SPL WRAP: Celtic and Rangers both made to work hard for wins

Old Firm rivals Celtic and Rangers continue to be locked in a battle for the Scottish Premier League title with the Glasgow giants mirroring each other’s results today.

Reigning champions Rangers kicked off the weekend’s play with a 2-1 away win at St Johnstone thanks to a double from star striker Nikica Jelavic.

The Croatian opened the scoring in the 24th minute with an opportunistic goal from close range before ‘Gers defender Carlos Bocanegra put the ball in the back of his own net with just over 20 minutes remaining. But in the 81st minute, Jelavic netted his 13th of the league campaign, again with a close range finish, as Ally McCoist’s men temporarily went top of the table.

However, that lasted just over two hours as Celtic recorded a 2-1 victory of their own over Dundee United at Celtic Park.

Gary Hooper received a neat pass from strike partner Anthony Stokes in the 12th minute to fire home from 15 yards for his 11th of the season before Victor Wanyama added a second five minutes later with a header from a short corner. The Tangerines got one back through John Rankin in the 50th minute but it was not enough to deny Neil Lennon’s men maximum points as they retain their two-point lead over Rangers.

In other SPL matches today, Leigh Griffiths scored a brace as Hibernian won 3-2 at Dunfermline Athletic in an enthralling encounter which saw each side take the lead at some point before a late winner from the aforementioned striker.

Heart of Midlothian powered to third with a 5-2 win over a hapless St Mirren courtesy of a Rudi Skacel hat-trick, Inverness scored a 1-0 away win at Motherwell whilst Aberdeen and Kilmarnock played out a scoreless draw.

 
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