Wednesday 17 January 2018

Soccer In Brief: Celtic round off great week

Celtic rounded off a momentous week with a convincing 3-1 win over Kilmarnock at Rugby Park to cement their place at the top of the SPL.

The Hoops' 2-1 home win over Spartak Moscow on Wednesday night sealed their place in the last 16 of the Champions League and they continued their good work in Ayrshire, starting when skipper Scott Brown fired them into the lead in the 27th minute.

Second-half goals from midfielder Joe Ledley and substitute Georgios Samaras were just reward for the Parkhead side's dominance, before former Hoop Cillian Sheridan grabbed a late consolation.

Celtic have struggled at times in post-European games this season and indeed had taken only one point from nine following their previous three Champions League games, including a 2-0 home defeat to Killie in October.

Super Caley shock Hibs

Clydesdale Bank Premier League player of the month Billy McKay rounded off a comfortable win as Inverness converted three crosses to move above Hibernian into second place.

Ross Draper's free header from a 13th-minute set-piece sent Caley Thistle on their way and, apart from one first-half chance for Leigh Griffiths, Pat Fenlon's Hibs never looked like getting back in the game.

Caley Thistle stepped up a gear after a dull first half and Richie Foran and McKay secured their deserved 3-0 win in the final 14 minutes as they stayed three points behind Celtic.

McCarthy: just happy with win

Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy was keeping his feet firmly on the ground after seeing his side continue their explosive run of form with a 3-0 win against Millwall.

The Lions had been on a magnificent 13-game unbeaten run but were swept aside at Portman Road after two goals from DJ Campbell and one from Daryl Murphy.

The win made it 16 points from a possible 24 since McCarthy replaced Paul Jewell, but the Town boss said: "I like the fact our supporters are getting excited but I'm not getting carried away.

"We've got Leeds away next weekend and then a really tough Christmas period. Everyone is starting to talk differently, rather than about staying up, but I'm just happy with the points. I was delighted and thought we deserved it.''

Meyler, Brady keep Hull flying

Hull maintained their impressive away form to halt Watford's unbeaten run and climb up to fourth in the npower Championship with goals from Irishmen David Meyler and Robbie Brady giving them a 2-1 victory.

The Tigers made it three successive wins on the road, and their sixth victory in their last nine league matches, with a goal just before half-time from on-loan Sunderland midfielder Meyler and winger Brady's thumping free-kick midway through the second half.

Gianfranco Zola's Watford, unbeaten in their previous seven having won five of them, had to settle for Troy Deeney's stoppage-time consolation, while second-half substitute Almen Abdi hit the post for the hosts shortly after replacing Daniel Pudil, but it was not to be their day.

Derby stretch home run

Nigel Clough's Derby halted Leeds' revival and stretched their unbeaten home run in the npower Championship to seven matches thanks to second-half goals from Jake Buxton and Ben Davies in a 3-1 win.

Defender Buxton deflected a shot from fellow defender Richard Keogh in the 66th minute with the score at 1-1 and Derby withstood a late barrage before substitute Davies finished superbly in the fourth minute of time added on.

Leeds midfielder Paul Green cancelled out Conor Sammon's 15th-minute opener for Derby on the stroke of half time before Davies rubber-stamped their sixth league win of the season at Pride Park.

Dicko denies Palace victory

Blackpool substitute Nouha Dicko struck in the 89th minute to dramatically deny Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway a win against his former employers.

Nathan Delfouneso gave the visitors a first-half lead before Owen Garvan levelled matters early in the second period. Glenn Murray then headed his 18th goal of the season only for Dicko to strike late on.

O'Driscoll hails

creative Reid

Nottingham Forest boss Sean O'Driscoll hailed the creative influence of Andy Reid as his side saw off Burnley 2-0 at the City Ground.

Dexter Blackstock and Billy Sharp came up with the goals but it was Reid's performance which caught the manager's eye.

"Andy has been terrific for us all season,'' said O'Driscoll. "He is difficult to pin down. Defenders don't want to mark him and leave space behind.''

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