• SPL round-up

Ledley bags brace as Celtic hit five past Dundee

ESPN staff
February 24, 2013
James Forrest netted Celtic's second from the penalty spot © PA Photos

Celtic moved 21 points clear at the top of the SPL table with an easy 5-0 victory over bottom club Dundee on Sunday while Dundee United staged a late comeback to draw 2-2 with Hibernian.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon made five changes from the XI that drew 1-1 at St Johnstone, and he was rewarded with goals from Joe Ledley(2), James Forrest, Dylan McGeouch and Gary Hooper.

The Bhoys were ahead as early as the 13th minute against Dundee after Rab Douglas spilled Emilio Izaguirre's cross, allowing Ledley an easy tap-in.

They then killed the game off when Matt Lockwood, five minutes after being brought on at half-time, denied Hooper an open goal with his sliding challenge. Lockwood saw red for his troubles, and Forrest sent Douglas the wrong way from 12 yards.

The floodgates predictably opened as McGeouch added a third with a powerful back-post header, before Ledley added his second with 17 minutes remaining. Hooper registered Celtic's fifth late on as they saw out the match with ease.

Defeat means Dundee remain 15 points adrift of St Mirren at the foot of the table with their fate almost inevitable.

Hibernian leapfrogged Kilmarnock to go up to sixth despite having their profits from a trip to Tannadice reduced by Dundee United as the hosts secured a draw ten minutes from time.

Hibs let in a calamitous goal from John Rankin to cede the initiative in the match to the Terrors after eight minutes.

Rankin put pressure on goalkeeper Ben Williams after he made a hash out of a backpass and tried to recover by booting the ball clear. But his escape route was blocked by Rankin and it rebounded into the net.

Leigh Griffiths then brought Hibs back into the match with an individual display worthy of being on the winning side. Griffiths first sounded a warning, two minutes before creating his side's first goal, with a strike from 20 yards.

Then his free-kick from the left-hand edge of the box was met by James McPake who headed in the equaliser just before the half-hour mark.

Four minutes before half-time Griffiths took the ball on himself and whipped away a shot which struck the right-hand upright but he got his own goal soon after the break. His run down the left wing gave him space to smash a shot goalward which rattled the inside of United's net.

Jackie McNamara's side grew frustrated as the half wore on but when Ryan McGivern brought down Gary Mackay-Steven on the edge of the area, they had a chance to take a share of the points. Johnny Russell stepped up to take the spot-kick and slotted it past Williams, leaving them ninth but level on points with Kilmarnock and Aberdeen.

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