Tuesday 12 December 2017

In brief: McCarthy fears Spurs

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy fears his side could come up against a "galvanised" Tottenham at Molineux today.

Spurs have not played since a 3-1 loss to Blackpool on February 22, but have not been idle in the days following that shock result.

Harry Redknapp's team have just returned from a warm-weather training camp in Dubai, something that the Wolves manager thinks could work either for or against them as they look to continue a run of strong results at home this season.

"You don't know how it affects teams," said McCarthy. "It can have an adverse affect, not playing for quite a while, but it can also have a galvanising effect, with players spending a bit of time together.

"They could come here and be brilliant, they've got the potential to be that. But then we've got the potential to beat anybody at Molineux."

Celtic go eight points clear

A Kris Commons double against Hamilton at Parkhead put Celtic eight points clear of Rangers at the top of the Scottish Premier League. The Hoops had struggled for much of the first half until four minutes from the break when the Scotland midfielder volleyed in from 25 yards.

Commons capitalised on a shocking mistake by Accies defender David Elebert early in the second half to double his tally and put the pressure on to Rangers, who have three games in hand ahead of their trip to St Mirren today.

Foran finds net for Caley

Inverness moved back into the top half of the SPL table with an emphatic 3-0 triumph over Motherwell. Shane Sutherland and on-loan Burnley man Alex MacDonald both scored their first goals for the hosts, while Irishman, and captain, Richie Foran was also on the scoresheet.

David Silva and Alexei Eremenko netted within seven second-half minutes as Kilmarnock ended Hearts' eight-match unbeaten home run with a 2-0 win. Silva struck after 50 minutes and Eremenko, who was sent off after 71 minutes, netted a quick-fire second after 56 minutes to leave Hearts stunned after a dominant first-half display at Tynecastle.

David Wotherspoon grabbed a late equaliser for Hibernian in their 1-1 draw away to St Johnstone, after Irish youngster Richie Towell's own goal on 46 minutes.

Leaders grab late winner

Ishmael Miller came off the bench to fire an 88th-minute winner and extend QPR's lead at the top of the Championship to eight points. Neil Warnock's side dominated for long periods only to be frustrated by Leicester, who had a number of opportunities before Miller's late intervention.

Elsewhere, Max Gradel and Jonny Howson both scored twice as Leeds got their promotion push back on track with a 5-2 victory over Doncaster.

Irish on double for Reading

Ian Harte and Shane Long each bagged a brace as Reading extended their unbeaten league run to six matches with a thumping 5-2 win over strugglers Middlesbrough.

Hal Robson-Kanu opened the scoring before left-back Harte -- who won the last of his 64 Ireland caps in 2007 -- and striker Long stole the show to seal a deserved win, despite Leroy Lita netting a brace of his own in two rare Boro attacks.

In the day's late kick-off, Jimmy Bullard scored with two long-range screamers to give Ipswich a 2-0 victory at promotion-seeking Cardiff. The midfielder is on loan at Portman Road from Hull.

Mourinho unruffled

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has played down reports of an attempted knife attack against him in La Coruna last week. According to reports by a Spanish radio station, a bodyguard protecting Mourinho was injured at the airport prior to last week's game against Deportivo.

When asked about the incident at a press conference, Mourinho said: "I don't know anything. I've not seen anything, I didn't feel anything. I arrived, went to the hotel, played the game, returned to Madrid."

Blatter may face FIFA rival

Mohamed bin Hammam of Qatar dropped a fresh hint yesterday that he could challenge Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency in June.

The Asian Football Confederation president has not yet announced whether he will stand for soccer's top job but is keeping the pressure on Blatter. Bin Hammam posted a message saying "competition is good for the organisation (FIFA), whether for the presidency or any other posts."

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