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SPL wrap: Celtic too good for Hearts

Scottish Premier League leaders Celtic beat Hearts, while Inverness Caledonian Thistle consolidated second place on Saturday.

Celtic ran out 4-1 winners over ninth-placed Hearts, who slumped to their seventh loss of the season.

Gary Hooper opened the scoring for Celtic in the second minute before Georgios Samaras doubled the advantage 10 minutes later.

Jason Holt’s 69th-minute goal gave Hearts hope of a comeback until Hooper netted again with six minutes to go and Lassad Houioui struck in stoppage time.

Meanwhile, Billy McKay scored a brace as Inverness accounted for Aberdeen 3-0.

Andrew Shinnie broke the deadlock in the 53rd minute before McKay sealed the victory with two goals of his own.

Inverness remain nine points behind Celtic, while third-placed Motherwell, who entertain St Johnstone on Sunday, are a further three points adrift.

In other matches, Ross County moved 11 points clear of bottom-placed Dundee after prevailing 4-1 over St Mirren.

Richard Brittain put County in front after 22 minutes before Steven Thompson fired a shot past Mark Brown to level proceedings in the second half.

But there was no further joy for St Mirren as Sam Morrow restored County’s lead in the 67th minute and Ivan Sproule marked his debut with a classy double.

Dundee ended a four-match losing streak with a 1-1 draw at Hibernian.

The visitors took an unexpected lead through John Baird before Leigh Griffiths secured a share of the spoils and avoided a major embarrassment for Hibernian.

And Johnny Russell bagged a hat-trick as Dundee United earned a 3-2 win at Kilmarnock.

Sat 19 January, 2013
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