Sunday 17 December 2017

Kean praise for spirited Rovers

Ten-man Blackburn brilliantly clawed their way out of the Premier League relegation zone for the first time in four months with a 3-1 at home to Fulham.

Under-fire boss Steve was understandably delighted with the result.

"We showed togetherness, team spirit, but there was also good football intelligence from the lads on the pitch," said Kean afterwards.

"Psychologically, to come out of the bottom three on the back of a good performance is great for us. We had a lot of big displays out there."

The first red card of Ayegbeni Yakubu's career in English football midway through the first half seemed to add to Kean's woes.

But Morten Gamst Pedersen and David Dunn struck either side of the interval, and despite Damien Duff pulling one back, substitute Mauro Formica sealed only Rovers' fourth league win of the season.

NORWICH boss Paul Lambert's main focus remains Premier League survival despite his side's lofty status, after Steve Morison's header sealed a 2-1 victory over West Brom at The Hawthorns yesterday.

"I'm pretty sure everyone thought we would be in the bottom three at this point," said Lambert. "We came up from League One really quick, so to be ninth is terrific for this team. I never look upward, I just concentrate on us and where we are going to finish. We will see."

Andrew Surman's volley handed the Canaries the advantage in the 43rd minute. Fit-again Irish international Shane Long came off the bench and equalised with a penalty in the 68th minute, but it was not enough to salvage a point, Morison nodding in the winner 11 minutes from time.

The result means 15th-placed West Brom are now only five points above the relegation zone, while Norwich, who have recorded back-to-back away wins in the league, remain in ninth position.

CELTIC went two points clear of Rangers again at the top of the Scottish Premier League with a nervy win over Dundee United at Parkhead.

First-half goals by striker Gary Hooper and midfielder Victor Wanyama gave the home side a comfortable interval lead and it looked like they would go on to coast the game. However, visiting midfielder John Rankin pulled a goal back five minutes after the break to set up an uneasy second half for Neil Lennon's side.

In the end, though, Celtic did enough to leapfrog the champions who had beaten St Johnstone 2-1 at McDiarmid Park earlier in the day, while extending their winning run in the SPL to 11 games.

Meanwhile, Nikica Jelavic grabbed a double as Rangers put their recent jitters on the road behind them with victory over St Johnstone at McDiarmid Park. The Croatian ensured the points would be heading back to Ibrox with a late winner after his opener was cancelled out by an own goal from Carlos Bocanegra, ensuring Ally McCoist's men keep the pressure on Celtic.

ELLIOT Grandin came off the bench to earn Blackpool a point, scoring one and setting up Kevin Phillips for the equaliser as struggling Ipswich squandered a two-goal lead in the sides' 2-2 draw in the Championship.

Paul Jewell's side appeared to have done enough to snap their five-game winless streak after Angel Martinez's own goal and Tommy Smith's second-half strike.

But Grandin brought the visitors back into the match, scoring their first just three minutes after he had been brought on, and he set up Phillips for his eighth goal of the season to ensure they left Suffolk with a point.

SOUTHAMPTON returned to winning ways at 10-man Nottingham Forest in a 3-0 victory to remain top of the Championship.

But goals from Guly Do Prado, David Connolly and Morgan Schneiderlin got Nigel Adkins' side back on track as they remained ahead of West Ham on goal difference. It was a first away victory in the league for Saints in more two months.

MARLON King bagged a brace as Birmingham outlined their promotion credentials by hammering nine-man Millwall 6-0 in the Championship.

Curtis Davies gave Chris Hughton's side an 18th-minute lead before Millwall's Shane Lowry was sent off for an off-the-ball incident with Nikola Zigic.

Alan Dunne was then given a straight red card for a tackle from behind on Zigic.

Birmingham then ran riot as strikes from King (2), Chris Burke, Adam Rooney and Nathan Redmond ensured the points for the visitors.

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