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By ESPN Staff

SPL: Celtic ease ahead as Samaras bags double

GLASGOW, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Greece striker Giorgos Samaras struck twice to lead champions Celtic to a 3-0 home win over bottom club Falkirk in the Scottish Premier League on Saturday. Stephen McManus grabbed the opener after 32 minutes following a free kick by Shunsuke Nakamura, the Japanese midfielder swinging the ball in from the right for the captain to knock the ball in at the back post. Samaras rounded the keeper to score the second after a pass from Shaun Maloney, who was playing his first game back at Celtic since leaving Aston Villa. Samaras then made it 3-0 from close range after 68 minutes after more good work from Maloney. Celtic have seven points from three games, the same as Rangers who drew 1-1 at Aberdeen earlier in the day. Rangers manager Walter Smith was frustrated at having a late goal ruled out for offside. Television pictures showed American forward DaMarcus Beasley was onside as he ran through to fire a shot into the net. 'Even from the dugout I thought Beasley was onside and TV cameras show he was,' Smith said. OLD FIRM 'All the talk recently has been about how the Old Firm (Rangers and Celtic) get every decision going. People have to realise it doesn't work that way, decisions do go against us.' Scotland defender David Weir headed Rangers in front after 24 minutes but Aberdeen equalised in first-half stoppage time when Derek Young blasted a close-range shot into the roof of the net after Lee Miller's header was parried by Allan McGregor. Elsewhere, Hearts beat St Mirren 2-1, Inverness Caledonian Thistle were held to a 1-1 home draw by Hibernian, Motherwell and Dundee United drew 1-1 while Kilmarnock overcame Hamilton Academical 1-0.

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