Celtic stay strong, Week 23 round-up

ScottishPrem

All six games took place on Saturday, Celtic returned from Turkey with a routine victory. Meanwhile Inverness closed the gap in the race for third place and Partick are still looking for a home victory.

Celtic moved 13 points ahead of second place with a comfortable 3-0 against Stuart McCall’s Motherwell side. In front of a sparse crowd at Parkhead, it took the league leaders just five minutes to open the scoring. Kris Commons pounced on an Anthony Stokes shot to tap home from close range. Motherwell had their chances, Iain Vigurs fired over, and James McFadden should have scored but shot at Fraser Forster’s legs. Celtic’s second came from the penalty spot. Stokes was tripped in the box by goalkeeper Nielson six minutes before the break, Commons grabbed his second of the game by converting. The game was all over in the 69th minute when former Celtic captain Stephen McManus turned a cross into his own net for the third. Anthony Stokes’ afternoon ended on a sour note as he was shown a straight red for a wild tackle on Motherwell’s Keith Lasley.

That left Aberdeen with the chance to widen the gap between themselves and the rest in the race for second spot – but they blew it. Out-of-form Inverness took advantage of a uncharacteristic poor home display from the Dons and grabbed all three points. The vast majority of the crowd were left scratching their heads when Danny Williams gave Caley the lead with 22 minutes gone.  The Englishman’s shot from just 10 yards, off the bar left Langfield helpless. Aberdeen had 10 first-half corners but struggled to create any real clear-cut chances. It was only deep into the second half when Aberdeen really had a decent chance but Dean Brill was equal to Willo Floods thunderous drive. Caley could have made the win more convincing late on but Graeme Shinnie’s effort smacked the base of the post after a good team move.

Dundee United have dropped off the pace in recent weeks, Saturday was no different. The Arabs suffered their fourth defeat in six against Ross County going down 3-0 in Dingwall. Filip Kiss continued his good start to his Ross County career by firing the hosts in front just before the interval. The Slovak loanee headed home good cross from Graham Carey to give County a half-time advantage. Dundee United were under strength and lacked any real threat, Gary McKay-Steven’s early runs were the best the away side could muster. It took the home side until the 69th minute to grab their second. It was another loanee who got on the scoresheet; Yoan Arquinn opened his account from close-range after being set up by another new signing Jordan Slew. The third and best goal of the game came with 16 minutes to go Kiss got his second when he long-range shot from about 30 yards nestled in the top right-hand corner.

Hibs and St Mirren where involved in a five-goal thriller at Easter Road with the away side coming away with the three points. To the amazement of the home fans, their side was three goals down within 26 first-half minutes. A Ben Williams own goal gave the Buddies the lead inside five minutes. Paul McGowan’s shot came back off the post and hit the unlucky goalkeeper and found its way into the net. Then the Saints found the net twice in three minutes. Campbell and McGinn played a neat one-two before the former fired past Williams to double the lead. Campbell got an assist when he fired a cross in which Thompson slid home for the third before the break. Hibs pulled two back after the break through James Collins after the hour, but St Mirren held on.

Hearts mounted a superb second-half comeback at McDermaid Park against St Johnstone, which saw the game end in a 3-3 draw. St Johnstone were in the lead with a Stevie May goal in the 39th minute from the penalty spot. He then doubled the lead just after half-time, before Dale Carrick headed Hearts back into the game May completed his hat-trick with another from the spot. Two goals in two minutes saved a draw for the Jambos a late header from Danny Wilson and before that Sam Nicholson had made it 3-2. The match also had three red cards Stephen Anderson and Mannus were sent off for the home side and Ryan Stevenson for Hearts.

Partick Thistle were left frustrated at Firhill again as they could only draw 1-1 with Kilmarnock. Despite the home side taking the lead through Kallum Higginbotham after just three minutes of play they could not hold on when Kris Boyd’s penalty was saved and Muirhead the Kilmarnock youngster dashed their hopes of a first home win when he found the net in stoppage time.

RESULTS

Celtic 3-0 Motherwell

Aberdeen 0-1 Inverness CT

Ross County 3-0 Dundee United

Hibernian 2-3 St Mirren

St Johnstone 3-3 Hearts

Partick Thistle 1-1 Kilmarnock

STANDINGS

140122 - Scottish Premiership

Table courtesy of Fifa.com

JamieCurrie

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