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Dec, 5, 2009

SPL: Celtic back on top, Boyd stars for Gers

Georgios Samaras' double helped Celtic return to the top of the Scottish Premier League in style with an emphatic win over 10-man Aberdeen at Parkhead.

Scott McDonald gave the home side a first-half lead and after Samaras scored six minutes after the break, Dons defender Jerel Ifil was sent off by referee Mike Tumilty after appearing to kick out at the Greece international as they clashed on the touchline.

In a second-half siege, Samaras bundled in his second to take the Hoops two points clear of Old Firm rivals Rangers, who won at Falkirk earlier in the day, although the Ibrox side have a game in hand.

Kris Boyd edged closer to Henrik Larsson's Premier League goalscoring record when he brought his own tally to 151 to help Rangers down Falkirk 3-1 on Saturday.

But the Gers' striker, who now sits seven short of the Swede's record, was denied his hat-trick when he was replaced just two minutes before the Scottish champions were handed a penalty converted instead by Kenny Miller. Pedro Moutinho had pulled a goal back for the SPL bottom side but Walter Smith's men held on for the win.

Dundee United narrowly survived Morgaro Gomis' moment of madness to beat St Mirren and maintain their pursuit of the Old Firm at the top of the Premier League. United were cruising to victory thanks to first-half goals from Damian Casalinuovo and Craig Conway before Gomis was sent off, apparently for lashing out at Stephen McGinn.

Saints immediately pulled a goal back when Chris Innes' header seemed to deflect in off Darren Dods, but Jennison Myrie-Williams looked to have made the game safe late on before substitute Stephen O'Donnell set up a grandstand finish in a bad-tempered clash at Tannadice.

Hibernian remain two points off the top of the Premier League after an impressive performance against Motherwell.

The home side began to take control midway through the first half and Anthony Stokes ignored offside appeals to slot home on the counter-attack four minutes before the break. Another Stokes shot found the net via a deflection off Colin Nish in the 55th minute and Hibs put on a stylish display without further reward.

Kilmarnock captain Kevin Kyle earned his side a vital three points with the only goal of the game at McDiarmid Park. Kyle pounced on a ball from strike partner Mark Burchill to make St Johnstone pay for some slipshod defending after only 15 minutes.

Saints enjoyed the upper hand throughout and carved out the better opportunities but failed to score for the first time in a home match this season.

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