Sport Soccer

Friday 20 April 2018

Keane strikes in Bhoys stroll

Robbie Keane kept up his impressive scoring rate for Celtic as his second-half penalty helped the Parkhead men to a comfortable 3-0 victory over St Johnstone.

Teenager Josh Thompson's first goal for the Hoops gave Tony Mowbray's side a half-time advantage before Saints keeper Graeme Smith conceded a penalty in the 67th minute for fouling Marc-Antoine Fortune.

The Republic of Ireland star, who was always a threat, slammed in the spot-kick to take his tally to nine in nine games since arriving from Tottenham in January.

Substitute Georgios Samaras, on for Fortune, completed the scoring with three minutes remaining as Celtic moved 10 points behind SPL leaders Rangers, although they have played a game more.

Mowbray would have been pleased with his team's performance, although the omens were on their side considering they had scored five then four against the Perth men in the previous two meetings this season.

The victory keeps Celtic's faint tile hopes alive, as they trail Rangers by 10 points.

Smith quashes talk of treble

Walter Smith shunned all "arrogant" talk of a treble as Rangers prepared for the Co-operative Insurance Cup final against St Mirren.

With Rangers enjoying a commanding lead over Celtic at the top of the Premier League, and Raith Rovers lying in wait should they overcome Dundee United in the Scottish Cup quarter-finals, a domestic clean sweep is very much on the cards.

But, despite enjoying cup final appearances as a coach and manager stretching over 30 years, Smith insists there is no danger of him becoming blase about the occasions.

"When someone says you are going to go for trebles, there is an amount of arrogance in that statement," Smith said. "For me, it's not the first leg of a treble, it's a cup final. If we do win it, we'll be delighted."

Hodgson eyes on cup double

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson admits the Premier League now sits behind both the Europa League and the FA Cup in his list of priorities after Thursday's shock win over Juventus.

The Cottagers welcome Manchester City today as they look to repeat the level of performance that allowed them to thrash Juventus and confirm their place in the last eight of the Europa League.

Hodgson's side have also reached the same stage in the FA Cup this year and they could book a semi-final date against Portsmouth at Wembley if they overcome Harry Redknapp's Tottenham in a replay on Wednesday.

"I don't think we'll go down this year," the 62-year-old said.

"Maybe we're a few points short but I'm pretty confident that we will do it, so there's no doubt that the two cup competitions will now take priority, particularly the one on Wednesday."

Doyle pounces to sink Galway

Eoin Doyle got his third goal of the season to give Sligo Rovers a deserved 1-0 win over Galway United in the Connacht derby at the Showgrounds last night.

Talented winger Doyle struck for the game's only goal on 64 minutes, when he fired home from close range after Matthew Blinkhorn headed down John Dillon's cross.

Sligo: Brush, Ventre, Peers, Keane, Davoren, McCabe (Dillon 53), Doninger (Almeida 81), Ryan (O'Grady 58), Doyle, Blinkhorn, Amond.

Galway: Ryan, Conneely, Heary, MacKenzie, Meynell, Ryan, Foley (Curran 73), O'Donnell, O'Brien, Molloy (Creaney 69), Sheppard.

Referee: D Hanney.

Murphy puts Ipswich on up

Daryl Murphy was on the scoresheet again as Ipswich returned to winning ways to move further clear of the Championship relegation zone.

The on-loan Sunderland forward tapped in a rebound to give Roy Keane's side a third straight home win and leave Barnsley marooned in mid-table.

Elsewhere West Brom kept the pressure on leaders Newcastle with an edgy victory over Preston that extended their winning streak to four matches.

Ben Watson's first of his loan spell and Chris Brunt's 11th of the season handed Albion a two-goal lead after just nine minutes.

Sean St Ledger pulled one back before Graham Dorrans' 30-yard free-kick made it 3-1 just after the half-hour mark.

Neil Mellor again reduced the arrears but a goalless period after the break ended North End's five-match unbeaten run and keep the Baggies in the hunt for the Championship crown.

Newcastle came from two goals down to snatch a priceless point against managerless Bristol City.

Lewin Nyatanga and Nicky Maynard fired the hosts into a 2-0 lead at the break. But Jonas Gutierrez and Andy Carroll salvaged a point.

Sunday Independent

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