SPL: Celtic stroll past St Mirren, Rangers struggle
A wonderful solo goal by Paddy McCourt and a late strike from Shaun Maloney gave Celtic a routine 2-0 victory over St Mirren in their Scottish Premier League encounter at St Mirren Park.
A dull match only came to life in the 27th minute when former Derry City player McCourt picked up the ball in midfield and skipped past a variety of challenges before driving past Paul Gallacher. The SPL leaders were rarely troubled and 12 minutes from the end Maloney curled the ball past Gallacher via what appeared to be a deflection to seal the win and give Celtic a five-point lead at the top of the table.
Rangers could only cut that advantage to four as they notched up their third successive goalless league draw after being held by Aberdeen at Ibrox. The Dons' unwanted statistic of failing to register a win at the Glasgow venue since 1991 remains but the Pittodrie side will no doubt have been the happier of the two teams.
The Scottish champions have now gone 293 minutes without scoring a league goal and know they will be under pressure to regain their form when Celtic come calling next weekend.
Merouane Zemmama scored on his first Hibernian start for almost 18 months as Motherwell's unbeaten Premier League record came to an end with a 3-1 defeat at Fir Park. Zemmama curled home a free-kick from a difficult angle to put the game beyond Jim Gannon's side ten minutes into the second half. Derek Riordan had put Hibs back in front moments earlier after Mark Reynolds cancelled out Colin Nish's early opener.
Hearts captain Michael Stewart inspired the Tynecastle club to a 2-1 victory over Hamilton with a second-half penalty. The Scotland international broke the deadlock ten minutes after the restart before Suso Santana added a second with an audacious back-heel two minutes later.
In a frenetic period, Hamilton winger Marco Paixao brought the Accies back into the game with a cool finish after taking advantage of Marius Zaliukas' slack defending in the 62nd minute.
Falkirk had Robert Olejnik to thank as they held on for a goalless draw against Kilmarnock - but their search for a first domestic win of the season goes on. An otherwise dire game at the Falkirk Stadium was lit up by two brilliant bits of goalkeeping from Olejnik, who kept out Mehdi Taouil's free-kick shortly before half-time and Kevin Kyle's late header.
Dundee United edged a thrilling Tayside derby 3-2 against St Johnstone thanks to a dramatic late goal from substitute David Goodwillie. The Scotland Under-21 striker, playing for the first time since being disciplined following his arrest for an alleged assault, tapped in only two minutes after his 76th-minute introduction as a late substitute. It was the third time United, who were reduced to 10 men three minutes from time when Danny Swanson saw red for a wild lunge on Gavin Swankie, had taken the lead in a see-saw match.