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St Johnstone sneak into Europe at Inverness' expense

ESPN staff
May 19, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Neil Lennon was delighted with Celtic's victory © PA Photos
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St Johnstone claimed third spot in the Clydesdale Bank Premier League - and the final Europa League berth - after ending the season with a 2-0 victory over Motherwell.

A 1-0 defeat for nearest rivals Inverness in the Highland derby at Ross County meant the three points were enough for Saints to beat Terry Butcher's men to European football.

Goals from Liam Craig and Nigel Hasselbaink secured the win against a Motherwell side who were already confirmed as SPL runners-up.

And the result meant Steve Lomas was able to deliver continental football for a second successive year after facing Turks Eskisehirspor last time.

Inverness were denied a Europa League place following their first Highland derby defeat of the season to Ross County.

Andre Hainault's well-executed volley two minutes before the break, coupled with St Johnstone's win, saw Caley Thistle fall at the final hurdle in their quest to seal an unlikely European debut.

Celtic finished off their Clydesdale Bank Premier League campaign in style with a convincing 4-0 win over Dundee United at Tannadice.

Kris Commons gave the champions the lead with a 30-yard free-kick in the 11th minute before Georgios Samaras helped himself to a double, the first with a deflected drive in the 17th minute and the second a header 10 minutes later.

Neil Lennon's side retained their grip on proceedings in the second half, but only added to their lead with five minutes remaining when substitute Anthony Stokes, on for Commons, made it 4-0, also with the help of a deflection.

It was a perfect warm-up for the Hoops ahead of next week's William Hill Scottish Cup final against Hibernian at Hampden where they will look to clinch the double.

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