Sport Soccer

Sunday 11 December 2016

McInnes hails Celtic title win

Published 03/05/2015 | 02:30

Aberdeen manager Derek McInnes congratulated Celtic on winning another Scottish Premiership title but hopes the Dons can challenge them closely again next season. Ronny Deila's men were crowned champions without kicking a ball as Aberdeen, the only side that could catch them, were beaten 1-0 at Dundee United.

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McInnes was hopeful his side could prolong the title race by another week at least with victory over United, but it was not to be.

"The challenge is to get closer to Celtic next year," said McInnes. "We are 10 points better off than we were last season but even then we knew Celtic would have to have a poor season. But we don't accept it, we will roll our sleeves up and give a bit more next season."

Hibs pip Gers to second place

Hibernian beat Rangers to second place in the Scottish Championship with a convincing 3-0 win over Falkirk. The Edinburgh side knew they had to better Rangers' result against Hearts, and they made sure of the runners-up spot thanks to goals from Martin Boyle, Jason Cummings and Dominique Malonga.

They will now bid to return to the top flight via two less play-off games than they would have faced if they had finished third.

Minnows Bury are promoted

Bury secured promotion while Burton wrapped up the championship on the final day of the League Two season. Shrewsbury's 2-0 defeat to Plymouth handed the title to Burton, who came from 2-1 down with 10 men to beat Cambridge 3-2.

And it will be Bury who join the pair in League One next season after they prevailed in the final-day battle between themselves, Southend and Wycombe to earn the third promotion spot.

Barcelona run riot at Cordoba

Luis Suarez scored a hat-trick and Lionel Messi bagged a brace of goals as Barcelona thrashed bottom side Cordoba 8-0 yesterday to move a step closer to their fifth La Liga championship in seven years. Suarez's prolific form has brought the Uruguayan 17 goals from his last 16 games in all competitions while Messi is now top scorer in the league with 40 goals.

Ivan Rakitic volleyed into the roof of the net to give Barca the lead after 42 minutes at Cordoba and then Suarez slotted home in first-half stoppage time.

Messi headed in straight after the restart, with further headers from Suarez and Gerard Pique. Messi scored into an open net with 10 minutes to go and then Neymar hit a penalty after he was brought down by defender Adrian Gunino.Barca showed no mercy with Suarez striking again two minutes from the end to seal a resounding win with three games to go.

Juventus win 31st Serie A

Juventus won a fourth successive Serie A crown, and their first under coach Massimiliano Allegri, by beating Sampdoria 1-0.

Arturo Vidal headed the only goal of the game from Stephan Lichtsteiner's cross in the 32nd minute. It is Juve's 31st league title triumph, making them Italy's most successful domestic team by far.

Limerick saved late by O'Conor

Paul O'Conor scored in the fourth minute of injury-time against his former club Sligo Rovers to earn a point for Limerick in a 1-1 draw with at a sodden Showgrounds last night.

O'Conor headed home at the death to cancel out Dinny Corcoran's first-half opener and leave Rovers still without a home win in the league. Corcoran found the net midway through the first half, after some great attacking play from Kevin Devaney. The winger expertly latched onto Corcoran's initial flick and took on three Limerick defenders, before freeing Sander Puri, who crossed for Corcoran to smash home his third goal of the season.

The closest Limerick came to scoring was when Richard Brush mis-judged a ball forward and Sean Russell broke clear, but his pull back aimed at Vinny Faherty was intercepted.

The second half was of poor standard as the rain persisted, but O'Conor popped up at the death to claim a share of the spoils for his side

* * * * *

Ten-man Longford Town earned a hard-fought 0-0 point against Derry City at a rain-soaked City Calling Stadium.

There were few chances of note in the first half. Cillian Morrison brought a save out of Town keeper Paul Skinner in the eight minute while Town striker Gary Shaw's header was deflected for a corner.

In the 20th minute Town were reduced to 10 men when Powell was harshly sent off. Derry began to pile on the pressure but Skinner denied Anthony Elding and Mark Timlin.

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