• Scottish football round-up

Celtic go seven up, Motherwell canter

ESPN staff
December 26, 2012
Celtic 2-0 Dundee

Celtic huffed and puffed to victory over the Scottish Premier League's bottom club Dundee, eventually running out 2-0 winners to ease out a seven-point cushion over Inverness in second.

SPL table & results

Motherwell joined Inverness on 33 points to head the chasing pack thanks to their 4-1 win over Aberdeen and Caley's draw with St Mirren.

At Dens Park in Dundee, Celtic took the lead after 16 minutes when Charlie Mulgrew swung in a corner from the right-hand side which found Tony Watt at the back post. He side-footed the ball across Rab Douglas' goal but the Dundee keeper could only palm it towards Georgios Samaras who, with his back to goal, hit an overhead kick to open the scoring.

In the second half, the hosts had the better of the chances until the 70th minute. The most dramatic of them being Kevin McBride's half volley from 20 yards out but the ball edged agonisingly wide.

With 20 minutes remaining Celtic sealed the points through Gary Hooper's 16th goal of the season. Mulgrew's replacement Mikael Lustig put Hooper in on-goal and the 24-year-old chipped over the on-rushing Douglas.

Striker Jamie Murphy scored two goals and set-up another to get Motherwell on their way to a 4-1 home victory over Aberdeen.

Forward Murphy was the provider for midfielder Tom Hateley's opener after nine minutes at Fir Park Stadium. He then started and completed his brace in the 15 minutes before half-time. Johnny Hayes pulled one back in between his goals but when Michael Higdon got a fourth on 54 minutes, the visitors' resistance all but ended.

Liam Kelly gave Kilmarnock all three points at Rugby Park from the penalty spot after a foul on midfielder James Dayton by Hearts defender Andy Webster. Kilmarnock move up to sixth with 1-0 win and are now one point behind Aberdeen while things get worse for Hearts as they sink below Dundee United.

Inverness failed to carry their momentum from a 4-1 win over Dundee before Christmas into the Boxing Day match with St Mirren and were held to a 2-2 draw at home. Dougie Imrie gave the visiting fans to the Caledonian Stadium a goal to cheer after a minute's play when he found the bottom right-hand corner of the net from long range.

Andrew Shinnie equalised on 37 minutes, also from long range, but Inverness slipped behind again thanks to Steven Thompson's header soon after the break. But a second leveller from Richie Foran's head, spared his side's blushes and ensured a share of the points.

Ross County gave Hibernian a bloody nose at Easter Road Stadium with a 1-0 win thanks to midfielder Richard Brittain's header just before the hour mark.

After an uncompromising first-half where the most notable action was the referee issuing free-kicks and bookings, Ross County pulled together a move which saw Marc Fitzpatrick set up Brittain for a crucial three points as the Staggies moved level with St Mirren on 21 points.

Only one point could separate Dundee United and St Johnstone going into the day's early kick-off and on the pitch matters were even tighter resulting in a 1-1 draw at Tannadice.

The attack-minded Gavin Gunning headed United ahead in the second minute from a Barry Douglas free-kick. But Brian McLean cancelled the defender's effort out two minutes into the second half with an own goal after Peter Pawlett fired in a low cross. The draw leaves United in eighth and without a home win since August.

In the Third Division, Rangers earned their ninth win in a row with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Clyde.

Goals from David Templeton, Lee Wallace and substitute Dean Shiels allowed the Ibrox outfit to move 12 points clear at the top of the table. However manager Ally McCoist will have cause for some concern as forward Andy Little limped off during the first half.

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