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Hooper on target as Celtic sink Hearts

ESPN staff
January 19, 2013 « Suarez: Liverpool can still make top four | Chartbeat test »
Gary Hooper was on target twice to sink Hearts © PA Photos
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SPL table and results

Celtic were made to battle to claim a 4-1 win over Hearts, while Inverness Caledonian Thistle reinforced their position in second with a 3-0 win over Aberdeen.

Gary Hooper and Georgios Samaras handed Celtic an early cushion, but a strike from Jason Holt handed Hearts hope. The comeback was snuffed out when Hooper slotted home following good work from Scott Brown. And the victory was sealed when Lassad Houioui netted in injury-time.

Billy McKay netted twice in Inverness's 3-0 win over the Aderdeen, while Johnny Russell helped himself to a hat-trick in Dundee United's 3-2 win at Kilmarnock.

McKay's double helped Inverness cruise to a 3-0 victory against Aberdeen. Andrew Shinnie opened the scoring for the hosts nine minutes into the second half and McKay wrapped up the win with goals in the 61st and 78th minutes.

Leigh Griffiths' goal earned Hibernian a point at home to Dundee. John Baird gave the visitors - 13 points adrift at the foot of the table - an eighth-minute lead at Easter Road. However Griffiths netted four minutes into the second half to earn Pat Fenlon's men a point.

Ross County moved 12 points clear of danger at the foot of the SPL table with an impressive 4-1 victory over St Mirren.

Richard Brittain fired the visitors ahead with an excellent 25-yard free-kick and the Highland side passed up numerous opportunities to extend their advantage during the first half.

St Mirren were rewarded for a bright start to the second half when Steven Thompson rocketed a shot past Mark Brown from just inside the area, but it was to be the highlight of the afternoon for Danny Lennon's side.

Sam Morrow took advantage on a horrific defensive error by David Barron to restore County's lead and Ivan Sproule marked his debut with a goal four minutes later.

Sproule capped off an excellent display when he tapped home a fourth and a miserable day for St Mirren was completed when Lewis Guy's penalty was saved by Brown in injury time.

Dundee United showed no ill effects from news of manager Peter Houston's planned departure as Johnny Russell struck a hat-trick to complete a deserved comeback and win 3-2 against Kilmarnock at Rugby Park.

Manuel Pascali gave Kilmarnock the lead against the run of play but Russell rewarded United's first-half dominance with an excellent finish two minutes before the break.

The goal originated from Keith Watson and Russell headed United in front from the same source before completing his treble two minutes from time to move his side above Kilmarnock into seventh place in the league.

Pascali headed a second goal coming in the final seconds but there was no time to push for an equaliser.

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