Saturday 22 July 2017

Lennon singles out Samaras

Celtic manager Neil Lennon was spoilt for choice as he looked for players to praise following his side's 5-0 home win over St Mirren.

The victory took Celtic to within four points of Premier League leaders Rangers, who face Kilmarnock at Rugby Park today. A Gary Hooper hat-trick would normally have grabbed the headlines, but the inspiration was provided by the much-maligned Georgios Samaras, who opened the scoring after four minutes. And late in the second half, 18-year-old Dylan McGeouch stole the show with a wonderful solo goal, his first for the club.

"Hooper was sensational, as was Samaras, and for a young player like McGeouch who is a Celtic fan, as is his family, it was a special moment and I'm sure he is a very proud boy tonight," said Lennon. "Georgios deserved a standing ovation. I couldn't be more pleased for him."

Vorm wary of Villa strike duo

Aston Villa have yet to record an away win in the Premier League this season but Swansea goalkeeper Michel Vorm is taking nothing for granted ahead of today's Premier League clash at the Liberty Stadium.

Alex McLeish's side lie eighth but have picked up just one win from their last five games and suffered a disappointing 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on Monday.

They have also failed to land all three points in their six away fixtures to date, having played out four draws and two defeats, but Dutch goalkeeper Vorm says any side containing Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor, who have 10 goals between them this season, will be a force. "Agbonlahor and Bent are threats. Bent has scored so many goals and has the kind of qualities that don't disappear just because of one or two defeats," said Vorm.

Southamptonstreak broken

Championship leaders Southampton fell to a 2-0 defeat by lowly Bristol City at Ashton Gate -- their first defeat in 16 games yesterday.

West Ham reduced the gap at the top to two points after a 3-1 win over Derby at Upton Park. Tamas Priskin scored the opening goal for the Rams in the first half before Carlton Cole's header and a double for Kevin Nolan, including a penalty, sealed the win.

Elsewhere, Cardiff opened up a two-point gap over Middlesbrough in third after they beat Nottingham Forest 1-0 thanks to a 70th-minute header by Joe Mason. Tony Mowbray's side claimed a point at Peterborough with a 1-1 draw. Leeds are four points adrift of Boro in fifth after they went down to a surprise 2-1 defeat against Barnsley in the Yorkshire derby at Elland Road.

Blackpool moved into the play-offs despite conceding a late equaliser in the 2-2 draw with Birmingham at Bloomfield Road.

Meanwhile, Reading came from behind to beat Ipswich 3-2 at Portman Road with two late goals. Irishman Noel Hunt had the final word with a 93rd-minute winner.

Bothroyd hits back at abuse

QPR striker Jay Bothroyd has pledged to report the Twitter user who allegedly sent him racist abuse yesterday evening. Bothroyd was quick to respond to the comments. "Racist people these people are shameful," the striker posted on Twitter.

Bothroyd later tweeted: "Thanks my tweeps, I will report this incident. Narrow minded people can't get away with that sort of behaviour".

Collymore tells of blues battle

Former Liverpool striker Stan Collymore has given an insight into his battle with depression.

The 40-year-old received treatment for the condition while playing for Aston Villa in the late 1990s. In an emotional Twitter post, Collymore wrote: "Around 10 days ago, I started to feel anxiety, which grew into irrational fear and insomnia for three days [little sleep and an incredibly active, negative mind] that turned over last weekend into hypersomnia, whereby my energy levels dipped to zero and my sleep went from eight to 18 hours overnight.

"So fit and healthy one day, mind, body and soul withering and dying the next. This to me is the most frightening of experiences.

"It's me, bed and increasingly despairing thoughts of how long this one will last, a desperately tired but wildly active mind burns through its own blue touch paper until the paper ends and there is simply nothing left."

Dortmund are top derby dog

Borussia Dortmund moved provisionally top of the Bundesliga after dominating the 139th derby against fierce rivals Schalke to win 2-0 by scoring a goal in each half yesterday.

Robert Lewandowski found the net in the 16th minute for the defending champions, with Felipe Santana making sure of the points in the 61st. Bayern Munich can reclaim the league lead at Mainz today.

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