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Dec 8, 2012

Celtic stay top with easy win

Celtic kept their place at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a relatively easy 3-1 win over Kilmarnock on Saturday lunchtime.

The Hoops' 2-1 home win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday night sealed their place in the last-16 of the Champions League and they continued their good work in Ayrshire, starting when skipper Scott Brown fired them into the lead in the 27th minute.

Second-half goals from midfielder Joe Ledley and substitute Georgios Samaras, on for Lassad Nouioui, were just reward for the Parkhead side's dominance, before former Hoop Cillian Sheridan grabbed a late consolation.

Premier League player of the month Billy McKay rounded off a comfortable win as Inverness converted three crosses to move above Hibernian into second place in the table with a 3-0 victory.

Ross Draper's free header from a 13th-minute set-piece sent Caley Thistle on their way and, apart from one first-half chance for Leigh Griffiths, Hibs never looked like getting back in the game.

Caley Thistle stepped up a gear after a dull first half and Richie Foran and McKay secured their deserved win in the final 14 minutes as they stayed three points behind leaders Celtic.

Hearts responded to their William Hill Scottish Cup exit against arch-rivals Hibernian with a deserved 2-0 victory over Aberdeen at Tynecastle.

Hearts relinquished their hold on the Scottish Cup at the first hurdle last Sunday, but took a half-time lead on their return to Clydesdale Bank Premier League action courtesy of Ryan Stevenson's 31st-minute penalty, his first goal since his August return.

Callum Paterson, an interval replacement for the injured Stevenson, doubled the lead after 54 minutes and Aberdeen were frustrated by Jamie MacDonald, who made a number of sharp saves.

Motherwell recorded their first home victory since the beginning of September as they defeated Ross County 2-1 at Fir Park.

Rocco Quinn unleashed a sensational 30-yard strike to give the visitors the lead after 17 minutes, however their advantage was short-lived as Michael Higdon headed home Chris Humphrey's pin-point delivery eight minutes later.

Nicky Law capitalised on some slack possession to fire the hosts ahead in the opening minute of the second half, but this time County responded positively and Quinn hammered home at the second time of asking to level.

Both sides showed a determination to grab a winner and Keith Lasley clinched the game for Motherwell when he flashed an effort beyond Mark Brown with eight minutes remaining.

Nine-man St Johnstone clung on for a 1-1 draw in a game against St Mirren that was anything but a 'Saintly' affair.

The Perth side played most of the second half two men short after Chris Millar was ordered off, joining Steven Anderson who was red-carded in the first half.

But despite the numerical advantage and the bulk of the chances, the Paisley Saints had only Paul Dummett's goal to show for their efforts as the visitors' overworked defence held out for a share of the points thanks to Murray Davidson's early goal.

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