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By ESPN Staff

Aussie McDonald sparks five-goal Hoops

GLASGOW, Sept 2 (Reuters) - Australian striker Scott McDonald set Celtic on their way to a comfortable 5-1 win at St Mirren in the Scottish Premier League on Sunday.

McDonald lit up proceedings by creating Scott Brown's opener in the 22nd minute and then lobbing the second three minutes later as Celtic moved to within two points of leaders Rangers.

The Australian finished a darting run through the middle by laying the ball on for Brown to flick a neat shot from eight metres under sprawling keeper Chris Smith.

Smith then blundered by racing from his line for a long ball down the right, only to be beaten by McDonald, who caught it on the bounce and lifted an angled effort into the empty net.

It was more of the same after the break as Dutch striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink hammered a near post header high into the net following Derek Riordan's 54th minute corner.

Riordan had a big hand in the fourth two minutes later when his clipped, low cross spun off St Mirren's Argentine midfielder Franco Miranda from six metres out and slipped away from the keeper.

Celtic captain Stephen McManus tucked home a close-range shot for 5-0 after Riordan had a header blocked on the right before whipping the rebound across goal.

Miranda made amends in the 75th minute with the best goal of the game, a rising 25-metre shot into the top left corner.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan, whose men beat Spartak Moscow on penalties in midweek to reach the Champions League group stage, told Setanta Sports: "It was absolutely fantastic. All in all, it has been a great week for us."

Celtic are second to Rangers in the SPL with 13 points from five games. Rangers stay top after Saturday's 4-0 demolition of Gretna.

Motherwell face Hearts on Monday to complete the latest SPL fixtures.