Saturday 25 November 2017

In brief: Lennon: our tails are up

Neil Lennon believes his Celtic side have their "tails up'' for this afternoon's keenly-awaited Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with Rangers at Parkhead.

Both Glasgow giants have won their opening eight SPL fixtures this season with the Ibrox men top of the table only on goal difference.

The Hoops' boss, though, is unbeaten in 16 SPL games since taking over from Tony Mowbray in March and his team come off what he described as their best performance of the season, the 2-1 win over Dundee United at Tannadice last week.

Lennon is pleased by the way his squad, many of whom he recruited in the summer, have gelled together and claims they are in prime condition ahead of the visit from their bitter rivals.

"I think it's as good as it gets from where we started from,'' said the former Celtic skipper, who beat Rangers 2-1 last season in his Old Firm debut as manager.

"They were excellent against Dundee United last week.''

No early joy for Calderwood

Colin Calderwood suffered a painful 4-2 defeat to Aberdeen at Pittodrie in his first match in charge of Hibernian.

The Dons, who had previously taken only one point from a possible 18, squandered a couple of chances before Chris Maguire broke the deadlock on 18 minutes.

Scott Vernon added a second after 33 minutes when his volley took a wicked deflection off defender Sol Bamba.

The Aberdeen goalscoring duo combined five minutes after the break to grab a third, this time with Vernon sliding home Maguire's shot-cum-cross at the back post.

Paul Hartley scored a fourth from the penalty spot before Colin Nish pulled a goal back after 63 minutes. Bamba headed home a second for Hibs in the final minute.

Keane has no complaints

Ipswich boss Roy Keane was not complaining despite seeing his side lose for the third successive match away to Nottingham Forest.

David McGoldrick struck first before Lewis McGugan hit a stunning 35-yard shot to secure an impressive 2-0 victory for the home side at the City Ground.

"The second goal coming just before half time was a real blow for us. We just wanted to get in 1-0 down and we should have seen it out to the break,'' said Keane.

"We conceded two bad goals and we didn't get any breaks ourselves -- but that's the way it is at the moment. We didn't make their goalkeeper work too hard.

"Forest are ahead of us at the moment in that they have some very good players with experience and we are asking young players to do a man's job.

"But we have good honesty in the squad and when you have that you have a chance.

Pompey do it on the pitch

Portsmouth made light of their off-field turmoil by registering their third straight Championship win, thanks to goals either side of half time by David Nugent and Greg Halford.

Pompey's future remains in some doubt, despite positive noises from the representatives of former owner Sacha Gaydamak. Nick Barmby pulled one back for Hull with just under half an hour left but Portsmouth survived to continue their march up the table.

Canaries hit back in style

Norwich manager Paul Lambert was thrilled to see his team bounce back with victory over Middlesbrough after the midweek defeat to Crystal Palace.

Simeon Jackson, a summer signing from Gillingham, scored the only goal of the game on the stroke of half time at Carrow Road to move Norwich up to fourth place in the Championship.

Lambert said,: "When you get beaten you've always got to do your best to win the next one and I thought the lads responded really well to that setback.''

Parkin's brace for Preston

Jon Parkin scored his 100th club goal as Preston put aside their recent woes with a hard-fought 4-3 victory to leapfrog fellow Championship strugglers Crystal Palace in a thrilling clash.

The burly striker, 28, achieved the feat with a first-half brace that helped put his side 3-1 in front at the break.

Keith Treacy and skipper Callum Davidson were also on target either side of half-time but the spirited Eagles ensured a nervous finish with goals from Andy Dorman and James Vaughan.

Sven tastes first defeat

Swansea moved up to third in the Championship with a 2-0 home victory over Leicester which left Sven-Goran Eriksson tasting defeat for the first time since taking charge.

On-loan Middlesbrough man Marvin Emnes, a half-time introduction, was the match-winner with his first goal for the Swans, in his first game and with virtually his first touch.

Scott Sinclair made the points safe in the 94th minute with his 10th goal of the season.

Sunday Independent

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