Saturday 22 July 2017

In brief: Celtic get lift from McGinn

A Niall McGinn double helped Celtic to close the gap on SPL leaders Rangers with a comfortable 3-0 victory at St Johnstone yesterday.

The Northern Ireland winger put the visitors ahead with just over a minute gone and left-back Emilio Izaguirre grabbed the second four minutes from half-time.

Four minutes from time, Perth defender Danny Grainger was given a second yellow for a foul on Anthony Stokes. In the final minute, McGinn completed an impressive performance when he scored his second from a Cha Du-Ri pass.

"I am delighted with the goals, the clean sheet and the performance," said Hoops manager Neil Lennon, who dropped Glenn Loovens to give fit-again Thomas Rogne his first start of the season.

Rangers' lead was cut to one point after they could only draw 1-1 at home to Inverness. Maurice Edu had given the hosts a lead after 11 minutes, but Caley drew level through Eric Odhiambo with nine minutes left.

Keane: people need to chill

Ipswich boss Roy Keane was pleased to silence the critics who had "panicked and worried" over his team's form following their 2-0 win over Millwall.

Jason Scotland's fifth goal of the season and a penalty from Grant Leadbitter handed the Tractor Boys a much-needed win.

"I wouldn't say it's been a great week but it's been a better week than last week. But then again last week I certainly wasn't panicking," said Keane. "Our performances weren't that bad.

"But as usual everyone panics and worries. I keep telling people to relax and chill out."

United to face Hammers tie

Holders Manchester United will visit West Ham in the quarter-finals of the League Cup while Birmingham entertain Aston Villa in a mouth-watering English second city derby.

In the other all-Premier League tie, Arsenal will host Wigan. Ipswich manager Roy Keane missed out on a match against his old club Manchester United when his Championship side were drawn at home to high-flying top flight outfit West Brom.

The ties will be played in the weeks starting November 29 and December 6.

Farren's strike secures title

Mark Farren'S strike 10 minutes from time -- his 18th of the season - gave Derry City a 1-0 win at Monaghan last night and so ensured the First Division title and promotion for the Candystripes.

Waterford United, who began the evening three points behind Derry, kept the pressure on to the end after they came from behind to beat Shelbourne 2-1 at Tolka Park -- Willie Kiely's goal six minutes from time proving decisive. Shels' defeat means that Monaghan United stay in third place and enter the promotion play-offs with Waterford.

Hodgson wary of Bolton test

Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson accepts that his team face a stern test of their credentials at Bolton this afternoon.

Liverpool have struggled for form this season but some of the tension was eased with victory over Blackburn last week. But Hodgson won't be getting carried away with one performance and knows his team will be up against it at Bolton.

Under Owen Coyle, Bolton are enjoying their best start to a season for four years -- but victory for the Reds would put them level on points with the Trotters.

"I have a lot of respect for Bolton, I think they are a very good club and a good team," said Hodgson.

"They have been very successful for a number of years now and we know they are a hard team to beat. They are a very stable Premier League team today and we are going to have to play at our best to get a result there."

Bolton v Liverpool

Sky Sports 1, 4.0

Ameobi backs striker Carroll

Newcastle striker Andy Carroll does not have to look very far for advice on coping with the pressure of being the latest claimant to Alan Shearer's throne.

The 21-year-old will head into today's derby clash with arch-rivals Sunderland carrying the hopes of the Geordie nation squarely on his broad shoulders. He will do so having put his off-field problems behind him and with a match-winning display at West Ham last weekend under his belt. But team-mate Shola Ameobi knows how intense the weight of expectation can be at the club.

"The expectations of the fans are sky high and that can heap a lot of pressure on young talents," he said.

"But Andy, certainly on the pitch, is coping with it very well. He has been confident enough to take that No 9 shirt. He wants to go out there and score as many goals as he can and help his beloved Newcastle to be a winning team.

"That in itself comes with a lot of pressure -- I know only too well about that -- and it's something I have had to learn over the years."

Newcastle v Sunderland

Sky Sports 1, 1.30

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