Friday 15 December 2017

Celtic to keep up title push

Celtic boss Neil Lennon has not set a target date for his side wrapping up the Scottish Premier League title.

The Hoops are 19 points clear of Motherwell and a remarkable 45 ahead of today's visitors, bottom side Dundee, who yesterday appointed John Brown as their interim manager until the end of the season, having parted company with Barry Smith on Wednesday.

However, while it is a case of when and not if the Parkhead side retain their title, with the champions on course to settle the issue next month, the Celtic boss refused to look at it that way.

"You can't be as blasé as that," he said. "What we have to do is keep winning. So we have to beat Dundee and then Motherwell and if we win that then that will increase the gap over them (Motherwell). There is clear daylight between us and the rest and we want to reinforce that lead, whether it be against Dundee or whoever.''

Meanwhile, Lennon revealed Celtic have been in touch with UEFA regarding the performance of Spanish referee Alberto Mallenco in the recent 3-0 Champions League last-16 defeat by Juventus.

"We have made contact with UEFA and they will get back to us. It was a chat over the phone and they said they would be in touch with us so we will see where it takes us.''

Chanting Gers fans are held

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has told fans who indulged in inappropriate chanting before yesterday's game at Berwick they have let the club and themselves down.

Unsavoury songs were heard from a section of the travelling support during the Third Division clash at Shielfield Park. Police arrested two people.

Rangers responded during the match, which was broadcast live on ESPN, by releasing a statement condemning the actions of some supporters. And, speaking after his side's 3-1 win, McCoist said he hoped the incident was a one-off. "They've probably let themselves down – and they've let us all down a little bit,'' said McCoist. "I would be very hopeful it's an isolated incident.

Bayern hit Bremen for six

Unstoppable leaders Bayern Munich hammered hapless Werder Bremen 6-1 to clock up their sixth straight Bundesliga win since the winter break.

Mario Gomez scored twice, Arjen Robben, Javi Martinez and Franck Ribery shared three goals and Theodor Gebre Selassie put through his own net as Bayern went 18 points clear of Borussia Dortmund.

Bolton halt Tigers march

Hull missed the chance to close the gap on Championship leaders Cardiff as they were convincingly beaten 4-1 by Bolton.

The promotion-chasing Tigers, who have not conceded in their last two matches, saw their defence breached three times in a remarkable opening eight minutes at the Reebok Stadium.

Darren Pratley headed in the opener before influential midfielder Mark Davies added a second. Things got worse for the Tigers when on-loan West Brom defender Craig Dawson made it 3-0 from a corner.

Republic of Ireland international Robbie Brady gave his side – five points behind the Bluebirds who play Wolves this afternoon – a lifeline in the 65th minute, but their hopes were soon ended when Dawson netted his second.

McCarthy rant turns air blue

Mick McCarthy gave by some distance the most entertaining performance of the day as he launched into a passionate defence of Ipswich's goalless draw at Huddersfield.

The pitch at the John Smith's Stadium hardly promotes silky passing football but neither side tested the theory in a game that was fully deserving of its stalemate status. A draw leaves both sides clear of the npower Championship relegation places, but does little to enhance their survival hopes.

But what the players lacked in inspiration, McCarthy more than made up for in the post-match media conference.

A smattering of expletives and the odd wry grin punctuated the former Wolves manager's comments as he declared himself delighted with the result.

"It was two bang ordinary teams on the day, playing on a lousy pitch. But I'll take a point all day long,'' said McCarthy at the start of what became an increasingly off-kilter soliloquy.

"It's a good point for us; I've never had a bad point away from home. We're both nervous, both looking at the wrong end of the table and that doesn't produce wonderfully free-flowing football.

"I apologise for the standard of the s**t game you've all watched but I'm not going to apologise for getting a point away from home. No way. It was pretty p**s poor but it was a point. I'm a pragmatist, I'm a realist, I'm not a poet.

"It's their home game. Perhaps we should be talking about Huddersfield losing two points. Why aren't we saying we should be f****** delighted with a point and depriving them of two points?''

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