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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 January 2007, 16:55 GMT
Celtic 2-0 Kilmarnock
Steven Pressley in action against Kilmarnock
Pressley made a winning debut for Celtic at Parkhead
Celtic concluded the festive fixtures by stretching their SPL lead to 17 points with victory against Kilmarnock.

Darren O'Dea broke the deadlock in the 39th minute, hooking the ball into the net after the visitors failed to clear Shunsuke Nakamura's free-kick.

Kilmarnock, who have not won at Celtic Park since 1955, came closest when Rhian Dodds shot wide minutes earlier.

Substitute Aiden McGeady then sealed the victory in the dying moments, firing home from close range.

After three draws in their last four games, Celtic looked back in control at Parkhead as they inched further ahead in the Scottish Premier League as rivals Rangers leapt into second place with a win over 1-0 against Motherwell.

The victory also marked a winning debut for new signing Steven Pressley, who went straight into the heart of defence in place of Stephen McManus who was rested.

Unsurprisingly, the former Hearts captain's first touch - a punt up the park after a minute - was cheered by the home fans.

But the visitors were first to cause a stir in front of the goalmouth when, after six minutes, Dodds forced a decent save from keeper Artur Boruc with his left-footed effort.

However, Celtic soon asserted themselves with striker Craig Beattie - started his first SPL game of the season - coming close just before the quarter-hour mark.

Their dominance was finally rewarded with O'Dea's goal and left Kilmarnock lamenting over the waste of their best chance moments earlier.

Gary Wales was the architect of an excellent counter-attacking move which saw the visitors move forward purposely in a four against two situation.

Dodds picked up the ball and seemed to have beaten Boruc before watching his shot swerve right of the post.

After the break, Celtic looked to consolidate their lead but struggled to find the right finish against a dogged Kilmarnock defence.

Striker Derek Riordan was unlucky to hit the crossbar just before the hour mark, while Beattie hit wide from six yards out moments later.

Riordan was replaced soon after and it was left to substitute McGeady to wrap up the win, picked up a Nakamura pass and slipped the ball past keeper Graeme Smith in the 90th minute.


Celtic: Boruc, Telfer, Pressley, O'Dea, Naylor, Nakamura, Lennon, Jarosik, Riordan (McGeady 72), Beattie (Vennegoor of Hesselink 65), Zurawski (Miller 90).
Subs Not Used: Marshall, Sno, Gravesen, Lawson.

Goals: O'Dea 39, McGeady 90.

Kilmarnock: Smith, Fowler, Greer, Frazer Wright, Hay (Johnston 79), Ford, Grant Murray, Dodds (Naismith 71), Leven, Wales (Barrowman 79), Invincibile.
Subs Not Used: Harpur, Stephen Murray, Adams, Campbell.

Booked: Dodds.

Att: 57,236

Ref: S Conroy (Scotland).

SEE ALSO
Strachan happy with 'eerie' win
02 Jan 07 |  Celtic
Jefferies unhappy with days work
02 Jan 07 |  Kilmarnock


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