• SPL round-up

Celtic hit six against United

ESPN staff
February 16, 2013
Efe Ambrose started the rout when Celtic were one down © Getty Images

Celtic moved 18 points clear at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a 6-2 victory over Dundee United at Celtic Park. Motherwell are now the Hoops' closest rivals after they beat Inverness Caledonian Thistle 3-0, meanwhile Ross County's good form continued with another win.

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Dundee United surprised Celtic and took the lead after nine minutes through Stuart Armstrong. But the champions kicked back immediately as Efe Ambrose met a Kris Commons corner less than two minutes later.

Commons then turned from creator to finisher to give his side the lead but Celtic were soon fuming at a penalty given for Adam Matthews' challenge on Gary Mackay-Steven.

They need not have wasted their breath however as goalkeeper Fraser Forster, who was booked for his protestations, saved Jon Daly's effort.

On 36 minutes Joe Ledley put the game beyond doubt with a third from the edge of the penalty area, shot into the top right corner.

After half-time Commons showed Daly how to convert from the spot after Gary Hooper was bundled to the ground and the former Nottingham Forest player made it 4-1.

A double from Anthony Stokes put more shine on the victory for Neil Lennon's side while Johnny Russell scored a late consolation for United.

The Terrors' loss was the first under Jackie McNamara and saw them slip one place to ninth.

Motherwell leapfrogged Inverness to take second place in the league as they won 3-0 at home. Striker Michael Higdon scored either side of an individual goal from Nicky Law, who lifted the ball over Inverness goalkeeper Ryan Esson en route to scoring.

Motherwell's win means Inverness have now gone six games without a win and they are only one point above Hibernian in fourth, although they do have a game in hand.

Ivan Sproule gave Ross County a 1-0 win over St Johnstone extending their undefeated run in the SPL to seven games. Sproule's goal was a curled chip on 11 minutes following a pass from Mihael Kovacevic. Of their last seven league matches, County have won five and moved above Dundee United to eighth.

Hibernian's trip to St Mirren went the way of the visitors thanks to a Leigh Griffiths penalty halfway through the second half earning a 1-0 victory. Jim Goodwin was the villain for St Mirren after he was penalised for a push on Matt Done and Griffiths calmly converted.

Hibs stayed fourth in the table but Kilmarnock kept the pressure on with a 3-0 victory over Hearts , taking their goal difference to plus-six.

The Ayrshire side had Paul Heffernan to thank for his hat-trick, his first goal breaking the deadlock just before half-time followed by two second-half strikes.

Two goals from Andy Little and two from David Templeton, one of them a beautiful strike, gave Rangers a 4-1 away victory over Clyde. The Ibrox outfit consolidated their lead at the top of the Third Division by maintaining their 22-point advantage and moving one round closer to securing promotion.

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