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By ESPN Staff
Nov 18, 2006

SPL: Celtic stroll, Aberdeen up to second

GLASGOW, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Champions Celtic strolled to a 3-0 home win over Inverness Caledonian Thistle on Saturday to extend their lead in the Scottish Premier League to 15 points.

Celtic broke the deadlock two minutes from the interval when Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink hit a half volley which deflected off Thistle defender Darren Dods and into the net.

The Dutchman made it 2-0 after 71 minutes with a 12 metre shot into the bottom right hand corner after a Paul Telfer cross and Czech Republic defender Jiri Jarosik headed the third.

Celtic top the SPL standings with 40 points from 15 games while Hearts and Rangers fight it out on Sunday with the chance to move second top as both have 22 points from 14 matches.

The only negative for Celtic was the loss of defender Gary Caldwell who limped off with a knee injury and is doubtful for Tuesday's Champions League clash at home to Manchester United.

'We will look at it but Gary looks as if he could be a problem,' Celtic manager Gordon Strachan told BBC Radio Scotland. 'He has a knee knock and could be struggling.

'But it was a fantastic performance today and I am delighted with the result.'

Aberdeen moved into second place with 25 points from 15 games after Darren Mackie's double sank visitors St Mirren 2-0.

Hibernian racked up the biggest win of the SPL season so far with a 6-1 rout at Motherwell while Kilmarnock beat Falkirk 2-1 and Dunfermline beat Dundee United 2-1 with a Gary Mason winner.