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Monday, February 2, 1998 Published at 22:42 GMT

Sport: Football

Celtic open up three-horse championship race

Celtic have blown the Scottish title race wide open after coming from behind to beat Aberdeen 3-1 at Parkhead.

They are second, behind champions Rangers, but only on goal difference. Hearts are third but all three have 48 points from 23 games.

It sets up the tightest title race for years as Celtic and Hearts try to rob Rangers of a record 10th consecutive championship.

The visitors went into the lead in the ninth minute when David Rowson beat Celtic keeper Jonathon Gould from 25 yards with the help of a deflection off unlucky defender Alan Stubbs.

[ image: Wim Jansen: reason to smile]
Wim Jansen: reason to smile
But Celtic hit back strongly. Morten Wieghorst levelled in the 22nd minute and Henrik Larsson put them ahead with a header 10 minutes before the break.

Stubbs's free-kick was touched on to Larsson by Marc Rieper and he made no mistake.

There was no way back for Aberdeen in front of a 46,606 crowd and Darren Jackson made victory certain in the 82nd minute.

As Celtic players pushed into the area, Jackie McNamara appeared to be offside. But Jackson's header was allowed.

It was only his second goal since returning to football after brain surgery. The first was also against Aberdeen at the end of last year.

Defeat leaves Aberdeen second-bottom with 22 points from 23 games, four points clear of bottom club Hibernian, who sacked manager Jim Duffy on Monday.

Billy McNeill moves from his post as director of development to take temporary charge but says he does not want the job permanently.

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