• SPL round-up

Forster & Hooper rescue Celtic again

ESPN staff
January 2, 2013 « Dodson chasing pigs & squirrels to prepare for Johnson | Chartbeat test »
Celtic pulled a crucial win out of the fire against Motherwell. © PA Photos
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Celtic extended their lead atop the SPL to nine points on Wednesday, as Fraser Forster made a crucial penalty save on the way to a 1-0 win over challengers Motherwell.

In a nervy game at Parkhead, a dogged Motherwell side looked to be on the verge of an unlikely win - one that would have closed the gap at the top to just three points - when they were awarded a penalty with barely 15 minutes remaining after Kelvin Wilson brought down Jamie Murphy.

But Forster - advancing his England cause once again - sprang to his right to deny Tom Hateley's effort - before Celtic almost immediately went up the other end to steal the game, Gary Hooper sweeping home from Giorgios Samaras' left wing cross.

A Niall McGinn free-kick shortly after half-time spared the blushes of Dons goalkeeper Jamie Langfield, as Aberdeen and Dundee United battled out a 2-2 draw at Pittodrie.

The home side had taken an early lead through Scott Vernon, but Gavin Gunning turned home a leveller, and Langfield put through his own net to give the Arabs an unexpected half-time lead.

However, top scorer McGinn blasted a free-kick into the top corner to level the scores, and see that both sides began 2013 with a point.

St Mirren failed to clinch a second successive victory in the league as Cammy Bell helped Kilmarnock earn a 1-1 draw..

Liam Kelly fired Kilmarnock ahead from the penalty spot after just four minutes when James Dayton was brought down inside the box.

St Mirren pushed for an equaliser and Bell made three fantastic saves before finally conceding to Paul McGowan's penalty midway through the second half.

There were late chances for Jim Goodwin and David Barron, but the Rugby Park side held out for a point.

Finally, in the early kick-off Liam Craig grabbed the only goal of the game to hand St Johnstone victory as Dundee's survival hopes were dealt a further blow.

Nearest rivals Ross County's own match fell victim to the weather but the Dens Park side failed to edge closer to the Highland outfit.

Defeat means Dundee have claimed just one point from their last seven matches.

David Templeton enjoyed a happier trip to Galabank as Rangers recorded their 11th consecutive Third Division victory against Annan Athletic on Wednesday..

The winger, who was carried off with ankle ligament damage when Rangers drew 0-0 in Annan in September, opened the scoring and helped round it off when his 25-yard strike was deflected home by defender Harry Monaghan.

Robbie Crawford had earlier put Rangers back in front after Ally Love brought Annan level before the break with an almost identical goal to the opener, with his cross sailing straight in.

Rangers did suffer another serious-looking injury though when Darren Cole was stretchered off on his first start of the season.

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