Celtic march on while Harley lifts Dons

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Celtic stretched their lead over their Glasgow rivals Rangers to 12 points at the top of Scottish Premier after they beat the bottom club, Dundee United, 2-1 at Celtic Park.

Celtic stretched their lead over their Glasgow rivals Rangers to 12 points at the top of Scottish Premier after they beat the bottom club, Dundee United, 2-1 at Celtic Park.

It was typical of the visitors' luck that, at the end of a turbulent week in which their chairman, Jim McLean, struck a BBC Scotland interviewer on camera, triggering his subsequent resignation and a police charge, the next fixture should be away to the league leaders.

Surprisingly, the home side took over half an hour to take the lead, although the Dundee woodwork had been rattled twice before Henrik Larsson, unmarked at a free kick, headed in. Celtic's second goal came in the 62nd minute when Johan Mjallby's cross-field pass was headed into the path of the former Aston Villa midfielder, Alan Thompson, and he scored with a low drive.

The visitors got some consolation when Paul Lambert, trying to dispossess John McQuillan, shot into his own net.

Elsewhere in the Scottish Premier, Kilmarnock beat St. Mirren 2-1 to go third, above Rangers who play today.

South of the border, the reluctance of various foreign managers to give the products of Chelsea's youth scheme a decent run in the first team is beginning to benefit the First Division. Jon Harley, farmed out on loan to Wimbledon, made an immediate impact, putting the Dons ahead at Crewe in the 12th minute with a superb shot. Marcus Gayle doubled the Londoners' lead with a header before half-time and from there it was a stroll.

Harley got his second at the end of a counter attack and even the sending off of Chris Willmott did not interrupt the Dons' procession. Jason Euell completed the 4-0 rout.

Otherwise, storming comebacks were the order of the day. Trailing 3-0 at half-time to Stockport, fourth-placed Bolton fought back to 3-3, Ian Marshall scoring twice. But Aaron Wilbraham scored an injury time goal to ruin Bolton's work.

The Portsmouth player-manager, Steve Claridge, made it three wins out of three as Pompey recovered from 2-0 down to beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at Selhurst Park. Palace, who had the former Liverpool and Aston Villa defender Steve Staunton making his debut, went 2-0 up, Tommy Black scoring both. But on the stroke of half-time, Claridge himself pulled one back to spark Portsmouth's revival.

Norwich City, previously without a home win this season, were 2-0 down to Sheffield United after 24 minutes at Carrow Road but were level by the break and went on to win 4-2.

West Bromwich Albion drew 2-2 at Tranmere which allowed Burnley to move above them after substitute John Mullin's strike earned a 1-0 win at Queen's Park Rangers.

Gillingham and Barnsley drew 0-0, as did Huddersfield and Preston but Blackburn's steady climb continued with a 2-0 defeat of Grimsby.

In the Second Division, the leaders, Walsall, lost 3-1 as their former striker, Andy Rammell, scored twice for Wycombe and second-placed Reading lost 4-0 at Bristol City. James Hayter scored four for Bournemouth in their 5-2 win at Bury.

In the Third Division, leaders Chesterfield beat Brighton with a last-minute goal, the South Coast side having been reduced to 10 men six minutes into the second half when Charlie Oatway was sent off.

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