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Celtic retain SPL after Inverness win

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21 Apr 2013 15:17:18

Celtic retain SPL after Inverness win

Celtic have clinched the Clydesdale Bank Premier League title with a 4-1 win against Inverness at Celtic Park.

The Hoops went into the game needing a point but they did not come to life until after a dull, goalless first half when a Gary Hooper double and a strike by Joe Ledley in between, got the celebrations under way.

Georgios Samaras, on for Anthony Stokes, completed the scoring for Celtic with a virtuoso goal two minutes from time as Aaron Doran netted a consolation for the visitors.

Celtic manager Neil Lennon watched from the stand, serving the first of a three-game ban, and would have expected better in the first half in which his side was a little sluggish.

Victor Wanyama's clever pass released Hooper in the 23rd minute but when he lobbed Caley goalkeeper Antonio Reguero there was time for Warren to race back to head over for a corner. Almost 10 minutes later Stokes had the ball in the net but the flag was up to stifle the cheers.

Emilio Izaguirre replaced James Forrest for the start of the second half with Charlie Mulgrew moving into midfield and Daniel Devine came on for Gary Warren five minutes after the restart. There was some agitation which increased further when Hoops defender Efe Ambrose headed a Kris Commons corner over the bar from close range in the 56th minute.

Four minutes later, however, Celtic got the breakthrough. It was all too easy for Commons to play the ball into the box to Hooper, who held off Graeme Shinnie before driving low past the helpless Reguero from 12 yards. Ledley then set up the overlapping Mikael Lustig before getting on the end of the return pass to guide the ball past Reguero and into the far corner. Celtic Park came to life as the home fans vociferously began the count down to the final whistle.

In the 70th minute, with Celtic piling forward looking for more goals, Reguero did well to parry Lustig's deflected cross-cum-shot from the right before the move ended with Wanyama blasting over the crossbar.

However, the hosts were not to be denied and three minutes later Hooper's fancy flick from Commons' driven cross from the left ended up behind Reguero for number three.

Celtic dropped their guard for a few moments, allowing Caley a couple of chances but Samaras finished the game in fine style with a solo effort which ended with him crashing a shot from a tight angle in off the crossbar. Doran's goal in the final seconds of injury time, as he capitalised on slack defending, was a mere footnote.


PA

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