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Page last updated at 11:58 GMT, Sunday, 2 January 2011

Scottish football as it happened



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By Thomas McGuigan

1706: Remember, highlights of the SPL games played on New Year's Day will be available on our website from 1800 GMT. The Old Firm game will be on the site from midnight and Saints v Inverness later tomorrow. Thanks again for your company. Enjoy what's left of your weekend. Cheers!

1705: So, Celtic record their first league win at Ibrox since December 2008 to move four points clear at the top of the table. Rangers, though, have two games in hand. Saints leave it late to see off Inverness CT with a late Collin Samuel goal, with it ending the Highland outfit's long unbeaten run away from home.

Full time

1655: St Johnstone record their first home league win since October courtesy of Collin Samuel's late strike, and with it end Inverness' long unbeaten away run which stretched back to November 2009!

Full time

1649: Samuel's late strike was St Johnstone's 700th goal at McDiarmid Park.

1648: We're into the last minute of normal time. Inverness are launching desperate attacks in search of an equaliser.

St Johnstone goal: Saints substitute Collin Samuel show some much-needed composure to lash the ball home from close range after Inverness failed to clear their lines. The visitors are in danger of losing that long, long unbeaten run away from home.


1637: Peter Enckelman brilliantly tips a deflected Eric Odhiambo drive round the post. A superb save! That stop could ensure Saints take a point from this game.

1634: We've got about 14 minutes remaining at goal-shy McDiarmid Park.

1633: St Johnstone substitute Collin Samuel fires a shot at goal but once again Ryan Esson is equal to anything Saints throw at him.

1626: Precious little in the way of goalmouth action at McDiarmid Park and Saints' goal drought at home looks like continuing...

1621: Alan Maybury is brought on for Steven Anderson, can the former Hearts and Leicester man whip in a couple of decent deliveries to cause Inverness some discomfort?

1618: Murray Davidson comes on for Cleveland Taylor as Saints boss Derek McInnes shuffles his pack in the hope of breaking the deadlock.

1616: "Both teams are trying to win the game."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Sandy Clark on the laboured efforts of the two sides

1612: The visitors come close to breaking the deadlock when a Nick Ross cross cannons off the crossbar with Saints keeper Enckelman rooted to the spot.

1607: Inverness CT have not won any of their previous five games coming into this one but they do boast that impressive away record. Saints will have their work cut out to find a goal in the next 45 minutes.

1605: Richie Foran has come on for Gil Blumenshtein for the visitors, Saints are unchanged for the second half. Give us a goal!

1604: The second half gets under way at McDiarmid Park, with Saints looking to score their first goal at home since October.

Half time
1553: Scottish Football League

1550: Just like the Old Firm game before it, the first half at McDiarmid Park has been a bit of a shocker. Here's hoping for better fare after the break.

Half time

1541: Sam Parkin spurns a superb chance to give Saints the lead just before half time, following in after Peter MacDonald's effort is parried by Ryan Esson, but his header is cleared off the line!

1540: "It's all got a bit scrappy," the understatement of the century from BBC Radio Scotland pundit Sandy Clark at McDiarmid Park

My Sport
bringthemonjpn on My Sport says: "Where are the St Johnstone posters? Maybe watching the last five minutes of the Chelsea match...good stuff."

1530: It's easy to see why Inverness CT are so strong away from home this season: difficult to break down and lightening quick on the counter-attack with Adam Rooney and the injured Jonny Hayes striking fear into opposition defences.

1522: Inverness' first chance of the game falls to Adam Rooney, but his low shot is parried by Peter Enckelman.

1520: Sam Parkin is next to have an effort for St Johnstone, but his header is easily gathered by Ryan Esson. The hosts are turning the screw but can't find a goal.

1518: Saints are the lowest scorers at home in the SPL this season, with only four goals at McDiarmid Park.

1517: Cleveland Taylor fires in a shot in for Saints after being set up by Jody Morris, but the effort is straight at goalkeeper Ryan Esson.

1515: "St Johnstone trying to seize the initiative, but Inverness are quite happy to be patient."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Sandy Clark

1513: Peter MacDonald is looking lively for Saints but the hosts have yet to seriously test Ryan Esson in the Inverness goal.

1509: "We started the better side in the first half. Celtic started the better in the second half and it came down to who scored the first goal and I am disappointed at the manner of both goals. We are threadbare and we have been since the start of the season, but that is not the reason for the result of today's game."
Rangers manager Walter Smith

1508: Liam Craig flashes a shot wide from Dave Mackay's cross as Saints create the first chance at McDiarmid Park.

1507: "I think there's goals in this St Johnstone team today,"
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Sandy Clark

1502: Neither side has had an effort on target in the early exchanges in Perth as Inverness look to secure three points and move clear in fourth spot.

1500: We're under way at McDiarmid Park.

1455: "It was a magnificent performance once we got over the initial pressure. I thought the back four were magnificent throughout the game and I thought Samaras was unplayable at times. I hope it was a turning point, but you never can tell." Celtic manager Neil Lennon

1449: St Johnstone captain Jody Morris returns after serving a suspension and Peter MacDonald starts for the Perth outfit. Inverness, on the back of two home defeats but unbeaten away in the league this season, are without the injured Jonny Hayes, while Richie Foran drops to the bench. Israeli attacking midfielder Gil Blumenshtein is given a rare chance to shine.

ST JOHNSTONE: St Johnstone: Enckelman, MacKay, Anderson, Duberry, Grainger, Taylor, Millar, Morris, Craig, MacDonald, Parkin. Subs: Smith, Maybury, Davidson, Samuel, Reynolds, Caddis, May.
INVERNESS CT: Esson, Tokely, Munro, Innes, Duff, Ross, Cox, Blumenshtein, Shinnie, Rooney, Odhiambo. Subs: Tuffey, Golabek, Duncan, Foran, McBain, Sutherland, Sanchez.
Referee: G Salmond

1440: "Georgios Samaras probably won't have silenced his critics but he made the difference for Celtic today. An act of folly from Allan McGregor and from then on it was Celtic's game."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit James Traynor

1438: Celtic manager Neil Lennon trots onto the pitch to salute the away fans after watching his side move four points clear at the top of the table, having played two games more.

Full time

1434: Georgios Samaras sees his shot parried by Allan McGregor and Kyle Hutton clears the ball for a corner.

1433: Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch lashes a ball high over the bar as a growing number of home fans start making their way for the exits.

1432: Niall McGinn comes on for James Forrest as Celtic eat up a little more time.

1430: The visitors have retreated into their own half and seem content to protect their two-goal lead and hit Rangers on the break. We've got three minutes plus stoppage time remaining. Celtic are on course for their first league win at Ibrox since December 2008.

1429: Rangers appeal for a penalty as substitute Kyle Lafferty tumbles under the close attention of Mark Wilson, but referee Craig Thomson tells the Northern Ireland international to get up.

Yellow card
1428: Seconds later Baram Kayal earns a booking for a rash sliding challenge on David Weir.

1426: Celtic press for a third goal and midfielder Baram Kayal sends a 30-yard shot inches wide of goal. Kyle Hutton comes on for Jamie Ness as Rangers throw the dice once again in an effort to get back into this game.

Yellow card
1424: Rangers substitute Kyle Lafferty receives a yellow card for a quick volley of dissent as tempers begin to fray. A little over eight minutes remaining.

1422: "Celtic are looking quite comfortable at the moment and just need to keep the tempo up."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo MacLeod

1421: Davis takes it but his free-kick sails over the bar, much to the frustration of the Rangers supporters inside Ibrox.

Yellow card
1420: Celtic defender Mark Wilson goes into the ref's book for clattering Vladimir Weiss. A great chance for Kyle Lafferty or Steven Davis to test Forster.

My Sport
RepublicofLiverpool on My Sport says: "No more than Celtic deserve"

1417: Madjid Bougherra sees his volley fly inches over Fraser Forster's crossbar as the home fans roar Rangers on in their pursuit of a quickfire double.

1415: Rangers come within a whisker of pulling one back but Madjid Bougherra can't capitalise following good work by Sasa Papac. Walter Smith's side have 17 minutes to salvage something from this game.

Celtic goal: The visitors double their advantage from the spot after Madjid Bougherra clips Georgios Samaras in the box. The Greek dusts himself down before arrowing a low strike into the net. McGregor guesses the right way but can't get a hand to it.



1411: Rangers bring on Kyle Lafferty for Ricky Foster as the hosts search for an equaliser.

My Sport
Sportsfan87 on My Sport says: "Samaras has been fantastic and deserves that, McGregor is an idiot though!"

Celtic goal: Joe Ledley threads through a long ball for Georgios Samaras to chase down. The Greek international gets to the ball before Gers keeper Allan McGregor, who rushes from his goal, and the striker slides the ball home from an acute angle. First blood to Celtic, can Rangers respond?

1405: GOAL!

1359: Ibrox is hardly awash with noise and colour at the moment. Celtic are enjoying the lionshare of possession but have yet to do anything with it, while the defending SPL champions seem subdued. It's very quiet and very low-key. Come on lads!

1357: Charlie Mulgrew and Emillo Izaguirre suffer a breakdown in communication as an attempted one-two sees Celtic lose out on the chance to launch another attack.

1355: The pace of the game is picking up and Rangers are trying to find the angled runs of Kenny Miller with some long passes but the Scotland striker is cutting a frustrated figure.

1352: Charlie Mulgrew is getting a bit of joy down the left early in this second half. "Celtic are on top at the moment,"
says BBC Radio Scotland pundit Gordon Smith.

1351: Madjid Bougherra clears from under his own bar after a superb ball in from Charlie Mulgrew; Celtic building the pressure here.

1350: Paddy McCourt drags a shot inches wide of Allan McGregor's left-hand post after latching onto Georgios Samaras's headed flick-on. What a chance!

1349: We're under way in the second half. Come on, get the collective finger out and give us a cracking 45 minutes...

1345: Suspended Celtic captain Scott Brown and injured striker Gary Hooper are sitting among the away support in the Broomloan Stand this afternoon.

1343: "Celtic will be the happier going in at half time" BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo MacLeod

My Sport
DrFrankenfurter-PHD on My Sport says: "Celtic doing well so far, no threat from Rangers after the first 5 mins. Nice to see folk concentrating on the football on here, then that maybe says it all"

1337: "This game is so bad, it's giving me fond memories of the Hearts and Hibs match yesterday." texts Neil McLean on 80295 I'm feeling your pain, Neil...

1334: Oh dear. We were looking forward to a white-hot Old Firm derby but that first half passed with barely a whimper. It's making me pine for a few laughs and a Christmas episode of The Two Ronnies. It'll improve after the break, won't it?

Half time

1331: Neil Lennon surveys proceedings with a pained expression; his side have come back into the game but their passing in the final third has been woeful. Rangers boss Walter Smith has made his way to the dugout from his seat in the stand - always a sign he's unhappy with the display.

1329: Possession is won and lost by both sides about six times inside 30 seconds! Three minutes until the break and you get the feeling Walter Smith and Neil Lennon will be demanding much better passing from their players in the second half.

1327: James Forrest makes to scamper away down the right for Celtic but Rangers captain David Weir comes across to mop up the danger. Moments later Charlie Mulgrew heads straight at Allan McGregor but is penalised anyway for a push on Ricky Foster.

1326: Rangers spurn a decent chance to break the deadlock as Steven Whittaker drags a left-foot volley well wide after a superb pass from Madjid Bougherra. Ouch!

1325: "This has been a terrible game so far, so many misplaced passes and niggly fouls and real lack of quality. I'm nearly falling asleep." Graeme in Edinburgh sums up what's not been a classic by texting 80295

1324: Celtic winger James Forrest sends in a delicious cross from the right but there's no one in green & white to get a header in on goal and Madjid Bougherra clears the danger.

1322: "Rangers have lost their shape a bit in the middle of the park."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo MacLeod

1320: We've got about 12 minutes to go until the break and more than a few passes are going astray. Paddy McCourt twists and turns about 40 yards from goal but a sea of blue prevents him from getting anywhere near Allan McGregor in the Rangers goal.

1318: Charlie Mulgrew sends a deep corner into the Rangers penalty area but team-mate Georgios Samaras fails to direct his header on target and it trundles out for a goal kick. Both sides are lacking some razor sharp finishing here.

1315: Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch writhes on the turf clutching his ankle. Not sure whether he landed awkwardly or if a Celtic player caught him. He has a quick word with referee Craig Thomson and we're under way again. The game is crying out for a wee bit of magic.

Yellow card
1312: Vladimir Weiss shows patience wide on the left before sending in a wicked cross. Celtic clear and Charlie Mulgrew and Madjid Bougherra clash. Total handbags at dawn stuff. Both go into the book.

1311: Kenny Miller tries to take on Thomas Rogne, and appeals for a free-kick for obstruction, but referee Craig Thomson is having none of it and waves play on.

1309: Celtic force a couple of corners in quick succession but Rangers clear their lines fairly comfortably on both occasions. Paddy McCourt threads a great ball through to James Forrest, but Lee McCulloch gets in a goal-saving tackle!

1307: The Old Firm derby is traditionally a difficult arena for flair players to shine. Vladimir Weiss and Paddy McCourt are trying to slalom through a few meaty challenges to open things up. Still goalless after 20 minutes.

1305: Celtic winger James Forrest scampers down the right but his low cross is easily gathered by the alert Allan McGregor. That's the first time the visitors have shown some real attacking intent.

My Sport
bringthemonjpn on My Sport says: "How come McCulloch can always find the woodwork, but his passes are often a mile off?"

1302: Lee McCulloch finds himself in space about 25 yards out but he blazes his effort high over the bar. Rangers have edged the opening exchanges but have lacked that bit of brilliance to unlock the Celtic defence.

1301: Madjid Buogherra sends a dangerous long diagonal ball to Steven Davis but the Rangers midfielder ran too early and is flagged offside. Celtic boss Neil Lennon offers some tactical direction to his players, who have yet to settle in the opening 15 minutes.

1300: Celtic make their first serious foray into Rangers territory but right back Mark Wilson's cross lacks accuracy and the hosts repel the danger.

1258: Rangers captain David Weir is penalised for a crunching tackle on Paddy McCourt. The home fans don't like that and give referee Craig Thomson a fair bit of stick. Rangers assistant boss Ally McCoist jumps up and down in the technical area like a cat on a hot tin roof.

1256: This is the 390th meeting of these two old warhorses. They remind me of the two old boys in the Muppets: Statler and Waldorf.

1254: Walter Smith's side have settled very quickly and Celtic are lacking composure on the ball; lashing it in every direction at the moment as they struggle to establish fluency.

1252: Rangers come within inches of taking the lead. Vladimir Weiss's corner finds Lee McCulloch and his glancing header is cleared to safety by Emillo Izaguirre via the crossbar.

1251:"Both teams will have been told not to let the other settle in the early stages."
BBC Radio Scotland pundit Murdo MacLeod

1249: On his competitive debut, Rangers youngster Jamie Ness gets his first touch as the hosts look to make inroads into Fraser Forster's goal. Nothing yet from either side in the opening three minutes to get us on our feet.

1248: Paddy McCourt aims a kick at Rangers midfielder Lee McCulloch on the halfway line and referee Craig Thomson has a quiet word with the Irishman. The hosts can't profit from the set-piece.

1247: Handshakes all round between former captains and current players; the roars around Ibrox are deafening and the first half gets under way.

1244: The minute's silence is impeccably observed as the Ibrox scoreboard shows a message: "Always Remembered"

1241: Former Old Firm captains John Greig and Billy McNeill lead out the sides at Ibrox. Both sets of supporters voice their appreciation.

My Sport
RKW - White Eagle on My Sport says: "TFirstly, I hope the minute's silence is observed properly. Second, Celtic have a real job on today if the last Old Firm game is anything to go by. Can see Rangers outplaying the Bhoys 4-1 today!" Spot on about the mark of respect for those who lost their lives in 1971. I'm hoping we see a few goals this afternoon.

1230: Rangers defender Madjid Bougherra has yet to suffer defeat in an Old Firm game since arriving at Ibrox: five games, four wins and a draw for the Algerian.

1226: Celtic enjoy a one-point lead at the top of the table, having played two games more than the defending SPL champions. Walter Smith, who will step down as Rangers boss at the end of the season, is chasing a third consecutive championship to sign off in style. A Rangers win today would go a long way to achieving that.

1224: Rangers have enjoyed a real purple patch over their Old Firm rivals at Ibrox in recent times. Celtic's last league win there came on 27 December 2008, when Scott McDonald scored the only goal of the game to give Gordon Strachan's side maximum points.

1220: "Jamie Ness has struggled a bit with injuries in the last 12 months and it is only in the last few months that he has got over that. He is very strong, aggressive and has a lovely left foot. This game has just come too quickly for Steven Naismith. It is a must-win game for Rangers because we are not top of the league."
Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist

1216: Before we begin to chew over this afternoon's game, just a note to say there'll be a minute's silence before kick-off to mark the 40th anniversary of the Ibrox disaster, in which 66 people died. Rangers have also unveiled a new memorial to the disaster and will hold a remembrance ceremony on 3 January.

1215: Those line-ups make for interesting reading. What a baptism of fire for young Jamie Ness! And striker Kenny Miller - who bagged a brace in the opening Old Firm derby of the season when Rangers won 3-1 - will surely fancy his chances of piercing Celtic's fragile defence. For those of a Celtic persuasion, what to make of Neil Lennon's side? Georgios Samaras is being given another chance to prove his worth in the mother of all derbies. Will he seize the chance to shine? No Stokes or Ljungberg, but a free role for Paddy McCourt. This could be interesting...

RANGERS: McGregor, Foster, Bougherra, Weir, Papac, Davis, Ness, McCulloch, Whittaker, Miller, Weiss. Subs: Alexander, Fleck, Lafferty, Beattie, Webster, Kerkar, Hutton.
CELTIC: Forster, Wilson, Majstorovic, Rogne, Izaguirre, Forrest, Kayal, Ledley, Mulgrew, McCourt, Samaras. Subs: Zaluska, Juarez, Hooiveld, Stokes, McGinn, Crosas, Towell.

Referee: C Thompson

My Sport
champions league for the tangerine on My Sport says: "I shall be in the garden watchin the grass grow!!"

1205: Celtic team news: The visitors won't include new signing Freddie Ljungberg. The former Arsenal winger has been floored by a bug and doesn't even make the bench. "He picked up a virus on Friday evening and was in a pretty bad way with sickness and dehydration; it's a blow." Celtic manager Neil Lennon tells BBC Radio Scotland's Sportsound.

1202: Early Rangers team news: Rangers youngster Jamie Ness will make his competitive debut for the club, coming in for the injured Steven Nasimith. Scotland forward Naismith has failed to recover from a hamstring strain. Walter Smith's side are otherwise unchanged from the side which thumped Motherwell on Boxing Day.
Rangers team: McGregor; Foster, Bougherra, Weir, Papac; Davis, McCulloch, Ness, Whittaker; Weiss; Miller.

1200: Good afternoon and a happy New Year to everyone! It's time to blow away those party cobwebs with a white-hot Old Firm derby.

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Scottish Premier results

2 Jan 2011 23:59 UK

Scottish Premier table snapshot

As it stood on 2 Jan 2011 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Celtic 19 28 45
2 Rangers 17 20 41
3 Hearts 19 18 39
4 Kilmarnock 18 9 27
5 Inverness CT 20 4 27
6 Motherwell 18 1 24
7 Dundee Utd 16 -5 21
8 St Johnstone 18 -12 21
9 Aberdeen 19 -19 17
10 Hibernian 19 -11 16
11 St Mirren 18 -14 16
12 Hamilton 17 -19 11

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