Celtic extend lead in Ayrshire
Sat 8th Dec 12.30pm
Celtic extended their lead at the top of the table with a convincing 3-1 victory at Kilmarnock in their early kick-off.
Skipper Scott Brown fired them in front during the opening half before setting up fellow midfielder Joe Ledley following the break.
Within ten minutes substitute Georgios Samaras headed a third for the visitors until Killie's Cillian Sheridan claimed a last-minute consolation.
The victory moved the current champions four points clear at the top of the table ahead of second-placed Hibernian travelling to Inverness Caledonian Thistle later this afternoon.
As expected midweek match-winner Kris Commons missed out with a heavily bruised leg while fellow forward Samaras began the afternoon on the bench.
Victor Wanyama hoisted over from distance early on for the visitors before Paul Heffernan could only find the side-netting at the other end. Celtic replied with Gary Hooper forcing a save from Cameron Bell and Wanyama heading over Charlie Mulgrew's free-kick.
The Hoops still went ahead when Adam Matthews crossed low on 27 minutes for Brown to sidefoot their opener past Bell.
Both Sheridan and Liam Kelly were wide in reply while Celtic's Lassad saw an attempt ruled out for offside before team-mate Mulgrew made a great block from Heffernan early in the second period.
But Matthews then swept forward in the opposite direction and leading scorer Hooper's shot required a sharp reaction from Bell. Lassad next saw an effort charged down before Ledley converted Brown's 65th minute cross at the far post to increase the advantage.
Kilmarnock keeper Bell soon had to deny Wanyama's low drive until Brown released the advancing Matthews to deliver from the right and Samaras headed in off the underside of the crossbar.
Celtic could even have had another as Efe Ambrose nodded wide from Mulgrew's free-kick before Sheridan claimed a late consolation for the already well-beaten hosts from Jeroen Tesselaar's cross.
Kilmarnock: Bell, Tesselaar, Fowler, O'Leary, Nelson, Racchi (Sissoko 56), Kelly, Harkins (McKenzie 68), Sheridan, Heffernan, Perez (O'Hara 68)
subs (unused): Letheren, Johnson, Winchester, Dayton
Goals: Sheridan (90)
Celtic: Forster, Matthews, Ambrose, Wilson, Izaguirre (Kayal 76), Brown, Ledley, Wanyama, Mulgrew, Lassad (Samaras 66), Hooper (Miku 82)
subs (unused): Zaluska, Rogne, McGeouch, Watt
Goals: Brown (27), Ledley (65), Samaras (74)
Ref: C. Thomson
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