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Celtic extend lead as Inverness involved in 4-4 thriller

ESPN staff
December 15, 2012 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »
Celtic edged to a narrow victory on Saturday © PA Photos
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Celtic extended their lead atop the Scottish Premier League with a 2-0 home win against St Mirren on Saturday, as Inverness agonisingly failed to complete a remarkable comeback in a 4-4 draw with Dundee United.

Elsewhere, Kilmarnock and Motherwell - who moved second as a result - grabbed away wins against Aberdeen and Hibernian respectively, as Ross County's meeting with Dundee and Hearts' visit to Dunfermline both ended in score draws.

SPL table and results

Goals from Victor Wanyama and Gary Hooper either side of the break gave Celtic a comfortable win over St Mirren at Parkhead, as they moved four points clear in the title race.

In the 15th minute of a one-sided first-half peppered by Hoops penalty appeals, none of which were given, midfielder Wanyama opened the scoring at the second attempt following a Charlie Mulgrew corner.

Saints showed resilience if nothing else as they withstood a constant Celtic procession towards their goal but seven minutes from time they succumbed again when former Scunthorpe forward Hooper struck from close range, following another Mulgrew corner.

At Tannadice Park, Dundee United were 3-0 up against Inverness within eight minutes before falling 4-3 behind in the closing stages - before Jon Daly's late penalty salvaged a point in a remarkable 4-4 draw.

William McKay scored a hat-trick - the third from the spot on the hour-mark - to haul his side back into the contest, before Gary Warren scored with four minutes remaining to appear to give his side a remarkable victory.

But the home side won a penalty in the third minute of injury-time, and Daly made no mistake to ensure the points would be shared.

A Josh Meekings own goal, a strike from Daly and another from Rudi Skacel had given Dundee United their 3-0 advantage inside the opening ten minutes, before Inverness came back strongly.

Motherwell produced a fantastic second half comeback to defeat Hibernian 3-2 at Easter Road.

Eoin Doyle headed the hosts ahead five minutes before half-time and doubled his tally nine minutes after the break when he raced onto Paul Cairney's high ball and rocketed past Darren Randolph. Jamie Murphy tapped in from close range to cut the hosts' lead and he glanced home a leveller with 10 minutes remaining.

Hibs looked shell-shocked after losing a commanding lead and things got worse for Pat Fenlon's side when substitute Robert McHugh converted Henrik Ojamaa's cross two minutes from time. James McPake was dismissed for a second yellow card during injury-time to complete a miserable afternoon for the home side.

Kevin Kyle was on the scoresheet for Rangers © Getty Images
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Scotland midfielder Liam Kelly bagged a double for Kilmarnock as they scored a vital win over 10-man Aberdeen at Pittodrie. Kelly opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Dons goalkeeper Jamie Langfield had been sent off for bringing down Borja Perez, and the midfielder struck from the edge of the area to double his side's lead in the dying stages.

Hearts took the lead twice but ultimately had to settle for a point in a thrilling 2-2 draw with St Johnstone. The visitors opened the scoring through John Sutton, and Andrew Driver gave them a 2-1 half-time advantage after Rowan Vine had levelled the scores. Steve MacLean equalised after the break in a match filled with goalscoring opportunities and questionable defending.

Finally, Ross County came from a goal down to earn a draw against bottom club Dundee in an intriguing tussle at Global Energy Stadium. Iain Davidson gave Dundee the lead eight minutes from the break, but County hit back strongly and substitute Gary Glen fired home a deserved equaliser with 16 minutes remaining.

In the Third Division, Dean Shiels created a goal and scored himself inside two second-half minutes as Rangers came from behind to edge Montrose 4-2 in an open and entertaining contest at Links Park. Montrose were twice denied late equalisers by the frame of the goal before Robbie Crawford secured the points with virtually the last kick of the ball.

Shiels set up Kevin Kyle to put Rangers ahead midway through the second half and then finished off a clinical break to seemingly end the visitors' struggle against Montrose, who led for six minutes through Lloyd Young's strike before Lee McCulloch netted a penalty. But home substitute David Gray soon scored a wonderful lob and Garry Wood and Scott Johnston hit the woodwork.

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