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McDonald scores in Celtic thrashing

Socceroos striker Scott McDonald has scored as Celtic replaced Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a 4-0 thrashing of newly-promoted Hamilton at Parkhead.

The Scottish champions sit top of the table on goal difference with their Old Firm rivals playing St Mirren.

Shunsuke Nakamura put the Hoops ahead before substitute Georgios Samaras doubled their lead. McDonald made it 3-0 in the second-half before Aiden McGeady sealed the emphatic win with Artur Boruc saving a penalty in between.

Both teams took time to settle in the wet and windy conditions.

Celtic made several changes from the team that went down 1-0 to Villarreal midweek in the Champions League with Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink partnering McDonald up front and midfielder Barry Robson coming in at left-back.

But within seconds of the start Celtic were forced into a change when Vennegoor of Hesselink was replaced by Samaras after the Dutchman was injured going in for a challenge with Brian Easton.

The Hoops took the lead after 25 minutes through Nakamura. A McGeady cross from the right found the Japanese international unmarked at the back post and he took a touch before rifling the ball past Tomas Cerny.

The Parkhead side piled on the pressure and McDonald came close to doubling the lead six minutes later when his first-time volley from a Mark Wilson cut-back thudded off the post.

Samaras scored his tenth goal of the season in the 36th minute.

The giant Greek side-footed the ball past Cerny after connecting sweetly with a Nakamura cross from the left.

McGeady blew a chance to increase the lead two minutes from half-time when his weak effort was easily saved by the keeper after McDonald had played him into the box.

Hamilton defender Easton nearly scored an own-goal shortly after the break when he volleyed a McGeady cross inches past his own post.

In the 61st minute James McArthur went on a surging run from his own half and with the Celtic defence standing off him he tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the box which flew past Boruc's post.

Celtic increased their lead after 75 minutes through McDonald.

The Australian came out of a challenge in the box from Canning with the ball and then calmly slid the ball under Cerny.

A superb double save from Boruc denied Hamilton a consolation goal after James McCarthy was awarded a controversial penalty after 77 minutes.

McArthur's weak effort was easily saved by the Polish keeper and he got up to palm away the penalty-taker's follow-up header.

McGeady made it 4-0 with eight minutes remaining. Substitute Shaun Maloney produced a skilful display on the left wing before cutting the ball back to the Irish international who side-footed the ball into the net.

At Pittodrie Hibernian defeated Aberdeen 2-1 thanks to a Derek Riordan double either side of a Lee Miller penalty.

Jon Daly scored for the second game in a row as Dundee United defeated Inverness Caledonian Thistle 2-1 at Tannadice.

At Tynecastle Craig Bryson and Mehdi Taouil secured a 2-1 win for Kilmarnock with Laryea Kingston scoring for Hearts.


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