SLP wrap: Celtic go into Xmas 10 points clear at the top

SPL wrap: Graham Barr reflects on Celtic's win which saw them move 10 points clear at Xmas

By Graham Barr

Two second half goals secures victory for league leaders

Having lost 7-0 to Celtic only a few weeks ago, a young Hearts side almost snatched a point at Parkhead on Saturday. The home side dominated the match, having 74 per cent of the possession and 19 shots at goal, but struggled to find the clinical finishing they had shown last time out. It took until the 64th minute to make the breakthrough when Kris Commons was played in by Scott Brown to slot the ball into the net. The score remained at 1-0 until the final minutes when Hearts almost snatched a point with their first shot of the match, only to see Commons stop Ryan McGowan’s header on the line. Celtic then made the three points secure in stoppage time with an excellent goal from James Forrest.

Goals galore as Aberdeen edge seven-goal thriller

In the day’s late kick-off, a first-half blitz helped Aberdeen to a 4-3 victory against Inverness – and in doing so leapfrogged the team from the highlands. Inverness could not cope with the Dons in the first half and goals from Peter Pawlett, Niall McGinn and two from Barry Robson sent Derek McInness’ men in 4-0 up at the break. Inverness rallied in the second half and two goals from Billy McKay and another from Graeme Shinnie late on meant a tense finish. The match was John Hughes’ first home game in charge of Inverness and his side almost completed a stunning comeback in injury time but Danny Williams had his header well-saved.

Motherwell rediscover form against sorry St Mirren

Stuart McCall’s Motherwell side put in an excellent performance to ease past a St Mirren side that have been in good form of late. Henry Anier and Lionel Ainsworth both struck in the first half to put Motherwell fully in control of the match. Anier struck again in the second half to wrap up the three points with St Mirren struggling to make any real impact on the game.

Mackay-Stevens strikes to ensure United’s good run continues

Dundee United were not in the free-scoring form they have been of late, but a second half goal was enough to ensure victory against 11th-placed Ross County. United dominated much of the game but took until the 69th minute to take the lead when Gary Mackay-Stevens finished off a well-worked move. United were well deserving of their victory which moved them up to second place in the Scottish Premiership table.

Huge win for Kilmarnock as Boyd gets the winner

A late Kris Boyd goal ensured that Kilmarnock picked up a vital three points and leapfrogged their opponents into 10th place. Chris Johnston scored late in the first half to put Killie 1-0 ahead at the break but Kris Doolan equalised within the first five minutes of the restart. Partick squandered chances to take the lead before Boyd diverted Jackson Irvine’s 30 yard-strike into the Thistle net. The home side had keeper Craig Samson to thank for the three points as he pulled of late saves from Kallum Higgonbotham and Ross Forbes.

10-man St Johnstone frustrate Hibs to earn a draw

Hibs have now scored only one goal in their last seven as Terry Butcher saw his new side draw for the third time in his four games in charge. St Johnstone had to play an hour of the match with ten men after Paddy Cregg was sent off for a late tackle in the first half but Hibs struggled to create chances and failed to get the goal which would have seen them move within a point of their opponents.

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