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Celtic 1 Motherwell 0 match report: Gary Hooper"s 18th of the season extends Bhoys" lead

Celtic 1 Motherwell 0: Hooper's 18th of the season extends Bhoys' lead at the summit

PUBLISHED:

17:05 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

17:17 GMT, 2 January 2013

Gary Hooper's late strike gave Celtic victory over Motherwell in their Clydesdale Bank Premier League encounter at Parkhead.

Hoops keeper Fraser Forster made a brilliant save from Tom Hateley's penalty, awarded for Kelvin Wilson's challenge on Jamie Murphy, just before the Englishman converted a Georgios Samaras cross from close range with 11 minutes remaining.

Not for the first time this season at home, though, the champions ended up struggling to get three points from a match that should have been over by the interval.

Well keeper Darren Randolph kept Celtic at bay with a series of saves although there were some glaring misses too before Hooper pounced to take Neil Lennon's side into the winter break nine points clear of Inverness at the top of the table.

It's that man again: Gary Hooper slots past Motherwell keeper Darren Randolph

It's that man again: Gary Hooper slots past Motherwell keeper Darren Randolph

Match facts

Celtic: Forster, Matthews, Ambrose (Rogne 84), Wilson, Izaguirre, Commons (McGeouch 82), Kayal (Watt 72), Wanyama, Mulgrew, Samaras, Hooper. Subs not used: Zaluska, Nouioui, McCourt, Chalmers.

Booked: Mulgrew, Kayal, Wanyama, Forster.

Goal: Hooper 79.

Motherwell: Randolph, Hateley, Kerr, Ramsden, Hammell, Humphrey, Law, Lasley, Francis-Angol (Daley 86), Ojamaa (McHugh 86), Murphy. Subs not used: Hollis, Higdon, Carswell, Hetherington, Cummins.

Booked: Ojamaa, Lasley.

Referee: Steven McLean.

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However, Motherwell manager Stuart
McCall, set to lose forward Murphy to Sheffield United this week, will
wonder how different it might have been had Hateley scored from the
spot.

Lennon made four changes and returned
to a back four after admitting three at the back did not work in the
1-0 defeat by Hibernian at Easter Road on Saturday.

In came Adam Matthews, Beram Kayal,
Kris Commons and Charlie Mulgrew with skipper Scott Brown, Mikael
Lustig, Lassad Nouioui and Thomas Rogne dropping out, the latter two on
the bench.

Motherwell showed two changes with
Fraser Kerr and Zaine Francis-Angol in for Shaun Hutchinson and Michael
Higdon, the big striker consigned to the bench where he watched the home
side's whirlwind start suggest a demolition job.

Samaras had the ball in the net from Commons' cross in the second minute but was flagged offside.
Commons then flashed a shot from the edge of the box just wide after
being set up by Hooper, who then turned and drove wide after taking a
Kayal pass with his back to goal.

In the seventh minute Randolph made a
fine save from Hooper's stab from close range after more good work on
the left from Samaras, before tipping stand-in skipper Mulgrew's curling
free-kick over the bar for a corner.

Hands on: Fraser Forster saves Tom Hateley's penalty

Hands on: Fraser Forster saves Tom Hateley's penalty

There was no let-up in the pressure
on the Motherwell goal and moments later Randolph flew to his left to
pluck a goal-bound Commons shot out of the air.

The Hoops support groaned once more
when Victor Wanyama then missed Mulgrew's corner altogether from eight
yards, allowing Well to clear their lines.

Murphy, skipper for the day, should
have put the visitors ahead following a break in the 20th minute when he
was played in by Keith Lasley but he lashed the ball over the bar.

Defender Efe Ambrose guided Mulgrew's whipped-in free-kick past the near post from six yards out.
Motherwell slowly grew in confidence as the first half wore on.

Mixed emotions: Neil Lennon applauds Hooper's winner

Mixed emotions: Neil Lennon applauds Hooper's winner

In the 37th minute Murphy tested
Forster with a drive from the edge of the box and moments later curled a
shot from 14 yards past the far post after working his way past Kayal
and into a good shooting position.

Samaras had a low drive from 20 yards saved by Randolph.

With seconds remaining Ambrose missed
the chance of the half when Randolph dropped Wanyama's header from a
Mulgrew corner, the Parkhead defender hooking the ball over the bar from
barely two yards.

Celtic had an unconvincing start to
the second period but with six minutes gone Randolph tipped a deflected
shot from Wanyama over the bar.

Celtic dropped the tempo which
allowed Well to breath slightly easier but Randolph was still seeing
plenty of the ball, making another decent save from Commons'
right-footed drive from 25 yards in the 67th minute.

Watching brief: Norwich boss Chris Hughton was running the rule over potential targets at Parkhead

Watching brief: Norwich boss Chris Hughton was running the rule over potential targets at Parkhead

Both sides were taking turns to
attack but Motherwell were handed a great chance to take the lead when
referee Steven McLean adjudged Wilson to have tripped Murphy in the box.

There was some concern as to whether
Hateley had the ball on the spot or not – and Forster was booked for
pointing this out – but when the Motherwell player blasted his shot to
his left the Celtic flew across to make a great save.

The incident seemed to energise
Celtic and they were soon in the lead when Hooper played the ball to
Samaras and ran into the box to collect the return pass and slip the
ball under Randolph from six yards.

There were some nervy moments before the final whistle as Motherwell went for broke but in the end Celtic deserved their win.

Neil Lennon on brink at Celtic… 17 days after beating Barcelona

If you want me to go, I'll go! Lennon on brink at Celtic, 17 days after beating Barcelona

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UPDATED:

00:07 GMT, 25 November 2012

Neil Lennon sensationally threatened to quit Celtic after an angry altercation with fans during the 1-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat by Inverness at Parkhead.

With the home side trying to claw back Billy McKay's 65th-minute strike late in the game, the former Celtic skipper remonstrated with angry supporters behind his technical area and the match ended with a crescendo of boos from many of the frustrated Hoops support.

Flash point: Celtic manager Neil Lennon argues with a Celtic fan

Flash point: Celtic manager Neil Lennon argues with a Celtic fan

Flash point: Celtic manager Neil Lennon argues with a Celtic fan

The Parkhead side have taken only one point from the last nine at home but remain top of the league by a point and are within one game of reaching the last-16 of the Champions League due, in part, to an incredible 2-1 home win over Barcelona earlier in the month.

However, in the post-match press conference the former Celtic skipper was clearly enraged by some of the criticism.

Lennon said: 'They are frustrated. I disagreed with them, I didn't like what they said about the team.

'Look, if they are not happy with what I am doing and they want me to go, I will.

'If the fans make it clear that they are not happy and they want me out then that's okay, I will do the honourable thing.

Not happy: Lennon received a verbal volley during shock defeat by Inverness

Not happy: Lennon received a verbal volley during shock defeat by Inverness

Happy days: Lennon celebrates with players after victory over Barcelona

Happy days: Lennon celebrates with players after victory over Barcelona

'I can't repeat it (what fans said) because it is public arena but there were a lot of expletives and heavy criticism, which I didn't think was justified and (there was) a lack of patience with the team as well.

'If there was a lack of application and commitment I would be the first to criticise the team.

'I didn't see that today but I did see a lack of composure and quality in the final third and that's what cost us.

'If I think it is justified then I don't have a problem with it but I don't think it was justified today.

'But they pay their money, they are allowed to say what they like. I've got my opinions on it and sometimes I give them as well.

'I am not happy with the league form, it is my team at the end of the day so I take the responsibility for it.

'It's not for the lack of trying to find the answers.'

If you want me to go, I"ll go! Lennon on brink at Celtic… 17 days after beating Barcelona

If you want me to go, I'll go! Lennon on brink at Celtic, 17 days after beating Barcelona

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UPDATED:

18:55 GMT, 24 November 2012

Neil Lennon sensationally threatened to quit Celtic after an angry altercation with fans during the 1-0 Clydesdale Bank Premier League defeat by Inverness at Parkhead.

With the home side trying to claw back Billy McKay's 65th-minute strike late in the game, the former Celtic skipper remonstrated with angry supporters behind his technical area and the match ended with a crescendo of boos from many of the frustrated Hoops support.

Flash point: Celtic manager Neil Lennon argues with a Celtic fan

Flash point: Celtic manager Neil Lennon argues with a Celtic fan

Flash point: Celtic manager Neil Lennon argues with a Celtic fan

The Parkhead side have taken only one point from the last nine at home but remain top of the league by a point and are within one game of reaching the last-16 of the Champions League due, in part, to an incredible 2-1 home win over Barcelona earlier in the month.

However, in the post-match press conference the former Celtic skipper was clearly enraged by some of the criticism.

Lennon said: “They are frustrated. I disagreed with them, I didn't like what they said about the team.

“Look, if they are not happy with what I am doing and they want me to go, I will.

“If the fans make it clear that they are not happy and they want me out then that's okay, I will do the honourable thing.

Not happy: Lennon received a verbal volley during shock defeat by Inverness

Not happy: Lennon received a verbal volley during shock defeat by Inverness

Happy days: Lennon celebrates with players after victory over Barcelona

Happy days: Lennon celebrates with players after victory over Barcelona

“I can't repeat it (what fans said) because it is public arena but there were a lot of expletives and heavy criticism, which I didn't think was justified and (there was) a lack of patience with the team as well.

“If there was a lack of application and commitment I would be the first to criticise the team.

“I didn't see that today but I did see a lack of composure and quality in the final third and that's what cost us.

“If I think it is justified then I don't have a problem with it but I don't think it was justified today.

“But they pay their money, they are allowed to say what they like. I've got my opinions on it and sometimes I give them as well.

“I am not happy with the league form, it is my team at the end of the day so I take the responsibility for it.

“It's not for the lack of trying to find the answers.”

Celtic v Barcelona preview: Emilio Izaguirre sidelined for six weeks

Lennon dealt Izaguirre blow on eve of Barca visit with defender out for six weeks

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UPDATED:

16:39 GMT, 6 November 2012

Emilio Izaguirre has been ruled out for six weeks with a hamstring injury and will miss Celtic's Champions League Group G clash with Barcelona at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

The Hoops left-back came off during the 2-2 Clydesdale Bank Premier League draw with Dundee United at Tannadice on Sunday and Thomas Rogne is out for two weeks with a calf complaint picked up in the same game.

Winger James Forrest (hamstring) and strikers Gary Hooper (hamstring), Lassad (groin) and Georgios Samaras (ankle) missed the trip to Tayside and only the latter has a chance of making the game against the Catalan giants.

Injury blow: Neil Lennon will be without Emile Izaguirre for the visit of Barcelona with the defender sidelined for six weeks through injury

Injury blow: Neil Lennon will be without Emile Izaguirre for the visit of Barcelona with the defender (who was injured at the weekend, below) sidelined for six weeks

Pain game: Izaguirre suffered the injury at Dundee United

Celtic boss Neil Lennon said: 'Izaguirre is out for six weeks. He had a scan on Tuesday.

'Rogne is looking at two weeks with a calf strain. James Forrest will be out for a week or two with a hamstring strain. Lassad has a groin strain.

'Samaras is hopeful but Hooper is very, very doubtful so we are a little bit stretched.'

Lennon stressed the importance to his plans of Samaras, who scored in the 2-1 defeat in the Nou Camp last month.

He said: 'It is hugely disruptive because they are big players and they have been for quite a while here and they would have been pivotal to the way we wanted to play tomorrow.

All smiles: Celtic captain Scott Brown (C) laughs with his team-mates during a training

All smiles: Celtic captain Scott Brown (C) laughs with his team-mates during a training

'However, we have good strength in depth and we will still have a very strong team to play on Wednesday evening.

'But regardless of the other injuries, it is important that Samaras does make it.

'He has been very unlucky with injuries because his form has been excellent in the qualifiers and in the early part of the season.

'He had the bad elbow injury playing for Greece which set him back three or four weeks.

'He came back for the Barca game and played very well until he picked up the ankle injury so even if the rest of the players were fit, Samaras would have been very important to us and we are hoping he is going to make kick-off.'

Star sighting: Lionel Messi arrives with his Barcelona team-mates in Glasgow

Star sighting: Lionel Messi arrives with his Barcelona team-mates in Glasgow

Scott Brown hopeful of being fit for Wales clash

Scotland midfielder Brown hopeful of being fit for Wales clash

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UPDATED:

17:06 GMT, 8 October 2012

Scotland midfielder Scott Brown is optimistic he will be fit to face Wales on Friday – and has not ruled out playing against Belgium too.

Brown missed Celtic's win over Hearts on Sunday to rest his ongoing hip problem after helping Neil Lennon's side beat Spartak Moscow on an artificial pitch in Russia.

Speaking at Scotland's Mar Hall base on Monday, Brown said: 'I'm not too bad, I'm getting there slowly.

Optimistic: Brown has a hip problem

Optimistic: Brown has a hip problem

'I'm going to try for Friday first of all and see how I am. I'll take everything one step at a time and Wales is the most important game now.

'I missed out on the Hearts game at the weekend but I'm feeling not too bad just now. I'll see how training goes in the next few days.'

When asked if he could play both of the World Cup qualifiers, Brown said: 'I don't see why not. I feel okay.

'After the game on Friday, if I play, I'll take it step by step. We will just have to wait and see.'

Lennon has already given Brown and Scotland manager Craig Levein his blessing for Brown to play both matches if possible.

'He says it is up to me, if I feel fine
to play one game, play one, and if I feel okay for two, just go ahead
and do it, whatever my body can handle just now,' the former Hibernian
player said.

Plastic pitch: Brown complained about the surface at the Luzhniki

Plastic pitch: Brown complained about the surface at the Luzhniki

Brown has missed a number of Clydesdale bank Premier League matches with his hip complaint but played two games in a week last month, against Benfica and Dundee, and revealed his latest lay-off was largely down to the surface in the Luzhniki Stadium.

'The Astroturf did me,' Brown said. 'It was solid, there was no give. It was quite hard twisting and turning on it.

'We are back to grass so I think we should be okay for the upcoming couple of games.'

Meanwhile, Blackburn defender Grant Hanley has pulled out of the Scotland squad with a groin strain, assistant manager Peter Houston has confirmed.

Neil Lennon says Celtic are hitting form ahead of Spartak Moscow clash

Lennon believes Celtic are hitting form at just the right time for Spartak clash

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UPDATED:

16:15 GMT, 30 September 2012

Neil Lennon believes Celtic have hit the top of the Clydesdale Bank Premier League in perfect time for their Champions League clash with Spartak Moscow on Tuesday night.

The Hoops swept Motherwell away at Fir Park on Saturday to replace the Steelmen at the summit, thanks to a strike from in-form Gary Hooper and an own goal by the unfortunate Well defender Adam Cummins, who compounded a miserable afternoon when he was sent off after the break for a professional foul on Kris Commons.

Celtic could afford to have skipper Scott Brown's penalty saved by Darren Randolph and they were handed an added boost when Georgios Samaras returned for the first time since injuring his elbow on international duty early in September as a second-half substitute.

Delight: Celtic's Scott Brown after the own goal

Delight: Celtic's Scott Brown after the own goal

Lennon said: 'We have gone top of the league so going into the game on Tuesday, that is a good marker for us psychologically.

'We are starting to hit a bit of form which is great.

'The new lads are starting to settle in, we have players back and we will need them.

'We were very motivated going into the game and we picked Motherwell off very well at times.

'They found it a little bit difficult to adjust to the movement and we were able to get down the sides and round the back of them because we isolated their two centre-halves and some of the passing to get the boys in was very good, so overall it was a big performance.

'It was great to see Samaras back in full flow, and I thought Emilio Izaguirre was brilliant, he set a really good tempo and example and it augurs well but we know Tuesday is a different animal.

'We won't have anywhere near the bulk of possession or chances created but it is a huge confidence-booster going into that game.'

Form: Neil Lennon thinks Celtic have hit the top at the right time

Form: Neil Lennon thinks Celtic have hit the top at the right time

Any notions that Motherwell could be genuine contenders for the SPL title this season came to an abrupt end against a rampant Celtic side who could and should have scored more, notwithstanding the fact that the home side played most of the second half with 10 men.

Indeed, Fir Park manager Stuart McCall was pleased to escape without suffering a bigger drubbing.

'We wanted to do better but their movement was outstanding,' he said.

'We have a young side and there was a certain naivety, we squeezed too high.

'So it could have been more but one thing was, my players didn't chuck it.

'We said before the game that regardless of what the score was, they had to stick at it and they certainly did.'

Rangers 2 Motherwell 0: Match report

Rangers 2 Motherwell 0: McCulloch and Shiels show Gers can still mix it with the big boys

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UPDATED:

20:54 GMT, 26 September 2012

Rangers showed they can still compete with the top sides in the country by dumping in-form Motherwell out of the Scottish Communities League Cup.

The Light Blues faced top-flight opposition for the first time since being consigned to liquidation and voted into the Irn-Bru Third Division in the summer when the Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders came calling in the third round tie.

Motherwell were branded favourites by their hosts ahead of this game but any hopes of claiming a first win at Ibrox since 1997 were dashed by goals from Lee McCulloch and Dean Shiels as Rangers booked their place in the quarter-finals.

Flying high: Rangers' Lee McCulloch celebrates scoring against Motherwell

Flying high: Rangers' Lee McCulloch celebrates scoring against Motherwell

Match facts:

Rangers: Alexander, Faure, Perry, Emilson Cribari, Wallace, Argyriou, McCulloch, Macleod, Aird (McKay 81), Sandaza (Hutton 24), Shiels (Crawford 75).

Subs Not Used: Gallacher, Stella.

Booked: McCulloch.

Goals: McCulloch 50, Shiels 56.

Motherwell: Randolph, Kerr, Hutchinson, Cummins, Hammell (Francis-Angol 65), Humphrey (Daley 72), Hateley (Murphy 64), Lasley, Law, Ojamaa, Higdon.

Subs Not Used: Hollis, Ramsden.

Booked: Hammell, Daley.

Attendance: 29,413

Referee: Calum Murray

Ally McCoist made two changes to his side from the weekend after Ian Black failed to recover from a hamstring injury and Barrie McKay was dropped to the bench.

Francisco Sandaza was drafted into the starting line-up and Fraser Aird made his first start after an impressive debut from the bench against Montrose.

Motherwell named an unchanged side after being held to a 3-3 draw by Aberdeen in their last outing.
One of the biggest criticisms levelled at Rangers this season was starting games too slowly but they were out of the traps quickly, as the stadium rocked.

Clearly, both players and fans were relishing the return of top-flight opposition to Govan and it was Rangers who almost drew first blood.

Aird looked dangerous down the left flank and delivered a teasing ball into the box for Sandaza but he failed to connect properly and produce a clean shot.

The first effort on target fell to Motherwell when Tom Hateley had a go from the edge of the area but goalkeeper Neil Alexander was able to claim comfortably.

Hateley then turned provider for Henrik Ojamaa but he was forced too wide before unleashing and Alexander was again up to the task and gathered with ease.

Showing they can still do it: Rangers Anestis Argyriou and Motherwell's Zan Francis-Angol battle for the ball

Showing they can still do it: Rangers Anestis Argyriou and Motherwell's Zan Francis-Angol battle for the ball

There was concern for both sides when Sandaza and Shaun Hutchison both required treatment following a sickening clash of heads.

Hutchison left the pitch with blood pouring from a head wound and returned several minutes later after receiving stitches but the match was over for a groggy-looking Sandaza who was taken down the tunnel on a stretcher.

Kyle Hutton was thrown into the action for the striker with 24 minutes gone, making his first appearance since the League Cup win over East Fife in early August.

Showing what it means: Rangers team captain and goalscorer Lee McCulloch celebrates as the final whistle

Showing what it means: Rangers team captain and goalscorer Lee McCulloch celebrates as the final whistle

Pain game: Motherwell's Nicky Law cuts a dejected figure at full-time

Pain game: Motherwell's Nicky Law cuts a dejected figure at full-time

Both sides looked capable of finding the back of the net and Rangers came close when Shiels' cut-back found McCulloch and he drove just over the crossbar from 10 yards.

At the other end, Nicky Law found himself one on one with Alexander but the Rangers goalkeeper raced off his line to clear the danger before the midfielder could unleash the shot.

The second half was just four minutes old when Rangers opened the scoring.

Aird's short corner was punted into the box by Shiels where McCulloch was waiting to take advantage of poor marking by Motherwell and nod home from six yards.

Rangers doubled their lead after 56 minutes when Anestis Argyriou squared into the path of Shiels in plenty of space to volley past the helpless Darren Randolph.

Bundle: Rangers' players celebrate as they jump on team mate Dean Shiels after he scored

Bundle: Rangers' players celebrate as they jump on team mate Dean Shiels after he scored

The Steelmen could have pulled a goal back with a free-kick just outside the box but a swerving effort from Hateley was tipped wide by a full-stretch Alexander.

The tie could have been all but over for Motherwell when Aird forced his way past two defenders into the box only for his low shot to be blocked by the legs of Randolph.

The visitors tried to haul themselves back into the match and Ojamaa went to ground under pressure from Ross Perry but there was no penalty from referee Calum Murray.

Goalscorer Shiels appeared to take a knock and was replaced by youngster Robbie Crawford, before fellow substitute McKay was denied late on by Randolph, as Rangers held on for the morale-boosting victory.

Peter Lawwell plays down Celtic loss of 7m

Lawwell dismisses 7m Celtic loss as Scottish champions look to European football for profit

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UPDATED:

16:20 GMT, 18 September 2012

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell played down the impact of a 2m increase in debt and an annual loss of more than 7m as the Clydesdale Bank Premier League champions reported their preliminary financial results on Tuesday.

The preliminary results for the year ended June 30, 2012, showed a decline in turnover to 51.34m, an increase in operating expenses of 1.93m and an overall loss in the period of 7.37m against a very slight profit the year before. The level of debt has risen from 0.53m in June 2011 to 2.77m in June 2012.

Celtic are in Champions League action against Benfica on Wednesday night, having won the SPL title, and those achievements justify the figures, according to Lawwell.

Euro vision: Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell (right) believes Champions League revenues will cover a 7m annual loss

Euro vision: Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell (right) believes Champions League revenues will cover a 7m annual loss

'The club's in a decent place and we have built up over the past few years,' Lawwell told www.celticfc.net.

'We are in the Champions League and we have a great foundation, a great basis to take the club forward. There will be challenging times ahead but we are prepared for that.'

The sale of South Korea international Ki Sungyueng to Swansea and rewards of qualification for the Champions League group stage were not part of the preliminary results, having occurred after the time period.

'You can see that we have registered a loss, to June 30, 2012, of just under 7.4million,' Lawwell added.

'Now that loss, we could have eliminated if we had taken the opportunity to sell one or two players in January and cut the wage bill, but our main priority was to win the SPL and hopefully give us a pathway into the Champions League, so we made a conscious decision to keep the squad together, not to sell, and to keep a level of investment in the wage bill.

Big Bhoys: Celtic qualified for the group stages of the Champions League by beating HJK Helsinki and Helsingborgs (pictured)

Big Bhoys: Celtic qualified for the group stages of the Champions League by beating HJK Helsinki and Helsingborgs (pictured)

'Thankfully we won the SPL, which is great credit to Neil and his team.

'We were able to make that decision because of the financial strength that we've built up over the previous years, which put us in a very good position, and you can see that – that's reflected in our debt.

'Although making that loss, our debt level is still under 3m, which is very comfortable for a club of Celtic's size and revenue streams.

'In terms of our planning, and our scale, we would be comfortable with that level of debt and, of course, going forward, with a successful transfer window in terms of player trading, the fact that we're now in the Champions League, that becomes even more manageable.'

St Johnstone 2 Celtic 1: Champions suffer shock defeat as Vine hits winner

St Johnstone 2 Celtic 1: Champions suffer shock defeat as Vine hits winner

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UPDATED:

14:32 GMT, 15 September 2012

Rowan Vine's first goal for St Johnstone gave the home side a shock Clydesdale Bank Premier League win over Celtic at McDiarmid Park.

Kris Commons drove the champions into the lead in the fourth minute but Saints striker Gregory Tade levelled in the 18th minute before the visitors were denied what looked a clear penalty when Steven Anderson challenged Commons inside the box.

But Celtic were well off the pace all afternoon and in the 80th minute they paid dearly when former QPR striker Vine curled the ball in from the edge of the penalty area to hand the Perth club their first win of the league campaign.

Pile on! St Johnstone celebrate Rowan Vine's winner over Celtic at McDiarmid Park

Pile on! St Johnstone celebrate Rowan Vine's winner over Celtic at McDiarmid Park

MATCH FACTS

St Johnstone: Mannus, Miller, Anderson, Wright, MacKay, Pawlett (Hasselbaink 78), Cregg, Murray Davidson (Millar 22), Craig, Vine (MacLean), Tade.

Subs not used: Tuffey, Caddis, Scobbie, Kane.

Booked: Anderson, Miller, Cregg, Craig

Goals: Tade 18, Vine 80

Celtic: Forster, Lustig, Wilson, Mulgrew, Izaguirre (Rogne 61), Forrest, Brown (Nouioui 79), Wanyama, Commons, Hooper, Miku (Watt 58).

Subs: Zaluska, Ibrahim, McGregor, Fraser.

Booked: Izaguirre, Mulgrew, Commons, Wanyama

Goal: Commons 4

Referee: Euan Norris

It was not the result or performance Neil Lennon was looking for ahead of their Champions League opener against Benfica at Parkhead on Wednesday night.

However, the result will delight St Johnstone manager Steve Lomas who had seven players down with a virus on Thursday, which led him to cancel training.

Despite the sickness, he was able to field the same side which drew 0-0 with Dundee United in their last outing, with Vine supporting Tade in attack.

Celtic's new Venezuelan signing Miku was handed his debut while Lennon's other new outfield recruit, Lassad, started on the bench.

Skipper Scott Brown shrugged off an ongoing hip problem to return to the midfield, with Charlie Mulgrew back in defence after recovering from an Achilles injury.

It looked like it was going to be a stroll in the sunshine when Hooper set up Commons 20 yards from goal and watched as the Scotland midfielder drilled a shot low past Alan Mannus and into the far corner of the net.

In the seventh minute, with Celtic in command, Commons had another effort from a similar distance but this time Mannus clutched the ball comfortably.

The Parkhead side then relaxed their grip, allowing Saints back into the game.

After Mulgrew was penalised 25 yards from goal for going through the back of Tade, Celtic goalkeeper Fraser Forster had to dive high to his right to prevent Dave Mackay's free-kick dipping in under the bar.

Leveller: Gregory Tade (centre) scored St Johnstone's equaliser against Celtic

Leveller: Gregory Tade (centre) scored St Johnstone's equaliser against Celtic

Just dance! Tade and team-mate Nigel Hasselbaink celebrate the former's strike

Just dance! Tade and team-mate Nigel Hasselbaink celebrate the former's strike

Hooper and Victor Wanyama had shots which flew wide of the target, but in the 15th minute Celtic defender Kelvin Wilson had to throw himself to block a goal-bound shot from Peter Pawlett. The Saints wide-man had cleverly worked a one-two with Murray Davidson before driving into the visitors' box.

Three minutes later Wilson was less vigilant, as was Mulgrew, when Vine played the ball into Tade, who turned and drove low past Forster from the edge of the box.

There was controversy in the 26th minute when Anderson, chasing his own header to Mannus which was short, tackled Commons inside the box without getting the ball but referee Euan Norris turned a deaf ear to a vociferous and valid penalty claim.

Just after the half-hour mark Miku drove high over the bar from the edge of the box when he had the chance of debut glory.

Winner: Vine peels away in celebration after scoring the crucial goal for St Johnstone

Winner: Vine peels away in celebration after scoring the crucial goal for St Johnstone

However, a minute before the break Pawlett missed a much better opportunity when he put the ball over the bar from 10 yards after being set up by Tade.

St Johnstone midfielder Liam Craig had a decent chance five minutes into the second half when he was played in by Mackay but his drive from 16 yards sailed over the bar.

Lennon refreshed his side in the 58th minute by bringing on teenage striker Tony Watt for Miku but seconds later it was Commons who went close to restoring Celtic's lead with a powerful 30-yard drive which just cleared the bar.

Defender Thomas Rogne then replaced Emilio Izaguirre, booked moments earlier for a foul on Pawlett, before there was a penalty claim for the home side when Mulgrew, who had moved to left-back, knocked Pawlett off the ball in the box.

Come on lads! Celtic boss Neil Lennon calls on his side to make an effort at St Johnstone

Come on lads! Celtic boss Neil Lennon calls on his side to make an effort at St Johnstone

Celtic began to enjoy more possession and in the 65th minute Mulgrew, with a delightful pass, set up Commons who squared the ball to Hooper but his shot was blocked by Mannus who eventually smothered.

The game stretched further with Tade's power and strength proving a handful for the Hoops defence while Celtic's passing game was too erratic for the liking of Lennon.

Nigel Hasselbaink replaced Pawlett in the 77th minute before Lassad came on to make his debut at the expense of Brown.

It was the home side's substitution which paid off when Hasselbaink played the ball to Vine who neatly stepped away from Rogne before curling a wonderful shot past Forster and into the far corner.

Celtic's response was predictable but Mannus made a point-blank save from Watt in injury-time to ensure an unlikely but welcome win for the home side.

Rangers draw Motherwell in League Cup

Rangers back with the big boys as McCoist's men draw Motherwell in League Cup

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UPDATED:

15:25 GMT, 3 September 2012

Motherwell will be the first top-flight opponents for Rangers since they were relaunched in the Irn-Bru Third Division after the teams were paired together in the Scottish Communities League Cup.

The Clydesdale Bank Premier League leaders will visit Ibrox on September 25 or 26 in the third round.

Celtic were drawn out just before Rangers, at home against Raith Rovers, the team that shocked them in the 1994-1995 final.

Up for the cup: Rangers' Kane Hemmings (left)and Well's Simon Ramsden

Up for the cup: Rangers' Kane Hemmings (left)and Well's Simon Ramsden

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Celtic v Raith Rovers

Rangers v Motherwell

St Mirren v Hamilton

Queen of the South v Dundee Utd

Hearts v Livingston

Dunfermline v Aberdeen

St Johnstone v Queen's Park

Stenhousemuir v Inverness

Ties on Sep 25/26

Rangers have beaten East Fife and Falkirk on their way to the third round with Motherwell entering at this stage along with their fellow European qualifiers.

The seeded draw paired the eight SPL teams remaining in the tournament with lower-league clubs.

Queen of the South have another home tie, against Dundee United, after beating Hibernian at Palmerston.

Stenhousemuir have been rewarded for beating holders Kilmarnock with a home game against Inverness.

Queen's Park, conquerors of Dundee, face another Tayside club in St Johnstone while Hearts have a home clash against Livingston.

St Mirren host Hamilton while Aberdeen face a trip to Fife to take on Dunfermline.