay could not replicate the hat-trick he scored last weekend but did bag a brace which was supplemented by goals from Owain Tudur-Jones and Andrew Shinnie.

McKay opened the scoring with a coolly-taken penalty given for a foul on him by Declan Gallagher after 12 minutes. Dundee replied through Nicholas Riley's strike from 18 yards but then it was one-way traffic as Tudur-Jones netted, followed by McKay and defender Shinnie.

Niall McGinn was the hero for Aberdeen at home against St Johnstone as he scored both goals in a 2-0 win. His first was straight from a free-kick in the 63rd minute and his second came 10 minutes from time to move the Reds up into fourth.

Meanwhile Rangers stretched their lead to nine points at the top of the Scottish Third Division with a 6-2 victory over second-placed Elgin City.

Striker Andy Little and captain Lee McCulloch helped themselves to two goals apiece while Lewis Macleod and Kyle Hutton also got in on the act.

The score was tied at 2-2 after half an hour but it was McCulloch's clinical double which took the game away from the hosts to ensure the Gers will have a sizeable advantage over Christmas.

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